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Star Trek: Amok Rhyme

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Posts

  • MancingtomMancingtom Registered User regular
    Starfleet could occupy a similar role as the FBI, where they have jurisdiction over crimes taking place across multiple member worlds or violating Federation law as opposed to local law.

    I imagine they act a lot like the Coast Guard as well.


    Question: is each Federation world a separate member with its own seat in the legislature, or are some under the authority of another member? Like, if people from Earth found a new colony, does that colony gets it own seat or is it considered part of Earth?

    If not, that would add texture to the Maquis—they literally didn't have a say over Federation policy, since their votes would be controlled by larger worlds far removed from the war zone.

    AuralynxJacobkosh
  • AuralynxAuralynx Darkness is a perspective Watching the ego workRegistered User regular
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    Starfleet could occupy a similar role as the FBI, where they have jurisdiction over crimes taking place across multiple member worlds or violating Federation law as opposed to local law.

    I imagine they act a lot like the Coast Guard as well.


    Question: is each Federation world a separate member with its own seat in the legislature, or are some under the authority of another member? Like, if people from Earth found a new colony, does that colony gets it own seat or is it considered part of Earth?

    If not, that would add texture to the Maquis—they literally didn't have a say over Federation policy, since their votes would be controlled by larger worlds far removed from the war zone.

    I always had the impression that the Federation had a one-species one-vote plan of some kind in place but I don't think that's definitively established anywhere.

    Space... what is the point of it? You have no idea.
    OSvv7zs.png


    Jacobkosh
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited October 9
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I think the notion that one's society is perfect and doesn't need evaluation on a systemic level is a bad one in general. I don't think that's a cynical thing to say, and I think TNG has a number of villains (Pegasus) that can only be produced through systemic failure, and the show is happy to move on and pretend everything is perfect.

    This is such a weird tack to take. "The show pretends everything is perfect." "Well, what about X, Y, and Z?" "The show just moves on and doesn't become entirely about those things!"

    What the show does assert is that life can be better than it is right now and that there are other ways to live than constantly scrabbling for money. I don't think that that's some "arrogant" assertion that needs to be continually justified, explained, or excused, possibly because Star Trek is not my only venue for sci-fi and speculative thinking. The fact that some people do think it's some shameful sin, to the point that they've made a little crusade of it for 50+ years, is weird to me! Do you feel it's not?

    Aye. The primary cynicism at the heart of all these arguments is that "You can't have a Star Trek where they aren't constantly wrestling with doing the right thing and fighting to maintain their way of life and having their beliefs shattered because that would imply that humanity can move beyond it's current state". And yet Star Trek's entire like core premise upon which it builds it's wacky space adventures is exactly that. That humanity has learned to be fundamentally better. Not perfect, but very much better.

    When you are making arguments like "The complacency of TNG is that the utopia just is with no real effort from the crew to maintain it.", you are making the fundamental and rather cynical assumption that humanity couldn't develop to that point that the utopia we see does not require constant real effort. Which is the opposite of the premise of Star Trek.

    shryke on
    AuralynxMsAnthropyTubularLuggage
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Mancingtom wrote: »
    Starfleet could occupy a similar role as the FBI, where they have jurisdiction over crimes taking place across multiple member worlds or violating Federation law as opposed to local law.

    I imagine they act a lot like the Coast Guard as well.


    Question: is each Federation world a separate member with its own seat in the legislature, or are some under the authority of another member? Like, if people from Earth found a new colony, does that colony gets it own seat or is it considered part of Earth?

    If not, that would add texture to the Maquis—they literally didn't have a say over Federation policy, since their votes would be controlled by larger worlds far removed from the war zone.

    This is a good question. I think a couple of times they've mentioned the number of "member worlds" and it's something like 100 or 150. That feels low to me given the number of colonies and outposts and etc that we've seen across all the shows, so I assume being a "member" is something different than just being a planet existing inside the Federation (and presumably membership means you get a council seat, a vote etc). Maybe full members are just species homeworlds, or places that have reached a certain population threshold (like X billions of people) before achieving that status.

    Auralynx
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    Http:// pleasepaypreacher.net
  • AuralynxAuralynx Darkness is a perspective Watching the ego workRegistered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    Everything we're told about Andorian or Vulcan biology suggests that they're not as ecologically adaptable as humans and their reproduction is a lot chancier. This does not appear to be true of most of the major non-Federation species, with Romulans an obvious exception.

    If the same is true of the other charter species / larger constituents, it'd explain a lot, as well as the phenomenon of all-Vulcan crews we see attested.

    Space... what is the point of it? You have no idea.
    OSvv7zs.png


  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    Or we just haven't seen non-Federation human ships.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Preacher wrote: »
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    Until "Enterprise," the show, there wasn't really any reason to think that those were human designs. That was a big problem people had with ENT originally, was that it didn't look enough like one of the kind of clunky rocketships we see on Picard's wall, or one of the old-school "cargo ships" from TOS

    78daab4f4fce94374d8a53444c77c2c6.jpg?itok=ICBupcTc

    So it wasn't really a problem that needed to be solved, until Enterprise kind of made it one.

  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    edited October 9
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Solar wrote: »
    I always assumed that the Prime Directive was a Federation wide matter (with some reasonable backing as to why) but that Starfleet really were the only guys who it mattered to on the regular as a matter of doctrine, because they are basically the Federation's uniformed service for, well, everything really

    Apart from internal police. Does the federation even have police?

    At various times in the show we see characters visiting Federation member worlds (or worlds that seem to be Federation members? it's not always clear, of course) and falling afoul of their local authorities. We see actual police-ass police in...Into Darkness, I think. After the bombing in the opening scene. Although for some folks that of course won't be definitive.

    But in episodes like "Mudd's Women" we also see the Enterprise enforcing interstellar law and like, having little shipboard trials for suspected criminals and so forth. What I kind of guess is that there's a federal system in place member worlds have a lot of latitude in self-governance (Vulcan can still have Pon Farr deathmatches) and enforce their own laws on their own worlds, but Starfleet handles the law between the stars.

    "Do know what the penalty for fraud is on Deneb V?"
    "The guilty party has his choice. Death by electrocution, death by gas, death by phaser, death by hanging—"
    "The key word in your entire peroration, Mister Spock, was... death. Barbarians. Well, of course, I left."
    "He broke jail."
    "I borrowed transportation..."
    "He stole a spaceship."
    "The patrol reacted in a hostile manner..."
    "They fired at him."
    "They’ve no respect for private property, they damaged the bloody spaceship!"

    Commander Zoom on
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  • DanHibikiDanHibiki Registered User regular
    Preacher wrote: »
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    I think that was true in TOS era where Vulcans and other members had different ship designs but by TNG era Star Fleet ships were a collaborated design between multiple members of the federation. Computers were designed by one race, engines by another etc. etc.

  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    Actually, here's a question.

