The Genesis Device

So, here’s a nerdery of mine that’s been surprisingly rarely referenced on this site: Star Trek.

So, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the best Star Trek movie by a wide margin, and probably the most accessible to non-Trekkies, despite being the one with the most references to past events) established the creation of the Genesis Device, which can turn a lifeless planet into a complete, habitable ecosystem within a matter of days–but if used on a planet where life already exists, that life is erased in moments and replaced. Thus, depending on the target, it’s either a device of mass creation or a weapon of mass destruction. Alas, Star Trek III reveals that the planet created at the end of Star Trek II is unstable, and it collapses; the Genesis Device is only useful as a weapon of mass destruction, precisely the opposite of its creators hopes.

But here’s my question: 60 or 80 years later, in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, the Genesis Device ought to be fairly common knowledge, something any of the more advanced/powerful cultures can build easily and the less powerful ones build if they’re determined enough, much like nukes on modern Earth. And, much like nukes, they are a doomsday weapon–any war fought with Genesis Devices would quickly annihilate both sides. So it’s odd to me that there’s little to no mention of the device in the later Star Trek series, as it could have served as a handy metaphor for nuclear tensions–all the major powers have Genesis Devices mounted on warp-capable missiles, but only as a deterrent to keep the other powers from using their Genesis Devices…

Also, did no one think to try using them as a weapon against the Borg? Could have been interesting…

0 thoughts on “The Genesis Device

  1. I always assumed that the Genesis Planet was unstable because Khan detonated the Device in a nebula, rather than on a barren planet. Either way, I agree that it is weird that the Genesis Device is never mentioned again after Search for Spock.

  2. Nope, it's specifically stated in the third movie by David Marcus that they had to use protomatter in the device to make it work, and that caused the instability.

  3. ISTR reading something about a multi-volume saga in the TNG novel series about Genesis proliferation, but the erratic availability of Trek novels up here means I don't know the details.

  4. Interesting. There are some pretty good Trek novels out there. Also some amazingly awful ones. And some that manage to be both at once (e.g., Star Trek: Destiny).

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