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"Seriously...SPORE DRIVE...I mean, seriously?" Topic


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Science Fiction

832 hits since 18 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Daricles18 Dec 2018 5:48 p.m. PST

What the frak? I was reading up on the new Star Trek series to see if it was worth watching. I saw a bunch of reviews deriding a main story arc involving the starship being powered by space fungi! I thought it had to be joke. But, no, I saw a bunch more reviews of the same thing. And it gets weirder…the space fungi are apparently controlled by a giant telepathic space Tardigrade!?

I give up. WAY too Rastafarian for me. I won't be watching it.

Does anyone here think this was a good idea? Am I too old to get it or something?

NWMike18 Dec 2018 7:18 p.m. PST

Terrible series for several reasons. But then, I am old too!

SBminisguy18 Dec 2018 7:37 p.m. PST

You're better off watching Prelude to Axanar, great Trek! The lawsuit has been settled and they will get to produce two more shorts.

McWong7318 Dec 2018 8:53 p.m. PST

Its happened, best make your peace with it!

Cyrus the Great18 Dec 2018 8:55 p.m. PST

Most of the old farts on this page can stand Star Trek: Discovery. I quite like it, but I'm in the minority.

McWong7319 Dec 2018 12:44 a.m. PST

For me they did enough to make check out the second season, not much more than that. All previous Trek incarnations were the same, hell nearly all good shows are the same.

TGerritsen Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 2:02 a.m. PST

It turns out they ripped the idea for a spore drive off from a video game created by an independent developer from Egypt who is now suing them. The Star Trek Discovery madness continues.

link

PaddySinclair19 Dec 2018 4:26 a.m. PST

Daricles wrote:

What the frak? I was reading up on the new Star Trek series to see if it was worth watching. I saw a bunch of reviews deriding a main story arc involving the starship being powered by space fungi! I thought it had to be joke. But, no, I saw a bunch more reviews of the same thing. And it gets weirder…the space fungi are apparently controlled by a giant telepathic space Tardigrade!?

That's what you get for reading things out of context and reading reviews based on incomplete information.

I don't know where the idea of the Tardigrade being a) telepathic or b) controlling the "space fungi" comes from but it sure as hell isn't the series.

The conceit is that the fungal spores are seeded into our universe along the underlying subspace domain so have a connection to it. The spores can be used by the drive system to transit through that domain at near instantaneous speed. The Tardigrade is a creature that consumes these spores and has evolved a codependence on the mycelial network that permeates that sub space domain, and is able to navigate using that network naturally, and with considerably greater precision than a computer system due to being at least semi sentient, and is briefly harnessed to allow the spore drive to be practically functional for a time until a more willing replacement sentience is made available.

It would appear that the mycelial network itself has actually got some degree of sentience being both vast and ancient…

PaddySinclair19 Dec 2018 4:40 a.m. PST

TGerritsen wrote:

It turns out they ripped the idea for a spore drive off from a video game created by an independent developer from Egypt who is now suing them. The Star Trek Discovery madness continues.

Said developer appears to be blaming his own lack of personal progress on his project (since 2014…) on a series that came out in 2017… The ONLY basis for his claim is that Discovery has a space travelling tardigrade as does his game (the character similarities and the choice of the colour blue are laughable). I strongly suspect the reason for the tardigrades in both cases are that tardigrades are cool, and giant space travelling ones are by definition even cooler. It's convergent thinking (this happens all the time – my company archives are full of undeveloped game ideas that are spookily similar to later published projects from other companies, and I know there was no point of contact between the two), probably from all the science news coverage tardigrades were getting around 2010+ ish.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 4:40 a.m. PST

CBS painted themselves in the corner when they decided that Star Trek, a specific brand name evoking certain ideas and concepts, was only to be a name placeholder for yet another Lost/Walking Dead/GoT, dark, edgy show. Oddly enough they didn't receive much praise for not only throwing the whole concept upside down, but also doing it in a very tone deaf manner, typical of edgelords who think they are smarter than the material they are trying to outdo.

Meanwhile we had the Orville, being originally billed as a comedy, they had the liberty of doing whatever they hell they want, from stupid jokes to loving tributes to the spirit of Star Trek which received positive comments from a lot of people.

It started with an extremely contrived pilot to establish the main character as being hated and despised across the federation, her name becoming a kill trigger to most ordinary people. They did this by handing people the idiot stick when they had to be conveniently dumber than a sack of doorknobs or arbitrarily going from naive Space "We come in peace, nothing in the universe would want to harm us." Hippies to vicious gits when the chips are down.

