40k Has The Smartest Plot Device

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Many series, including Star Trek, could learn from 40k.

This week, Pimpcron (that’s me!) talks about dealing with corners that writers paint themselves in. Being that I’m a life-long Star Trek fan, I’ll use that as an example.

Technology Is The Problem

I have loved all of the Star Trek series, but even though I enjoyed it, Voyager ruined a lot of things. That show went out on a limb on several topics and essentially ruined the odds of having any “present day” shows. I’m not talking ratings, acting or anything like that, I talking about writing themselves into a corner with the advancement of technology. Keep in mind: no hate here (I love Voyager), just facts.

uss voyager star trek

Voyager actually had quite a few awesome (and awful) moments.

Remember when Paris and Janeway turned into reptiles and mated? Awkward!

I will use the EMH Doctor as my example, though there are many from this series. Here is a very brief over-view for you non-Star Trek fans. The Emergency Medical Hologram Doctor is the doctor aboard their ship that was a hologram that could draw it’s knowledge and computing power off of the ship’s computer. He could initially only materialize in the sick bay or holodeck due to where the holo-emitters were. He wasn’t ever designed to be used constantly, but for (reasons) they didn’t have a flesh-and-blood doctor. Over the course of the series, his “consciousness” became more and more complex as he learned, and eventually earned the title of “sentient entity”.

I love the Doctor, but this one character ruined any chances of any new “present day” (TNG era) shows being made. That’s why they’ve been doing prequels with Star Trek: Enterprise and the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery.

Here’s why:

Holograms are the elephant in the room now for Star Trek. It’s been established that holograms do a ton of menial jobs for the Federation, but have extremely low A.I. intentionally. It could be argued (and the Doctor does argue this) that those holograms should be given full sentience and freedoms like other citizens. They are intentionally being held down, and have potential.

If that’s the case, why risk human (or alien) lives discovering the galaxy? If the hologram hooks up to all of the ship systems, why not make “drone” starships for exploration and warfare where there are no flesh bags on it at all? Just hook a hologram up to the entire ship and he could run it all, risking no lives.

kirk star trek hands up

“But, who is gonna seduce the alien women?”

Well, for starters that would be really boring; but it would be practical. And Star Trek viewers are notoriously keen on small details, so somebody has to ask this.

Projecting Future Tech Is Impossible

The other reason why we will have a hard time making a Next Generation-era show after Voyager is because it is so hard to project what new tech we will get. Especially several hundred years in the future. The technology that we have now in many ways surpasses what we see on screen, and Voyager was just in the late 90’s!

Ultimately, technology is about cutting out the middle man. Just take a look at sending a message. It started with couriers physicaly having to send messages, then training pigeons, then sending letters via people. After that we could send messages via telegraph, then corded telephone, then mobile phone. But there were drawbacks to all of these due to cost and international calls prices. Nowadays with things like Skype and other services, international calls are free and instant requiring no middle man. I can text a dude in China if I want. This process went from me sending some dude around the world to send a message by hand, to a couple button presses.

I’ve often thought that with all of the complex computing in Star Trek, why don’t they just have a skeleton crew and nearly everything be automated? With the computer running all of the tedious tasks, couldn’t the bridge crew just run and maintain everything?

star trek quark

“What a profitable idea!”

Of course someone will respond with, “No they couldn’t because of [reasons].” How automated is your car right now? Now add three or four hundred years of innovation. It’s really a no-brainer. Technology’s habit of cutting out the middle man is a real problem for futuristic settings. The reason is:

It All Leads To Singularity

Cutting out the middle man at it’s most extreme end means turning humans into Gods with the help of technology. This is the foundations of a line of thinking called Transhumanism. Cutting out all middle men from everything in life means a pretty boring show. Given smaller and smaller miniaturization of technology and the leaps and bounds into energy sources, you could assume (at the extreme end) your day would be like this.

“I want some food.” -Thinks and nutrients are pumped into your system from some device.

“I’d like to go to Paris.” -Thinks and is transported there instantly.

“Let’s talk to someone.” -Thinks and is instantly in contact.

An extreme and flawed example but you get what I’m saying. Every far-flung show deals with this issue. First, just trying to figure out what future tech could be like. Second, trying to handle it and still make a story with conflict.

star-trek-generations09

“But where’s the STORY in that?!”

40k Got It Right

So if a series like Star Trek has this issue just a couple hundred years in the future, how could a series set TENS of THOUSANDS of years in the future handle it?

They did the smart thing and “forgot” a bunch of stuff. They started over, and have to re-discover all of it. When you look at Warhammer 40k, the technology is more or less World War II era. Tanks? Just nuke it from orbit. Obviously some missions wouldn’t involve nuking everything from orbit, but what about low-altitude nukings? Yeah, that could work. Ya know, trying to fight and fund a ground war with tanks and soldiers is why, why less efficient than just making targeted strikes against what you need dead. Just the sheer food, water, ammunition, fuel, etc to fund a ground war would make nuking OPTION A in a lot of cases.

batman bomb

Not quite like this.

