The Final Reflection

infobox Book |
name = The Final Reflection
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption =
author = John M. Ford
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series = Star Trek: TOS #16
genre = Science fiction
publisher = Pocket Books
release_date = May 1984
media_type = Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
pages = 256
isbn = ISBN 0-671-47388-3
preceded_by = Corona
followed_by =

"The Final Reflection" is a 1984 "Star Trek" tie-in novel by John M. Ford which emphasizes developments of Klingon language and culture. The novel provided the foundation for the FASA Star Trek role-playing game sourcebooks dealing with the Klingon elements of the game. Although not considered canon because of later developments in the "Star Trek" movies and TV series, the presentation of Klingon culture in this novel and Ford's 1987 follow-on, "How Much for Just the Planet?" is highly popular in fanon alternate depictions of Klingon society and culture. In particular, the fictional Klingon language "klingonaase" is introduced here, in advance of the creation of the canon version of the Klingon language, "tlhIngan Hol".

Particular aspects of Klingon society depicted herein are:

* A strong Klingon emphasis on battle-related games. The title refers to a move in " [ klin zha] ," a Klingon game with similarities to chess; in this particular variation, the "reflective" game, both players take turns playing one set of pieces. By analogy to chess, only the white pieces would be set on the board, though not in their traditional locations, and by alternate turns Player B would be the King, and Player A would direct the other pieces. Thus good form for Player A in his first move would be moving the pieces so that mate would be impossible on the next turn (when the king changes hands and is controlled by the Player A and attacked by Player B) but inevitable on the second turn (when Player A again controls the pieces and can mate Player B). Thus the "reflective" game is a strategy game involving both "backstabbing" and "revenge," making the game itself an ideal reflection of the key social forces of Klingon society.

* Games played with living players -- including school-aged orphan children who are trained in combat appropriate to the abilities of the various game pieces -- are commonplace.

* Military strategy is the particular province of a military class known as "thought admirals," who hone their skills in "the game with living pieces." They also seek to learn how other societies think militarily by studying the games of those people; thus, a thought admiral concerned about Human society would learn chess.

* Much is made of the distinction between empire-building races -- such as the Klingons, the Humans and Vulcans with their Federation, and the Romulans -- and less driven races, whom the Klingons use as servants ("kuve"), and sometimes food. When an American Luddite attempts to inform the Klingon ambassador that not all humans are interested in space colonization, he is informed, "there are only empires, and "kuve"; it is implied that the Klingon hopes that the word translates as "slave" -- or even "meat" -- rather than simply as "servant" or "servitor."


* The Luddite's physician, who attends the meeting, is one Dr. Thomas McCoy, who compares his employer's viewpoints to the stuff he finds when he changes his grandson Leonard's diapers.

* The Klingon Captain Krenn also plays chess with an 8 year old Spock during a party in the Vulcan embassy.

As might be expected from the title and the description of the "Reflective" game above, the novel concerns an intergenerational conflict within the Klingon government, between a faction wanting war with the Federation, and a faction desiring accommodation for fear of Klingon defeat. The Klingon ambassador and his associates play a surprising role in this conflict, one which remains secret until the publication of a "tell-all" book forty years later, one which is read by Captain Kirk in the "wrap" or "framing" story.

Influence of the book

On Fanon

"Before there was "tlhIngan Hol" there was "klingonaase". This novel by John M. Ford provided the template for much of Klingon fandom. If you've always wondered what that "other" Klingon language was this book will reveal it to you." — © [ Klingon Language Institute]

It's well known that Mark Okrand's later, canonical Klingon language "tlhIngan Hol" is frequently used by Klingon fans acting in character, sometimes online, sometimes in costume at science fiction conventions or club meetings. Perhaps less well known is that John M. Ford's non-canonical Klingon language "klingonaase" and Klingon customs (including mottos, ranks, and naming formats) are also used in the same contexts, sometimes by the same people. For instance:

* On [ the HomeWorld! page of] , "klingonaase" words are used and translated in quoting the motto from "The Final Reflection": "If it is not Komerex (a structure which grows), then it must be Khesterex (a structure which dies)." (Boldface red in the original; the only other words on the page so marked are the page title and final note.) The group uses ranks from "The Final Reflection", including "Thought Admiral".

* The [ Klingon Assault Group ( Handbook] likewise features titles (and "klingonaase" name-formats) from "The Final Reflection", e.g. "Thought-Admiral Kris epetai-Kurkura".

* The largest Klingon fan club in Europe is " [ Khemorex Klinzhai!] ", whose very name and URL are in "klingonaase".

* The [ Klingon Legion of Assault Warriors (KLAW)] "is first and foremost a Star Trek fan organization, based on the Klingon ideology. To this end we adopt a Klingon, or as we prefer, a Klin attitude in our dealings among ourselves and others." (emphasis added) Note that "klin" is the "klingonaase" word for the Klingon essence; it has no meaning in "tlhIngan Hol".

Fan fiction set in the Klingon Empire also frequently uses the cultural background depicted in "The Final Reflection", including "klingonaase".

Complete [ rules] and [ piece designs] have been developed for " [ klin zha] ," and there are programs available to [ play "klin zha" online] .

On Canon

In [ "Requiescat in Pace, John M. Ford"] , Eric Burns suggests that the popularity of Ford's inside look at Klingon culture, and his positive portrayal of Klingons as an honorable people by their own lights (not simply stock villains), also influenced the canonical depiction in later incarnations of "Star Trek", paving the way for honor-driven Klingons like Worf, and episodes that would likewise explore Klingon culture in more depth than the original series had done. Burns details specific aspects of Klingon culture (such as a disdain for taking hostages) that appeared first in The Final Reflection and later in TV episodes.

External links

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