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109

I think you’re misinterpreting the Prime Directive. (It’s not actually written down in any official Star Trek work, so any discussion of it is necessarily going to be a bit vague.) The Prime Directive is, in part, intended to prevent Starfleet from visiting less-advanced civilisations and dicking around with their development, whether for fun, profit, or ...


77

I think the answer is a lot simpler than the philosophical answers I've seen so far. So I am going to take a shot at a logical answer. For a moment, as you read this, imagine Spock is giving you this answer :-) Once a civilization has attained warp speed travel, they can hardly be prevented from initiating first contact of their own accord. It would ...


67

All in all, the Lord of the Rings novels have even fewer scenes featuring women than the movies do, and the few that do show up (Arwen, Eowyn, Galadriel, Goldberry and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, and I can't think of any others that actually have any lines) don't actually share any scenes, so the Bechdel test goes right out the window. If there's no scene ...


47

Kirk: Er, well, sir, volatile is all relative. Maybe our data was off.. Pike: Or maybe it didn't erupt because Mister Spock detonated a cold fusion device inside it right after a civilisation that's barely invented the wheel happened to see a starship rising out of their ocean. That is pretty much how you describe it, is it not? (Star Trek Into Darkness) ...


32

It's a novel rather than a short story, but that sounds exactly like Beyond this Horizon by Robert Heinlein. The novel depicts a world where genetic selection for increased health, longevity, and intelligence has become so widespread that the unmodified 'control naturals' are a carefully managed and protected minority. Dueling and the carrying of arms is ...


25

"Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-TAH-Tee", a short story by Fritz Leiber; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May 1958, available at the Internet Archive. This story involved an artist creating a series of splodges Simon seized a brush and plunged it deep in the pot of black paint. Usually he used black for a final splatter if he used it ...


25

We have cases of this in Enterprise. the V'Tosh Ka'Tur "Vulcans without Logic" are a group that Enterprise (NX-01) encounters. This group while not abandoning logic, instead open up to emotions, and make decisions that take into account both logical, and emotional considerations. They were scoffed at by mainstream Vulcans and by T'Pol, the resident Vulcan ...


22

The only arguably "illogical Vulcans" we see TOS or later are few and far between. Sybok lived apart from Vulcan society. Some apocrypha indicates that he was banished. Other sources, Gene Roddenberry included, indicate that Star Trek V is itself apocryphal. Valeris, for her acts which Spock considered illogical, was arguably mind-raped on the bridge of The ...


16

A work of science fiction like Star Trek that supposes the galaxy to be densely populated with intelligent beings capable of interstellar travel needs to offer an answer to the question, "why didn't they visit Earth earlier?" (The "Fermi paradox".) The SF Encyclopedia discusses a number of common ways in which science fiction writers answer this question, ...


10

Star Trek really was not utopia; it may have had the appearance on the surface but we saw beneath that surface to the ugly truth of human nature many times on all the series. The Prime Directive is not entirely sacrosanct; it gets violated on many occasions but that's neither here nor now. The simplest explanation is the fact that once a civilization ...


10

In the episode First Contact, Riker is on a planet that is finishing its warp drive. Eventually, Picard meets with the president, and explains that in spite of their other advances, the ability to visit new life is both a wonderful and scary decision. The president ultimately decides to scrap the project, because people are so scared of the extra-...


10

The premise of your question isn't really true. If you watch the various series and movies, you'll see that the Federation has dealings with many, many, many starfaring races that are manipulative, greedy, or warlike. Contact isn't a function of moral purity, good behavior, good government, or anything like that. Due to the Federation's peaceful philosophy, ...


10

"Black Is Beautiful", a 1970 short story by Robert Silverberg; originally published in The Year 2000, an anthology of new stories edited by Harry Harrison. Comments from Majipoor.com: A lot of people seem to think that the races can't get along and never will, so what we need to do is live apart. In this future, “White flight” from the inner cities has ...


