Heinlein’s Short Stories – Gentlemen Be Seated

Today I was rooting around on YouTube and found this audio version of one of Heinlein’s short stories from “The Green Hills of Earth” collection; “Gentlemen, Be Seated.”

I haven’t read that story in fifty years.  Unsurprisingly it’s still a good story.  Nimoy’s voice sounds very un-Spock-like.  I think he does a very decent job.

Guest Contributor – ArthurinCali – 21DEC2023 – Terminal Democracy

This feeling of late-stage Pax Americana can best be summed up with Heinlein’s thoughts on Democracy. The Polus is so stratified at this point that we are all going in different directions. A nation, as a group, cannot continue unified like this.

“The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

Fun on a Friday Night

Make a start.  Make a start.  Well, I’ve caught up with my chores.  All the distractions and alarums and excursions have kept me from writing.  Well, what can you do?  Life is like that.

But what to write about?  I’m looking for something upbeat.  I don’t want to talk about the crime epidemic or the 2024 race or even transgender pushback.  I’ve expended enough venom on those to last me awhile.  I’d rather think about something fun.

So, how about asteroid mining?

Until recently talk of this was restricted to science fiction fans.  Heinlein had asteroid miners in his juvenile novel “The Rolling Stones” and it was a staple of many writers in the last century.  But now it’s going from fiction to fact as NASA is talking about sending a mission to an asteroid that is believed to be composed almost entirely of metal.  There’s a mission to send an unmanned mission to reach Psyche 16 in 2026.

Psyche 16 is a small world with a diameter of 140 miles.  Its mass has been estimated at 2.29 ×1019 kg.  That’s about 0.0004% of the Earth’s mass.  But that’s an enormous mass.

Now visiting Psyche 16 is a far cry from actually mining gold and platinum from this worldlet and getting it to Earth where it has value.  But it’s a start.  The actual mechanism for recovering the metals that make up Psyche 16 is an interesting problem.  Depending on how fast it is going relative to Earth, changing its orbit has the potential to be a human existence-ending event for planet Earth.  Remember, the dinosaurs allegedly bit the dust because a fair-sized asteroid crashed into Earth sixty some odd million years ago.  So, diverting large asteroids should be something done with the utmost of careful planning and the least amount of change to our space environment.

The two choices I come up with are moving it into a stable orbit close to Earth or crashing it into the Moon.  Overall, I favor the Moon idea.  Maybe I’ve been influenced by Heinlein’s story, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”  In that tale the Moon colonists uses a rail gun to boost payloads to escape the Moon’s gravity and splash down in the oceans of Earth.  I’m sure that much more careful thought would need to be done to ensure that this kind of logistical method is possible but I’m guessing from a risk perspective where an extinction event is one of the risks it would probably be preferred to leaving that big rock moving close to Earth.

In the article someone did a back of the envelope calculation and came up with $10,000 quadrillion as the value of the metals in Psyche 16.  Of course, why it would be expressed that way instead of as $10 quintillion is unclear to me.  But they bring up the point that this would wreck the Earth’s economy by destabilizing the value of gold and other metals.  Well, this seems like a silly statement.  Extracting even something as valuable as platinum from the Moon and bringing it back to Earth will not be economical unless the price of that metal increases by orders of magnitude.

Digging gold and platinum out of the Earth is the economical choice and will be for the foreseeable future.  But if someday there is a need for metals that can no longer be found on Earth, then maybe asteroid mining might become a thing,

So, wasn’t that more fun than talking about trannies again?  Feel free to comment on my moon crash option.  I assure you I haven’t thought through this option much at all so we can dissect it as an occasion for fun.  Have at it.

Could This Be the Year of the Jackpot?

Could This Be the Year of the Jackpot?

Robert Heinlein was an American science fiction writer back in the middle of the last century.  He was considered one of the best writers during what used to be called the “golden age” of science fiction because he wrote sf that kept the science front and center.  If he wrote about interplanetary nuclear-powered rockets, he made sure the physics was legitimate.

But he also wrote less realistic stories that involved more fantastic types of plots.  He wrote one short story called “The Year of the Jackpot” in which a statistician was examining an enormous number of trends such as sunspot activity, bank failures, extreme weather conditions, bankruptcies, crime, war and other more esoteric data.  And what he discovered was that all the various trends were headed for unusual maxima and minima at precisely the same time.  And what he predicted was that every bad thing was about to happen all at once.

