TrekInk: Review of Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell #1 + 5-page preview |
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TrekInk: Review of Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell #1 + 5-page preview October 13, 2010

by Mark Martinez , Filed under: Comics,Review,TOS , trackback

khan Kirk abandons Khan and IDW Publishing has the story. Veteran Star Trek comics writers Scott and David Tipton begin their tale of Khan’s new empire in the first of four issues arriving in comic shops this week. Spoilers ahead.


Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell #1
written by Scott & David Tipton, art by Fabio Mantovani, colors by Fabio Mantovani & Chiara Cinabro, cover art by Michael Stribling and Joe Corroney, letters by Neil Uyetake, edits by Scott Dunbier

The First Six Months
Left on Ceti Alpha V with cargo containers for shelter and the engines of the SS Botany Bay for power, as long as the fuel holds out, Khan, his woman, and his surviving brethren set out to conquer their new world with confidence. Although there are many hazards, there are none that can’t be handled by products of selective breeding and genetic engineering, except perhaps an exploding planet.

The brothers Tipton begin their account of events that follow first season original series episode Space Seed with an uncomfortably cordial parting between the crews of the Enterprise and the Botany Bay, then very brief recaps of Khan’s rule on Earth and his discovery by the Enterprise 300 years later. Their story is light on detail and focuses on Khan’s overpowering personality, which is all that keeps the unwilling colonists going during their first six months. Having read and enjoyed the trilogy of books about Khan written by Greg Cox several years ago, I wasn’t sure how I might react to this story, but this first issue suggests to me that the comics and books may be able to peacefully coexist, much like Kirk and Khan at the end of Space Seed. That turned out well, didn’t it? I guess we’ll find out next issue.

Gimme five, man!

Artist Fabio Mantovani’s last outing, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Fool’s Gold, was cut short by a stay in the hospital. He returns to Star Trek in good form. He appears to be an artist I can count on for a little cheesecake. Lt. McGivers exchanges her Starfleet uniform for a bodysuit that Seven of Nine would covet. More importantly, his artwork complements the Tipton’s focus on Khan, who is mesmerizing in nearly every panel he appears in. Paired with Chiara Cinabro’s colors that shift from subtle to dazzling, I’m looking forward to a descent into hell.

Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell #1 ships with two regular covers. Cover A features Khan on Earth, in royal garb, illustrated by Michael Stribling. Cover B features Khan, Lt. Marla McGivers and Joachim on Ceti Alpha V as drawn by Joe Corroney. Corroney takes a few liberties with perspective and weapons, but as always, he nails the characters. So does Stribling. I wonder if Ricardo Montalbon’s over-the-top performance as Khan helped make it easy for the artists to capture the character? The retailer incentive for issue #1 isn’t a comic, it’s a plush toy, which is also featured on an exclusive convention variant of #1 distributed at this month’s New York Comic Con. I had hopes of acquiring a Khan plush, but my local comic shop doesn’t order enough Star Trek comics to qualify for incentives. Bummer.

khanhell1a_tn khanhell1b_tn
Cover A and B: Michael Stribling, Joe Corroney

Retailer Incentive Plush Toy

New York Comic Con Exclusive

The superior Trekkie will pick up a copy of Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell #1 at a local comic shop. They can also be purchased online at TFAW.

Ruling in Hell

Ruling in Hell

Ruling in Hell

Ruling in Hell








(Jan 2011)

Publication of the trade paperback collection of Star Trek: Khan Ruling in Hell hasn’t been scheduled yet, but look for it Spring 2011.

5-page preview

To get you started, here is a five-page preview of Khan: Ruling In Hell #1.

Open publication – Free publishingMore star trek khan

Mark Martinez is an obsessive-compulsive Star Trek comics reader and collector. You can visit his website, the Star Trek Comics Checklist for more than you ever needed to know about Star Trek comics.


1. LeviTinker - October 14, 2010

Iam very intrested in checking this series out, sounds like its going to be exciting.

2. jim Mower - October 14, 2010

I’ve never understood how, in STII, the crew of an advanced scientific vessel like the Reliant didn’t notice that a planet in the Ceti Alpha system was missing and another had changed its orbit. Surely the Enterprise charted the system a number of years earlier….

‘You thought this was Cet Alpha VI’ always seemed like a stupid line to me.

3. James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK - October 14, 2010

Looks interesting…. But I’d rather read Milton…

4. Captain Rickover - October 14, 2010

Sounds interesting and looks good.

# 2 Jim Mower
You’re right. It seems that every good (or nearly good) ST-movie lacks logic.

5. niall johnson - October 14, 2010


Greg Cox tries to explain it away in “to rule in hell.”

6. Damian - October 14, 2010

#2–Greg Cox’s book attempts to answer that discrepancy in the framing story. I forget exactly how he put it but it’s not as simple as counting planets from the sun. The orbit of Ceti Alpha V shifted making it seem it was where Ceti Alpha VI should have been.

Some of this is done for convenience. After all, if the Reliant realized this was Ceti Alpha V, the movie would have ended there. There is suspension of disbelief in all the movies. Sometimes it’s necessary to advance a story. A friend of mine said why didn’t Terrell and Chekov request immediate beam out or shoot them with their phasers. I tried to make up reasons (maybe they needed one beam out point, maybe they did not think they needed phasers) but finally I just told him that if they did that, it would have been a very short movie.

