Did The Chase destroy Diane Duanes creativity?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by James T. Vader, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. James T. Vader

    James T. Vader Lieutenant

    Feb 19, 2013
    So all of Duane's aliens, with the ' in their names and the inclusion of Horta's and crystalline spiders, was it all shot to hell when in The Chase it was established that most life in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants are humanoid?
  2. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Mar 24, 2011

    most is not all
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    How? The whole point of the Horta (and, in TNG, the "microbrains") was that beings based on silicon were something rare.

    And Duane's crystalline spider turned into the Traveler when she and her writing partner (and the TNG staff writers) adapted remnants of "The Wounded Sky" for "Where No One Has Gone Before".
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    "The Chase" established nothing of the kind. It merely established that the humanoid races of the galaxy shared a common origin. What the recording said at the climax of the episode was, "Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds, where life was in its infancy." Not all worlds, not most worlds, just "many." So there is absolutely no way in which "The Chase" rules out the existence of nonhumanoids.

    And Duane is hardly the only writer who's created nonhumanoids. Canonical Trek gave us Hortas, Gorn, Medusans, Excalbians, Tholians, Edoans, Lactrans, Vendorians, Vedala, Calamarain, Devidians, Gomtuu, Sheliak, Trill symbionts, Changelings, Xindi Insectoids and Aquatics, etc. And other novelists have created a bunch more. My own nonhumanoid creations include the Choblik, Irriol, Pak'shree, Redheri, Escherites, Pa'haquel, Vomnin, Fethetrit, squales, and assorted others. David R. George III created the aquatic Alonis. David Mack created the Shedai. Geoffrey Thorne created the Orishans. And so on.

    Besides, what does it even mean to "destroy" someone's creativity? That's nonsense. This is all fiction. The creativity behind one work of fiction doesn't cease to exist just because a different, equally imaginary story paints the universe in a different way. Nothing is "destroyed" when one Trek story contradicts another, since none of them are real to begin with. They're just different interpretations of an imaginary premise.
  5. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 6, 2006
    Orange County, CA
    We mustn't forget the Sulamids. ("All . . . Sulamid sexes claim to be male, especially the ones that bear the children").
  6. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2000
    South Pennsyltucky

    "The Chase" is as scientifically stupid as "Genesis" or "Threshold." Evolution doesn't have a predetermined end point like the episode suggests. If the aliens really did seed planets with life, they did a piss-poor job of it because evolution didn't take off on Earth for a few billion years after the seeding. Plus, the message encoded in the DNA would have been just as present in every dog and every tree on Earth.

    And it doesn't even have The Beatles in it. Doctor Who's "The Chase" can at least boast of that. :)

    No, I think it's clear that the revelations in "The Chase" were a scam on Professor Galen's part to foster interstellar comity. That makes more sense than what we actually see in the episode.
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    But that's just what the episode doesn't suggest. On the contrary -- the whole point of "The Chase" is that natural evolution would not have produced humanoid forms on so many different worlds as some kind of inevitable endpoint -- that such forms only came about because a hyper-advanced DNA-based nanotechnology (essentially) had been seeded on those worlds and had been directing the evolutionary process from the inside, artificially guiding it toward a preprogrammed goal that couldn't possibly have come about naturally. The episode acknowledges that humanoid aliens don't make evolutionary sense, and justifies them by establishing humanoid life in the Trek galaxy as an artifact, a result of technological intervention.

    Yes, it's silly compared to reality, but humanoid aliens are something we're stuck with, a necessary evil for a live-action TV series. Acknowledging that they could only have come about through artificial intervention is, to me, a good thing, though naturally one can quibble about the details.

    Multicellular evolution didn't take off until then, but even today, the majority of life on Earth is unicellular. No doubt the First Humanoids understood that they couldn't force the process, that they needed it to develop at its own pace, just with guidance at key points. It took the entire panoply of terrestrial biology to lay the foundations for the emergence of hominids.

    Yes, but there are lots of things in biology -- and probably in computer science and other fields -- where a control process or mechanism is situational, where it's present in all contexts but only expresses itself in specific contexts where it's triggered by environmental or situational cues. Like how every cell in the body contains the entire genome, but some express the genes that turn them into muscle cells while others express the genes that turn them into blood cells, etc.

    Besides, it's not just humans that are duplicated on other worlds. We see similar vegetation on planets all over the galaxy. We see alien variants of horses, dogs, birds, fish, and other Terrestrial animals -- not to mention aliens that are humanoid versions of cats, reptiles, and the like. Clearly it's not just humanoid DNA that the First Humanoids seeded, but the DNA for their entire biosphere, which has been approximately duplicated (or mixed and matched) on worlds throughout the galaxy including Earth. Which only makes sense, of course, since we share the vast majority of our DNA in common with the other life on our planet. It would've been impossible for them to seed humanoid DNA without seeding DNA that would produce other related forms as well.

    Well, I can't argue with that.
  8. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I never thought of using The Chase to explain the presence of other Earth like life forms on other planets, but it does make a lot of sense.
  9. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Aug 19, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Didn't a Manraloth character of yours suggest in The Buried Age that there was an above-average proportion of humanoids in the current era, perhaps owing to the galactic holocaust they triggered leaving preprogrammed biospheres at an advantage over others?
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    May 12, 2004
    Lancaster, PA
    Bottom line: "The Chase" attempted to explain why there were so many humanoid species in the galaxy, but it never established that there were ONLY humanoid species in the galaxy. So the Hortas and such are safe. :)
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Something like that, though I think it was an internal monologue rather than a voiced suggestion.