Darmok and Jalad at the Mushroom Kingdom

(Image: CBS)

"Darmok" is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It has a truly original and innovative story and is, consequently, among the most popular episodes in the series.

In "Darmok," the crew of the Enterprise makes first contact with a species known as the Tamarians. They discover that the Tamarians speak a language that is untranslatable. When the Tamarians speak, the computer translators render their words as references to unknown people and places, such as:

  • Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.
  • Temba, his arms wide. 
  • Shaka, when the walls fell.
  • The river Temarc in winter.
  • Mirab, his sails unfurled.

These phrases are references to Tamarian literature, lore, and history. To express thoughts, Tamarians refer to a vast cultural repository of narratives.

Which brings us to this funny hashtag going around Twitter:#nintendarmok. It shows Tamarian references to Nintendo games. Here are a few examples.

-via Richard Eisenbeis

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There are people who consider Star Trek to not be legitimate science fiction, but a space opera.

"Spock's Brain" was . . . inadequate though (It is impossible for Star Trek to be bad.)
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It is one of my favorite episodes in all of StarTrek (next to "Mr Spock and the Planet of Brain-stealing Bimbos") It attempts to show the difficulties of contact with a very alien type of mind and culture, which must have been quite a challenge for the writers. Science Fiction is mostly a way to look at ourselves through an unfamiliar mirror, but this story points in a different direction.
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