I’m speaking in generalities of course, but you get what I mean. I feel like the only why a futuristic show like Star Trek could ever progress the timeline would be to have some sort of terrible thing happen to their technology and have humanity and all other races sent back to the drawing boards. But at the end of the day, that’s not the optimistic Trek everyone knows and loves.

But I feel like they’d have to follow in 40k’s footsteps in order to deal with all of these tech issues.

Picture Credit for the Captain Kork: http://www.bloody-plastic.com/miniatures/orkerprise.html

 

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  • Floride Vivant

    NO!!! This is so wrong… Never, EVER, compare my beloved 40K universe to your ridiculous space pyjama party! Bad Pimpcron! Bad!

    • Golden Yak

      To be fair, he’s not wrong when he says Star Trek would be better if it were more like 40k.

      That’s true of many things.

      • LeroyJenkinss

        Star trek: Grimdark

        • AX_472

          Star Trek: Mirror Mirror, a story about a band of Terran privateers in the alternate universe. I’ve been saying it for years. lol.

          • Emprah

            And all of them will have goatees!

          • euansmith

            Especially the women.

          • Muninwing

            trope creator even…

          • Shawn

            Oh that would be awesome. A regular ship and crew are trapped in the Mirror Universe, and do they only thing they can: try and fix everything.

    • *TRIGGERED*

  • Floride Vivant

    Pimpcron’s a Trekky, the End Times are upon us…

    • I got into it during the Next Generation. But DS9 and Enterprise are my favs. [shots fired]

      • cudgel

        I am not alone !
        I thought I was the only person that liked Enterprise, and DS9 is great because it led me to Babylon 5.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        Yeah up there with you. Although ToS was enjoyable for it own reasons. Voyager was my least liked. Enterprise I liked to a degree but got annoyed with the cliché tropes they kept re visiting. Aliens like to be Nazis, time paradoxes and plot hole fillers for silly things done in other shows to retcon…

        • Gosh! ENT had so much potential! I was sad to see if canceled. They did have their fair share of cliches though. TOS is my least liked [shots fired again].

          • Shawn

            I liked ENT too. They could have done a lot of great things with the show. I mean we now know how Andorians became part of the Federation. It’s a shame you don’t like ToS, I think it had way more character than Next Gen and DS9. A lot of their shows seemed contrived or too same formulaic. And they suddenly gave up on the races of the Alpha Quadrant.

          • Honestly, I’ve never given TOS a fair chance. I’ve seen ahandful of episodes, and the porduction values and acting really kill it for me. I hate to be so superficial, but it’s the truth. That was an era of a different kind of science fiction that was more like Flash Gordan than anything modern. Just too funky to take seriously. And I’m not old enough to have seen it when it came out, so there’s no nostalgia for me either.

        • I’d rank it fav to least fav : DS9, ENT, VOY, TNG, TOS

      • Jack Jomar

        I like all of ’em, for different reasons. Yes, all. Yes Even Voyager. I concede that it starts off terrible. I point out that all Trek shows have a minimum of ten terrible episodes per show. That’s spread out across anywhere from 3 (TOS) to 7 (everything else that isn’t ENT or TOS) so it’s not necessarily quite as dense as you think.

        • You’re spot on jack. I hate nearly every first season of all Star trek series, with the exception of Enterprise.

      • Shawn

        I love Enterprise and I love ToS, but I can’t stand Next Gen or DS9. Voyager was okay, at least they were going some where.

        • DS9 was a breath of fresh air in the Star Trek formula, and even they admit that it was based off of westerns, being on the frontier with no government help. The Mayor (Sisko),, Sheriff (Odo), etc. Even down to the bar owner. They wanted to see what happened when dicsions today affect things much later because it’s not just an episode and then ,”see ya later, never coming back!” By season 4 it was intense and awesome. Especially during the Dominion wars.

  • Bayne MacGregor

    Read Asimov’s Foundation series.

    • Never heard of it, will check it out. Thanks!

      • Damistar

        Really? It’s to sci-fi what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy. I highly recommend it.

        • GrogDaTyrant

          I would argue that Dune is the sci-fi equivalent to Lord of the Rings. Much of 40k’s backstory is pretty much copy-pasted from Dune’s. But I definitely agree that Asimov’s Foundation series is a major contributor. Asimov is one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time, and I would place Foundation as more important to the sci-fi genre than either Star Trek, Star Wars, or 40k.

          • Dan Wilson

            The Heresy is a massive expansion on the theme of Paradise Lost. The emperor is God and Horus is Lucifer.

        • Azhrarn

          It is well known, certainly, but it’s also pretty dense stuff. I consider myself a big Sci-Fi lover, but Asimov’s work is not always easy to get through, especially the Foundation series, which has a lot of stuff about politics. 🙂

      • Bayne MacGregor

        You’ll find it a big influence on 40k’s early days.

        While you are at it, add E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman books to your reading list and see where a lot of other things in 40k AND Star Trek AND Star Wars came from.