7. CmdrR - October 14, 2010

There are a ton of questions in STII: TWOK, if you stop enjoying the movie long enough to THINK. I for one love the movie. But, OK… in addition to the fine questions posed above:

–How crappy are dyno scanners that they register dozens of people and a bunch of ear bugs at “a minor energy flux reading on one dyno scanner”?

–Why is the Enterprise a nuclear vessel? (nuclear wessel) What happened to matter-anti-matter and dilithium crystals?

–What were Khan and Company doing out of the shelter of their cargo pod when Terrell and Chekov arrived? Doesn’t look like there was much to see ANYWHERE else on the planet.

–Which Starfleet engineer installs the antenna whose only job it is is to accept incoming prefix codes (correct or otherwise) from other starships?

–How did Khan’s band of supermen go from being multi-national in TOS to all being Southern California in the movie? And for that matter, why are the others now so much younger than Khan?

8. Gary - October 14, 2010

-Why is the prefix code only 5 or 6 digits (or whatever it was), instead of 2^(pick a large number)-bit number?

-“I never forget a face?”

9. Damian - October 14, 2010

7–Greg Cox’s To Rule in Hell Book does answer many of those questions.

The scanners were picking up a lot of interference due to the weather.

I think you are confusing this with Star Trek IV. I don’t remember the starship Enterprise being referred as a nuclear vessel in Star Trek II.

Khan was just returning from a battle with rebel supermen who were against Khan according to Cox’s book.

You got me with the prefix code. I guess you can call that literary license.

Many of the people with Khan in Star Trek II were children of those who were originally with Khan in Space Seed. Cox tried to explain that their looks had to do with the original gene sequencing of their parents. All the children were born blonde with blue eyes.

Granted, when the movie came out, those questions did raise some eyebrows. Greg Cox did a great job of trying to find all the inconsistencies and issues between Space Seed and TWOK and explain them. He really left no stone unturned in his novel and it was a great read.

10. thebiggfrogg - October 14, 2010

Perhaps, the poster is referring to the fact that Spock died from radiation exposure.

11. Damian - October 14, 2010

10–Perhaps, but radiation exposure was not unique to Star Trek II. In The Next Generation, I remember an episode where a plasma fire was releasing radiation. There have been others also

12. CmdrR - October 14, 2010

9 — sorry for the confusion. no one says “wessel” until 4. However, it’s ludicrous to think that 20-th century-style nuclear power will drive a starship. Please, hyper-heated steam??? 23rd Century. Hello! Obviously, Paramount or someone on the team wanted the climax of the movie to move along quickly. They didn’t think the audience would “get” another power source as being instantly fatal to Spock as easily as the audience would get his being exposed to radiation. It’s just that I find it hard to accept that the Big E runs on anything as crude as nuclear power.

13. Damian - October 14, 2010

12–In one of the novels it explained that Spock had to correct a faulty plasma injector to get main power back on line. There was superheated plasma involved that caused the release of radiation. I don’t think they were referring to traditional nuclear radiation.

14. Stan Winstone - October 14, 2010

Wouldn’t Joachim look a *lot* younger as in a 15 year old boy? It’s 15 years after this story that we see him at age 29-30 in TWOK?

15. Damian - October 14, 2010

The character in Star Trek II was Joaquin, Joachim’s son as noted in Cox’s book, hence the age difference. In canon, it was never really established on screen who is who between Space Seed and TWOK.

16. Praetor Shinzon II - October 14, 2010

I have a few observations as well.
Was it 200 years or 300 hundred years? Khan seems not to have done his math.1996>2096>2196>2267=270, so I guess 300 is closer and 3 centuries not 2 as Khan says.
Personally think Nicholas Meyer didn’t get the mixed identity of Khan’s people (racist?) or that they were mostly the same age. They all exhibited similar abilities to Khan in SS but in WOK he made it look like Khan was the only one with superior abilities.
Hated Kirstie Alley as Saavik.
Never got around to reading the Cox novels #2 & #3. Maybe I’ll do that.
I don’t think there are any comic stores left around here so I may have to order on line!

17. desertrat - October 14, 2010

You guys obsess way too much. Too much time on your hands, perhaps?

18. ngl;sdb;ga - October 14, 2010

They never said anything about nuclear power in star trek II.

19. MJ - October 14, 2010

Regarding the Comic-con special issue cover and toy, that has got to be the worst toy and the worst special cover I have ever seen on a comic. Is that suppose to be a teddy bear version of Khan or something? What were they thinking???

Sounds like the comic is pretty good and won’t be ruined by whoever came up with the moronic Comic-con marketing effort.

20. Losira - October 14, 2010

More Khan Comics coming great. I loved the novels. Now to follow with comics. So far seems faithful to the story of their time on Ceti-alpha. The art work is ecxellant!

21. Red Dead Ryan - October 14, 2010

The four main covers are great! With them all lined up, it shows Khan’s descent from a rational strongman genius into a flat-out bitter and vengeful madman!

22. BiggestTOSfanever - October 14, 2010

I liked how in Greg’s book the reason Khan knows Chekov is because Chekov was in a security detail and beamed down with him to Ceti Alpha V the first time.

23. They call me Stasiu - October 14, 2010

I’ll be waiting for the trade paperback collection, but I flipped through the first issue yesterday; it’s fabulous inside and out!

