Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Archive for the 'Star Trek' Category

Star Trek TOS season 3

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

Star Trek: The Original Series Season 3, submitted as defense exhibits one through five: How compact your bodies are, and what a variety of senses you have! This thing you call language, though — most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much, but is any one of you really its master? But most […]

Nichelle Nichols’s amazing debut

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

My friend Asbed, visiting Toronto from Los Angeles, came by again yesterday, and, in honor of the Gene Roddenberry centenary, we watched the only never-broadcast episode of his series The Lieutenant, entitled “To Set It Right,” written by Lee Erwin and directed by Vincent McEveety, both of whom went on to work on Star Trek. […]

Where Star Wars beats Star Trek

Monday, July 31st, 2017

One thing I like about the Star Wars franchise: it is coherent; it doesn’t keep trying to reimagine or reinvent or reinterpret itself. The latest film, Rogue One, goes to great lengths to look like and fit in with the very first film, the original Star Wars, from 40 years ago. Star Trek made a […]

The inner life of a man who had none

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

My on-and-off bathroom reading for some time has been David A. Goodman‘s The Autobiography of James T. Kirk. I just finished it, and I quite enjoyed it. Goodman took on two very difficult tasks. The first, obvious one, is making a coherent whole out of the contradictory mess that was TOS; the creators, after all, […]

Toronto Star Trek ’76 — 40th anniversary

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Forty years ago today, the fabulous fan-run convention TORONTO STAR TREK ’76 began at the Royal York Hotel. Here’s one of the flyers for the con (Nichelle Nichols and Mark Lenard, listed as only “invited” on this flyer, actually did come — as did the entire cast, except for Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley). One of […]

Classic Star Trek’s two key episodes

Friday, December 25th, 2015

There are two episodes key to understanding classic Star Trek. One, of course, is “The Naked Time,” in which we learn everyone’s inner secrets and motivations. But the other, I’d argue, is “The Conscience of the King,” in which we learn that Star Trek is best viewed as theatrical, as a stage play, as a […]

Fairest of Them All

Monday, September 21st, 2015

If you’re not yet watching Star Trek Continues, you should be. They’ve produced four brilliant classic-era Star Trek episodes so far, with the fifth debuting soon. I love them all, but, even though I have a cameo in the fourth episode, “The White Iris,” my favorite is the third one, “Fairest of Them All,” directed […]

Documentary about Susan Oliver

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Susan Oliver played Vina in Star Trek‘s first pilot “The Cage” (later incorporated into the two-parter “The Menagerie”). Last year at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, I bought a documentary about her on DVD called The Green Girl, and finally got around to watching it. IT IS SPECTACULAR. Just wonderfully touching and moving, and […]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture and sexism

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

On Facebook, someone asked why there don’t seem to be as many female fans of Star Trek: The Motion Picture as there are male ones. My response: Well, think about it. In ST:TMP, the female lead is, quite literally, an object: a replicant probe wearing high heels and an ultra-mini to show off her legs […]

The Primate Directive

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

My review of issue 1 of the Star Trek / Planet of the Apes crossover comic “The Primate Directive” is now online at Robert J. Sawyer online:Website • Facebook • Twitter • Email

35th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Today, December 7, 2014, is the 35th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In tribute, I offer this excerpt from Watch, the Hal Clement Award-winning second volume of my WWW trilogy, published by in April 2010 by Ace (US), Penguin (Canada), and Gollancz (UK). In this scene, sixteen-year-old Caitlin (who was […]

My Star Trek novel, 30 years on

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Thirty years ago today, I submitted 20,000 words of sample chapters and an outline to Pocket Books for a Star Trek novel. Here they are: Robert J. Sawyer online:Website • Facebook • Twitter • Email

My Star Trek computer-graphics article — 30 years later

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Thirty years ago today, on June 30, 1984, when I was 24, the following article by me appeared in The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper. As a young freelance writer just beginning my career, selling to The Star was a huge accomplishment (although this was actually my second piece for them). The article came about […]

Star Trek’s black guest stars, 1966-1967

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Apropos of yesterday’s discussion of mentioning race in fiction, I have a complete set of the first season scripts of the original Star Trek, and decided to have a look to see if the major speaking parts played by black guest performers in the filmed episodes were specified in the scripts as to be played […]

More on mentioning race in fiction

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

I’ve written before about whether authors should feel nervous about specifying the race or skin colour of characters. My position is simple: you either do it for all characters or none; neither position is racist. What’s racist is only specifying it when deviates from some assumed norm — for instance, when books tell you if […]