  • BattleTech does the same thing, btw.

    Also the way writers for Star Trek should go isn’t transform ST in to another dystopian misery of a sci-fi series, we have more than enough of that. (Seriously, I can’t think of many optimistic modern sci-fi series off the top of my head.)
    Much easier would be to just do what Enterprise did, place the series in the early stages of the Federation where tech wasn’t as sophisticated.

    • Donald Wendt

      So does Dune. Butlerian Jihad. We killed all the AIs after we became their slaves and revolted. That’s why Mentats were the human form of computers.

      • Zethnar

        Where do you think Rick Priestly took it from? Theres a lot of stuff in there taken straight from Dune, amongst probably a dozen other sci-fi properties.

    • V10_Rob

      There’s only so much bleak grimdark I can stomach, but Star Trek is generally the opposite problem: the sickening sweetness of perfect people living in a perfect utopian society.

      The best sc-fi tends to sit in the middle.

  • Brad Parks

    The guiding principle in Star Trek was the spirit of exploration. They put themselves out there because they wanted to experience it for themselves, not because it was the only option. Like in First Contact when Picard was talking about how they don’t get paid, because the driving force in life was simply to better oneself. You can only automate so far before you cede control and thus strength. That was kind of the point with Spock and Vulcan thinking. His human side was always there to balance out the cold logic. Both Data and the Doctor both just wanted to “feel” alive, despite being actually more “effecient” how they were.

    • They also adressed the probe / drone thing in an episode of Voyager.
      “If scientific knowledge was all we were after, then the Federation would have built a fleet of probes, not starships. Exploration is about seeing things with your own eyes.” – Janeway

      • petrow84

        “Also, a probe would actually give a damn about the Federation’s Prime Directive that we constantly use to wipe our *** with.”
        – every in-series starship captain, ever

        • ZeeLobby

          Hahahaha. True that.

      • Muninwing

        yeah, this is the greatest plot justification ever… not necessarily justifiable by a scientific society, but necessary to circumvent the worries that the fans might have.

        i grew up living with a trekkie, so i’ve seen everything released up to season one of DS9… and a few others on my own. i’m always amazed at how resistant trek fans are to accepting the less justifiable elements of their beloved series.

        if anything, there’s just as much bending of event for the sake of story, and at least double the plot armor, when compared even to Star Wars.

    • Stephen James Hand

      I think Iain M. Bank’s culture novels address this subject better. There it’s acknowledged that the ships could, and often do work perfectly well without a human crew, but they often choose not to. The Star Trek approach of having an optimistic, relatively technophile culture that deliberately avoids developing autonomous ships stretches credibility a little. I mean, putting human crew on an exploration ship to experience discovery for real is one thing, but in Star Trek even cargo ships that go back and forth between the same 2 space ports over and over require human crews, who’s that for the benefit of?

      • Tshiva keln

        The whole of society benefits from that. Think about it, you advertise this redundant job and only idiots apply for it. You then keep them out the way of everyone else!

        • Emprah

          Plus maybe they do not have automated repair systems, and they need Joe the crewman to replace the fuse box if the AI breaks.

    • euansmith

      Indeed, I think the main reason for having a large crew is to stop the vital staff members feeling all alone in the endless, cold, dark, vastness off space.

      • petrow84

        Hmm, how about red-shirt probes?

      • NovaeVox

        WHOA… O_O

        The Borg Collective is just, like Facebook, 347 years in the future.

        *mind blown*

  • Azhrarn

    In a way the hyper-automated future you describe as being a problem is one of the reasons why the “Culture” books by Iain M. Banks work as well as they do.

    The AIs do almost everything, and are in many books primary characters in and of themselves, with the living sentient beings (humans is the wrong words, there’s many aliens) often doing tasks where interaction with less advanced civilisations (ie. almost everyone in this setting) is required, though AI support is not uncommon here either.
    The rest of the sentient entities get to relax on their worlds and space stations and have adventures among themselves there.

    Starships generally don’t have crew, just a Mind, and anyone or anything else on board is just a passenger, but by making the AI themselves interesting and compelling characters you get around the issue quite handily.

  • NinjaWolfHybrid

    “While the Imperial Truth upheld the light of reason and science, it did have one proscription: men must never develop artificially intelligent machines. The Emperor remembered that it was the great war fought by Mankind against the thinking machines known as the Men of Iron that had helped to destroy humanity’s last united interstellar civilization at the end of the Dark Age of Technology and He had no desire to see the human race repeat its past mistakes.” (40k wikia)

    I think I’ve got a plot for the next Star Trek series!

    • Tshiva keln

      What, Terminator?

    • Deacon Ix

      BSG style reset?

    • Zethnar

      It’s lifted directly from Dune. In the book the Butlerian Jihad was a war that occurred 10,000 years prior to the events of the novel. It was fought against AI driven machines, resulting in their extermination and a ban on the redevelopment of artificial intelligence.

  • Prisoner 42

    Technology was never that important in DS9 yet they still made it entertaining. Does disapoint me that there is no star trek or Stargate anymore.

