Spoilers ENT: Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code by Christopher L. Bennett Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Mar 20, 2016.

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  1. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Because the average 21st century American child/teenager is not listening to music from the 1700's/1800's whilst joy riding or driving. Yeah lets take dad's car and listen to Mozart/Beethoven
     
  2. ThelinNV

    ThelinNV Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Slusho is a drink that is mentioned in all Bad Robot productions (that I know of). The company which manufactures Slusho is revealed to be Tagruato in Cloverfield, and Tagruato is a big part of the viral marketing both for the original film and the recent 10 Cloverfield Lane. The company is directly responsible for the "Clover" monster being awoken from the sea bottom and their subsidiary, Bold Futura, is who John Goodman's character works for.

    Anywho.

    It's different, and I think we will see things like this in the future. Wide availability, niche marketing, and the archival of music will all contribute to a future where people are perhaps not as interested in trends or what's popular. The only reason we don't jam to Mozart is because it's considered out of vogue, and in the future, we will assuredly have even less need for radio to tell us what the Top 40 is, because you can literally listen to anything you want and create your own Top 40. Plus, WWIII may be a factor. Maybe the 23rd century is the time for a cultural renaissance when "classic" music from the Beastie Boys is pulled from iPods from the rubble of Colonel Green's last volley.
     
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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Remember, DS9 established that Tobin Dax had known the exiled Cardassian poet Iloja of Prim on Vulcan in the 22nd century -- an acquaintanceship which I depicted in the previous ROTF volume, Uncertain Logic. So it's canonical that there was Vulcan-Cardassian contact a century before Kirk and Uhura's era. Of course, as I explained in the novel, it was mainly through exiles like Iloja who traveled far from home.


    Sorry, but when "alternative healers" invoke "quantum physics," it's a scam. I recommend you read this page:

    http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Medicine/Biofield.html

    There's nothing alternative about quantum physics. It isn't some exotic, rule-breaking paradigm, it's the basis of everyday sciences like electronics and chemistry and metallurgy. Con artists like to claim it's this nigh-mystical phenomenon that transcends normal, materialistic rules and justifies whatever weirdness they're peddling, but quantum physics is a precise mathematical thing, counterintuitive in many ways but very orderly and logical. There are plenty of ways that "conventional" medicine uses quantum phenomena, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), laser microscopy, and nanoparticle therapy.
     
  4. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I lok forward to.
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Finally have my copy. Should start tomorrow.
     
  6. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    There is one question I've been curious about but I keep forgetting to ask, Christopher, and I get the feeling it'll also fall under the "wait and see" banner, but since I just remembered it: given that we're starting to edge towards a time that could not unreasonably be called the late 22nd century, and given that the issue of the Federation's position on interference in other cultures has been a recurring theme in RotF so far, is there any chance we'll be seeing a namedrop of the Nachri some time soon? Or do you see that conflict as being too far in the future to yet consider?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Let's just say that, when I started work on this series, I compiled a list of everything I could find pertaining to the early Federation era as potential story fodder (which wasn't much), and the backstory I established in Aftermath was certainly on the list.
     
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  8. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Good enough answer for me. :D

    (For what it's worth, if you ever need yet another namedrop since I know you've pulled multi-generation Starfleet families as names before: this is a small thing you might've missed since it isn't on Memory Beta, I noticed while I was re-reading "A Time to Harvest" that Susan Lomax, the nurse that was killed in that book, was described as being fifth-generation Starfleet or some such.)
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What about Paris? Are there any Parises in Starfleet this early in the game?
     
  10. ThelinNV

    ThelinNV Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    ^Caroline Paris. She's a member of Shumar's crew.
     
