Scientific weirdness in Star Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Neopeius, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but that over decades of time.
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If it's going to be about science, then we also have four big problems with:
    • the transporter
    • warp drive and subspace radio
    • inertial damping fields, artificial gravity, and tractor beams
    • time travel
     
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  3. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    The same could probably be said of the TOS writers room in the mid-to-late 60s. (Leonard Nimoy even admitted during the time of the series he was an alcoholic.)
     
  4. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    To paraphrase Niven, the result of that will eventually be that time travel will cease to be possible in the Trek universe. The resulting stable timeline won't look like anything with which we're familiar (it may even be the one we're currently in!)
     
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  5. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you're going to tell stories about star-spanning civilizations and have those stories take place within human time scales, warp drive (or some other FTL drive) becomes more of a caveat than anything else.
    Which I am okay with; purposefully breaking the rules is different to me than not giving a shit whether you are right or not.
     
  6. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In fairness, I think this is true of all the new Treks. They aren't intended to gatekeep for fans of the older fans but inspire newer fans, which is why they have experimented with different genres.

    For my part, I get frustrated by the NuTrek because they just needed tiny tweaks to make them less dumb, less destructive of Trek lore, and less offensive to science, which I think would have still made them more accessible to new fans. I will confess though that I do get a bit depressed that intelligent science fiction doesn't resonate with more people but I watched the Fountain and had no clue what that movie was even about, so maybe I shouldn't throw stones.

    I do find it a bit depressing that so many people root for a delinquent character who is insubordinate and willing to gamble on high risk strategies, which succeed far better than they should because the other characters are even less imaginative. Now that I say that, I realise that Lower Decks is consciously poking fun at that character, so my problem is probably just that they did it to Kirk, who was a much more thoughtful, complex character. Episodes like the Enterprise Incident are full of similar plot holes though and I am equally critical of them, so it's the concept of NuTrek that bothers me but its execution. Into Darkness would have been better, less derivative, and made more sense if they had used Garth IMO, for example.

    One has to wonder if Beyond was less popular because Kirk did morph into something more akin to his thoughtful TOS character, although I thought it was more because it got squeezed in between two blockbusters. I was unconcerned at the destruction of the Enterprise but found myself rooting for the old Starfleet ship, so I think I get more out of it when the magical technology is dialled back and it's about the characters struggles.
     
  7. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree that tiny tweaks would have been helpful to make them a little more coherent. I will not agree that they are destructive or offensive. One need only look at Star Trek's use of "black hole" in TMP, in TNG and other parts of Star Trek lore to see that it isn't as far out of step as it might appear at first blush.

    As far as intelligent science fiction resonating with people, I always come down to the characters (and more on that in a second). A lot of times when I read what is billed as intelligent science fiction is so focused on the science that it looses sight of the human element. Which is incredibly difficult for me who prefers the people connections over the science and technology. Based upon your comments below we may not be out of step with each other:
    I am sorry you feel that is depressing however I am not going to fault Trek for this tendency. The rebellious character is one that has persisted in fiction for generations and is not one likely to stop any time soon.

    Kirk, for me, is far more nuanced in the Kelvin films than he is ever given credit for. He isn't just billed as a "rebel without a cause" but that he lack guidance. He was a genius but completely unguided due to the lack of the influence of his father, which Spock Prime notes was the biggest guiding force to Kirk to go in to Starfleet. Which, as far as science goes, is something that is demonstrable in psychology and sociology that mentorship of talent is necessary in young people.
    I think Beyond was less popular because it was advertised one way, then whiplashed to another style and then settled on a bizarre third way. So, what the movie was about was uncertain at first in the advertising.

    Personally, I think Kirk showed excellent character growth as he has to move from needing mentoring, to outliving all his mentors, and having to forge his own path, one not defined by rebellion, but by purpose and exploration. It all is a culmination of his struggle with lack of purpose from his early years.

    When people say that the new Treks are not inspirational I just have to shake my head and think I am watching completely different products. The rebellious characters are characters who are driven by personal pain and need for connection and the process is making connection. Which feels far more relevant to the current generation of people that I am working with than perhaps past generations realize. When you ask what it inspires all I can say is I use Star Trek as examples for my clients in my daily work of the need for personal connection.
     
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  8. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I confess that, while I like its artistry and concept, I really did not enjoy 2001 in the same way as Blade Runner, because the former has no characters to engage with. I understand that the astronauts were intentionally aloof because that is the kind of person you would need to send on a long term space mission but I really wish there had been more with the other characters on Earth.

    I get that the the rebellious character is one that remains popular and for good reasons. I also love the cast (although I would have preferred Paul McGillion as Scotty as I find Pegg is too much of a caricature) and I agree that Kirk's arc over the 3 movies is great. I think my beef is that in the first movie, he is rewarded for bad behaviour, cheating, foolishness, poor judgment, war crimes, and is promoted to Captain as a reward despite being in no way deserving, unless you're in a Roald Dahl children's story. It reminds me of that episode of the Simpsons where the Admiral puts Homer in charge because he likes him.

    Essentially, Spock saves the day. Kirk was prepared to chase down Nero with no plan until NuSpock stopped him and Spock Prime gave him he answers he needed. Then, for no understandable reason, having been going in the opposite direction for a couple of days with damaged engines, the Enterprise manages to arrive at the Solar System ahead of Nero, and only succeeds because Pike saves Kirk, and because Spock takes control of the jellyfish ship.

