The Vulcan Sundering: Books vs TV episodes

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Noddy, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    It was stated in Diane Duane's novel The Romulan Way that the ancestors of the Romulans left ancient Vulcan when Surak was still alive, and apparently did so with his blessing, led by S'task. The Vulcan's Soul books, by Josepha Sherman and Susan Schwartz, followed this account very closely.

    But in the Vulcan trilogy in the fourth season of Enterprise, we actually see Surak dying from radiation poisoning as a result of a nuclear attack by enemies who "march beneath the raptor's wings." The image of a raptor does strongly indicate that these enemies were intended by the writers to be the proto-Romulans....but how can they still be on Vulcan at the time of Surak's death? Is there any way to reconcile this?
     
  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    What we saw in ENT was a 2,000 year old katra memory, and thus perhaps it could be excused as distorted or impressionistic.

    I seem to recall that there was an account from the time of Surak in William Rotsler's Star Trek II Short Stories that was a closer fit to what we saw in canon - at least, it had a war between Vulcans and proto-Romulans on Vulcan.

    It's also worth pointing out that in her TNG novel Intellivore, Diane Duane refers to the Sundering as told in The Romulan Way and Spock's World as one of many legends about the ancient Vulcan/Romulan split - she even gets some of the details about it (intentionally?) wrong, like the number of ships sent.
     
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    In Spock's World, Surak is described as having been murdered by a terrorist cell at a time when Vulcan was already mostly at peace. We could presumably handwave this as the nuclear attack that killed him as established in Enterprise.

    (That said, in the Rihannsu novels Surak's death occurred after the Sundering and the generation ships had departed. Perhaps there were some stay-behinds?)
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's logical (to coin a phrase) to conclude that the exodus did not include absolutely every single Vulcan who shared the philosophies of the Sundered. Some would surely have stayed behind, either unwilling to retreat from their homeworld or wishing to wage a guerrilla campaign to win it back.
     
  5. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    That's pretty much that I thought, that there was a faction of Romulans who stated on Vulcan, while the majority of them left.
    Would make a good novel to explore that history, like a Spock's World kind of novel focusing on the history of the Romulans.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Err, that's what The Romulan Way was, and it came before Spock's World. The Vulcan's Soul trilogy also explores the history of the Sundering, although oddly enough, the first volume contradicts the Diane Duane version with regard to Surak's role in the events leading up to the exodus, while the second adheres to it quite faithfully with regard to the specifics of the interstellar journey.
     
  7. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    Ah. I haven't read the Romulan Way yet, or the Vulcan's Soul trilogy.
     
  8. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    It's worth noting that there was substantial Romulan influence on Vulcan long after the departure. V'Las was a deep-cover Romulan agent (or Vulcan sympathizer) in control of the government in the 22nd century, and I suggested a couple of years ago that one way to make sense of Sela's plot to conquer Vulcan with two thousand troops was to assume that the Romulans would have local support.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    One thing that still puzzles me is Q's offhand reference in VGR's "Death Wish" to "a misunderstanding which ignited the hundred-year war between the Romulans and the Vulcans." What hundred-year war? Where in all of Trek history is there room for such a war? Nobody on screen or in print has ever picked up on this or explained it. Maybe by "Romulans," Q meant the forebears of the Romulans, the faction that departed in the Sundering. Maybe they fought for a hundred years before deciding to leave Vulcan. Not sure that meshes with the books, though.
     
  10. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When you as official tie in author run over a question like this, is it possible for you to contact the scriptwriter to clear it up?
     
  11. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Sorry, I guess I'm missing something here, but aren't there roughly 17 centuries between The Sundering and Enterprise(and even more between The Sundering & TOS as it would have been at the time of Death Wish) - is that all accounted for already?

    Also, I'm not with my books right now, but wasn't there a scene in Spock's World between T'pau & Sarek where they're discussing Sarek going to Earth for the first time, and T'pau tells him not to underestimate them given that they beat the romulans back in x number of years when it took us y number of years - maybe it arose from that?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, but you'd think that if the Vulcans had been at war with the Romulans for a century in that period, then somewhere along the way they would've discovered what Romulans looked like. I can buy the Vulcan government knowing and keeping the secret if there'd been very limited interaction since the Sundering, but not if there'd been a century-long war.

    Besides, the Vulcans only returned to space in the 19th century, some 300 years before Enterprise. And yet their primary enemy from the mid-20th century onward was the Andorians.

    Hmm, now that I think about it, in light of what ENT revealed about Vulcan history, it's conceivable that the High Command could've had a century of on-and-off border conflicts with the Romulans, explaining how T'Pol knew about them. Maybe it was like the UFP-Cardassian War had to be, a series of intermittent brush fires with long periods of inactivity between them. Sometimes war is a declared political relationship rather than open combat; technically North and South Korea have been in a state of war for the past 63 years, although there have only been a few periods of actual fighting in that time.

    I guess Q could've simply been exaggerating to emphasize his case. He's not exactly the most reliable witness.


    I can find no such dialogue in that scene, or indeed anywhere in Spock's World.