24. Captain McColl - October 14, 2010

12 – Actually in Star Trek IV it was the Klingon ship they needed the nuclear energy for, and it wasn’t to power the ship. If you pay attention to the dialogue, after using the slingshot effect the antimatter crystals go bust and they can’t repeat the process, but Scotty (being the miracle worker he is) comes up with a way to re-crystalise the dilithium with nuclear isotopes.

25. Chingatchgook - October 14, 2010

“Kahn: Ruling in Hell”.
My ex-wife might present a serious obstacle and challenge for Mr Noonien Singh.

26. Michael Stribling - October 14, 2010

I like the way you think ;)

27. Vultan - October 14, 2010

Does anybody know if there has ever been a novel, short story or comic that covers the story of the Reliant crew who were marooned on Ceta Alpha V during the “Khan Crisis?” It seems like that would make a good survival story, with Commander Kyle holding his crew together until rescue (the Enterprise) arrives.

I really liked the way Captain Terrell said it, “Marooned… on Ceta Alpha V…” Such sadness and dread in his voice. Or maybe it was just the ear slug talking. ;)

Anyway, great acting by the late Paul Winfield.

28. Charley W - October 14, 2010

Some odds & ends:

* I’ve heard from someone involved (Meyer?) that Montalban misread a roman numeral and it wasn’t caught. Ceti Alpha IV for VI. The whole business always seemed contrived to me, and could have been taken care off with a bit more careful writing. Vonda McIntyre’s novelization skips the roman numeral crap and has a large moon explode, which bothers Chekov with half-remembered flashbacks.

* I’ve always shuddered over the young, blond followers. In “Space Seed”, McCoy specifically mentions all sorts of ethnic types (I forget his EXACT wording). The thinking was probably ‘Eugenics=Nazis=Aryans=Blond’, and the age was probably who showed up for the extras call. There are a couple of older people with Khan in the movie- one is standing behind the captain’s chair in some early scenes, and when the ship rocks, braces himself, then looks sheepishly at Khan, almost like he’s apologizing.

* All of Khan’s people were gone, but a baby was left? Maybe there was no Security problem, but no wonder the kid was bawling.

* “I never forget, a face, Mr. Chekov.” Of all of the regulars they had to have Chekhov run across Khan… Official explaination is Chekhov being non-bridge personel- I like the Security detail idea (but Kyle was in the episode, also). Koenig gave a great story about this when asked at a con once.

* 200 vs 300 years. Kirk tells Khan it’s been 2 centuries when he asks, but you would think that he would catch the date when reading all those manuals, if he had time to catch ‘Klingon’ philosophy.

* Saavik is the ONLY role that I like Kirstie Alley in, and she certainly was better than her replacement. The character certainly got screwed over, a shame, since it was the ONLY attempt to introduce a new regular in the movies.

Best line: “Did she do something with her hair?” “I hadn’t noticed.” She actually was HOT with her hair down!

29. CmdrR - October 14, 2010

13 – I’d like to think so. I’d be happy to be corrected. The movie refers to “the mains” and looks an awful lot like the nuclear works of a nuke submarine.

As for Joachim, I just looked over the shooting script and there’s a baby in the cargo pods when Terrell and Chekov show up. This is never shown in the movie (unless I blinked all 4352453 times I’ve seen it.) Yes, the supermen could be generational, but it’s not set up that way. I’m mostly thinking of the women, who look late 20s/early 30s in TOS and still the same range in TWOK. If they’re generational, there should be lots of kids, early teens, and pre-teens running around.

BTW, none of these concerns lessens my love of this flick in the slightest.

30. Sebastian - October 14, 2010

I prefer to think of Greg Cox’s excellent Khan series as the ‘last word’ on what happened to Khan on Ceti Alpha V (although I thought his ‘explanation’ for his TWOK henchman being called “Joachim” instead of “Joaquin” ala “Space Seed” was a bit of a stretch; his 15 year old son?? Come on…).
I would’ve wrote that one off as a name change, or a good ol’ continuity flub…

But otherwise, the Khan books are ridiculously well researched. And the way he worked in Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln into the secret, X-Files-ish Eugenics Wars was brilliant.

I’m sure the comics are nice, but I doubt there’s any way they can compete with Cox’s exhaustively researched and nuanced books.

31. M_E - October 14, 2010

“I’ve never understood how, in STII, the crew of an advanced scientific vessel like the Reliant didn’t notice that a planet in the Ceti Alpha system was missing and another had changed its orbit. Surely the Enterprise charted the system a number of years earlier….”

I´m probably not getting the right episode or even Trek show but at the end of “Space Seed” doesn´t Kirk say something about Ceti Alpha not being charted just before he asks Khan if he could conquer a planet after failing to conquer a starship?

32. Vultan - October 14, 2010

Khan said the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI shifted the orbit of his planet (possibly forcing it farther away from the sun)… so could it be that the crew of Reliant, seeing only the remnants of a destroyed planet in the system, simply assumed that Ceti Alpha V had exploded and they were studying Ceti Alpha VI for Project Genesis(when of course they weren’t)?

Anyway, that’s how I’ve always understood it.

