How has Star Trek influenced your life or career?
Star Trek has played a very influential role in my life and career from the time I was five years old. To celebrate this golden anniversary, here are my top 50 Star Trek memories. #StarTrek50 #LLAP50
50. Renting Star Trek: The Motion Picture more than 30 times on VHS when I was 8. It was rated G, so it was the only one my parents wanted me to see at that point.
49. Obsessing over the Cheerios Star Trek: The Next Generation contest where you could win a walk-on role to TNG. There was a TNG sticker in every marked box that was also your entry.
48. Collecting the TNG ICEE cups from the Orem K-Mart café in 1987. I had all five, but my commander Riker one got put through the dishwasher and scratched the picture off somewhat. I referred to that one as the “Injured Commander Riker” cup from then on.
47. A neighbor man, while on a business trip at a trade show, saw that “Worf” actor Michael Dorn was signing posters promoting Stat-X, a static guard spray. He got one of the posters for me…but mixed up my brother and me, and had it signed to my brother. It still went up on my wall.
46. Recording the In Living Color TOS sketch “The Wrath of Farrakhan” on VHS and getting in trouble for watching it. The racial overtones soared over my ten-year-old head. I just thought it was awesome…was Captain Kirk!
45. Building cardboard Enterprise and Klingon ships with my dad because there weren’t any actual toys of them available when I was eight and a new fan. I also built cardboard TNG bridge, transporter room, and sickbay playsets for my action figures, because real ones didn’t exist.
44. Putting together complete “master” sets of the Star Trek trading cards (including promo cards, sell sheets, and “chase” cards like the holograms, language cards, etc.) in 1991 and 1992. I also traded several sets of BYU football cards for a set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture cards from a dealer in Arvada, Colorado around that same time.
43. Reading the first ten or fifteen TNG novels, beginning with “Ghost Ship,” for my 4-7th grade reading assignments. I loved them so much that I actually, legitimately believed they were going to be hailed among the true classics of literature.
42. Recording a tape with Ryan Anderson that we were going to send to Denise Crosby that was about as cheesy as it could possibly be for a nine-year-old’s “love letter.” That’s probably enough about that.
41. Seeing Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in theaters with my big sister, who undoubtedly had a million other things she’d rather do than take her ten-year-old brother to that particular film. I loved it. But it really doesn’t hold up.
40. Periodic Saturday morning dates with my mom from 9-11-years-old that always ended with picking up a STARLOG magazine or an official Star Trek magazine.
39. Attending my first Star Trek convention in the fall of 1988, and spending all my time in the dealer’s room. Ryan Anderson, who went with me, said that on future conventions, we should “probably do more of the convention part.” And my mom driving me to future conventions, and sitting in her car grading papers while my friends and I attended the show.
38. Wearing only Star Trek shirts in 7th and 8th grades, and wondering why I was picked on all the time. (See also reading the “Klingon Dictionary” in class in this same era, with the same results…)
37. Getting a letter from Paramount Pictures’ legal department after I’d written to the studio begging them to do a sixth Star Trek movie, and suggesting that maybe Leonard Nimoy could direct again, instead of William Shatner, who’d directed Star Trek V. The letter taught me about “unfounded claims of plagiarism.” My dad, for years, laughed about how Paramount’s legal team sent a cease and desist to a 10-year-old kid.
36. Setting up a starship bridge from cardboard boxes, sheetrock, and kitchen chairs in the front room of our house. The piano was a science station. The window was a view screen.
35. Going on Slurpee runs with the high school and college aged cast members of Provo Theatre Company’s “Big River” when I was 12 in 1991. They thought it was so I could hang out with the “big kids.” It was really so I could collect the three 25th Anniversary collector’s cups.
34. Making a “fan film” that I took way too seriously at age 10 in my friend David McDougal’s basement.
33. Using my good grades to get the Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (NES video game) video game on the Nintendo, and playing through it in one day, thanks to my friend’s copy of Nintendo Power, and then totally blowing an algebra test the next day.
32. Being on Star Trek-related panels at BYU’s science fiction writer’s symposium LTUE - Life, the Universe, & Everything Symposium when I was 12-14 years old. My jr. high Spanish student teacher, Charlene Harmon, was on the planning committee for that event when I was 12, and somehow convinced the rest of the committee to let me participate! I returned to the symposium in 2005-2010 off and on, as an actual BYU student, and then as a professional writer guest. I there met Rick Bickmore and have been friends with him for 25 years.
31. Winning a Halloween costume contest as Data at the 9th grade school Halloween dance. I mean, I’m no Eric Allan Hall, but a win is a win!
