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Ron Moore on TNG's technobabble

rocketscientist

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 6:24 pm

From scifiwire.com:

http://scifiwire.com/2009/10/ron-moore-calls-star-trek.php

Quote

At his recent keynote speech at the New York Television Festival, former Star Trek writer and creator of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica Ron Moore revealed the secret formula to writing for Trek.

He described how the writers would just insert "tech" into the scripts whenever they needed to resolve a story or plot line, then they'd have consultants fill in the appropriate words (aka technobabble) later.

"It became the solution to so many plot lines and so many stories," Moore said. "It was so mechanical that we had science consultants who would just come up with the words for us and we'd just write 'tech' in the script. You know, Picard would say 'Commander La Forge, tech the tech to the warp drive.' I'm serious. If you look at those scripts, you'll see that."

Moore then went on to describe how a typical script might read before the science consultants did their thing:

La Forge: "Captain, the tech is overteching."

Picard: "Well, route the auxiliary tech to the tech, Mr. La Forge."

La Forge: "No, Captain. Captain, I've tried to tech the tech, and it won't
work."

Picard: "Well, then we're doomed."

"And then Data pops up and says, 'Captain, there is a theory that if you tech the other tech ... '" Moore said. "It's a rhythm and it's a structure, and the words are meaningless. It's not about anything except just sort of going through this dance of how they tech their way out of it."

Moore said the retro-technology he used in Battlestar "was really a reaction against Star Trek." He added, "I just decided from the outset that I wanted a phone to look like a phone."


This totally confirms what my opinion has been on the technobabble used in TNG. ¿1. ¿It's nonsense and 2. ¿It was mostly used to, in Moore's words, ¿"resolve a story or plot line."

Fortunately, technobabble was used more sparingly in TOS, probably because they didn't have the sfx to implement it effectively and also because it was more of a "western in space" where the characters had to solve problems with their fists, weapons, or through negotiation.  

I liked the fact that Moore kept the science and technology much more grounded in BSG and Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzmann toned it down significantly for ST XI.  I'm an aerospace engineer, but, my gosh, the technobabble in the ST spin-offs just got out of control.  Â¿

So, anyway, there you have it on TNG's use of technobabble, right from Ronald Moore himself.

Vice_Adm_Baxter

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 6:49 pm

Well that is what TNG was known for: Technobable, although TNG and DS9 kept it under control for the most part VOY ran crazy with it.

Ironically Mr.Moore wasn't involved with TNG until season 6 though. DS9 was rather light on the technobable compared to TNG and VOY.

Narada

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 6:53 pm

I wish to turn their "tech" scripts into a Mad Libs and see what we get!

:cool:  :laugh:  :laugh:

TrekFan1701E

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 6:54 pm

Voyager had it alot. This is what makes me think that a post Nemesis would have way too much high tech. Imagine the inventions they would have come up with if the series was set 50 to 80 years after Nemesis? If they wanted the general audience to watch a post Nemeis series I wonder if they would like all that new tech?

rocketscientist

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 7:08 pm

Quote (Vice_Adm_Baxter @ Oct. 12 2009, 6:49 pm)
Well that is what TNG was known for: Technobable, although TNG and DS9 kept it under control for the most part VOY ran crazy with it.

Ironically Mr.Moore wasn't involved with TNG until season 6 though. DS9 was rather light on the technobable compared to TNG and VOY.

Actually, Moore was hired onto TNG during its third season, I believe:

From wikipedia.com

Quote

In 1988, he managed to arrange a tour of the Star Trek: The Next Generation sets through his girlfriend during the filming of the episode Time Squared.[3] While on the tour, he passed a script to one of Gene Roddenberry's assistants, who liked the script enough to help him get an agent who submitted the script through the proper channels. About seven months later, executive producer Michael Piller read the script and bought it; it became the third season episode "The Bonding". Based on that script he was offered the opportunity to write a second script and that led to a staff position as a script editor. Two years later, he was promoted to co-producer, then producer for the series' final year (1994).

Vice_Adm_Baxter

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 7:18 pm

Quote (rocketscientist @ Oct. 12 2009, 4:08 pm)
Quote (Vice_Adm_Baxter @ Oct. 12 2009, 6:49 pm)
Well that is what TNG was known for: Technobable, although TNG and DS9 kept it under control for the most part VOY ran crazy with it.

Ironically Mr.Moore wasn't involved with TNG until season 6 though. DS9 was rather light on the technobable compared to TNG and VOY.

Actually, Moore was hired onto TNG during its third season, I believe:

From wikipedia.com

Quote

In 1988, he managed to arrange a tour of the Star Trek: The Next Generation sets through his girlfriend during the filming of the episode Time Squared.[3] While on the tour, he passed a script to one of Gene Roddenberry's assistants, who liked the script enough to help him get an agent who submitted the script through the proper channels. About seven months later, executive producer Michael Piller read the script and bought it; it became the third season episode "The Bonding". Based on that script he was offered the opportunity to write a second script and that led to a staff position as a script editor. Two years later, he was promoted to co-producer, then producer for the series' final year (1994).

Oh, ok I just didn't remember him writing any really good eps till about season 6 was all.