33. Red Dead Ryan - October 14, 2010

I’m assuming that after the Enterprise dropped Khan off on Ceti Alpha V, the crew would have noted the system and the number of planets into its logs. Then the data would have been shared with the rest of the fleet, to let everyone know that Ceti Alpha V was inhabited by dangerous people who should be avoided. The Reliant would have known that the system was supposed to have six planets. Assuming that Ceti Alpha VI was a rocky planet, the number of asteroids in the area would have been more than before. Which would have alerted the Reliant crew. They would have compared their new data with that of the old data. Then they would have done a thorough job of making sure the remaining planets weren’t inhabited, unless of course, the storms on Ceti Alpha V disrupted the Reliant’s censors.

On the other hand, its highly possible that Captain Kirk neglected to report the events of “Space Seed”, thus nobody else in Starfleet knew of the system, or of Khan living there.

34. Charley W - October 15, 2010

I think Blish’s write-up of ‘Space Seed’ mentions soemthing along those lines, but then that was when Blish was trying to tie Star trek to his own ‘Cities in Flight’ chronology. McIntyre’s novelization of the movie DOES use that explaination (but she has her OWN problems); but the real problem is that Chekov and Kyle are in Reliant’s crew. No matter if the official Starfleet records mention the Botany Bay incident or not, those two WERE THERE and would know.

And if WE in the early 21st Century can determine that a planet has exploded within a million or so years in a system several dozen light years away (see recent news reports), certainly Reliant, 300 years from now, could have determined that SOMETHING had happened in a previously charted system in the last couple of decades. There should have been ALL SORTS of red flags over the situation, WHETHER KHAN WAS THERE OR NOT. As I recall, one of the criteria was that the Genesis test planet had to have a stable orbit.

But then, even by 1980s technology, remote-control robots should have been able to do what Spock gave his life to accomplish…

35. Charley W - October 15, 2010

BTW, a planet exploding is not going to shift an orbit that way. The mass is still there, although over time it may get dispersed over a larger area of space, and that would shift an orbit. But that would be over centuries or millenia, decades at best. and it would be more likely to force a planet CLOSER to its sun (which may have happened to Khan’s Planet). But it would still take a longer time for EVERYTHING to die off. (IF EVERYTHING died, what were the humans eating, and what was making the atmosphere breathable? I hardly think that Khan had the facilities available for a full biodeversity survey on the ENTIRE planet.)

36. Red Dead Ryan - October 15, 2010


Ceti Alpha VI must have been really close to V. Perhaps some of the debris hit VI? That would we a better explanation for the climate change, rather than the planet’s orbit being shifted, which as you said, would be unlikely.

Although if Ceti Alpha VI was really close( almost as close as the moon is to Earth) to V and VI was much bigger, then I suppose a big enough chunk would be powerful enough to alter the orbit of Ceti Alpha V. And then there would be more pieces of Ceti Alpha VI slamming into V, creating more havoc with the climate. Or such an event could completely destroy the planet’s atmosphere, with Ceti Alpha V becoming like Mars perhaps.

37. Vultan - October 15, 2010

Is it also possible that Ceta Alpha V and VI had orbits that criss-crossed at a certain point? Similiar in the way that Neptune and Pluto change places as the eight and ninth planets (yes, I know Pluto was demoted, but I grew up with nine planets and as Grandpa Simpson would say, “That’s the way I likes it!”)

38. Red Dead Ryan - October 15, 2010

And does anyone know what exactly caused Ceti Alpha VI to blow up?

Perhaps the more interesting question! :-)

39. Charley W - October 15, 2010

#37- Neptune’s and Pluto’s orbits do not cross in the same way that we are talking about. They appear to cross in a 2 dimensional illustration, but in 3 dimensions, it’s a different situation. This is because of their different orbital inclinations. Where Pluto crosses its orbit, even if both bodies were as close as they POSSIBLY could get, there would be many millions of miles apart. Many minor bodies in the Solar System do the same (this is one reason Pluto got ‘demoted’, a more pertinent reason is we are finding more objects Pluto’s size or even larger: do you really want to have learn about 20 or more ‘planets’, most of which are at best the size of our own moon? Remember that the first several asteroids were considered ‘planets’, until they got up to about 15, and called it quits on THAT idea. Better to keep the established name for the rarer unique bodies.)

That aside, other than McIntyre’s moon idea, some sort of orbit-crossing is probably most likely.

40. Charley W - October 15, 2010

#38- ‘Instability due to Writer’s Poor Understanding of Physics’. It’s pretty common in the Fictional Multiverse, although ‘Writer Using a Cliche’ is an alternate possibility. It’s the same reason that in the novel “When Worlds Collide”, Bronsen Alpha collided with Luna on the way Inward, and the Earth on the way Outward. Go ahead, figure an orbit for THAT, that lets Bronsen Beta go into a solar orbit similar to Earth’s!!!!

41. Charley W - October 15, 2010

#36- Gravity doesn’t work that way (at least in OUR universe). If anything, the increased mass (or impact energy) would cause the combined body to decrease its distance from the sun. You could loss some mass if some material was ejected from the system, but again, that’s a long-term situation.

If I had to come up with an on-the-fly guess, without doing any checking calculations, perhaps if the explosion resulted in an impact when Khan’s planet was near aphelion (farthest point in its orbit from the sun), then that may increase the aphelion distance, and that could last several ceturies until things evened out- more tha enough time for our purposes.

More Importantly, Khan was hardly given a Geology or Orbital Mechanics lecture, so any terms he used should not be taken TOO literally.

