Holodecks (hereinafter HDs) are less relevant to my theme, being an added rather than inherent flaw in Star Trek Universe plausibility, but I like lambasting them anyhow. Now, given highly advanced forcefields, holography, and continuous use of imperceptible transporters, controlled by a super‐AI, I'll swallow the HDs as a feasible technology. The obvious spin‐off applications are, as always, what make it preposterous. HDs are too close to omnipotence, which (like Utopia – see 9.4) makes for low‐quality plots.
Objects created by the HD are supposedly made of pseudomatter, which evaporates when removed from the holofield. Pseudomatter is real enough to eat; real enough to fool Geordie's vizor; to reflect Krieger waves (“A Matter of Perspective”, ST:TNG3); to feel wet; to kill you; even to step out through the doors (“The Big Goodbye”, ST:TNG1)… but it's not “really” real. Yet we know that orthodox Star Trek replicators could build a visually convincing “puppet” from spam! Add holograms for detail, move it with forcefields and transporters; if it runs away, it drops dead. So who needs the extra quasiscience involved in the idea of pseudomatter?
If even Starfleet's guaranteed‐safe recreational HDs can kill, imagine the potential of a battleship with a HD built onto its hull: Holocaust class. This “openplan HD” could easily provide:
Or if you can't swallow “openplan HDs”, how about… Holoheart class. Gut a ship of all its contents bar HDs, then simulate the absent rooms. Use the saved space for extra‐huge engines, computers, and guns; the crew (if not the “Away Team”) can contain as many geniuses and heroes as you like. No need to tell them what's really going on…
|8.1||“Pseudomatter” is my own term, but the concept is clearly established in ST:TNG1 (it took several seconds for that holo‐gangster to evaporate), and come to that in “Practical Joker” (ST:TAS1 – ha, you thought I'd forgotten the animated series!)…|
|8.2||As the holo‐Turing would soon realise, a computer capable of emulating specific geniuses (!) deserves to be promoted to captain.|
|8.1||I notice HDs are also being changed in midstream to exclude the concept of pseudomatter, which would be an improvement if they could bear in mind the point that a purely holographic machine‐gun is no good for shooting Borg with – and contrariwise, one you can carry out the door is better than a phaser.|
|8.2||ST:V hovers on the brink of considering the questions I raise, but without ever quite managing it.|