Star Trek: Strangers From the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno

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

  1. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    No, this!

     
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  2. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Read that one from the library. While I think I prefer the Star Trek Chronology in terms of feeling like an actual "history book" instead of a scrap book of events and stuff, I actually did like it quite a bit, a lot better then that Franz Joseph technical manual everyone swears up and down was the greatest book in the franchise. Some nice artwork and really interesting ideas if you're willing to ignore what came after it. Always wondered if the depiction of the Alpha Centauri aliens in the book inspired the player species Centaurans from the LUG Star Trek RPG, given how similar they were.

    Remember in the fluff for the aforementioned LUG Star Trek RPG, the backstory on that version of the Centaurans and their dealings with humans was that humans traded their warp drive tech to the Centaurans in exchange for terraforming tech to help Earth recover from the post-atomic horror (the book was written after First Contact was made).

    Aren't the DSC books writing her as a human from the "Illyrian" culture now?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't see it as ignoring, just recognizing that they're alternative speculations. The differences in how different creators imagine or interpret the same subject are part of what makes art and creativity interesting.


    I believe the Illyrians were always portrayed as engineered humans or something of the sort, which is why I said "non-Terran" instead of "non-human."
     
  4. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Same difference, IMHO; the point being recognizing that it's not supposed to be the version of the franchise that exists now.

    Maybe? Una/"Number One" had more then one backstory in the tie-ins, as I recall, some of which I think had her as a member of a non-human species.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    My point was, I used "non-Terran" because it encompasses both possibilities.
     
  6. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Okay.
     
  7. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    My own reading through the SFC is as a supplement to reading TOS novels from the 80's, such as Strangers From the Sky, without consideration of their canonical state of being. I'm reading it to explore an alternative version of TOS because it is an alternative, not despite that. My reflections and reviews never say anything like "Good book however not canon" "Great but a shame not canon" or "Terrible, so luckily not canon". I treat the word "canon" as a bad word in my review thread, though I don't fuss if other posters discuss it, as long as it's fun. My approach to continuity is simply to examine how individual books differ in continuity details without judgement, and try and gauge if specific continuity changes for an individual book are for the benefit of that book's story. That's my underlying philosophical approach, at least.

    Ironically, I'm finding that the bigger concern with the SFC book is not later continuity overwriting it, that's easy. My struggle with it is a little bit of despair the book evokes about how the real world is going, and the real world makes me balk about how the SFC speeds along through major events and technological developments.

    I'm not familiar with the LUG variation of the Centauran, because my collection of RPG material is a little patchy. Back in the day I bought the TNG corebook, rather than TOS corebook. Thank you for sharing the details of how LUG conceptualized the Centaurans differently.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  8. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Fair enough. I can kinda get that, given that I really like the old LUG RPG's take on Trek history, even though a lot of it has been overwritten since they were published.

    Never read that series myself (probably didn't help that it was primarily ebooks and my library never got copies of the hard copy collections). Remember hearing bits about them, mostly from snatches on Memory Beta when relevant (I'm one of those people who's kinda disappointed that Sonya Gomez didn't become the recurring TNG character she was intended to be) and from a book that was all about the Star Trek novels (lot of behind the scenes info, that sort of thing). Only stuff that sticks out in my head is that there was a story involving the crew salvaging the Defiant from the Tholian interphase thing (which doesn't really work anymore with what the TV shows have established about the ship's fate since) and reading an interview excerpt from one of the authors explaining that his motivation for pitching and writing a heist story where the crew have to time-travel to Frenginar's past was to have the excuse for the female characters to be nude during the story (yeesh).

    I've got copies of the three LUG core books (TNG, TOS, and DS9), and the background notes in both TNG and TOS do describe the Centaurans first dealings with with Earth and all that. I myself would like copies of the whole LUG run and the current Star Trek Adventures stuff (although I'm kinda finding the latter a bit disappointing and really starting to appreciate the "new core book for each era" model that LUG did and that Fantasy Flight Games is doing for Star Wars now), but between LUG being out of print and me having other stuff I collect as well, that's kinda a work in progress (did get pretty much all the samples from the canceled books that were posted online, though).

    (The Decipher RPG made after LUG folded had a lot of the same writers and they ported the Centaurans more or less as-is from the earlier game, with a few tweaks to account for the early ENT seasons that had been made at the time. Never played that one myself, given that A.) I've gathered that that game was kinda janky in terms of rules and construction of the books, B.) out of print, C.) I generally don't like RPGs with anything more complicated then D6s, and D.) from what I've seen of it, there are no advantages to it over the LUG system, unlike how the Star Trek Adventures one has some unique rules and tweaks from the previous games.)