42. Vultan - October 15, 2010


I know Neptune and Pluto’s orbits don’t intersect. I was only suggesting that Ceti Alpha V and VI were on a similiar path—something caused number VI to go ka-boom; V just happned to be close enough to catch the debris field; the explosion shifted its orbit out of whack, thus causing the Reliant to confuse it with VI, which may have already had a ‘wasted’ atmosphere that we later see in V.

Also, is it possible for two planets to be binary, ie. orbiting each other as they go around a star on the same orbit? This could further explain the Ceti Alpha confusion…

43. Charley W - October 15, 2010

#42- Binary asteroids/minor planets (I prefer the older term ‘planetoids’) are common and comets often split, resulting in a temporary binary body, but no binary PLANETS are known in the Solar System, and I don’t know of any currently known in other systems. They certainly are theoretically possible, and I suspect they are rather common, depending on your definition. The closest situation they we know of is the Pluto-Charon system (everything else is much less mass or further distances).

My point is, that a binary system doesn’t change the total mass to any major extent (there would probably be some mass ejected), and an interloper, a planet with a crossing orbit, ADDS mass to the body. However, it’s likely that any moons of either body would be ejected, and that would probably be a net LOSS of mass, but again, the time scale would be longer and would not effect the situation that we are discussing.

44. Vultan - October 15, 2010


Good points, Charley. I guess we would have to know how small the Ceti Alpha planets in question are to judge whether or not they could be binary. Unfortunately, Star Trek almost always portrays its planets as being around the same size as Earth—well, at least the ship’s position around the planets always makes them seem the same size.

I can think of one episode of TNG, “Power Play,” where the Enterprise actually orbits the moon of a much larger planet—which was so unusual I thought I was watching the moon-centric Star Wars for a second. :)

45. captain_neill - October 15, 2010

The first issue was a good read but I still think Greg Cox’s novel is the better account.

I think Greg Cox answered more questions and felt more satisfying, but then I need to read the next issues to get the full flavour.

46. Dunsel Report - October 15, 2010

Here’s something that’s always puzzled me: In the official screenplay for II, Chekov and Terrell are exploring the Botany Bay cargo pod when they see, according to the script, “a BABY.”

Does anyone know what the baby is all about? It’s not visible in any cut of the movie, or is it?

47. Dunsel Report - October 15, 2010

Oops, posted that before I noticed #29’s mention of the baby. Anyone else know what the deal is with the kid?

48. Vultan - October 15, 2010


Well… when a superman and a superwoman get together…

Seriously though, I’m assuming it was meant to add more depth—a bit more humanity to Khan and his people. And I’m guessing it was cut because it would be very off-putting for a baby to be killed in an sci-fi/adventure movie (assuming that the child would be brought with Khan and his people to the doomed Reliant).

49. MJ - October 16, 2010

35 — it depends on how the planet exploded. If for example a very high velocity impact from an interstellar rogue planetoid hit the planet, causing it to “explode”, then a good portion of the mass could be moved out out of the system, and on the way out it could have moved the orbit of Ceti Alpha V. Since they don’t say how it exploded, then I think this is a plausible explanation that could be shown to be scientifically possible. This would also explain why the original Enterprise scan of the system did not notice an instability of cause for concern in Ceti Alpha VI.

50. scruffy the vampire janitor - October 16, 2010

For all the non believers,

Jack B. Sowards wrote the screen play. In an issue of Starlog he listed the changes that were made to the script for the sake of “drama” and “brevity”

Sowards answered all the questions you have. Everything was there in his original script. It was Nick Meyers and Harve Bennet that created the holes you see. Mostly because VCRs DVDs and the ability to watch the movie any time simply hadn’t been invented yet.

BUT Science has just proved that Neptune and Uranus are both out of orbit. The planets switched orbits over millions of years.

And I like Cox’s idea that the Botany Bay is underneath the part they show on screen, the only part that’s above the sand.

Kirsty Alley said herself that she wasnt 100% for WOK. Nimoy has said that he coached her as much as he could, but she suffered from bad advice from others. (the crying & so on) She jumps when Kirk punches the glass on the box holding Terrel, and De Kelley looks to the director for “cut” but apparently was waved on to continue with the scene.

51. scruffy the vampire janitor - October 16, 2010


Earth-Luna are a double planet, and are Pluto-Charon

Earth’s moon is the result of Earth’s collision with another planet. Rhea?

that’s why we have such a large iron-nickel core, and that’s why we have a magnetic field, and that’s why life can exist here.

52. Dom - October 17, 2010

I liked Kirsty Alley’s quirky, more emotional Saavik. Moments such as her jumping when Kirk breaks the glass on Regula-1 make the whole thing scarier. I also had no problem with the crying: Spock wept for V’Ger and Saavik wept for her teacher. It’s a shame: in a parallel universe, we might have had more Trek movies with Kirk, Saavik and McCoy on the Excelsior!

53. Charley W - October 17, 2010

#51- The usual definition of ‘double planet’ is a system with the center of mass is located in the space BETWEEN the two bodies (‘off-surface’, if that makes it clearer). Under that criteria, neither Earth-Luna, nor Pluto-Charon, fit the bill, since the center of mass lies within the more massive body. A ‘binary-x’ is often taken to be synonymous with ‘double-x’, but nowadays ‘binary’ is usually restricted to two bodies of similar mass, and that’s how I’m using the terms. In other words, Earth-Luna is a planet-moon, If Mars was in place of Luna it would be a double planet, and if Venus was in place of Luna, it would be a binary. Clear?

