Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spock's Brain

The Sigma Draconis system. We've all been there, right?

The planet Sigma Draconis VI is the most memorable.

The world is locked in an ice age.

Male and female populations have been living a gender-segregated existence for thousands of years. There has to be an interesting story behind that ancient social engineering project. And those elevators down to the subterranean city must be pretty steamy when the gender-subspecies meet. Although come to think of it, the women showed no romantic interest in any of the Enterprise crew, which is also highly uncharacteristic for the original Star Trek..

The Morgs (the males) live on the surface, while the Eymorgs (the females) live far below ground in a vast high tech automated city complex. The Eymorgs, - who are also known as "the givers of pleasure and pain" because of the agony belts that they place on the males that they bring below for service - are quite beautiful and quite painfully ignorant. The Morgs are much larger than the Eymorgs, and they are as ignorant and ugly as the women are gracile and beautiful. We sort of have a Morlocks and Eloi in reverse scenario here.

So, the original Star Trek episode "Spock's Brain" (which originally aired on 9/20/68) presents us with many of the characteristics of a Lost World story. We have a physically isolated people whose culture has become frozen in time. In this case, the mysterious female leader is no Ayesha, but simply a functionary - a servant of the Controler, the brain-in-a-vat that runs the entire subterranean city.

In spite of the horrible acting, and the zombie Spock, I've always liked this episode. The city, built as a refuge for the coming ice age by the ancients some 10,000 years ago, preserves knowledge though a machine called "The Great Teacher". This device temporarily imprints knowledge on the user. With it, the otherwise ignorant subterranean women of Sigma Draconis VI were able to surgically remove Spock's Brain, and place it in the core of the machine that runs the underground city.

So, we have instant skill and knowledge transfer through a machine. Pretty transhuman, no? Which raises another question. What if the theft of Spock's brain had occurred in the same way - literally? What if the women of Sigma Draconis VI had just made a copy of Spock's mind, left his brain where it was, and downloaded their software "fork" of Spock's brain into the Controller's system which governs their great city-machine?

I doubt Spock would have objected to this. His fork certainly wouldn't have. He'd find it eminently logical to donate a copy of his mind to run the great machine city. After all, the good of the many outweighs the good of the few and all that. Any Spock we know would be entirely happy to be the ghost in Sigma Draconis' city machine. Spock didn't even complain too much about having his real brain transplanted into the machine. It was really Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty who were horrified by that prospect.

If Spock's mind had been forked and uploaded into the city-machine, he probably would have taken his entre into transhumanism even further. Perhaps he would have used The Great Teacher to clone numerous bioshells and massively refork and resleeve himself. Imagine an army of Spocks set loose on this Lost World (actually, I believe an animated episode had an alien preparing to clone an army of giant Spocks as galactic police)!

Soon, the women and men of Sigma Draconis VI would be able to understand their world again, and perhaps acquire the technology to transform it. End the ice age. Start a new green revolution. Go into space. Join the Federation. Build the next generation of Constitution-class starships with Spock-brains imprinted on advanced Daystrom computers. Culturally fuse with the Vulcans. Maybe play a key role as intermediaries between the Federation and the Romulans, with an army of Ambassador Spocks of their own!

Eventually, Sigma Draconis VI would be demanding a piece of all of the action!


  1. Good post. I think a lot of Star Trek episodes make good fodder for more modern science fiction speculation.

  2. A great episode and truly an inspired 'what If?' scenario that is just begging to be played-out as-is (maybe Starships & Spacemen or Diaspora?)...and it points the way into a really fun way to take classic tropes and reinterpret them transhumanly.

    Excellent stuff. Quite inspired!

  3. "What possible use could they have for Spock's brain!"

    Nice post!

  4. Hi folks, thanks for the positive feedback on the post.

    @Nevenall: I believe your quote is right from the episodes yes? One of those unintentionally hilarious lines.