Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Harder Star Trek trivia

My friend Shoshana Glick mentions in a comment to this post of mine that those weren't really very hard Star Trek questions on Jeopardy! a few days ago. I agree.

So, here are a few super-hard ones of my own devising, with suggested Jeopardy! dollar values. If you know the answers, put them in a comment to this blog entry.

$200: James Kirk's middle name is Tiberius, as established in the animated episode "Bem" by David Gerrold, and reaffirmed by General Chang in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. But where in The Original Series do we see his middle initial as something else? And what initial was it?

$400: We all know that Jim Kirk eventually ends up wearing eye glasses, because he's allergic to retinax -- but where do we see a member of the Enterprise crew wearing eye glasses prior to that? (Which episode, and in what room?)

$600: "The Conscience of the King" and "The Immunity Syndrome" contain glaringly contradictory statements about the history of the Vulcan people. In what way do they disagree?

$800: Gene Roddenberry has a cameo of sorts in one episode of the original series. What was it? (Which episode, what role?)

$1,000: Kirk tells Captain Christopher in "Return to Tomorrow" that the Enterprise's command authority is "the United Earth Space Probe Agency," a name never heard again. But Kirk refers to the organization by its acronym UESPA (which he pronounces "yoo-spa") in one other episode -- which one?

Final Jeopardy: Jim Kirk's brother George Samuel Kirk -- called Sam -- is established in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Sam's family appears in "Operation -- Annihilate!" Although he's referred to only as Sam in dialog in that later episode, there's still an acknowledgment that his full name really is George Samuel Kirk. What is it?

(Yes, I really do know my Star Trek -- in fact, back in the early 1980s, I even wrote part of a Star Trek novel, which you can read here.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site


At December 19, 2007 5:49 PM , OpenID glishara said...

I know the first: James R. Kirk, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before." It's on the tombstone that Mitchell made.

That is as far as I go, though. I would do poorly in your Star Trek Jeopardy round.

At December 20, 2007 12:10 AM , OpenID boywhocantsayno said...

Since the $200 question is already gone, I'll take a crack at some of the others.

$400: In "The Cage"/"The Menagerie", one of the officers manning the Transporter Room is wearing glasses.

$600: I need to go back and double-check, but I think it has to do with the time of the last war on Vulcan. In "The Immunity Syndrome," Spock states that Vulcan has not been conquered within its collective memory. I'm pretty sure this was contradicted somewhere... "The Conscience Of The King" is as good an episode as any. :)

$800: Gene Roddenberry provided the intercom voice from the galley in "Charlie X" informing Captain Kirk that the ovens contained "real turkeys".

At December 20, 2007 12:36 AM , Anonymous Captain Dunzel said...

Other glasses worn:

Second pilot (Where No Man Has Gone Before):

Scotty's assistant in the transporter room wears them in his first shot, and has them off in his second shot. In the same scene.

I think boywhocansayno has it right


Charlie X. Captain Kirk reports back to Yoo-Psa, acronymically speaking.

Final Jeopardy:

The name of James Kirk's nephew is George Samuel Kirk, Jr.

At December 20, 2007 7:31 AM , Blogger Kirstin said...

For the $1000 answer . . . is it, oddly enough, "Tomorrow is Yesterday"? Does he say it to the fighter pilot?

At December 20, 2007 10:43 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Congrats to "glishara" on gettig the $200 question.

And yay! for "boywhocantsayno," for answering the $400 and $800 questions.

"boywhocantsayno" is in the right ballpark on the $600 question, about Vulcan history. The full answer is this:


The episodes "The Conscience of the King" and "The Immunity Syndrome" have directly contradictory statements about Vulcan having been conquered, to wit:

"The Conscience of the King" has this exchange:

Spock: "My father's race were spared the dubious benefits of alcohol."

McCoy: "Oh. Now I know why they were conquered."

But in the "The Immunity Syndrome," Spock says, "Vulcan has not been conquered within its collective memory. The memory goes back so far that no Vulcan can conceive of a conqueror."

At December 20, 2007 10:45 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Good try, Captain Dunzel! But, actually, on the $400 question, "boywhocantsayno," got it right: the eye-glasses thing is from "The Menagerie," not "Where No Man Has Gone Before," and it's not Scotty's assistant -- it's the assistant to transporter chief Pitcairn.

