Roddenberry's Star Trek was " above all, a critique of Robert Heinlein"


#1

[Read the post]


#2

Now I want to see a mashup of ST:TOS footage with Starship Troopers - namely bugs cutting redshirts in half.


#3

Non-American: “Riiiiiiight.” :rolling_eyes:


#4

Lieutenant Tom Paris of Voyager mentions that sometime in the twenty-second century the “New World Economy” was established, and that is when “money went the way of the dinosaurs.”

Money could not go the way of the dinosaurs. It could go the way of the 8-track tape, or church indulgances, or phrenology. What might go the way of the dinosaurs is the corporation.


#5

I suppose “The Economics of Star Trek” was inevitable after “The Physics of Star Trek” and “The Ethics of Star Trek”. What other “The ____ of Star Trek” are out there? Looks like someone’s gotten around to “Politics” recently too.


#6

The post scarcity (except for dilithium crystals) I could accept. It was the obviously drugged “happiness” of the crews that was unrealistic. On TNG the only characters that seemed to have any internal personal motivations were Worf, Barkley and Data. The rest were automatons. Riker turns down a command? Right, a career officer refusing advancement would end up in a psych exam in a real service. I liked DS9 much better because everyone walked around pissed off much of the time. Perhaps because post scarcity Earth was a far cry from chaotic Bajor.


#7

Next up:

The Sexual Fetishes of Star Trek
The Belly Button Lint of Star Trek (Tribbles?)
Make The Federation Great Again: The Late Stage Utopianism of Star Trek


#8

And this is what is wrong with Abrams Trek. There’s no subtext: it’s just about people blasting the hell out of each other, and the “good guys” getting in the last shot.


#9

Perfectly said. With 100 years of expansive SF ideas to steal, he sticks with cops n robbers.


#10

Somebody’s not spent very much time either with the Red Cross or in the MIT faculty club. The Red Cross is a notoriously corrupt organization which was captured by the Republican Party decades ago. The MIT faculty club is a faculty club where university politics are played viciously because, as the saying goes, the stakes are so small.


#11

DS9 started with great source material. They took Babylon 5 and adapted it for the Star Trek universe. (Babylon 5 was being shopped around to different studios. They had a copy of the B5 series bible, character bios, and the stories for the pilot and first 22 episodes.)

  • Both are set on a space station near a transit point. (B5’s jumpgate, DS9’s wormhole.)

  • Both pilots featured a changeling. Both ended with a female second-in-command fending off attack on the station.

  • Both a very un-Starfleet-like center for diplomats, merchants, smugglers, and other travelers

  • Both with a central marketplace area for commercial activity. (B5’s Zócalo, DS9’s Promenade.)

  • One of those first B5 episodes featured a seedy bar, with girls from the planet “Dabo”. The DS9 writers put in a seedy bar with “Dabo girls”.

  • In another first season B5 episode a Minbari is branded on the head by the xenophobic and radical Homeguard. The DS9 version had Quark branded on the head by the xenophobic and radical Circle.

  • In B5 the humans had recently been in a war with another race, who’s leader was named Dukat. In DS9 the humans had recently been in a war with another race, who’s leader was named Dukat.

  • In B5 the captain, suffering from war trauma, had unwittingly become a religious icon for one of the other races. In DS9 the captain, suffering from war trauma, had unwittingly become a religious icon for one of the other races.

  • In B5 a major source of conflict was that one of the major races had for 20 years until just recently, occupied the home planet of one of the other major races. In DS9 a major source of conflict was that one of the major races had for 20 years until just recently, occupied the home planet of one of the other major races.

  • B5 rotated for artificial gravity. DS9 was a big wheel, obviously designed to rotate for artificial gravity, and it even rotated slowly… but the writers didn’t understand the concept.

They did it with Crusade/Voyager too. The opening story for Crusade was announced: Aliens had infected Earth with a nanotech virus, but it would take a couple years to adapt and start killing people in large numbers. A couple months later a Voyager episode had a throw-away line saying that the borg had infected Earth with a nanotech virus, but it would take a couple years to adapt and start killing people in large numbers. (Nothing ever came of it.)


#12

The problem with saying a “critique of Robert Heinlein” is that Heinlein’s works really don’t have a coherent philosophy. Yes, in “Starship Troopers” you have a glorification of militarism, but in say, “Stranger in a Strange Land” you have if anything a glorification of stereotypical hippie values and in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” glorification of techno-libertarianism of the sort promoted by half of current Silicon Valley.


#13

Meaning any episode centered on Geordi. . .


#14

I read the book “The Politics of Star Trek”, and it was horrible, needed a good editor badly and said very little about the subject aside from quoting many episodes, no analysis or speculation at all.


#15


#16

You mammals, always ready to brag about how you killed off the dinosaurs, and won the evolutionary race!

#WE NEVER WENT AWAY


#17

I presume it was intended in the sense of a “critique of Robert Heinlein at the time”, since his views went through many changes.


#18

I remember when Star Trek IV came out and a friend of mine griped about its save-the-whales theme. I pointed out that while it lacked subtlety it was doing what made Star Trek great in the first place: it used an imagined future to comment, and criticize, the present.

Plus it had this:


#19

Golly, I had not previously read that they’d run off with so much.[quote=“RogerStrong, post:11, topic:79289”]
A couple months later a Voyager episode had a throw-away line saying that the borg had infected Earth with a nanotech virus, but it would take a couple years to adapt and start killing people in large numbers. (Nothing ever came of it.)
[/quote]I don’t think they got that specific, but yes, I seem to recall that was in “Dark Frontier”, which aired a few months before Crusade. Scandalous. (They did reference it briefly in a later episode, “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy”, but that was basically a dream sequence. And I think it made it into the novels too.)


#20

They did indeed get that specific.

“Dark Frontier” aired before Crusade. But that was several months after JMS described the story line online. (And after “Babylon 5: A Call to Arms”, where the nanotech virus, the main ship and several main characters for Crusade were introduced.)