Spoilers Chabon's Notes on the Romulans

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by Tuskin38, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    On the other hand, these notes do shed some more light on why Narek felt so beholden to Narissa. And they're consistent with the in-character excuses he gave to Soji to keep her at an emotional distance before he broke cover.

    I think something to bear in mind is that any attempt to convey an entire culture's foundation in a short set of notes is necessarily going to give the impression that the traits it concentrates on dominate a culture more than they actually do. If someone tried to describe American or British culture in a similar format, the attempt to describe what was distinctive about those cultures would probably give an exaggerated picture of those cultures just because any such attempt at short description is going to lack larger contexts and is going to focus on what is distinctive rather than what is not distinctive.

    If I were Alex Kurtzman, I wouldn't reject Chabon's notes here, but if I drew upon them I would probably structure the episode to reveal that these concepts exist within a broader cultural context that complicates things. And I suspect Chabon probably would, too.
     
    SolarisOne, PT109 and DEWLine like this.
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    I didn't like everything I read in the notes, but I liked how much thought Chabon put into developing the Romulans. I wish we had seen more of that onscreen, though I really wish ST: Picard had combined Chabon's take on the Romulans with Diane Duane's.
     
    SolarisOne, Rey and Ronald Held like this.
  3. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    It also goes to the cleche "Mono Culture" of alien species. We on Earth are diverse and do a ton of different things. Most aliens are described like Chabon did, all the people do exactly this, with a small minority doing something differently. No multiple gods, multiple religions, differing areas, just all bowl hair cuts and secrecy.

    For me, Romulan Society is more of an East German/russian/communist Totalitarian's society, with a secret police, people generally afraid of there government, afraid to speak out.

    I don't particularly like Chabons take, well on much honestly, Freehold, Romulans.. just kind of.. crap.
     
  4. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    Annoyed by inappropriate use of the word "Need"
    It does feel like monoculture but I can at least see variation that could be expanded upon. But, sadly, we didn't see more Romulans :(
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    By the 23d century, isn't Earth effectively a monoculture?
     
  6. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    Annoyed by inappropriate use of the word "Need"
    We don't see enough to really know. Dr. Servin was an outlier group, but Spock remarks that others are dissatisfied with the more organized design of the habitats. So, might be monoculture, but then we don't have enough information to really determine.
     
    Rhodan and Ronald Held like this.
  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    On the other hand, all Romulans are descended from the relatively small number of people who settled on Romulus less than 2,000 years ago, after what was likely at least two or three hundred years spent in space traversing the distance from Vulcan. The idea that the Romulans might be much more monolithic as a culture after that kind of cultural and genetic bottleneck has a bit more plausibility than with other ST species.
     
  8. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Well you still have whatever religions that existed prior to the departure. Then others would have developed during the flight and when they landed.
    Even a bottleneck, let's take our history a thousand years ago it was less than a billion people today they're almost eight and over a thousand years they can break off in to geographical deastinct populations with different values and religions.
     
    Rey likes this.
  9. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    Annoyed by inappropriate use of the word "Need"
    Yes. Northern and Southern.
     
    Nerys Myk likes this.
  10. ThreeEdgedSword

    ThreeEdgedSword Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2020
    Location:
    Sheer Fucking Hubris
    In a marriage which has to consist of 3 people, I wonder what happens if one wants out. The 'Romulan divorce': Kill your spouses!

    That would make some nice dark comedy...
     
    Rhodan and Ar-Pharazon like this.
  11. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Location:
    stuck between a rock and a kiss-ass place
    As intriguing as Chabon's notes are, I much prefer Diane Duane's Rihannsu. Ael t'Rllaillieu would be unrecognizable if Chabon was writing her.
     
    ATimson, Rey and Ronald Held like this.
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    I agree there will almost certainly be regional cultures that have developed since Romulusfall. But I think it would also be a defensible creative decision if those regional cultures were far fewer in number than we see in real life as a result of that historical bottleneck.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    ...Essentially, Romulus is the reborn Israel anyway. The very point is that what we have is a regional culture to begin with, and one that will go to great lengths to preserve its integrity and fight off any "natural" development.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    She's unrecognizable with the Romulans written post TOS.
     
  15. IRW Bloodwing

    IRW Bloodwing Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2021
    This would make sense. IRL the Japanese culture has had to adapt to living in crowded conditions in similar ways. For example, there are two words for "truth" in Japanese: tatamae or "public truth" and honne, or "private truth", the dichotomy between the two forms the concept colloquially known as "face", as in "saving face".
     
    Rhodan, Sci and DEWLine like this.
  16. IRW Bloodwing

    IRW Bloodwing Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2021
    This.
    As a side-note, can you imagine how hard it would be to be a postman in Chabon's Romulan culture? On the other hand, VPN providers would make out like bandits.
     
    SolarisOne likes this.
  17. IRW Bloodwing

    IRW Bloodwing Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2021
    This.
    As a side-note, can you imagine how hard it would be to be a postman in Chabon's Romulan culture? On the other hand, VPN providers would make out like bandits.

    Which is something Duane covers in her books. We see the post-TOS Romulan mindset come to ascendancy within the Empire.
     
  18. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    Actually the Qowat Milat and especially Zani strike me as having been created because the writers were thinking about Ael and a few facets of romulan culture in the Rihannsu books.

    There are quite a few similarities.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
    Sci and DEWLine like this.
  19. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I read in an interview last year that alot of the Romulan things we saw about the Romulans in season one were influenced by Diane Duane Like the secret Romulan names and alot of the other things like we saw about Tal shiar spies seemed to be taken from her novels.
     
  20. Unimatrix Q

    Unimatrix Q Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    Yeah and the honor blades might also have been a direct influence from the novels.
     
    Sci likes this.