And on "Final Jeopardy," sorry, but George Samuel Kirk's son's name is Peter. :)

But, yes, on the $1,000 question, you're correct! Kirk says, "Captain's log, stardate 1535.8. UESPA ["yoo-spa"] headquarters notified of the mysterious loss of science probe vessel Antares ..."

So, our question that still needs an answer is Final Jeopardy. Anybody got another guess? :)

At December 20, 2007 11:00 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Bonus points to the lovely Kirstin, because her answer -- which wasn't the one I was looking for -- uncovers an error in my original question! :) :)

I'd said:

Kirk tells Captain Christopher in "Return to Tomorrow" that the Enterprise's command authority is "the United Earth Space Probe Agency," a name never heard again. But Kirk refers to the organization by its acronym UESPA (which he pronounces "yoo-spa") in one other episode -- which one?

Well, Captain Christopher IS the fighter pilot Kirstin refers to in her answer above -- but her answer mentions (correctly!) that the pilot is in "Tomorrow is Yesterday," which is what I'd MEANT to say in the question, but instead I said "Return to Tomorrow" -- which is not the episode about the Enterprise traveling back in time (and taking Captain Christopher aboard after the tractor beam destroys his fighter jet); rather, "Return to Tomorrow" is the episode with Sargon and the two other aliens who transfer their consciousnesse into the bodies of members of the crew. My apologies! :)

The answer I was looking for was the one that "captaindunzel" gave: In "Tomorrow is Yesterday," Kirk says the full name United Earth Space Probe Agency to Captain Christopher, and in "Charlie X" he refers to it by its acronym UESPA in his log entry.

Good work, Kirstin! And congrats to "captaindunzel"!

At December 20, 2007 1:58 PM , Anonymous Sho said...

Well, Kirk's brother is George Samuel Kirk Jr. I know that one of his sons is samed Peter Kirk.

At December 23, 2007 9:27 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

My friend Nicholas Collins posted all the answers shortly after I asked the questions, but I didn't approve his comment for public viewing so some more people could have fun with these. Nicholas is the only one who got my "Final Jeopardy" question right.

For the record, the answer -- that Sam Kirk's transmitter is "GSK-783," where GSK are the initials of his full name, George Samuel Kirk -- comes in the very first bit of dialog in "Operation -- Annihilate!," in this exchange between Kirk and Uhura:

Kirk: "Anything, Lieutenant?"

Uhura: "No, sir. I've tried every major transmitting station on Deneva. None of them have acknowledged my contact signal."

Kirk: "Try GSK-783, subspace frequency 3."

Uhura: "Sir, that's a call sign for a private transmitter."

Kirk: I'm very well aware of that, Lieutenant. Try it."

Here are the full answers, as posted by Nicholas Collins:


First, I'll admit the truth. I didn't really know all the answers, I'm afraid I cheated and did some Internet surfing and checked my DVDs to get some of the answers.

But these were still tough - especially final jeopardy, I watched the whole episode once and started a second time before realizing the answer was right at the beginning of the episode, before the opening sequence.

Second of all, I've phrased these responses in the form of statements, not questions like contestants do on Jeopardy!. (I'll debate the punctuation of that last sentence with you some other time if you want)

But since you phrased the clues as questions, rather than statements like they do on Jeopardy! I thought that statements were appropriate.

$200 - In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," on a gravestone, it says "JAMES R. KIRK".

$400 - In the transporter room in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie," there is a transporter operator wearing glasses.

There are other occasions in the animated series and in the movies and other series, but these are the episodes of the original series. Although I'm not sure about time travel episodes like "The City on the Edge of Forever," should I check it for anyone wearing glasses on 1930s Earth?

$600 - In "The Conscience of the King" it is said by Dr. McCoy that the Vulcans were conquered. In "The Immunity Syndrome", Spock says the Vulcans were never conquered. A lot of fans think that McCoy might have been joking with his remark, or perhaps trying to goad Spock into an emotional response.

$800 - In "Charlie X", Roddenberry provided the voice of the galley chef, I think - I've heard this from other fans, I haven't confirmed it in any official documentation.

$1000 - In "Charlie X", in a log entry, Kirk mentions UESPA.

