Lewis' Blog Tales from the trenches of information technology

1Jun/130

Something entirely unrelated: Star Trek

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Ugh. I saw STID 1 this evening at the National Air & Space Mueum Udvar-Hazy IMAX, which happens to be the biggest screen in Virginia, apparently 2 . As a Smithsonian member, I get a discount on movie tickets, and I really do enjoy that theatre. However...

I'm not going to include any spoilers in this post, and indeed, I'll keep it brief. I just can't hold back my frustration and disappointment with what JJ Abrams has done to the universe with which I grew from childhood into adulthood.

When the 2009 Trek came out, I was pleased to see a return of something Trek to the big screen, particularly after the dismal failure of Trek X (I'm not even going to go into how dreadful that end-of-an-era was for me). However, while I was somewhat caught up in the euphoria of the return, the trashing of the canon (or expanding on the original canon, as some would argue) did leave me with my doubts. (Trek canon is sacrosanct to purists; when stories have diverged from it, they have been soundly trounced and made parriahs by all true afficionados.)

At heart, I'm a hard core, die hard SF fan (and author, though as yet unpublished). Trek for me (particularly TOS 3 ) sits close to the edge. For SF to be good SF, there has to be that thread of S in it (science), and I can overlook a lot of plot holes and absurdly spectacular things (people floating in space, alive, with no space suits and no breathing apparatus; fires burning in space; etc.) if there is that one thread of real science holding things together. For that reason, I found the later seasons of TNG 4 more palatable (when the Enterprise encountered a Dyson Sphere - or Dyson Shell, to be more precise - in the episode Relics, there was at least something tying the concept to what I already knew of Freeman Dyson's theoretical construct). At its best, Trek is a morality play, with some very loose SF mixed into it (the fact that much of it takes place in space is tangential to this argument). Forget for a moment how far fetched transporters (with their Heisenberg Compensators) and holodecks are; they're plot devices. However, I've just reached a point where I can't overlook true ignorance when I see it (at least the Heisenberg Compensator serves the purpose of answering the question of how one could deal with the problem posed by the writers' understanding of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle when reconstructing something's - or someone's - atoms from a transporter buffer).

Apparently, JJ Abrams and/or the script writers Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof have very little understanding of the basic laws of physics (and I am not criticising them for lacking a thorough grasp of the Uncertainty Principle, but for something far more fundamental). Let me be blunt without giving things away directly, and just cite one example, which has been discussed quite well already.

Suffice it to say that I left the theatre utterly disgusted and insulted.

 

  1. Star Trek Into Darkness
  2. well, that's what the recorded preamble says, at least
  3. Star Trek: The Original Series
  4. Star Trek: The Next Generation
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