GalaxyClass14

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 8:07 pm

quite interesting

understand how
it might be annoying
to you or others

to offer contrast
i am partial to
techno-babble
be it accurate
or even inaccurate

don't understand it anyway
not interested in understanding
just like the way
the words sound
like in buckeroo bonsai
quite possibly
everything was nonsense
i didn't care

nemisis & voyager
two of my favorites
perhaps the
?excessive?
techno-babble
added to it's appeal
for me

not to mean
low tech and or
accurate tech
does not appeal
to me

i don't really need
techno babble
but i really enjoy it
when it's there

i also write a bit
i also write similarly
to example you gave

i will write along
following a thought
and place [ ] in a
part that i need
figure out later

not unlike using
tech in example

i can see why
it doesn't appeal
to some

it's fine for me

SaturnsRings

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 9:51 pm

The thing that bothered me the most about technobabble is that it was used the majority of the time to solve the problems that the crew was facing.

TheDriver

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Report this Oct. 12 2009, 11:48 pm

Quote (Vice_Adm_Baxter @ Oct. 12 2009, 9:49 pm)
Well that is what TNG was known for: Technobable, although TNG and DS9 kept it under control for the most part VOY ran crazy with it.

Ironically Mr.Moore wasn't involved with TNG until season 6 though. DS9 was rather light on the technobable compared to TNG and VOY.

Yeah, Ira Steven Behr and Ron Moore both wanted to avoid using technobabble on DS9. And they never wanted an episode to be resolved through the use of technobabble.

Unfortunately, this leads Trek fans - to this day, mind you - to complain that DS9 just wasn't "sci-fi enough."

Ha. Unbelievable... :cool:

Anyway, great post, RocketScientist. Those are some highly enjoyable quotes from one of the best Trek writers and producers.

lostshaker

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 1:14 am

I always enjoyed the technobabble. I can't believe anyone needed to point out what and why the writers used it for in TNG. It was kind of obvious. Abrams' and so on may not have used it in the new movie, they just got the overall science wrong and used it inconsistently.

As for DS9, I was quite happy with that show. It was a contrast to VGR, which used it heavily - not that I minded. Like I said, I enjoy technobabble.

Doctor Who does a good balancing act. They use technobabble and gadgets, but not to get the characters out of a situation. The Doctor has to use his knowledge and intelligence... as it should be.

WkdYngMan

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 2:42 am

Quote (TheDriver @ Oct. 12 2009, 11:48 pm)
Unfortunately, this leads Trek fans - to this day, mind you - to complain that DS9 just wasn't "sci-fi enough."

I honestly don't think I've ever heard anyone say this as something that worked against DS9!

WkdYngMan

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 2:43 am

Quote (lostshaker @ Oct. 13 2009, 1:14 am)
they just got the overall science wrong and used it inconsistently.

Definitely not.  But not relevant to the discussion either way.

axilmar1

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 9:56 am

You spend great amounts of energy, RocketScientist, to prove your point that TOS is greater than TNG. This board contains numerous threads started by you on the TOS vs TNG issue, and in each and every thread, there is something negative about TNG vs something positive about TOS.

Well, no matter how hard you try, you will never get there. TNG is the pinnacle of Star Trek. It certainly contains errors, but it is not as bad as you make it to be.

Take, for example, this thread: you show it as if ALL TNG is littered with technobubble, which is clearly not the case. There are CERTAIN EPISODES that technobubble prevails, and this is to be found in the later years of TNG, when Rodenberry was not around.

The fact is that the most exciting Star Trek is to be found in TNG. TNG contains the best sci-fi material, and contains episodes that discuss a lot of topics that concern us humans...and not only discusses things, but it also reaches a conclusion, unlike other series.

As for your quote:

Quote

I liked the fact that Moore kept the science and technology much more grounded in BSG and Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzmann toned it down significantly for ST XI.


it's extremely wrong, and I am sorry to say this, but it is.

BSG is an insult to our intelligence. Right from the beginning, it shows human races developed thousands of light years from Earth having the social structure and culture of Earth. How impossible is that? they have a president, they wear 3-piece suits, and they use shotguns. That's great non-sci-fi: the probability of that, even in the presence of common ancestors, is infinitely small.

As for the latest movie, what I can say!!!! it's extremely strange that you are offended by TNG's technobubble but you are not offended by the Red Matter, or by transporting while at warp, or by the easiness the transwarp formula is retrofitted, in 2 minutes, into the existing systems, or that they don't do any tests before transwarping...you say that it's your profession that makes you feel that way about TNG, but if it was so, then you should have rejected STXI right away.

I don't want to insult you by saying that you are not an aerospace engineer. This is the internet, anyone can be anything. But your views are way too conservative for a person that is proud to be heavily engaged in positive sciences. You say that you don't like TNG for all the false science it contains, but then you are a firm religious believer, and you like the shows that vastly less scientific than TNG!!!!!!

Vice_Adm_Baxter

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 11:17 am

Quote (axilmar1 @ Oct. 13 2009, 6:56 am)
BSG is an insult to our intelligence.

I agree 1000%

rocketscientist

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Report this Oct. 13 2009, 11:45 am

Quote (TheDriver @ Oct. 12 2009, 11:48 pm)
Quote (Vice_Adm_Baxter @ Oct. 12 2009, 9:49 pm)
Well that is what TNG was known for: Technobable, although TNG and DS9 kept it under control for the most part VOY ran crazy with it.

Ironically Mr.Moore wasn't involved with TNG until season 6 though. DS9 was rather light on the technobable compared to TNG and VOY.

Yeah, Ira Steven Behr and Ron Moore both wanted to avoid using technobabble on DS9. And they never wanted an episode to be resolved through the use of technobabble.

Yeah, it looked to me like DS9 tried to keep the technobabble down.

:cool:


Really?  I've never heard that.

Quote

Anyway, great post, RocketScientist. Those are some highly enjoyable quotes from one of the best Trek writers and producers.


Glad you liked it, Driver.

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