Final Jeopardy - The call sign Kirk tells Uhura to use to try to make contact with Deneva starts with the letters "GSK", which probably stands for George Samuel Kirk.

Considering the effort I put in to find these answers, I sure hope I've got them right!


And you did, Nicholas! Congratulations! -- Rob

At December 23, 2007 10:09 AM , Blogger Nicholas Collins said...

Have your ever thought about using your web site to hold a trivia contest, with questions based on your own novels? Do you think you could convince your publisher to contribute a big cash prize to the winner? Or even a small one?

At December 23, 2007 12:04 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Nicholas.

I have indeed thought from time to time about creating a trivia contest based on my books, but, to be honest, I don't remember all the minutiae of my own writing well enough! I can tell you Spock's mother's maiden name (Grayson), but can't remember the name of Tom Jericho's wife from Calculating God ... :)

As for a large cash prize, you overestimate the promotions budgets for books, and also the psychology of publishers: they want people thinking about the new, latest book, not going back to old ones.

If I did run a contest on my website, the prize would probably be an oddball RJS book edition, or maybe having a character named for the winner in my next book. :)

At December 23, 2007 8:34 PM , Blogger Nicholas Collins said...

The name of Tom Jericho's wife was:

1) Susan Kowalski, her maiden name

2) Susan Jericho after they got married

And their adopted son's name was Richard Blaine Jericho.

All right, all right, I had to look it up, too, BUT I remembered enough about what happened in the novel, and in what sequence, to find the right chapters and passages and get the information within one or two minutes - that's still not bad going if I do say so myself.

I wish there was some way I could take playing trivia games and turn it into a way to make money. But whenever I play trivia games, a lot of them cover a broad variety of categories, and I'm not good at everything. Sports trivia is my nemesis, I'm hopeless in that category.

At December 23, 2007 8:48 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Ah, yes, Susan Kowalski: named for Kowalski, a seaman on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. And Richard Blaine, of course, was Rick's full name from CASABLANCA ...

At December 26, 2007 3:45 PM , Anonymous Sho said...

I'm pretty sure that I did indeed get the final question right...

Captain Kirk's father's name was also George Samuel Kirk, and so Captain Kirk's brother was known as George Sameul Kirk Jr. and back this up.

At December 26, 2007 3:57 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Sho.

Yes, but the question was: "Jim Kirk's brother George Samuel Kirk -- called Sam -- is established in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Sam's family appears in "Operation -- Annihilate!" Although he's referred to only as Sam in dialog in that later episode, there's still an acknowledgment that his full name really is George Samuel Kirk. What is it?"

And you answered: "Well, Kirk's brother is George Samuel Kirk Jr. I know that one of his sons is named Peter Kirk."

But I'm not sure how that answers the question I asked. "Sam" in "Operation -- Annihilate!" is Kirk's brother, and the question was about what acknowledgment there was in that episode that Sam's full name was "George Samuel Kirk." The acknowledgment is that his private transmitter uses his initials for its callsign: GSK-783.

Also, there's no canonical reference (Classic Star Trek episodes, or the Star Trek movies, or even the animated series) to Kirk's parents' names or to his brother being "Junior." The stuff you're referring to comes from a tie-in novel called "The Last Roundup," and the novels are not considered canonical by the producers -- or by most fans. :)

At December 26, 2007 7:07 PM , Anonymous Sho said...

Ope, sorry. I think I misread the question.

At December 26, 2007 7:27 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

No worries, Sho. It's my fault; the question was hastily worded -- I knocked off that post in just a few minutes, and I see I could have been more clear. :)

At January 01, 2008 2:15 PM , Anonymous Captain Dunzel said...

MORE TRIVIA! (I don't know why I love it so.)

Thanks for the fun, RJS.

Did anyone catch the gratuitous use of 47 in the National Treasure sillyfest sequel?

At February 25, 2008 6:41 PM , Blogger Paul said...

A video question said,

*** “The letter “shin, which begins one of the Hebrew names of God, inspired this Star Trek actor to create his famous hand gesture” ***

I did not know that about "Shin."

But, his hand gesture?
Okay, I guess Nimoy cooked it up, but wasn't Celia Lovsky (as T'Pau) the first to use it on screen?


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