Spoilers Discovery and the Novelverse - TV show discussion thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by King Daniel Beyond, May 18, 2017.

  1. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    That may be true, I'll even grant you that's likely the case (though are we sure there isn't something in the universe isn't actually more dangerous that antimatter--after all you yourself pointed out the spore drive is a danger to the entire multiverse). The point I was trying to make is maybe there are a number of factors why protomatter isn't used. It's dangerous, ok, maybe not as dangerous as antimatter, but it still can be incredible dangerous nonetheless. But there may very well be more than that. It was strongly implied in TSFS that Genesis failed because David used it, and he even said using protomatter was the only way to get past certain problems with Genesis. So maybe it's dangerous, unstable, probably expensive, hard to get, and finally maybe just not worth it, even to criminals.

    My point was that there are a number of things said, and some implied in TSFS that Genesis was a dead end technology. And actually, in a way, unlike some of the here today, gone tomorrow technologies we've seen in Trek, they actually did provide a couple clues why Genesis was abandoned.

    And they are doing that with the spore drive. But what confuses me is they created an incredible technology, provided a reason why it will probably be abandoned but yet the continue to use it. Now if I had to make a guess, eventually that's going to come to a head. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there is some future episode where that comes to roost, where the Discovery is going to face the possibility of reality coming apart and them having to fix it and then eliminate the spore drive for all time. I actually hope something like that happens, because that would be a way to show the audience that it's dead and gone, and can never ever come back--that it can't be made safe ever.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    That's changing the subject. I'm talking specifically about protomatter, and about the sci-fi trope of materials that are somehow more dangerous or more explosive than antimatter. That just shows ignorance of what antimatter is and how physics works.

    As long as we're talking about physical plausibility, I also hate the fictional trope of something that can destroy the universe. Statistically speaking, if it were possible for anything to destroy the universe, it would've already happened. So that's an idea that's got no plausibility to it. But my point on that subject (and I understand it can be confusing to be carrying on conversations about two different subject simultaneously) is that it's not a Trek continuity issue, because it helps explain why the drive is abandoned by TOS and the later series. That's a conversation about fictional continuity. That's one thing. The point I'm raising about protomatter is a different conversation about scientific plausibility.


    Okay... On reflection, what Saavik actually said was that protomatter was denounced by ethical scientists because it was "dangerously unpredictable." Antimatter may be highly dangerous, but it's also very predictable and well-understood. Its danger is consistent, so you can consistently prepare for it and safeguard against it. If protomatter is unpredictable in some way, I can see how that would make it harder to manage and use safely.

    Still... that doesn't make it any less a nonsense word. The movie didn't even try to explain or justify it -- it just put a couple of word particles together and invoked it as plot magic. And that always annoys me.


    Again: All that matters from a narrative/continuity standpoint is that its use is abandoned before TOS. We're still something like 8 years away from that. So there's no immediate rush.
     
  3. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Well, in fairness to TSFS, no one in the movie said protomatter is more dangerous than anti-matter. I was just speculating that maybe it was, but that wasn't based on anything in the film. In reality it's probably multiple reasons. And I was just trying to make an argument that TSFS does give us some clues at least why Genesis was never seen again in canon. That makes it a bit different than other never seen again tech in Star Trek. After TSFS you can make some reasonable guesses why it disappeared at least.

    Well, I can't argue with you there. I guess that's where the 'fiction' in science fiction comes into play. I'm sure it's to create dramatic suspense... "Oooh, this might destroy everything". I'd almost say it could be a maguffin since I'm such a huge Hitchcock fan, though I don't think that's probably accurate--as in Hitchcock films the maguffin was just a plot point that everyone in the story was working toward, but it actually wasn't integral to the story Hitchcock wanted to tell beyond that. Whereas for instance in Discovery the spore drive is a key part of the story, not just a plot point. But I'm sure in some Star Trek stories, tropes like that are basically a maguffin.

    I'm a bit more forgiving. They probably just wanted to make it sound like real science, but fictional at the same time. And I guess they didn't want to get too deep into the mechanics. They just wanted us to know protomatter was dangerous to use and unpredictable. So I guess protomatter was the maguffin here. We just know it's 'dangerously unpredictable' and probably the reason Genesis failed, but they didn't want us to think too much about it beyond that. I can live with that in this particular case, though others may of course differ.

    I'll concede the spore drive in continuity for now, but I can't help but think if it's a risk to the entire universe now, why would they continue to use it? That's what I'm really having a hard time with. Hopefully when I see season 2 I see a damn good reason why risking the universe is worth the, er, risk.
     