  11. ThelinNV

    ThelinNV Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    That brings up something kind of off the wall that I've always sort of filed in my "wouldn't it be cool if" mental file. According to Memory Beta, (http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Kzinti) during the 22nd century, Earth fought a series of conflicts known as the Earth-Kzin Wars. Now obviously Larry Niven is a god amongst the science fiction community and his influence and his Known Space universe is worthy of much more attention than it might be if it were seen as just a subcorridor of Star Trek (established as Trek canon in Niven's "The Slaver Weapon"), but regardless, I am curious if we will ever see a Kzin or a hint of the Earth-Kzin conflicts in the RotF novels. I know CLBIII is obviously a Niven fan, as many are, and I curious as well if that's even a legal possibility. Can Kzin be included in Treklit, period?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's no way to reconcile the Man-Kzin Wars timeline suggested in "The Slaver Weapon" with the Earth history established in later series, especially ENT. To be specific, "The Slaver Weapon" had Sulu say that humans and Kzinti fought four wars, the last of which was 200 years before. That line worked fine in "The Soft Weapon," which was set in the 2650s, but in the context of Trek chronology as we now understand it, it would translate to c. 2070. There is no way to fit four interstellar wars prior to 2070 into the Trek history we now know, where humanity invented warp drive in 2063 and was largely held back from space travel by the Vulcans until 2151.

    As far as I'm concerned, the Kzinti, the Slavers, and the rest belong in Known Space, not Star Trek. In my opinion, "The Slaver Weapon" isn't even really a Star Trek episode -- it's a Known Space adaptation with three Trek characters playing its lead roles. Usually when stories are adapted to TV series (like when the novel Tin Woodsman was adapted as the TNG episode "Tin Man"), their specifics are altered to fit the series' universe. But "The Slaver Weapon" did it the other way around, altering Trek to fit the details of Niven's "The Soft Weapon." Instead of using the Enterprise and Kirk, it uses a shuttle and features the only three characters who could be mapped onto the roles of the story's leads, and otherwise keeps the entire Known Space milieu (minus the Puppeteers) completely intact, aside from a slight simplification of the novella's plot and backstory.

    Besides, there's already been a lengthy series of Man-Kzin Wars anthologies and novels set in Known Space. So trying to tackle them in Star Trek seems redundant to me, if not a bit hubristic.
     
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I take it she's already had children, then, given what eventually happens to that crew...
     
  14. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Actually, the episode Shumar and his crew "appeared" in, Lt. Cmdr. Steven Mullen, the Chief Science Officer in Rise of the Federation (which, in Live by the Code, has just closed out 2165), has been promoted to full Commander and held the position of First Officer, thus leaving Cmdr. Paris's status ambiguous - she may have been promoted, or retired or resigned from Starfleet, or been killed in action before the Essex's destruction sometime in 2167. I guess we'll see what happens to her in the next book or two.
     
  15. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    No later than 2167, to be fair. All we technically know is that it was "over two hundred years" before "Power Play". It's often dated to 2167, but it could potentially be placed in 2166 in RotF.
     
  16. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Fair enough. As the author, you do know what's best for the kind of story you're trying to tell (although I would've loved to have seen the Star Trek Kzinti in the series, since "The Slaver Weapon" was one of my favorite TAS episodes).

    However, I disagree that the "Slaver Weapon" doesn't work within the Star Trek franchise. The 200-year figure in the show is off, but then we also have "Space Seed" and Wrath of Khan citing that TOS takes place 200 years after the 1990s (not to mention DS9's "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" incorrectly dating the Eugenics Wars as a 21st-century event). The episodes are considered incorrect in those regards, yet we don't consider them non-canonical. For that matter, the early TOS episodes are often inconsistent in how far into the future they take place. At the time TOS and TAS were being made, the Star Trek universe was still being hammered out. If we're willing to grant TOS leniency, why not TAS, which was produced in the same era?

    (For that matter, It should also be noted that there are elements of the TAS series that create minor inconsistencies with other TV shows, and yet that's not been a barrier for excluding them on the the assumption that the live acton material is the most accurate. You yourself have used characters and elements from the "Time Trap" episode in your Department of Temporal Investigations and Rise of the Federation series despite the fact that "The Time Trap" has it's own continuity glitch with that Bonaventure ship.)

