Star Trek: Strangers From the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Damian, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Epsilon Indi was mentioned in "And The Children Shall Lead," in a way that implied (albeit not conclusively) that Triacus was in its system.
     
  2. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Seems to me that Federation (published November 1994; it also has a scene set after Star Trek Generations) also had humans finding the Vulcans, rather than the Vulcans finding humans.

    It seems that Star Trek: First Contact was the main canon source to reverse that.
     
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  3. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    On the point of humanity's maturity level for coping with extraterrestrial life, the Spaceflight Chronology reads as an exercise in how to introduce humanity to life on other worlds in the easiest way possible. The almost entirely human Alpha Centaurans are a milk run first contact, with the Vulcans following up as a mild challenge. A cosy warm up before the Tellarites present a more challenging FC.

    I'll look forward to Strangers from the Sky as a challenge to that depiction; that things didn't go that smoothly.
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think the breakdown of maturity on that issue would be about like it is on every issue -- the xenophobes and religious fanatics and entrenched rich folks dependent on the status quo would react very immaturely and hostilely, but the people who've grown up with generations of sci-fi and have more open minds would be fine with it. It's just a question of which side has more power in society and government at the time. If it happened right now, we'd be in trouble. Well, more than we already are.
     
  5. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, well as you know from our earlier genetic engineering debates I'm pretty cynical about humanity in general. Somehow it just seems if we went out in space and found aliens first it would go over better.

    I'd like to think it would happen as Troi outlined in First Contact, that once humanity realized it was not alone in the universe things would change for the better. And even in the original chronology, with humanity finding life on Alpha Centauri first, it sounds like the story went similarly. Humanity had a great awakening after finding alien life.

    Somehow them coming here first I think would make a lot (or some at least) feel threatened and take premature action. And in fairness, I can maybe understand apprehension. I'd probably feel some myself (and probably most would). It's probably likely aliens would look much different then we do so there'd probably be some innate prejudice we'd have to get past too. If the first aliens we contacted happened to be humanoid then it'd probably make it a bit easier.

    For me, an active Catholic, alien life wouldn't bother me. In fact, I expect it. I believe in evolution (as does the Catholic Church in fact) that was created/designed by God. And I don't believe for one minute God created the universe with humanity as the only life form. That would be incredibly wasteful. It would have no impact on my faith. Alien life does not preclude Jesus being sent by God in my eyes. I find it sad that some of my fellow Christians would feel threatened by that (but then I'm mystified why some deny evolution--after all if the first chapter of Genesis almost summarizes the steps of evolution and maybe 1 day represented a million years, or a hundred million years, etc). I'm getting off topic. But it just seems like it would go better if we found them first. Or even if we saw evidence of life elsewhere first before they came here, even if we didn't get their first. It would give us time to adjust first and maybe not take rash action.

    We're getting there. We already know there are hundreds of planets (and many many more that we have yet to discover). I think people are moving in the right direction when it comes to the possibility of life. Eventually.
     
  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have fond memories of this one.
    Love that it shamelessly has a wizard in it who ages backwards through time.
    The main plot reminds me of "Carbon Creek" in a secret first contact kinda way. Except 100 times better, of course.

    And I loved that it bridged the gap between E:TFA and "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Humanity in general" includes everything from Hitler to Gandhi, so it's unwise to generalize. It's just a question of which strain of thought is dominant at a given time.

    This was always Gene Roddenberry's philosophy -- that humans have equal potential for great good and great evil, and the choice is up to us. Being "cynical about humanity," throwing up your hands and pretending it's hopeless, is a choice to let our worse side win. The only way things get better is if we choose to be optimistic and work to bring out the best in our species.


    Again, different groups of people would react in different ways, and it's a question of which viewpoint wins out. Carl Sagan's novel Contact does a fantastic job exploring this (the movie was pretty good, but the novel was able to go into far, far more depth).

    Of course, we're overwhelmingly more likely to make first contact by radio, or discover telescopic evidence of alien biochemistry or technology, than we are to be visited by alien starships. But in the former case, it's a given that the nuts would just dismiss the discovery as a hoax, like they do with the Moon landing or the Holocaust or the climate crisis. People whose beliefs are at odds with the facts will reject the facts no matter how undeniable they are. Even if there were aliens walking around on Earth every day, some extremists would find a way to deny their existence. (See my Hub-universe story "Make Hub, Not War.")

    We can't rely on outside events to change humanity. Humanity's ability to deny the facts or be blinded by fanaticism will never change. The only thing that will improve our world is if those of us who are rational are able to convince enough people to accept a rational view of the universe. Again, it's about our willingness to step up and do the work to make things better.


    I think it's the other way around. Humans often get along better with creatures that don't look like us. Look at how much we love dolphins, and how friendly they are to us even though we wreak havoc on their environment. Both humans and dolphins regularly fight, oppress, and kill their own kind, but the two species are incredibly genial toward each other. And that is a contact with an alien intelligence, even though we've been slow to recognize the fact.

