The hunt for the SF toilet. So where *do* you go…?

Created by Javalord32My house is a disaster zone. The nuclear bunker that was my bathroom–and yay for the builders in the 30s for deciding to waterproof the room with concrete–is a shell of itself. I have a bath in the bath position. Not plumbed in, but it’s obvious the room with only one right angle  in it (yes, it’s a seriously weird shape) has some purpose now. <–The house is Edwardian. Bathroom space was still a sort of…afterthought.

So, how does this fit in with SF? Well, I’m glad you asked, because for a time there, I was feeling kind of Star Trek.

I mean, where to they go? The most I’ve seen, especially in TNG is a sink. And that’s not a pleasant image.
(Kirk does find a toilet in Star Trek V – not to be used in space dock though…)

Babylon 5 tackled the toilet problem head on. 🙂 The memory of Sheridan and Garibaldi having a discussion at a urinal, whilst they squicked out at the toileting habits of the Pak’ma’ra, stuck in my head. Stargate SG-1 had characters disappearing into toilets, maybe once or twice over ten years, but yay for admitting for bodily function! SGA, I can’t remember any incidences. Did the Ancients evolve past the need…? SG Universe I couldn’t watch long enough to care… 😉

I wonder why it bothers us so much in SF? Other genres don’t have the toilet front and centre–and isn’t that a lovely image :D. You don’t worry in contemporaries, or police dramas, or historicals. Maybe it’s the obvious. We already know the routine for the past and the present. The future of bathrooms is still being mapped out.

Maybe we’re the same as John Spartan in Demolition Man. We have yet to find out what those three bloody sea shells are for.

Can you remember any SF toilets? The hunt continues…

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Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.

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SYNTHETIC DREAMS and BITTER HARVEST are available now from Carina Press.

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10 comments

  1. LOL I always did wonder what those three shells were for. Great post. hehe

    1. And we still don’t know. It’s really irritating lol

  2. Firefly has a toilet. Mal has one in his cabin. That is the only one I can remember.

    1. Thanks! 🙂 I found a ref to Mal peeing in a sink-like thing just before…but as I’ve never watched Firefly–I know, I’m a freak–I wasn’t certain.

  3. I really can’t think of an original Star Trek episode with a toilet. And while I’m not the biggest fan of scenes with men chatting while they use urinals, there’s something about knowing the exact layout of a spaceship. I always want to know. Where are those bathrooms/toilets/showers on a spaceship?

    1. Do you deliberately put them in your books now? I know I do 😀

      1. I do! I don’t always have a scene in one, but when I sketch out the ships, I include them.

  4. I am a Firefly geek (aka Browncoat) and I even went so far as to buy a book with the schematics of the ship so I could see the layout of the bathrooms!

    I do address the issue of toilets in my Stellarnet Series. In the first book, there’s mention of the location of the bathroom, and a scene where the heroine goes into one. I also drew the layout of the colony “compartments” for the book website.

    http://www.stellarnetrebel.com/2011/09/24/sr-extras-compartment-layout/

    In book two (coming out in November) I address it again, with a few references to the fact that the alien Glin don’t know how to use toilets (they are a hunter-gatherer race that spends a lot of time swimming, so they just go in the water). “Shitting in a bowl” is very weird to them.

    There are also several references to the waste recycling systems within the Asteria space colony, and the fact that “relo” colonists (those relocated under forced and/or substandard conditions), have to “crap in compost chutes,” which doesn’t exactly help the air quality.

    1. A lot of SF books have the schematics. They’re fun. Someone in a chat group mentioned the Star Trek books have the toilets drawn in. I think it’s because of the ‘Where’s the loo??’ backlash! 😀

  5. Hilarious! The only toilet I remember clearly is in Eureka (that counts, right?) in Jack’s smart house.

    And my upcoming book *also* references bathroom habits, in what I think is an amusing scene, because my aliens don’t understand privacy.

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