    • Erber

      I miss Stargate so much 🙁 heck I even thought Universe was pretty good…

      • Prisoner 42

        Yea took me a while to get used to it but I started to look forward to it by the end.

      • Chet Atkinson

        Are there any sci-fi shows on at the mo? :/

        • Sebastien Bazinet

          Westworld, Minority Report (only watched first ep and was not impressed though)

    • New Star Trek TV series being made. It’s called Star Trek: Discovery. The real deal, not a fan show.

      • Prisoner 42

        Sweet I’m surprised I didn’t know that. I just hope there isn’t any singing for the intro music enterprise annoyed me with that.

        • Haha. At first it irritated me too. But my family and I are watching it again on DVD and sing along with it. 😀

          • Prisoner 42

            The cheese was strong in those lyrics. I can’t even think about enterprise without the song getting stuck in my head all day. I’ll try singing along next time lol.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Been a long road, getting there from here… blah bla bl bl blah bah bah, I got faith from the heart… Nothing gonna keep me down. blah bllah bah blah. It still rings in my head.. and I have never watched it again after the series finale.

          • ZeeLobby

            So basically The Space Jeffersons?

      • Shawn

        Not a fan show? So it’s going to be Discovery Channel in Space Then?

        • lol. No, not a fan-made show. It’s a real honest-to-goodness Star trek series being made.

  • rtheom

    I often have a problem with 40K’s lore though, in that, the Imperium now spans the galaxy, there are hundreds of worlds with untold trillions (or more) people living on them… and somehow nothing new has been invented for 10,000 years?

    I’m willing to accept it for the sake of the otherwise awesome universe they’ve built, but come on… in even the MOST oppressive society, you’re still going to have entire planets that manage to break away and advance things very quickly, no matter how far back in time your tech is set. This is made even more problematic when they repeatedly mention how entire portions of the galaxy ARE cut off from the rest for thousands of years due to warp storms.

    • Tshiva keln

      But in 40k they have got religious hysteria about it – if you invent or improve something you are a heretic. The machine god made it like that for a reason and who are you to try and improve on a god’s work. If an isolated society was discovered that had advanced that much they would probably wipe them out out of fear.

      • Heinz Fiction

        It’s still not really believable. We had a comparable mind set during the middle ages and yet technology did progress (although at a slow pace).

    • Emprah

      It is because you do not know nearly enough about the lore.

      First things first, the technology in many places is from the Dark Age of Technology. It is incredibly advanced and possibly too advanced for human minds to comprehend without genetical or cybernetic enhancement.

      In the Dark age of technology, they had super AI to help them make even better technology, but they don’t any more.

      The Techpriests try to understand what they can, but it is not easy. They got no AI to help, only their computer enhanced brains, and the tech had to be totally re-done from scraps of archeological material.

      They do make some original research, but it is so hard to do that it mostly manifests in refining old technology to work better.

      In Star Trek, they invent a Proton Torpedo, than Quantum Torpedo, than comes the Chroniton torpedo…

      In 40k, they invent the Assault cannon, than they refine it so that it does not jam or explode.

      Aka, without good AI, you can’t advance any more, since the Imperium already reached what a human mind can research on its own.

      There is also the factor that the Imperium is a cheapskate. Only the Mechanicus, Inquisition and Space Marines get the best technology. Imperial Guardsmen are just not worth the effort of additional technology, since the Imperium has an amazing surplus of humans to throw at its foes.

      While the Imperium makes some new tech, they also manage to loose some old stuff sometimes, so it stays around the same stagnating limit of research without AI help.

      Remember that the Tau have AI, the Eldar have superior brains, the Necrons… have a superior computer AI brain?

      • Chet Atkinson

        All the above! But also, think about the crew on the Enterprise. They are all massively specialised – they can’t do each others’ jobs as well without assistance. Then look at today: if we lost all our knowledge about tech who would be able to build a silicon chip? Look at all these survival type shows: without our current bank of knowledge and skills we regress pretty far back. Our most tech stuff is built by robots. I concede a point that if we have rhinos and razorbacks etc then I could imagine the AM being able to at least produce plenty of tweaks and updates

      • rtheom

        Oh I knew all of that about the lore. I still find it extremely unrealistic. But as I said, I’m willing to put up with it for the sake of 40K’s overall setting.

    • Damistar

      Chances are there is innovation and discovery in isolated pockets around the galaxy. However the game of 40K is the low average, not the extreme. We know there is anti grav for instance, and some world do have flying cars. Also the AdMech will launch fleets to steal and/or destroy any new technology that becomes widespread without their approval.

    • georgelabour

      They actuallly do invent new things. However between the inventor being declared a heretic and his works locked away, and the long LONG process of having things declared pure of taint it takes a while for them to be dispersed through the imperium.

      The Ironstriders and storm raven are both examples of that.

      Ramiles star forts are another IIRC.

    • Moonsaves

      New stuff does get invented, it’s just mired in theological debate and bureaucracy. See: Land Raider Crusader and Shadowsword.