  4. GaryH

    GaryH Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    I would much rather have a show with Pike and Amanda etc than a consistent travel technology, even if it annoys the hell out of me.
    I want Picard era shows too, but I love the characters in Disco.
     
  5. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Surely Godwin was mistaken. The true rule is:

    "As an online discussion about Discovery grows longer, the probability of it becoming a tedious rehashing of disputes over continuity elements (better discussed elsewhere), without new insights, approaches one."
     
    ATimson, donners22, Greg Cox and 3 others like this.
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    It's not about what was said in the film, it's about using our own knowledge and judgment to evaluate the implications of what was said in the film, to reason beyond the text. What they said in the film was that the substance was so dangerous that its use had been denounced. Therefore, implicitly, it must be more dangerous than anything the Federation uses routinely, right? But antimatter (which is a real thing, not make-believe, so we know its properties) is the most destructive substance in the universe and they handle it routinely. Therefore, it's implausible that there's anything they're unable to handle or use safely.

    To put it another way, if they completely banned the use of dangerous substances, then they should ban antimatter too. It's incredibly dangerous -- especially as portrayed in later TNG-era shows where writers overused the hell out of the "warp core breach" trope and showed that antimatter reactors would blow up if you even looked at them funny.



    Fiction, science or otherwise, is not an excuse for unnecessary excess or bad judgment. On the contrary, fiction is a craft, and that means the skill with which it's plied matters greatly. There are plenty of ways to create effective dramatic stakes without going overboard with a threat to everything, everywhere. Heck, Star Trek almost never went to that well in canon before -- basically "The Alternative Factor" was the only time in TOS that the existence of the whole universe was threatened, and DS9: "Playing God" presented it as a potential long-term hazard if they didn't solve the problem, but pretty much everything else got by with smaller-scale threats -- to individuals, to the ship, to a single planet, to the Federation, to the current version of the timeline. It was possible to threaten the loss of everything the characters knew and cared about and still have no effect on the very existence of the universe, because the overwhelming majority of the universe is unknown to the heroes and the audience and therefore threatening it is dramatically pointless. It serves no purpose except hyperbole.



    "Protomatter" doesn't sound like real science. It sounds like something a complete science illiterate would think sounded like science. It's the equivalent of trying to invent a fictitious French place name and calling it "Parisbourg." It's lazy and meaningless. And it was a half-assed way to wash their hands of the ramifications of Genesis -- "Oh, it won't work anyway because mumblemumble, galactic crisis averted, nothing to see here."
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Yes, but I thought we established that what Saavik said was it was 'dangerously unpredictable'. I was arguing that maybe it doesn't mean it's more destructive than anti-matter. Just that because of it's unpredictability makes it dangerous to use. You noted yourself that they found safe ways to handle anti-matter and it's predictable. And I also added maybe part of it's being banned was because it's a failed technology. I got the sense that Genesis failed because of it. So I was just arguing that it was still a dangerous substance (even if less so than antimatter) and it couldn't be handled safely.

    And I wanted to point out that no one in the movie ever compared it to anti-matter. And no one even said it's the most dangerous compound known to the Federation, just that it was 'dangerously unpredictable'.

    Ok, I'm not saying you're wrong. But I'm someone that also likes horror films, including slasher films. And many times they are not known as being the most, um, intelligent. I mean no one watches Friday the 13th for intelligent story telling. Now I like intelligent movies too. I love Paul Thomas Anderson movies for instance. I'm the only person I know that loved Inherent Vice, a movie that if your attention drifts for just a moment or two you'll have no idea what's going on. Or Stanley Kubrick films, or of course the master Alfred Hitchcock. But sometimes I like a plain, simple horror film. What can I say. So I guess that makes me a bit more forgiving when Star Trek uses the occasional nonsense term and just let's it go.

    Yeah, and I can't disagree with you there. Now in defense of spore drive (did I just say that :ack:) it's a technology that does transcend realities so it's pretty complicated. So maybe by damaging subspace, or whatever domain underlies the technology, it may cause the fabric of the universe to break down. But yeah, I actually think it's more dramatic if the area threatened is more limited. When it threatens everything everywhere, that's a bit harder for the mind to grasp.
     
  8. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    hitching a ride to Erebor
    This is a thread to allow the Trek Lit forum-folk to discuss the TV Show and how it affects existing novels without cluttering up the rest of the forum - the spoilers in here are TV Show spoilers.

    The Discovery novels themselves have their own threads, and the spoilers in those threads will be for the novels.

    (I know Christopher responded at the time, but I'm still catching up on the forum and this is a worthwhile point to clarify)
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    And I never said they did. I was critiquing what the film itself claimed in terms of the larger context of the rest of the Trek universe. The comparison was mine, not the film's. If the larger universe has established one thing, and then a story comes along that asserts something hard to reconcile with that previously established rule, then you're allowed to discuss that contradiction whether or not it's explicitly mentioned in the story. Indeed, the fact that it isn't addressed in the story is exactly the problem.