30. Seeing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as part of the SCERA theater’s summer movie series in the summer of 1987. It was the second Star Trek thing I saw and a couple of months before I discovered TNG (via the aforementioned Cheerios contest).
29. My dad bringing me home Galoob TNG action figures on his way home from work. These were the first TNG toys, and because he worked in a rural Utah town, he was able to find the rarest of the figures (blue Data and Tasha) at the Kmart near his work.
28. Wearing a Star Trek watch to 9th grade drama that was noticed by Sarah. Because of that watch, I was welcomed into Sarah’s circle of friends, and became close with her sisters, too.
27. Winning $100 cash in a Star Trek trivia contest at a convention when I was 14. I was the Deep Space Nine expert. I spent it all at that same convention. Totally worth it.
26. Rob and Michelle bringing me a Captain Kirk Burger King cup in the summer of 2009 when I was going through chemotherapy. They totally got me, and I’m sure it was at great sacrifice, going to Burger King since they are among the healthiest eaters I’ve ever met.
25. Watching and recording on VHS the special 25th Anniversary marathon of TOS episodes and the accompanying TV special hosted by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. I watched that special a million times, and then watched it with my son last week when it was re-aired on TV for the 50th anniversary. (I also loved 1989’s “The Star Trek Saga” hosted by Patrick Stewart, which showed the original TOS pilot “The Cage” and was run because of the WGA writer’s strike delaying season 2 of TNG. My favorite of these specials, though, was 2006’s “Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier,” which was a documentary about the Trek props auction held at Christie’s Auction House. I used the format of that documentary as the basis for a Smallville DVD feature I worked on a couple years later.)
24. Joining the Provo chapter of Starfleet International, a Star Trek fan club made up of “ships” as the local chapters. Ours was the USS Alioth, and we met monthly for activities. We did tons of community service activities for groups like March of Dimes, Sub for Santa, etc. And we attended the Utah premieres of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek Generations in costume. I made lifelong friends there like Keira, Caiti, Christy, the Harmons, and Justin.
23. Watching the premiere episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise during their original airings. I started watching TNG early in the first season, but not at the premiere, but the other shows I joined from the beginning. I intend to do this with Star Trek: Discovery in January. DS9 is my favorite of all of the Star Trek series, and I sort of knew it would be after watching the pilot.
22. My aunt (the same aunt in who’s house I saw my first episode of Star Trek in 1984) picking up the 50th Anniversary Canadian stamps for me last month.
21. Being in Los Angeles on a family vacation to Disneyland, etc. in 1991 during the same weekend as the official 25th Anniversary convention. I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the convention, but spent a lot of time talking to a huge fan at the amazing Star Trek exhibit at the Movieland Wax Museum. Also on that trip my dad “accidentally” turned the car onto the Paramount lot, and asked the surprisingly friendly security guard (of whom I took a picture that caught him off guard) for directions to somewhere. He then asked if we could stop by the Star Trek set as we turned the car around. They said no.
20. Watching the movie Trekkies with Nathan, Jolene, and other friends, and Nathan sharing profound insight into the humanity of the people in the film. While we laughed at them (and sort of ourselves) in the movie, he reminded me that they are people who have a place and something to offer in society. Truly IDIC.
19. Being a guest at the ill-fated MountainCon V in Salt Lake, and sitting between Voyager’s Garrett Wang and the “Captain’s Woman, Marlena Moreau” actress Barbara Luna from TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror.”
18. Twice visiting/participating in Alpine School District’s teamwork-building Star Trek-based simulator at the Christie McAuliffe Space Education Center.
17. Staying up to watch Patrick Stewart host SNL in the spring of 1994. First time I watched that show “live.”
16. Winning tickets to a comedy club from a morning radio show by telling the following joke: “Where does the crew of the Enterprise work out? The he’s dead gym.”
15. First learning about Japanese internment camps in George Takei’s autobiography “To The Stars” published (and read) in the fall of 1994. I was a sophomore in high school, and was so shocked by horrible incident in American history. It had such a profound impact on me that when I was majoring in history in college, I focused on that time period.
14. Watching “The Savage Curtain” episode of Star Trek: The Original Series at my aunt’s house in Calgary over Christmas break in 1984. I was five. It was the first Star Trek anything I watched. Abraham Lincoln got killed by a spear in the back. My older sister taught me that in real life he’d been shot.
13. Road trips in and through Town of Vulcan, Alberta, while driving to visit my mom’s family in Edmonton and Calgary. First one was in the early-90s. Latest one was last month.
