The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by MarsWeeps, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I just finished reading Robert Heinlein's "The Rolling Stones" and was a bit surprised to see "Tribbles" in the story. In "The Rolling Stones" they are called Flat Cats. The physical description is the same, the hypnotic purring is the same, even the massive reproducing is the same along with them threatening the ship's food supply!

    I've read where David Gerrold swears he didn't steal the idea from Heinlein but I have trouble believing that he came up with the same idea that just happened to have been thought of by someone else first. I think he probably read Heinlein's work and the Flat Cat idea stuck in his subconscious mind only to re-appear as tribbles later.
     
  2. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  3. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Fleet Captain Premium Member

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  4. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    That's what I meant. He asserts that the idea must have stuck in his head from his reading of the book, and he subconsciously copied it to some extent. I don't know Mister Gerrold, so I can't say. I read the book long long ago and it has stayed with me, in my conscious mind, ever since.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  5. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Yes, I just read your link where he states that. I think that's what probably happened.
     
  6. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    We are agreed.

    OT: Nice avatar. But I find that every time I look away I forget what it is. Strange...
     
  7. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This one line from the linked article made me laugh: "It is one of the most fondly remembered of his 'juveniles,' perhaps today because of the connection to tribbles"

    And George Washington is famous because I wrote a biography on him. (Actually, I haven't, but you get the point.)
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, though, the Heinlein story probably is better known today because it inspired, consciously or otherwise, one of the most popular Star Trek episodes. Same with Frederic Brown's "Arena."

    I mean, how many people would know of Arthur Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" if it hadn't been the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey?
     
  9. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    I think I read "The Rolling Stones" before I saw "Tribbles," but I can definitely say that, yes, indeed, I read "Arena" after learning that it was (or wasn't really, as Robert Justman pointed out) the inspiration for the Trek episode. I began reading Ellison and Spinrad after hearing of them through their Trek connections as well.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  10. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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  11. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I understand your arguments, but still do not find them applicable to the quote. The relevant portion is "most fondly remembered of his 'juveniles.'" Other people, perhaps like myself, favorite STONES over Heinlein's other juveniles for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with tribbles' likeness to flat cats.

    Granted, many people may have read "The Sentinel" and "Arena" for their association to better known works. Although I would say CHILDHOOD'S END was more of an inspiration to the subject matter of 2001 than "The Sentinel."
     
  12. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    So did Mick and the boys have cryptomnesia when they named their band? :)
     
  13. CaptainDave1701

    CaptainDave1701 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I love posts like this one as we tackled this subject back in the 60's after Tribbles first aired. This was of course waaaay back when our forums were smoke filled college dorm rooms and there was no internet or other such tech....just books. (Such as Heinlein's)
     
  14. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When I read "The Arena" short story by Brown in a science fiction collection I immediately thought it was the basis for the episode. I had no doubt. It was virtually the same story as the second half of Arena. I'm very surprised when its denied. I must have read the story 10 years after seeing the episode but still made the connection.
     
  15. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And I thought "The Doomsday Machine" was based on Saberhagen's original BERSERKER anthology, but Spinrad says he was thinking MOBY DICK.

    Likewise, I thought "Operation: Annihilate!" was based on THE PUPPET MASTERS, and "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky" inspired by ORPHANS OF THE SKY (serialized as "Universe" and "Common Sense")—to say nothing of "Balance of Terror" and THE ENEMY BELOW. Did THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE inspire the (brilliant) variation on the theme in "The Enemy Within"?

    TREK is popular because it doesn't exist in a vacuum—figuratively speaking.
     
  16. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

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    Nah, because, iirc, the book was renamed "Space Family Stone" when published in the U. K.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  17. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Gerrold should thank his lucky stars that "The Rolling Stones" wasn't written by Harlan Ellison. :D
     
  18. CaptMurdock

    CaptMurdock Commodore Commodore

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    I saw "Tribbles" years before I read TRS; it took me a couple of readings before I even saw the similarities between tribbles and flat cats. (Say what you want about the similarities between the creatures - and you'd be right - but the stories are completely different.)

    Gerrold has stated that he intended to do a "rabbits in Australia" story, about how moving animals from one environment to another can have serious repercussions. As for Heinlein, after reading the script for TTWT, he remarked something to effect that they had both lifted ideas from Ellis Parker Butler's story "Pigs Is Pigs" and from the biblical story of Noah.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You mean according to Gerrold, Heinlein said that, which is what he wrote in his book "The Trouble With Tribbles".
     
  20. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    Since when did they deny it? It is pretty much established that Coon was reminded of the connection after he wrote it - and put it in the production pipeline. They went to Brown, gave him some cash, and gave him story credit.

    And apparently, Kellam de Forrest had very little problems with Tribbles, otherwise they would have said something.