📚 18/2021: _Shadows on the Sun_ by Michael Jan Friedman ⭐️⭐️ #startrek 🖖

Didn’t really care for a McCoy still blindly obsessed over his ex after decades, or the markedly somber tone of the crew’s return to Earth following the events of STVI:TUC. Very much a downer of a story.

📚 14/2021: The Folded World by Jeff Mariotte ⭐️⭐️ #startrek #tos

Mostly a trek through a haunted house, with weird vistas and spooky monsters or villains jumping out. Some odd characterizations that seemed a bit off. Not horrible, but not a standout, either.

From Q&A to The Cage

Including Short Treks episodes in a chronological rewatch means that the very recently produced Short Treks episode “Q&A”, dealing with Spock’s first day on the Enterprise, comes just before the original pilot for TOS, “The Cage” (and then the first two seasons of DIS before going into TOS proper).

Interestingly, I didn’t find this nearly as jarring as one might think, and while there are absolutely aspects I have problems with (like the external shots of the turbolifts that look like roller coasters surrounded by an absolutely ludicrous amount of open space), I do think it says good things about the care that the modern crew is taking with bringing TOS-era stories into the modern age.

Turbolifts aside, while the DIS version of the Enterprise is absolutely a modern interpretation, it is such a respectful interpretation that it works well for me, even when going from that to the very early ‘60s set from The Cage.

Part of Peck’s DIS interpretation of Spock, of course, was intended to act as a bridge between the more emotional version seen in The Cage and the more reserved version seen in the rest of TOS, and the events of Q&A tie directly into this. Romijn’s Number One is enjoyable, brining a little more warmth to Barret’s, and Mount’s Pike is quite simply an incredible match for Hunter, and it’s even more striking when watching them back-to-back like this.

So yes, as expected, there are differences. How could one expect otherwise, with five decades between the two productions? But even so, it’s quite impressive how well they mesh — at least, in my opinion. I may not agree with every choice the current stewards of Trek are making, but I think it’s clear that they have a lot of love and respect for the universe.

Star Trek Doesn’t Exist Within Star Trek

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.

Linkdump for November 14th through November 29th

Sometime between November 14th and November 29th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Linkdump for October 2nd through November 9th

Sometime between October 2nd and November 9th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

Linkdump for May 26th through July 11th

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

Linkdump for May 13th through May 25th

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.”