    Anyways, it was Sulu who cited the 200-year figure and it was a generalization, not Spock citing the exact date down to the second. So, while I agree that the 200-year figure was a very bad choice and wish that Larry Nivan had come up with a date that fits better, we do have wiggle room to assume that Sulu was not being precise and may have been off, placing the wars later on than just after First Contact. It does help that the nature of the wars is never specified; was it skirmishes as Earth began colonizing after Terra Nova, or was it against an unified United Earth with the MACOs and/or Starfleet? Since we don't know, it could be theoretically placed anywhere between the 2060s and 2250s without undermining the actual backstory as far as "The Slaver Weapon" episode itself is concerned.

    The rest of the new details -- the Slavers Empire in the distant past, the present-day Kzinti, etc. -- could easily fit into the Star Trek universe just as well as any other one-shot species that was never mentioned again (like the Promellians, the people of Angel One, etc.). So, the one strike against the episode is the timeframe of the war, which can be rationalized to fit better.

    Further evidence: Earth's conflict with the Kzinti was mentioned in passing in the TAS episode "The Infinite Vulcan" (meaning that "The Slaver Weapon" is part of the TAS continuity). Kzin is on the canonical map of space in the TNG episode "Conspiracy" and in Undiscovered Country. As I understand it, Gene Roddenberry himself asked Larry Nivan to adapt the original story for the series (although Roddenberry did say that TAS was not canon, so your mileage will vary, but it does mean that the franchise's creator didn't seem to think that the story didn't work in the Star Trek universe). ENT was planning to make a Kzinti episode for their fifth season before their untimely cancelation. The official Star Trek website includes the "Slaver Weapon" info alongside other entries in the database section (a courtesy they don't extend to non-canon media, like books and comics).

    Finally, the TV show has been ratified as a part of the official Star Trek canon. This wasn't announced with the provision that "The Slaver Weapon" didn't count, it was the whole thing. Hence, "The Slaver Weapon" is a part of the canonical Star Trek universe. Now, obviously I'm not going to insist that Nivan's Known Space stuff should be welded into the Star Trek franchise; the only material that should get a hearing is the stuff found in the "Slaver Weapon" itself.

    So, I'm basing my conclusion for "The Slaver Weapon"'s place in the official canon on the grounds that it has been corroborated by definitively canonical sources, the people who hold the license (and thus set the canon) treat it as canonical, and the main argument against it's inclusion (a continuity error) is not a factor in determining the canoncity of other Star Trek material, both within its own series and the other series (and, in IMHO, the mistake can be easily explained away).

    For the record, I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job as a novelist or be a troll. I enjoy talking this kind of stuff and like a good discussion where different viewpoints are shared. If you disagree with anything I've said or think I've made a mistake in my arguments, I'd love to hear about it.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's just one number in isolation. There are other things to consider. If there had been four Earth-Kzinti wars, you'd think the Kzinti would have been mentioned somewhere else in canon. Basically, the Man-Kzin Wars are such a major part of Known Space history that any attempt to minimize them enough to squeeze them into the gaps of Trek history would be pretty pathetic by comparison. It doesn't seem to serve the concept well to try to change it so much to force it to fit. I'm not a fan of that kind of Procrustean extreme makeover on a concept.


    I wouldn't put it that way, since the timeline hadn't been as clearly locked down at the time. But later works have clearly chosen not to acknowledge "The Slaver Weapon" in their construction of Federation history.

    But they fit better in Known Space, where they properly belong. If you like the ideas so much, then why not just read and appreciate Niven's own work and that of the Man-Kzin Wars authors? That's the real deal. The Trek version is a watered-down imitation. I'd rather let Trek be Trek and let Known Space be Known Space.

