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  • 05 May 2016
    3D ships created by Meshweaver for the Star Trek Starships Collection. Awesome work! http://www.meshweaver.com/portfolio/Eagle_Moss_Star_Trek_Little_Ships.htm

    Ex Astris Scientia

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  • 05 May 2016
    One more year until the Axanar trial?

    Axanar's Day in Court Won't Be Soon

    Axanar's Day in Court Won't Be Soon MAY 2, 2016 — It may be at least a year before Axanar gets its day in court, but a settlement might come sooner, as attorneys for both sides agreed to a settlement hearing before a federal magistrate. In a joint statement

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  • 05 May 2016
    TNG Remastered: “Thine Own Self” HD Comparison Video by TrekCore.

    TNG Remastered: 7x16 'Thine Own Self' Comparison, SD to HD

    This video series compares the 2002 DVD release of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" with the remastered Blu-ray edition released in 2014. Visit http://tng.tr...

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  • 05 May 2016

    Ex Astris Scientia - Star Trek 2017 Blog

    Beginning in January 2017, the new Star Trek series will be streamed weekly on CBS All Access, as startrek.com announced today. As already reported, the series will be available in the U.S. exclusively on All Access on its first run, and on still to be defined platforms and TV stations around the wo...

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  • 02 May 2016
    TrekCore posts STID HD Screen Caps.

    Home > "Star Trek Into Darkness" Visual Media > Star Trek Into Darkness High Definition...

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29 Dec 2015

The Trouble with Star Trek's Self-Image

Now that I have seen "The Force Awakens" I can attest it is 100% Star Wars. In a positive way, the new movie remains perfectly true to the roots of the franchise - the eternal struggle between the good and the evil enters a new round as everyone would have expected. In a negative way, the "The Force Awakens" is awfully repetitive as it includes all the same themes as Episode IV and hardly anything new.

Star Trek is treated radically differently by the people in charge. The so far two films set in the Abramsverse have very little in common with the old Star Trek - new universe, new style, redefined characters, new philosophy. In a positive way, Star Trek moves on in some fashion*, unlike Star Wars, which ultimately proves to be a "static universe" where the same story repeats with every Skywalker generation. In a negative way, Star Trek isn't Star Trek any longer. While the much criticized Beastie Boys trailer for "Beyond" may have been designed for an "action kid" audience, it is symptomatic of a general cluelessness of how to create and how to present Star Trek in our time, of how to make Star Trek something special that stands out from the crowd of action movies.

*If we are generous. "Star Trek Into Darkness" heavily suffered from the "everything-repeats-like-in-Star-Wars" snydrome.

The perhaps decisive difference between the two franchises is that the makers of Star Wars are proud of its heritage and handle it with great care. That's why they manage to gloss over the many weaknesses in the story, in the characters and in the philosophy. And they don't change anything about the the recipe in the first place anyway because it is known as a money-making machine.

The people currently in charge of Star Trek desperately try to incorporate always more action and more coolness, and they remove ethical dilemmas in favor of pure character conflicts, because they know the recipe (of Star Wars and other action spectacles) or were told to make use of it. It is symptomatic that Simon Pegg has to tell us that there's more Star Trek in "Beyond" than the trailer insinuates. This appeasement will probably continue even after the film has premiered. In contrast, no one ever needs to justify how a Star Wars movie turns out. And in the few cases where something met general disapproval it was fixed the next time (Jar Jar Binks) and not simply played down, ignored or denied (lens flares). BTW, where are Abrams' beloved lens flares in "The Force Awakens"?

The makers of Star Wars care for the commercial success, for the "purity" of their franchise and for their audience (perhaps in exactly that order). The makers of Star Trek want to earn money too, they try to preserve some aspects of the legacy but they don't really know their audience in the first place.

As sad as it is, Star Trek currently presents itself as some sort of second-rate Star Wars. Without self-confidence, and with a promise like "Look, we've got plenty of action. And perhaps something for the nerds too."

As always, comments are welcome.

