Date: 08/16/2016 6:44 PM Title: Chapter 1
This was very interesting. Nice research. Really this should all be clarified by the keepers of TOS for the sake of the fans. ;). Thanks for sharing it. It will be a good reference.
Thanks. A lot of it was to help me work out one of my own stories, and I can't help but overthink. :)
Date: 09/11/2014 8:09 AM Title: Chapter 1
Sarek died at age 203.
They were implying by STNG Sarek actually died young because of Bendi Syndrome. That was after three heart attacks too. You probably should bump the average Vulcan lifespan up a little possibly 250-275.
I think you should assume a Vulcan day is longer than an Earth day. Vulcan gravity is higher implying that Vulcan is a larger denser planet than Earth. So size alone it should make a Vulcan day longer than an Earth one. Though that together with no moon to help stabilize the planet’s rotation and that probably means it has to spin slower than Earth does.
That is an interesting point about Sarek's age and how he died. Yet another fact to confuddle my attempts at calculating all of these ages!
As for the Vulcan day, I hadn't been able to find it out anywhere, and I'm no astronomer. Rhaegal had figured all this stuff out at some point, I think, and she actually knows astronomy. Maybe I will one day figure out a way to get her notes on the topic. Hm.
Date: 09/09/2014 11:46 PM Title: Chapter 1
As authoirty for the seven-year cycle, consider the the famous Footnote in Gene Roddenberry's novelization of ST:TMP, where ROddenberry quotes Kirk as saying, "I would dislike being thought of as so foolish that I would select a love partner who came into sexual heat only once every seven years." I mean, those are GR's own words, so it is pretty canonical.
I confess it never occurred to me that the pon farr might be a once in a lifetime thing. I think that's because in Amok Time, Spock explained pon farr by analogy to salmon who must return to a certain place to spawn. Since that is a recurrent event, I always assumed that pon farr was a similar cycle.
The interesting thing about that explanation of pon farr is that it was tied to place, not just the urge to mate. Fannish authors have not done much with the urge to return to a certain place, as compared to the raw urge to mate.
Thanks for the quote! I hadn't seen it.
As for pon farr being tied to a place, I had read a fic at one point wherein a Vulcan would be drawn to the highest concentration of Vulcans, which would therefore be planet Vulcan, or in the case of the reboot, it would change to be New Vulcan. I also saw a fic once wherein the pon farr was explained as occuring due to some sort of radiation from Vulcan's sun, and it built up to a critical level after about 7 years, then needed to be worked off, and in that story other places could have similar radiation and throw off the schedule. I think those two fics are the only ones I've seen that have explored location in some way.
Date: 09/08/2014 6:37 PM Title: Chapter 1
Don't worry! Although I do think that pon farr was originally intended to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, it's clear that the seven-year cycle is now canon. Not only was it mentioned in subsequent Star Trek series (some of which I take with a grain of salt :-D), but it was also mentioned in the third Star Trek movie, which was directed by Leonard Nimoy. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, while Saavik, David, and Spock's regenerated but mindless body are on the Genesis planet, Saavik says of pon farr, "Vulcan males must endure it every seven years of their adult life."
Of course, it looks as if the regenerated Spock only goes through it once from the time he's "born" on the Genesis planet until the time his 55-year-old body is picked up, but we can consider that dramatic license. :-)
Date: 09/08/2014 3:54 PM Title: Chapter 1
A lot depends on what you consider canon. Memory Alpha considers the Star Trek novels -- including the novelizations of the movies -- to be non-canon, and I agree with that. I think the novels are just unusually well written fan fiction. :-) According to Memory Alpha's standards, it's only canon if it has appeared on screen. I'd probably go farther than that and put Star Trek V into the non-canon bin. :-)
Spock does NOT say that pon farr is every seven years in "Amok Time;" he says this in "The Cloud Minders." This is relevant because "Amok Time" was a Season Two episode that was written by a great science fiction author, Theodore Sturgeon, from a story idea by Gene Roddenberry, and his script was polished and rewritten by Roddenberry AND by D. C. Fontana AND by Gene Coon. So that's as canonical as it gets. :-)
"The Cloud Minders," on the other hand, was written by Margaret Armen from a story idea by David Gerrold and Oliver Crawford. It was NOT polished and rewritten by Roddenberry or by Fontana or by Coon. And in it, Spock casually mentions pon farr to a woman he'd just met a few minutes ago, which is a big change from his being willing to die rather than explain it to his best friend in "Amok Time"!
Many of the Season Three episodes had the characters behaving dreadfully out of character, especially Spock. It is in THIS episode that the every-seven-years figure is given, which means that Spock most probably translated it into the year on Droxine's planet, and who knows how long THAT was?