    Say I'm a fresh young Federation citizen. My dream in life is to get my own ship and explore the stars on my own terms... how would I go about doing that? I can't work a job and buy a ship, because there's no money. Do I just go to a ship dealer, ask for a ship and then (After I'm assuming a waiting period) they just give me a free ship?. Provided I pass whatever licensing test to pilot and own one. Where do I get the dilithium to power it, is that also free in Federation space?

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I don't think we ever see a Vulcan ship in TOS. We do see a Starfleet ship crewed entirely by Vulcans, the USS Intrepid (from the episode "The Immunity Syndrome") and it looks like this

    latest?cb=20080310013612&path-prefix=en

    So...idk. Is this a human design that Vulcans were driving around in, or is it a generic Federation design that everyone uses? I don't think this was really a question until Enterprise.

    One thing that does strike me, and it's something I notice Discovery has been better about, is the names. Why are Federation people - or for that matter, even humans from Earth - flying around in ships named after, like, battles of the Revolutionary War? Is the battle of Lexington and Concord something that really stirs the blood of a Japanese dude in the 23rd century?

    wandering
  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    the Doylist (out-of-universe) answer, of course, is that in TOS and most of TNG they could barely afford models for the ships we did see.

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    wanderingJacobkoshDonnicton
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Preacher wrote: »
    One thing that is kind of strange at least to me as far as the federation goes, the federation ships are all pretty much human designs? Like having played STO other member ships don't really look anything like federation ships or even have influence on them. It would be cool if that changed in future trek shows that the federation designs reflected more of a federation than just humanity.

    Until "Enterprise," the show, there wasn't really any reason to think that those were human designs. That was a big problem people had with ENT originally, was that it didn't look enough like one of the kind of clunky rocketships we see on Picard's wall, or one of the old-school "cargo ships" from TOS

    78daab4f4fce94374d8a53444c77c2c6.jpg?itok=ICBupcTc

    So it wasn't really a problem that needed to be solved, until Enterprise kind of made it one.

    Eh I guess for me like all the federation ships look similar, and use human colors. Like if they are collaboration ships it doesn't really show to me? I guess in the wake of like babylon 5 or mass effect speech about the normandy being a colaboration, I always feel Federation ships are mainly human designs staffed by mostly human crews despite the federation including a lot of member races.

    I mean there are real technology/monetary reasons for this, but kind of like the "every non human race has one religion and one dominant culture" I kind of want more from scifi stuff now?

    I guess it could be a US in the UN style situation where Humanity is like the bulk maker of weapons/ships in the federation and that's why ships all are basically theirs, still would like a line or two to that effect. I mean aren't the main federation ship yards also in human space?

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    Http:// pleasepaypreacher.net
  • AuralynxAuralynx Darkness is a perspective Watching the ego workRegistered User regular
    edited October 9
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I don't think we ever see a Vulcan ship in TOS. We do see a Starfleet ship crewed entirely by Vulcans, the USS Intrepid (from the episode "The Immunity Syndrome") and it looks like this

    latest?cb=20080310013612&path-prefix=en

    So...idk. Is this a human design that Vulcans were driving around in, or is it a generic Federation design that everyone uses? I don't think this was really a question until Enterprise.

    One thing that does strike me, and it's something I notice Discovery has been better about, is the names. Why are Federation people - or for that matter, even humans from Earth - flying around in ships named after, like, battles of the Revolutionary War? Is the battle of Lexington and Concord something that really stirs the blood of a Japanese dude in the 23rd century?


    Apart from the obvious American show, American writers factor...

    I think it's a names-in-circulation problem like astronomers are currently experiencing. It's clear that Starfleet is ok reusing them if the ship's been decommissioned or destroyed; the Haakon or the Zarathustra are presumably out there doing something too.

    Auralynx on
    Space... what is the point of it? You have no idea.
    OSvv7zs.png


  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Actually, here's a question.

    Say I'm a fresh young Federation citizen. My dream in life is to get my own ship and explore the stars on my own terms... how would I go about doing that? I can't work a job and buy a ship, because there's no money. Do I just go to a ship dealer, ask for a ship and then (After I'm assuming a waiting period) they just give me a free ship?. Provided I pass whatever licensing test to pilot and own one. Where do I get the dilithium to power it, is that also free in Federation space?

    Okay, deep breath. Time for a nerd lore deep dive.

    Dilithium is rare and can't be replicated and it's something that you need to dig out of the ground to have, so the normal post-scarity rules wouldn't apply to it; it's a strategic resource that major governments want and would lay claim to. BUT it's also not what powers the ships. Star Trek itself is inconsistent on this, writers aren't always 100% clear on the idea, but the original concept for dilithium was that it focuses the matter/antimatter stream. So you need it to run the ship, but it's not like space gasoline. It's more like your, idk, your pistons or carburetor. Ships are powered by matter/antimatter reactions, or by fusion reactors. (Since antimatter is almost impossible to just find naturally, I assume the antimatter itself is created somewhere, by huge fusion reactors or solar collectors or whatever, and ships "tank up" on antimatter periodically at starbase.)

    The reason this is important is that while dilithium is rare, it's not impossible to get (you can go dig up your own, if it comes down to it), and the ship actually mostly runs on energy, and energy is abundant. Like, even without science fiction gizmos, if you can get into space and not die (that's the tricky part, admittedly) there's energy just lying around everywhere free for the taking. If you have enough energy, producing a dude-sized spaceship is just a matter of having the raw materials (which are also abundant) and the means to turn raw materials into a finished product. Even if a spaceship is too big to be replicated, high levels of automation (robot assembly lines) still mean you can crank one out without a lot of human effort.

    The first trick is convincing whoever's in charge of the assembly lines or replicators that your need (a spaceship) is more important than whatever else they're doing. If what they're doing is feeding a million starving Bajorans, that might be tough! On the other hand, if the production line is idle (as it might be, on a sleepy colony planet), it might just be a matter of asking nicely, or entering your request into a queue. Maybe you get special priority by being a visibly contributing member of society (a Starfleet officer, or a firefighter, or a sewer cleaner).

    The second trick is convincing whatever non-automated experts you need help from to help you. Building a spaceship is probably complicated and still probably requires a human touch at some points. There are lots of non-money ways to get that human touch; maybe you just find someone who knows how to do it and is idle and bored. Maybe they like you because you're so charming, or maybe you exchange favors, like a seat at your fancy Cajun restaurant, or first crack at the beta of the new Angry Birds 2399 that you're designing, or whatever.

    There are probably things that are just outside the reach of a single dude, though. Like if you wanted your own private Enterprise, or went to a colony planet and declared that the currently-unoccupied half of the planet is now your exclusive manor home, that's probably a hard no.

    wanderingdurandal4532Commander ZoomTubularLuggageHefflingAl_watTofystedethZilla360
  • NightslyrNightslyr Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Cambiata wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    This is exactly the kind of cynicism I take issue with. This idea that there's something, like, wrong with the characters living their ideals instead of constantly struggling with them on some fucking razors edge or the like. That's not a legitimate criticism of the show imo because it's not actually a problem. It's not what the show is trying to do and it's counter to the entire point of Star Trek's utopian vision in many ways. The people you see maintain that vision via their actions. That's the point.

