Re: Star Trek fans, what do you think?

Eric Shook (Panopticon@oubliette.COM)
Mon, 8 May 95 01:35:27 CST

In article <> "Andrew F. House" <> writes:
> I am writing a term paper on the entertainment 'sub-culture' of
> Star Trek- focusing on the fans. I have posted various messages in the
> Star Trek 'fan areas' and have recieved many responses. However, it was
> pointed out to me that I should also research what other people think
> about Trekers- people who are not fans. This term paper is an
> anthropological report and it will examine the Trek culture from an
> anthropological standpoint. I would appreciate your thoughts regarding
> the 'fandom of Trek'. Thanks in advance!

OK, I'll bight. Star Trek is nicely entertaining, but the main complaint of
non-fans is that it doesn't satisfy their need for an accurate
representation of life amongst the stars. The original Star Trek could get
away with less accuracy while the space program was young, and besides, it
wasn't so much a sci-fi piece as it was social science fiction. The focus
was not on technology, but the inter-relationships between man and
"aliens," and a demonstration in our ingenuity. (The ethnocentrism only
an obvious taint of the time.) This is why we tolerated the Enterprise's
crew when they solved their technological problems with a quick zap of a
photon laser set on kill and pointed at the warp drive to jump start it and
remove them from the out of phased reality of Xorbachs world....etc. etc.

Today you would think that we would atleast be a little more demanding.
We've all seen so many real space shots on TV that many of us are aware of
what natural movement looks likes for a space craft. (Let me clue you in
here, and you may have already at least sensed the problem: Space ships
DO NOT bank like ships on the ocean do.) As well, there are no sounds in
outer space, so why do phasers still make noise in Star Trek? Ironically,
many of these viewers consider themselves scientifically minded, yet, if
they saw it on Star Trek, they most often have a tendency to believe that
space works in the way shown on these TV programs..

The technological inconsistencies are tremendous. The crews consistently
depends upon "deus ex machina" to extricate themselves from the plot
crisis', and in the end you are left with a feeling that these shows
move on because they belong to the ritual of TV viewing.

The show's creator, Gene Roddenberry, was opposed to many things that
the production company wanted to do. No sooner than his death they
immediately went into production on action figures. They didn't even wait
until his corpse cooled. Did this bother any Trekkies? Few, is the answer.
This shows what Star Trek really is. It's a commercial enterprise, and the
Trekkies are its consumer body.

Not to mention that every new version of "Trek _this_" or "Trek _that_"
reproduces the same plots. The first Trek had a show where their opposites
switched places with them, crossing parallel realities. The same plot
device has been repeatedly used in each of the other shows.

There is growing boredom amongst those who wish for a more exacting, less
repetitive formula, and while many of us respect the first Trek for its
human qualities, we look forward for a more recent, and refreshing show to
fill the void. Today, in print, the sci-fi genre is no longer a
technological extravaganza as it once was. The genre on TV requires more
sincere human struggle. Many of us have turned to Babylon 5 for our

That's all I have to say about Star Trek as a person from the other camp.

-- Eric Nelson --
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: