What's the worst non-canon decision in the history of Trek?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by F. King Daniel, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. STMSTS

    STMSTS Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    The briefing scene in Star Trek VI clearly establishes the 23rd century Starfleet as being a military organization, through the “Are we talking about mothballing the Starfleet?” exchange. This scene can be interpreted as trying to reconcile the 24th century idea pushed by Roddenberry that Starfleet, “isn’t a military organization” as the C&C says Starfleet’s diplomatic and exploration programs would continue.

    For all the talk about the Navy, Staffleet’s (particularly in the ‘evolved’ version of TNG) closest modern analogue is the US Coast Guard (which is a branch of the US Armed Forces), which has defense/protection in its mandate and uses the Navy’s rank structure.
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    More sort of a cross between the Coast Guard and NASA, as I tend to see it.
     
  3. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Roddenberry had no involvement with any of the films after the first one, beyond the honorary "executive consultant" title, which meant they sent stuff to him to look over and then they ignored him when he bitched about it. TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise, however, felt a duty to be true to Roddenberry's dictums, regardless of how little sense some of them made. (Rick Berman even had a bust of Roddenberry's head on his desk, which is just disturbing....)
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Technically it's not a bust unless it includes at least part of the shoulders and chest. A scupture of just the head is called -- wait for it -- a "head."
     
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  5. STMSTS

    STMSTS Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Yes - and they’d put a post it over his eyes whenever they’d talk about stories or ideas they worried would violate his rules for TNG, many of the rules ‘evolved’ during the gap between TOS and the first feature film when Roddenberry was doing his college lectures.

    I’ve always felt the most creative way Roddenberry’s ‘evolved’ 24th century humans were reconciled was Sisko’s ‘It’s easy to be a saint in paradise’ speech.
     
  6. theta_campanile

    theta_campanile Ensign Red Shirt

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    This is either incredibly funny or incredibly creepy omg
     
  7. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The Berman era shows insisted on it because Gene Roddenberry insisted on it. Starfleet not being military is part of Gene's Vision 2.0 from the late 1980s, not Gene's Vision 1.0 from the 1960s. It's one of the key things he changed about Star Trek when developing TNG, and it's one of the reasons why people who focus on TNG see Star Trek differently from those of us who started with the original series.

    I was at a local science fiction con thirty-odd years ago that had Diane Carey as one of the guests of honour. She'd just been through some approvals hassles over her dedication in Ghost Ship to her father, a former Marine. She wanted the dedication to have United States Marine Corps written out in full. She had to settle for USMC, because, she said, Roddenberry said any more than that would be glorifying the military and that didn't belong in Star Trek. She ranted about that for a bit. It seemed like every Trek novel she wrote after Roddenberry (and his assistant Richard Arnold) were gone was about glorifying the military and bashing Gene's Vision 2.0 as much as possible, culminating in the anti-Federation libertarian/conservative fantasyland of the New Earth series. I think there's room for an approach somewhere between later Roddenberry's and Carey's.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What I don't get is, if he didn't want Starfleet to be military anymore, why did he keep the rank structure and the uniforms? It's kind of contradictory to say "it's not a military" while having it retain the forms and practices of a military.
     
  9. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I will note that NASA is very scrupulously not military, even if a large number of active astronauts are active-duty military, and most of the rest are, at the very least, peacetime veterans (Neil Armstrong, for example, was a Naval Aviator in the Korean War, but resigned his commission in 1960). And it's that way because it evolved from the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, and because President (and decorated retired General) Eisenhower, deliberately seeking to be as different as possible from the Soviet space program, wanted it that way. Even though he also specifically wanted test pilots as the first astronauts.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Obviously, which is why I did not cite it as the only comparison. I'm saying that Starfleet is a blend of the military and patrol/rescue elements of the Coast Guard and the scientific and exploratory elements of NASA.
     
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  11. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Quite. I couldn't have said it better myself, actually.