      The Tech-Priest who created the Macharius line of tanks by splicing different designs together was dead by the time his designs got approved for manufacture. Things are moving, but at a glacial pace.

      • rtheom

        Yeah, again, something I’m willing to accept for the sake of 40K as it is, but absolutely unrealistic in a galaxy spanning civilization where the bureaucracy can only stretch so far.

        But perhaps I am forgetting just how ridiculous bureaucracy itself is. 😛

  • Dirheim

    Star Trek in Voyager introduced the Omega particle, that in case it would explode would disrupt subspace at Galaxy level, which would mean no warp, no tele transport, no replicator and a much lower power generation possibility. It could be a much more “darker” galaxy

  • Stephen James Hand

    40k technology is ridiculous and nobody should seek to emulate it. Are we seriously supposed to take it as plausible that starships capable of interstellar travel and tanks that can’t fire accurately on the move are both part of the same level of technology? I can understand how the Ad Mech not truly understanding the technology they create & maintain would lead to some big differences in levels of technology in different areas, but it doesn’t explain the Imperium building and maintaining huge numbers of obsolete weapons that would be completely ineffective in a war with anyone except themselves

    The Imperial Guard is basically WW2 / Vietnam with lasers, which is a great concept for basing models on, but makes no sense as part of the wider setting.

    I love 40k, but when it comes to the tech you have to suspend disbelief to a massive degree.

    • Emprah

      40k tanks can not fire accurately on the move in the lore…. since when?

      I think the only ones that suffer from that are stuff like the Basilisk artillery.

      Where do people come up with these silly ideas? Is it from the board game mechanics? Because those are as divorced from the lore as it can be. For example, both guard and marines have the same 1 hit point, which is something done for balance that ignores the background lore.

    • georgelabour

      Actually the humble lasgun makes modern day infantry weapons look about as advanced as a sling stone.

      An M-16 that can’t be rearmed by tossing its magazine in a fire. Nor can it sever a man’s limb with one shot. It definitely can’t set a man’s head on fire after punching a hole straight through him.

      Then we go into ammo capacity, reliability, adaptability, and sheer lethality. That ‘flash light’ suddenly outperforms pretty much every weapon short of Star Trek’s phaser.

      So yeah..I’m pretty sure any real world military would love to have something as ‘bad’ as a 40k lasgun.

      • Stephen James Hand

        Yes but my argument is that any weapon that requires a human to fire it (including a lasgun) is made instantly obsolete when the same weapon can be fired autonomously by a drone or a robot, surely you see that?

        • georgelabour

          I was responding to the statements like .

          “40k technology is ridiculous and nobody should seek to emulate it.”

          And there are already plenty of examples as to why the imperium doesn’t rely on self aware machinery anymore. The most obvious being that big dimension full of not good feelings that kicks out scrap code the way a script kiddies kicks out DDOSes aimed at Xbox live.

          • Stephen James Hand

            Yes, fully autonomous self aware AI is dangerous in the 40k universe, but what about remote control and semi autonomous systems? Plenty of that sort of stuff around in 40k. Attack helicopters and drones have already made battle tanks well on their way to being obsolete in the early 21st century (without any autonomous or sentient AI), but in the 41st millennium where the military technology is more advanced, they’re all the rage again? And I’m pretty sure a military with access to bipedal robots, cyborgs and floating skull technology wouldn’t be relying on mass deployments of human infantry to fight wars. Perhaps limited deployments of specialists and elite forces, but not the massed waves of grunts that characterise the Imperial Guard. 40k is a fun setting but don’t expect logic!

          • georgelabour

            First off there are realtively few fully mechanicaly autonomous systems in the imperium due to the ever present issue of scrap code, and the aftermath of a machine rebellion.

            AGain, almost all machines in 40k have an organic component. Even cherubs and small cleaning drones have bits of animal brain stuck in them.

            And the imperium has not abandoned air superiority. Even the older fluff written back before fliers became a staple of the main game mentions air support, albeit in a ‘oh it’s off over there’ manner. 2nd edition even had a special card that let you call in an air strike. While Space Marine/Titan Legions had a handful of VTOL style vehicles.

            I’m not sure how familiar you are with the lore but there are plenty of examples where the Imperium uses air power, and other examples where such a thing is simply not feasbile due to enviromental conditions.

            And of course in the end you get to the issue that since humans are the Imperium’s most wide spread and renewable resource they make the perfect mobile platform for deploying what is in fact a remarkable, and extremely efficient piece of military hardware.

            The lasgun.

            It’s just cheaper, faster, and more efficient to hand some guys on a tribal world a weapon, and ship them over a few systems to fight. They can be trained to use it in a week and be killing the enemy in a month. Thus making it easier to spend their lives in preference to maintaining standing armies of Kataphrons on every single world. Safer too.

            It also fulfills another purpose. That purpose being to keep military and political power from coalescing into any single organization/person’s hands. RE: Goge Vandire, Horus Lupercal.

