Occasionally in Star Trek — at least twice that I can easily think of, possibly other times — we are shown displays of prior ships named Enterprise. The first time this happens, in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this display includes the first space shuttle.

(The second time I can easily come up with is the display cabinet in the observation lounge on the Enterprise-E in First Contact, but that display jumps directly from the aircraft carrier to the first appropriately named starship. A shuttle model is seen on display in Star Trek Into Darkness, but that’s contained in a lineup of notable space exploration milestones, not of ships of a specific name, so that passes — except for the fact that that entire film should be struck from the Trek canon, but I digress….)

However, since the Star Trek universe wouldn’t include the fictional Star Trek universe, the shuttle shouldn’t be included in these displays. The first space shuttle was originally planned to be named Constitution, but the name was changed to Enterprise after a campaign spearheaded by fans of the show.

Now, the Enterprise is a Constitution-class starship, but in ST:TMP, Decker specifically tells Ilia that “all those vessels were called Enterprise”, so it still wouldn’t make sense for the shuttle to be part of that display, and there was no known Constitution-class ship actually named Constitution that might have included a display with a shuttle named Constitution. There was, however, a shuttle named Discovery, so the Discovery in the current show could have such a display. But the Enterprise shouldn’t have the shuttle included in its historical lineage (unless, of course, a suitable in-universe explanation was given for why the first shuttle had its name changed).

Taken more broadly, there are other potential implications for Trek not existing within its own universe. Roddenberry either never created a hit science-fiction show in the ‘60s, or did so in a very different manner. Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley, and the rest of the TOS crew wouldn’t be the household names they are, or at least not for the roles we primarily know them for.

Many scientists have credited Trek for inspiring them on their path to their chosen careers. What paths would they have taken without Trek? How would our technological progress have been affected without Trek as an inspiration, given how many of today’s devices, from flip phones (communicators) to iPads (PADDs), have been inspired in some manner by Trek’s visions of the future?

I’m not really going anywhere major with this. I just like playing with what fictional universes are like when you remove them from their own universe.

Sometime between May 26th and July 11th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Sometime between May 13th and May 25th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • George Takei Accuser Scott Brunton Changed His Story of Drugs, Assault: “A fabricated coffee meeting. Key facts withheld or walked back. A ‘great party story’ about a sexual assault—which the accuser now says may not have actually happened. What happens when an activist’s legacy is tarnished by the story of an old friend who later says it could have all been a misunderstanding? And how do we process such an anomaly in an era of overdue social justice?l
  • when i say ‘don’t make jokes about rednecks and hillbillies’, that doesn’t mean i think you’re being racist against white people: “i say that because you are perpetuating extremely toxic rhetoric about our region, you are promoting stigma, you are encouraging blatant classism, and you are furthering the idea that we somehow ‘deserve’ it because our elected officials vote republican. it’s not cute. stop acting like none of us have the right to call you out on your classist bullshit.“
  • Dear NRA, It’s Time to Take Away Everyone’s Gun: “I’m finished trying to reason with you. So now I, a guy who was ambivalent about guns just a few years ago, want to take your guns away. All of them. I want to take them all and melt them down and shape them into a giant sphere and then push it at you so you have to run away from it like Indiana Jones for the rest of your lives. I want Ted Nugent to roam the halls of his gunless house, sighing wearily until he dies. I want to end this thing once and for all, so that all of you who have prioritized the sale of guns over the lives of children have to sit quietly and think about what you’ve done. God help me, I want to take all of your guns out of your hands, by myself, right now.”
  • The respect of personhood vs the respect of authority: "In April 2015, Autistic Abby wrote on their Tumblr about how people mistakenly conflate two distinct definitions of 'respect' when relating to and communicating with others. This is an amazing & astute observation and applies readily to many aspects of our current political moment."
  • How the 50-mm Camera Lens Became ‘Normal’: “The idea that a 50-mm best approximates human sight has more to do with the early history of lens production than any essential optical correspondence between the lens and the eye.”

Sometime between April 15th and April 18th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Freshly Remember’d: Kirk Drift: “There is no other way to put this: essentially everything about Popular Consciousness Kirk is bullshit. Kirk, as received through mass culture memory and reflected in its productive imaginary (and subsequent franchise output, including the reboot movies), has little or no basis in Shatner’s performance and the television show as aired. Macho, brash Kirk is a mass hallucination.”
  • Discovery Needs to Put Section 31 Down and Back Away Slowly: "Section 31 literally destroys the the idea of a better tomorrow, which is the very backbone of Star Trek. Because, if Section 31 is real then tomorrow is way worse than today. I refuse to believe that."
  • ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ USS Enterprise Design Change Clarified As Creative Decision, Not A Legal One: Correction regarding a link I posted earlier in the week that said there were legal reasons for the Enterprise design changes: "CBS TV Studios does, in fact, have the right to use the U.S.S. Enterprise ship design from the past TV series, and are not legally required to make changes. The changes in the ship design were creative ones, made to utilize 2018’s VFX technology."
  • Woman Who Shared Philadelphia Starbucks Arrest Video Tells Her Story: “People ignore this kind of stuff. They don’t believe that it happens. People are saying that there must be more to this story. There is not. This would never happen to someone who looks like me. People don’t believe black people when they say this stuff happens. It does. They want to know the extenuating circumstances. There are none.”
  • Star Trek: Discovery’s Version of the Enterprise Had to Be Modified for Legal Reasons: Interesting tidbit of information. While Discovery’s been a bit hit-and-miss for me, I’ll admit that in the moment, the end-of-season reveal did just what it was intended to do. I’m not too put off by the design changes to the Enterprise, either; it was a given that it wouldn’t be identical, and I thought they did a reasonably good job of staying true to the classic form while updating it for modern needs (and a much better job than the oddly lumpy NuTrek version).

