Was Roddenberry a Terrible Writer?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captain Clark Terrell, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's a good question. :) Maybe the 'transfixed' hostages would have been pawns in some kind of sham prisoner-exchange type setup that sees the Enterprise drop her shields long enough for Sybok or his goons to beam up covertly? ;)

    Regarding the 1701-A, you are correct that she is mostly operational. But if we take the hypothesis about it being a renamed former ship as fact, then perhaps the upgrade/refit process (she looks substantively different internally in STV than she did in STIV) has created incompatabilities within the systems? Whatever case, I'm still not convinced at all that she was "flight ready".

    The exact exchange between Kirk and Bennett is:



    A clear implication from Kirk there that the ship isn't ready. It might be functional, barely. But service-ready? :shifty: To be honest, I still don't buy Bennett's reasoning. If other ships are available, then parachute Kirk into one them if his experience is so essential to this mission.
     
  2. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    I also know that some lines were added in that part to the theatrical version for the network version. I only have the DE on disk, so I can't definitively compare any versions. :(
     
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You must go to the wrong places. ;)
     
  4. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    T'would seem so! I am not sanguine about movie novelizations, but as this was written by Gene Roddenberry, I had to own it! It's great to see I am not alone in my appreciation of this page-turner! If anyone were to own any STAR TREK novel - this is the one to get. I don't believe a hard-cover exists, much to my chagrin. You know, I could be mistaken, but didn't GR talk about Vulcan having more than one sun? I'm not sure what to make of that, other than possibly alluding to STAR WARS and that's if it's even in there ...
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Many star systems are binary or multiple, and many, many works of science fiction featured planets with multiple suns long before Star Wars came along (most famously in Asimov's "Nightfall," about a world with six suns). The problem with assuming that a given trope is a reference to Star Wars is that absolutely everything in Star Wars is itself an homage or pastiche of something from an earlier work. (But then, so is almost everything in Star Trek. Neither Roddenberry nor Lucas was an innovator so much as a distiller and popularizer of pre-existing genre tropes.)

    It was in 1968 that James Blish first proposed 40 Eridani as Vulcan's home system in his adaptation of "Tomorrow is Yesterday." 40 Eridani is a system with three stars. However, I can't find a reference in the TMP novelization to Vulcan having more than one sun. The chapter set on Vulcan makes two references to the "red dawn," but that's as close as it comes to mentioning a sun or suns.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A few thoughts:

    On the subject of other Starfleet ships, since they had no idea if the Enterprise herself could survive an encounter with the Intruder, holding back on lesser ships would have made no sense. They would have sent anything they could to try to make contact with it, or learn anything they could about it. They had no idea if the Epsilon Nine scans are what had triggered the attack after all. It merely complicates the story to have other ships involved.

    As to binary and trinary suns, etc., the distance between stars in such grouping varies radically. Even in the Alpha Centauri system the two primary components are as far apart as the Sun and Uranus, and at such a distance an Earth type planet at Earth type distances from A would receive negligible heat from B. The 3rd star, Proxima is almost a 20th of a light year out from them.
     
  7. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Well, they certainly could have mentioned the loss of other starships as something that happened off-screen in between the Klingon attack and the intruder reaching Epsilon IX. Commander Branch hypothesized that the station's scans were interpreted by V'Ger as an act of hostility, something Kirk remembered when instructing Spock how to approach the intruder when the Enterprise reached it.

    --Sran
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I still don't see how them clocking off stats about other ships failing helps the story at all except to satisfy fans who second guess everything.
     
  9. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    What saved the Enterprise was Spock discovering the communication attempts and replying, and his mental contact that he'd had with with V'Ger since Vulcan clued him in on that. It's really Spock's uniqueness as a Vulcan-Human hybrid that saves the day, and not just that the Enterprise is the only ship in the quadrant, err, I mean interception range. Otherwise, scanning or not scanning, the Enterprise would have been dead energy bits.
     
  10. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    It helps in that it adds a touch of realism that otherwise isn't there.

    Correct. But one wonders if another captain would have listened to Spock had he come aboard a different Federation starship. As Decker pointed out, everyone knew Spock's resume, but Kirk trusted Spock in a way that few others did. Another commander may not have given his ideas or thoughts as much consideration and doomed the mission.

