Discovery: Drastic Measures pre-release thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Enterprise1701, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2000
    I tend to believe that Garth - based just on the canonical evidence - was something of a "one-hit wonder." His big claim to fame is the one mission, whereas (we think we know) the names on the list were decorated multiple times over the course of their careers.
     
    Enterprise1701 and Idran like this.
  2. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    In before Christopher nabs it, Garth of Izar may have been famous for the Battle of Axenar but he also apparently explored more worlds than Kirk.

    So as an enormous Trek nerd, I suppose if they were going to redo the list I'd substitute Garth of Izar for Robert April and an alien name for Pike or Decker.

    Keep one but not both.

    Mind you, I'm also of the people who think Garth was a "Human Alien" like a Tandaran.
     
  3. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2000
    ^ Yeah, but that sort of goes back to what I was joking about earlier. "Explore worlds. That's your job, right? Well done." :D
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But different options are weighed against each other based on their relative probability. Logically, one favors the more probable option until there is evidence to the contrary. It's improbable to me that those five are the most decorated captains in Stafleet history, that there's absolutely nobody between Archer and April who was comparable, and that there are no names on the list we don't already recognize. It seems more probable that it's just a partial list. That single, simple assumption that the list had a second page fixes every one of its glaring problems.


    I consider Garth's omission to be an error on the part of the writer or graphic artist who created that list. It would make far more sense for Garth to be there than Pike, at this point in the timeline.

    Also, there's too much of a tendency to assume that Enterprise captains are automatically the best. Both April and Pike are on the list? Not to mention that when Burnham mentioned Constitution-class ships to Tilly, the only one she mentioned was the Enterprise. I just don't think that fits with what TOS portrayed. The idea of the E as some uniquely extraordinary, celebrated vessel didn't exist yet. It was just one of a dozen ships of the most prestigious and powerful class. It's another fannish kneejerk impulse that I wish writers would resist.


    Kirk said Garth's exploits, plural, were required reading at the Academy. He said Garth was a genius, the prototype for the rest of Starfleet's captains, and their greatest warrior. Garth said he'd charted more new worlds than any man in history, and Kirk and Spock didn't challenge the claim. The intent of Lee Erwin's script was that Garth was Starfleet's greatest legend, making his fall all the more tragic.

    I guess the problem is that we've only ever seen him after his fall, and so people don't stop to think about what he was before. It'd be nice to see Garth at his prime, to see the legend before his fall. Well, maybe next season.
     
    SolarisOne, Leto_II and Markonian like this.
  5. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2000
    "Exploits" don't necessarily translate to "decorations." Kirk had exploits every week for three years. I doubt he got a medal for all even most of them.

    (Maybe Sam Cogley should've let the computer read out Kirk's entire file, after all. ;) )

    We also tend to look at this stuff as the ├╝ber nerds we are, with our rather disturbing grasp of minutiae.

    We should keep in mind that the new series has to appeal to more casual fans, and even people sampling Trek for the first time through this show. In that context, having a list of names with a better chance of being recognized by said newer folks is also a subtle way of linking DSC to the other series.

    "Archer? That dude's the captain on this other Star Trek show that I can *also* watch on CBS All Access! Go me!"

    :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I'm not interested in rationalizing what we got. If I were getting paid to write a book about this, I'd come up with an explanation, but as I'm just a viewer at this point, I'm exercising my right to criticize. If the creators of the list had put more thought and logic into the worldbuilding rather than just going for fanservice, they would've put Garth on it in the first place and it wouldn't be necessary to complain about his omission.


    I submit that Robert April is a far more obscure name to the casual viewer than Garth of Izar. A lot more people have seen "Whom Gods Destroy" than "The Counter-Clock Incident."
     
  7. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Location:
    Mississauga
    So they fall into 4 categories - familiar to most Trek fans (Archer, Pike, Decker), TAS canonization project/familiar to diehards (April) and recently deceased significant character to the new show (Georgiou).
     
    Markonian likes this.
  8. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    I find it highly improbable that there were no highly decorated captains between Archer and April, and that it would be a list of people we would instantly recognize. HIGHLY improbable.

