I’m not a big fan of Star Trek. I have tremendous respect for the idealistic nature of The Original Series. I’ve seen… a couple of episodes, a couple more of The Next Generation, and most of Deep Space Nine. I rather enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ 2009 motion picture, but I had my problems with that. Into Darkness… was no very good, not a Star Trek movie nor in its own rights.
The Original Series, and, to lesser degree, it’s immediate successors, had a spirit that set them apart from (most of) the rest of s/f. With antiquated special effects and often rather silly plot it was not enough to make me enjoy watching it.
And politically… I’ve always been a Babylon V guy. Good guys kicking ass in space for liberal democracy, more or less as we understand it 😉 I’ll have to review that one day, possibly after my next re-watch, the time is coming for that. Also aged in terms of special effects, but, as a whole, makes more sense than Battlestar. The ending is not disappointing.
Back to Star Trek… new tv series is in the works and I’m cautiously happy about it. There is not enough proper (space-faring) science fiction out there recently. But, just as the latest movies sacrificed much of what made Star Trek unique, there is a risk that the new TV series will be just another fast paced, dark thriller in genre setting. Enjoyable, but not faithful to the spirit of its famous predecessor. Too many franchises are re-animated only because of brand recognition.
Original Star Trek was a reflection of its times, certainly, and J.J.’s version reflects trends of the early XXI cent., but I’d love to see the new series trying to match the first one in some regards. Optimistic vision of the future, some assumption about the goodness of humanity and the possibility of good future. So, Earth in the XXIII cent. is not a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but a home to a thriving, highly evolved civilization whose bravest sons and daughters are
Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before
not to conquer, and not to fight wannabe conquerors, but to explore & enlighten.
Optimistic science fiction can be sold to modern audiences. Millions of people paid to see Matt Damon planting potatoes on Mars!
So yes, Star Trek is coming back to TV in 2017. Why am I writing this now? Well, I’m not the only one waiting for the new version with hopes and fears. Steven Erikson also is, among others. And he wrote an open letter to people responsible, featured recently on r/Fantasy. One long quote from its conclusion:
The idealism and optimism of the Original Series delivered a promise to its audience: it still does, if we care to look. There is no law written in stone that says the future will be miserable, oppressive and dark. If these traits seem to be the only option in the name of realism, then we’re already as good as done. Star Trek does not belong in a grimdark universe. If defies those nihilistic precepts and stands in bold opposition to that ultraviolent array of films and television that exults in the worst we can be.
Well… I agree. If only we could get Star Trek with the ethos of The Original Series, good acting and modern special effects… 🙂
And, of course, Steven Erikson is more than just Malazan author, his fascination with Star Trek resulted with funny little (in comparison to his fantasy works) novel, Willful Child. Quite good, read it.
Hmm, it’s not really silva rerum if it only covers one topic. I wanted to write more about Babylon V, but it deserves a proper review one time.
EDIT: Apparently the news are good, new Star Trek show should follow in the footsteps of its predecessor in a good way 🙂
So, one more topic. I’ve bought a lot of books recently. What a surprise 😉 I finally started my Robin Hobb collection, a few Miévilles joined them on one of the new shelves, I now have more than half Pratchetts available, and that’s just some of it. And somewhere in the latest haul was that brick:
Second edition, 1999. Internet was young and people still used reference books 😉 Like, for reference, not just to browse them and enjoy pictures.
F*, I just realised I don’t have the Science Fiction version… here goes my plan not to buy anything from Amazon till the end of May. So close… And hardcover is actually cheaper than paperback… ok, tomorrow it ships from the UK. It won’t look perfect next to softcover fantasy tome, but I’ll manage 😉
Anyway, for serious stuff I don’t use paper lexicons, encyclopaedias, dictionaries. Even blog-related research is mostly google. I have a collection of heavy volumes like this one, but these days they’re used mainly for occasional browsing.
This one is great. Its small print contains over 4000 entries – people, books, tropes… holding it in my hands, I swore to actually use it instead of wiki, every now and then.
At work we are obliged to fully utilise the latest technology. In our pastime, we can afford not to 🙂