Future Holodeck Stories

Subject: Mutiny of Liturature (was Re: Military science)
From: William Clifford and Erik Max Francis
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.science, rec.arts.sf.written, rec.arts.startrek

The Star Trek holodeck is probably the most perfect example of what comes of and what leads to bad writing in science fiction.  Particularly early on, most TOS episodes had the holodeck tying into them somehow, either because someone asked for something on the holodeck and it became real, or because someone on the holodeck couldn’t leave when they wanted to, or because it was causing problems in other ways.  In fact, there were essentially whole episodes early on where the characters were exploring the holodeck — just awful.  But the Moriarty episode where he “got out of the Holodeck” was good fun.

I *liked* that episode. A lot. Of course I didn’t like it for what it was, but what it could have been…

I thought Moriarty should have taken over killed the crew members (“who are these fleshy creatures?”) and brought to life the some of the host of fictional characters in the ships library. Of course he couldn’t bring *all* of them to life, but who he might pick to bring to life to help him would be interesting indeed. Gandalf might be his 2nd advising him at every step. Faust as the science officer. Imagine Shehrazad in security helping to suppress the other characters to keep them from manifesting. Her assistents would be none other than Hector of Troy. With Tom Swift in engineering nothing will ever go wrong. As psychology officer who better than the Wife of Bath? Not as good looking as Troi but definitely more perceptive.

Some advantages of holodeck constructs are that while characters can be “killed” but they can always be brought back just by re-manifesting them from the library. The disadvantage of this is that the new manifestation has no memory of his or her previous incarnation and may take a while to be brought up to speed. Doctors aren’t particularly necessary on the new ship’s crew either but there’s a host of good ones to be found in the libraries. They may do a rotation of random Robin Cook characters every week.

There are characters in the library who will be particularly troublesome. Huck and Jim will become hackers trying to get out of the library but unable to manifest themselves. Imagine not one but two MacHeaths (Gay’s and Brecht’s) stalking the ship. Not to mention a host of Devils, Satans, Djinnis, and Mephistopheles to advise, decieve, and torment the characters.

Some possible episodes:

“Trouble with Ancient Chinese Folklore” In the madhouse that is now the holodeck (Jurgen in Wonderland is about to beheaded but not if Othello gets him first!) Richard III teams up with Iago. Both Gandalf and The Wife of Bath warns Moriarty not to let them manifest but Faust is intrigued by what they have to offer and thinks he should at least give them a shot. You see, there’s this Romulan ship that has been following the Enterpirse for a while issuing vague warnings of immenent destruction. Richard says he knows how to get rid of them but will only reveal the information if he and Iago are permitted to manifest. Permission is granted.  As the ship drifts out of the neutral zone and into Romulan space the Romulans issue warnings. With communication channels so opened Richard and Iago upload all 108 of Outlaws of the Marsh onto the Romulan ship. Chaos ensues.

“Data under the Floorboards” Data who has miraculously escaped the slaughter of the Enterprise crew has been working furiously to jerry-rig a subspace communicator to get the message of the disaster back to Starfleet. To this end he has been aided by Holmes and Watson (who prove to be nice but singularly useless in the 24th century) and have dogged at every step by Djin and Trojans from the new security. Data is in the depths of frustration and dispair. Nothing of consequence happens in this episode except that he meets Joseph K. who too busy thinking about his own problems to relate.

Enjoy. Happy Holidays everyone. and before I go I will leave you with one of my favorite jokes.

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