|Justin B Rye 1992–1998|
I thoroughly approve of the
inconsistent revised Klingons;
forget all those fan theories about Klingon/Human hybrids, I'll
accept them as an improved visual effect.
is the best made-up language I know of – Esperanto
sucks; trust me, I'm a linguistics graduate. But:
Remus– names from Roman mythology? For some reason ST:TNG stubbornly refuses to name the Klingon homeworld, but the Tlhingan for their ex-allies' planet is
Romulus– not likely to be a human loanword, as humans and Romulans hadn't yet communicated!
Balance of Terror(ST:TOS1)?
The Conscience of the King, ST:TOS1) or not (Spock,
The Immunity Syndrome, ST:TOS2)?
logical, why is it entirely composed of ritual mumbo-jumbo?
The Price, ST:TNG3) or not (
Ménage à Troi, also ST:TNG3)? Own up, Deanna; it's all bluff, isn't it?
However hard the Enterprise tries to boldly go where no man has gone before, it always finds people already there. Terran colonists on the planet Norma Major are fair enough; but how does everyone else, e.g. all the various stagnant computerised societies, come to look so humanoid? The excuses given are as scrappy as ever, and come in two main flavours:
Parallel evolution– a supposed natural trend towards humanoidism, as used to explain the Vulcanoids in
Who Watches the Watchers?(ST:TNG3) or those (English-speaking!) paraRomans in
Bread and Circuses(ST:TOS2). The idea is that sentient races become similar due to sharing a niche – as have sharks and dolphins. But these latter began with common design features (spine) and restrictions (streamlining), while ETs share little beyond a need for manipulatory appendages. Starfaring elephants, squid, and centaurs might be expensive but their absence needs a better excuse.
The Paradise Syndrome, ST:TOS2) through the galaxy millennia ago, or the DNA-graffitists who interfered in various primordial soups four billion years before (
The Chase, ST:TNG6). Neither of these oneshot revisions explains why Ferengi should look so much like Vulcans despite their underlying biochemical differences. What the Star Trek Universe needs is well established Ancients tampering millions of years ago.
Spock's father Sarek is an ET; his ancestors
spawned in a
different ocean (ST:TOS1,
The Man Trap).
Amanda has better chances of having kids by a horseshoe
crab – it may have copper-based blood, like Vulcans, but
unlike the average alien it at least has a DNA-based genetic code
(the medium, let alone the language)! If she manages
to conceive, how can a green-blooded mongrel baby gestate in a
human womb? Yet we saw Spock's birth in
Frontier (ST:TMP5), with no sign of biotechnological
jiggery-pokery. Nor is he the only healthy, seemingly fertile
hybrid in the Star Trek Universe. We've met…
What next – a Gorn/Ferengi? A Tholian paternity suit for Riker? This is all inconceivable, to coin a phrase. The simplest revision would be to downplay the differences between pseudo-hominids (e.g. no green blood; and pale blue was likelier, anyway); blame them on the Ancients' genetic experiments. Contrariwise, the non-humanoid races should be as varied as the effects budget can handle (I for one want to see Muppeteers!).
Spock's dilemma (repress his human emotional half, or have fun?)
was dramatically justified. But ST:TNG crossbreeds
seem to be there largely to illustrate the very right-wing
Genetic Determinism. Some races are
innately rational, or dull-witted, or vicious; and if you are
half Klingon, like Keylar, then efforts to resist your
sociobiological programming are futile; you'll still be a
belligerent sadist at heart.
In the case of a fictional interstellar hybrid, it may be
true. But weren't all those cooperating alien species
originally a metaphor for tolerance between the different earthly
races? Aren't they implying that these also have
genetically enforced psychological peculiarities, such as (say)
duplicity, or aggression, or a natural sense of rhythm?
…Well, if not, then what are they trying to tell us?
(See section 9)
|5.0||One more question: have they standardised on the stereotype that alien nomenclature is always simple, or did Spock really have an unpronounceable first name? My reasons for disliking Esperanto are a bit technical, but if you're genuinely interested, see Ranto.|
|5.1||Norma Major is in fact the wife of our glorious leader [now ex-PM], but she certainly ought to be a planet. For a start, yes, there is a constellation called Norma.|
|5.2||That's Muppeteers in the Larry-Niven-meets-Jim-Henson sense. Remember, they don't necessarily have to share scenes with live-action oxygen-breathers!|
|5.0||B5's dozen-odd recurring races are all pretty good, and the Pak'ma'ra are classics. All we need now is some non-bipeds…|
|5.1||Notice that the USS Voyager, way beyond the reach of the ST:TNG6 Kilroy-was-Hereans, still meets races that look like bad-hair-day Klingons.|
|5.2||I'm not joking about horseshoe crabs; they have a copper-based respiratory pigment (haemocyanin in place of haemoglobin). If you think that's weird, sea cucumbers have yellow-green blood (vanadium-based).|
|5.3||ST:V has introduced another human-Klingon hybrid. Why oh why? Xenobestiality is a very bad idea; if conception is at all possible, ET-STDs are a certainty! Should your plot need hybrids, the Valen triluminary device is a better approach.|