I couldn't stop laughing when in a supposedly very serious, very dramatic show they couldn't think of a better way to establish that two characters, supposedly veteran officers, one of them tagged for their own command, are antagonists by having them fight over a console like five-year old siblings …

I hope you noticed Burnham's trial was glossed over in about five seconds, in the hope you didn't miss that her trial for treason wouldn't even have worked in North Korea, given a half-competent lawyer present. Where is Barney Greenwald when you need him ?

And then the Klingons, of course you couldn't have "space bikers" in a modern, edgy show, so they piled up the demands to make them so alien, the actors couldn't even emote or sit down thanks to their baroque costumes.

They were too hip to borrow from Star Trek's long, distinctive history anything but the mirror universe and section 31.

Not only that, but the whole Klingon war was either ignored, glossed over and only ever pulled to create a dramatic effect that felt like somebody shaking a bush, making "whooo, whooo" noises …

We went from "The Klingons are attacking us" to a single tactical victory by Discovery to "The Klingons now hold 90% of Federation territory" to "We put a nuke inside the homeworld and they are beating retreat and status quo is now
fully restored."

I bet they arrogantly told people that episodic content was dead and they could only ever do longform stories where everybody can die or random Bleeped text happens, except you kill off all the unimportant ones or pretend bad things happen, but nothing changes because you were so stupid to do a prequel and you're stuck with Captain Pike in less than a decade and Kirk a few years later so you can't just kill off the Federation.

And they are stuck doing a prequel because somebody figured they could get a bunch of people who have only ever known the JJ Abrams Trek films to watch a Star Trek TV show by aping that style.

It could all have worked perfectly in a "Next, Next generation style show." But because of stupid circular thinking people make all the wrong decisions leading to bad writing.

And the biggest joke of all ?? A Star Trek show couldn't even show the Enterprise, which they apparently introduced prematurely to fix flagging viewing figures, because of copyright reasons … So they had to make up their own which wouldn't violate the copyright !

If they had set the show in its own post-DS9/Voyager era where the Federation has been at war and they do end up in a conflict with the Klingons and people are questioning the ideals of the Federation and Section 31 is trying to manipulate things from behind the scenes, and the mirror universe is also on a collision course, you could have everything to make a show to match all the other bleak, dark, merciless stuff out there. Everything would make sense, the tech, the design, nothing would be out of place. But they had to paint themselves into a corner because they want all the allure and benefits from the exact same stuff they can't get rid off fast enough …

You still can't get your cake and eat it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 7:00 a.m. PST

I knew my decision to avoid this debacle was sound. After that dreadful pilot episode, I realized they had no hope of going up. But I admit, I didn't realize they actually could go down from that! Thank you for the summary, Patrick; I recoil in horror.

And Paddy Sinclair, even reading that rationale for the spore drive doesn't take it away from being utterly absurd and completely impossible. Heck, it's not even plausible. The original Star Trek at least had a rationale in actual physics as understood in the day, with a only a minor handwave here and there. But what you've described is so far away from having any basis in science it might as well be "mitochlorians." Pffffft. :-P

(Granted, as Star Trek went on, its diversions from physics grew steadily more absurd, but at least they tried to have a bit of physics to hang a skyhook on. But this idea is just… stupid.)

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 9:12 a.m. PST

Sometimes I just don't get you guys. I'm with "Cyrus the Great." I like it! In fact, I like it a lot! It's Star Trek for goodness sake!

What? You saw your first Star Trek show and now they all must achieve that level or your not going to watch? Pfftt. Watch it, enjoy it. It's Star Trek!

Daricles19 Dec 2018 11:41 a.m. PST

Thanks for reaffirming what I posted, Paddy. You just used a lot more and bigger words to say exactly what I said as if your explanation made things any better.

It's amusing that you don't realize that your explanation makes it seem way worse to me by trying to take it seriously.

Clearly, you are emotionally invested in the show and really like it. I'm glad you seem to enjoy it and I'm not trying to insult you for it, but it is definitely nothing I'd enjoy watching. To each his own.

SBminisguy19 Dec 2018 11:55 a.m. PST

If they had set the show in its own post-DS9/Voyager era where the Federation has been at war and they do end up in a conflict with the Klingons and people are questioning the ideals of the Federation and Section 31 is trying to manipulate things from behind the scenes, and the mirror universe is also on a collision course, you could have everything to make a show to match all the other bleak, dark, merciless stuff out there. Everything would make sense, the tech, the design, nothing would be out of place. But they had to paint themselves into a corner because they want all the allure and benefits from the exact same stuff they can't get rid off fast enough

Absolutely! They shot themselves in the arse right at the start by insisting on a pre-Kirk setting. Not only is that story limiting because as you point out, at some point there must be Kirk, Spock, Enterprise and all that, it naturally opens it up to direct comparisons to Trek history and look/feel (aka the dreaded "canon").

