Spoilers DSC: Wonderlands by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Markonian, May 18, 2021.

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Rate DSC: Wonderlands

  1. Outstanding

    13 vote(s)
    56.5%
  2. Above Average

    8 vote(s)
    34.8%
  3. Average

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But even the oldest ships were still be more advanced than anything we’ve seen before.
    Sp a king of which, I wonder if Starfleet even got to the other galaxies by then. The Enterprise J being a Universe Class ship gave the implication that they might.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Like I keep saying, it doesn't matter how advanced the ships are if you can't guarantee a steady supply of the things they need to run on. As long as ships need dilithium, then if dilithium has become scarce and potentially dangerous to use, that's going to limit the use of even the most advanced ships. And that is exactly what we do, in fact, see in Discovery.


    You can't always take names literally. Richard Branson's spaceflight company is called Virgin Galactic even though it hasn't yet managed to get out of Earth's atmosphere.
     
  3. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commodore Commodore

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    That’s assuming the class even existed in Discovery’s current timeline and that the writers fully accept Doug Drexler’s vision beyond what was established on ENT.
     
  4. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    True. Discovery season 3 could also be just another possible future as well.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You could say the same about TOS from Enterprise's point of view, or TNG from TOS's point of view. After all, there are supposedly countless "Parallels" branching off all the time. But narratively, the main shows are all treated as the "real" timeline, and that's as true of Discovery as any other series. Any previously depicted future that gets contradicted by the new "real" timeline is the one that gets relegated to "alternate" status, like the "All Good Things..." future, say.
     
  6. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commodore Commodore

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    It’s much less likely that DSC’s is a disposable future, and I have a feeling the producers wouldn’t want to exclude an established Enterprise, but the question is how much of Doug Drexler’s envisioned setting they’re willing to accept. He was not a writer on ENT, after all.
     
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  7. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He did design the 1701-J as part of the Temporal Wars...
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Doug Drexler designed the physical appearance of the ship, but he didn't create the concept or story behind it. It debuted in "Azati Prime," written by Manny Coto from a story by Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, and Coto.
     
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  9. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Enterprise-J's timeline has already been invalidated by the destruction of the Spheres (and their builders).

    So for all we know, future Enterprises will probably not look like it. They CAN, of course, but they don't have to.

    And I find it likely that they won't, anyway. I'm sticking with my theory that the Ent-J is basically an uprated NX-01 (they do look alike, after all, even though the J is much larger). Meaning: In that timeline, the war against the Sphere Builders dragged on for so long that it stunted starship development...so in that timeline, Starfleet never got anything more that a bigger NX-01.

    Of course now that there never will be a war like that, all bets are off. :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  10. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

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    Looking over the fence at the other side of Expanded Universe,
    STO has the Battle of Procyon V still take place, with Captain Dax leading a similar-looking Enterprise-J into battle. The Sphere Builders simply recreated their expanse at some point after NX-01 destroyed the Command Sphere.

    The only visual difference on the Enterprise is that the NCC-1701-J registry is drawn in large letters across the side of the saucer instead of of having NCC-1701 "on the nose".
    Image: https://memory-beta.fandom.com/wiki/USS_Enterprise_(NCC-1701-J)?file=Procyon_5_Enterprises.jpg

    With Discovery established in the 32nd century, we're like the fans at he beginning of TNG: We know the E-A and the E-D, whereas the B and C are mostly mysterious. Now, we know their stories in detail, and can instead wonder about the Enterprises between the Odyssey-class F and Universe-class J, and whatever blew up in the Burn in 3069.

    "Wonderlands" obviously skirted the issue, because Season 3 didn't address the fate of the Enterprise, and might leave it for Season 4 (if tackled at all).
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That was the original idea, though. The Sphere Builders' first attempt (from their perspective) to colonize our universe with their altered space was in the 26th century, and it was repelled by Starfleet. So they went back in time to before the Federation existed and tried again in the 22nd century.

    So since that "second" (chronologically earlier) attempt failed to alter history the way the Sphere Builders wanted, maybe their "first" (chronologically later) invasion in the 26th century is actually in the same timeline, and that could fit with the STO version.
     
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  12. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Voted 'Above average', since even though I thought the plot itself wasn't terribly original, there were two great things about the book: the way Ms. McCormack handled character interactions (nailing it every time!) and the parts about Federation's decline, especially the Tagore logs. (It seems to me the reflections on the cracks in Federation's facade are in a similar vein to those from Picard:LBH, adding some depth to the novel.)

    However, there's one thing I'm not getting. Why are we to believe that being a time-traveller is somehow pangalactically illegal? The whole premise of the setting is that there's no single governing body anymore, only fractions ruling over bits of space. So, illegal by whose jurisdiction? And why would anyone care at all, given the sorry state of the universe? :-)
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It was explained in episode 3x1 that time travel had been outlawed after the Temporal Wars, because the wars had been so devastating. I would assume that all the societies that survived the Wars developed a pretty strong taboo against time travel and mutually agreed to outlaw and destroy all known methods of achieving it. Thus, when the Burn happened decades later, society fragmented, but the various fragments still shared that overarching taboo.
     
