shared universe, crossovers and easter eggs

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Hando, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So the Prophets not only sent Benny visions of the future, but somehow manipulated Roy Ritterhouse into drawing a sketch that happened to look like DS9? And made the street preacher talk about the word of the Prophets? Not to mention how many people around Benny had names that paralleled people from Sisko's life -- Cassie/Kasidy, Jimmy/Jake, Willie/Worf, Julius/Julian, Kay/Kira, Darlene/Dax? And the O'Brien double writes about robots and the Odo and Quark doubles are constantly bickering? Did the Prophets somehow arrange all of that?

    It's just too Rube Goldbergian to try to interpret it as something that really happened in the past. The whole thing is clearly meant to be symbolic, a fiction blending elements of Sisko's life with, perhaps, a part of Earth history that he's studied and remembered.
     
  2. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    How about this? There actually was an African-American SF writer in the 1950's named Benny Russell. Elements of his life were shown to Ben Sisko by the prophets but the details were changed to suit their purposes. After all, it's been established that they can make you see whatever they want you to see.

    This should satisfy everybody. I call it the Shimmer Solution. (It's a floor wax and a dessert topping.)
     
  3. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again..."

    Wait, sorry. Wrong franchise.

    And isn't Rube Goldbergian what the wormhole aliens were all about? Isn't Sisko's lineage and arrival at DS9 the result of a Rube Goldberg-style effort by the Prophets?
     
  4. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    But the Prophets have done terrible things to people when it suited them and their goals. The story of Sisko's mother Sarah, who was possessed by a Prophet and in such a state made not only to marry Joseph but conceive and bring to term a child, comes to mind. (The fact that she left a year after Benjamin's birth makes me think that this wasn't consensual. I've suspicions about her death, too.)
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not out of the question, I suppose, but just by Occam's Razor, the simpler explanation is that the whole thing was symbolic.

    Frankly I feel the whole episode was flawed on a conceptual level. I mean, sure, it was a great way to tell a story about '50s racism, and in that respect it was very powerful. It would've made a fantastic episode of an anthology show. But as a piece of the DS9 narrative and the ST universe, it isn't very well justified. It's the kind of story that Avery Brooks and the show's producers would want to tell in order to comment on racism, and as such it was superbly done, but it's not really that plausible as a vision the Prophets would give Ben Sisko. I mean, it's so indirect and overelaborate, even for them. It doesn't really fit their other visions and visitations. Rather, the writers adjusted the idea of Prophet visions to fit this story, because it was a cool story. It was about sending Ben Sisko on a trip through the Twilight Zone. (Fittingly, given that the story was by Marc Scott Zicree, author of The Twilight Zone Companion.) But it was always an awkward fit into the DS9 narrative.
     
  6. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    Well, strictly speaking it's set no earlier than the 27th century, as Blake mentions that the first ships to reach deep space did so many centuries ago, but we don't know how long after now it was before that happened.
    And I suppose that could just be when humanity got back into space after some galactic catastrophe that drove mankind back to Earth, and destroyed all records of past ventures into deep space, and still let us off lightly because all the aliens got wiped out entirely... ;-)
     
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's one interpretation -- but what if the Prophets' intent had been to send Benny visions of a better future to inspire him? They're not responsible for the oppression of American apartheid. I certainly never took it as the Prophets ruining Benny's life.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Why should the Prophets care about Benny Russell? He's not of Bajor.

    I'm an Occam's Razor kind of guy. The simplest explanation, the one that needs the least waving of hands and raises the fewest difficult questions, is that the whole thing was an allegorical illusion, that there never really was a Benny Russell. Frankly I'm startled to realize that anyone thinks there genuinely was. The possibility that he was a real historical figure never even occurred to me, since the parallels to Ben Sisko's own life were so blatant and pervasive. It was clear that we were seeing a version of Ben Sisko's life and his friends and colleagues transposed into a different place and time in order to symbolize something about his own life -- maybe Benny's struggle against implacable racism symbolizes Sisko's struggle against the seemingly unbeatable Dominion. It's like all those dream episodes on Gilligan's Island or The Brady Bunch, just more serious and potent.
     
  9. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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    How do we know that Benny wasn't an ancestor of Sisko's?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^An ancestor who had a girlfriend named Cassie and friends and coworkers whose names and attributes happened to resemble those of Sisko's friends and coworkers? My whole point is that it's not just about Benny himself; his whole context and environment is clearly a remix of Sisko's, to the extent that it would require a vast amount of Prophet intervention to distort so many people's lives for no apparent gain that couldn't be far more easily achieved just by fabricating the whole thing as an illusion.
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    And if we add the books into this (this is the TrekLit forum so that's fair) it becomes even more unlikely. We've had other people having visions of the same time period and people, including Kira, who isn't even human, so unless they all happened to have ancestors (including at least who wasn't even human) in New York at the same time, then it seems pretty clear that it's not real.
     
  12. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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    I think it's safe to say that you and I are coming at this whole thing from different angles.

    You're taking a hard, all or nothing, either it is or it isn't stance. Which I don't have a problem with to be sure.

    But me I'm taking a softer approach. Now honestly I'm not exactly personally advocating for the idea that "Oh yes Benny Russel absolutely was real." I'm more playing devil's advocate.

    But taking as a thought experiment the idea that Benny and Ben Sisko are both real people and they have been given glimpses into each others lives by the Prophets I tend to wonder if both men didn't see things in such a way that their minds took pieces that were kind of sort of like thing, people etc they were used to and just filled in the blanks.

    Sort of the way someone can look at a cloud and see this shape or that shape. For example Benny worked with a head strong and outspoken female writer, she reminded Ben of Kira so to his mind that's who she looked like.

    Basically neither man was quite perceiving the others life with complete fidelity but rather through the lens of their experiences.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Nothing in what I've said above has anything whatsoever to do with what the characters look like. It's their names, their roles, their personalities, their interactions. It's the overall context they form around Benny Russell, which is too hugely coincidental to the context that exists around Ben Sisko to be anything but an allegorical recasting of his life.

    And like I said, I'm just applying Occam's Razor, or the Principle of Elegance -- the notion that the most plausible hypothesis is the one that requires the fewest arbitrary, ad hoc assumptions. Kepler explaining all planetary motion with three simple equations, or Newton explaining it with one, turned out to be truer than Ptolemy's adherents having to slap a thousand epicycles onto their circular model in order to force it to fit the evidence. Sure, you can find a way to make a "Benny was real" premise fit the evidence if you accrete enough epicycles onto it, but the premise that it was complete fantasy is a much easier fit to the evidence.
     
  14. Lorraine Anderson

    Lorraine Anderson Writer Premium Member

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    Back to crossovers -- didn't anybody mention "Stargate: SG1?" I remember when Jack said -- referencing naming their new starship -- that "they didn't go for it." Sam said "for what?"

    Jack said, "they wouldn't let me name it Enterprise."

    (I probably misquoted a bit.)
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Starsky and Hutch meet a (Nunzio type) vampire as well
     
  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Probably the only episode of STARSKY & HUTCH I ever watched! :)
     
  17. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    I absolutely loved that book.
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I recently bumped into THIS Fanlore.org page about Ishmael, including comments from the author (including the story of a phone call from Paramount's legal department!)

    Plus it turns out there were a lot more cameos than I thought! Han Solo arguing with Starbuck and Boomer?
     
  19. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    I would have loved to have seen a crossover involving "Quantum Leap" where Sam leaps into the body of a young female morgue attendant who has her own experiences, of a sort, with time travel.
     
  20. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    I'm just going to have to reread Ishmael now.:bolian:
     

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