    But I also find it highly improbable that Starfleet UI designers would create an information display system that doesn't make it clear that they are showing you all gathered information versus a truncated list. In fact, now that I think about it, I find this more improbable. I know Starfleet likes to have everything be voice controlled, but why would you design a system that forces the user to have to ask, 'Computer, are these ALL the listed names? Or are there like...6-600 names after this?' rather than a simple symbol at the end that denotes a continuing list?

    That's unfortunately enough for me to believe that.. I guess in the history of Starfleet, the top 5 are all people we recognize, which is insanely coincidental. It's also super, super lame.

    Although, I do like Christopher's idea that the names were scrolling past after the camera cuts back to Saru. But only halfway because that isn't easily implied by what we do see on screen in my opinion, so it feels a bit like reaching. I'd have to force myself to believe that, just because I want it to be true.
     
  9. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 22, 2000
    Pardon the fuck out of me. We've been rationalizing for pages now. I didn't realize we'd hit some kind of limit for wandering off topic.
     
    iarann, ClayinCA, Dimesdan and 9 others like this.
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yeah, but that's a tiny detail. This is fiction. If something we're shown onscreen has teensy little details that don't quite make sense, we're allowed to ignore them in favor of something that makes more sense. We don't have to pretend that Saavik got major cosmetic surgery after Spock's funeral, we can just pretend she looked the same throughout. We don't have to pretend that half the planets the Enterprise visited had the exact same continent shapes, we can just treat what we saw as a rough approximation. And so forth. Compared to those, it's relatively easy to pretend the list had a scroll bar we didn't notice.
     
  11. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    If they had listed the first name in the middle of the screen, then added another name, pushing the first name upwards, and doing so with each following name, it would imply that the list continues. I can pretend that's what was going on.
     
  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Eh, I don't have a problem with the fact Enterprise is just a uniquely cursed/blessed ship.

    At the risk of being like one of those interest thread where we discuss nerdish trivia about science fiction shows (and surely we're above THAT!), I should point out that kind of works only from a meta standpoint. It could well simply be that we the audience are seeing the only adventures of Starfleet Captains worth knowing in this universe. At least to the point of doing weekly adventure serials. Captain Dave Johnson might encounter an intelligent Mugatto but it's possible that's the only time something uniquely weird happens in his career.

    Also, there is the big point that between the Romulan War and the Klingon-Federation War, there does not seem to have been that many large conflicts or great expansions of Federation territory.

    Is it probable your idea is correct?

    Yes, but it's not completely improbable either that there's circumstances which would propel these individuals to the top.

    I agree. Certainly, April would have more time to achieve incredible historic achievements unless Pike is out there smashing Klingons like whack a moles and winning victory after victory.

    I dunno, there's a recurring loop here which forms a Klein Bottle that I should point out.

    1. The Enterprise being enormously famous under April and Pike before it becomes the property of James T. Kirk doesn't really suspend that much disbelief. They were designed as the best of the best with Decker apparently making his own legend at this time. April's career was also presumably made from previous vessels.

    2. Burnham is probably mentioning the Enterprise because her brother is serving on it.

    3. Again, it's a large universe but it's not that hard to imagine we're seeing the most interesting elements of it. Deep Space Nine has religious, political, and military adventures going on but Deep Space Eight may just be a gas station.

    This is very true, though I should point out Captain James T. Kirk was a military historian and it's entirely possible he just had a fascination with a particular military commander. We also know the people who taught him about military history were a bit strange given one of them went off to create Nazi planet.

    I mean Kirk's apartment could very well have been Captain Lorca's.

    [​IMG]

    Is he Starfleet's greatest legend? Probable. It's also possible he's Kirk's personal hero and role-model which is notable. Due to the changing nature of the timeline, it's hard to imagine anyone until Kirk himself rivaling the achievements of Archer for example.

    From worlds discovered to political success.

    I'm not a canon purist but I just note I don't have any objection to these all being the best in all of Starfleet's history either. I admit, I may well be projecting the assumption the TOS era which is still around this time period is a unique one in the Federation's history of expasnion and strange encounters while it's more "settled" in the TNG era.

