Canon Database

Last revised: 2002.08.28

On this page, I hope to provide a valuable source of reference material for Star Wars and Star Trek fans who are tired of seeing endless on-line rehashes of technical manuals or RPG stats in lieu of references to the orginal source material. Currently, the database contains only TNG and ANH information, but it will continue to grow as more entries are added (subject to my personal schedule, of course).

There are a few important things to keep in mind before perusing this database:

  1. This is not strictly a list of quotes or episodes synopses. Anyone can simply collate raw data. The point of this "database" is to present analyses and ramifications of events, not to simply list those events. I am fully aware that there are about a million Trekkies out there who have watched more Star Trek episodes than I have (I do have a life, after all), but quite frankly, their diligent rote memorization of character dialogue is a poor substitute for intelligent analysis by a knowledgeable observer. I'd rather be guilty of an error or omission of Trek trivia than the kind of simple-minded scientifically ignorant technical discussion that fills all too many Trek websites.

  2. The TNG database is based on the screenplays. The screenplays usually match the televised episodes word for word, but not always. I've attempted to list notable discrepancies, but I don't have perfect recall. If you spot one that I missed (ie- one which actually changes the meaning of the scene; I don't particularly care if the word "incredible" was changed to "amazing"), then by all means, let me know.

  3. The database is large, but it is still possible that I missed a technically interesting passage. If you find one, then by all means, let me know.

  4. The database contains descriptions of directly observable events, as well as dialogue. Dialogue is useful information, but it cannot be taken at face value. In the hierarchy of scientific evidence, the further you get from the direct observation of an event, the less reliable your information is. Seeing something onscreen and hearing a character describe it is akin to performing an experiment yourself, and hearing someone talk about his experiment (without being able to ask him any clarification questions). That doesn't make the latter worthless, but if the former contradicts the latter, you have to go with the former.

  5. If you disagree with my interpretation of an event, keep in mind that you can't just isolate one incident and invent an alternate explanation for it. An alternate explanation must work for all the related events as well. The standard Trekkie fanatic modus operandi is to find an alternate explanation for one event and then ignore contradictory events, often with weird excuses such as "that's an older episode so it's overridden by the newer episode." That's not how it's done; a mathematical analogy would be taking a set of three equations with three unknowns, and solving for just one of the three equations. There are an infinite number of possible solutions that will fit an equation with three unknowns, but the only one that's valid is the one that can also explain the other two equations.

  6. The database may include discussion of realism problems, even though such discussion violates the spirit of suspension of disbelief. I did this simply because I didn't want to create an entirely separate database to handle realism problems, and also because virtually any realism problem can be converted into a suspension of disbelief rationalization simply by concluding that the characters were spouting nonsense. Remember that dialogue doesn't necessarily match reality, while direct observations are reality.

Search the Star Trek Canon Database

Or click here for a GZIP-compressed version of the entire Star Trek database (this will display in-line on HTTP/1.1-compliant browsers such as all recent versions of Konqueror, Mozilla, and Internet Explorer)

Search the Star Wars Canon Database

If you like this kind of content, you may want to visit Dennis Aspo's Quotes and Extracts Database. It's a different kind of database than mine; more comprehensive, but without the in-depth analysis, so it occupies a somewhat different niche.



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