Lately I’ve been watching Star Trek, which I feel I should have gotten into years ago, but for whatever reason did not. On top of that, I finally started medication for my depression, but as I’m still on the long road to recovery, I’ve been reading a lot of fics about characters struggling with problems similar to my own. A lot of those fics can be upsetting—they feature panic attacks and suicide attempts—and while they do show the recovery process, I wanted to find a fic that was nowhere near as triggering. Enter Guidance by Alara J Rogers, a Star Trek: The Next Generation fic about Q and Picard.
Over our summer break, I was reading a book whose protagonists traveled to alternate universes which, frankly, I didn’t like very much. But it did get me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in fiction. Not the scientific concept of alternate (parallel) universes—though that’s often the subject of many sci-fi stories—I’m talking about the alternate universes that result from one thing changing in a fictional story. What if Charles Xavier died before he could found the X-Men? What if Captain America was a Nazi? Undoubtedly, a lot of things would be bad. And unfortunately, this is the kind of alternate universe that we often see in today’s fictional media. However, the idea that one different thing could change everything is so broad that I don’t understand why this kind of grimdark change is the most common. Fanfiction also often deals in alternate universes which diverge from canon, but the changes of fanfiction, on the whole, all tend to be more positive and more emotionally satisfying. Though many mainstream movies and TV shows disdain this sort of happy story, an alternate universe which changes originally negative canon material into positive new story fodder can bring with it a wide range of different emotions than the usual grimdark reboot is capable of.
March 22nd is the future birthday of Captain James T. Kirk, and while this post is a day late, I felt the need to honor the Star Trek: The Original Series captain. I have always asserted that James. T. Kirk is actually a feminist despite the caricature that people have made of him in both the new movies and the fandom.In the new Star Trek movies, Kirk is often portrayed as a scandalous womanizer. He sleeps with Uhura’s roommate, then leers at Uhura while he changes on her bed. He also never backs off when Uhura tells him that she isn’t interested in him. Then he watches Carol Marcus change clothes when she specifically tells him not to. This is not the Kirk of TOS! I’m convinced that those who think he is a womanizing sexist have either never watched the series or are possibly projecting their own beliefs onto the character, because Kirk is most assuredly very pro-women and there is a ton of evidence to prove it.
Recently, I have started watching Vsauce3, a great YouTube channel that discusses a lot of interesting philosophical and scientific theories. It’s really cool, and if you have never watched it, definitely check it out. I became particularly intrigued by one video that discussed four logical paradoxes about what really makes you, you.
The Theseus Paradox considers Theseus’s ship as an example. Say you have this ship, and after a while you replace the sails, then the mast, and all the rope, and eventually you even replace all the wood so that none of the elements of the original ship are there anymore, even if it looks exactly the same. So then the question is: Is it the same ship anymore? Furthermore, it also states that if you took all the parts you removed from the first ship and used them to build a second one, is that actually the original ship? Or are they both entirely new ships?
Another paradox discussed in this video is the Sorites Paradox, which asks: If you have a heap of sand, and you keep taking away one grain of sand until there is only one grain of sand left, at which point during this process does it stop being a heap of sand?
Then, if you combine the Theseus and Sorites Paradox and apply it to a person, we ask the question: when do we stop being ourselves? If your leg is cut off, yes, you are still you, but think about how most of your cells have replaced themselves since birth. You look different, act different, maybe even have different opinions and a different personality since you were a baby or even a little kid. Is the you who was a baby the same person as the you you are now?
Finally there is the Teletransportation Paradox, which discusses being in a transporter where you are broken down into little pieces and then rebuilt somewhere else. It would essentially kill you and then put together different atoms in order to remake you. The last you would remember is stepping into a transporter and then coming out the other side. You would have all the same memories and same personality, but we wouldn’t know what happened in between moving from one location to another. And really, how can you even be sure you do have the same memories and personality?So then the question becomes, is the person who walked into the transporter the same as the person who came out?
I started to wonder about these paradoxes in relation to the soul and religion. Most religions believe that there is more to a person than just their body; their soul is also a key part of who they are. In some religions the body takes second place, and the body is viewed as an illusion or a prison for the soul, while other religions see the soul and body as very much linked and equal in value. For example, in Christian sects, gnostic Christianity views the body as less important than the soul, but most mainstream Christians view the body and soul as equally important. Because I am Christian, I will talk about the mainstream Christian view of the soul and body, but I would love to know what other religious belief systems have to say about this issue, so please let me know in the comments! Are any of the Star Trek characters still the same person after having been broken down and rebuilt in the transporter? Is Voldemort still Voldemort even after he split up his soul and then basically built himself a new body? Let’s dive in!