12. Getting my first TNG uniform, tailor-made by an elderly woman in the neighborhood, for my 12th birthday. I outgrew it in, like, a month. Stupid adolescence.
11. Collecting Star Trek comics from when I was 10 until I graduated from high school. They were the first, and most consistent, comics I collected. A few years ago, Michelle gave me a DVD that had PDFs of every Star Trek comic published from the ‘60s up through the early-2000s. They, more than anything else, got me into reading (and wanting to write) comics. I have a dream still today of writing one Star Trek comic.
10. Going to the now-defunct Star Trek: The Experience attraction in Las Vegas in 2004 when I was dating Michelle. We’d gone to Vegas for a dance competition she was in. Afterwards we went to the attraction. I posed for a picture in a Borg regeneration chamber. She flexed in front of a glass display class showing female Klingon armor. It’s pretty much why I married her.
9. Being hired as a columnist and regular writer for the official Star Trek Magazine throughout the first decade of the 2000s.
8. George Takei holding my then four-month-old son in the green room of the 2008 Calgary Comics Expo. I was interviewing Smallville’s Lex Luthor Michael Rosenbaum on stage when my son started fussing. Michelle took him out to the green room where George Takei was relaxing. George talked about what a beautiful boy he was and asked if he could hold him. Michelle took a picture but it was lost when her camera she had at the time met an untimely death.
7. My poster signed by the entire cast from 2009’s Star Trek reboot movie. I was in the middle of chemotherapy, and my oncologist told me not to go to movie theaters and other public places with large crowds because my immune system was so compromised. Crushing news. I have a friend who is an exec at IMAX, and knowing what a Star Trek fan I am, sent me the signed poster. (As an aside, I may or may not have seen a copy of the film with questionable origin online, but I purchased a ticket on Fandango so I paid to see it.)
6. Going to the first Provo showing of Star Trek: First Contact in 1996 with Jolene, after basically having been ordered to ask her out by our friend and teacher Syd. That kicked off a 20-year friendship that is among my most cherished.
5. Dressing as Spock for Halloween in 3rd grade (1987). My 3rd grade son is going as Captain Kirk for Halloween this year…and asked me to go with him as Spock.
4. Getting the Enterprise Bridge playset from Playmates Toys’ incredible line of TNG toys for Christmas 1993. It was and is the greatest Christmas present I ever got. I collected more than 90 of the action figures from that series of toys, and still have most of them. My son loves playing with them today.
3. Receiving a letter from Star Trek comics editor and novelist Robert Greenberger with writing advice and feedback on a (horrible) 40-page, all dialog, TNG story I wrote when I was eleven. Bob treated me with great respect, and gave me counsel on writing, story, and characterization that literally changed my life. Meeting Bob at the DC Comics offices on my honeymoon in 2005 and thanking him in person was a highlight of my life.
2. Writing Star Trek: Starfleet Logbook for the 50th anniversary. Coolest part of this was getting copies of the style guides for all the Star Trek 50th Anniversary merchandise.
1. Attending the red carpet premiere of Star Trek Beyond in July 2016 in San Diego with Michelle. That is the coolest experience I’ve ever had—Star Trek or otherwise—and I got to share with my favorite person I’ve ever known.
When I was a little girl, Star Trek was a family affair; everyone would watch, we knew all of the characters, and afterwards there would be dramatic pitted space battles between me, my father and my brother. At night, I used to stare at the stick-on glow stars on my ceiling and dream of being captain of my own ship out exploring the stars. Nowadays, Star Trek has a much more real meaning for me. I suffer from terrible social anxiety and depression - sometimes it's hard to face the day. What brings me the most comfort is thinking of the captains I've grown up admiring. Would Captain Kirk let himself be stopped? Would Captain Picard be too afraid to talk to that person? Would Captain Janeway run away from a problem? When I'm afraid or sad, I think of them and it makes me feel brave. It makes me feel like I actually CAN boldly go where I haven't gone before, and that really means the world to me.
My father, a survivor of Polio, watched a lot of television especially, science fiction. His passion for science and architecture was influenced by Star Trek.
I grew up on the TV shows in the 70s, watched every movie, and used to be able to recite them all.
He continued his passion for all things Star Trek, with Deep Space Nine and every spin off made. He bought anything that had the emblem on it from board games, china, doll and action figures, puzzles, post cards, technical plans of most of the starships, even had Lenard Nimoy's vinyl record.
When he passed away, we picked out a silver-grey casket that reminded us of a photon torpedoes.
We pinned an electronic button to his lapel that was a replica of the communicator worn by the original TV series cast.
To this day, when I visit his grave, I listen for the familiar chirps (no not to dig him out!)