    If I'm honest, I suppose I was hoping for an intelligent heist, where Scotty is able to perform some magic to disguise the transport onto Nero's ship, or where other characters create a distraction. There was nothing to explain why Nero didn't have his shields up that far into the Solar System, nothing to stop Nero detecting their incursion and beaming them to the brig, and no back up plan in the likely event that either Kirk or Spock is injured. I probably would not have minded quite so much if the movie had ended with Pike saying, "Well done, with more experience you could have your own ship in five years", and NuKirk remarking, "I'll do it in two." Then, cut to two years later and he steps onto the bridge just like in the movie. At least then I would have felt that the experienced he gained off camera might justify his promotion, rather than the shambolic performance of the movie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  9. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Um, what? The Enterprise did not arrive before Nero. Nero was already drilling in to the Earth's crust to send a red matter device to destroy the planet. Also, I don't recall them having damage engines. Spock's plan was to rendezvous with the majority of Starfleet's ships, and regroup. Except, as Kirk notes, time is of the essence.
    Nero had the shield downs due to drilling. And they did detect the incursion. It resulted in a firefight. But, these are not soldiers; they are miners who likely don't utilize the transporter like Starfleet officers would.
    Now, this, I will agree with.
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The real problem I had with Trek 2009 and then STID was the way they wrote Kirk, but I appreciated the fact that they needed to address his getting command way too soon. Star Trek Beyond finally gave me the Kirk I always liked best. 2009 is a fun film and moves so quickly and has such convincing visuals (not to mention amazing Ben Burtt sound design) that I am always swept away by it, even though I am aware of its flaws. The pacing in the 2009 film was made at the sacrifice of some reality. The Enterprise gets to Vulcan absurdly quickly (practically in the span of a turbolift ride) and the fleet is decimated in what appears to have been moments. STID is more problematic for me and I don’t enjoy it as much. The scientific weirdness, to keep this on topic, really got to me with the transporters which can beam from Earth to Klingon and the super blood. Now they no longer need starships nor do they have to fear death.
     
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  11. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    If you go by what Kirk said in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, he was effectively rewarded for cheating in the PU as well - per his own words: "I got a commendation for original thinking" <--- So there's really nothing new/different WRT his portrayal in the JJ verse in that regard.

    James T. Kirk was always know for breaking/not following the rules, and at worst getting away with it/at best being rewarded for it because he usually had a very positive result from it in the end - and in his era, it seems both Starfleet and the Federation only cared about results.

    Hell, look at the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Kirk disregarded the express orders of the Starfleet Commander; STOLE a Federation starship - sparked a diplomatic incident that both cost that ship and nearly lead to war with the Klingon Empire.

    Kirk's punishment: Demotion to Captain (he seemed to dislike being an Admiral at a desk anyway); and assigned to Command of the newest ship in the Fleet - the 1701-A. :)

    So yeah - the fact that Kelvin Kirk is treated the same way...big surprise...not. ;)
     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Blood based therapies, especially platelet therapy, are something that is ongoing for years. I don't think it's a magical cure for death, and the transporter is closer to being able to restore biological function that blood based treatments.
     
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  13. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    TOS, to me, is a lot like Season 7 of Dr. Who (the first with Pertwee). That season was a departure from all of Who, before or since. It tried to be more sf (still somewhat goofy, but...) and it had a strong ensemble cast. The showrunners decided that was no good and brought in Delgado for three endless seasons of moustache-twirling. NuWho is particularly vapid, SF-wise, though it's popular. Maybe the conjunction should be therefore it's popular.

    TOS, for all its faults, while not the first SF show on TV (Man in Space came first, but it didn't leave of a ripple; The Outer Limits was mostly SF), was definitely the most prominent of its day. And it tried to be SF, even though it goofed a lot. I feel like TNG onward decided it would be more like Star Wars, possessing the trappings of SF, but not actually being SF.

    And it's more popular than ever...
     
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  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Worf In the 23rd Century Premium Member

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    Science Fiction is a big tent. It’s every thing from Planetary Romance to Hard SF. The trapping are as varied as Cher’s wardrobe.
     
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  15. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Well, let's just say that NuTrek and NuWho veer more strongly from Hard SF than TOS and Season 7.
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sure, but Kirk was dead. For a bunch of minutes. And then he gets Khan's blood and all is well. So, yeah, pretty much magical cure for death that can replicate with over 70 people on ice to grab from until they can perfect the formula. I'm not too hard on Bad Robot Trek generally, but I feel this one is pretty valid. It's their own fault for making Kirk very dead instead of teetering on the verge.

    I know they've restored people to their former youth in the 24th century thanks to having Dr. Pulaski's hair follicles to play with, but I don't remember any classic Trek episode or movie where they brought someone to life through the transporter.
     
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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I will disagree that it is magic cure for death. It worked in one specific instance, where higher brain functions were preserved as much as possible through stasis and multiple treatments.
     
  18. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It doesn't look like we'll be seeing any more Bad Robot Trek's, so we may never know. McCoy did put him in the cryotube, but he was pretty darned dead beforehand. In a body bag and everything with everyone all sullen. That's a pretty good indicator of McCoy having done all he could already. [shrug]
     
  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    He was also radioactive [shrug]

    And even if it is the last of the Trek's in Kelvin universe I don't think it rates top ten of scientific oddities.
     
  20. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    In the movie it was stated that he nearly died even after getting the blood and it was touch and go for 2 weeks during which Kirk was in a coma.

    I'm not going to entirely defend the idea of cons of blood being a cure-all; but even in the film it was hardly a:

    Doctor McCoy shoots him up with the blood and he immediately leaps off the bed 100% fine. He was in a coma for two weeks and still nearly died.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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