9

I don't have a copy of the movie, or the book, so I can't verify it, but according to the comments on this page, it appears that "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" does pass the Bechdel test: Red disagreed with the rating and said: Are children considered in this? If so, the character of Freda (little girl who rides with her brother from the ...


8

It's not difficult to see how economy works in City of Ember. What stimulate people to work when you have 200 years of supplies ? City of Ember isn't autonomous city with robots doing all works. The works people do are real and critical works which someone needs to do. If people wants to sit and eat, who would transport canned foods or other items to them ...


8

I think you want Arthur C. Clarke's 1951 novelette "Second Dawn", first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, August 1951, available at the Internet Archive. That story was the subject of this old question and also this one, but I'm afraid the previous answers don't have enough detail about the story for a positive identification as the answer to your ...


7

BLIT or something else about Basilisks by David Langford? IIRC, Van Vogt used such things in his War against the Rull, novelized 1959. Addictive patterns, came out in 80's. There were a few of this sort of story that came out at that time, usually with computers involved. Of course the basic compelling pattern idea goes back quite a few more decades. ...


7

This description reminds me of “The Vandal” by Ann Schlee, published in 1979. This book won the Gaurdian’s Children’s Fiction Prize in 1980. It also features the forgetting, but it has a shrub as well. The hero is a boy called “Paul”, the Vandal of the title. He lives in an ordered society, where order is maintained because everyone forgets all specific ...


7

I think you may be refering to one of the books (probably the first) in Pier's Anthony's 'Cluster' series. There was at least one underwater race (they show up in several books) that had three genders. If all three got close enough together, mating would occur involuntarily, and involved them overlapping as part of it. The order they came together ...


6

My first thought is "It's Such A Beautiful Day" a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. First published in 1954 in an anthology of original stories edited by Frederik Pohl, and later reprinted in the 1969 collection Nightfall and Other Stories. The main character must walk to school one day when the family's teleportation door fails and discovers he ...


6

You have described the last half of the 1935 novel Odd John by Olaf Stapledon. (The term "homo superior" comes from this book.) Maybe one of these covers will be familiar. The full text is available at Project Gutenberg Australia. The following chapter-by-chapter outline is from the Wikipedia page (emphasis added): John and Author. A physical ...


6

I'm looking for a short story about a town that had no doctors or pharmacies and sick people were taken to the town square. "The Wait" (aka "To Be Taken in a Strange Country") by Kit Reed, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1958, available at the Internet Archive. The town (fictional of course) is Babylon, Georgia, which ...


6

It sounds kinda like "Memento Nora" by Angie Smibert; Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to ...


6

I'll look at this from two angles. The first is setting the bar. Obviously, you need some form of measurement for the prime Directive to work. Achieveing FTL travel is something that is not debatable. its a clear-cut, simple rule to follow. There are no interpretations posssible. Its quite clear wether you violate the prime Directive or not. That makes it ...


6

That's almost certainly "The Sharing of Flesh" by Poul Anderson. Set on a world in the Polesnotechnic League universe after the Fall of the Terran Empire. Originally in Galaxy, December 1968 and reprinted in The Dark Between the Stars. See also "The Sharing of Flesh", wikipedia After a galactic dark age, humanity sends an expedition to ...


5

While other answers are right to point out the fact that once a species has warp capability, they're going to be meeting other species no matter what, there's also the idea that warp capability is supposed to be a big achievement, one that is only likely to happen once a civilization has united as a single planet, so it's somewhat used as a bar to gauge the ...


4

I think you're describing the 2002 Twilight Zone episode Evergreen. In an exclusive gated community, rebellious teens are sent to the "Arcadia Military Academy", but it turns out Arcadia is really a fertilizer company. The parents plant a tree as a memorial and feed it with the remains of their child.


4

The short story is "Mind Partner" by Christopher Anvil. The text is available online. Near the beginning of the story one of the addicts is interviewed: "We want to ask you just a few questions, Janice." The girl didn't answer. The doctor started to say something else, but she cut him off. "Go away," she said bitterly. "You don't fool me. You ...


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