The Not-So-Final Frontier

I will leave it to others far more insightful and eloquent than into discuss the cultural ramifications and future evolutions of Star Trek. What I can contribute is one thing they cannot: the impact Star Trek has had on my life.

Forgive me if this seems egotistical, but after all “write what you know.”

And so you don’t think this is all about me, I’d love to read how Star Trek has (or has not) influenced YOUR life.

As you know, Bob, Star Trek premiered in the US 50 years ago today (Canada got to see “The Man Trap” two days earlier…curse you Canucks!). Almost but not quite 50 years ago, I premiered in my parent’s lives. So, you could say, me and Star Trek grew up together. I’d like to say I was a fan from toddlerhood, but my earliest Trek memories are watching Star Trek: The Animated Series in rerun.

Unlike many, I don’t recall the first episode I ever saw (I do remember the 79th episode I watched, because ironically it was Classic Trek’s 79th and final episode, “Turnabout Intruder.”) A few years later, under 10, I watched The Motion Picture in the theater. The most memorable scene to me was Kirk and Scotty approaching the Enterprise in space dock. My eyes went wide and I recall saying (okay, maybe thinking), “It’s real, it’s a real starship.” (For the record I am one of those few odd fans who likes STTMP).

In addition to Trek reruns (of course), the early 1980s were full of Trek novels–including the Bantam novels, especially Star Trek New Voyages series edited by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath and the Pocket Book series. My favorite novel (and in my mind still the best) of the Trek novels is John M. Ford’s The Final Reflection.

One of the two biggest effects Trek had on my life came about 1986 when, sitting with my friends Cindy and Chris in our high school cafeteria, I was babbling on about both how much I loved Star Trek and my love of writing. Blame them if you want, but it was their joint pointing out of the obvious that struck me like lightning from a clear sky: how about you combine the two and write science fiction.

And the rest is history.

(Ending with that line would be cliche, so sorry, you don’t get off that easily)

I plunged into writing science fiction after that…and fantasy and much later on, a bit o’horror. Which has led you, inexorably, here.

I won’t bore you with the interminable details of The Next Generation and the rest of high school, so leap forward a few years to college where I met one now long-time friend, Alec, a SF fan who introduced me to SF television wonders such as The Prisoner and the 1940s Batman serials. Alec also joined a Star Trek/Science Fiction club, the USS Chesapeake. And a few months later, so did I. The second of the two big impacts of Trek on my little life.

So, in the interest of not boring (I haven’t bored you yet, have I? I mean, if I have you’re probably not still reading this. If you– *slaps self* Sorry, better now.)

Anyway, where was I? Tying these two Trek-inspired aspects of my life together, I will admit to participating in writing fanfic about our ship and crew. One story sits on my very long list of Pieces-I-Want-to-Revise, because the core concept is still an okay thing IMHO. Another one, my first attempt at something novel length, is trunked. The trunk is buried. Deep. And I erased all memory of where I buried it.

On the upside, in more recent years, I wrote some teleplays we intended for the fan productions of the last few years. Alas, I doubt any of them will ever be made now, but they were good practice. And maybe, if the new series opens to over-the-transom scripts like Gene Roddenberry supported for TNG and Deep Space Nine, then maybe, just maybe…

One more thing…

For many years, our club produced a monthly newsletter, the Comstar*. It’s sadly defunct (the newsletter, not the club), but for fifteen years I penned a column called Science Trek. <Vulcan Lyre Music Goes Here> And, I’ll be republishing them on this very website one-by-one.

One last, final thought, for tonight: Just as Trek‘s premiere was a beginning, over the next months and years, I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about Star Trek et al (sorry, not sorry). In the mean time, live long and prosper with this dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars.

* Only the 2004 – 2011 Comstars are online.

1 Comment

  1. So, I think it’s safe to say you like the franchise, yes?

    I came to the US in June of 1966 . . . Can’t say the impact of Star Trek was much more than “wish I had a phaser”. Honest, I was more enamored with James Bond and Mike Hammer. But, Star Trek was an escape of sorts mostly because my step-father thought it was a waste of time. The Three Stooges, however, were an addiction that lasted well into my college years.

    Before you figuratively burn me at the stake, please know that until Firefly, no series or franchise drew me into the fandom side of the equation, including experiencing not fully understanding why everyone is not a rabid fan when it’s obviously the best thing ever.

    But still, I’ve never quite understood the “why” or “how” the Trek franchise had such an impact on so many people (same with Star Wars after that, Potter, or any of the franchises that people embrace to the point of altering the course of their lives). As much as I like Firefly, I can’t say it changed or impacted my life.

    I suspect many people’s affection for the Trek franchise — or any other franchise — is at least in part driven by the associated social interaction with others who hold the same regard for the franchise.

    Understand, I’m not minimizing or marginalizing what the series and franchise means to its fans or its impact on people’s lives. To that end, I’m looking forward to reading your columns as a way to perhaps bridge that gap in my understanding of the world.

    Finally, I also liked the first movie. If they would shorten the “let’s-watch-the-Enterprise-for-25-minutes” scene, it would raise its rank to that of favorite. Meaning, I would be more likely to rewatch it than any of the other Trek movies (none of which I’m interested in watching again).


Leave a Reply