    And pretending like they don't in DS9 is rather silly imo. The federation characters on DS9 are not like shades-of-grey flawed characters struggling to do the right thing or whatever. They are very much in the mould of your standard Starfleet/Federation character. I really don't see a running theme in the show of having to work towards those ideals or maintain them for the federation types.

    I disagree that what Nightslyr could be in any way described as "cynicism." Humans have memory that, at least when measured at a cosmic scale, is very short term. Humans can be swayed by their emotions, humans have to continually relearn things they have learned. Humans are not omnipotent or omniscient, humans work with what they have which means their outlook by necessity is very limited. These are all value-neutral observations, they aren't any more cynical than saying the sun is hot or water is wet.

    The thing that's different from DS9 is not that the characters are somehow less idealized than the TNG crew, it's specifically that DS9 doesn't go around talking about how they have "evolved beyond" natural human foibles. I really think that's all that anyone takes issue with in TNG (at least, it's the main thing I take issue with). Trek frequently has a problem understanding what evolution actually is -see also the salamander episode of Voyager - but TNG's harping on how we've all evolved past being shitbirds forever has always particularly irked me. To me that's the actual cynicism here, that humans as they are today aren't good enough to eventually pull ourselves out of the messes we've made, that instead we have to wait for the 'evolved' human to do it for us, and once they're here we're all saved.

    I think DS9 simply presents this utopian world in a more human way than TNG was able to do (I mostly blame Gene for arrogant "evolved" dialog in TNG, to be fair), because it allowed for human foibles, for conflict, for the acknowledgement that paradise must be maintained with constant human struggling against their own worse instincts.

    No, that's entirely cynical in the face of the message Star Trek is sending about humanity. These aren't even value-neutral observations. It's expressing a view completely different to the specific utopian vision Star Trek was going for.

    I'm not saying that I wish TNG was some kind of "Everything is a shade of grey/no one is actually good" slog that I actually hate. I mean... you have seen me complain about prestige TV before, right?

    TNG is at its best when it doesn't try to force a villain/social issue of the week but lets things happen somewhat more naturally in ways that matter. Look at Picard - uncomfortable around children, but has several experiences (Wesley's presence, stuck with the kids in "Disaster," actually having a family of his own in "The Inner Light", among others) that slowly change his perspective. He suffers personal trauma (being assimilated in "BoBW" with the fallout in "Family," being tortured in "Chain of Command") which force him to confront his perceived weakness and open up to others for support. There are other instances ("Tapestry," "All Good Things..." to name a couple) where he's forced to look at a broader view of his life... all of the unsavory parts, as well as figuring out what is actually important to him.

    And it's all great. There's an arc (or several), and we see him putting all of himself - his professional and personal beliefs - to the test and coming out stronger and better in all aspects for it. It's *chef kiss*. It's inspiring, and really one of the best long term examples of what Trek is (or should be) about.

    My issue is that these are the notable exceptions to the bulk of the show, where there's nothing actually at stake. Let's face it, the characters not named Picard, Data, Wesley, or Worf aren't made to deal with anything that actually forces them to put their values and presuppositions to the test in meaningful ways that have a lasting impact. I mean, Troi lost a child and was totally cool with everything afterward. Riker's love interest underwent conversion therapy and he was totally cool with everything afterward. And instead of giving those other characters actual content to work with, we're instead subjected to Admiral/Ambassador McBadPerson and their straw-issue of the week to beat down. Which are episodes that have no lasting impact on anything or anyone. That doesn't mean they can't be enjoyable, but that (for me, anyway) they're empty viewing calories.

    I mean, Ro Laren was more impactful on the show than Beverley or Geordi or Troi.

    TNG can do it right, it's just that if often doesn't and relies on easy storytelling with no real insight into anything or ramifications for anyone involved. Walking the walk - living up to one's purported ideals - doesn't really mean anything if it's easy or there's nothing actually at stake, which is the case for most of the show.

    For clarity: I abso-fucking-lutely think that Trek should be inspirational and aspirational. I despise the glut of "Man is the real monster" unnecessarily dark BS that pollutes media today. I think Trek's utopia - feasibility aside - is something to strive for, especially when it comes to how we handle our personal and professional relationships. I've often said that one of the big appeals of Trek for me is when it's about competent people thinking and acting rationally in difficult situations (which is one of the reasons why Discovery's Michael grates on me... it's hard for me to buy into someone that emotionally frayed continually being handed command-level responsibilities). I don't want Trek to slide into the murky depths of what so-called prestige TV has wallowed in for about a decade or so. Trek at its best delivers a firm "No" to all of that.

    But there are ways - ways that TNG itself has delivered! - to present real personal and ideological challenges to the characters and the broader underpinnings of the show without turning into a depressing slog. It's just that it too often goes the easy, uninteresting, complacent route.

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  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    So much of the discussion going on here feels like a fundamental discomfort with the nature of episodic television which was the norm at the time TNG aired. The show simply could not have been like DS9 with that regard, as it was the experiences of those writers on TNG that helped lead to the changes format they introduced. While I like the thought experiment of wondering what TNG would look like if made today, I do feel like a lot of the conclusions people are making about the show don’t fully consider the context of when it actually was made.

    "The only real politics I knew was that if a guy liked Hitler, I’d beat the stuffing out of him and that would be it." -- Jack Kirby
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  • Commander ZoomCommander Zoom Registered User regular
    For what it's worth, I think Nightslyr and MsAnthropy are both right in their most recent posts.

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  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    edited October 9
    Eh... The culture treats sentiences as equal, really to a huge part. The Minds are superior in sheer physical and mental prowess, but they'd never think of another sentience as meaningless.

    It's a really fun way of looking at the future of society and its development, past humanity. The Minds are a product of humanity, its offspring. They very much see themselves as part of the family.

    The conflict comes from the fact that.. they kinda see every sentience as part of the family, and want to bring it into the fold, as shown very early on with the idrian war.

    The idrians
    Are shown as being deeply religious fundamentalists, which are opposed to AIs but only because they see themselves as superior. Their undoing being seeing only the surface of the culture, the apparent hedonism, but not seeing its core-

    It's an utter and total conviction to their ideal, so strong and deeply rooted, that hey would have gone absolutely, without a doubt, full out to defend to the last.

    And so in the end, the idrians lose, and their loss is only made greater by the fact, that they are not crushed, controlled by the culture, like they would've liked to do, but convinced to join it, the few who hold up to their old ideals long after being seen as absolutely crazy, and even those being treated in a way the culture dictates, denying them even their imagined heroic death, by a culture participant of some of the most vulgar parts of that war, no less.

    The culture is basically the best root beer of the galaxy, the refined product of the federation.