Hello, dear readers. It feels strange to be back in the driver’s (poster’s?) seat after a month away, but I am glad that the reason for my return is Star Trek Beyond.
Despite its flaws, I dearly loved the first Star Trek reboot film. It wasn’t particularly Star Trek-y, and it was full of weird nonsense science, but it had heart. Then they made Star Trek Into Darkness, which, well… the nicest thing I can say about that was they could only go up from there. (I actually had to go back and reread reviews of STID to remember what happened besides like, sexist racist garbage.) The first trailer for Star Trek Beyond didn’t really reassure me that the people behind the movie knew anything about the franchise, but I figured maybe it would at least be a return to the original: a space action movie that accidentally had Star Trek characters as its cast. Instead I am delighted to report that the actual movie was probably the Star Trek-iest thing Hollywood has gotten close to in quite some time.
Major spoilers for Star Trek Beyond after the jump.
For a long time, I thought Star Trek: The Next Generation was the end-all and be-all of all Star Trek reboots. Sure, it’s a bit campy at times, but who doesn’t love Captain Jean-Luc Picard saving the day with his wits and idealism? I grew up watching the show. But now that I’m older and marginally wiser, I see re-runs of TNG and I cringe a bit. Sure, Picard is as intrepid as ever, but many of the primary female characters are shoehorned into tired stereotypes. The moment you start googling TNG, you open a Pandora’s Box of sexism from the whole production crew. It seems like despite whatever other role they play, women in Star Trek are first and foremost sex objects. This even bleeds into today’s film reboot of Enterprise,where a sexy female co-star strips down to her sexy underwear in both of the movies. For a show about a wagon train to the stars, set in an idealistic post-scarcity future that was revolutionary in so many other ways, it’s deeply disappointing. And then I started watching Deep Space Nine, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that DS9does a much better job with its female characters.
Spoilers for Seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after the jump.
We here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends love to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day – and that means all kinds of love. While our post earlier today showcased our favorite canon and fanon romantic ships for the year, in this post we’re going to look at some of our favorite relationships between family members, as voted on by the whole LGG&F crew.
Look, I try to be flexible. Things change, I can change, new things can come to be. I love Star Trek, but that thing is now nearing its 50th anniversary. Star Trek can change, too—spinning through many incarnations, hopping between mediums, swapping out cast members, and stepping on and off the Enterprise, the franchise has always committed to flexibility.
I don’t think that’s a trailer for an awful movie. It could really be a lot of fun, with the dirtbikes and the Beastie Boys and the whole spacey Justin Lin action-comedy thing it’s doing. But that ain’t Star Trek, cats and kittens. Not without a little more; there’s a major piece missing still.
While Star Trek and Star Wars still reign supreme when it comes to science fiction, I have noticed that in the past couple of years, there has been a different sort of trend happening in sci-fi. Usually what we get in sci-fi media is the story of plucky humans traveling the universe and beating all the odds. Though humans are usually not ignorant when it comes to science and space travel, there are usually alien species that are much older and significantly more advanced. Many oldersci-fi stories are hopeful humanistic stories about how we are able to overcome some sort of problem despite our lesser tech, or by showing how human resourcefulness and good old-fashioned spunk make us major players in the universe despite not being as advanced as some of the older races.
We have always been fascinated with the idea that we are not alone in the universe; that there is some alien presence out there older than us, maybe watching us. We aren’t certain, but we’re confident that one day we will run into them. But as our technology advances more and more, people look up in the sky and wonder why we haven’t encountered an alien presence or why we haven’t at least seen evidence of them through our most advanced telescopes. While this hasn’t stopped people from believing in aliens, this had led to two interesting theories: that either we are alone in the universe, or maybe we’re the more advanced race. For some reason, when we are left with these theories, science fiction starts to become a little less hopeful and a little more bleak in its outlook toward humanity.
Here’s the funny thing about Star Trek: for a show about the future, its most beloved installments were made in the distant past. Next Generation has been off the air for twenty years, and most of its run is closer in time to the lo-fi 60’s original than the present day. Yes, J.J. Abrams has been mucking about in the canon lately, but that guy doesn’t get it. It’s all lens flares and space battles, rather than the space-procedural we all loved.
So, how do you fill the gap? Fanfiction? Yes, please. Speculation about a TV reboot? Definitely! But there’s something even better:
Ladies, gentlemen, and the fine folk of all other genders, I give to you: STAR TREK NOVELTY TWITTER.