Bernd Schneider


Recent EAS Updates
  • 05 May 2016
    Update to the article on Starfleet Buildings in San Francisco: In the alternate timeline, Starfleet Headquarters (or at least a part thereof) is apparently located in the city center of San Francisco, adjacent to 2nd Street. Thanks to Alexander for the hint!
  • 29 Apr 2016
    Added two game reviews by Andrew Friden: Star Trek Armada II and Star Trek: Starfleet Command III.
  • 27 Apr 2016
    Jörg and I have compiled an all-new article on the Bajoran subimpulse raider and its redresses. Variations of this small ship (originally from DS9: "The Siege") appeared in all four modern Star Trek series, as a physical model and as CGI.
  • 22 Apr 2016
    We discovered that a Star Trek miniature that we already wrote a lot about had a past life in the Disney series Earth Star Voyager from 1988.
  • 16 Apr 2016
    Here is a very detailed review by Florian Haag of Star Trek: Judgment Rites.
  • 15 Apr 2016
    Jay Stobie reviews The Latter Fire, a TOS-era novel by James Swallow.
  • 31 Mar 2016
    New write-up by Steve Justice: Warp Technology Development. It shows a possible rationale for the redefinition of the warp scale some time between the 23rd and the 24th century.
  • 28 Mar 2016
    The photos posted by Rick Sternbach on Facebook show the the ventral side of the Springfield class (USS Chekov) and some details of the still undamaged models for the first time. I have accordingly updated the article series on the Wolf 359 ships.
  • 13 Mar 2016
    Here is my review of the latest episode of Starship Farragut, "The Crossing". It's clearly the best one of the series so far.
  • 08 Mar 2016
    A new feature-length fan film has been released: "Star Trek Horizon", created by Tommy Kraft. Read my review.
Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 04 May 2016

    Yes, for me, the universe is going to be the make-or-break factor. Everything about Abramsverse feels plain wrong, like a bad facsimile of TOS that's given shiny new graphics. And it's presented as a reboot, effectively erasing all the previous series, which is both disrespectful and misleading for newcomers. Frankly, if the new series is set in Abramsverse, it's going to be completely pointless to watch it: it's not Star Trek as we (used to) know it.
    Of course, the whole "CBS All Access" thing is off-putting as well; the latest news on startrek.com received nothing but outrage about that.

    As they say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. There are a lot of opportunities for a post-Voyager timeline show that I can think of, but at this point it's not worth thinking about... And the fact that they have been avoiding this elephant-in-the-room question is suspect to me, too.

  • 01 May 2016

    I don't see why having a similar volume to the Connie poses a problem, nor the relatively short nacelles. Technology changes, maths are refined, etc., so there wouldn't be a problem if things look different.

    As for the differences between the Enterprise-class and the Daedalus, while they are almost contemporary, I would just chalk it up to different, competing designs. Perhaps Earth Starfleet was looking at the Daedalus, and the Enterprise company said "We can do the same thing in half the space - and thus half the resources." Or maybe the Daedalus had some design issues, which would be worked out over time, and with all the goodies Enterprise brought home, and the help of the new allies, the Daedalus became the superior design. And they learned to paint their ships.

  • 28 Apr 2016

    Awesome article- I love these model comparisons and analyses! Well done, sir!

  • 26 Apr 2016

    No, it was about the Abrams reboot, "Star Trek XI", simply titled "Star Trek". It seems either Sporil was mistaken, or lied to, because his account was so far from what actually happened, it can't possibly be accounted for with something like mere script changes.

  • 22 Apr 2016

    I don't know what your problem is with kitbashing ships is, but other than a few atrocious examples like the Yeager, it's kind of ridiculous. It's clear most of these models were built for background scenes where many starships would be shown and therefore didn't rate multi-thousand dollar models being built to be shown for a few seconds.

    In particular, I'm surprised the how well the Elkins looks, given it's lineage, especially from the top and side views. The front obviously could use some work. I would have probably removed the details from the nacelle pylons to help mask where they came from.