And of course, that included nuclear war, invasion, plagues, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.  So, he ducks into a well-stocked remote cabin with his girlfriend and a conveniently found milk cow that wanders by and survives the year of the jackpot.  Of course, just as the story ends, he realizes the biggest jackpot of all is the sun going nova.  Bummer.

Now this is silly season science fiction.  It’s the kind of story that Rod Serling would have put on the Twilight Zone (if he could have afforded to pay the kind of royalties that Heinlein would have wanted for his story to be adapted for television).  But it’s also true that sometimes when things start going wrong, they synergize even more misfortune until you end up with a real disaster.  Take for instance the Dust Bowl.  The financial conditions of the Great Depression aggravated the need of farmers to overuse their soil to try to keep up on their mortgages and ended up destroying their farms and exacerbating the erosion that was already taking place.  And the dislocation of all these farmers heading to California further damaged the economy.  The weather conditions that increased the problem were probably just random but put together they seemed like some kind of biblical plague.

Now look at our situation.  Back in 2001 we have the 9-11 attacks and that catalyzes the start of two big wars and a bunch of smaller ones.  Then we have the banking crisis of 2008 and that catalyzes an even bigger disaster, namely the presidency of Barack Obama.  And he begins the process of weaponizing the federal government against the citizens of the United States.  And that radicalizing of the Deep State may be responsible for things like the program that created the COVID virus and the mRNA vaccines and definitely the Ukraine war and all the other color revolutions spawned at the CIA and State Department.

And all these consequences seem to be resonating and catalyzing each other and making things worse and worse.  And from there it’s not a big leap to wonder if the whole thing ends up in a Year of the Jackpot climax.  And it wouldn’t be much different from Heinlein’s.  Coincidentally his make-believe world was suffering from transgender couples, bioweapons, horrendous rains and snowfall in California and other climate anomalies such as we’ve been seeing this winter.  And Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken have been working overtime to see if they can add a full nuclear exchange between Russia and the United States just to make sure we don’t miss out on any part of the story.

Now I don’t at all believe that the universe has some built in clock that coordinates all the good and bad “trends” so that a year of the jackpot is some kind of inevitable event.  I’m fully aware that human actions are plenty enough cause for all of the chaos and dysfunction we see around us.  In fact, it’s obvious that a lot of the chaos is intentional and has very discernible motives around consolidating power and accumulating money.

But I’ll tell you one thing.  There is such a thing as luck, good and bad.  And our luck has been running on the very bad side for a good long time.  Maybe a little prayer for divine intercession wouldn’t be out of line.

05JAN2023 – Just a Regular Old Thursday.  The Calendar’s full of Them

As the tragicomedy of Kevin McCarthy continues to unfold in the Emerald City of Oz, I was tasked with filling out and presenting my documents to Cthulhu’s minions inside the precincts of the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh.  Well maybe it was the Dunwich town hall.  But there was definitely a lot of eldritch horror somewhere close by I can assure you.

My hand was a virtual claw from having to sign my illegible signature hundreds of times to the various documents.  I was made aware of the 11 billion separate types of discrimination that Dunwich recognizes and prosecutes along with the blessings of diversity, equity and inclusion that seem to seep out of every document that I was forced to read.  It was inspiring.

It was a particularly dreary day weatherwise, drizzling and forty degrees, but I was kind of happy to foray out into the world just to convince myself it was actually still out there.  Apparently not having a Speaker of the House hasn’t managed to disrupt the space-time continuum.  And the zombies wandering around town looked neither more nor less mindless and homicidal than usual.  So, all’s right with the world.

Maybe I’m becoming acclimated to the present levels of dysfunction and unreality in the world around me.  I noticed it didn’t rankle me as much as it used to.  Of course, that could mean I’m becoming zombified myself.  But whatever the cause it eased the pain while moving around town.