    When beings look like us, we judge them by our own standards and are offended when they don't meet our expectations. Or we see them as rivals for the same goals and feel threatened by their presence. A large part of bigotry between human groups is rooted in the fear that the other population will interbreed with yours and reproductively outcompete your kind, which is why so many racist stereotypes paint their targets as prolific breeders with ravenous sexual appetites. But when it comes to more alien beings like dolphins or other animals, we don't see them as threats to our interests or existence in the same way. True, we can be thoughtlessly cruel and deadly to the nonhuman species on our world, but that's merely out of non-recognition of their rights, rather than the kind of hate and bigotry we can feel toward other humans.

    If humanoid aliens were a realistic possibility, if we could see them as potential competitors for our mates and our territory and our jobs, then they'd be subject to the same bigotry that humans feel toward other humans (see Alien Nation). But if they're so different from us that we don't perceive that threat, then we might end up hitting it off beautifully, as we do with dolphins or dogs.

    On the other hand, if they're too weird-looking, like, say, squids or giant spiders or something, then our disgust reaction or our fear of predators might kick in. We wouldn't see them as a rival race, but we might see them as monsters and have a hard time recognizing their sentience even if they had technology and language. So maybe there's a sweet spot between too humanoid and too monstrous where it would be easiest to accept aliens.

    Which... raises the disturbing possibility that maybe the ideal alien for us to get along with is ALF. Aaaghh!!
     
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  8. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Let's say realistic then. Yes, there are some good people out there. And I think of all the good will in our own country after 9/11, but we quickly fell back into our normal battles with one another. And we tend to be shortsighted. And we tend to be very greedy. Sometimes I think it would almost take a cataclysm like World War III to wake us up.

    In many ways "Strangers from the Sky" is probably pretty close to what would really happen. Some would accept the aliens immediately, others, after some initial apprehension, would come to accept them as well. Some would try to profit by their existence and use them to their advantage, and some would see them as a threat and would want them eliminated.

    I do think we are moving in the general right direction on alien life. I think more and more people believe their is life out there and that we're not alone in the universe.

    I guess on the flip side I hope if there is it is more like Star Trek and not hostile like, say Independence Day or V.

    Hide your cats :hugegrin:
     
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  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, and elaborated on a bit in the "Introduction to Navigation" manual that comes with "Star Trek Maps".
     
  10. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The aliens are cranky with us for always sending them our address and the naked pictures...

    [​IMG]
    Pioneer plaque
    by Ian McLean, on Flickr
     
  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wait a second, did we sext the aliens?
    Maybe things would go OK if we ran into aliens like the Salarians from Mass Effect. They're humanoid, and clearly intelligent, but they're different enough looking that we wouldn't feel challened by them, but they're not too scary.
     
  12. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it’s more we’re sending the aliens unsolicited nudes.

    No wonder they don’t return our calls.
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, it serves them right, given how many aliens come to Earth and run around stark naked.
     
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  14. Krupp

    Krupp Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    The big worry I’d have is that aliens treat us the way we treat dolphins... “Humans are very good at going down and finding mines and other ordinance on planet surfaces, once appropriately trained....”
     
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  15. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    Several sources I’ve read from the 80s and 90s, when discussing Alpha Centaurans, do not include Zephram Cochrane, but do include Number One, and extrapolate a matriarchal and stoic society. Where did this come from, I wonder? (Sometimes Lieutenant Palmer is included, as well.)

    There is also the idea that they were humans who were transplanted from Ancient Greece; presumably this is to explain why, as Franz Joseph would have it, they used the centaur as their symbol.

    Both ideas are illogical. Yet fun!
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What sources? I don't think I've ever heard that before. When Number One is treated as a non-Terran, it's usually as an "Illyrian."


    Which is silly, because it's Alpha Centauri. What more "explanation" is needed?

    Not to mention that all of the classical constellations have Greek names, so it's pretty darn nonspecific.
     
  17. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    Dang, I’ll have to reconsider if that was something I made up in my head, or what.
     
  18. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    If it's any consolation, it's easy to get an impression from what we read. Including myself. Out of genuine interest, what have you been reading? You indicated in another thread that you were starting out with a bunch of the old TOS 80s novels, including the book reviewed in this thread. Did you finish The Entropy Effect, and how did you like it? What other novels have you read? Did you get hold of a copy of The Spaceflight Chronology and have a chance to look through it?
     
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  19. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    No, mostly I have been immersed in the 70s scene — Technical Manual, Concordance, Star Fleet Handbook, Medical Reference, Star Trek Maps, that sort of stuff — plus RPGs — Star Trek Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier, FASA, Prime Directive One, LUG. I’ve flipped through the Spaceflight Chronology but not really gotten into it yet. Still working on The Entropy Effect (intermittently).
     
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  20. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Have you been reading them with the STIII disco theme on in the background?
     
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