Monday, January 26, 2015

Completing My Sci-Fi Educatation - Star Trek

As a sci-fi author, I've found in recent times that if a person is going to ask you anything sci-fi-related outside of what sci-fi books/authors I read, the next question always inevitably has something to do with Star Trek or Star Wars.
Its probably not surprising considering these two different franchises are the most recognized and culture-changing science fiction stories of both the previous generation, and my own generation with the revival of new movies.
I had seen Star Wars on TV as a teenager. Let's face it, if you lived somewhere with a TV, it was probably hard not to see the Star Wars movies at some point. I remember thinking they were okay, but not as exciting as my parents had made them out to be.
Though my parents had loved the Star Wars movies, they weren't Star Trek fans, so the TV show or movies never came up on the TV in our house. However, some newer (when I say newer, I mean early to mid 1990's) sci-fi was regularly watched, most notably SeaQuest. I can't remember if it was something my parents were watching that I became addicted to, or something I found on my own and then made everyone else watch ('cos, you know, one TV. Everyone had to watch the same thing... unimaginable in this day and age!).
When the first new Star Wars movie came out, I was in my late teens and went to the cinema to see it because my friends were, not because I had any particular interest or desire to see them. With the second one, I saw it when it came out on DVD for the same reason. As for the third, I actually haven't seen it at all.
However, it was about this time I was starting to get into sci-fi in a big way, I just didn't realize it yet. Stargate SG1 was my new favorite TV show, and I was devouring episodes and seasons as fast as I could. After that, I got into a wide range of post-90s sci-fi.
In 2009 when the new Star Trek movie came out, I remember a lot of people seemed very excited about it, while others thought it would never be as good as the original. I saw a preview or movie trailer for it, and thought it looked okay, but wasn't about to run out and see it any time soon. While Star Trek may have all but defined a generation and changed sci-fi as we knew it, the characters and story had also been the butt of many jokes, so I kind of assumed it might be somewhat corny.
And not seeing Star Trek was fine for a while. Except then recently I started feeling like maybe I was missing out on something. I mean, so many sci-fi fans talk in awe of Star Trek and the legendary Captain James T Kirk, I found myself wondering if it could be as good as people made it out to be, or as cliched and melodramatic as others seemed to think it was. Besides, I was starting to get sick of explaining to people why, as a sci-fi fan, I hadn't seen any Star Trek whatsoever.
So I finally got my act together and got the newer 2009 movie, starring Chris Pine as Kirk. I don't have anything to compare him with, but I think he was a good choice. I mean, how can you go past those blue eyes? Also, those lips should be illegal on a man. I'm just sayin'... you know its true, take a closer look.
A few other notables; I have to say that I really loved Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, even though he died in the first ten minutes. I also really loved Karl Urban as Bones. I've been a bit of a Karl Urban fan ever since I saw him in the one-season sci-fi show Almost Human. Add that to the pile of perfectly good sci-fi shows that got cancelled because of the giant, series munching machine of TV ratings.
Anyway, as a non Star Trek fan, I liked the idea that this Star Trek happened on a different timeline, or in an alternate universe because a pissed-off Romulan changed things by killing George Kirk. I'm not sure what hard-core Star Trek fans thought of this, but I liked that it became an entirely new entity to the old series, and actually wished they had of started a new TV series instead of doing the blockbuster movies.
I also like that the creators explored the idea that by going through a black hole, it emerges into an alternate reality, an actual theory that is starting to gain more ground in the scientific community. My own book series, Atrophy, touches on something similar, though in Atrophy, going through a black hole emerges in an entirely separate universe, not an alternative one, which is where my shape shifting aliens originate from.
So now I'm planning to watch the other one they brought out in 2013, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and am looking forward to the next installment coming out in 2016. I'll probably even go see that at the cinema!

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