    That sort of environment would lend itself to heroism and awards.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  13. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2017
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    I can dig that. Honestly, I just think its the least believable that there is a second page given how that scene was played out and that it requires some pretending than the outright, if not overly convenient, situation where all the names were listed.
     
    Charles Phipps likes this.
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But isn't it more interesting if there's a larger universe with other adventures going on that we aren't seeing? Doesn't it feel more like a real universe with breadth and substance, rather than just a TV show where nothing exists when the camera isn't on it?


    Except we know for a fact that we aren't. Kirk idolized Garth, called him the greatest captain of his generation. And he called Ron Tracey one of the most experienced captains in the fleet. Decker and Wesley were both commodores, which means they were probably even more experienced and accomplished. TOS was not made by people who'd grown up as fans of TOS, so it didn't fall into the fannish trap of hero-worshipping Kirk and the crew. It was repeatedly acknowledged that there were other starship commanders with more experience and accomplishment, commanders that Kirk himself looked up to and was subordinate to. Fandom forgets that when it treats the Enterprise as the end-all and be-all of 23rd-century Starfleet.

    Besides, does it really make any sense to assume that Starfleet invests resources in a dozen Constitution-class ships, but only one ever accomplishes anything while the rest just wander around doing unimportant stuff and eventually getting destroyed? What kind of incompetent organization would Starfleet have to be to allow such a state of affairs? If all the most capable officers are on one ship, Starfleet would reassign them and spread them out among the whole fleet, because that would be a lot more productive. The scenario that 91.67% of the Connie fleet is surplus to requirements is just absurdly implausible.


    And I still object emphatically to the notion that war is somehow the only thing worth honoring.


    I've never understood the logic of favoring a less likely possibility over a more likely one. If you come home and see a bunch of stuff knocked off a shelf and your cat is acting nervous, do you immediately assume you must have a poltergeist, or do you just accept the far more likely scenario that your cat knocked the stuff off?


    It's not impossible, but it's insular thinking. Honestly, I don't like the idea that the Enterprise was ever this uniquely valued and celebrated ship, before or after Kirk. As I've said, it just feels fannish, limiting the world the characters inhabit within the confines of what we get to see and assuming the characters in-universe have the same experience of their world as the TV audience. And I think it goes against what Roddenberry intended for Star Trek. He never wanted the characters to be larger-than-life superheroes, he wanted them to be believable, relatable people doing a job that happened to be in space. Yes, they were among the best of the best, they served on a top-of-the-line capital ship, but it was just one ship of the most prestigious class. So it stands to reason that the other Connie crews were just as exceptional.


    I thought of that as a way of rationalizing it, but I don't think that was the writers' intent. I think they're just relying too much on fanservice and familiar references, and that's a bad habit creatively.

    I just think, as a writer, that it's more interesting to subvert expectations than to pander to them. When audiences hear "Constitution-class ship," they expect to hear "the Enterprise." It might've been more fun if Burnham had said "like the Lexington" or "like the Endeavour." Just like it would've been more fun to see some unfamiliar names on that list. Then all of us would be engaging our imaginations, wondering, "Ooh, what did the Endeavour do that was so notable?" or "Who was Captain zh'Rellis and what great deeds did she accomplish?"
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Much of the argument below, though, takes from the view the Enterprise is just one more ship in the fleet which is not something that I think is reflected in the canon as we've seen it. Kirk may start with Decker and Garth much more decorated but he ends up Starfleet's Chief of Operations and arguably the most famous Starfleet captain who ever lived since everyone from Sisko to O'Brian remember him with a reverential awe. Indeed, only Picard who is the Captain of the Flagship, shows anything resembling irritation or treatment as a peer--and he's pissed off at Kirk's willingness to entertain the Nexus' lotus eating qualities.

    Speaking as a writer and fellow lifelong Trekkie, I agree it is reductivist to the universe to make it so Star Trek is showing us ALL the good parts and that there aren't any crazy adventures otherwise but I also think it lines up with what we've been shown on screen. Janeways' adventures were notable enough she was elevated to an Admiral almost instantly, Archer is apparently the most famous starship Captain of all time, and Sisko is key to winning the Dominion War so we don't even need to talk about how famous he'll be.

