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5 Beloved Star Trek Tropes That Would Lead to Mankind’s Doom in Any Other Sci-Fi Universe

By / 12.15.11

Okay, I’ll admit it — I’m a Star Trek guy. I probably wouldn’t pass muster as a full-fledged Trekkie as I’ve never been to a convention, memorized the Klingon dictionary or tattooed Trill spots on the side of my face, but I’ve always preferred the series to the Star Wars or Battlestar Galacticas of the world.
I think part of the reason I like Star Trek is because it’s just so darn cheery about the future. The series deals in all the standard science fiction tropes, but while most sci-fi warns us that these things are going to destroy us all, Star Trek assures us that it’s all gonna be cool. It doesn’t matter how many aliens and androids get up in our faces, Star Trek is confident the future will be rad. Hit the jump and let Trek ease your worries…

How Most Sci-fi handles Alien Species
Aliens are inhuman, incomprehensible creatures we’ll never be able to truly fathom or relate to. They posses technology beyond our wildest imaginings and there’s a pretty good chance they’re planning to use it to either kill, enslave or eat us. Or most likely all three.
If an alien tells you “I come in peace” that motherf–ker’s lying. Aliens are dicks.

He may *look* trustworthy, but don’t be drawn in.

How Star Trek handles Alien Species
Aliens are basically just human beings with lumpy foreheads and questionable fashion sense. Their cultures are sometimes a bit odd, but they’re never that out there. At some point in history there’s probably been a human society with a culture very similar to whatever alien species you may meet, so it’s not like anything’s ever that off-putting. Alien behavior also conveniently conforms to American television broadcast standards — turns out the galaxy keeps things pretty PG for the most part.
Most aliens are all too happy to make new friends and join our human Federation of Extraterrestrial Chums. There are a few jerky aliens out there, but the wars that ensue are thankfully nice and tidy. We and the cranky aliens just pick a nice empty part of space, line up our spaceships and engage in slow-paced strategic battles until one side calls uncle. This generally goes on for a while until the bad aliens realize the error of their ways and become allies, because really, who could stay mad at us? Mankind is awesome!
Basically, in the Star Trek universe, there’s less stress and danger involved in meeting a new alien species than there is in meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

However will we get along with these beings that look just like us with slightly pointy ears and silly hair?!

How Most Sci-Fi Handles Robots
We built them to be better than us — stronger, faster, smarter, but we didn’t mean for them to become self-aware. They were meant to serve us, but now they’re going to crush our frail fleshy bodies beneath their unyielding metal heels. Oh, why didn’t we tell Japan to cut it out with all the creepy robots when we had the chance?!

We should have realized we were going down the wrong path when we gave them the evil red glowing eyes.

How Star Trek Handles Robots
A self-aware robot who’s smarter and stronger than us and essentially invulnerable? Awesome! Give him a Starfleet uniform and let him fly the ship! When he’s not hanging out on the bridge providing helpful technobabble, he’ll be painting or playing the oboe to his cat.
Don’t worry, his inability to understand human behavior and emotion won’t cause him to become alienated from and resentful of mankind. He’s everyone’s best pal! Also he finds an emotion chip somewhere along the way, so yeah, don’t even worry about it.

He’s still pretty creepy sometimes though…

How Most Sci-fi Handles Virtual Reality
The ultimate opiate of the masses. Elaborate virtual reality worlds keep the human population sedate and under control while we’re taken advantage of by aliens/robots/an evil government/corrupt corporations. Our only salvation is to unplug and once again experience the real world in all its gritty splendor!

“Yikes. I’m going back to the Matrix now, thanks.”

How Star Trek Handles Virtual Reality
The holodeck is a recreational tool that crewmembers use tastefully, and in strict moderation. For the most part the holodeck is used to live out various classics of English literature. Sometimes if they’re feeling cheeky the crew might stage an old-timey murder mystery. No orgies or pools full of Romulan ale here folks — the holodeck is reserved for dignified costume drama only.
Of course every once in a while Moriarty will escape the holodeck and do his Moriarty thing, but hey, sometimes an escaped fictional supervillain is just what you need to keep your mind engaged on long interstellar trips.

Ohhh, Moriarty, you trickster. I was just thinking about what I wanted to do with my weekend.

How Most Sci-fi Would Handle The Federation
The entire planet has fallen under the sway of a single world order that came to power promising to end the conflict and inequality that has plagued humanity. In reality the government is merely a smokescreen — the Federation is being controlled by an evil mastermind/shadowy cabal that seeks to spread its influence across the Galaxy.

Here’s your token Star Wars reference guys.

How Star Trek Handles The Federation
It’s a good thing everyone on the planet has fallen into line — all those different countries and distinct human cultures and communities just lead to all sorts of nasty disagreements. Everyone’s much happier in their Federation appointed military jumpsuits.
Same goes for all you aliens too, it’s really for the best if you join the winning team. We accept all shapes and sizes of extraterrestrials — just so long as you can fit in the jumpsuit. Of course, if you go and pull a Klingon or Ferengi and decide to hold out on joining the Federation we will have to blow some of you up, but it’s for your own good.

If you’ve got sweet enough cans a specially fitted jumpsuit can be arranged.


How Most Sci-Fi Handles Sex With Aliens
Don’t go screwing aliens — just don’t. The sex will be probably weird and/or gross in some way, and there’s a very good chance they’re just using you an incubator for some sort of hideous parasite spawn. Again, even if the alien looks like Natasha Henstridge, really try your best to avoid it.

This man has just made a terrible error.

How Star Trek Handles Sex With Aliens
Bring on the alien babes! Thankfully all the female aliens in the galaxy have the proper girl parts in approximately the same places human women have them. Most humans and aliens can even successfully interbreed, meaning you can set up a nice little warp-era family with a Cardassian if you want.
Humping a member of every new alien race you meet certainly doesn’t seem to decrease your opportunities for promotion, so go on, go wild.


TOPICS#Star Trek
TAGSMoviesSci FiTV

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