May 19th, 2013

Apollo Sunrise

STID & The Prime Directive (no spoilers)

It’s going to take another viewing for me to get my thoughts together about STID, because even though I was thoroughly spoiled thanks to my avid tracking down of spoilers over the past year (many many thanks to Amanda and Rachael for their complete transcript of STID, which I read the night before I saw it) I’ve been coming down with a bug the past couple of days, my head felt like it was stuffed in cotton when I saw STID, and my brain is nowhere near full operating capacity.

So I’m just going to ramble at random on just one point: the Prime Directive. And probably not on any kind of meta thinky way – just a true ramble.

First, clichéd scene of primitive people with spears is clichéd. That out of the way, the end of that first scene sent me on a mental time trip. I wrote a K/S novella in the 80s, “The Fire Give In To The Sun”, which I’ve never posted. I had various specific points I was working towards making in the novella. Part of the plot involved a time eddy near a non-spaceflight technology world which sweeps a Federation researcher back in time many years. The researcher uses a phaser to defend himself against an attack, and by the time the Enterprise arrives there are temples on this world dedicated to worshipping phasers. (And now I’m thinking of The Book in “A Piece of the Action”, which was doubtless one of my inspirations at the time, along with my reading articles at the time about South Pacific “cargo cults”. )

I was only partway through writing the story when my mother passed away. When I finally managed to finish it my betas told me the ending was flat – the points I was trying to make just weren’t there. I had literally forgotten what I was trying to accomplish with the story. I’ve never reread it, initially because of its coincidental association with my mother’s passing, and later on, because in my mind it was a failed story and I didn’t even want to look at it because I knew if I did I’d want to rewrite the whole thing, and I always have new stories I want to write.

After seeing STID I’ve been thinking of all the times TOS Kirk played fast and loose with the Prime Directive. And that reminded me of one of my favorite TOS pro novels, “Ex Machina”, in which part of the plot deals with people whose job it is to go in after Kirk has ignored the Prime Directive and destroyed a culture’s god-computer (“Return of the Archons”, “The Apple”) and clean up the mess he's made of the local culture. I loved that detail. That’s the part of the story we never got to see, and it made for an interesting part of what is a truly good ST pro novel.

OK, I’ve rambled on, but haven’t said much. Maybe in a few months I’ll have another look at that story. I have a zillion things to do before then though, both fannish and RL. I plan to rewatch STID again, once I actually have my brain back… :-)