Don’t know what you mean by ‘Rhea’, since it’s one of the larger moons of Saturn; there’s also a planetoid by that name. “Thea’ (not sure of spelling) has been used as a name for the body theorized to have impacted the proto-Earth to create Luna.

There are good reasons for believing that Luna may have helped create the conditions that gave rise to Life on Earth, just as is said for Jupiter, but with only the one example, to just make the statement flatly is rather unscientific. Just because I know one Australian with blond hair does not mean that ALL Australians have blond hair.

54. scruffy the vampire janitor - October 17, 2010

Charley, switch to decaf already.

We’re talking science fiction, not science fact. What qualifies as a double planet in fiction is what were talking about here. Read some older fiction.

People used to think the moon eroded Earth’s atmosphere and a moon sized planet in orbit of Venus could make it livable. or dumping algae into Venus could make it earth-like.

We know that’s not true now. But for the time, WOK wasnt that bad.

What the heck needs to be scientific about a kid’s saturday morning tv show?

I’m more upset about lens flares and R2-D2 than any of the oddball science they threw at us in the last movie.

55. Charley W - October 17, 2010

#54- tsk, tsk, so explaining some terms that people are misunderstanding warrents an insult? More YOUR problem than mine. (BTW, I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do detest de-caf.)

I GREW up on ‘older fiction’, including Weinbaum, Doc Smith, Latham, Leinster, Wolheim, and a hundred others that many of the casual fans of ST nowadays wouldn’t recognize. The definition of ‘double planet’ hasn’t changed, read many of Asimov’s stories or articles from the ’50s or ’60s, for instance. I’ll be the first to concede that some writers have used the term improperly (never said they DIDN’T, I was explaining what the terms meant to people HERE), but Melville calling a whale a fish didn’t make it one in contemporary scientific circles, let alone those nowadays.

I KNOW the theory about Luna helping to stabilize conditions on the early earth, as I indicated in message #53, and indeed, it’s not a bad theory, and may be right- but as I said, there’s a problem with one example- knowing one blond Australian doesn’t make ALL Australians blond. Do you actually READ the messages that you are responding to?

I’m the first to agree ultimately it’s fiction, witness my earlier comments in messages #50 & 51. But first of all, it’s FUN to analyze the stuff, and second Star Trek sets itself on a higher pedestal that Star Wars, for instance doesn’t. And that’s one of the reasons that I don’t like SW as much as Trek.

And most of all, I never said that WOK was ‘bad’ (it’s MY second favorite of the ST movies). I just don’t think that it is as GREAT as it could have been and a large part of that is the sloppyness of the sort that we are, yes, nit-picking about. But compare it to, say, “The Last Starfighter” or “Krull”, and we’re talking watermelons and brussel sprouts.The worst of Star Trek is light years ahead of most of the other drek, which is the reason that the bad stuff sticks out so much.

56. Charley W - October 17, 2010

#49- Your idea isn’t bad (the major problem is that it introduces a THIRD body when we’re having problems with two: Occam’s Razor is probably operative here), but again, it would more likely end up moving Khan’s Planet (I’m using this name to avoid any numbering confusion) closer to its sun (due to increased mass in the system), which was the original notion that I was responding to.

Personally, I think it IS likely that Khan’s Planet got shifted closer to the sun- it would more likely have the observed consequences in a quicker time frame. But ultimately, we would have to have more information about the situation both before and after than we are given. All we know is that planets are numbered moving outward in the Star Trek universe, and what Khan told Chekov and Terrell in anger, and he was hardly giving a Orbital Mechanics lecture- even if he had had precise detailed information or even CARED. And we know there’s a mistake somewhere, but not precisely what the error is. Not enough information to even make a reasonable theory- so all we can do is speculate. But that’s part of the fun…

57. Vultan - October 17, 2010


What is your favorite Trek movie, Charley? No insult or anything intended. :)

I’m just curious if some particular bit of science in the story helped in making it your fav…

58. Charley W - October 18, 2010

Rough order, my most favorite to least:

5 Stars: 6 (TUD), 2 (WOK)

4 stars: 3 (TSFS), 8 (FC), 4 (TVH), 1 (TMP)

3 stars: 5 (FF), 7 (G)

2 stars: 10 (N), 11 (2009)

1 star: 9 (I)

(I don’t use 0 stars- reserving that for movies that I haven’t seen)

(The exact relative rankings of a couple are varible, depending on factors such as how long it’s been since I’ve seen them last, my mood and state of consiousness.)

2 stars or less I consider unwatchable drek, unless I’m marathoning or checking for something in particular. The ratings refer to the movies as a whole, ALL have moments that I enjoy someplace in them, and even Final Frontier is better than a dozen other movies that I could easily name. (On the third hand, even TUD has moments that could have been improved, making for a better movie.)

As a comparitive measure, two of my favorite movies in the genre are ‘The Andromeda Strain’ (the 1970 original, DON’tT get me started on the recent blasephemy) and ‘Destination Moon’. At the lower extreme, the ONLY movie that I paid to watch that I was ever tempted to walk out on and ask for my money back was ‘Krull’. (I recently forced myself to rewatch it to see if my opinion had changed- it has maybe by a percentage point or two, but I’ve probably just have grown more tolerant of Crapatoa.) Of course, I’ve seen plenty of worse on tv or video.