I read a post by Curtis Yarvin on his Substack that referenced Heinlein’s story Waldo.  Now Yarvin is a neo-monarchist who is mostly interested in the political situation we find ourselves in.  But he’s also a technologist and here he hypothesizes that one of the more promising areas of technological progress could be in providing human/machine interfaces that allow humans to utilize their manual dexterity at different scales and remotely.  So, he sees a sort of virtual reality setup where a surgeon could utilize microscopic equipment as if he were the size of the miniaturized characters in “Fantastic Voyage.”  Or a gigantic machine hundreds of feet long could be controlled by a human with the point of view of a giant.  His premise is that human intelligence and dexterity after proper training is much more responsible and skilled than an AI.  After reading about some of the failures of self-driving cars he may be correct.  I never thought Robert Heinlein and Curtis Yarvin would intersect in this version of the multiverse.  But there it is.

Will Cain did an interview of Tucker Carlson.  What I found interesting was Carlson’s answer to what had red-pilled him.  He described his mindset as we went through the Iraq War (from 1:36 to 3:19 in the video) and I found myself remembering a very similar evolution.  I went from believing that we were there to make America safer to eventual disillusionment and a sense of absolute betrayal by the Republican establishment.  And Carlson echoed that.  I didn’t watch the whole thing yet because it’s too long but that little snippet stuck in my mind.  Millions of people in this country feel totally betrayed by the Republican party and will never forget that.  And that is the reality that gives me hope.  If people as different from each other as Tucker Carlson is from me can both come to essentially the same point of view about our political system then it must be the truth.  And if it is the truth then I’m finally working from correct assumptions.  And that is what I’ve been trying to achieve all these years.  It’s not that the truth guarantees that things will work out.  It’s that basing your actions on false assumptions guarantees failure.

As this was finishing up I se that McCarthy is still furiously negotiating to buy off his enemies with committee seats and promises of accountability.  Ah, what a circus.  We really should require all of Congress to wear the red nose, baggy pants and size 20 shoes.  And the Speaker should always arrive at the podium in a tiny car.  As I said in a comment on the last post, we must be terrible people to be sentenced to leaders this atrocious.  Robespierre and Caligula were paragons of sanity compared to the bozos we’ve got working for us today.

Well, that’s enough.

The Quadratic Franchise

Many, many years ago I read an essay by the science fiction writer, Robert A. Heinlein about civics.  He was making the case that democracy was the proposition that a million men were smarter than one man or a few men.  And he batted that idea around.  His point was that the average man might not be the right decision maker for society.  And then he thought of how we could rig things to make democracy better.  Now, being an engineer, his first idea was based on the type of tests that would appeal to a technical mind.  He imagined the voting booth being equipped with a visual display of some sort that communicated a problem to the voter to solve before being allowed to vote.  Heinlein favored solving a quadratic equation as the qualifying test.  I can’t remember if it was a multiple-choice question or not but at the time, I saw the sense of it.  Pick some minimally difficult standard of intelligence and make it a condition for voting.

But intelligence is not the only criterion for citizenship.  Moral fitness may be even more important.  You may be smart enough to know something is a bad idea for society but if you think that you’ll personally benefit from it then you might go along with it.  So, another way to rig the franchise is disqualify people who have chosen to live antisocially.  Currently, most states disqualify felons from voting.  That seems a reasonable measure.  But I think there are other larger voting blocks that should be looked at.  Perhaps civil servants should not be allowed to vote.  After all, teachers and prison guards have controlled politics in California and other states like Illinois and New Jersey for decades based on their habit of voting in Democrats to keep their pensions and salaries robust.  Maybe anyone on welfare should be taken off the voters’ roll because they’ll vote for the liberal who will keep their gravy train flowing.

Or maybe we should go the other way around.  Maybe people’s votes should be weighted according to how much taxes they pay.  So, Elon Musk pays on average ten million dollars in taxes a year and I pay fifty thousand so his vote should count for two hundred of mine.  And the guy who pays no taxes has no vote or maybe some minimal fraction of a vote.

But of course, the absurdity of this whole discussion is that none of this matters because as Dementia Joe recently pointed out, it’s not who votes but who counts the votes, that counts.  Even when unheard of numbers of Americans came out to vote in 2020 the people who rig elections in Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Madison and Phoenix simply ran the photocopy machines ten times as long and manufactured the votes needed to fake the election result they wanted.