            So again as to your original complain of ‘no military would want this stuff’ I am afraid you’re complaint is incredibly wrong.

            ANd speaking of air support. Do you know what a real military would do to get their hands on something as awesome as a Valkyrie?

  • Lion El’ Jonson

    I love the smell of a pro 40k article in the mornin.

  • NagaBaboon

    I don’t think 40K has the exclusive rights to dystopian futures dude, much as GW would like it to.

    Edit: Unless they called it adystopiani future obviously….

    • Loki Nahat

      aye! ai asee awhat ayou adid athere

    • Yes, but the whole “forgetting technology” bit is what the answer is to tech inflation in sci-fi shows.

  • Heinz Fiction

    I think it’ a bit unfair to blame the holo doc for all this. Star Trek’s whole hologram techology causes so many logical problems, it would make Data’s head explode if he ever thought about it. Other technologies aren’t far behind in the ‘makes no sense department’. Like beaming. But this one is at least born out of budget limitations of TOS if that is an excuse…

    However I don’t think we need any new Trek shows to be honest. I liked them despite their obvious flaws but I thnik every story in that universe has been told already (most of them twice). Make something new please.

    • The difference is that with holodeck tech, they need to be confined between a network of emitters, which is limiting. But in Voyager, they [through reasons] found a portable holodgram emitter that he could just wear and walk anywhere. That’s mostly what broke it.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        I just don’t get how he is solid enough to carry his own emitter.. still doesn’t make much sense.. breaks Laws of thermo dynamics.

        • Chet Atkinson

          Not really – a hot air balloon for example can carry its own weight/power supply etc.
          But I agree it seems a bit weird as a chicken and egg type situation as: how can he wear it if he can’t be there until it’s switched on?

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Right, but unlike a holo emitter, a hot air balloon follows the laws of thermo dynamics which is to say Matter although changes form is still matter. You can’t just create matter out of thin air. Which that little device just breaks physics as we know it, in several interesting ways. I mean it is Star Trek so they always invent some particle that is to blame for whatever limitation.
            Just like teleporting as we know it is not quite possible (least not if you wish to be alive) mainly because the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. So as a hilarious address to fans pointing that out, they now added that Beam emitters have Heisenberg compensators to do the guess work of where a particle is at any given time or vice versa what it’s speed is!

        • ~*science!*~

      • Kevin Buesse

        It that was tech from far in the future, they at least as far as I remember couldn’t replicate it.

        So still the question arises why not have holoemitters in more places on the ship and run it electronically.

        There is the question of how durable holoemitters are. We see basic consoles explode during attacks or events all the time. What happens when your whole crew is stuck with no way to fix the ship?

        Also kinda hard to do outside maintenance when no one can leave emitter range.

        Still you’re right it’s an issue never addressed well in the series.

        • Donald Wendt

          I think I remember them placing holo emitters on the bridge so he could transfer there in an emergency just in case Spaceman Jimmy’s console explode when a Kazon looked sideways at them. Would have been before he got the mobile emitter.

        • Yeah, through some convoluted plot, a guy from the 31st (?) century comes back and gets killed in the 1990’s and some evil corporate steals his tech and slowly reverse engineers it. During their dealing with this issue in the past, they find a portable holodeck emitter.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Good ol Ed Beglie JR being the man he truly dislikes in real life!

      • Heinz Fiction

        I’d say holographic gangsters shooting down Borg in First Contact are just as hillarious…

        • Ugh. Okay, sometimes it’s dumb. lol

    • euansmith

      The Teleporters and Food Replicators seem to use a common technology; so the obvious use would be to replicate your very best crews in times of war. You could have an infinite supply of highly experienced combatants. You could even store them at their prime until they are needed.

      There was a occurrence of this with the abandoned “twin” of Will Riker, who joined the Marquis in DS9.

      • Chet Atkinson

        That’s a fascinating suggestion. I suppose you would have to factor in learning too as these experts would need to improve as tech and the political landscape changes

        • euansmith

          That would be a cool extra wrinkle to the story line. Maybe, like the reborn 40k Primarchs, the heritage crews could be disgusted by what the future Federation has become.

      • georgelabour

        Voyager did have an episode involving a group of ‘free willed’ holograms turning on the aliens that made them as substitute prey. They were basically unkillable super soldiers because…they were living light and thus invulnerable to most weapons and physical problems.

        It was actually kind of interesting since it was one of the last times you see the Hirogen in the series.

  • euansmith

    I would love to see a Star Trek series in which the crew acts properly; with the command crew staying on the bridge and the security detail handling the away missions. That way, away missions could be made properly deadly, with a high through put of Red Shirts, while the bridge crew have the over arching story lines.

    As with 40k, the Star Trek universe is a setting, so it is possible to have stories set in different bits of the Universe without having to advance the entire setting; Deep Space Nine (my favourite) and Voyager both are examples.

    Additionally, the Federation might find itself up against a physical limit on further technological development, so that the technology ten or twenty years in the future might not have shown much development, but the political map might have changed.