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  14. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Thank you for this clarification. Still, I guess I'm just not buying this part of Season 3's premise. It's already been roughly 300 years since the (end of) Temporal Wars; significantly fewer since the Burn. And if there's anything that should've generated a taboo, it's dilithium: one should think oneself crazy to even touch it.

    After the Burn, in my opinion, the sensible reaction to a time traveler would not be 'HEY! A CRIMINAL!', but rather 'Amazing! Can we somehow benefit from this surprising occurrence?'
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No; the Burn was mere decades after Daniels's era, and we know time travel still existed then, obviously. So the ban on time travel must have been imposed not long before the Burn.


    Except it still seems to be the only reliable way to travel FTL, so its use is a matter of necessity, despite the risk.


    Which is the whole reason it was narratively necessary to postulate a taboo against time travel and the destruction of all known methods thereof -- to explain why nobody was able to undo the Burn. (And also to signal to the audience that the change in the series's chronological setting was permanent, although season 2's finale made it quite explicit that it had to be a one-way trip. And yet a lot of viewers still assumed it would be temporary...)

    Presumably the Temporal Wars at their worst (which I assume was the Na'kuhl "hot war" glimpsed in "Storm Front," an event so catastrophic that it led the Temporal Cold War factions to make peace at last) were so existentially threatening that they made the simultaneous explosion of thousands of warp ships galaxywide seem like a mild disaster in comparison. I mean, a temporal holocaust that erases whole civilizations from ever having existed kind of puts a bunch of exploding ships into perspective.
     
  16. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I have different intuitions regarding this last bit. It's not as if such a 'holocaust' lets any agent's subjective experience contain 1) a moment M in which some civilisation existed in the past and 2) a later moment N in the past of which that civilisation did not exist, but in which the agent retains the memory of the moment M and 'its' past. It's just that for the agent at N the civilisation in question did not exist at all. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.) Whereas in the case of the Burn, anyone entering a ship which uses dilithium willingly goes into something which, as is commonly known, may explode for no seeming reason.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In individual cases of alteration, sure. But I'm talking about the big picture. Clearly, people in that future are aware that there were Temporal Wars drastic enough to warrant a galaxy-wide ban on all time travel. It logically follows, then, that even if most individuals didn't remember specific instances of timelines being changed, the time travelers themselves must have been aware of the legion of changes that took place during the Wars (through means like the DTI's phase-shielded archives or Daniels's master timeline map) and taken action to correct them (as we saw in "Storm Front"). So the temporal powers would have known that the alterations occurred, and their respective governments would have gotten together and agreed to ban time travel so nothing like that would happen again.

    Besides, we've seen that there are ways for people to become aware of a temporal conflict without their timeline being changed -- see just about any TCW episode of Enterprise, or "Captain's Holiday" on TNG (which I interpreted in Watching the Clock as a salvo in the TCW). So a sufficiently massive conflict between various temporal powers would be noticeable to others through things like failed and averted attempts to alter history.

    I mean, we know that the 24th-century Federation has a Temporal Prime Directive. They know that time can be altered and they have rules and laws in place to limit the damage. It stands to reason that future civilizations could enact stricter laws in response to the wider spread of temporal technology.


    And anyone entering a ship which uses antimatter willingly goes into something that absolutely, unambiguously will explode if the containment fields fail for a microsecond. And TNG-era Trek established warp core breaches as a ridiculously common occurrence. So I don't see any difference. Warp travel has always been dangerous.

    And forget fictional modes of travel. I once read that more Americans die in traffic accidents every year than died in the entire Vietnam War. By your logic, that would make it insane for anyone to even consider driving a car. But we do it anyway. Not only that, but most people have to be threatened with fines to get them to take sensible safety precautions like wearing seatbelts and obeying speed limits. People have an amazing, often foolhardy capacity to shrug off risks -- look at all the people who refuse to take COVID precautions.
     
  18. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    To me personally, the lack of explanation would make a difference. In the cases you describe there are risks, of course, but they are risks of disastrous effects of known causes. (So you can at least theoretically take steps to lower the probability of these causes occurring.) In the case of the Burn, the causes are unknown (at the beginning of Season 3): even if you had all the power in the world, you wouldn't know what to do to lower the risk of a similar catastrophe reoccurring... this would, for me, make the prospect of using a dilithium-based ship much worse from that of using a car. But that's just me ;-)
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And to some people in the post-Burn world, it evidently does -- note that Adira and Gray came from a slower-than-light generation ship. But anything that comes down to personal preference is obviously going to be reacted to differently by different people.


    On the other hand, it's been more than a century since the Burn without another occurrence. The reaction you're describing was probably very common in the early years after the Burn, but it's been generations since then without another recurrence, so it would have come to be seen as a fairly remote possibility. People's confidence in warp travel would have recovered by then. A rational thinker might well argue that the risk of a second Burn can't be ruled out, but most people aren't rational. They'd dismiss it as paranoia, something that happened to their grandparents but couldn't possibly happen to them.
     
  20. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But now that the cause of the Burn IS known, is there some reason Starfleet wouldn't want to get the word out ASAP? Especially since it will become obvious that there can never be another?
    I mean, logically speaking...since Su'Kal will obviously never return to the dilithium planet...the likelihood of another Burn would pretty much be zero.

    Unless Starfleet is worried that Su'Kal himself will become a target for retaliation?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021