    Or maybe Keniclius was just mispronouncing "Xindi"... ;)


    And there's a giant rubber ducky on the "canonical" ship cutaway in the Enterprise-D engine room. Just because a graphic is onscreen, that doesn't mean every word and image on it is meant to be canonically binding. It's just background texture. Things like that are often filled with in-jokes by the art department. It means nothing.

    TOS is part of canon, yet "The Alternative Factor"'s assertions about dilithium and antimatter have been consistently ignored by all other productions. TNG is part of canon, but "The Host'"s portrayal of the Trill was largely contradicted by DS9. Voyager is part of canon, yet "Threshold" has been renounced by its own creators.

    "Canon" does not mean "fact." It just means the stories made up by the creators or owners of the series as opposed to the stories made up by tie-in authors or fans. And since canons are made-up stories, their creators often change their minds and disregard elements from earlier parts of the canon. So lots of canons disregard bits and pieces of themselves. Heck, the first use of "canon" to refer to a fictional universe was for Sherlock Holmes, and that canon is fraught with contradictions and continuity errors. Something can be part of the canon but still be apocryphal, because "canon" really just specifies who created the work, and any creators can change their minds. Canon is not, has never been, and never will be a guarantee that every last detail or even every last story is required to be acknowledged.
     
  18. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Mr. Bennett, that's a fair response.

    "But that's just one number in isolation. There are other things to consider. If there had been four Earth-Kzinti wars, you'd think the Kzinti would have been mentioned somewhere else in canon. Basically, the Man-Kzin Wars are such a major part of Known Space history that any attempt to minimize them enough to squeeze them into the gaps of Trek history would be pretty pathetic by comparison. It doesn't seem to serve the concept well to try to change it so much to force it to fit. I'm not a fan of that kind of Procrustean extreme makeover on a concept."

    There's a lot of big stuff in Star Trek that's never mentioned in similar situations that you would think would be. Case in point, throughout TNG/DS9/etc. they always refer to the "five or six" Starships Enterprise, not accounting for the NX-01. In DS9's "Homefront," Adm. Leyton describes the Dominion as the biggest threat to Earth since World War III, ignoring V'Ger and the whale probe from the movies, the Borg from "Best of Both Worlds," etc. It is very strange, but it is a franchise that was made up as it went along, so it is pretty amazing that it fits together was well as it does (even if you include some or all of TAS). Besides, even through there are hundreds of hours of Star Trek material, we only see a limited slice from Starfleet's perspective. It could very well be that the Kzin Wars were not that important or any discussions about it were off-screen, like the way that Starfleet officers aren't always comparing skirmishes to the Brush Wars, for example. In fact, the episode seems to assume that the wars were not that big a deal from the humans' perspective; Sulu observes that the Kzinti have always had less advanced technology from Earth and doesn't seem to think the they pose a threat to the Federation until they find the titular weapon.

    I'm not saying that the episode fits perfectly, I just think that it can fit and that it's not alone in canonical media where you have to say: "Yeah it's just a TV show, but this's how we could explain the problem." I'm not suggesting putting the Known Space series into Star Trek either, just the elements that were used in TAS. Besides, so what if the Man/Kzin Wars were not that important in the Star Trek franchise, but were in the Known Space universe? "The Slaver Weapon" is an adaptation. It's version has nothing to do with source material beyond using the ideas for something knew. Comic book movies do this all the time, like having Peter Parker in love with Mary Jane Watson from the beginning or Iron Man being Ultron's creator. It's not what the source material did, but is legitimate for the new spin they're taking with the story.

    "But they fit better in Known Space, where they properly belong. If you like the ideas so much, then why not just read and appreciate Niven's own work and that of the Man-Kzin Wars authors? That's the real deal. The Trek version is a watered-down imitation. I'd rather let Trek be Trek and let Known Space be Known Space."