I don’t often talk much about my TV watching — in some small part because after spending something over a decade as as anti-TV zealot, I’m in some ways still coming to terms with actually finding some TV worth gritting my teeth through the commercials — but one of the shows that Prairie’s managed to get me into is CSI, and last night’s episode, “A Space Oddity,” was so worth it.

I was pretty sure that I’d be getting a few laughs out of the episode from the previews, which made it clear that the murder of the week was going to be at a Star Trek convention. I didn’t expect just how entertained I ended up being, though. The writers obviously knew their stuff (not surprising, as it turns out the episode was written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson, two former writers for Battlestar Galactica, and directed by fellow BSG alumnus Michael Nankin), and the show was crammed with funny and knowing tributes to fandom — specifically, Star Trek and BSG.

Hodges surrounded by Astro Quest fen

The show opens with Hodges running around Whatifitcon, a Star Trek Astro Quest convention, surrounded by various alien-costumed fen. Soon he runs into fellow CSI labrat Wendy, all dressed up in an AQ uniform. They don’t have long to bond over their shared love of “the greatest science-fiction show ever” before there’s a commotion nearby — a murder (imagine that)! Hodges calls in to CSI headquarters to let them know that, yes…”He’s dead, Jim.”

The victim turns out to be Jonathan Danson, a producer who’d been working on a modern “reimagining” of the classic Astro Quest show. The night before, he’d shown off the first glimpses of Astro Quest: Redux, and the response was…well, it was pretty much what happened when Ron Moore first started showing off his “reimagined” version of the classic Battlestar Galactica. In short, the fans were not impressed.

And here was where an already enjoyably silly episode really took off for me. I’d already been grinning from the various Star Trek gags, then even more when it became obvious that they were riffing off the recent BSG reworking. But then, as the camera pans across the shocked and horrified fans…

BSG's Grace Park isn't a fan of the new Astro Quest

…waitasec, that was Grace Park — Sharon Valerii/Boomer/Athena/and lots of other cylons in BSG! But after just a quick glimpse of her, just long enough for me to register the cameo, another offended fan jumps out of his chair, yelling “You SUCK!” at Danson.

BSG creator Ron Moore _really_ isn't a fan!

And, of course, that’s none other than Ron Moore himself, responsible for “reimagining” BSG. And the cameos don’t stop there, as an academic researching the cultural impact of the Astro Quest television show is played by none other than Kate Vernon, BSG’s Ellen Tigh.

The episode goes on from there, with Hodges and Wendy dancing around their newfound connection, complete with fantasy scenarios giving nods to ST:TOS episodes “The Menagerie” and “The Gamesters of Triskelion”, über-geeks a little too involved in the AQ world living with their mother in a room entirely remodeled to match the AQ set, and so on.

The one criticism I might have with the episode would be that it falls victim to the same trap that so many other shows do when involving the geek community, in that they rely so heavily on comedy at the expense of the fringe members of fandom (the geeks in their remodeled room in mom’s house, for example). However, given that they also spent time letting Vernon’s academic and the bartender espouse some of the less cringeworthy sides of science-fiction shows and fandom, and “outed” two regular cast members as fans (and it wasn’t even the less socially adept character who got all dressed up in costume for the convention), I’m willing to cut them some slack.

Bottom line: great episode, and worth watching (you can even see the whole episode online at CBS’s CSI site) if you’re a fan of CSI, Trek, BSG, or any combination of the above.

In honor of William Shatner’s 78th birthday tomorrow today, 3/22/09, I am declaring March 22nd to be “International Talk Like William Shatner Day!” Hey, we have “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”, and Shatner inspired a helluva lot more kids to be like Captain James T. Kirk than any who wanted to be some smelly, toothless, “arrr”-spouting frickin’ pirate.

Now, since talking like our hero is a bit more challenging than walking around going, “Arrr”, I’ve included the following video tutorial for your edification, filmed by producer Bill Biggar, on a loooong drive to the airport on L.A.’s fabulous 405 freeway. Enjoy, and remember, it’s pronounced “sabotaaj”, not, “sabotahj”.

Star Trek Story Record #8 (Front)

Star Trek Story Record #8 (Front), originally uploaded by djwudi.

A treasure I found a long time ago, and recently reacquired from my brother. Star Trek Story Record #8, Power Records BR 513, still in the shrink wrap. This set includes the LP and a comic book with two stories: A Mirror for Futility by Alan Dean Foster, and The Time Stealer by Cary Bates and Neal Adams. While there’s a little bit of damage to the top right corner (it looks like it got nibbled at while in storage at some point) so I can’t claim perfect mint condition, since most of the shrink wrap is still intact, I assume the record and comic are both still mint. From this eBay search it looks like I could get as much as $60 for this if I wanted to…I’m just not sure that I want to!