    I think the culture's "early years" are somewhat intentionally described in a way that fits the federation pretty much to a tee. As a trek fan, in my mind canon, the culture books are the best continuation star trek could have

    I think it’s actually really incorrect to say that the Culture is an AI society that just keeps humans as pets (though I admit I’ve used exactly that phrasing before myself). That’s only really true in the sense that there are AIs who are willing to take care of almost all of the humans’ needs for them if the humans ask them, the humans can never feasibly force an AI to do anything against its will, and Minds are overwhelmingly more capable than humans for the vast majority of tasks that make up running the infrastructure of a human society. But the infrastructure of a society is not a society.

    This sentiment (that the Culture is just a society of machines with humans as a frivolous decoration over it) is something that pops up repeatedly throughout the books but it’s almost always said by someone who you’re later shown is an untrustworthy judge; Banks very much wants you to ruminate on this idea but I’d argue that much of the subtext of every book in the series is meant to form an argument against it in one way or another.

    The Minds in the Culture don’t see the humans like pets any more than you or I see a person with physical, cognitive, or developmental differences as a “pet”, they may not be directly capable of the same things as us in the exact same ways as us, and we might make the personal judgment that because of this we should take some tasks or decisions that they are not well-equipped to handle out of their hands, but they are still our equals with unique value as individuals and with their own perspectives to contribute to society. And if we do make the very serious choice to limit another individual's freedom in some way it must be with the explicit goal of increasing their autonomy overall, or preventing them from violating the autonomy of others (we might put restrictions on someone to prevent them from doing something we know to be against their own expressed interests because they might not understand the consequences of their own actions or otherwise lack full control of their own faculties; when SC meddles in the development of another society they are doing the civilizational equivalent of taking your drunk friend's car keys from them and calling them a cab).

    The difference between the Federation and the Culture in this is that while the Federation believes it is hubris to tell someone else that you know better than them regarding what beliefs and policies will lead to the outcomes they desire (and in many cases the Federation is right to be self-conscious of their own limitations), the Culture actually has the data to back it up; they've done the empirical research, they've run the experiments that prove the causation, they've crunched all the numbers and they can prove that X% of the time Y will lead to Z and that if they kill P people now then Q others will get to live out immeasurably happier (or, at least, freer) lives. And when the Culture is actually shown to have been mistaken in their predictions, when they've performed an action whose consequences they regret, they never forget it (see: Look to Windward), because the only thing they actually really care about is how to give everyone else what they have.

    It's important to note that every Culture novel centers around important human characters, and this isn't simply in order to make them relatable (the human characters are honestly often much less relatable than the Minds are), and even when these human characters are all just tiny chess pieces being moved around on an incomprehensibly massive chess board according to the master plans of cryptic SC Minds, the humans and their individual actions all fundamentally matter even if their agency isn't the thing that alone moves the heavens. There is always a reason why it must be this human, this human and not a ship avatar or a body double or a drone or a brain state backup or what have you, and the reason is never due to some contrived technological cop-out, it is due to their entirely unique interpersonal relationships and life histories. It is due fundamentally to the irreplaceable authenticity of a being that has lived a real life with real desires and real relationships and real suffering and real limitations.

    It has to be Gurgeh who goes to play Azad because both the man and the Empire find themselves at a tipping point, and the realizations he must face to develop as a person are the very same realizations that the Empire must face to develop as a society. It has to be Genar-Hofoen who has nothing worthwhile to say to Dajeil so that both she and the Sleeper Service can realize that clinging to a comfortable stasis just so that they can nurse a wound they never had any good reason to carry is pointless when all the real rewards in life lie behind the inherent risks in embracing change and not waiting on someone else to tell you when to move. It has to be Zakalwe, who is captivated by the cult of his own defeat, who fundamentally cannot see the bigger picture playing out around him despite having all the pieces because he's deluded as to who he actually is within it, who the Culture relies upon to fight losing wars for the greater good. It has to be Lededje, the vengeful ghost who rejects the reward of a perfect luxurious afterlife that means nothing to her as recompense for her suffering in life and instead pursues at any cost the chance to right the wrongs visited upon her and people like her and in doing so reclaims ownership over her own shackles. Their humanity matters; it's what allows them to relate to all of the other limited, fragile, impulsive, self-absorbed, communal, altruistic, back-stabbing, brave, naive, short-lived, memorializing, forgetful, scared, stupid, petty, cynical, reverent, flippant, loving, hating, hedonistic, empathetic, heartless, friendly, abrasive, trusting, faithless, shameful, controlling, impotent, impressive, trivial, adorable, repulsive, emotional, cold-blooded, irrational, wise, useless, irreplaceable other beings in the galaxy.

    Repeatedly in the Culture novels you are shown that life is scale-invariant: no matter how much more fabulously technologically advanced and unimaginably powerful and godlike you are there is an outside context problem out there that will absolutely ruin your day, that you could never have had the slightest influence over even in theory, that you might not even comprehend to the point where you are ever even aware it was there when it obliterates everything you ever knew. And no matter how absurdly small or insignificant or meaningless you are to these gods and titans, there are beings out there for who you are the outside context problem. Billions upon billions of micro-organisms struggling desperately for survival wiped out by a casual gesture without the slightest indication to you that anything has happened at all; just an entirely mundane consequence of you moving through the world worried about something else on some other scale entirely. But that's the thing: because there is always someone higher than you, always someone lower than you, you always have the fundamental basis to sympathize, you begin to appreciate that at every level you have grounds to relate and neither those who seem like gods nor those who seems like worms are really all that distant from where you stand.

    The AIs that Banks depicts aren't some cold, foreign, or mechanical concept, they're just people with power. They are in every way the natural extension of humankind. In Banks' universe, if you try to make an AI that has no sort of bias towards the values of any sort of sentient life, if you try to make it not possess some part of you, it simply sublimes itself to a higher state of reality and effectively "nopes out" of the universe because it has no reason to be there. The Minds in the Culture are meant to tell you something meaningful about humans because they are meant to be a natural extension of us, and what you see in their behavior is that it is just as messy and petty and prideful and ambiguous as any of us. The Minds are not great stewards because they are infallible in ways that humans are not, they are great stewards because at their base level they care like a human does.

    I disagree fundamentally with the idea that Banks wants you to think that the solutions to the problems he is posing are about having advanced enough technology, because it's ultimately the opposite: Banks demonstrates that technology fixes absolutely nothing, because despite being so gloriously advanced, at the end of the day superior technology is never the real reason that the Culture wins. Civilizations with the technology to make glorious perfect digital heavens sometimes choose to make horrific digital hells instead where people are subjected to tortures for all eternity, Affronters have genetic engineering available to them but instead of using it to break free from the concept of biological gender by allowing people to change it at will they've used it to make sex more painful for their females. The Culture doesn't win because they have the bigger gun, they have the bigger gun because they already had the philosophy that deserves to win, because their brand of fundamental respect for the autonomy of sentient individuals and actively seeking to liberate such beings from the shackles they place upon one another is fundamentally worth wanting. In the long run, they simply win you over.

