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Tenebrae

Star Trek Aliens...

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I was going to start a post about the "worst trek villains" (I was pitching Kazon) and then I glanced over another sfdebris review that reminded me of the important aspect of Trek races. Monoculture. Which is to say you can describe almost every member of a race with a single word.

 

Klingons are warriors, Romulans are sneaky... Cardassians are... uh, sneaky, Ferengi are greedy, Vulcans are logical... mostly humans are the only ones that are allowed to show any particular variation and even then, most humans are noble and various other upstanding characteristics.

 

There aren't any facets to the alien races... they're just... one dimensional, hell the average Klingon makes a valley girl look deep. Even a character with plenty of screentime like Worf struggles to get past the characterisation...

 

Anyway, it's an issue broached in the past - what do we all think about it?

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Yes, it a major weakness in the ST universe.  The ST universe is overwhelmingly terracentric.  Everyone goes into mind numbing detal about the technology, yet a major compoment of the ST universe, it's inhabitants, are little more than an afterthought.

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The Vulcans received some depth in Enterprise. But, that type of storytelling certainly was never the norm.

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I'm not sure there was a great deal of depth to it... as it never stopped the race being their defining trait - LOGICAL! Oh, I guess they added how much Archer and pals HATED the Vulcans but most of it was really more involved with the whole Romulan involvement - or so it seemed to me.

 

But glad you agree MrDad... I mean, it's hard to see the Klingons or the Ferengi ever really being a society that didn't end up imploding... I'd say it was because they're FAR too keen on bigging up humanity but I think it's more about the writers being bad.

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Ok, I think of it like this...

 

Animals evolved to suit their envrioments.

 

Mountian goats have sure footing, Fish that are adapted to live in the ocean bottom die when they are brought to the surface, Rats are able to go into pretty much any space.

 

Humans are able to change, adapt and mold things to the way that they need them.

 

Like in Enterprise there were the Xindi, who had five different types of humanoid species.

 

So IMO Klingons evolved to battle, not to think. Ferengi evolved to have money... I don't know I'm pretty hung over.

 

My whole point is that, maybe other alien speices don't think the way that humans do, they don't aspire for anything more, and the ones that are are outcast.

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There are many species very like the rounded-out humans. Bajorans, while not technologically amazing, are deeply cultural and fiercely defensive.

It all depends on what happens first in a society. The first great Klingon hero was a ferocious warrior. The first Vulcan hero was the father of Logic.

Also - most cultures are based on local societies. Klingons reflect the Japanese warrior Samurai. Romulans stood in for the Russians during the Cold War.

The fact of the matter is - we don't know much more than we have on Earth. Just as they can't show many aliens that aren't humanoid, and they can't discuss things about aliens who can see colours beyond our visual spectrum (because what would that look like to them?), they can't really create cultures that exhibit qualities we know nothing about. At the same time, they can't make them all rounded psychologically and like humans. Because then it's waste of make-up effects.

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Underscore - you're merely approving of the lack of imagination.

 

Single characteristics do not a society make. Trek seems to think, once you start into space - you're a singular culture. Except Chakotay, A MAN CANNOT OWN LAND. Yes, racial stereotypes are a good thing in Trek!

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I'm not sure any starfleet members really owned land, apart from Kirk and maybe Picard. We know Sisko didn't, 'come son, we're going to yet another space station'.

 

I'd say the Cardassians were Nazis, as well as sneaky.

 

As for the Romulans, I felt they were more complex than at first glance. They were calculating while the Klingons post-TMP fit the description you gave. The Romulans believed very much in strategy and careful planning. This made them formidable opponents because while you were trying to figure out what they were doing, they had already made their move. I guess with the Romulans the saying 'knowledge is power' really fits them.

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