    No prob. I was (am?) a huge fans of that alien species. For being one not invented for the TV shows, they did feel pretty organic to the show; the idea of aliens that look exactly like humans is old hat for the franchise and the note that they're the second-most common species serving in Starfleet outside of humans was a simple way to retcon a lot of the "human" extras as possible Centaurans and make the service a bit less human-centric. Also helped that unlike the game's take on the Axanar aliens, post-LUG canon didn't mess up their backstory so much that they couldn't be used in a canon-compliant game. (Only real problems I can see are that the original backstory of them, Earth, and Vulcan freely sharing tech doesn't work with ENT and you have to squint a bit when the Centaurans are described as charter Federation members and that all references to Alpha Centauri are of human colonies.)
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    For me, the premise that the alleged native Alpha Centaurians looked exactly like humans was one of the main reasons I disliked the idea. I mean, Alpha Centauri is the closest star to Sol, so it's a huge coincidence if both species are utterly identical.
     
  10. Falconer

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    IIRC the LUG material stated that the Centaurans were earth humans transplanted by the Preservers, just like the people in “The Paradise Syndrome” — just from ancient Greece rather than America.
     
  11. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    STIII disco theme??!?
     
  12. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    You’ve never heard the disco theme? Even the 2009 Blu-Ray commentary for the film had the commentators mentioning how it was odd in 1984 to find a disco version as a 12-inch 33 single included in the LP. I’ve got the LP (I rarely play it as the vinyl has an air bubble hill in the lead in to the song, so I hear a thud every time the needle hits it) and it’s odd how it’s own record, and it wasn’t squeezed onto the main record.
     
  14. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Pressed on only one side of the disc.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Omigosh, I still have that. I just checked, and there it was. I'd completely forgotten it existed. Even back when I did routinely listen to the LP, I never bothered with the disco single after that first time listening, so I never thought about it.
     
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  16. WebLurker

    WebLurker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's no worse then all the other "look exactly like humans' aliens we've seen in the franchise.

    Not quite. Don't have all the books, so maybe that was in another one, but the only suggestion of a link is a note on the timeline of the time travel sourcebook stating that genetic tests indicated a specific evolutionary divergence point between humans and Centaurans. I think the Prime Directive novel might've used the "abducted from Greece" as the origin for their take on a Alpha Centauri alien species.
     
  17. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Damn. I do have it "Side 3." Not mentioned in the track list. I don't know if it's ever been out of the sleeve. Although my guess is that I listened to part of it, enough to tell it was a disco version, and then suppressed all memory of its existence (like Starfleet evidently did with the Spore Drive).

    I wish I could so completely forget about the existence of "The Novel That Shall Not Be Named."
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The label doesn't say whether the speed is 33 1/3 rpm or 45 rpm. LP-sized singles were big at the time, but I played it at both speeds and still couldn't tell which I preferred, or was correct. (There is only one speed for the track on the CD.)
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It is worse from a probability standpoint, because we're not talking about any random alien species, we're talking about our immediate neighbors. Even granting the fictional conceit that a certain percentage of Trek aliens are exactly identical to humans, there are still also a lot of Trek aliens that are not identical to us. So it's a simple matter of odds. If, say, 1 in 10 sapient species in this part of the galaxy looks exactly human, then the odds that any single planet would have a human-looking population is 10%, and thus the odds that two adjacent inhabited star systems would have human-looking populations is the square of that, a mere 1%. And the ratio of humanlike aliens seen in Trek by this point is probably considerably lower than 1 in 10, given the makeup advances in the later series. So it's very, very unlikely, much less than 1% probability, that our next-door neighbors at Alpha Centauri would be that completely identical to us.

    Unless, of course, they were seeded by the Preservers as in some versions of the premise. But then, if they are actually human, why is the seeding conceit even needed at all? Why not just let Alpha Centauri be a human colony settled in Cochrane's time, as it was actually meant to be?


    Oh, that's easy -- just time it. The label says the track runs 3:40, and that's the running time at 33 1/3 (well, actually it fades out by 3:35, but close enough). Offhand, I'd say the size of the album is what indicated the playback speed, since the standard at the time was for 12-inch albums to be 33 1/3 LPs ("long-playing"), while 45s were smaller, 7-inch disks with bigger openings that needed adaptors to play on a standard turntable. (As for why they made it an LP single rather than a smaller 45, maybe it was so it would fit in the same sleeve as the main album without sliding around, or so that both records could be printed and sorted by the same machinery for economy's sake.)

    And congratulations, you got me to listen to it again to confirm the running time. Apparently I did listen to it more than once back in the day, since I did recognize the music now. (But is that really even a disco arrangement? It sounds more like just general early-'80s synth-pop, though I'm no expert on popular music styles.)
     
  20. Falconer

    Falconer Commander Red Shirt

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    I was going to say, it seems much higher than 1 in 10 in TOS.

    Forgive me, I’m largely unfamiliar with the other shows; did they ever establish that TOS took place in a specific “region,” or anything? It might help rationalize why the ratio has changed, if other shows are presumed to have stretched the boundaries of known space beyond (or in other directions than) TOS’s humanlike-dominant region. (It seems to me TOS did always show aliens from other galaxies being very nonhuman—Catspaw, By Any Other Name.)

    Yours is the most logical premise, of course. I acknowledged that from the get-go.