Mark of Gideon – Episode 72

This week, Chris and Rachel wonder if a planet, who has an overpopulation problem, might be using its resources in the best way possible. Check out Mark of Gideon!

Special thanks to Chad Fifer for our theme tune and to Greig Johnson for his vocal stylings!

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Next week: That Which Survives!

12 thoughts on “Mark of Gideon – Episode 72”

  1. Was the bruise on Kirk’s arm ever explained? Always seemed to me like a plot thread that was abandoned and left dangling.

    1. I think that was supposed to be where they took Kirk’s blood; I guess as they never get ill they’ve not had much experience with hypodermic needles and made a bit of a hash of it!

  2. Overpopulation was a big idea in the public consciousness at the time. The Pill was legalised in the US in 1960; the Vatican felt it appropriate to formally reemphasize its stance on contraception in 1968 (the year before this episode aired).

    In SF, Harry Harrison’s novel “Make Room, Make Room” was published in 1966, and is probably still the most significant overpopulation-dystopian work to date. (It was also the foundation of the classic 1973 film “Soylent Green.”)

  3. Eminiar 7 could have made a tidy profit selling their disintegration booths.

    Also, the Soylent Corporation might be able to help.

  4. Your analysis of this episode made me think of two things.
    First, regarding the Gideonites refusal to use birth control, in their book “The Mote in God’s Eye” Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle posit an intelligent alien species who due to a biological quirk will die an agonizing death if they don’t procreate. As a result they go through a boom and bust cycle of building a technological civilization only for it to collapse from overpopulation into a dark age before they can escape their solar system. By the time humans reach them, this cycle has been going on for millions of years. If the writers of Gideon approached it like this, their actions might have made more sense.
    Secondly, why they wouldn’t act on their own to fix the problem, I thought of how some very Orthodox Jewish sects who aren’t allowed to work on the Sabbath make a lot of preparations to perform their necessary, daily tasks that would seem really bizarre if you didn’t know the background. The Star Trek writers probably weren’t thinking in those terms, but it could explain a lot about how these alien mono-cultures operate.

    Thanks for your time and I love the show!

  5. With their willingness to kill off grown members of society and their veneration of the unborn, is this Planet of Hardcore Republican Evangelicals?

    Gideon, by the way, won a victory over the Midianites despite a massive numerical disadvantage. Perhaps Kirk bears the “mark of Gideon” through the conquest/destruction of vast numbers by one man who is therefore massively outnumbered. Anyway: Judges, ch 6-8.

  6. When humans make no sense in Sci Fi, I scratch my head, but when aliens make no sense, I just nod and smile. As human beings we are evolutionarily hard wired with a certain suite of social proclivities that may have served us in some capacity in the past, but may or may not make sense in present times. We empathize, we recognize, we love, we have a deference for our own group (self, family, friends, political, geographical, belief, racial, team, etc.), we cooperate or defect… there are social networks and behaviors that grow from these wirings that fall within finite expectations. We think of certain actions as logical because they fall within our parameters for these expectations. Alien races will most likely have alien motivations that may not be easily understood, because their suite of social abilities and behaviors have evolved in a manner not entirely parallel to our own. Even with universal translators that might convey differences in alien species mindspeak (the inner language of the brain apart from spoken language), they cannot translate the nuances of motivation, or the subtleties of a rationale based on a social suite alien to our own. What we might see as irrational might make perfect sense to them, much like a political party that is anti birth control yet pro personal weapons. The problem with this understanding is how we can write speculative fiction on the “human” condition when we should not expect human behavior, actions, or rationale from an alien species.

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