Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassified)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by starri, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    Well, yes, absolutely. And it wasn't my intention to characterize Sten as an "evil bastard," but rather to portray him as a Vulcan male overcome by the violent, primal urges of Pon farr, as exacerbated by the challenge of the kal-if-fee. Sten might have been a perfectly decent Vulcan man when not seized by the blood fever, but when lost in its throes he refused to grant T'Prynn's rational request, and when she killed him, even then he wasn't willing to concede defeat.

    As with so many other characters' stories in the Vanguard saga, T'Prynn's was absolutely meant to be tragic in its causes and effects. And I suppose it could be argued that her sexuality, in driving her to reject a forced marriage to Sten (or any man), was a contributing factor in her tragedy. But that's not a judgment on her sexuality; it's just another detail in her story, in my opinion.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    If anything, it sounds more like a judgment on a society that would assume heterosexuality as a default, and thereby force her into that unfortunate situation in the first place.
     
  3. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    I always got the impression that Sten was a fundamentally maladjusted character. The way he invaded T'Prynn when she beat him is a remarkable act of spite at best, and the fact that none of the Vulcan elders could do anything about it suggested that it was a fairly unique case. On the other hand, attempts to break off Vulcan marriages are probably rare, and cases where the bride chooses to be her own champion are probably even rarer, so it could be that more sex-crazed Vulcan divorcées would set up shop in their fiancée's head if they got the chance.

    Which brings me to the other thing. Spock and Surak, when they were in residence in McCoy and Archer, didn't seem to have their behavior constrained by the circumstances of their deaths. I assumed that Sten's katra would be free of the blood fever thanks to his lack of blood, so his constant attempts to dominate T'Prynn had to be due to a prideful, vindictive streak that had nothing to do with pon farr. What I always walked away with was that his clearminded, logical appraisal was that that T'Prynn was the wife, he was the husband, and she did what he wished, and it offended him that she'd act otherwise so much so that, even though he hated her, he had to possess her, because it was all about exercising his power and putting her in her place.

    Though, writing this out and giving it deeper thought, I just realized that it wasn't exactly a fight to the death for both of them. Yay, Vulcan, for institutionalized marital rape.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    ^^ Actually, VOY's "Blood Fever" establishes that the act of fighting to the death can itself resolve the pon farr, no sex required. So it's just institutionalized ritual semi-consensual homicide.
     
  5. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    I guess, but it seems weird that the male would go to all that trouble and then actually kill the female when the whole point of accepting the challenge would be preserving the marriage. If he doesn't just subdue her, then the challenge ends up being a catch-22 from the male's perspective. If he forfeits without fighting, he loses the marriage, if he fights and loses, he loses the marriage (and is also dead), and even if he fights and wins, he's married to a corpse.

    I can only hope this sort of thing makes the Vulcan Elders discourage women from serving as their own champion. It's much less complicated when she can sucker some guy into fighting to take her as a concubine than when she's fighting to be her own chattel.

    Actually, come to think of it, is there a known case of the man issuing the challenge? I know the assumption would be that they're too sex-crazed to be picky, but if they already had a partner to exhaust themselves with, or even just a supreme force of will to overcome the urge, it seems possible, at least, that the male could want to cancel the wedding while the female wishes to go through with it.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    But they weren't in plak tow when they died.

    I'm sure "blood fever" is only a figurative description, not a medically accurate one, like being hot-blooded. But since it is a physiological condition, substitute "lack of hormones" and you could be right.

    Still, if he was in a mentally imbalanced state when he forced the meld, it could be that the katra thus imprinted in T'Prynn was equally imbalanced. If we take a non-spiritual, mechanistic view (for the sake of argument), the katra could be nothing more than a "snapshot" of the brain's mental state at the moment of the "download," kinda like the snapshot of your RAM that Windows writes to your hard disk when you put your PC in Hibernate mode and then reloads into RAM when you restart. Such a "snapshot" of a brain in a deranged state could be permanently corrupted, so to speak.


    No, "Amok Time" established that. Spock's plak tow broke when he thought he'd killed Kirk. What "Blood Fever" established was that it doesn't have to be to the death, it's enough just to wrestle around for a minute or so. (Although it could be that the Doctor's holographic "treatment" for Vorik had done half the work curing him already, thus he didn't have to go all the way to homicide. And B'Elanna wasn't really going through pon farr, just a loss of self-control that mimicked it.)
     
  7. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    With the telepathic Pon Farr that B'Elanna suffered from in "Blood Fever", my understanding is that Vulcan females are immune to the emotional overload created by the telepathic bond that Vorik established. We've never seen any other evidence to suggest that this happens and therefore, it could also be that B'Elanna developed the condition as part of her Klingon DNA.

    We've seen in ENT that Vulcan females also undergo Pon Farr. Originally in TSFS, Saavik mentioned that "Vulcan males must endure it every seven years of their adult life". I suppose this could be interpreted as meaning that Vulcan females endure it at different periods. But then again, did T'Pol not mention the seven year period when suffering with a premature case of Pon Farr?
     