We can talk about who the least responsible voters are.  My favorite is women because they vote with their emotions and because they’re gullible and easily flattered into thinking their self-interest is equal to the good of the country.  But even they will recognize grim reality when it comes in the likeness of a BLM mob.  So ultimately trying to fix representative government means absolutely nothing when the ballot box is being stuffed.

I think the attempts to fix this situation and the simultaneous attempt to codify fraud by the Democrats is the biggest struggle going on right now in our country.  I don’t want to overblow the criticality of the result because the bad guys never run out of ways to degrade our country.  Literally they never quit.  But I think the attempt to fix this problem is a fair test of whether there is enough strength left in our system and in our will to turn the country around.  If after what happened in 2020, we don’t solve this problem then we’re not going to have the strength to survive the diseases that afflict our country.  They will overwhelm the system like a parasitic disease that saps its host’s strength and eventually leads to death.

Heinlein thought about civics and ways that we could improve citizenship.  But he also predicted the decay of our society under the influence of progressivism.  I think he would have recognized the symptoms we are currently suffering from but he still might have been sad to see it happen to the country he loved.

War Pig’s Feedback

I prefer the government of “Starship Troopers”. I also like the idea he postulated in “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” – that any law passed can be nullified by I believe a 1/3 vote of the People. After all if a law is so poorly written or unnecessary that a full third of your citizens despises it, it is a bad law.

I do NOT trust the form of voting in Sam Clemen’s “The Curious Republic of Gondour”, since we have seen what craziness is professed in western colleges and universities. What was it William F Buckley Jr said;- “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

 

(Good to hear from you War Pig.  All the best.

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When Does the Break Occur?

When I was just a young kid, I started reading science fiction.  And why not?  Science fiction was all about rocket ships and there were real rocket ships going into real space right before my eyes.  And one of my favorite authors was Robert Heinlein.  He wrote all about the early days of man’s conquest of the universe.  And he built his own fictional universe with a “Future History” timeline that talked about how all this progress would effect mankind.  And one of the things he “predicted” was “The Crazy Years.”  These were tucked into the 1960’s and would involve the breakdown of social mores and widespread confusion and anti-social trends.  Reading it makes it sound very much like what the actual sixties were like.  And the prediction was that this breakdown of societal stability would lead to wars and revolution and dictatorships to address the lack of order.  By the 1980’s I was feeling bad for old Pops Heinlein when we didn’t fall into chaos.  After all Ronald Reagan had reestablished order on the shining city on a hill.

Well, time has shown me that I was too impatient.  I didn’t wait long enough for the end of the Crazy Years.  And who better to officiate at the climax of the Crazy Years than a dementia patient?  Good Old Joe Biden.  Joe has taken it upon himself to finish off the American republic for good and all.  He’s not working around the edges like his boy Obama.  No, he’s got his knife right at the throat and is just waiting to have Congress put the bowl out to catch the blood so they can pass it over to their vampires to gorge on.

But the Future History timeline also showed that eventually the Crazy Years would be ended by serious men.  They would organize and topple the insane governments that allowed their people to be victimized by the insane and the lawless.  Usually in Heinlein’s stories they would be military or former military men.  Only after order was restored would civilian government be restored.  But even then, things wouldn’t go back to the way they had been.  A lesson had been learned.

So, I have two questions.

  • How long, if ever, will it take for men to emerge who will say this has gone far enough and we’re going to fix this?
  • Will any changes be put in place to prevent the madness from coming back?

I’ve been trying to answer these hypothetical questions.  Probably it’s just a fantasy with little or no science to it.  But it makes me feel better to think I’m at least looking ahead.  If I was going to guess I’d say that it will happen in some area of the country where the proportion of normal people is still fairly high.  And how it will happen is that some city in this healthy area will start causing serious damage to the people in the suburbs and rural areas.  After that, the state government will try to address this situation and the federal government will try to prevent them.  And that’s where the flashpoint will occur.  If the state gets Washington to back down that will set the pattern for greater and greater state autonomy and less and less power by Washington.  And once the other Red States see this, they will follow suit.  That will be the tipping point to changing what is happening across the country.  New laws will be made to address the underlying causes of the instability and lawlessness and at some point, the Red States and the Blue States will have to recognize and formalize the changes to the way they interact.

