When did the Pon Farr cycle become seven years?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Neopeius, Sep 26, 2022.

  1. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    At no point in "Amok Time" is it said that Pon Farr renews, and certainly not every seven years. What is said is that T'Pring and Spock were seven when they were betrothed (with the strong implication that they have not seen each other since).

    Interestingly, in "Spockanalia", released 9-1-67, fan writers are talking about a seven year Pon Farr cycle, which now seems to be widespread, perhaps even canon.

    So, when did that happen, and was it always the intention?
     
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  2. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Here?

    DROXINE: You only take a mate once every seven years?
    SPOCK: The seven-year cycle is biologically inherent in all Vulcans. At that time, the mating drive outweighs all other motivations.

    The Star Trek Transcripts - The Cloud Minders (chakoteya.net)

    No idea why it would have come up in fan discussions before then, and particularly not as early as 2 weeks before "Amok Time" originally aired.

    Edit:
    A page number for the passage you mention would be nice. Otherwise, you're asking people to scroll through who-knows-how-much of an 89-page slideshow trying to locate it.

    A search of the text finds mention of someone having spoken to Bob Justman in June of that year. There must have been discussion of the story, for which filming would have been either in process or just-completed, but any fan suppositions of a seven-year-cycle would seem to have been the result of misunderstanding or mistaking story details given during the conversation (interview?) with Justman.

    spockanalia-seven-1.png spockanalia-seven-2.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  3. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Harve Bennet then turned around and only made it for Vulcan males in The Search for Spock.

    It's all sorts of screwed up at this point. I honestly prefer the aired explanation in "Amok Time" which made it seem like a one-time thing. Setting a biological timer for exactly every 7 years seems too robotic. And then you have to factor in every Vulcan has to do this. There must be times when hundreds, if not thousands of Vulcans overlap. DO they all have to go home for sex? I'm sure I read a memo that after Pon Farr Spock could "screw like the rest of us."
     
  4. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My head canon is that non cursed radioactive space is at a premium on Vulcan, or it was, because Romulans don't go through Pon Farr.

    If their breeding wasn't artificially staggered, they would all have staved to death centuries ago.
     
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  5. alchemist

    alchemist Captain Captain

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    Sturgeon mentioned the seven year cycle in the final draft script (May 2, 1967) that he turned in to the studio. After McCoy examined Spock in sickbay, he told Kirk:

    When Sturgeon's script made the rounds for review, Gregg Peters objected to this bit of dialogue because he felt McCoy would not know this and Spock would not tell him. Roddenberry suggested that Kirk "use his strength and authority to probe and demand the answer from Spock." At the end of the day, after Sturgeon's draft had been reviewed by the production personnel, this "seven year" bit got lost.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  6. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting that it eventually made its way into The Cloud Minders. Gerrold and Crawford must have been going through old memos?

    Kor
     
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  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Not to mention Droxine (at least, in-universe).
     
  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was originally "every year" and known as the "Ponn Neer" cycle. Then it went far.
     
  9. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Oof. Go to your room.
     
  10. shapeshifter

    shapeshifter Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I thought the 7YC had been retconned away a long time ago with multiple episodes showing Vulcans indulging in random relations. Even Spock in SNW!

    I am actually a little sad to see it scrubbed. I know it is stupid but it did serve as a partial reason for the Great Divide on Vulcan. I always thought of Sybok (and those nomad Vulcans on ENT, one of which encouraged T'Pol to experient outside the Law) as a genetic alterations the same as in the Romulan population that once decided to split Vulcan in favor of loving with their hearts instead of on a timetable.

    Cannot wait to see the Sybok story explained on SNW.
     
  11. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Like the article on Vulcan that got passed out to 'zines as early as December '66, it might have been part of the background for Spock and the Vulcans.

    Alternatively, perhaps the fans had gotten their hands on Sturgeon's script? Or it was floating around as background once "Amok Time" was filmed? Remember that the episode was filmed way back in June, and it was widely advertised the whole summer that one of the first eps of the second season would involve Spock going home to get married.

    We have a very rigid definition of canon these days, being "only if it's on TV", as well a conception that fans back in the day only had the TV episodes, after they were aired, to go on. I'm finding that there was a strong connection between Roddenberry et. al. and the fans, and information flowed through multiple sources.

    Sorry about that.
     
  12. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Even D.C. Fontana explained years ago that Vulcans were able to engage in relations at any time. But the Pon Farr was when they were absolutely driven do so, accompanied by all the old mysterious rituals and whatnot.

    (source: Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, as quoted at Memory Alpha)

    Kor
     
  13. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    I think the problem here may be that he's been spending too much time in his room as it is.
     
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  14. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Floating around where? It's not as if it would have been circulated via a Usenet bulletin board or anything of the sort.

    I know that now, because I was able to look it up this morning on the Internets.

    Yeah, I watched a fair portion of the series on its original run, but I don't remember that at all. My first hint of anything to do with the content of the episode was watching the episode at the same time the rest of the viewing audience saw it.

    While that may be true, I suspect that those who had any access at all to such information constituted a very small and very closed circle. General knowledge this was not.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I can make puns anywhere.
     
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  16. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    FWIW, the seven-year interval is mentioned in TMOST:
     
  17. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You're a punisher.
     
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  18. Maurice

    Maurice Snagglepussed Premium Member

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    BTW, I was going through some Roddenberry memos and ran into one with story launchpads from Dec. 1966 where he apparently came up with the notion of "Amok Time" and said the mating urge hit every 27 years or something like that. So 27 years after puberty, maybe, was his OG notion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
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  19. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry for my lack of clarity. I meant the information, not the script. Maybe it was in a background document akin to the articles sent to clubs, or perhaps it was a piece of intel picked up by fans visiting the set.

    And you were in the majority. But there was a tier of fandom that was connected. By September 1967, there were 1036 people in the Leonard Nimoy Fan Association. Figure about a 20th of them were club officers who had direct connections with someone in Trek production.

    For sure. Though if you were active in Fanac, the info got around. For instance, the writer's guide was circulated at Tricon '66. That's nearly a 1000 fans with access to it. Certainly a tenth of them would have had interest in it. If it was seen enough to make mention in the 'zines, then it was available to fandom in general. It's just that SF fandom was still pretty small back then, at least fanac-active fandom.

    That's the reason why I'm convinced the first letter campaign to save Star Trek, spurred by Roddenberry and led by Ellison, was probably pretty small in comparison to #2.

    Note: Spockanalia had an initial run of 350. It was promoted by Yandro, one of the biggest fanzines (they may even have shared a mailing list -- the numbers are right). If you go off the F&SF rule, that three people read an SFnal mag for each single recipient, then that's 1000 people who knew about the seven-year Pon Farr itch well before the third season. And that's just one source.

    That sounds like a lot, but of course, the non-fanac active fans, like you, numbered in the millions or tens of millions, not the hundreds (maybe the thousands).
     
  20. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By the time VOY's medical database was written, it was clearly a 7 year cycle
     
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