Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Boldly Going...Where So Many Have Gone Before

In the summer of 2010, severely overweight, buzzing on caffeine (not knowing that caffeine was causing most of my problems), staying so deep inside my body, worried about what was going on and not doing anything about it until mid-September, I watched a lot of TV. I lived for afternoons of That '70s Show, I watched episodes of iCarly (created by Dan Schneider, who also created All That, which I grew up on, so I had an excuse besides worry pushing me toward these places), I even sat through episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, against my better judgment, which I didn't have then, which explains why I watched it. I also remember episodes of The Galloping Gourmet, which would have been fun if I hadn't been feeling so badly about myself.

Then there were afternoons in which I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: The Next Generation?! Me?! This was when I worried that something had turned inside out in my brain because I never watched this in elementary school or middle school or high school. I knew some things about it through pop culture osmosis, but not as much as talented Trekkers (Trekkies? What's the latest on that?) do. Nothing of it really interested me.

And yet, why the hell didn't it interest me? My favorite childhood movie was Flight of the Navigator, which I proudly own on DVD. I also read various sci-fi novels then.

When we went to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in the years after we moved to South Florida, I spent the entire day in Tomorrowland, riding Space Mountain as many times as I could, depending on the line, admiring the star map at the entrance and the photos of galaxies that you pass in line. I looked up at the ceiling projection, watching shooting stars, staring at all that futuristic design in wonder. Obviously the seeds of full-blown sci-fi exploration had been planted a long time before I got to the point of watching TNG. There was also a day during this mind-and-body worry that I didn't want to go out and face the world because Star Trek: Generations was on BBC America. It helped me ignore my immediate world.

Since that summer, I watched either one or two episodes of TNG, but that was about it until late last year, when I got more into it. I watched a few more episodes; oh, and there was also the movie in 2009 that I saw on the strength of the trailer that I watched over and over, awe-inspired by it. So that had to push it along faster.

There's the old Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument, and I side with Star Trek. More planets, more galaxies, more starships, more impressive technology. I don't want a lightsaber as much as I want a holodeck. I'd rather have the USS Enterprise than the Millennium Falcon.

I admit, however, that TNG is the only Star Trek series I've seen thus far. Eventually, I'd like to see the entire run of The Original Series, The Animated Series, all the episodes of TNG (I know for sure I haven't seen all of them yet), Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and all the movies, save for Generations, which I not only saw on BBC America, but I also bought it for $5 at Big Lots along with Insurrection, which I still have to see.

This past weekend, I pulled out of one of my book stacks Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster, the novelization of the movie. I enjoyed Foster's skill at descriptions, but I wanted better. I know that no book can possibly top the movie, but I wanted that same sense of wonder I felt when I saw the movie, what made me buy it on DVD. So I've decided that I want to read all the Star Trek novels. A filmmaker friend on Facebook referred me to his nephew who recommended the Destiny, Titan, Typhon Pact, and Deep Space Nine books. I will read them all.

Another filmmaker friend on Facebook, upon reading my intent, said, "Good lord, you know they've been publishing Trek books longer than you've been alive, right?" I do. I am not intimidated by the sheer number of novels that have been published. In fact, two days ago, I ordered from a seller on abebooks.com Mission to Horatius, the first Star Trek novel. I want to read all these series chronologically, despite the sheer number of some of them, and if it takes years, that's fine. I'm an easy traveler. I'm just looking for continuous adventure in my sci-fi reading. I'm not here to argue about which captain is better, which series is better, which whatever is better. My only favorite character thus far is Riker. I'm sure I'll have more soon enough. I know there's widespread hatred toward Wesley Crusher on TNG, but having read Wil Wheaton's books, and reading his blog regularly, I just watch him with fascination.

So here I stand, boldly going...where so many have gone before. And if there are any Star Trek fans who read my blog, who have read the books, what are your recommendations? What should I look forward to? (If one of my followers is indeed who I spoke to on Facebook, I've got your recommendations down in a Word file. But any additional insight from you is always welcome.)


  1. Never been much for sci-fi, unfortunately... Trek, Wars or otherwise. I did like Ender's Game a lot (bought a copy for my 16 year old to read last year for her birthday, but she still hasn't read it, sadly. I may pilfer it from her and give it another read), and the first sequel, Speaker for the Dead. I stick mainly to Fantasy titles these past few years. But a sci-fi title sneaks in now and then... nothing of Star Trek, though... which basically means I've wasted your time by making you read this comment! A thousand pardons...

  2. No comment from you is ever a waste, David. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it's plenty useful because it reminded me about Ender's Game, which I want to read, as well as pretty much everything else Orson Scott Card has.