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Author Topic: Avoiding The Mutant Grunge
Guardian 2000
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So I have watched the first season of The Expanse, which features the sorts of worlds seen in the original Total Recall or Ceres in The Expanse and elsewhere. Basically that subgenre involves mutated or otherwise altered humans (e.g. birth and rearing in low-g) and generally a poor underclass who resides offworld living in filth and crime.

I enjoyed The Expanse despite having no interest in that "mutant grunge" subgenre, and since we almost never see that sort of thing in Trek I pondered how it might be avoided within the Trek-verse (or, at least, among humans). Given the colonization of the Moon and Mars, it's a valid question.

Something has to have occurred, since "space boomers" seems to have been a relatively recent invention and usually referred to long-haul warp freighters.

So here's a brainstorm… feel free to chime in.

1. WW3 and Colonel Green

Space colonization seems to have been limited prior to first contact by WW3, and while that brought its own share of mutated and mutilated people there was a culling by the evil Green, et al.

As such, there was little opportunity for humans to live amd reproduce in low-g environments while the tech was limited.

2. Medical normalization

In The Expanse, it is suggested that there are medical techniques to make someone grow up looking Earth-normal but that they are expensive. The economics of Star Trek may have been different amd the solution similar.

3. Terraforming

Hell if I know how, but Paan Mokar / Weytahn appeared to have Earth normal gravity in the 2150s despite explicitly being said to be a tiny terraformed planetoid thing. This suggests that the planet may have had its gravity altered somehow.

Alternately, either (a) habitable areas got a geothermally-powered subterranean gravity network or something similar (to allow for the fighting to leave it alone) or (b) enough hella-dense Trek elements were brought in and sunk to boost the gravity of the place, which seems an excessive project. Or (c) it may have just been a small but reasonably dense place, but I haven't done the math.

4. Artificial gravity

Even if available to The Expanse it seems like it'd be considered too expensive, but in any case it isn't available. However, even the moon miners of the 2150s seemed to have it on old ships and even within the lunar surface somehow, perhaps via some sort of projection.

If it is truly that common, simple, and and robust, then it might allow for any world to at leas have an area that feels like 1g.

5. Better Sublight

While we don't get a lot of detail on the advancement of impulse flight, Cochrane's Phoenix seemed to zip along quite nicely, possibly as an offshoot of warp drive's subspace field mass lightening effect as seen in the move of DS9 in the show's pilot.

So, instead of a group of miners being forced to live and work on Ceres for life, with travel seemingly expensive and semi-rare akin to early colonization of the Americas, it may be that Trek Earth did more of a tours-of-duty thing a la modern oil rigs when it came to asteroid mining and such, or just brought interesting asteroids to a nearby location en masse.

5A. The verteron beam was used to redirect comets to strike Mars. This is a very sci-fi way of doing it. In The Expanse, a ship would've been used.

6. Automation

Most sci-fi puts humans in space to do jobs robots could readily do. The Expanse pilot features a man losing an arm as he hangs around outside the ship during ice loading. It seems that going to find an iceball and bring it in-system probably didn't require people at all, really, even in The Expanse.

Then again, Enterprise does feature moon miners.

7. Economics

Mutant grunge sci-fi usually has the folks in space as poor and mistreated, with space as a Botany Bay of criminals and misfits. While not implausible, it seems equally likely that there would be plenty of qualified normal citizens willing to go for good pay. The recent shale oil boom comes to mind, in which people from all over went to North Dakota and even McDonald's starting wages were exorbitant simply due to lack of people.

That is to say, it seems there is a supply and demand problem in mutant grunge sci-fi. The space mines and such are seemingly overcrowded yet the market never corrects in the various ways it likely would, such as cheaper escape spaceflight or what-have-you.

Feel free to suggest everything I got wrong, as this is just my blurting of some thoughts that had been banging around in my head of late.

G2k's ST v. SW Tech Assessment

Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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