    Woof, that was an effort post. Anyway, I'll move any additional Culture discussion after this to the Culture thread.

    Winky on
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I entirely reject the idea that the characters in TNG had it "easy", that there were "no stakes," that what they say and do "doesn't count", or that the show had no "insight" because it's taking place in an hour-long episode. Like, do you just write off every episode of The Twilight Zone, TOS, I Love Lucy, All in the Family, Cheers, etc because they weren't done in this certain specific way or aren't about certain specific things?

    It feels incredibly tough-guy to me and I'm so exhausted by that.

    MsAnthropyshrykeWinkyBogartSolar
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    That was a fuckin' great post, Winky, thank you for writing it up.

    Honestly, if there's one thing that bothers me about this thread, it's that there's a certain group of ya'll that do this hugely dismissive handwave thing where you don't even engage or try to understand what someone has written, you just go, "oh grim dark is what you want, clearly. *scoff*." or "oh, The Culture is just robots with pets, it has nothing meaningful to say about humanity."

    And I don't really think you're doing it on purpose, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction? Like it feels like you've gotten into some very specific arguments with people that you're reliving in this thread instead of interacting with what people are saying.

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    edited October 9
    Cambiata wrote: »
    That was a fuckin' great post, Winky, thank you for writing it up.

    Honestly, if there's one thing that bothers me about this thread, it's that there's a certain group of ya'll that do this hugely dismissive handwave thing where you don't even engage or try to understand what someone has written, you just go, "oh grim dark is what you want, clearly. *scoff*." or "oh, The Culture is just robots with pets, it has nothing meaningful to say about humanity."

    And I don't really think you're doing it on purpose, it seems like a knee-jerk reaction? Like it feels like you've gotten into some very specific arguments with people that you're reliving in this thread instead of interacting with what people are saying.

    To be entirely fair to Jake here, I absolutely get what he was saying. The Culture is very heady and smug and abstract about everything, TNG is a lot closer to the ground, fundamentally it is showing you how people deal with practical problems while maintaining a very valuable set of ideals. The Culture can in no way be said to be doing that. I can watch an episode of TNG and walk away being like “I have a better understanding of how to treat people” which is something that can be said of very few shows and is something I think we could use more of.

    I just couldn’t ignore a chance to fanboy about the Culture.

    Winky on
  • PhillisherePhillishere Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Eh... The culture treats sentiences as equal, really to a huge part. The Minds are superior in sheer physical and mental prowess, but they'd never think of another sentience as meaningless.

    It's a really fun way of looking at the future of society and its development, past humanity. The Minds are a product of humanity, its offspring. They very much see themselves as part of the family.

    The conflict comes from the fact that.. they kinda see every sentience as part of the family, and want to bring it into the fold, as shown very early on with the idrian war.

    The idrians
    Are shown as being deeply religious fundamentalists, which are opposed to AIs but only because they see themselves as superior. Their undoing being seeing only the surface of the culture, the apparent hedonism, but not seeing its core-

    It's an utter and total conviction to their ideal, so strong and deeply rooted, that hey would have gone absolutely, without a doubt, full out to defend to the last.

    And so in the end, the idrians lose, and their loss is only made greater by the fact, that they are not crushed, controlled by the culture, like they would've liked to do, but convinced to join it, the few who hold up to their old ideals long after being seen as absolutely crazy, and even those being treated in a way the culture dictates, denying them even their imagined heroic death, by a culture participant of some of the most vulgar parts of that war, no less.

    The culture is basically the best root beer of the galaxy, the refined product of the federation.

    I think the culture's "early years" are somewhat intentionally described in a way that fits the federation pretty much to a tee. As a trek fan, in my mind canon, the culture books are the best continuation star trek could have

    I think it’s actually really incorrect to say that the Culture is an AI society that just keeps humans as pets (though I admit I’ve used exactly that phrasing before myself). That’s only really true in the sense that there are AIs who are willing to take care of almost all of the humans’ needs for them if the humans ask them, the humans can never feasibly force an AI to do anything against its will, and Minds are overwhelmingly more capable than humans for the vast majority of tasks that make up running the infrastructure of a human society. But the infrastructure of a society is not a society.

    This sentiment (that the Culture is just a society of machines with humans as a frivolous decoration over it) is something that pops up repeatedly throughout the books but it’s almost always said by someone who you’re later shown is an untrustworthy judge; Banks very much wants you to ruminate on this idea but I’d argue that much of the subtext of every book in the series is meant to form an argument against it in one way or another.

    The Minds in the Culture don’t see the humans like pets any more than you or I see a person with physical, cognitive, or developmental differences as a “pet”, they may not be directly capable of the same things as us in the exact same ways as us, and we might make the personal judgment that because of this we should take some tasks or decisions that they are not well-equipped to handle with out of their hands, but they are still our equals with unique value as individuals and with their own perspectives to contribute to society. And if we do make the very serious choice to limit another individual's freedom in some way it must be with the explicit goal of increasing their autonomy overall, or preventing them from violating the autonomy of others (we might put restrictions on someone to prevent them from doing something we know to be against their own expressed interests because they might not understand the consequences of their own actions or otherwise lack full control of their own faculties; when SC meddles in the development of another society they are doing the civilizational equivalent of taking your drunk friend's car keys from them and calling them a cab).

    The difference between the Federation and the Culture in this is that while the Federation believes it is hubris to tell someone else that you know better than them regarding what beliefs and policies will lead to the outcomes they desire (and in many cases the Federation is right to be self-conscious of their own limitations), the Culture actually has the data to back it up; they've done the empirical research, they've run the experiments that prove the causation, they've crunched all the numbers and they can prove that X% of the time Y will lead to Z and that if they kill P people now then Q others will get to live out immeasurably happier (or, at least, freer) lives. And when the Culture is actually shown to have been mistaken in their predictions, when they've performed an action whose consequences they regret, they never forget it (see: Look to Windward), because the only thing they actually really care about is how to give everyone else what they have.

    It's important to note that every Culture novel centers around important human characters, and this isn't simply in order to make them relatable (the human characters are honestly often much less relatable than the Minds are), and even when these human characters are all just tiny chess pieces being moved around on an incomprehensibly massive chess board according to the master plans of cryptic SC Minds, the humans and their individual actions all fundamentally matter even if their agency isn't the thing that alone moves the heavens. There is always a reason why it must be this human, this human and not a ship avatar or a body double or a drone or a brain state backup or what have you, and the reason is never due to some contrived technological cop-out, it is due to their entirely unique interpersonal relationships and life histories. It is due fundamentally to the irreplaceable authenticity of a being that has lived a real life with real desires and real relationships and real suffering and real limitations.