59. Vultan - October 18, 2010


Wow, that’s just about where I rank the Trek movies as well. TUC and TWOK are definitely my favorites—no coincidence Nick Meyer directed both. And, despite a few nitpicks here and there, I place FC very high on my list. Also, I’d place TSFS as the most underrated—gotta love Lloyd’s Klingon warlord!

As for favorite sci-fi movie, I have to go with the original Planet of the Apes. Sure, there’s plot holes bigger than a damn dirty ape, but Rod Serling’s social commentary on science vs. religion and class struggles in society make it worth a viewing… or two… or ten… or (in my case) a couple hundred. :)

60. Bucky2 - October 18, 2010

I just watched Wrath of Khan about a week ago, I was wondering why his followers in that movie are so much younger than him. They look like they’re in their 20s. Assuming they were all unfrozen at the Botany Bay at the same time as Khan, why is he so much older? Was Khan just older than most of ’em in general?

61. Bucky2 - October 18, 2010

Whoops, just read the posts above. I looked on for Cox’s Khan trilogy, but there’s a a few used copies and not many new. I was honestly waiting for an ombinbus when it came out all those years ago and I’m shocked it never came to be.

62. Charley W - October 18, 2010

#59- Meyer also wrote one of the best Sherlock Holmes movies made- The Seven Per-Cent Solution, both the original novel and the screenplay. i don’t care much for Time After Time, because I’m not into overly romantic shlock. (But that’s what they were TRYING to make, so fine for them.)

I didn’t catch the 1968 Planet of the Apes during its first run, and had to wait a couple of years, when a local theater ran an Apes marathon of the first 3. But I much prefer it over the remake. When I was a kid, with no Internet or even local fandom (the only local club was a comics fansome), I speculated on my own, often on my morning paper route. And, along with Trek (only TOS in those days), the Apes series was one of my most frequent subjects. (To this day, I still can not fathom what the INTENDED mission of Taylor’s crew was.)

Certainly, good science helps a show and bad science hurts, but the converse is not necessarily invalid. What is VERY BAD is SLOPPY science; when the explanation isn’t consistant. Fantasy/SF etc depends on the Suspension of Disbelief, and I’m perfectly willing to allow the basic concept to be established- say flying, fire-breathing dragons. But beware of what I call “Huh?” moments- when suddenly the audience goes “WTF was THAT?” You lose them then and you usually don’t get them back. If your explanation of flying pigs is methane farts, then don’t have them smoking by the bonfire without an explosion.

63. Vultan - October 18, 2010


Hey, you’ve got a good point there, Charley—just what was their mission in Planet of the Apes? Despite Taylor referring to the dead female member of their crew as the “new Eve,” there were too few of them to establish a new civilization on a planet (and they definitely didn’t have the equipment for it on that small ship).

So, I guess they were on some sort of scouting mission… perhaps? But they didn’t seem to expect a return trip to Earth, which is evident in Taylor’s remarks to the other astronaut about wanting to get away from it all and find something “better” than humanity. Hmmm… curiouser and curiouser…

Guess I’ll just have to watch it again! :D

64. Charley W - October 18, 2010

#62- Taylor’s comment about Stewart being “our new Eve” comes AFTER the ship sinks and they realize that they “are here to stay”, which implies to me that it was not intended to be a one-way trip, although the possibility was recognized. The POTA timeline and several articles state that the mission of the ‘Icarus’ was colonization, but basic Biology tells you that one female and three males is a rather incompetent way to start a population. Brent’s follow-up mission (in ‘Beneath’) implies that Earth was expecting to receive communication with Taylor rather soon.

My best guess is that Taylor was conducting a technology demonstration of a near-light or perhaps even FTL drive and communications (perhaps as a PRELUDE to colonization). What the destination was is uncertain. They believed they were in Orion (“that (the sun) could be Bellatrix”), but this is probably a reference to the novel, which takes place at Betelguese. What went wrong is uncertain;perhaps a timer failed to wake them up for a manual landing, perhaps they had expected to home in on some sort of beacon. (Stewart’s air leak is probably a separate matter.)

And then you have to explain HOW did Taylor’s ship turned around and got back to Earth (remember in the prologue, Taylor says it’s been six months since they’ve launched, and he notes no problem). Brent says that they followed Taylor’s trajectory, so “whatever happened to us happened to him”, so the two are related. The later efforts (animated and Tv series) implied that there was sort of time-warp/wormhole/whatever involved which screwed up electronics, but that does not seem to be the case in the first movie.

65. Charley W - October 18, 2010

Actually now that I think about it, Taylor may use the ‘new Eve’ term BEFORE he goes to sleep, when everything is still as planned. I’ll have to recheck that detail.

66. Charley W - October 18, 2010

I perhaps should amend my comment in #62 about ‘romantic schlock’. In the last decade or so I’ve gotten heavily into Anime, and I tend to prefer ‘Shoujo’, which can get about as romantic as it is possible to do so. It works for me because of the ‘3 c’s': Characterization, Comedy and Cute girls.

Anyway, as a result of my anime interest, lately I’ve been downloading Akira Kurosawa movies (just finished ‘Throne of Blood’, and am currently dl’ing ‘Ikiru’). I highly recommend Kurosawa for anyone interested in filmmaking or screenwriting.

