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September 06, 2006

The ultimate guide to Star Trek ....

Being a Sci-fi and Sci-fantasy fan I do, from time to time, have a laugh at some of the plot lines in some of my favourites. Now, I have to admit, that I am a bit of a "Trekkie" - at least of the "Next Generation" series. The first group was just too transparent and "sixties" for my taste. Still, it made an impact and it also set a genre. Recently I read that a Sci-fi Conference had heard a series of speakers "lamenting that since Star Trek, there was no 'real' science fiction any longer." Well, I would disagree with them, particularly as I feel that much of what they seem to regard as "Sci-fi" is so far fetched as to be not really credible.

Now perhpas that is the distinction. Star Trek, Babylon 5, Star Wars, the hallmark was that they simply extrapolated existing technology to create a believable "science" in the future. That was Asimov's great strength, also Heinlein and Arthur C Clark. In the case of Clark and Asimov it was also backed by the fact that their "day job" was actually science. It is my belief that this is why Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Star Wars have attracted such huge followings, they were believable (well OK, at least they had some foundation in credible scientific ideas) and they dealt with emotions and problems we see around us all the time. Even the much laughed at Battlestar Galactica series - the original not the almost ludicrous Season 2 or the more recent one which has turned Adama into a power crazed drunk! - dealt with issues most of us have had to face or deal with at some stage in our lives.

What is sometimes a bit of a problem is the dramatic effect rules followed by TV and film makers everywhere. Thus, every officianado of the Sci-fi multiverse needs the guide I have placed in the extended post ......

Star Trek: TOS Survival Guide


So you’ve graduated from Star Fleet Academy, top of your class, and finally have your own ship. She may just be a refuse barge delivering disused prophylactic kits into the searing hot inner corona of the nearest star but she’s a ship nonetheless. But in case of emergency, and there should be about one major one every week, there’s a view rules of thumb, or heuristics, that may come in handy.

1) If the Captain or any crew member is acting out of character they aren’t upset they are actually an alien in disguise. Alien changelings prefer to assume the role of captain so that they’re presence can be more rapidly detected.

2) Any primitive society that has any sort of background radiation or irregular energy readings or has a stalled development or worships a physical idol or possesses a fanatic devotion to religion is being secretly ruled by a computer. This computer is usually underground and will most likely be disable-able by “outsmarting” it by presenting it with a logical paradox.

3) If an alien creature is attacking and killing crewman at random it is most likely made out of pure energy and either “feeds on fear or negative emotions” or is misunderstood somehow and would promptly stop eating people if only you could communicate with it. As with most alien’s that are incapable of verbal communication select your favorite Vulcan to mind-meld with it. If there are no Vulcans aboard your vessel you’re pretty much screwed.

4) When your chief engineer warns you that something is impossible or incredibly hazardous you can safely ignore them. Apparently engineers in the future are huge pussycats that think the ship is going to fly apart or blow up at the drop of a hat. Also if your engineer says something will take a certain amount of time and it is cutting it close don’t worry it will be finished just in time for you to beam away or fire phasers in a pinch. Likewise with medical science; if you contract a deadly disease you will find a cure shortly before dying.

5) A sure-fire tactic to win a space battle is to play dead and await your enemy’s gloating demand for surrender and then hose them; apparently enemy races are really just chatterboxes at heart. On the ground always bring security teams comprised of people no one cares about because the enemy will always kill them first. Despite having a non-lethal ranged weapon most fighting will still be hand to hand. Not to worry apparently hitting someone gently on the shoulder knocks them the fuck out in the future, nano-enhanced muscles anyone?

5b) If this is any newer Star Trek than The Original Series than your solution to almost everything is either a tachyon pulse or recalibrating the phase array or remodulating the shields. Have your resident Android do the heavy lifting number wise and come up with improbable technical solutions to problems. If your ship does not have an android you are probably one of those “other” ships that are sometimes found derelict, crew barely alive with the dying Captain’s last words warning of impending danger right before the ship blows up.

Posted by The Gray Monk at September 6, 2006 08:08 PM

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LOL! I am also a 'sci fi' fan... this is hilarious.

Posted by: vw bug at September 6, 2006 10:03 PM