    Which makes it military, but not purely military.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
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  12. Bryan Levy

    Bryan Levy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When the submarine the Dallas is introduced in Hunt for Red October, its current mission was cataloguing whale navigation or song or something. I definitely remarked,”might as well be gaseous anomalies”. Of course, they were also monitoring Soviet sub routes also, but there’s the mix of science and military.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, that's incorrectly defining "military" to mean "combat-oriented." Once again: Many militaries engage in science, exploration, rescue work, large-scale engineering, even diplomatic missions. Literally everything Starfleet does is done by real-life militaries. An armed force with a hierarchical rank structure and chain of command does not cease to be a military when it does things other than war, any more than a crossbow ceases to be a crossbow when you use it for target practice.

    It's true that TNG's Starfleet was originally intended to be "not purely military" in the sense that the Enterprise-D was supposed to have a sizeable contingent of civilian scientists and researchers aboard. But all the original writing staffers were gone by season 2, and their successors pretty much forgot that idea and had all the civilians just be families of Starfleet officers, with the exceptions of Guinan and (briefly) Keiko.
     
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  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There are a lot of qualities I would assign to Picard, but I can't say that "military strategist" would be among them. We know of a few limited engagements he's fought (Maxia Zeta, Sector 001), but large scale fleet actions? Maybe the Klingon blockade in "Redemption Part II"? I'd almost jokingly say that if Jean-Luc Picard, based on the evidence we have, is considered one of Starfleet's top military strategists, then Starfleet can't possibly be military. :)

    On the other hand, I wouldn't bat an eye at someone calling Sisko one of Starfleet's top military strategists.
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Although, despite Roddenberry's insistence that Starfleet isn't a military in TNG, a season 1 TNG episode written by him actually does refer to Starfleet as a military. And to make things even more awkward, it's Q who says it, meaning we can't try to rationalize that away with character ignorance given he's an all knowing omnipotent being.

    Hide and Q is the episode, in case anyone's wondering.
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I see the gestation of Gene's Vision 2.0 a little differently. I don't think it stems from the development of TNG as much as it's a byproduct of Paramount firing him after Star Trek: The Motion Picture and handing Harve Bennett the franchise, because it was a way to differentiate "his" Star Trek from what Bennett was doing and gave him a rhetorical cudgel he could use against Bennett privately in memos and publicly at conventions in the 1980s. Then in 1987 he was back in a position where he could make good on the "vision" that formed in his mind over the preceding six years, he married it to David Gerrold's ideas for a new Star Trek series, and, BOOM!, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
     
  17. STMSTS

    STMSTS Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I think that was part of it, some of the ‘evolved humanity’ elements were formed between TOS and TMP, some of which crept into the TMP novelization.

    TNG is very much an interesting hybrid - Gerrold I believe wrote the Bible and Picard’s backstory - its characters are Phase II+Questor+Vasquez from Aliens+Gerrold’s Klingon Marine. And DC Fontana basically wrote the pilot, Roddenberry is credited as a co-writer but his contributions were more plot elements (Q, the saucer separation) and the ‘Written by’ credit, although it was shared, allowed him to be credited as the series creator. Gerrold definitely felt like Roddenberry owed him additional development credit for his work writing the Bible, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of Fontana voicing similar feelings (as co-writer of the pilot, I do believe she would have been eligible for a co-creator credit, unless the rules regarding creator credit were negated since the series was presold before the pilot was produced.)

    The group-think approach didn’t really work since the season was a writing nightmare and everyone but Hurley and Torme were gone by the end of the season with a lot of hard for Roddenberry (beyond the credit issues) by a lot of the team he’d reassembled for TOS that helped develop the series.
     
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  18. dupersuper

    dupersuper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All knowing, but biased. He didn't think much of humans...
     
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Well, humans are, as someone else observed many years ago, rather like Regulan bloodworms.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Specifically, Fontana wrote a script for a 90-minute episode (counting commercial time) that was strictly about Farpoint, and then Paramount decided to expand it to 2 hours, so Roddenberry tacked on the Q subplot to pad it out. That's why, once the ship gets to Farpoint Station, Q doesn't actually do anything significant beyond heckling Picard. Heck, the script even lampshades it outright by having Picard say "We do exactly what we would do if this Q never existed."
     
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