Star Trek XI tech in future TNG-era novels?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by King Daniel Paid CBS Plant, May 18, 2009.

  1. King Daniel Paid CBS Plant

    King Daniel Paid CBS Plant Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    (I know some of this stuff is discussed elsewhere, but i'm talking about it with reguards to the original trek universe)

    I know it’s been debated to death around here as to whether the Trek novels should acknowledge the events of Star Trek Countdown, but what about using the various new technologies from both it and the new Star Trek film?
    Surely coming from Spock Classic’s timeline (i.e. everything up until the new film) they are irrefutable “canon” and thus by Space Law must be acknowledged in novels (Ha! I actually used the c-word. I feel all dirty now. Ewww.).

    I’m putting this in the TrekLit section because the only place the original TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT crews live on is in TrekLit, and thus this is the only place to be affected by this stuff. Also those scary technical books come under TrekLit, too.

    Transwarp Beaming
    Invented by Scotty, presumably after his TNG-era resurrection, and allows beaming from planet to planet. This has the potential to make spaceships for passenger transport obsolete overnight – especially since all it takes is a minor software upgrade (performed by Spock Classic in about 10 seconds in the movie) to change a shuttle’s on-board transporter into one capable of beaming onto a ship light-years away and travelling at warp speed. No doubt this will be forgotten come Star Trek XII.
    The fact that the Nerada and the Enterprise-E were both used in Countdown to move people gives weight to the argument that this might be an extremely new technology – although it’s unlikely political enemies like the Vulcans and Romulans would allow random people free beaming access to their planets.

    Decalithium and Red Matter
    Red Matter is the latest in a long line of Star Trek WMD’s. It’s made from Decalithium (which is, like, Dilithium times 10 or maybe something about plastic model rub-ons). Countdown implies that this is a very new technology created on Vulcan (which may not be part of the Federation at the time of Countdown)
    No doubt, like Genesis, Thaleron Radiation and the rest it too will be forgotten in the world of TV/film Trek. But Genesis got a quadrilogy of novels and Thaleron got mentions in Titan and Destiny. Will Red Matter? (will blue mind? Sorry) Especially if the singularities might either destroy you or send you back in time…which brings me to…

    Ships that can survive black holes
    Both Nerada and the Jellyfish survived trips though black holes (I’m gonna pre-empt complaints about time-dilation by saying the ships’ warp fields prevented that.). Although the film showed us differently (as did the novel Federation), I can’t imagine anything being powerful enough to destroy a ship that survived a trip though a black hole. That said, it was said in ST: TMP that Voyager VI survived a trip though a black hole, and it was made mostly of tin foil, and some slightly stronger bits of tin foil.

    The USS Kelvin NCC-0514
    A survey ship with a badass captain, and an XO borrowed from Diane Carey’s novels. As this ship was around for a few milliseconds before the Nerada arrived (the point at which the Trek universes diverge), this ship exists in both timelines (the petition for a Starship Kelvin novel series starts here!).
    Aside from the fact that the Kelvin (like the NX01) looks much more advanced than the ships that follow it in the original timeline (which is just an artistic thing that too many TOS die-hards get wound up about), this shouldn’t cause any troubles for modern Trek novels (it might throw a spanner into Margaret Clark’s plan to explain away the ENT-TOS tech downgrade, however). If you ignore the line Spock Classic says that “Your father lived to see you become Enterprise captain” you can even slot Final Frontier and Best Destiny (and Enterprise: The First Adventure) in afterwards as what was ‘supposed’ to happen before Nero showed up.
    Also there were a few cool new aliens on the Kelvin crew as well, of which we know nothing about.

    Stuff from Countdown
    The floating hologram screens over the consoles on the Enterprise-E are very cool, as are the new uniforms (sure, I could picture the crew of any book in them, but I’d like to read the words. I’m like that.)

    So – are we gonna see any of this stuff in forthcoming novels (after we’ve smashed-in the Typhon Pact in 2010)? Or will it all be swept under the Great Space Rug and forgotten? There’s bags of potential for giving all this stuff origin stories, if done right.
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    As I remarked before, TNG: "Bloodlines" established that the Federation was already aware of interstellar (subspace) transporter technology, but it was rarely used due to its risks and extreme power demands. The simplest interpretation is that this is the technology Scotty invented (probably before he was lost on the Jenolan, because "Bloodlines" was less than two years after his reawakening), and that in the movie, its use was justified due to the extreme emergency. The power usage issue is still a problem, though; as you say, the film implies that even a low-power shuttlecraft transporter can do it. But I agree that this will probably become one of ST's many forgotten technological advances, since its regular use would be too great a change in the status quo (which is no doubt why it was never mentioned after "Bloodlines").

    Well, by that logic it would be dilithium times 5, since di- means 2.

    It depends on the nature of the fictional singularity. Heck, in real life, you could survive passage through a black hole if it were large enough, say, a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. The thing that does you in isn't the gravity per se, but the tidal stress -- one end of your ship is closer than the other end, and if the gravity gradient is steep enough, that means one end is getting pulled significantly harder than the other end, so the ship gets pulled apart. But gravity goes as the inverse square of distance from the center of mass. The larger the black hole is relative to your ship, then the less relative difference there is between the distances of the front and back ends of your ship, and the weaker the tidal stress gets.

    Now, red matter "black holes" exert a gravitational effect that doesn't work much like real gravity at all. Their pull is far stronger at a distance than that of a real black hole. Perhaps their gravity doesn't fall off by an inverse-square law, so maybe the tidal effect doesn't apply. And really, "black hole" seems to be something of a misnomer, since the singularities in the film exhibit none of the properties of a real black hole aside from the blackness.

    Nope, somebody beat you to it.

    I still don't accept the notion that just because the technology looks more modern by our standards, that means it has to be genuinely more advanced. Looks can be deceiving. It could just be a matter of aesthetics. Or maybe the designers of the Prime-timeline Enterprise favored using more reliable, proven technology rather than embracing all the flashy new stuff.

    And at Starfleet and aboard the Enterprise.

    The books are only up to 2381, and Countdown was in 2387. It may be quite a few years before these questions need to be addressed.
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    The tech I'd love to see are those free-floating holograms that Ayel was tossing around in the beginning of the movie. Although I guess those could be the same tech as the holograpic control panels on the Countdown Ent-E.
  4. King Daniel Paid CBS Plant

    King Daniel Paid CBS Plant Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    You're a Trek info machine, Christopher!

    You keep saying we’ve got ages to go until the novels “catch up” with Countdown, but what’s to stop a(nother) skip of a few years after this Typhon Pact thing is done with? Then use loads on non-linear storytelling to catch us up and fill us in as-and-when.
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    There's nothing to stop such a massive leap forward, but I don't see any reason why it's desirable to force the novels' story progress to jump forward 6 years just to conform to one comic-book miniseries. Particularly given that ST screenwriter Roberto Orci has repeatedly stated that Countdown isn't canonical, even though he's credited as its co-plotter. (He reiterated that statement just a day or two ago in his Q&A thread, in response to questions about inconsistencies between Countdown and the film with regard to the Narada's destructive power and the apparent contradiction over whether Spock knew Nero beforehand.) The novels have their own stories to tell, and they should tell those stories at the pace that makes the most sense.