Poll "Small Universe Syndrome" - Yay Or Nay?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by wayoung, Sep 9, 2021.

?

Do you enjoy fiction that has Small Universe Syndrome?

  1. Yes! I love when my favourite characters all end up connected!

    27 vote(s)
    67.5%
  2. No, it breaks my suspension of disbelief

    13 vote(s)
    32.5%
  1. wayoung

    wayoung Commodore Commodore

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    I've never enjoyed "Small Universe" situations. It always breaks my suspension of disbelief. But I'm aware a ton of fans do enjoy it - otherwise it wouldn't be so common it's a trope. So I was wondering, why do you enjoy it?
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Because it can be fun and dramatic, and it means revisiting old favorites, often in new contexts and combinations.

    It's like "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man." How can you resist NOT doing it sometimes? We're talking fiction and theater here, not the real world.

    And, honestly, "suspension of disbelief" is not as fragile as many modern fans seems to think. It can take a beating sometimes. :)
     
  3. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Rather not. Tng didn't go to the tos well to often. A good show is its own thing.
     
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  4. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm in the middle on this. Sometimes very much so, other times not at all. For SNW I can tolerate it since we're getting just three TOS legacy characters, none of which we have any extensive pre-TOS knowledge about if any whatsoever.
     
  5. wayoung

    wayoung Commodore Commodore

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    Copying and pasting this from the SNW thread, this is why I find small universe syndrome so reality breaking in Trek, but the same logic spies to pretty much all fictional universes:

    Memory Alpha lists 350 worlds as part of the Federation as stated on screen in 2373.

    They list 183 member species with a population of 985 Billion Federation wide, which works out to 5.3 billion of each species. Which seems low considering human demographics, but maybe we just breed more and that's why we're overrepresented in Starfleet.

    0.4% of the US population serves in combined military branches recently. I'm using the US because Starfleet is loosely based on the US.

    With advances meaning people don't need to join Starfleet like they do the military for economic reasons and more general paificistic attitudes, let's use half that rate. 0.2%.

    Thats 1.97 BILLION people in Starfleet.

    That's not a small universe. Not at all.

    (Edit to add: To be clear, I'm not arguing with anyone here, that's why I'm liking every reply and not quoting anyone. This is a personal preference thing and nobody is going to change anyones mind, I'm posting why it doesn't work for me, just as others posted why it does work for them)
     
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  6. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Admiral Admiral

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    Take the number of interacting nodes as N. The 3D space containing the nodes has a volume V and a characteristic dimension L. L is proportional to the cube root of V. The node density is constant so L is also proportional to the cube root of N. The average distance between any two nodes picked at random is proportional to L so it also grows as the cube root of N. So while a population might be 1,000 times larger, the average distance between two random nodes only drops by a factor of ten. Interaction is less likely, certainly, but it doesn't scale with volume as one might imagine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
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  7. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So, I will split the difference a little bit and say that it depends on how it is used. As @Greg Cox notes this is not meant as real world; it is a fictional one with audience members invested in specific characters and wanting to seem them interact because it is fun.

    For me, it is all in how it is used. Certainly I did not like it the way Star Wars had Anakin make 3PO, but Yoda knowing Chewie was less so. Like a lot of things in fiction I think small universe is a spice that can be used well, if done in skilled hands.
     
  8. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Something only feels "small universe" if the connections being drawn aren't logical.

    On Once Upon a Time, having a large portion of the major characters have links to each other made sense because of the nature of the series' concept and narrative, and on Star Trek Discovery, linking Burnham to Spock made sense as a way to immediately 'anchor' the series in the Trek universe in the same way that TNG's McCoy cameo, DS9's Picard cameo and the inclusion of Miles O'Brien as a main character, VGR's DS9 and Quark cameos, and ENT's references to and cameo from Zephram Cochrane 'anchored' those series in the Trek universe.

    With something like Star Trek Strange New Worlds, though, putting 3 TOS characters in the series - and therefore on the Enterprise years before they should be - just comes across as "nostalgia pandering".
     
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  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I voted for yes, but I'm of the mind of how it's used. For the most part though I don't have a problem when things are connected, or if a familiar character comes back or an old storyline is revisited or a loose string is tied up.
     
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  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The only problem with 'small universe syndrome' is that you kind of have to see everything in it to understand what's going on.

    Take the MCU, for example. I've seen exactly TWO movies in it - Iron Man and Ant-Man & The Wasp. But there are almost thirty movies in total in this series! Who has that kind of time? :lol:
     
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  11. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    2-3 movies a year? Lots apparently…
     
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  12. EnderAKH

    EnderAKH Commodore Premium Member

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    I think a little bit goes a long way. Occasionally it's good. An example of bad? Chuck. By the end, EVERYONE in Chuck's life had been a spy. His Mom, his Dad, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, his college mentor. It was crazy ridiculous.
     
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  13. wayoung

    wayoung Commodore Commodore

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    A handful of recent examples of SUS that really bugged me:

    Bond being Blofields foster brother and their families being bestest friends.

    Rey being the Emperors granddaughter

    Michael's mom being the red angel in Disco
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
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  14. wayoung

    wayoung Commodore Commodore

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    Man, I don't remember most of that. But I do remember Chuck going off the rails the last season or two. Once they ran out of ideas to steal from Jake 2.0;)
     
  15. EnderAKH

    EnderAKH Commodore Premium Member

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    Oh yeah, his Dad was Orion who invented the intersect, his Mom was in the CIA and made to go undercover in Volkoff Industries, his college best friend Bryce Larkin is the one who sent Chuck the intersect, his college girlfriend Jill was recruited by Fulcrum in college, and their psychology professor at Stanford was a CIA recruiter. I am almost certain there are others I am forgetting.
     
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  16. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    As I've watched General Hospital for decades, I can say the Small Universe Syndrome™ is alive and well on soaps.

    Laura got two half brothers by way of her bio-dad that we hadn't heard about in something like 45 years.
     
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  17. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Commodore Commodore

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    Except we don't know when those characters first arrived. Uhura is the smoothest, nothing says she arrived on the Enterprise recently.

    I will admit Chapel and M'Benga were strongly implied to have arrived later than this, but having them there earlier doesn't contradict anything said onscreen.
     
  18. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I did raise an eyebrow watching that cast reveal. Especially Noonien-Singh, though if they had named Ortegas Macha Hernandez instead all would be forgiven. :)

    I suppose we'll get to see the origin story of Spock/Uhura duets.
     
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  19. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If they'd brought McCoy aboard before 2266 that would be blatant and offensive continuity violation. But Uhura, Chapel and M'Benga? The closest we can come to a genuine issue is Christine Chapel's romance with Dr. Roger Korby which happens sometime between the first season of SNW and "What Are Little Girls Made Of?(TOS)," which allows for seven years max for her to be involved with him, leave him, leave the Enterprise and then come back for the Exo III mission to find him. But even that's workable since we don't know when she was physically with him, just that they parted ways about five years or less before the TOS episode.
     
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  20. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. I'm excited at the prospect of finally learning more about Uhura's past and background, which we know next to nothing about. And there's lots of room to explore with M'Benga since we only saw him in two episodes back in the day.

    Plus, hopefully, Chapel will be given more to do than simply pine over Spock . . ..

    And if that means indulging in a little "Small Universe Syndrome," bring it on. :)