    And that has always been what's annoyed me about the "protomatter" thing -- the fact that it wasn't explained or discussed, that it was just a meaningless bit of gibberish tossed in as a substitute for an explanation, and used as a lazy, throwaway excuse to scuttle an interesting storyline about the impact of the Genesis technology on interstellar society and politics. It was just too superficial.
     
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    I'm going to mention Hitler now because reasons. ;)
     
    ATimson and Stevil2001 like this.
  11. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Ok. Until you and Greg brought it up I never actually gave the whole protomatter thing much thought. I was just trying to explain some reasons why it's used was banned (or at least strongly discouraged). And differentiate Genesis a bit from other forgotten tech in Star Trek lore, that in TSFS they actually gave a few clues why Genesis was never redeveloped. It differentiates Genesis a bit from say the levitating boots from TFF which disappeared without a trace.

    And I just see it a bit different than you is all. I'm not seeing a necessary contradiction in the same way you are. Could it have been explained better what protomatter was all about? Sure, but I just don't think it was important to the story other than David used something he wasn't supposed to, and that apparently led to the failure to Genesis. And I was just outlining in my previous comments why protomatter 'could' be dangerous or incredibly risky to use.
     
  12. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States

    I, er, wonder if Blooded was complaining because some people kind of went off on a tangent. I sort of took his comment more as satire, that we weren't, um, talking about Discovery's impact on the novelverse.

    I mean, I always stay on topic so I'm sure he wasn't talking about me, but you know :whistle::whistle::whistle:
     
  13. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    hitching a ride to Erebor
    :lol:

    I figure if you put a bunch of fans who like talking together to discuss the TV show, the discussion is going to range far and wide. As far as I'm concerned that's all fine. So long as new comments don't get drowned out.
     
    Jarvisimo and Damian like this.
  14. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2004
    Just saw the latest episode.

    Ummm, so, about Control...

    Oh, and Tilly dropped a tidbit of continuity with Una’s book. That was cool, too.
     
  15. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    California
    ^I thought of that as "they came dangerously close to referencing the Tilly book."

    So, looks like I called that. Control being a publicly-known resource that everyone uses, and apparently using time-travel to ensure its own apotheosis so it can ultimately remove all organic life from the galaxy is a teeny bit different from the emergent consciousness sprouted from Uraei and distributed across every mainframe and tricorder in the Federation, especially since book-Control was, at least in its own reckoning, zeroth-law compliant, and would doubtless frown upon something destroying humanity. Oh, that'd be fun. Maybe the Red Angel is being sent by book-Control to stop DSC-Control, like the two versions of the Didact in Halo. (That is not a serious suggestion. If they're shy about having Tilly actually say the words "ran away from home," they aren't going to do something as wacky and confusing as having two malevolent secret society-running computer programs called "Control.")

    I have to say, though, since I've been very negative about Discovery's developments in season two so far, I thought this episode was excellent, and it really, really reassures me about the future that the best of episode of the season, if not of the series, was the first one written by Michelle Paradise, the incoming showrunner.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  16. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    There is surely no way that Mack's book didn't influence this season?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    The producers may have heard about the idea of Control from the book and decided they wanted to do their own version. "Influence" implies that the book narrative is leading the process, but it sounds like it's more a case of the show writers taking the seed of the idea and running in their own direction with it.

    As for the discrepancies in the portrayal of Control, what's going on in the show could perhaps be handwaved as another instance of Uraei setting up a scapegoat version of itself to be brought down in order to protect itself from discovery. (Or from Discovery, in this case.)
     
  18. Yistaan

    Yistaan Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2018
    When all is said and done, it seems "Early Voyages" comic, Desperate Hours novel, and the upcoming Enterprise War novel by John Jackson Miller probably makes a decent non-canon Pike series. I'm not sure any of them contradict Discovery in a hard way. Even in Desperate Hours, Pike never said he never met Georgiou before at the Academy, and Burnham and Spock on the show don't outright say they never recently worked together.

    The novel is also the only explanation why we have 2 different Starfleet uniforms (the Discovery ones used as far back as 2239's "Brightest Star" and the Cage 2254 ones).
     
  19. GaryH

    GaryH Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    There is also Greg Cox’s Child Of Two Worlds set in the Pike era from a few years ago. I really enjoyed that one.
     
  20. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I think it's pretty clear form the way they've been acting around each other that they haven't seen each other since they had there falling out.
     
    The Wormhole and Enterprise1701 like this.