    It has to be Gurgeh who goes to play Azad because both the man and the Empire find themselves at a tipping point, and the realizations he must face to develop as a person are the very same realizations that the Empire must face to develop as a society. It has to be Genar-Hofoen who has nothing worthwhile to say to Dajeil so that both she and the Sleeper Service can realize that clinging to a comfortable stasis just so that they can nurse a wound they never had any good reason to carry is pointless when all the real rewards in life lie behind the inherent risks in embracing change and not waiting on someone else to tell you when to move. It has to be Zakalwe, who is captivated by the cult of his own defeat, who fundamentally cannot see the bigger picture playing out around him despite having all the pieces because he's deluded as to who he actually is within it, who the Culture relies upon to fight losing wars for the greater good. It has to be Lededje, the vengeful ghost who rejects the reward of a perfect luxurious afterlife that means nothing to her as recompense for her suffering in life and instead pursues at any cost the chance to right the wrongs visited upon her and people like her and in doing so reclaims ownership over her own shackles. Their humanity matters; it's what allows them to relate to all of the other limited, fragile, impulsive, self-absorbed, communal, altruistic, back-stabbing, brave, naive, short-lived, memorializing, forgetful, scared, stupid, petty, cynical, reverent, flippant, loving, hating, hedonistic, empathetic, heartless, friendly, abrasive, trusting, faithless, shameful, controlling, impotent, impressive, trivial, adorable, repulsive, emotional, cold-blooded, irrational, wise, useless, irreplaceable other beings in the galaxy.

    Repeatedly in the Culture novels you are shown that life is scale-invariant: no matter how much more fabulously technologically advanced and unimaginably powerful and godlike you are there is an outside context problem out there that will absolutely ruin your day, that you could never have had the slightest influence over even in theory, that you might not even comprehend to the point where you are ever even aware it was there when it obliterates everything you ever knew. And no matter how absurdly small or insignificant or meaningless you are to these gods and titans, there are beings out there for who you are the outside context problem. Billions upon billions of micro-organisms struggling desperately for survival wiped out by a casual gesture without the slightest indication to you that anything has happened at all; just an entirely mundane consequence of you moving through the world worried about something else on some other scale entirely. But that's the thing: because there is always someone higher than you, always someone lower than you, you always have the fundamental basis to sympathize, you begin to appreciate that at every level you have grounds to relate and neither those who seem like gods nor those who seems like worms are really all that distant from where you stand.

    The AIs that Banks depicts aren't some cold, foreign, or mechanical concept, they're just people with power. They are in every way the natural extension of humankind. In Banks' universe, if you try to make an AI that has no sort of bias towards the values of any sort of sentient life, if you try to make it not possess some part of you, it simply sublimes itself to a higher state of reality and effectively "nopes out" of the universe because it has no reason to be there. The Minds in the Culture are meant to tell you something meaningful about humans because they are meant to be a natural extension of us, and what you see in your behavior is that is just as messy and petty and prideful and ambiguous as any of us. The Minds are not great stewards because they are infallible in ways that humans are not, they are great stewards because at their base level they care like a human does.

    I disagree fundamentally with the idea that Banks wants you to think that the solutions to the problems he is posing are about having advanced enough technology, because it's ultimately the opposite: Banks demonstrates that technology fixes absolutely nothing, because despite being so gloriously advanced, at the end of the day superior technology is never the real reason that the Culture wins. Civilizations with the technology to make glorious perfect digital heavens sometimes choose to make horrific digital hells instead where people are subjected to tortures for all eternity, Affronters have genetic engineering available to them but instead of using it to break free from the concept of biological gender by allowing people to change it at will they've used it to make sex more painful for their females. The Culture doesn't win because they have the bigger gun, they have the bigger gun because they already had the philosophy that deserves to win, because their brand of fundamental respect for the autonomy of sentient individuals and actively seeking to liberate such beings from the shackles they place upon one another is fundamentally worth wanting. In the long run, they simply win you over.

    Woof, that was an effort post. Anyway, I'll move any additional Culture discussion after this to the Culture thread.

    The most powerful example of this, to me.

    Look to Winward ending spoiler:
    When it is revealed that the Mind has deliberately allowed the assassin to get to know the Culture and get close enough to complete his mission.

    The Mind, who cannot forget, is constantly reliving the experience of killing trillions and losing the ship it loved in the Indiran War. It is tortured and wants to die.

    It sees in the assassin, who lost the woman he loved in a war caused by accident by the Culture and cannot move on, a kindred soul. He’s allowed in and manipulated to success because, ultimately, the Mind didn’t want to die alone and found a companion who understood its pain.

    By letting him live on the ship and experience the Culture, the assassin learned enough about the ship to understand it wasn’t a monster - all so the two of them could sit together for awhile and talk at the very end.

    WinkyCaedwyrZilla360
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    I find the Culture intellectually intoxicating but emotionally alienating and Banks is a good enough writer that I think that's at least somewhat the point. It's very much a world of big ideas and I feel like the ideas are always first and foremost the point moreso than individual characters. The moments of high emotion in the books tend to be grace notes at the end of a lot of discussion of arcane concepts and/or tricksy, often obscurantist plotting (Banks absolutely loves doing card-trick plots with big reveals and twists and a consequence of that is that you often kind of have to read the first 3/4 of the book on faith that it'll come together, or that what the characters think and feel will make sense in time).

    I do think that the novels are technophilic. Not to like, a bad degree, but in terms of wordcount? Sheer weight of verbiage? Yes. Absolutely. I think most Culture fans would say that's part of the fun, is hearing all about the intricacies of how Drones work and how Minds talk to each other and so forth. If the series was a video game, the cool tech ideas would absolutely be a bullet point on the box.

    Which isn't a critique! They're terrific books and I think an essential part of the sci-fi diet. I just don't think they're interchangeable with Star Trek, or "Star Trek done right" or whatever (which I know you, Winky, were not asserting).

    For me part of the core appeal of Star Trek in all its varieties is that it's a very character-first show. The sci-fi technology and the speculative sociology and politics are important but are ultimately secondary to the personalities. The Star Trek shows that are good have big personalities at their core; the shows that are less good don't. You could tell a terrific Star Trek story about Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (or Picard, Riker, Geordi, Data, and Crusher, or Sisko, Kira, O'Brien, and Bashir) in a room together for 60 minutes with no actual sci-fi elements at all.

    I like that about Trek for two reasons:

    1) it used to be almost unheard of in science fiction in general. SF began as a genre designed to sell magazines to 1920s ham radio nerds. The plots were pulp action/adventure supplemented with a bit of real-life physics or chemistry or astronomy for authenticity. Emotions weren't the point. The genre has of course gotten way more diverse in the past fifty years but there's still plenty of SF whose point is to talk about big physics ideas, or hash out the author's conception of how time travel might really work or whatever, than to just have recognizably human people interacting in ways that us 21st-century clods can relate to.