    I did read Ringworld once. It was okay. I get your point, but (and this is purely subjective) I'm a Trekkie more than anything else. My first exposure to the Kzinti was in TAS (that's largely what inspired me to read Ringworld in the first place). So, I like the Kzinti, but the "Star Trek Kzinti," if that makes any sense. While I liked Speaker-To-Animals in the original novel, it feels like an alternate reality version of something I know elsewhere. Kind of like the reason that I can't get into the J.J. Abrams movies or the post-"One More Day" Spider-Man material; it may be okay on it's own, but it's so divorced from the stuff that made me love the franchises in the first place that I doesn't really have any meaning to me. The Kzinti are cool in and of themselves, but I don't find it interesting to read about them against a version of Earth I'm not overly connected to, but against the Federation, which I am very interested in, that pulls me in.

    Also, purely subjectively on my part, since I was introduced to the Kzinti through Star Trek, not the original novels, they have always felt like an organic part of the Star Trek franchise to me. I'm not using these opinions as an argument, just trying to explain my biases about this element and why I prefer things the way I do.

    "And there's a giant rubber ducky on the "canonical" ship cutaway in the Enterprise-D engine room. Just because a graphic is onscreen, that doesn't mean every word and image on it is meant to be canonically binding. It's just background texture. Things like that are often filled with in-jokes by the art department. It means nothing."

    TAS references in live-action materials have a precedence for being taken "seriously." Also the ducky and other goofy graphics were hidden as much as possible, so there is a difference between background text that's meant to be seen and stuff we're supposed to ignore; for example, no one's questioning the dates of World War III from "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" despite the fact that it's also a background graphic. However, I will concede that this kind of information is always overwritten by actual dialogue, so the Kzin map alone is just an Easter egg and not enough to be dogmatic about.

    "Or maybe Keniclius was just mispronouncing "Xindi"... ;)"

    Yeah, that would be an interesting way to look at it. I'm partial to the theory that the Xendi-Sabu System and Xendi Station 9 from TNG are connected to the Xindi somehow, so I can relate.

    "Canon" does not mean "fact." It just means the stories made up by the creators or owners of the series as opposed to the stories made up by tie-in authors or fans. And since canons are made-up stories, their creators often change their minds and disregard elements from earlier parts of the canon...Canon is not, has never been, and never will be a guarantee that every last detail or even every last story is required to be acknowledged."

    I looked up definitions of the word "canon." There two ways it's used; One, the list of official and licensed works (like you said" Two, what stuff is considered "real" (which is how I was using it). The second way may not be the original way, but the word has changed to include it's usage. For example, when Disney rebooted the tie-in line for Star Wars, they distinguished between canon as in material that is counted as "real" (the new stuff) and the old stuff that's official but not real ("Legends"). If Star Trek had had a "lose" canon (like Pinky and the Brain), I would probably agree with you. But, since the franchise has been historically "hard," as in we're supposed to see it as everything fitting together, I'm not as fond of the idea that "stuff can just be ignored."

    Based on the discussion, I think that you see it as okay to to retcon and ignore stuff if it's better, where I'm someone who prefers the material be set in stone and used as guidelines for the future (within reason, I have no problem that some of the early shows have minor mistakes that can be glossed over). Probably in the end, we looser and tighter canon people need each other; thus great opportunities aren't missed because of the fear of invalidating something trivial, but not so much happy editing that the franchise morphs into something different.
     
  19. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    I'm not even sure "The Slaver Weapon" counts as an adaptation. It was basically a find/replace run over "The Soft Weapon". It's an adaptation the same way Christopher would have a Star Wars adaptation of "Tower of Babel" if he swapped out everywhere it said "Archer" with "Luke" and everywhere it said "T'Pol" with "Leia".
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The point is, if you're interested in reading more about the Kzinti and their conflicts with humanity, those stories already exist in abundance, and in a universe where they have room to breathe rather than being stuffed into the cracks. Asking for more Kzin stories set in the Trek universe is like asking for Harry Potter stories set in the Dresden Files universe. Which might make a fun fanfiction, but it'd be a poor substitute for genuine, canonical Potter/Wizarding World fiction.