But if the federal government crushes the state’s attempt to end urban lawlessness, then it will take a much longer time for vigilantes to start self-policing their local areas.  It will be a grassroots movement and it will be fought by the FBI investigating disappearances of known felons who went too far out of their home turf and just vanished.

Now, how long will it take to reach these places?  For something to be done by the states, that could happen tomorrow.  Let’s say anytime in the next few years.  For grassroots vigilantism to become a widespread phenomenon, I guess it depends on how violent the attacks become.  But I’d say it might take five or ten years for people to get desperate enough to stake their lives on it.  These are just guesses.

As for my second question, what changes will be put in place in a new national government.  I would say that the biggest changes would be mandatory gun ownership, codified right to state secession from the Union and permanent migrant control policies.  If I were to add anything to these three things, I’d add outlaw affirmative action and female suffrage and restore an all-normal male armed forces and finally start taxing companies based on what percentage of their workforce is in the United States.

So, the bad news is, unless some governor successfully backs the federal government down on the lawlessness they’ve unleashed, it could take a decade for a grassroots vigilantism movement to mature into something powerful enough to take hold and move us toward the restoration of order.

So, there’s my crack at being a right-wing Nostradamus.  In most of Heinlein’s books revolts went along with a lot of bloody battles.  And there was no guarantee that outside forces wouldn’t lob in some nukes to make it interesting.  But I gave you my best shot.  What’s your thoughts?

Mutiny in Space – The Thousand Worlds – A Science Fiction Book Review

Back in 2015 and thereafter there was a titanic struggle to liberate science fiction and fantasy books from the iron grip of the social justice school of fiction writing that controlled the publishing and awards for writing in these genres.  You can read about these things here.

Vox Day has a publishing firm called Castalia House and he has attempted to promote authors who practice old time science fiction and fantasy story writing.  Mutiny in Space is published by Castalia House and is the first volume in the author, Rod Walker’s “The Thousand Worlds” series.

In the description on the back cover of the paperback edition Castalia House explicitly states that Mutiny in Space is written in the style of Robert A Heinlein’s series of books for young adults (or juveniles, as they were described in the old days).  Now Heinlein wrote some really excellent fiction back in his day.  Here’s a link to my thoughts on his writing.  In a nutshell if someone were to successfully write science fiction in the style of Heinlein’s juveniles, I would think these stories would be very sought after.  So I bought Mutiny in Space intending to see if it lived up to this representation.

I’ll cut to the chase.  It does.  Now I don’t mean it reads exactly like Heinlein.  In fact, far from it.  Rod Walker has different characters and different plots and a different voice.  There are similarities in the universe that he has built.  The way that his interstellar drive works approximates the multi-jump method used by Heinlein in his book “Starman Jones.”  And the emphasis on technical skills among his heroes as opposed to the dependence on rhetorical ability among his villains is also reminiscent of Heinlein’s style.  And the pairing of a father figure and an orphaned young man is also familiar to Heinlein readers.

The story is the adventure of sixteen-year-old Nikolai Rovio leaving his unhappy life on New Chicago for the promise of a new life as a technician on an interstellar freighter the Rusalka.  But the unsettled politics of New Chicago aren’t left behind when he boards his ship and he quickly learns that trouble can find you even after you stop looking for it.

I won’t dig into the plot details.  The book is short by today’s standards, about 180 pages.  But that is actually very much like the length of Heinlein’s juveniles.  It isn’t deathless prose but it is a straight up adventure story very much in the tradition of the older style of science fiction from the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties.  I can recommend this book for a young reader or anyone who like the old style of science fiction that I grew up on.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 2 Episode 15 – The Trouble with Tribbles

Ah, so much to say, so much to say.  The Trouble with Tribbles is a comic episode.  It allows Shatner and the rest of the regulars to ham it up outrageously.  And as it turns out that is the highest and best use of the series.  Uhura, Chekov, Scotty, McCoy, Spock and of course Kirk are provided dialog and space to flesh out their characters with some comic verve.  Finally, something to enjoy.