  8. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    This is exactly what I was thinking when I concocted the whole T'Prynn-Sten story arc.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    ^"Exactly?" Right down to the labored PC-hibernation analogy? (Which is only on my mind because the folks at the computer store were telling me about the horrible things that hibernation would do to my computer, so I researched it online and found they were hugely exaggerating.)
     
  10. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    Thanks for the insight. I'll remember this perspective when I do my reread of the series when the final novel comes out.
     
  11. Andy Mangels

    Andy Mangels Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    Never having dealt with him personally, I'm only going by the too-numerous stories from people who did work with him, and by the extraordinary lengths that I was told that everyone involved went through to make sure he didn't see a copy of the Section 31: Rogue manuscript before it was at the printer.

    Do I think he's a gay-basher? Nope. I classify them as homopsychopathic. Or some such word.

    Do I think he's afraid of gays, probably irrationally? Yep, hence the label of homophobia.

    Whether he disguised it well - publicly - in Hollywood-speak of ratings or boycotts or "not necessary" or "no good stories" or etc. is immaterial to his actions and what he said and did in the offices.

    We weren't able to address that actively in early stories, and it became less important to after Rogue. While Rogue was not the first book to feature GLBT characters, it was certainly the most prevalent book to do so, and did so in a major way, and was a best-seller, and got huge amounts of worldwide press. And after it, Trek editors and writers felt fully OK to include GLBT characters or themes if they wanted to. And they did. The Berman-dam had been broken, at least in the books.

    As to the lesbian in Taking Wing, and the ship name, I'm sure base humor wasn't below Mike or I at times, though I don't recall that was the specific reason, nor is there a reference on Memory Beta to the ship name, so I can't recall. I believe the full name of the ship meant something in Klingon. Any puerile humor would just be a side effect. :p

    And we did have a Klingon with husband in Forged In Fire. But that was many years after we were going to break the Berman-Dam in the Marvel Comics series that didn't happen. And they were different stories. The point with the FiF scene was actually a humorous case of mistaken identity in the midst of carnage, not meant to discourse on Klingon social attitudes.
     
  12. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    I know this isn't Trek, but just take a look at the current Torchwood series.
     
  13. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    I'd be interested to see a transgendered character in ST. And, I don't mean the trill who aren't, really, or another alien species with some sort of non-human gender scheme. They're more like hermit crabs moving from shell to shell. I mean I'd like to see a human chacter who is transgendered (no sci-fi gimmicks) and how they exist in the context of ST's future. Not the center of the plot, or even the main character, but in the mix with everyone else.

    And if there already has been such, please point me in the right direction and I'll be much obliged.
     
  14. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    Well, it wasn't exactly played with sensitivity and grace (to say the least), but "Profit and Lace" implied that Quark underwent an actual (yet reversible) sex change rather than just dressing in drag when he was impersonating a woman.
     
  15. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    IIRC, one of the characters in New Frontier is a hermaphrodite. But asides from that, I don' think there is any evidence of true transgendered characters (unless of course you include Soren in "The Outcast", but that is more gender neutral).
     
  16. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    I positively loathe Profit and Lace, as much as I otherwise loved DSN. Casual gender reassignment as a gag. Yeah, great stuff. Maybe it's funny if you don't deal (or haven't dealt) with such issues personally, but I found it distasteful, myself. It was an unfunny mess of outdated gender stereotypes.

    Right, the hermat. Alien. The Outcast was a nice try, but IMO, a failure to "do" gender/sexual issues on TNG.
     
  17. Andy Mangels

    Andy Mangels Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    We had a crewmember in The Sundered whose gender switched on a regular basis. It was based on a heterosexual-transsexual friend of mine (not transgendered). But his/her species was kind of transgendered.
     
  18. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    Thanks, I'll go take a look for that one!
     
  19. Nick M

    Nick M Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    This thread inspired over an hour of discussion on the topic on our G and T Show podcast last Sunday (Aug. 28). I hope if you listen we don't upset anyone, I think it is a good discussion you will enjoy. (I quote a few of the responses here in the discussion.)

    http://www.gandtshow.com

    All the best,

    Nick
     
  20. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Humanoid Sexuality in TrekLit (Minor Spoilers for VGD: Declassifie

    ^^^ Interesting show. Odd to hear myself quoted on a podcast!

    To answer the question TeriLynn had about wanting a long-term LGBT couple who has traumas but survives, and at the same time answer your question about not knowing who Etana Kol and Kristen Richter are...

    Etana and Richter are a lesbian couple among the supporting cast of the DS9-R books. Richter works as the head nurse in the Infirmary, and Etana used to be a deputy under Ro in the security division before also transferring to medical.

    I wouldn't say either of them have ever had major storylines, but they've both always been present and had some limited focus as supporting characters. They haven't really had any major traumas to go through as a couple either, but they are definitely depicted as a loving, monogamous, long-term couple. In fact the reason Etana transferred to medical (other than as a cover-up for an editorial screw-up) was so that the two could spend more time together.

    More coming in a PM.

    .