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Star Trek 101: What Is Subspace?

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Star Trek 101,'s newest regular column, serves two functions: succinctly introduce Star Trek newcomers to the basic foundations and elements of the franchise and refresh the memories of longtime Trek fans. We're pulling our entries from the book Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, And Why, written by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block and published in 2008 by Pocket Books. An invaluable resource, it encompasses The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, as well as the first 10 Trek feature films. Today, we get the answer to the burning question, What is subspace?

What Is Subspace?
Star Trek, subspace
Here's the official definition: "a spacial continuum with significantly differernt properties from our own." Oh, you say, eyes glazing over. Okay, how about this: a region of space that coexists with our own universe but is disconnected in some way. A lot of Star Trek gizmos work only when accessing subspace. Warp-drive spaceships, for example, travel through subspace at the speed of light. Messages are transmitted via subspace. Lots of stuff in subspace is different from our stuff. Never read about subspace in science class? That's because Star Trek's writes made it up.

Star Trek, subspace
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are coauthors of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek 101; Star Trek Costumes: Fifty Years of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365; and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. They currently are writing the latest in their series of Ferengi novellas, which (so far) includes Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found); and Rules of Accusation. Their most recent non-Star Trek book is Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.

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