    Finally, why no A.I. ships? Star Trek: A.I. War! When all of the organic races find themselves facing extermination at the holographic claws of the A.I. Revolt.

    • All good points, Mr. Smith. I too would love to see more TNG era shows in different settings. That said, I love all Trek and can’t WAIT for Discovery!

      • euansmith

        Star Fleet Intelligence is a series I’d watch; the dodgy face of the Federation.

      • euansmith

        With “Discovery” apparently initially focusing on Number One, rather than the Captain; maybe it is my dream Star Trek series 🙂

        • Me too! I really enjoyed the episode in T NG and the one in VOY that centered around lower crew men and women. I think that is way more interesting. To my knowledge “number one” in ST:D is going to be a lieutenant or something. Not commander.

          • euansmith

            The NG episodes with Howling Mad Murdock were great; and there was one with an ensign or someone, where you got to see the main crew from someone else’s perspective was a hoot.

    • georgelabour

      In 40k the command crew still tends to go on away missions.

      Heck the entire Rogue Trader game routinely involves the most important people doing the most dangerous tasks as ‘normal’ people tend to eat their own eyeballs when put in those situations.

      But in 40k the command crew is at least smart enough to wear body armor and bring more than 2 bodyguards to shelter behind.

      • Severius_Tolluck

        LOL well profit is a huge incentive for that. I ran a few groups who tried to send “red shirts” as there were several hundred thousand on board, to do such menial tasks.

        • georgelabour

          well in my group some of those red shirts were orkz.

          So…not the kind of guys you send down unsupervised to recover valuable treasures

    • Raven Jax

      Kirk leads away missions for the same reasons that Space Marine sergeants and captains often don’t wear helmets.

      • euansmith

        So they can snog hot alien slave girls?

        • Raven Jax

          Lol. Behind the scenes its so you can identify the main characters and feel more connected to their adventures.

          In-universe, it’s because they’re the leaders and they have an example to set. It’s also because they want to. They didn’t come out here to “hide” behind a helmet or on the bridge of a starship.

  • Liam ‘Goaty’ Green

    But, but…. GODDAMN DUNE MAN!

    • petrow84

      I kinda like to think, that Battletech, Dune and WH40K can all be connected – to a certain degree – to the same timeline.

      • Don’t forget the Bolo series. Baneblades, meet machine spirit on steroids… I can’t look at my SH company without thinking back to those books very time.

      • cudgel

        Lol, and in that order too.

  • Emprah

    40k has the smartest plot device. It is called the Warp. It is the great and ultimate plot device that can be used to explain a lot of odd happenings. You don’t need to come up with a half baked idea about some special particle and special radiation driving half of the crew mad for Captain Kirk to chase. Warp did it!

    Also, I think a lot of old 40k fans are stuck in the WW2 era Rogue Trader. When in the newer (less than a decade old) canon, a lot of parts of the Imperium are quite advanced, possibly more so than most other scifi factions.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Wha? RT was way more fluid and advanced in many many ways…. The retcons coming from 2e and on make it more and more grimdark….

    • georgelabour

      Rogue trader had anti-gravity surfboards.

  • AX_472

    your second point about not knowing where technology will go next papering them into a corner i agree with but the comment about the doctor is addressed in Star Trek at some point, they are by nature explorers. They could have already been doing the work with probes but they want to see it for themselves. also i like the idea of them moving further with the emergent race of artificial beings thing. TNG had data, voyager had the doctor and in TOS there was a culture of machines living in a cave or something. Bring on the holographic crew members, the andromeda style ships AI/android. That’s the sci fi thing star trek never went too far into.

  • Kritarion

    I love the Captain kOrk mini.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Yep he was from a blog I read years ago. He made the entire ToS bridge to scale from original set blue prints. He wired the whole bridge to light up. Its the center of a Gargant. On the outside the gargant is painted red of course, with a federation badge. The OSS Orkaprise!

  • Damistar

    Most likely our future will be more WALL-E and less Star Trek.

    • … I hate to say that you’re probably right.

      • Damistar

        It’s the logical conclusion to your “technology removes the middle man” argument.

  • Deacon Ix

    Ian M. Banks Culture series is a good example of the end point, basically about a “culture” whos next step was to acend, but decided that they didn’t want to and now go about “looking after” the Galaxy and it’s inhabitants.

  • David Leimbach

    In 40k it’s more efficient to search for lost STC tech than to research and invent new tech.

    If you start trying to take apart and rebuild technology, first of all you’re not going to improve it – it was perfected to be long lasting over “advanced” by AI much smarter than any human. Then you might open a warp portal and find yourself skewered by some daemons.

    The amount of time it took to research everything in 40k can be vast as well. 10k years or more to get to where they are now. You’re not going to set up a lab and put a dent in that. More likely that plasma pistol will just blow up in your face more easily.

    Another thing – I always though that in 40k humanity lost The Scientific Method. So on a very basic level nobody knows really how to set up a test, verify results, refine and reiterate the way we do now.

