Wednesday, October 21

The Historical Development of the Warp Drive



This is another of my "Covid-Projects," consequent to my "Star Trek History of the Twenty-First Century" project (which is drafted but still needs a lot of work). Basically, I wanted to work out an overall rationalization of the development of the Warp Drive that best fits what has been shown on screen and explains certain oddities that manifested themselves along the way. It varies considerably from a lot of fan-created Treknological assumptions through the years as well as semi-official resources published  and statements made along the way, even by producers and technical advisers to the various series and films. 

In the process of writing the "History of the Twenty-First Century," this kind of went on the back burner until I came upon an article on the blog Occasional Enthusiast entitled "Alternative Star Trek Warp Speed Scale and Related Equations" (2016) [LINK] which takes a very different approach but has some really cool ideas. My comment on that post led to a very helpful exchange with the author (at least, helpful to me) and inspired me to pull this back out, polish it a bit, and go ahead and post it.

Take it for what it is -- one fan's interpretation. And remember that, "Dammit, Jim, I'm an historian, not a mathematician!"

Friday, July 10

Canon and History in the STAR TREK Universe

05 April 2063: Getting closer all the time....
One of the tasks with which any historian must grapple in constructing a narrative of the past is determination what source materials are available and how reliable are the facts they provide. Many different factors must be considered, including the proximity of the source to the event, whether it constitutes a “primary source” providing contemporary first-hand knowledge unfaded by the passage of time and unmediated by subsequent accounts and influences, or, alternatively, whether the evidence is to be considered “secondary,” providing a more distant perspective based on assessment of such primary sources. In both cases – primary as well as secondary – one must consider in what ways the recording of the account may have been motivated by an agenda – unconscious or acknowledged – which determined inclusion or emphasis of certain facts and deemphasis or even exclusion of other facts which may, objectively, be critical in creating an accurate reconstruction of the events as they happened.

Friday, July 3

Making History: Preliminary Considerations Toward Constructing a Near-Future STAR TREK Historical Narrative

See the Video here [LINK]

Little did I realize when I undertook the “Starships Comparison” project early in the 2020 COVID-19-enforced lockdown [LINK] that it would lead me into another, bigger project that will – assuming I do not lose interest, or, more likely, find some other obsession to divert my attention – probably result in a series of essays that are doubtless of no interest to anybody except myself, but which I will end up posting here and then, possibly, attempt to publish. It is no less than a complete reconsideration of the early history of human spaceflight, basically until the founding of the United Federation of Planets in 2161, including such things as the history of Earth from the present until that time, the stages in the development of the warp drive from the beginning until the late 24th century when Star Trek: The Next Generation was set, and how much the later “prequel” series Star Trek: Enterprise (set between 2151 and 2155) and Star Trek: Discovery (set in the 2250s) should be considered – dare I say it? – fictional even “within universe” from the perspective of that later date. There will probably be other things as well. This newest obsession keeps leading me down the most unexpected rabbit-holes!

Tuesday, May 19

The Noble Lineage of Ships Named Enterprise

I thought about naming this post “Ring Around the Starship,” because that’s kind of where this most recent obsessio– – er, project – began….

Genesis of this Project
Around the beginning of May, while browsing the Internet I came upon this intriguing product for sale:
Sold on Etsy, by “Blue Fire Engraving,” for $35
[at the time of this writing [
Sold on Etsy, by “Blue Fire Engraving,” for $35 [at the time of this writing [LINK]). I considered purchasing it but hesitated, not just because of the price for another piece of wall art my wife would probably not let me hang in the “public” parts of the house but also because I immediately perceived there to be at least one glaring omission. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), a “ships wall” is depicted as part of the recreation deck of the newly refitted U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701. Among a series of ships on that wall was a memorable ship which is absent from the plaque. A quick Internet search confirmed my memory via the article, “Enterprise Lineages on Display,” at the web site Ex Astris Scientia [LINK]. Five pictures depict in sequence:
  • A sailing ship.
  • An aircraft carrier “of the World War II era.”
  • The U.S. Space Shuttle.
  • A ship sporting a long central hull with two large rings near the stern, identified in the article as the “XCV 330 … actually based on an early design by Matt Jefferies that could have become the Enterprise NCC-1701.”
  • The pre-refit Constitution class U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701.

Wednesday, May 13

Star Trek: Vanguard – and a lot of other stuff

Periodically, I return to obsessions I thought I left far in my past. I have been a fan of Star Trek since soon after the original series went off the air and into syndication. Born at the end of 1961, I think I was just barely too young to get caught up in it during the original airings, which began in September 1966 and ended in June 1969. I would therefore have been four years old when it debuted and seven when it went off. Moreover, my obsession with space really began with the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969 – ironically within weeks of Star Trek being cancelled. Just as I do remember flashes of earlier manned space missions (most clearly, Christmas Eve 1968, popping firecrackers with my older cousins outside my grandmother’s house, my uncle commenting that there were astronauts circling the moon right then – Apollo 8), so do I recall flashes of earlier Star Trek episodes on TV, but not clearly enough to know what episodes they might have been.

Wednesday, April 8

Pilgrimage in a Time of Pestilence

Presenting a chapter from my new book about pilgrimage – HOLY RAMBLINGS: Travelogues, Commentaries, and Meditations on Pilgrimages Far and NearAvailable in ebook and print formats:

This link takes you to the post at my "travels" blog [LINK].