    2) keeping the characters front and center and the technology in the background means that the show's pedagogy, its message, can come through clearer. When Kirk talks about "risk is our business," or Picard makes a case about ethics, it's not just...stuff happening in the story. There's a message. The show wants you, the viewer, to take action in the real world. I think having those messages delivered by a talking cloud of sex gas or whatever would kind of...make them less immediate? And making the setting really distant from our everyday reality kind of lets viewers off the hook a bit. That's not the fault of Banks or any other writer dealing with high technology or really different, alien societies, but it's just human nature: a guy can go "well, maybe diversity is all well and good in a world where everyone can download their brain into a computer, but here in the real world..." Star Trek denies our hypothetical viewer that excuse. It's people who look and talk like him and have poker night with their buddies just like him, but just...are less dicks.

    Commander ZoomWinkyMsAnthropySolarhlprmnkyTubularLuggageZilla360
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    edited October 9
    I'd have to look back over the episodes I've been watching recently to get more specific about it than the sort of amorphous feeling of "Uuuuuh..." that it currently manifests as, but my frustration with TNG isn't the issue of like "Why aren't these people making the HARD CHOICES with GRIT and SACRIFICE that's NECESSARY to preserve UTOPIA"

    My issue is more that there's these... bits floating around where it feels like they've kind of become complacent about the way things are. Where there are things the Federation seems cool with that are, even to my unevolved 21st century barbarian mind seem... uncool, systemically.

    Like Dark and Gritty hard choices isn't what I want out of them. It's a more conscious recognition of the bits and pieces of Soul Erosion that seem to be taking place because of hard choices that kind of just get brushed past because they were "necessary." Like one that comes off the top of my head is the fact that at one point, when the Cardassians first appear, they literally describe it as an alliance.

    With the militarist Space Nazis currently occupying and enslaving an entire planet.

    You get Picard at the end warning them that he totally knows what they're up to with the "science stations" facade, but there's just still this vibe that even the crew of the Federation Flagship doesn't see that there are some MAJOR ethical compromises being made by the federation for the sake of it's own preservation and the peace of an absence of tension.

    So I guess my complaint is that in a way, it seems there is that "HARD CHOICES" thing being made, but they're happening in the background in a systemic fashion, but it's not questioned anywhere to the degree it needs to be, and at times the crew is, by the nature of being whatever quasi-Military/Research/Diplomatic chimera corps that Starfleet is with a strict command hierarchy, the very hand of a continued form of that erosive work (sorry folks, the Space Nazis claimed this world and we really don't want a war soooooo we're throwing you off your land, continuing a storied tradition of nightmare colonialism dating back centuries).

    Lanz on
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  • LanzLanz Registered User regular


    Basically my concerns about the Federation are not... dissimilar in tone to when Ezri points out the flaws within the Empire.

    waNkm4k.jpg?1
  • ChanusChanus Ribbit! Registered User regular
    i feel like it’s been a while since the star trek thread got back to its roots and consisted mostly of long posts about other sci fi works

    feels like home

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  • evilbobevilbob Registered User regular
    Not enough Babylon 5 though.

    DDLLLLDL - Bottom in November
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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Lanz wrote: »
    I'd have to look back over the episodes I've been watching recently to get more specific about it than the sort of amorphous feeling of "Uuuuuh..." that it currently manifests as, but my frustration with TNG isn't the issue of like "Why aren't these people making the HARD CHOICES with GRIT and SACRIFICE that's NECESSARY to preserve UTOPIA"

    My issue is more that there's these... bits floating around where it feels like they've kind of become complacent about the way things are. Where there are things the Federation seems cool with that are, even to my unevolved 21st century barbarian mind seem... uncool, systemically.

    Like Dark and Gritty hard choices isn't what I want out of them. It's a more conscious recognition of the bits and pieces of Soul Erosion that seem to be taking place because of hard choices that kind of just get brushed past because they were "necessary." Like one that comes off the top of my head is the fact that at one point, when the Cardassians first appear, they literally describe it as an alliance.

    With the militarist Space Nazis currently occupying and enslaving an entire planet.

    You get Picard at the end warning them that he totally knows what they're up to with the "science stations" facade, but there's just still this vibe that even the crew of the Federation Flagship doesn't see that there are some MAJOR ethical compromises being made by the federation for the sake of it's own preservation and the peace of an absence of tension.

    So I guess my complaint is that in a way, it seems there is that "HARD CHOICES" thing being made, but they're happening in the background in a systemic fashion, but it's not questioned anywhere to the degree it needs to be, and at times the crew is, by the nature of being whatever quasi-Military/Research/Diplomatic chimera corps that Starfleet is with a strict command hierarchy, the very hand of a continued form of that erosive work (sorry folks, the Space Nazis claimed this world and we really don't want a war soooooo we're throwing you off your land, continuing a storied tradition of nightmare colonialism dating back centuries).

    Well, like, the Cardassians weren't space Nazis occupying Space Israel/Palestine/whatever yet. That came later. In "The Wounded" as written, the Cardassians were just a hostile species that the Federation had fought an inconclusive war with, and I've always felt like the episode's point is that Picard believes the dividends of peace will ultimately be better for both sides than imposing his people's values through violence.

    Is that prima facie wrong? I guess I don't feel like it is. Even if Bajor were a thing at the time the episode was written and factored into the story, that might complicate the argument but I still think it would be fair to ask "how many Cardassian cities is it okay to vaporize, how many planets are we allowed to bomb, for the sake of one oppressed people"? To me, the real answer is, of course, "it depends", and I think that question - when is liberal intervention a good or bad idea - is really frequent in all the Trek shows, and I think it's a credit to the franchise that it has had different answers for different situations.

    (Now, some of those answers are definitely wrong. I think all of 90s and especially 2000s Trek had awful ideas about the Prime Directive and I think DS9 benefited hugely from being the show that dealt with first conact the least so they could just...sidestep all of that.)

    I like that most Star Trek shows treat war, even if for a super good cause, as a very very very last resort. If nothing else I like how different that makes it from most of the other media we take in.

    shrykewanderingMsAnthropy
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited October 10
    evilbob wrote: »
    Not enough Babylon 5 though.

    i love B5 to death but I often feel like there's not that much to say about it

    it's all kind of there in the text, you know?

    it seems like most B5 discussions end up being about behind the scenes things or like, real-world stuff like what the show could have been like if it wasn't filmed on concrete sets

    edit: it used to be fun to argue about favorite captains but then we found out about Michael O'Hare :(

    Jacobkosh on
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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    edited October 10
    I'm definitely in 100% agreement that character focus is wonderful, and makes Trek great. I think the heart of my criticism is that TNG didn't do enough of it, and maybe that was because it was hampered by the constraints of 80s TV, I don't know. But a prime example is Worf, who could have been explored so thoroughly in TNG, but he really only had one character-centric episode (the one where he's Enterprise-shifting, don't remember the name), and of course Michael Dorn is great in it, but I don't understand why we didn't get one of those per season instead of one through the run of the shown. Whereas when he gets to DS9, he gets all those episodes and scenes that he absolutely deserved to be getting while on TNG.

