Sunday, December 3, 2006

The effect Star Trek had on my life

No big deal, but I was playing around a bit with Yahoo! Answers, to see if it might be a substitute for the defunct Google Answers (it's not; it's a quite different beast, although interesting in its own right). And in the process of testing it, I answered the question: "What effect, if any, has the original Star Trek series had on your life?" And the asker of the question ranked mine as the best answer. I said:
It made me decide to become a science-fiction writer (which is what I now do for a living):

More, though: it taught me tolerance, that it is cool to be a pacifist, and that you should apologize when you're wrong. I mean this in all sincerity: I'm a better person because of that show, and I think that's true for a lot of us who grew up with it (I was six when it debuted).

All the other answers are here (scroll down past mine).


At December 03, 2006 7:54 PM , Anonymous don said...

I can't say for sure, but I'll bet it had some* influence on my interest of science, space, technology, the genre, adventure, and free-thinking (in which I mean being able to find a solution to "a problem" without always relying on someone else to bail you out).

* how much? I really don't know, it may be more, it may be less than I think

At December 03, 2006 10:11 PM , Blogger Lou_Sytsma said...

Same here Rob. ST taught me tolerance above all else.

At December 04, 2006 4:46 AM , Blogger Scott said...

Can I say what STAR TREK III taught me?

Everybody knows that STAR TREK II is the better film -- and I'd agree -- but STAR TREK III taught me that when something bad happens to someone you love, you drop everything, do everything, to try and save them.

What does Kirk value more than anything else? His reputation, his time in Starfleet, his status as a great commander.

Or so we think.

Turns out, however, that when the going gets tough, Kirk is willing to sacrifice almost everything he believes (and we believe) to be valid in order for the mere POSSIBILITY of bringing Spock back. He's risking prison, ruining his reputation, and for what? For the chance to help somebody close to him.

Last year my girlfriend was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer, and some pretty major life changes had to take place. I had to quit my job, borrow money, move countries.

I found myself, somewhat surprisingly, thinking of STAR TREK III, and how not only Kirk, but the whole crew, were willing to break laws and move hell (and high water) for a shot at saving somebody's life. Their own self-interests immediately took a back interest to their friend's (possible) well being -- and they didn't think twice about it.

What do you value? What are you willing to give up? What's important to you?

Those are the questions I was asking myself, and the answers became pretty clear.

I think of Kirk telling the crew that his request for taking the Enterprise was denied. "We are therefore going anyway," Kirk says. (Or words to that effect.) Without hesitation. Without missing a beat. He knows, deep down, what matters most, and it ain't a ship, and it ain't a badge on his jacket.

I still love WRATH OF KHAN, but there's a deeper, more profound lesson in TREK III: friends and loved ones are the only things that matter, and, should the need arise, one must be willing to give up everything for the simple chance of possibly helping them.

At December 04, 2006 9:03 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Well said, Scott. This exchange from near the end of the film between Kirk and Sarek (Spock's father) sums it up nicely:

SAREK: Kirk, I thank you. What you have done --

KIRK: What I have done, I had to do.

SAREK: But at what cost? Your ship ... your son ...

KIRK: If I hadn't tried, the cost would have been my soul.

At December 04, 2006 3:21 PM , Anonymous Josh said...

There's never been another show that expressed the best of humanity as well as any of the Star Trek series or films have. At least, I can't think of one. I'm a bigger fan of TNG than TOS (probably a function of being 30), and I will happily confess that I've never cried harder at a movie than I did after watching Nemesis. Hey, it may not be The Wrath of Khan -- it may not even be that good of a movie! -- but it was beautiful and heartbreaking to see Data make the ultimate sacrifice. I've always thought that by doing so, he finally fully realized his long-sought-after goal of becoming human. What better exemplifies the best of being human than the willingness to give it up for someone else?

It's an awful shame that there's no current Trek series running right now. Yeah, the haters are right that the dialogue, effects, and plots often cross over into cheeseball territory. But what other series has ever managed to convey the importance of using our brains -- always tempered by our hearts -- to live well, and the courage it takes to do that? And be so frickin' entertaining at the same time?

At December 05, 2006 3:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a science fiction fan long before Start Trek. I didn't get a chance to see a lot of tos. Kind of hard to get dibs on tv time with only one set amongst 7 people, mom and dad included.

Star Trek was nice and all but it was Star Wars that did it for me. When Star Wars 1977 came out with all the special effects and the characters, I thought "Wow. I'd like to write stuff like this someday."

Think about it, if it wasn't for Star Wars, the Star Trek movies would never have seen the light of day much less the tv spin offs. Star Wars opened the floodgates for a new Renaissance of science fiction film. Heck the whole sf gene exploded because of Star Wars and has never been the same since.

Sorry folks but Star Trek had nothing on Star Wars.Even the theme song for Star Wars is inspiring and commands attention even to this day.


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