67. Vultan - October 19, 2010


No, I think you were right the first time. He does make the “Eve” comment after the ship sinks… I think to Nova when they are in the cages.

On a related note, have you seen any of the behind the scene photos from the upcoming Rise of the Apes prequel? It looks interesting. Definitely more hard science fiction than Tim Burton’s dreadful remake. It appears they’re going with CG apes this time around, which is a little disappointing since I’ve always considered the original’s ape makeup to be perfect as it was. Oh well… we’ll just have to see how well the computer guys do….


I haven’t gotten around to watching anything by Kurosawa yet, though I am familiar with his work. I know he was a big influence on Sergio Leone, who is one of my favorite directors! Fun fact: Leone remade Yojimbo without Kurosawa’s permission and ended up having to pay all the profits from A Fistful of Dollars to him.

68. Charley W - October 19, 2010

I guess it seems like we’ve gotten rather off-topic, but Taylor’s mission in POTA is similar to what happened to Khan’s Planet in WOK. Both are questions raised concerning the basic concept of their respective movies, and both are unnecessary. Either could have been taken care of so easily by just a line or two of dialogue either being inserted or changed. Instead, the intelligent fan is left with a ‘Huh? Moment’, which, as I said earlier, ends up being detremental to the Suspension of Disbelief so necessary in SF/Fantasy. Of course, neither is fatal to enjoying their movies, but other examples CAN be. Can anyone offer an example where a unanswered question or explanation was so bad that it ruined the movie/episode for you?

69. Daoud - October 19, 2010

Arrrrgh, Bad Astronomy.

A few corrections:
Pluto-Charon has a barycenter outside the radius of Pluto. But Pluto’s too small to be a major planet, and it hasn’t cleared its neighbourhood. Charon when viewed in 2015 or so by the New Horizon Mission might end up qualifying as a dwarf planet, so Pluto-Charon could end up being called a double dwarf planet. (A double dwarf planet on you too!)

Three-body problems result in crazy orbital shifts. Case already mentioned, the Nice model which convincingly shows that 4 billion years ago perturbations among the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) led to Jupiter moving inward as it ejected things, Saturn being pushed a bit outward, causing Neptune to go elliptical and surpass Uranus. As Neptune cleared the neighborhood of the inner Kuiper belt, it circularized its orbit, and dragged along all the Plutinos like Pluto, Orcus, and other resonant objects, and disturbed and scattered many others such as Sedna, Eris, Haumea and Makemake.

And resoundingly the Urth (Ur-Earth, original Earth) was struck softly off-center by the Mars-sized Theia in the Big Splash creating the iron-enriched Earth (and also bringing onboard a LOT more water), with a tremendously silicate rich ring system with enough major clumps that coalesced into the Moon.

Between the solution of the Moon’s creation via Theia, and the Nice model which shows Neptune formed near today’s orbit of Saturn, the weird retrograde Triton and countless other N-body interactions in the solar system, the 1982 Wrath of Khan Ceti Alpha situation isn’t as far-fetched as it once seemed!

PARTICULARLY if you simply assume the Cetacean probe might have happened by Ceti Alpha on its way to Earth, or that a Doomsday Machine ate a planet in the system! Or blame Q or the Squire of Gothos.

70. Charley W - October 19, 2010

#69- Since the 1978 discovery of Charon, the barycenter has steadily moved outward from Pluto’s center. The most recent consensis that I had heard was that it was still within Pluto’s body, although some models did place it above the surface. i was not aware of the Icarus article- the nearest library to me that carries Icarus is 75 miles away. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Fine, Pluto-Charon is now considered a double body (‘planet’ or ‘dwarf-planet’, whichever you prefer for this usage).

Many of your items are reasonable, and probably correct, but theories nonetheless. For instance, just in the last few months, there’s a theory that Jupiter has INCREASED its distance from the sun rather recently (we’re talking BILLIONS of years ago, Folks). An idea, and maybe THAT’S the correct one, but I’m not stating just any new idea as fact until there’s more evidence supporting it.

“Urth” is a new one on me, but I like it. It works on several levels, as a good pun should. Mind if I use it myself?

My point is still that we don’t have any information about conditions in the Ceti Alpha system either before or after ‘Khan’s explosion’ (to coin a term) for any testable theory, so anything we come up with is just speculation; however, we CAN weed out the bad ideas from ones that are likely to have occurred. Khan himself may not have known what precisely happened, just what the effects were on his people and their immediate surroundings.

71. Charley W - October 19, 2010

#67- I was almost as interested in Burton’s POTA before I saw it as I was ST2009, and was probably even more disappointed (if that was possible). I much prefer the 1968 version as to story, characters, background, etc (what the H*** were they doing at SATURN??). The only thing that Burton’s version has over the earlier is that the apes are more realistic, and that’s a reflection of improved technology in the time interval (John Chambers’ ape make-up for the original series won several awards). ‘Rise of the Apes’ looks interesting, but the only information I’ve heard is what’s carried at this website, and a quick look at its Wikipedia page. Judgement reserved.

72. Charley W - October 20, 2010

There’s a new study about the formation of the early solar system involving migrations of Jupiter & Saturn just released this week. An abstract and link is at

Is THIS the correct situation? Of course no one KNOWS, but it does solve some questions that previous simulations have left open, such as the structure of the asteroid belt and the small size of Mars. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.