The 1st refit of the NX-class.
In a prior post, many months ago, I discussed the Earth-Romulan War. In that first interstellar conflict between Earth and Romulus, humanity found itself at a decided disadvantage against a mysterious and hostile species bent on humanity’s destruction. In the various Star Trek television and movie series, this event was always just a backdrop. However, pocket books released two novels in the Romulan War series that detailed the war in depth, heavily featuring the United Earth NX-class refit. All well and good, but the recent reference book, the Federation – The First 150 years, further muddies the matter by contradicting events in the Romulan War series. Both of these sources are contradicted by the Star Trek: Legacy computer game!
All of this to say, that there are things in life that are perhaps best left as purely backdrop elements, memories not to be forgotten, but also not the focus or constantly at the forefront of people’s minds. Perhaps we’d have less conflict in our world today if people left the muddied past where it belongs, in the past, and instead focused on the here and now.
Check out the Dragonlance page for a brief overview of why I always return to this fantasy fiction series.
Ok, yeah, so they’re not quite kissing in this pic. But they do. Eventually. Compelled, actually. But they do.
There’s a lot to admire about the little sci-fi series that started it all. The Original Series with Shatner as Kirk, Nimoy as Spock, etc. featured some real jaw-droppers if not outright firsts in not just science fiction, but television history:
- First interracial kiss – Kirk and Uhura, way before Spock and Uhura did it in the latest incarnation of Star Trek. Now, in the episode that featured this kiss, Kirk and Uhura were basically forced by god-like beings to do it against their will, but hey, it was still pretty ground breaking for its time.
- A Russian as a good guy – Yep, Chekov, loveable faux Beetles haircut and all. At the height of the Cold War with the Russians in the 1960s, Star Trek actually dared to show a Russian as part of the “good guys!” The closest analogy I can think of at the moment would be like showing a member of Al Qaeda as a card-carrying aficionado of the “good guy club” today.
- An Asian that speaks English, and well – Good old Sulu, they actually showed an Asian person in some role other than that of some stereotypical kow-towing Charlie Chan manner. Kudos to Trek for that.
- An Alien that was … well, sympathetic – Yes, as strange as it may sound now with our multitude of sci-fi t.v. shows featuring good guy aliens, the network execs in charge of Star Trek back in the 60s were awfully wary of Mr. Spock. I mean, he’s got pointed ears, like some devil. Perhaps even THE devil!
- I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t recall at the moment what other notable feats Star Trek: TOS achieved.
In honor of all that TOS goodness, here are some more starships, enjoy!
- Starfleet Detroyat-class: Fan-made starship, and cool to boot.
- Starfleet Pyotr Velikiy-class: Featured in the Vanguard novel series I’m half-reading at the moment (half-reading because I am also reading Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind; awesome book by the way!)
- Starfleet Federation-class: This is another fan-made starship with a rather interesting, if convoluted, backstory. As near as I can figure it out, back when Trek was in that dead zone of having been cancelled from the airwaves but not yet having made it into the cinema screen, some guy named Franz Joseph got the thumbs up from Gene Roddenberry to publish a book with all new starship designs. After Trek picked up some Hollywood steam, Gene basically gave Joseph the boot and for all intents and purposes told Joseph to take his new ship designs and shove a photon torpedo up them. Oh well.
Something just hinted at in The Original Series, peaked at in the Enterprise series, but fully fleshed out for the first time in novels. It tells the tale of humanity eagerly seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before, only to be brutally attacked by a faceless enemy. Don’t worry though, unlike most other sci fi stories of this nature, it won’t lead to humanity compromising its highest principles to win, or humanity being crushed under an alien heel and thrown down into abject subjugation. But, the beauty of the novels (sadly just two) is that at times humanity is tempted to do so, but in the end chooses not to, and still triumphs. That rocks.
The journey is often more worthwhile then the conclusion, so we get to discover the specifics of the War we’ve never been told before. I don’t want to spoil it too much for anyone of you that wants to read the novels, but there’s a lot of homage paid to the television series (ENT and TOS), but it’s not beholden to it, insofar as the nitty gritty details are concerned. This strategy of the novels really sells it, and makes it a worthwhile read because you don’t have to have watched any of the television series or movies to enjoy the books. Simultaneously, if you are a big Trek fan, this book will be equally enjoyable, if not more so for you.
So here are some of the starships you’ll see in those novels:
I am really enjoying the Vanguard series of novels set in the Star Trek: Original Series universe. In honor of those technicolor heroes, I’ve statted up some ships from the series, randing from the ill-fated U.S.S. Bombay to their attacks the Tholians, one of the more interesting species in Star Trek, for they’re entirely crystalline, are NOT humanoid, and live naturally in temperatures well above 200 degrees Celsius. Hmm, they’d likely planets like Venus quite comfortable.
So I’ve been experimenting with a new format for the Star Trek starships I’ve been statting out for the CODA rpg. It’s nothing too fancy, certainly nothing like Captain Kirk above, but I think it looks much nicer than the older format I’ve been using, and the even older format (which you won’t see here) I used to use. So we’ve got the:
- Borg Probe: Not THAT kind of probe, but the scoutship type. The Borg are cybernetic beings intent on improving themselves in any way possible, which translates into they take your stuff and use it so they have better stuff (stuff being you and everything technological you make). They were originally supposed to be insect-like, but I rather like their cybernetic humanoid look.
- Tamarian Darmok-class: The Tamarians, or the Children of Tama are a neat alien species. They communicate entirely in metaphor. So instead of saying “Oh God we’re all going to die”, I would say “Leonidas, at Thermopylae”. Instead of “I love you so much I’d die for you”, we would instead say “Romeo and Juliet, when the families fought” or some such.
- Krenim Warship: The Krenim are another alien of the week whose sole shtick is they are masters of time, and do all sorts of things like wipe out their opponents by making sure they never existed in the first place. Charming, eh?
- Starfleet Vesta-class: This Federation ship features prominently in the Star Trek: Destiny novels, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. It continues the original Star Trek timeline beyond the Star Trek: Nemesis movie, but unlike the latter, it manages to be both entertaining and not a total mindwipe.
The I.S.S., the International Space Station, that intricate marvel of human engineering floating in space, the single largest artificial satellite ever built by humankind. A place of experiments and observations, a place where humans from all Earthly nations can work together, striving for peace and goodwill, all alone in the night.
In the spirit of that august installation, I’ve updated my starships page with two new … well, not starships, but space stations. First up is the venerable Starfleet K-class outpost, made famous by the Trouble with Tribbles classic episode.
Set in the same era, but covered mostly in the Vanguard novels, is the Starfleet Watchtower-class starbase. I’ve got to say that I don’t normally get into reading Star Trek novels set during the Original Series timeframe. But for whatever reason, I’ve just started this series and really enjoy revisiting the classic crew of Kirk, Spock, etc. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have a cameo appearance by Matt Decker, such a tragic starship captain, forced to watch his crew get eaten by the Planet Killer. Whatever quality sets it apart from the other novels I’ve tried to read in that era, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read so far!