    In such a place, playing around with technology is so scary you just wouldn’t bother. Better to search around some lost planet for STC technology – that automatically builds tech perfectly refined to human needs and durability.

    • BeneathALeadMountain

      Isn’t taking apart tech and rebuilding it, but better, how reverse engineering works and the cause of a huge amount of industrial espionage? It’s the time and scale issue you mention that stops it (along with religious barbarism).

  • Jeramy Bailey

    Frank Herbert got it right with Dune. Thinking machines were outlawed, and the human mind had to be developed to take over the tasks necessary for a galactic civilization. Maybe Trek needs their own Butlerian Jihad?

    • Severius_Tolluck

      That is what I always thought. As their cultures are often are pretty much all forms of socialism / communism / fascism. Where entire cultures become dedicated to a task with no profit (minus them ferrangi). Basically the Federation is the best humans can do with socialism and form a utopia. But if they have no jobs due to technology what purpose would the common man have?
      So having explorer vessels meant to open trade routes and take notes and make star charts makes a lot of sense. As well as a living face makes first contact and establish trade or negotiate peace.
      It is interesting they teach quantum mechanics to 14 year olds along with other advanced forms of information. Seems like public education becomes worth a darn!

    • generalchaos34

      I will second part 2, and that is the prime reasoning that they go into in Next Gen (namely the episode with the frozen people) is that there is no need for money or acquisition of things, only self improvement. Therefore the exploration, discovery, and establishment of lasting institutions is the only real thing one can do in the fully automated society.

  • Thatroubleshootah

    The 40 writers to a large extent got a lot of their stuff from a science fiction book called a canticle for leibowitz. In the book after a nuclear war monks who know nothing of technology illuminate circuit diagrams and eventually bring back technological advances only to repeat the cycle

  • Agent OfBolas

    God I love Star Trek!

  • Xar

    As stated in Agents of Shield: hasn’t anyone seen an 80’s movie? That’s why we don’t have autonomous drones – they ALWAYS decide to kill the humans.

  • Raven Jax

    Don’t forget, everyone, that humans have evolved in Star Trek as well, not physically but culturally. It represents the best view of humanity and human society. They explore and fly starships not because they have to, but because they want to. They are driven by the unknown and a desire to learn and experience. In our best moments, these are the same desires and emotions that drive us today.

    Kirk didn’t become a starship captain to sit on the bridge all the time. Kirk is going to lead the away team because that’s who he is.

    Let me put it a different way: you live in a utopia with no crime and war. You have everything you could ever want. You can get food and water by pushing a button. Healthcare is excellent. Then someone comes to you and says: You can spend the day sitting in your apartment playing video games, or you can travel to Mars. Which are you going to chose?

    Now, I do agree with stuff like why aren’t cargo ships automated, but that’s more for plot reasons because it is, at the end of the day, a TV show. The Enterprise having to rescue a robotic cargo vessel doesn’t quite have the same level of drama.

    Finally, keep in mind that even today, people value doing things themselves. We have e-mail, but people still hand-write cards and letters to each other. We have machines to make scarves, but people still knit. Often we value these human-made items of clothing more than the automated machine-made ones.

    • VERY well put sir (or ma’am).

      • Raven Jax

        Thanks!

  • MechBattler

    Futuristic shows need a useless looking bureaucracy that somehow still makes things work despite being totally dysfunctional. Like the Vogons.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24fuZX5ABYQ

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    The basic problem with classic, pre-Abrams-Films Star Trek was that the utopia story was a facade, even in TNG. While Earth and its main allies solved most of their problems early in the greater metaplot, even with replicator technology, food and shelter, and to a lesser extent, security, were still continuing issues for the main political blocs in Star Trek. Unfortunately, the reality of that situation, which got touched on in DS-9, and on a micro scale in Voyager, Enterprise, and some of the newer films (especially Beyond), is not something easy to parlay into a promising series, at least, not the way DS-9 did, especially with today’s audience.

  • Shawn

    Pretty good notions Pimprcon. However, I would also like to add that with having a tachyon what’s it break down, or a metathingamajgy be the only thing to save the day and then suddenly get them fixed/discovered in one episode on a constant basis a bit boring. Nevermind the fact that you had a galaxy class starship on a mission of peace AND bringing they’re families along? Heresy. Don’t get me started on boy genius that skips starfleet to pilot/navigate said galaxy class starship.

  • Graham Bartram

    Warp travel, time travel, teleportation, any other over-tech your story needs to get rid of, the whole lot obviously damage the fabric of space time so after a few centuries bits of space become somewhat unstable. Now warp travel is limited is different areas and subject to more extreme space weather (like a real ocean in space), teleporters are dangerous at any sort of range (variable) so shuttles become more common (like rowing boats hmm), and powerful weapons like quantum torpedoes become volatile if fired in unstable areas etc… it’s not hard to sort out the Star-Trek problem, you just need to say “oops…our tech wasn’t environmentally friendly to the space-time continuum, now it’s not so safe.” Job done.