    Yes, laypeople use it that way, but they're misunderstanding it if they expect it to be a guarantee that every last part of a fictional universe will always "count." That's just not how fiction works. Any long-running series will overwrite or contradict elements of itself over time, because fiction is an imperfect construct and its creators are prone to changing their minds or regretting or rethinking past decisions. Canon may purport to be "real" in the broad strokes, but it is unrealistic to expect that to be a promise that every individual detail will be strictly adhered to. That's why Kirk's middle initial is canonically T instead of R, why the ship canonically uses dilithium crystals instead of lithium, etc. Canon purports to be "real," but its definition of what that reality is can be tweaked over time, because it is only fiction. And for the most part, if older material is contradicted by newer material, then the newer material is what counts as canonically "real," like the above examples. The version of human history laid out in TNG through Enterprise came after the version in "The Slaver Weapon" and conflicted with it, so it's the later material that takes precedence.


    That's an entirely different matter, and that franchise's abuse of the term "canon" has led to enormous misunderstandings in fandom. The canon is the original work, in this case the movies. George Lucas himself never considered the tie-in novels, comics, and games to be part of the Star Wars canon. The publishers and licensing people claimed they counted as "secondary canon" or whatever, but that had no bearing whatsoever on the actual content of the screen productions, any more than any other tie-in books or comics. All it really meant in practice was that the tie-ins tried to remain consistent with each other.

    What we're talking about here is the actual screen canon itself, the original work, not its tie-ins. So any example pertaining to tie-ins is completely irrelevant.


    I've already given you multiple examples of things within the Trek franchise that have been completely ignored by later canon. This is not my opinion, it's simply the way fiction works. The ideal is to be consistent, sure, but all creators are fallible and all creations are imperfect, so there has to be some wiggle room.

    "Set in stone" is too absolutist. What laypeople don't understand is that the story they see is not a fixed monolith, it's the end result of a lengthy process of trial and error and revision and mistakes and corrections. And no matter how hard you try to make it perfect, there are always going to be some parts that you didn't get to fix before it had to be released. So yes, while the ideal is to keep everything consistent, there are times when an absolute refusal to change will only hurt the work by prohibiting the correction of those mistakes. The advantage of fiction over reality is that it's more adjustable. It's not stone, it's papier-mache painted to look like stone. And that makes it easier to change while still having it look permanent.

    It's a matter of suspension of disbelief. The audience knows that none of it is real, but they choose to play along with the illusion. So it shouldn't be any harder to play along with the occasional course correction, to pretend that Kirk's middle initial was never R or that Data didn't use contractions routinely in the early first season or that using transwarp drive won't turn you into a salamander.

    Writers aren't trying to teach you a history lesson, we're trying to entertain you. You're playing along with us as we put on a show. And sometimes we stumble or flub our lines, and we try to fix our mistakes and improve our performance as we go, and we appreciate if you bear with us as we keep going forward as best we can.


    Yeah, I can't think of another example where a story nominally adapted into another reality has been so unchanged. There are only a few mild tweaks -- the two human leads aren't a married couple, the bit about the weapon belonging to the Tnuctipun slaves instead of the Slavers is missing, but really that's all I can think of. It's convenient for Niven that Vulcans are vegetarians and nominal pacifists, since it let him map Spock onto Nessus pretty directly (the main difference -- aside from anatomy -- being that Spock is not actually a coward, but was simply assumed to be one by the Kzinti).

    It's also unique among TAS episodes -- and quite rare among Filmation's overall body of work -- in showing onscreen deaths. I'm actually surprised Niven wasn't required to tone down the violence of the ending and have the Kzinti just driven into retreat or arrested.
     
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