In "Amok Time," it's implied that pon farr is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, where a Vulcan must acquire a mate. Spock says, "We are driven by forces we cannot control to return home and take a wife. Or die." This suggests that once a Vulcan HAS a mate, he's no longer subjected to pon farr. This was changed in "The Cloud Minders," but the people who understood Star Trek -- Roddenberry and Fontana and Coon -- had all left the show by that point.
So I think that the orginal conception of pon farr is that it happens ONCE, to make sure that a Vulcan marries.
Even if you accept the every-seven-years thing, that would be every seven years on Ardana (the planet Droxine was from).
Of course, there are a lot more fan fiction possibilities in having a periodically recurring pon farr, so that's the assumption most fanfic authors make, and I support our making that assumption in fan fiction. :-)
Given that Vulcan is a DESERT, I think that their fertility cycle might have a MUCH longer periodicity than Terran animals have, since the resources to raise children to adulthood would have been much scarcer on such a planet. I think seven Earth years sounds about right, actually.
Wow, you certainly know your canon! I didn't know any of those things, and I'm glad you pointed them out. This is just the kind of discussion I was hoping to generate when my own feble attempts at researching the matter weren't shedding enough light. Your explanation throws a monkey wrench into the whole works, of course and just makes it more complicated and confusing for me to pick what it means and translates to. I do believe authors should feel free to do as they please with it -- and I guess this just makes it even more clear why people should just do what they want. Also, one pon farr? Poppycock! Spock has a million of them in him, surely. ;)
Very interesting stuff. Thanks for commenting!
Date: 09/08/2014 2:07 PM Title: Chapter 1
You love numbers.. ;-)
But: in one part of the next generation - Dr. McCoy is on board by Picard - how old was he there? 137 years. So the human life span is more than 100 years... ;-)
You're right that McCoy does live over 100. I thought that he was particularly long-lived. Like, isn't the human life span supposed to be around 80 right now? It just means on average. Of course people live longer than 80 now, so people would live longer than the given life spans here. Good catch, though.
Date: 09/08/2014 11:49 AM Title: Chapter 1
Very interesting and logical reflection on this matter! It is also one I have thought about myself from time to time. Thanks for writing :)
Another possible clue is in the TMP novelisation by Gene Roddenberry where he talks about the vulcan seasons mentions their lengths in Earth years. I don't remember the exact numbers off the top of my head, unfortunately. But it brings in the fascinating possibility that pon farr stemmed from some sort of seasonal fertility originally - being a desert, presumably child rearing would be very difficult unless there were perhaps more favourable environmental conditions every so often? Something to think about, anyway!
"the fascinating possibility that pon farr stemmed from some sort of seasonal fertility"
I love this idea. I've wondered what pon farr is based on myself. I've seen a number of explanations authors have tried to provide in their fics. It is in keeping with Earth mammals for it to be seasonal.
Date: 09/08/2014 11:20 AM Title: Chapter 1
Great essay. I'm impressed that you figured out that a habitable planet orbiting around 40 Eridani A would have a year equivalent to 203 days. I would say that must be Earth days, not Vulcan days. Vulcan days could be long or short, but it wouldn't affect the amount of time it takes to go around the sun. In our own solar system, we usually measure a planet's "year" in Earth days, and its "day" in Earth hours or days.
In "Journey to Babel," I recall Sarek's saying he was a little over 100 years old, "in your years." (He gave more precise figure, of course.) That supports the idea of the Vulcan life span as around 200 Earth years. In "Amok Time," Spock said that he and T'Pring were bonded when they were "but seven years of age." From the photo of T'Pring as a child that he was looking it, it seems that must have been 7 Earth years, not seven Vulcan years (when they would have been the equivalent of 4 year olds). I suspect that often, when time periods were stated in Star Trek, they were converted to the Earth equivalents for the convenience of us Humans.
I'm really glad you got us thinking about these issues; your ideas should help authors to write more precisely when time is involved.
To be fair, I didn't figure out anything about the 203 days. I believe I got the number from Memory Beta, and when I tried to source check to see where it came from, Memory Beta didn't provide citation, but I found some other essay on the web saying the 203 day figure comes from the habitable zone. So someone figured that out, I guess? Rhaegal has figured out very specific numbers on all of this, but I don't know what her figures are.
As far as what "day" means, Memory Beta suggests that a Vulcan day is 24 hours long, but again doesn't cite anything for that number, so I'm guessing Earth days and Vulcan days can be considered the same length until told otherwise. I'm no astronomer so I don't know whether we can figure that out or not. Or perhaps it's in one of the books somewhere and I don't know about it.
Thanks for your mentions of Sarek's age and Spock's age of bonding. :)
This whole rabbit hole got started with one of my other fics and trying to work out ages involved for the characters. I got so confused and couldn't let it alone.
Date: 09/08/2014 4:23 AM Title: Chapter 1
We need Rhaegal's advice
You're right. She did an absolutely great presentation on the attributes of planet Vulcan, how long the days were and so forth. I don't know if she went into the questions I'm asking here, but I would LOVE her advice regardless. :)