    Even if there were, it is generally best to assume that the writers of the TV shows are unfamiliar with the books. Writing for TV is a rather time-consuming activity and leaves little room for recreational reading, and when TV producers do get a chance to take a break from their shows, probably the last thing they'd want to read is more stuff about their shows. So the overwhelming majority of the time, anything onscreen that reflects something from the books or comics is going to be pure and absolute coincidence.

    Along those lines, I've just been re-reading Malibu's DS9 comics, and it's surprising how many things there are in the comics that anticipate developments years later on the show. There's a story with a flashback to the commander of Terok Nor (not Dukat, though) wanting Odo to execute a group of terrorists including Kira, like in "Necessary Evil." There's a story with Sisko taking Jake and Nog on a field trip to the Gamma Quadrant, like in "The Jem'hadar" (only with Keiko instead of Quark). There's a story about a half-Bajoran/half-Cardassian woman, anticipating Tora Ziyal. That sort of thing. It just goes to show how routinely different people writing about the same premise or characters come up with convergent ideas.
     
  13. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Ah, good point. I forgot about Little Green Men(As perhaps did the scriptwriter of Death Wish...).

    Just got home and yeah, you're right. I conflated the talk of how fast earth vessels were with whatever book talked about a war. It's really going to bug me trying to recall which book it's from. No doubt I'll reread it some day in the future & kick myself.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually the reference to when Vulcans returned to space was from an ENT episode. "Little Green Men" has Quark claim the Vulcans still didn't have warp drive as of 1947, but I wouldn't trust him as an authority on Vulcan history, so I go with the ENT figure instead.
     
  15. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    According to Memory Alpha, the specific ENT episode is "The Forge." Christopher, do you remember the specific dialogue off the top of your head? Vulcans not having 2000 years of spacefaring history behind them has long bothered me.
     
  16. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

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    Well the Last Unicorn Games RPG went into it, just take a look at Memory Beta

    During 1270-1370 and this explanation wound not require a working warp drive.

    Based on the hints in Beneath the Raptor's Wing, the war happed during the 20th century.

    So what are you basing your theory on?
    Based on the comparison in The Forge, 100 years for humans and 1000 for Vulcan would optimistically mean that Vulcan had Warp 5 capability by the 15th century.

    I take it back, it was 1500 years for Vulcans, I was using Vulcan years.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I thought there was an earlier reference, but I'm not sure. I don't have the dialogue off the top of my head, but I have the next best thing, which is Chakoteya.net's transcript site bookmarked in my browser (something I strongly recommend for all Trekkies because it's pretty much the quickest way to find specific dialogue from any Trek episode or film -- and Doctor Who as well). The line is, "But it took almost fifteen hundred years for us to rebuild our world and travel to the stars."


    Why? If they'd been continuously spacefaring that long, they should be immensely more advanced than humans, and that has never been reflected in canon. Besides, as we know, the chaos that led to Surak's reforms almost destroyed Vulcan. It makes sense that the world was so devastated that it had to abandon spaceflight and turn inward to rebuild its civilization on a basic level.

    And if a technological civilization lost spaceflight, it stands to reason that it would regress rapidly. Today on Earth, our technological demands are creating a shortage of a number of important substances like helium (used for cooling and manufacturing) and rare earths; in fact, the Earth's helium supply is so critically low that if the US hadn't fixed prices for some reason, it would cost 100 bucks to fill a party balloon. Eventually the only place we'll be able to get new helium and rare earths is from elsewhere in the Solar System. Our technological infrastructure won't be able to survive if we don't establish a steady presence in space. And once our infrastructure reaches the point of depending on space resources, then losing spaceflight again would pretty much lead to a dark age.

    Thus, it's reasonable to conclude that's what happened on Vulcan. And Soval probably gave his own people too little credit in "The Forge," since the Vulcans probably did a lot to help humanity rebuild from WWIII.
     
  18. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do not recall the dialogue, but did it say Vulcan had no spaceflight capacity or merely no FTL? Is there anything canonical that tell us whether the exiles went into interstellar space on sublight generation ships?
     
  19. Noddy

    Noddy Captain

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    According to ENT "Shadows of P'Jem", the ancient Vulcans were capable of interstellar travel several hundred years before Surak's time, but to be honest, I find that kind of difficult to accept. It just seems unlikely that the Vulcans at that time, being heavily divided and constantly at war with one another, would have been able to pull together to accomplish something like that. They might have briefly visited other worlds in their own system, but nothing much beyond that.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, "constantly" is a tricky word when dealing with a whole civilization. In retrospect it may look like the warfare was constant, but realistically there would've been cycles of increase and decrease, periods of relative stability between bursts of chaos, empires or alliances that managed to maintain a relative peace for a century or two at a time before they were torn down, etc. (The building of an empire is quite a bloody process, but once it's established it can keep things peaceful and stable within its borders for centuries. A subject of the Roman or Mongol Empire could walk from one end of the empire to the other without having to worry about being attacked or robbed.) No entire species is going to maintain an exactly constant and unvarying level of warfare every single century for their entire recorded history. So I'd say it's plausible that there could have been periods when conditions were stable enough to allow that kind of progress.