What they did was kind like doing a reboot of Band of Brothers set in their version of WW2, and deciding to have them fly into Normandy in rocket packs and battle Nazi combat mecha 'cause, way cooler! …and then complaining about misogyny or something when they got criticized.

So it was bound to be hammered just on those two points, let alone that at least to me it has an incoherent and lazy storyline, I don't find any of the main characters likable or sympatico, etc.

Daricles19 Dec 2018 12:00 p.m. PST

Skipper, I used to be a huge Star Trek fan, but the franchise has lost its appeal to me over the years.

In retrospect, the show was rarely ever what I wanted it to be what with its often ridiculous variations of the prime directive and underpinnings of socialist utopia.

There were some high points I enjoyed, but it was surrounded by a lot of schlock I hated.

For all of its campiness SG-1 is my all time favorite sci fi tv show now and the early seasons of the BSG reboot are a close second.

The Expanse is shaping up to be pretty enjoyable, but it is an odd mix of political intrigue in a hard sci-fi setting with a large dollop of "magic" in the form of the proto molecule. I could do with a little less of the proto molecule magic, but so far can suspend my disbelief on that stuff. The show is starting to push my limits there, but there is enough other stuff going on to keep my attention.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

It's Star Trek for goodness sake!

No, it's not. They slapped that name on it and borrowed all the terms, but the producers and writers clearly have zero understanding of what Star Trek was, or what it was about.

Star Trek was about exploration, the journey to discover what was "out there." Yes, it explored philosophical and societal concepts, and even very much looked at social issues of the day, but what it was about was mankind growing, developing, and discovering the wonders of the galaxy. There was action, yes, danger, yes, tension, yes, and even (and wisely) humor, too. But at its core it remained exactly what it said it was about in the opening prologue to every episode:

"Space— the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five year mission— to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before!"

Even when it started, few in the television business understood that (which is why it lasted only three seasons). And clearly, that misunderstanding hasn't changed.

So, yes, it may be a show with things called "starships" and a society called "the Federation," and aliens with pointy ears and forehead ridges, but that doesn't mean it's Star Trek. Not even by a long phaser shot.

Daricles19 Dec 2018 12:30 p.m. PST

@TGerritsen: Why would anyone want to steal this idea? I can't imagine anyone employed as a writer anywhere would be so bad at their job that they would plagiarize this.

If you are going to steal an idea at least steal a good one. Did the CBS writers worry that no one would believe it was an idea they came up with on their own if it wasn't as bad as this one?

That is like stealing the contents of a porta potty.

Daricles19 Dec 2018 3:58 p.m. PST

Discovery has definitely gone far afield of anything I would define as Trek. Apparently, discovery Klingons are now blue skinned Minbari devils that the fx designer claims are a cross between a reptilian and avian species.

Why did they even attach the Trek brand to this stuff? Why not launch a new franchise if you are going to deviate so drastically from everything that came before?

What's next? Will the Romulans turn out to be an intelligent race of spiders that feed on the space gnomes that tend the magic mushroom garden that powers spaceships?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

Guys, really, you were all warned. Simple rules:
1. Don't ever start watching stuff done by people who clearly imagine they're smarter than their audience, medium or genre.
2. Run screaming from the ones done by people who are going to raise you to their own--higher, of course--level of morality.
3. Pay attention to the early publicity. If all they really want to talk about is the skin color and sex lives of their characters, then you should watch that show--but only if those subjects are fascinating to you too.

Following those three simple rules weeds out an amazing percentage of what reviewers insist on calling "entertainment" and still leaves me with more than I can read, watch or listen to.

Daricles19 Dec 2018 8:23 p.m. PST

Robert, all good advice. I try to live by rule 3, but I missed all the early PR for Discovery.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP20 Dec 2018 6:21 a.m. PST

Back in the day the Looney Tunes artists and animators would make "Christmas reels" for office use only with very risque bits with their characters.

Artists like Curt Swan would similarly pass drawings around the office with sex, drugs and violence.

The people back then didn't live in isolation of such things, but they understood that things like shock value rarely lasted. The goofy stuff of Silver Age comics wasn't because were all stupid squares, but because they understood their art extremely well.

