Do all half-Vulcans go through pon farr?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Enterprise1701, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm assuming that we all have seen or heard about The Original Series episode "Amok Time" which introduced the concept of pon farr and that it even affected half-Vulcans. My question is this: does every half-Vulcan go through pon farr? In the novelverse anyway? Because I can't recall ANY instance of Soleta or T'Ryssa Chen going through pon farr despite what was established by Spock and later continued with Saavik. Is there something I'm missing?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that if you tell T'Ryssa Chen that she's entering a metabolic cycle wherein she must mate or die, she'll just go out on the town, find herself a willing partner or two, and the problem will solve itself. "You call it pon farr, I call it a wild weekend." ;)
     
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe pon farr is strictly related to the logic and suppressing all emotions. Once every 7 years those emotions have to erupt. T'Ryssa isn't exactly an example of Vulcan stoicism, so she doesn't have to vent.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's how it was implied to work in "Amok Time," but I'm not sure that makes biological/evolutionary sense. If it were purely a behavioral artifact, there'd be no reason for it to operate on such a predictable schedule.

    It might be a mix of nature and nurture, though. The septennial hormonal surge and mating imperative might be a natural part of the biology, but in freely emotive beings, it might not manifest as much more than a mood swing compared to one's normal behavior, and wouldn't carry the stigma it does among modern Vulcans who consider emotion shameful. After all, if the condition can be cured by sex or fighting, then it would be a fairly minor problem for Vulcanoids who are sexually active, openly aggressive, or both. Maybe that's why we never hear about it occurring in Romulans -- they're an aggressive and emotional enough people that maybe they just don't consider it a big deal when it happens. They feel an urge, they go satisfy it, and the urge goes away. Only Vulcans have a problem with it because they resist the urges long enough to let them build up to a dangerous level.

    Or rather, it might be a minor (though embarrassing) problem for Vulcans who live with their spouses or near their bondmates and thus have an easy recourse to a solution when it occurs, but a more major problem for Vulcans who, like Spock or Tuvok, are away from home and embarrassed to show emotion in front of their alien crewmates.
     
  5. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe. But like Christopher said, how can something that occurs regularly every seven years not be genetically predetermined?

    Something else I thought of: Soleta was raised in Vulcan society but was never mentioned to be betrothed. So maybe she was determined from an early age to not experience pon farr? Plus, the mirror Soleta was raised in Romulan society and no one ever figured out her half-Vulcan nature for decades.
     
  6. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not even all full-blooded Vulcans go through pon farr. Peter David's New Frontier: Excalibur: Renaissance states that homosexual Vulcans to not experience pon farr, and as a restult, do not procreate. :vulcan:
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it makes sense that no one would realize that Soleta is "half-Vulcan," since Vulcans and Romulans cannot plausibly be separate species yet. Less than 2,000 years of separation is just not enough time to speciate.

    As for why Soleta was not betrothed -- perhaps she comes from a Vulcan culture that doesn't practice betrothal? Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that a Federation that values individual liberty would tolerate forced marriages.

    Fascinating! One would imagine that Vulcan has its sexual minorities, too.
     
  8. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Really? T'Prynn in Vanguard seemed to experience pon farr.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Was T'Prynn experiencing pon farr, or was her unwanted betrothed experiencing pon farr?
     
  10. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe pon farr doesn't affect every Vulcan the same way. Or, only male homoxesuals don't experience it. Or the newer continuity trumps the old one, and we may ignore the notion of non-pon farring homosexuals.

    Honestly, Vulcans being spared from pon farr and having no wish to procreate simply by being homosexual leaves a bad aftertaste.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The idea of homosexual Vulcans not being able to procreate could indeed be interpreted very negatively against Peter David.
     
  12. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I don't recall the details, but does it say that Vulcan homosexuals don't reproduce or (as I thought it was) simply that they are not driven to pon farr, the mating drive that is orientated to the other sex? Meaning that there is little chance of their procreating unless they choose to produce biological offspring with a member of the opposite sex for that express purpose (since their normal sexual activity is same-sex - and, yes, I know scientific advancement means there's no reason why biological offspring can't be produced artificially for same-sex couples in Trek, which sort of defeats the point, but still). I recall the Vulcan character in question saying that his family were disappointed that he would not be passing on his genes, but was that a statement that "homosexuals don't reproduce" or merely that he had no intent or desire to do so, and since he didn't undergo pon farr he wouldn't be compelled to mate and do so? It was explicitly the "waste" of good genes that his family considered illogical, I believe.
     
  13. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I thought so too that the book said homosexual Vulcans don't naturally have children, not that they don't go through pon farr.
     
  14. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But is that, like, something special to Vulcans? I mean, homosexual humans don't naturally have children, because it takes a female and a male to have children the natural way.
     
  15. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's not special I guess since Vulcan physiology is generally similar to human physiology.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not true. Homosexual people are perfectly capable of having children, physiologically speaking. A preference for one's own sex doesn't make it physically impossible to mate with the opposite sex, just undesirable. There is a difference between preference and behavior, in the same way that there's a difference between climate and weather. A place with a cold climate can still have the occasional warm day, and a person whose overall sexual preference is in one direction can occasionally choose to make an exception -- or feel obligated to do so. In societies where homosexuality was stigmatized, many gay or lesbian people got married and had children because it was expected, because they were hiding or denying who they were. In some cultures where it was more tolerated, it might still have been considered a social obligation to produce an heir regardless of one's choice of recreational partners; after all, some cultures make more of a distinction between recreational sex and procreative/marital sex than ours traditionally has, which is why many cultures have found it perfectly acceptable for married men to frequent prostitutes or keep concubines. Such a culture might tolerate people having same-sex recreational partners as long as they did their duty and produced offspring. They might not have enjoyed the process of procreating, but we often perform duties we don't enjoy. Preference is one thing, capability another.

    Today, plenty of gay couples find ways to have children, whether by adoption, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, or whatever. There's a big difference between whether you want to have heterosexual intercourse and whether you want to be a parent. GLB people in the past didn't have the range of medical options we have today, but it's likely that many of them still desired to have children, and thus may have bitten the bullet and done what was needed to make babies even though it wasn't their preference.
     
  17. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's not what I meant in my post though. Two males cannot produce children, just like two females can't. It always takes a male and a female to produce children. The emphasis was on naturally as well.

    So I was looking at it from that perspective when I was wondering why it would need a special mention that homosexual Vulcans wouldn't be able to have children.

    That tied in with the idea that homosexual Vulcan's don't go through pon farr. If they don't, why do they not, and what implications does that have? Are they incapable of producing children?
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure with some Science Fictiony Jiggery Pokery a same sex couple could have a kid using genetic material from both people.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    We're not far from that point today. There's already been a child born with genetic material from two women -- nuclear DNA from his mother and father and mitochondrial DNA from a second woman. Combining nuclear DNA from two women shouldn't be that much more difficult.
     
  20. Idran

    Idran Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't know about that; the two problems are entirely different. It's like saying that it should be easy to combine Windows and Unix into a single operating system because you can run a Linux VM; the mitochondria are already separate from the nucleus, and swapping out that DNA is as biologically "simple" as in-vitro fertilization.

    I'm not saying it won't happen, I'm sure that eventually we'll be able to. But I don't think that the progress in mitochondrial transplant really says anything at all about progress towards combining nuclear DNA from two women; I think they're largely unrelated problems from a biological perspective, and the techniques necessary to accomplish one don't really have any applicability towards the other.
     

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