Thursday, January 04, 2007

On the eleventh day of Christmas


There has been considerable discussion on "the boards" (TrekBBS) lately, to debate Vulcan's controversial twin/sister/planetoid. We first saw the orange Vulcan sky during "Amok Time" in the 60s, but it was in the first episode aired, "The Man Trap", that Mr Spock revealed that "Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura." Uhura is "not surprised".

However, the Filmation background artists on "Star Trek: The Animated Series" (TAS in the 70s) did not notice a handwritten comment, "Remove moon", by DC Fontana on her sign-off of preliminary artwork for "Yesteryear" (above left, image from the View-master reels packet of the episode). Thus, Vulcan did get an orbitting planetoid - or perhaps, a sister/twin planet. When "Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP, (above right) was hurried into release in 1979, with the film barely dry enough to show on premiere night, the planetoid survived. (Only to be removed for a different interpretation of Vulcan's sky for TMP's "Director's Edition" DVD.)

Filmation's TAS wasn't removed from the official "Star Trek canon" until 1989, when the tie-in licences were renewed under tighter restrictions, and the licensees of the "Star Trek" novels, comics and roleplaying games (RPGs) were asked to refrain from referencing TAS. (That memo, of course, has slowly ceased to have influence since Roddenberry's death in 1991. See the many TAS references in other "Star Trek" tie-ins my webpage Toon Trek.)

"Spock's World", a hardcover ST novel by Diane Duane, came out with much publicity and critical acclaim in 1988. The planetoid was spelt T'Khut in "Spock's World", and also in "Voyager: Pathways" by Jeri Taylor, "The Worlds of the Federation" by Shane Johnson and "New Worlds, New Civilizations" by Michael Jan Friedman. The planetoid's name was given as T'Rukh in the hardcover novel, "Sarek", with an explanation from the author, AC Crispin, that the name changes are seasonal. (Like the names for the phases of Earth's moon, I guess.)

But - before all that - the planetoid had already appeared in another Pocket novel set on Vulcan, entitled "The Vulcan Academy Murders" (1984). Here it was called T'Kuht, and the author Jean Lorrah acknowledges fanfic identity Gordon Carleton for coining the planetoid's name, and his effort to explain its appearance in "Yesteryear" and TMP, and thus reconciling the old (canonical) TOS quote from "The Man Trap". Because, according to that old memo, if it's live action and its onscreen then its canonical.

Hope that clears it all up. Yes, it's four days into the New Year and I'm still mooning you.

Today's Christmas ornaments are:


Above left: For 1986, the wooden Santa Claus is riding in a hot-air balloon. A cool way to deliver presents to hard-to-visit places? This ornament was a gift from my mother, who, over the years, has been determined to undermine my "only two items per year" policy, and often tucks crafty ornaments into my Christmas gifts. The carolling penguins caught my eye while wandering through the now-defunct Waltons department store adjacent to Bankstown Square.

Above right: For 1985, the three white ceramic geese were quite expensive and came from Grace Bros., Roselands. Obviously these geese are half of the famous "Six geese a-laying..." from the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? The wooden Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was a gift from my friends Karen and Tim; a souvenir from their trip to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains, the week of the premiere of "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock". Karen and another friend, Eric, took Tim (a Star Trek club member visiting from Perth) to do some touristy things when I was stuck at work.

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