    American aircraft manufacturers and Soviet design bureaus had their individual styles and design features that were immediately identifiable even in different models, both contemporary and successive. This also applies to many other industrial manufacturers. An obvious example would by EMD locomotives. So there is precedent for the various Federation builders/design bureaus that design and construct Federation starships to use similar or exactly the same parts on different ships or create parts like primary hulls that look similar on different sized ships.


    There's no reason that when the Federation or whomever designs a new warp nacelle design that they don't make it available in a variety of different sizes for use on ships of different sizes. We've seen shuttles shown on various episodes that use nacelles that look like the ones on starships scaled down to their size. So this is a precedent for the Federation warp warp nacelles of the same design in different sizes varying from starship size to shuttlecraft size.


    Following the above point. There's no reason that when the Federation or whomever designs a new warp nacelle design not to design it to be modular so that it can be attached to starships in variable configurations like the bottom mount Constitution refits or the top mount Miranda configuration. It makes manufacturing and stockpiling parts for repairs easier because you on have one nacelle design instead of many.


    The Soviet Union never discarded older military materials. The reason was no one wanted to take responsibility for scrapping weapons which might end up being needed at a later date and risk becoming a scapegoat for doing so. That applied to both material they made and capture material. The result is you can now buy surplus Soviet WW2 rifles for $100 to $150 and German rifles for a bit more. So this is a precedent for the Federation stockpiling older warp nacelles which ended up being used to refit older ships that used them or a few newer designs.

    In addition, many devices are built with a backwards compatibility built in to them so they can can be operated using existing equipment owners already have. There's no reason not to believe the Federation might not have a standard connection for warp nacelles that allow nacelles of a similar size to connect to any ship in order to get ships with damaged nacelles up and running.

  • 21 Apr 2016

    Just to add another incident of warping in a solar system - Star Trek III when the Enterprise escapes the Excelsior (Excelsior was preparing to warp in a solar system as well).

  • 19 Apr 2016

    I take issue with the statement that

    "The final Defiant design (image) radically differed from what we had seen as Starfleet ships thus far. The Defiant was not only different because of the unfamiliar arrangement with nacelles directly attached to the main hull and the missing distinction between command and engineering hull. The ship also lacked almost any convenient external evidence of size, like window rows, docking ports, shuttlebay doors or lifeboats."

    The Defiant is a descendant of the Star Trek 2's Miranda class concept with it's integration of the engineering and saucer sections in a single homogeneous hull. It's obviously an even more direct descendant of the Oberth class from Star Trek 3 with it's integrated saucer and engineering hull and close mounted nacelles. There have been conjecture versions of the Oberth as a warship with either no under bar and sensor or the sensor replaced with a Miranda type torpedo pod. The Defiant was clearly an evolutionary step from those vessel classes' designs. It's not radically different.

    Because clearly what the Defiant class is is a light corvette or smaller type, a fast attack craft, which encompasses today's missile boats, gun boats and patrol boats. Low endurance vessels that are generally used close to land. For out and back operations and missions, like how the Defiant was used from the Deep Space Nine station.

  • 17 Apr 2016

    Three likely explanations.

    Number 1: During WW2 some aircraft designs were built at different plants, by different manufacturers. They sometimes had minor differences in these versions based on improvements that were discovered and put in production by one manufacturer but not the other or differences in production between the different manufacturers. It's entirely possible the Ambassador class ships were built at different production facilities and these are the reasons for the slight differences.

    Number 2: In naval vessel construction there are variations between ships that are considered to be of the same class because they are built consecutively, not concurrently over many years and the changes are improvements or redesigns that are the result of discoveries about the vessels found during operation that are applied to later built vessels. It's entirely possible the same process was applied to Ambassador class ships as the were consecutively built as well.

    Number 3: There have been cases where minor changes in the design of aircraft have resulted in them being given wholly new designations and model names. It's entirely possible the ships we have seen which have these differences are not in fact Ambassador class ships but are a different class of ship that just look similar to the Ambassador. That fandom is just calling them Ambassador class ships because they don't know any better.

    All three of these are equally valid explanations by virtue of these historical precedents.

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