    I suppose it's from the view we need a baseline of "non-awesome adventuring Starfleet" for our heroes to stand out against. The shows point to a somewhat less wild and wonderful universe than our heroes experience with Kirk notably starting out such but gradually becoming beyond famous and even during the series he's mentioned as having won a boatload of awards ("Court Martial") and Garth of Izar, a man in a MENTAL institution, is aware enough of his adventures that he considers him starfleet's second best strategist (which also points to his fall from grace being a recent affair).

    Obviously since this is Trek Lit, I want there to be many other adventures of everyone else out there and consider the Litverse "my" canon. Still, I think the showverse should be considered by virtue of how much they accomplish and we see as the "best of the best." It kind of removes the world from any sense of normalcy or reality if all starships are facing things like the Doomsday Machine or the Great Bird of the Galaxy.

    There's also the fact that assuming there IS a second page is actually less likely than the computer just listing the five most decorated Starfleet operatives and stopping. It might be BAD WRITING from a believability standpoint but it seems to be assumed to be something they want to be true in-universe. You don't go to (from the average audience member who would have been an adolescent or child when TAS was out) obscure lore like April unless you're making a point.

    As for Michael Burnham mentioning the Enterprise, only being fanservice, that's equating OOU knowledge with the character who was created to have a connection to an iconic member of the Enterprise crew. Yes, it's why it would be most familiar to the audience but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.

    I think the biggest issue is while "the shows are the most important people in the universe the expanded universe is based on" does make a smaller universe, it also rewards long time Trekkies--the original crazy anal retentive fandom--for being able to say, "I know who Robert April, Decker, and Pike are!"

    Anyway, good discussion and I think we've analyzed it from about all angles. Thank you for taking time to respond Christopher.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
    iarann likes this.
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yeah, but there's plenty of middle ground between "not noteworthy at all" and "the only noteworthy ship in all of Starfleet." The truth is almost always between the extremes. It could be one of the most accomplished vessels, but I just don't buy that it's the only ship having any adventures at all. I mean, if Kirk's ship had something like 100 adventures in 4 years, doesn't it stand to reason that the Lexington and the Excalibur and the Hood and such had at least one or two dozen really interesting or important experiences within that same span? Statistically speaking, isn't that about a zillion times more likely that the Enterprise getting 100% of the interesting experiences?


    Yeah, but there are a lot of other admirals. So if Kirk and Janeway got to be admirals as a result of their great achievements, doesn't it stand to reason that at least some of those many, many other admirals did so as well?


    Honestly, we're probably analyzing it more than they did. It was just like a 2-second Easter egg in a scene about something else.


    No, because I'm not talking about the character there, I'm talking about the choices of the writers. Yes, of course, in universe, it makes sense that Burnham mentioned the Enterprise because of Spock. But that's a separate issue from the writers' reasons for choosing that name and whether it would've been better for them to make a different choice. And their choice there is just one piece of the larger pattern that also includes having all the names on the list be familiar and filling Lorca's menagerie with stuff from TOS episodes. By this point we've gotten enough Easter eggs to fill the White House lawn. Give it a rest already.

    Writers should not think like fans. They can be fans all they want in their personal lives, but when they have the responsibility of actually writing, fannish indulgences tend to get in the way. Like they say, writers need to kill their darlings. You can't put sentiment above the good of the story.


    That can be fun up to a point, but it shouldn't be the only thing you rely on. And I'd rather see new Trek expand the universe than just rehash stuff we already know.
     
    Charles Phipps likes this.
  17. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Location:
    Sol III, Sector 001, 2017 C.E.
    Like that's ever stopped anyone.
     
  18. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    hitching a ride to Erebor
    You all lost me quite some time ago - is any of this relevant to Drastic Measures?

    If not, shimmy back to talking about the book please :)

    We do have a Discovery and the Novelverse thread for general Discovery discussions.
     
    iarann and Dimesdan like this.
  19. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    the grimdark bluniverse
    I don't know, I'm kinda high on the idea of a 9 year old Pike taking command of the USS Enterprise.
     
    Idran, Avro Arrow and David cgc like this.
  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    "I'm half-Ocampa."