And looking back over the centuries, classic stories, mythology and even the bible are full of things that reflect the really dark nature of humanity, acknowledging it but almost always trying to say "Yes some things are bad, but the only way forward is by doing the right things, not the wrong things."

And then we 21th centuryites come along and assume by simple chronology that we are smarter than the cumulation of thousands of years of storytelling and that everything must be grimdark and heroes are no longer relevant and it's all about anti-heroes now …

It's to understanding drama what a 13-year old wearing corpse paint is to being awesome. You're just going for an affectation.

Gene Roddenberry was considered a square when he wrote Trek and to be honest the guy had some good ideas, his heart was in the right place, but he could be a condescending asshole too, but Star Trek came with a kind of premise we have become too cynical about.

Discovery comes about in an era where media is saturated by very grimdark, longform drama and if given a choice the people in charge will mandate to match what they perceive as public expectations rather than try to use Trek's inherent strengths.

And as in all things the intent may be 100% good, the proof is in the execution.

Daricles20 Dec 2018 7:12 a.m. PST

Patrick, I agree with a lot of what you said, but historically there has always been an anti-hero, dark, grim storytelling trope. They used to be called dark tragedies. Look at the Odyssey or some of Shakespeare's stuff.

However, those types of stories were like curveballs you threw every now and then to give the audience something unexpected and keep them guessing.

Nowadays, in the age of copycat media, if something is fresh, new and successful you can bet it will quickly saturate the entire market and you won't be able to swing a cat without hitting it or be able to find something different without searching really hard for it.

TOS was good because it dared to be different and took sci-fi seriously at a time when most writers thought sci-fi was just weird monsters and gee-whiz technology that didn't require traditional concepts like plot or character development.

Trek lost its appeal to me over time because the writers overused the prime directive the same way they overused transporter tech. They started twisting and distorting it to ridiculous extremes to drive every plot.

It also started to feel preachy and transformed from astute examination of relevant social issues to thinly veiled morality lectures advocating utopian socialist ideals that have spectacularly failed time and time again throughout human history.

When Trek laid the baggage aside and focused on storytelling it hit some pretty good highs. In hindsight, in my opinion, there was a lot more baggage than storytelling going on in the franchise.

Lion in the Stars20 Dec 2018 7:28 p.m. PST

When I heard about the mycetic whatever-the-hell on STD (who the hell gave permission to use that set of initials?!?), my immediate reaction was "Those writers were obviously on some very good 'mycetic spores' (psychedelic mushrooms) themselves."

PaddySinclair21 Dec 2018 5:31 a.m. PST

Patrick R Wrote:

And the biggest joke of all ?? A Star Trek show couldn't even show the Enterprise, which they apparently introduced prematurely to fix flagging viewing figures, because of copyright reasons … So they had to make up their own which wouldn't violate the copyright !

That's complete spheroid reproductive organs… And conflation of other such. CBS own all the respective copyrights and can use what and where they like (and are on record as stating such). You're thinking of the 25% rule that was rather misreported by the frothing haters. Given they had chosen a different/divergent look from established canon, any design might as well be the necessary 25% different from existing designs so that it could be registered in its own right should a fracturing of various rights occur in future and Discovery then wouldn't be co-dependent upon previous art.

PaddySinclair21 Dec 2018 5:44 a.m. PST

Daricles Wrote:

Thanks for reaffirming what I posted, Paddy. You just used a lot more and bigger words to say exactly what I said as if your explanation made things any better.
It's amusing that you don't realize that your explanation makes it seem way worse to me by trying to take it seriously.

Not really what I said at all; you were talking about"magic space fungi" and I was categorising the mycelial network with Star Trek terms. Star Trek tech is mostly ludicrous, and this has to be remembered at all times and the Spore Drive is no worse than pretty much anything else across the franchise. They do however treat it in a consistent manner in Discovery, and by the end of the first season you also know why it doesn't recur in later (chronological) seasons and is never discussed again.

Clearly, you are emotionally invested in the show and really like it. I'm glad you seem to enjoy it and I'm not trying to insult you for it, but it is definitely nothing I'd enjoy watching. To each his own.

To be completely honest, I wouldn't let the Spore drive be a thing to put you off (it's the show's "gimme" tech). Watch a few episodes and find some other stuff to put off :)

Maxshadow24 Dec 2018 4:14 a.m. PST

If you pretend it'd not Star Trek. And its not hard to do then its quite entertaining. As for spores power I sorta ignored that too. Unfortunately they, like Enterprise, ignored the whole you can't beam over while the shields are up rule. Which of course makes a mockery of s[pace combat when you can just beam the entire enemy bridge crew out into space and avoid all the shooting. :)

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