Before the age of blogs (or even web pages), those of us on the internet had other places to hang out and exchange thoughts. In fact, in many regards, the “Bulletin Board Systems” (BBS) and “internet news groups” (USENET) were more conversational than blog or Facebook comments. They were more like chat rooms where conversations took place over days and weeks (and months).
Like chat rooms, they involved a group of people having a conversation. I miss those days… blog comments are too brief and passing to be a conversation. At best, brief remarks are exchanged for a half-dozen rounds or so, and then the river flows on.
Okay, any Star Trek fan knows that Gene Roddenberry invented the transporters so he wouldn’t have to deal with the special effects necessary to show a landing every time the crew visited a planet. It also cut out any time needed to show the launch, travel time or landing, and that moves the story along. Both of those are smart and good, so let me start by saying, “Gene, that was awesome! And so is the horse you rode in on!”
There’s also the simple fact that, in science fiction, you have to grant a few “gimmes” in order to tell the story you want.
The canonical example here is warp drive. Do you want to explore strange new worlds, and seek out new life and new civilizations? Well, you’re gonna have to find a way around Mr. Einstein, who laid down the Universal Speed Limit, a little thing we like to call c.
This has been a stick in my craw since the earliest days of the original Star Trek series. This one way predates my notorious Holodeck Hatred. And there is no hyperbole when I say “earliest days,” because we’re talking about the third Star Trek episode ever aired, Where No Man Has Gone Before.
(While this was the third episode aired, it’s actually the second pilot, which is the one that got the show on the air. Did you know we can thank the great Lucille Ball for that? Read the linked Wiki article!)
The stuck stick is none other than the [space doom voices engaged] Barrier At The Edge Of The Galaxy (the BATEOTG, or maybe you prefer BatEotG).
If you knew immediately what the title of this article means, you are almost certainly a Star Trek fan. You also know that a full list should contain DS9 and VOY. (And that, actually, there should be a ST: in front of each of them.)
If this all seems alphabet soup, here’s the deal. They’re all three-letter acronyms (TLAs) for the six different Star Trek TV series. This first article today begins “Star Trek Saturday” (a one-time event) here at Logos con carne. There are two or three ships still in dry dock… (big voice: …In Space) getting finishing touches for a launch later today.
To tantalize your taste buds, I’ll just mention that they concern galactic energy barriers, transporters and replicators. Those are ships of war; photon torpedoes loaded and primed. There is a third ship with a different mission that may also launch today. (Tantalized? Terrific!)