Seeing Star Trek: The Motion Picture as it was meant to be seen

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Spoiler Alert! In 1979, before I’d yet seen Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a friend of mine came up to me and said, “So, what did you think when V’Ger turned out to be Voyager 6?” I’ve never had any idea what my reaction to that revelation would have been; I was robbed of that […]

45th Anniversary of Star Trek

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Star Trek debuted 45 years ago today. In honor of that, here’s a piece I wrote in 2006 for the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: the introduction to Boarding The Enterprise: Transporters, Tribbles and the Vulcan Death Grip in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, edited by David Gerrold and me (Robert J. Sawyer), and published by […]

Star Trek: The Motion Picture 30 years on

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Today, December 7, 2009, is the 30th anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. has a nice appreciative essay. In tribute, I offer this sneak peek at a scene from Watch, the second volume of my WWW trilogy, coming in April 2010 from Ace (US), Penguin (Canada), and Gollancz (UK); in […]

Star Trek opening-credits mashups

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

I’m a huge fan of the dying art of TV opening credits; my hero growing up was Jack Cole (who did The Six Million Dollar Man, The Night Stalker, The Incredible Hulk, The Bionic Woman, Planet of the Apes, Ironside, The Rockford Files, Ellery Queen, and others). Here are some cool mashups for various Star […] exclusive all-metal Enterprise

Friday, November 27th, 2009

As anyone who has been to my home knows, I’m a reasonably serious collector of Star Trek replicas (I have a Master Replica’s 33-inch Enterprise, for instance). I’m very impressed by the all-metal Enterprise included with the limited-edition (not .ca) exclusive three-disk Blu-ray set of the 2009 Star Trek movie. The ship itself has […]

Warning: if you’re a complete Star Trek geek like me …

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

… reading this discussion thread will eat hours of your time. It’s a fascinating, hyper-detailed look at every prop that ever appeared more than once in classic Star Trek. Tons of great pictures and screen captures. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

First-season Star Trek episodes in production order

Monday, October 19th, 2009

FlashForward — the TV series based on my novel of the same name — is a serial drama: it’s meant to be watched in sequence, and the episodes are being filmed in the order in which they will air. But the original Star Trek (and, indeed, most nighttime television for decades) was an episodic drama, […]

Star Trek History is back online

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Star Trek History is an amazing site, now new and improved, with all sorts of things I’d never seen before from behind-the-scenes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Star Trek: The Original Series Blu-ray review

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Splurged on a nice new Blu-ray DVD player yesterday (Sony BDP-S560, recommended by my video-guru friend H. Don Wilkat); also, got the lovely boxed set of the Planet of the Apes films on Blu-ray; quick check shows the first film looks stunning. Next purchase: the remastered original Star Trek episodes on Blu-ray. The Canadian website […]

Beauty shot of the new Enterprise

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Hi-res versions of the dramatic shot of the U.S.S. Enterprise rising up from Saturn’s moon Titan from the 2009 Star Trek movie are here (thanks to for the link!). Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Siteand

Star Trek Viewmaster

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Click picture for larger versionOver at, someone asked, about the Star Trek Viewmaster reels from the 1960s: “Always wondered why there was not a real shot of the Enterprise and the Exeter in the set … instead of a shot of two of the model kits in space. Anyone know?” Yes, indeed. I do. […]

Trekkie word of the day: Supererogation

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

In the 2009 Star Trek film, young Spock is being quizzed by computers, and we hear him answer a question but do not hear the question he was answering. His answer was, “When an act is morally praiseworthy but not morally obligatory.” And, in fact, there is a term in ethics for such acts: Supererogation […]

Star Trek credits not newbie friendly

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Despite all the attempts to make the new Star Trek movie as friendly as possible for people unfamiliar with the franchise to follow, the ending credits actually assume a lot of Star Trek knowledge if you want to figure out who played whom. Winona Ryder is credited as playing “Amanda Grayson,” a name never heard […]

The best spaceship captains are Canadians

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

As I’ve long said, the best spaceship captains are Canadians: Leslie Nielsen (J.J. Adams, Forbidden Planet), William Shatner (James T. Kirk, ST:TOS), Lorne Greene (Adama, the original Battlestar Galactica), and Douglas Rain (HAL 9000, effectively in charge of Discovery in 2001) — not to mention Keith Lansing in my novel Starplex. ;) Now we can […]

Major Trek spoilers — but what witty banter!

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Right after the press screening for J.J. Abrams’s new Star Trek movie last Saturday, Space: The Imagaintion Station producer Mark Askwith and I went out to lunch at Milestones with the great crew from Hardcore Nerdity, and we recorded our thoughts about the movie, which opens North America-wide in two days, on Friday, May 8. […]