The plot has the Enterprise summoned by an emergency distress call to Deep Space Station blah blah blah  where they find that there is no emergency but that a space bureaucrat is worried that his space wheat seeds will be sabotaged before it can be delivered to a planet in dispute between Klingons and the Federation.  Kirk is outraged by this high-handed use of a distress call and insults the Under-Secretary of Wheat.  Then Kirk is called up by his boss and told to do what the bureaucrat tells him to do.  Kirk obeys with bad grace and assigns guards to protect the wheat from the Klingons who are on board the space station for rest and relaxation.  The Klingon commander is played by the actor who showed up on the episode, “The Squire of Gothos” as the titular character Trelane.  So Kirk uses the opportunity of the stay at the space station to allow his whole crew to take shore leave on the space station.  Scotty is the only crewman who doesn’t want to take leave but Kirk forces him to go and keep an eye on the rest of the crew and avoid trouble with the Klingons.

A space trader named Cyrano Jones shows up at the space station and among the things he is selling are tribbles.  These are fur balls that purr around humans and hate Klingons.  Jones gives one to Uhura while she is seated at the bar in the space station lounge.  She takes it back to the ship and we find out that tribbles are prolific breeders and within a few days the Enterprise and the space station are both becoming overrun with the fuzzy creatures.

Meanwhile, Scotty, Chekov and some red shirts are having drinks in the lounge when one of the Klingons starts insulting Kirk.  Chekov is incensed and wants to start a brawl with the Klingons but Scotty restrains him explaining that it isn’t important and everyone is entitled to his opinion.  But when the Klingon starts insulting the Enterprise as a ship Scotty punches him in the head and a huge brawl breaks out.  The fight alarms the Under-Secretary of Space Wheat and he rants and raves at Kirk about dangerous Klingons and rowdy Federation spacemen and tribbles.  Kirk is annoyed and promises to discipline his crew.

At this point the tribble infestation on the Enterprise becomes a catastrophe.  The tribbles have managed to infiltrate the food production systems and we see the spectacle of Kirk staring at his lunch tray covered with tribbles muttering “my chicken sandwich and coffee” to anyone who will listen.  When Scotty explains that the tribbles have managed to get into the air ducts, Kirk immediately realizes that the space wheat storage bins have air ducts too.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy rush over to the space station and when the storage bins doors don’t open easily Kirk fiddles with it and the overhead bin opens up and pours down hundreds of tribbles onto Kirk.  They’ve eaten all the space wheat and the Under-Secretary of Space Wheat, who was there to witness this debacle, blows a space-gasket and starts heaping abuse and threats on Kirk.  Meanwhile Spock, after first estimating the number of tribbles as something north of a million, observes that many of the tribbles are dead.  Bones then diagnoses the cause of death as a poison that the wheat contains.  A virus has been added to the wheat which renders the eater unable to ingest nutrition and therefore subject to death by starvation.

Using the tribbles’ hatred of Klingons Kirk is able to discover that the  Under-Under-Secretary of Space Wheat is a disguised Klingon and poisoned the space wheat.  This of course shuts up the Under-Secretary of Space Wheat and allows Kirk to walk away as the hero.

Finally Kirk returns to the ship and finds it cleared of tribbles and after a lot of hemming and hawing we find out that with the approval of Spock and McCoy, Scotty beamed all the tribbles onto the Klingon battleship just as it was about to warp out of orbit.  His words were, “I beamed them into the engineering section where they’ll be no tribble at all.”

Other than the fact that writer David Gerrold stole the concept of the tribble from Heinlein’s martian flat cats as they appeared in the novel “The Rolling Stones” I wholly approve of this episode.  It is obvious that a comical take on the adventures of the crew of the Enterprise is the only good purpose the show can be put to.

Kirk spends the whole episode outraged about everything.  The Under-Secretary is a truly annoying character.  For once you actually sympathize with Kirk.  The Klingons mock Kirk in front of his crew describing him as a strutting autocrat.  When Scotty tells Kirk about it and further admits that he didn’t bother to defend Kirk from the insults but did become enraged when the ship was insulted Kirk is cut to the quick.  And when the tribbles start discomfiting Kirk at every turn he is irritable and petulant.  This was indeed Shatner’s finest hour on Star Trek.

And Uhura, Scotty, Chekov get much more screen time than on any other episode I can remember.  Uhura gets to play with the tribble and converse with the rest of the crew.  Scotty and Chekov get a barroom brawl scene.  Even Spock gets to ham it up a little.

I won’t quibble about the tribbles.  I’m just going to give this episode a 10  //  10.