Trekkies versus Wookies

by Paul Jay, CBC News online

Festivities are under way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, which some consider to be an all-time science-fiction classic and others decry as the beginning of a bloated marketing exercise.

But Star Wars has tended to fall short is the science part of science fiction. While Star Trek has inspired future technology like Tricorders or matter-antimatter fuel, Star Wars has given us...what, Wookie crossbows?

A couple of years ago Forbes and National Geographic both took at a stab at peering behind the science of Star Wars, and neither source could find too many examples of real science at work in the galaxy far, far away.

Our favourite example is the governing planet Coruscant, located according to the scripts in the heart of the galaxy. As Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, told National Geographic:

In general, you don't want to be quite in the "heart" of any large galaxy, as that's almost invariably the site of a massive black hole, and an active nucleus that will fill nearby space with corrosive radiation guaranteed to ruin your whole day.

No wonder the Empire won.

Bob McDonald gives a great defence of the franchise, however, by pointing out the importance of even bad science fiction in inspiring space travel.

Which still doesn't excuse Mission to Mars.

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For the time that it was created Star Wars was a fantastic movie about the future, and although not all of it seemed completely plausible it was a fictional melodramatic and almost romantic view of space and science.

Star Trek started in much the same way in case anyone has forgotten. They started out just as ridiculous with tribbles, green women that Shatner could cuddle up to, and let's not forget atmospheric suits made from silver metalic glitter and florescant red, green tubes.

The difference in Star Wars and Star Trek is that Star Trek has had 5 series to perfect it's scientific approach and modernize it's theories on techonology. In many cases we see corrections from the classic 1970 Star Trek made in newer series, or in the very least a little more explanation as to how the technology works.

Star Wars however didn't have season after season to evolve it's technologies and ideologies. Since the new movies were again only as long as a movie it had to be rooted in the science fiction universe the origional movies created.

Star Wars and Star Trek both started just as ridiculous, Star Trek just took the time to grow over time with us.

Posted May 28, 2007 10:17 AM

Jim M.


This seems to be a weird attempt by a trekie to argue the merits of Star Trek over Star Wars and pass it as news.
I would first like to point out that while the blogger lists these technologies as being "inspired" by Star Trek, no-where in the articles is that even suggested. In both, the technologies in question are just compared to technologies that were seen in the series. I still do not see a tri-corder, or matter-antimatter drives. In fact the article on the Matter-antimatter drivesw even goes on to point out several sources that used the concept first, including the original theory that sparked the concept in Sci-Fi usage.
As far as a lack of inspiration from Star Wars? "Look Sir, Droids" A single line and the concept that many feel brought the concept of practical robotics into the mainstream and has been the inspiration behind the advancement of AI and modern robotics.
Frankly, I don't see the point of this blog.

Posted June 2, 2007 12:35 AM



30 years? Whatever. ;)

Doctor Who hits 45 years and 30 seasons in 2008.

How about a little coverage on that, eh? CBC has coproduced the last three series (What's up with Series 4? Is CBC going to coproduce that too? Why haven't we heard anything one way or another?) and the show was originally created by Canadian Sydney Newman.

Posted November 17, 2007 12:06 AM


BRAVO!!! Congratulations to my late uncle,
Sydney was married to one of my mother's sisters.
I'm not a huge fan of Sci-Fi. I am very pleased to read anything mentioned about my uncle. Sydney Newman also had worked for the National Film Board for many years,and was one of the early members on the Juno Commission in the mid-60's.

Posted January 6, 2008 04:59 PM


Clarification to my previous comment:The Juno Commission=The Canadian Radio TV Commission(C.R.T.C.)with Chairman,Pierre Juneau.
One of my nephews is CBC-TV producer,Stuart Coxe.
From 1979-1983 I had a unique opportunity to do free-lance radio music-documentary programs broadcast on CHAK-AM,Inuvik,N.W.T. I wrote the radio scripts,supplied music recordings,and announced on 25 oldies rock'n roll music programs(55-min./program). I have all of them preserved on music CDs,copied off my cassette tapes/dubbed from the station's master reel-reel broadcast tapes.

Posted January 7, 2008 07:04 AM



Correction to my previous comment:
My nephew,CBC-TV producer, Stuart Coxe, is in fact one of my 2nd cousins..not my nephew. I apologize for my error.

Posted January 7, 2008 07:30 AM

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