    --Sran
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Star Trek has always checked its realism at the door.

    I never even thought about the Enterprise being the only ship in range until I started coming here twelve years ago.
     
  12. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    The enjoyment of fiction is based on one's suspension of disbelief. Be that as it may, even fictional ideas and concepts must have some basis in reality, or at least be tied to an explanation that fans will like. Otherwise, fans won't accept the story that the writer, director, or producer is trying to tell.

    Star Trek has pushed the boundaries of credibility at times because of concepts like time travel, non-corporeal entities, and aliens with green blood and pointed ears. Fans accept these things because they're well thought out and interesting. The idea that Enterprise is the only ship within range of V'Ger because that's what the plot needs to happen reflects sloppy writing, which is almost always a cause of sloppy thinking or no thought at all.

    --Sran
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There was the Aswan scene in earlier drafts of the scripts, but it contributed nothing (I've read it) and they cut it out. That's not to say they couldn't have come up with a better way to use such a ship, but the fact is feature film narratives tend to be pared down to essentials, so it's unsurprising such a trivial item was discarded.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Completely untrue. As I've remarked many times before, Roddenberry's whole intent behind Star Trek, as documented in his series proposal and bible, was to do the first non-anthology science fiction series that was approached with the same realism and maturity as adult dramas of the day like Gunsmoke and Naked City. But standards of realism have advanced over the decades, so that what looked naturalistic to '60s audiences looks stagey and artificial to modern ones. For its time, TOS was the most realistic science fiction show in the history of television. And Roddenberry aspired to even greater realism in TMP and TNG, consulting with scientists and experts. For the spacewalk scenes in TMP, he brought in astronaut Rusty Schweickart as a consultant, and thus those sequences were among the most realistic spacewalk scenes ever filmed.
     
  15. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm glad I was mistaken, then. Thank you!
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Well, since we'ver only seen a tiny fraction of the original spacewalk it is pretty hard to tell how they turned out in terms of realism. I know the reshoot ones look pretty awful in terms of how Kirk catches Spock, like he is anchored with no spins.
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hard for me to believe they'd more realistic than those in 2001.
     
  18. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's interesting to me how many Official STAR TREK authors there are, who post in these forums. I wonder how they compare themselves to The Great Bird of the Galaxy ... or if they would even be so bold as to do so, openly ... and for the record?! Personally, I think I could write a better screenplay than GR ... and I've never had anything published. Mind you, I don't particularly care for THE TROUBLE with TRIBBLES writer's style, either - I think he sucks. But compared to the Fan Fiction out there, even the worst STAR TREK hack looks like Shakespeare!
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it's apples to oranges. Screenwriting and prose writing are very different disciplines, and not many people can do both. Roddenberry's one novel, the TMP novelization, had a very idiosyncratic prose style that was pretty clearly the work of someone who'd never written prose professionally before, and had some of the habits of a screenwriter (like the heavy use of italics to emphasize significant ideas and actions, the sort of thing scriptwriters do with underlining or bold print to alert the director, actors, and production team to significant stage directions).


    Non-writers always think it would be easy -- until they try it. Heck, when I started writing, I thought my stuff was good, but when I look back on it now, I see how crude and amateurish it was. Writing is like any other skill: it takes a lot of hard work and practice to get to the point where you can do it at the same level as professionals who've also devoted years of hard work and practice to it. If it looks easy, it's only because the people doing it have gotten good enough to make it seem easy.


    One can't generalize. Sure, there's plenty of amateurish fanfic out there -- since, unlike professional writers, amateurs don't need to compete with trained professionals for a finite number of slots, so there's no selection process to weed out the bad stuff. But there's still going to be good stuff in there as well. A lot of professional authors, including several Pocket Trek authors, started out as fanfic authors. That was where they honed their craft, and in some cases they get good enough to draw the attention of professional editors and get invited to write professionally. Noted Xena: Warrior Princess fanfic author Melissa Good wrote such acclaimed fanfic that she was actually hired as a staff writer on the show's last season.
     
  20. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Dare I admit that I wrote MORBIUS and MAN-THING fanfic in junior high, decades before I even knew "fan fiction was a thing? I just wrote them for my own amusement.

    And, no, it wasn't that kind of fanfic. Get your mind out of the gutter! :)