Welcome to the Captain's Chair and find out what's new on the Star Trek: The Interim Years website - www.uss-sheffield.co.uk.
The first details of the ST: Solace aspect of the Interim Years are revealed.
Click here for the Mixed Traffic Gala and Tour De Yorkshire on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. 5th May 2019.
Another month, another Star Trek debate on my foreword page:
1. Single parent families and divorce.
People are still going to fall in and out of love in the 23rd and 24th Century. Star Trek has dealt with this (Crushers and the Siskos) by killing off the missing parent. A bit of a cop-out if you ask me. The Interim years will have a character deal with an actual split family. Relatable to real life and a sign that social and technological progress wonít fix everything. And with Andorians having four genders, for example, you might have families with three parents not four etc. There are also Clan and House considerations for characters.
2. Social Classes.
Now Gene may have argued, were he alive, that this is utopia and we all have the great life of the Federation. The truth is that this isnít the case. If you live on Vulcan and Earth you have all the advantages and luxuries of Federation life. Out on a colony that might be just starting, or might be on the frontier or even a failing colony (Turkana IV and Nimbus III to name but two), your opportunities in life and social standards may not measure up to the Federation aspirational standard. The Interim Years will address life away from the core worlds.
3. Dysfunctional families.
Star Trek has one huge failure : people are people. In a realm where we have replicators and technological luxury, weíre all supposed to be nice to one another and share in the utopian wealth. The reality check is that this is very unlikely to happen; people are selfish, greedy, narcissistic, addicts as well as having social and mental issues such as being jealous, prone to violence and other human failings. Whilst Star Trek has councillors and Vulcan mindmelds as well as super medicine, there will always be people with personality and other quirks and issues. The Star Trek universe seems to want to put people into the same mould as utopian, ambitious, friendly explorers, whereas people are all different. And you canít force people into moulds. Too much like Soviet Union practices of forcing people into asylums as mentally ill because they donít conform.
4. Individual Differences.
People are people. Some will excel at school, get good grades. Some will even join Starfleet. What happens to the others? The ones for whom education is harder, their concentration maybe isnít there or they enjoy an easier life? What happens to those who are weaker socially, with lower than average ability or motivation? Where do they end up in the Federation? We canít blow smoke over the universe and say itís all rosy. The disenfranchised can end up in criminality (New Zealand isnít big enough for them all) or poverty. The Federation should have the ultimate in safety nets. Medical advances mean that disabilities can be reversed in many or even most cases. Ability and motivation are the deciding factors now. In a universe where you can replicate anything, why get up off the sofa, let alone go to work?
5. A melting pot of cultures.
Star Trek both describes the Federation in these terms, yet also fails to depict it on screen. We hear of starships like the Intrepid having an all-Vulcan crew, or the Eagle having an all Andorian one. Why? Every starship should have an eclectic mix of species and cultures. Having alien species in such numbers would change the dynamic: humans on starships and starbases would be just one group of species, potentially a minority. In the meritocratic Federation, people are selected for roles based on aptitude and skill, not their species. Vulcans wouldnít dominate the science station, Andorians wouldnít be all the security officers. Youíll have cultural variations (Riker shouldnít have been upset with Ensign Roís Bajoran earrings as itís a cultural thing).
Homocentric terms like chapel should rather be a meditation or religious room, designed to deal with non-human traditions and meetings. How all of this comes together is what forms the Federation culture Ė something that is greater than the sum of its parts and straddles distances only crossable over years at warp. Food selection on a starship or starbase will be unique to each species, creating replicators with mostly alien foodstuffs. Allergy issues just got a whole heap more difficult.
6. Interspecies co-existence.
What I mean by this is physically living together with species that breathe different, possibly poisonous or corrosive gases or who live in different pressures or climates. A starship has corridors and communal rooms like the Bridge and Engineering which have standard pressure and temperature average. Species like the Zaranites breathe oxygen with trace fluorine. Were this gas to escape it would poison humans as well as corrode pretty much any substance it comes into contact with, including glass. Where a species would be truly incompatible, thatís where youíd find starships or facilites with a homogenous crew compliment of the same, or compatible, species. Relations with other species may be possible, however procreating crossing species (e.g. one iron blooded and one copper blooded) may not be possible as theyíre biologically incompatible.
7. Perfection is a bad thing.
If you portray the Star Trek universe as perfection, where no one disagrees and we have peace, harmony, equality and consensus, then you have no drama. Surely the challenge for the skill of the author or scriptwriter is to HAVE conflict, differences and challenges in the utopian-aspiring Federation to bring out the behavioural and social elements that ARE the Star Trek ethos? Utopia is a perfection we aspire to, and is different to everyone; itís not a destination, itís a journey. With the melting pot of the Federation constantly changing its composition, the form of the current utopian society will change tomorrow and the day after that.
Even in the 23rd and 24th Centuries, certain things will stay the same. People have weaknesses, addictions, personality issues and anger management issues. People will get drunk, people, including children, will be violated or worse. How, for instance, will people react when they find out that Sísana is a product of rape? We are better people by then but thereíll still be shock, surely? The strength of the writing is in saying these terrible things happen, even in paradise. The power is that of hope and optimism that society and people will help you, heal you and raise you up to be your best self.
Perhaps the most loaded term in Star Trek. The Interim Years will both embrace canon and not be ruled by it. The question is ĎDoes it make a good story?í and ĎDoes it make sense?í I wonít be constrained by previous stories where the science or story didnít make sense, equally I wonít have the Interim Years be in an alternative universe or distant time or place to escape from canon. Like the marvel Cinematic universe, canon is something to embrace. There are always nooks and crannies to explore, as Larry Nemecek said.
I totally agree. Whilst 60s and 80s Star Trek had the Enterprise briefly visit worlds and species and move on, the Interim Years will go in more detail over areas that have either been skimmed over or mentioned in passing. The science, especially social sciences, will be made to make sense. Just as you cannae change the laws of physics, the same is true of psychology and sociology. Whilst they might be complicated, they make sense. This is also about embracing clever, clever writing and complicated plots with real science. The reader is clever too, donít shy away from it. Weíre in the age of the MCU, Discovery and Game of Thrones; the audience expects a clever plot. Iím going to endeavour to deliver with the Interim Years.
Serco Denholm Marine Services fleet list page updated.
HMS Warrior pictorial at Portsmouth 23/04/2019.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary page is updated with decommissioned Gold Rover A271 and Black Rover A273.
H88 HMS Exploit SQUADEX19 pictorial at Portsmouth 24/04/2019.
After a trip to Portsmouth and a voyage on HMS Exploit P167 n 24th April 2019, the Royal Navy fleet page is updated.
A new rant and update in the foreword page:
The British Museum visit of 30th March 2019 is now uploaded.
New things on the website:-
Click here for the Spring Steam Gala on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. 10th March 2019.
Orion page gets a re-vamp. Have a look at the cartel nation of the Star Trek universe.
RAF page is updated with new images and data.
The Klingon culture page is updated with the new tajtIq from ST: Discovery season 2.
Romulan page is being reviewed and improved - look for a lot of new stuff here shorly. Version 2.0 is underway.
The Tholian and Gorn pages are to get extra treatment too on their psychology and Assembly. This year is the one I want to get the story and background pags revamped and uploaded.
Email any queries or comments to me at
Ady - May 15th 2019
You need to download Eurostile font in order to improve the look of this site on your PC. The use of microgramma bold and medium fonts and colours now make the look complete.