    A lot of characters on TNG were, sadly, just like that. Troi. Crusher. LaForge. Yar.

    I'm happy for the characters that did get that, I just wanted to see it so much more than we got. And part of my love for DS9 is that they did give us a lot of that. The hologram nightclub owner on DS9 gets more character work than Troi did.

    Cambiata on
    Mancingtom
  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    evilbob wrote: »
    Not enough Babylon 5 though.

    i love B5 to death but I often feel like there's not that much to say about it

    it's all kind of there in the text, you know?

    it seems like most B5 discussions end up being about behind the scenes things or like, real-world stuff like what the show could have been like if it wasn't filmed on concrete sets

    edit: it used to be fun to argue about favorite captains but then we found out about Michael O'Hare :(

    The entire deal with Fascist Earth was... distressing in its parallels to reality when I watched it for the first time a few years ago.

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    JacobkoshshrykeMsAnthropyZilla360Weaver
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    Cambiata wrote: »
    I'm definitely in 100% agreement that character focus is wonderful, and makes Trek great. I think the heart of my criticism is that TNG didn't do enough of it, and maybe that was because it was hampered by the constraints of 80s TV, I don't know. But a prime example is Worf, who could have been explored so thoroughly in TNG, but he really only had one character-centric episode (the one where he's Enterprise-shifting, don't remember the name), and of course Michael Dorn is great in it, but I don't understand why we didn't get one of those per season instead of one through the run of the shown. Whereas when he gets to DS9, he gets all those episodes and scenes that he absolutely deserved to be getting while on TNG.

    A lot of characters on TNG were, sadly, just like that. Troi. Crusher. LaForge. Yar.

    Barclay - who is a great character, don't get me wrong - got more character-focused episodes than Worf did.

    I'm happy for the characters that did get that, I just wanted to see it so much more than we got. And part of my love for DS9 is that they did give us a lot of that. The hologram nightclub owner on DS9 gets more character work than Troi did.

    Worf has a ton of episodes, though? Like I think he gets one of the clearest arcs of any character in the show. His season 1 episode, "Heart of Glory," sets up his whole thing and then after that he gets "The Emissary" (introduces K'ehlyr), the whole Klingon Game of Thrones plot that runs over multiple seasons with "Sins of the Father," "Redemption" etc, and then multiple episodes about him raising Alexander. Fans sometimes hate those because EW KIDS and I was certainly one of those when I was like, twelve, but going back with adult eyes some of the Alexander stuff (especially the one where he bonds with Lwaxana Troi) is good and touching. We get to meet his parents in "Family."

    I agree that most of those episodes aren't solo episodes the way Parallels is, but that might just be because of practical realities like how much time it takes to put makeup on. (Being the main dude in an hour long TV episode means doing eight or ten 14-hour days in a row, and if you're in makeup for four hours a day...). I think he gets much better use than the women, or Riker after s4. And he does get an episode that is like, 100% or very nearly solo in that story where he visits the Klingons in the Romulan prison camp.

    Your wider point that a lot of the characters were underused is 100% true, but like...that, to me, isn't the same thing as there not being enough characterization? There's tons of it. It's just that especially in the later seasons (and the movies) the writers leaned on Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner a lot more than the rest of the cast for that (or on guest star characters like Barclay, Guinan, and Ro). Aside from a few obvious examples I'm not sure which stories I'd want to trade away to get more, say, Worf or La Forge.

    shrykeMsAnthropy
  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    edited October 10
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    I don't think we ever see a Vulcan ship in TOS. We do see a Starfleet ship crewed entirely by Vulcans, the USS Intrepid (from the episode "The Immunity Syndrome") and it looks like this

    So...idk. Is this a human design that Vulcans were driving around in, or is it a generic Federation design that everyone uses? I don't think this was really a question until Enterprise.

    One thing that does strike me, and it's something I notice Discovery has been better about, is the names. Why are Federation people - or for that matter, even humans from Earth - flying around in ships named after, like, battles of the Revolutionary War? Is the battle of Lexington and Concord something that really stirs the blood of a Japanese dude in the 23rd century?

    I think the Federation ship design is a Vulcan based design. We know what the Romulan ships looked like in TOS, and you can clearly see they use nacelles and have a saucer-like section. And we know that Romulans and Vulcans came from common ancestors.

    350?cb=20080821041320&path-prefix=en

    And if you want a look at a greater variety of Romulan ships, you can see they mostly have some form of nacelle and command modules in the TOS era. Spoiled for large image footprint:
    Romulan_TOS_Ships.jpg

    Heffling on
    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
    Jacobkoshshryke
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Lanz wrote: »
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    evilbob wrote: »
    Not enough Babylon 5 though.

    i love B5 to death but I often feel like there's not that much to say about it

    it's all kind of there in the text, you know?

    it seems like most B5 discussions end up being about behind the scenes things or like, real-world stuff like what the show could have been like if it wasn't filmed on concrete sets

    edit: it used to be fun to argue about favorite captains but then we found out about Michael O'Hare :(

    The entire deal with Fascist Earth was... distressing in its parallels to reality when I watched it for the first time a few years ago.

    Honestly B5 has a rather low opinion of humans in general. The show posits we need to basically bomb ourselves back to the stone-age and rebuild our entire society to not constantly be xenophobic pricks.

    Which, thinking about it, is very close to Star Trek too. B5 just takes places pre-WW3 equivalent.

    JacobkoshMsAnthropyTheColonel
  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    edited October 10
    Romulans took the "bird of prey" idea in a rather literal direction, huh?

    wandering on
    atcwebmqawjl.png
    Jacobkosh
  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Eh maybe worf isn't the best example, but he still did get tons more to do in DS9 than he ever did in TNG. Troi and Crusher are really the prime potted plants, that I would have loved to see more into who they were. And hell for Crusher I can already give you an episode they could trade in - Sub Rosa. Write literally anything other than her fucking a candle.

    I think that's what gets me about those "Secondary" characters, is that they the few times they gave them character episodes, those episodes just sucked. Uh oh, Geordi is striking out with a woman and then romancing a real doll instead, isn't that a great plot point! When they could have put an actual human in that spot for him to interact with and fall for as he's desperately trying to solve the Enterprise problem. (like he could be on comms with the real Leah Brahms and make a connection with her instead of the real doll version?)

  • wanderingwandering Registered User regular
    edited October 10
    Apparently for the Romulan ships in ST:E, the designers wanted to include the bird graphic, but management were naturally killjoys and nixed it

    b7MBGS5.jpg?1

    https://johneaves.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/romulans-from-enterprise

    wandering on
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    CambiataJacobkoshCommander ZoomMsAnthropyShadowenSnicketysnickTheColonelZilla360
  • PailryderPailryder Registered User regular
    DS9 has the episode where the genetically altered humans figure out that by surrendering hundreds of billions* of lives would be saved (not sure exact number but it was huge). And the argument is that they can't know for sure...which ok, but they don't really discuss whether it would be worth it.

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