He went boldly, where none of us could go.
Through watching how passionate he was about the values of acceptance and the desire to continue to explore, taught me to question everything and to accept all. I'm grateful I have those memories with my dad.
I turned 10 shortly after "Star Trek" premiered. I was captivated from the beginning by its optimistic view of a rational human future, one in which we humans advanced through compassionate cooperation without regard for skin color, gender, religion, species, or any other perceived differences. We still have a long way to go toward achieving that potential future, but "Star Trek" will always stand as a beacon telling us we CAN get there.
In 1967, still aged 10, I wrote to Gene Roddenberry asking quite seriously how I could submit a story to "Star Trek." He actually wrote back (on Desilu letterhead stationery, no less!), and while it must have been obvious that I was a kid, he didn't talk down to me as one. Instead, he wrote straightforwardly about how difficult it was to break into TV script writing, and emphasized the need to establish a track record and obtain an agent. At the same time, however, he encouraged me to keep writing, starting with what I knew and felt passionate about. I have never forgotten his kindness or his advice -- and I've never lost my innate optimism, believing our species CAN evolve into a rational one, as epitomized in "Star Trek."
May we all live long and prosper!
Watching Star Trek as a kid showed me just how powerful science fiction can be. It inspired me to dream, to think deeply about issues addressed in the episodes and movies, and showed me how powerful a great story can really be! Today, I'm a freelance writer. Though none of my science fiction has been published to date, I credit Star Trek as one of the influences that made me start writing in the first place.
I'm actually currently using Star Trek in my classroom as an assignment in my fifth grade STEM classes. They have to watch The Original Series and create a t-chart of tech we have vs. tech we are waiting for from the show. They have to watch three episodes. 5 points each!
I remember watching my first episode of Star Trek, it was Sins of the Father from TNG, so it was sometime in 1990. I was 8. I had already been in school a few years but was already subject to teasing and not being quite as 'normal' as others. My father died 3 weeks before I was born, and that hole in my family made me consistently feel different. When I first saw Star Trek I got instantly hooked, it became an outlet for me to forget about the rest of the world. I vividly remember looking forward to Saturday evenings where I could see a re-run, then a new episode. Star Trek sparked my interest in computers and shaped my career path. I am now an IT manager for a company that comes as close to Star Trek as anyone can, we build satellites to explore space, most recently Pluto. My office at home is decked out in Star Trek collectibles, I am known at work as the 'Star Trek' guy, and my license plate is even 'JT Kirk'. I seriously believe that without Star Trek my life would have been completely different.
When I was 6 my Dad used to watch Star Trek. There was one episode " Who Mourns for Adonis" it made such a big impression on me that when I picked up a Star Trek Reader, I instantly recognized the story. This led me to seek out reruns. I became an avid fan back in the days when being a Trekkie was an accepted term. I hooked my family on the show. When it was time to find a career, Star Trek shaped my future and I became an Engineer. That might not sound very special except that I am a woman and women engineers were very few and far between. It also was unheard of in my family at the time. Teachers, lawyers, doctors yes, but not engineers. Until Star Trek there were no engineers on TV. Even now they are few and far between. So thank you Star Trek for my career
My brothers introduced me to Star Trek when I was very young. The thought of space, the universe, traveling to the stars seemed to touch my soul. In elementary school, I got a book from the library on how to build a telescope. I dragged my mom out of the house to watch the perseid meteor showers. I vividly remember the night I could actually see Saturn's rings through a telescope!! I wanted to be an astrophysicist or chemist. My dream job would have been to work for NASA developing better heat shield tiles for the Space Shuttle, or work at Mt Palomar. So many things I wanted to do.....
Although Life had other plans for me as I raised my family, my love for science and space has never died. I encourage my children to reach for those stars, reach for your dreams, explore...... NOTHING is impossible!! My life was forever changed by one man who had a vision. Even if it was "just a TV show", it sparked something deeper. I hope that spark will continue to ignite in many more generations to come!
I remember when I first "got" Star Trek. It was the last 1970's, I was almost 10 and it came on in reruns on the network that came in the most clear in my house. Remember when TV reception depended on actual attennae? There was this group of people of different ethnicities and other species working together in peace exploring the universe. The effects where cheesy but each story was an ethical dilemma and/or crisis of conscious and/or faith, told in a satisfyingly "other" world that you don't initially get the morality play, a world with an ever expanding universe that is open to EVERY possibility, with equality and humanity.
I was a 9 year old African American girl in Washington DC born to striving middle class graduate student parents who was still be told "little girls don't....(insert EVRYTHING I'm interested in here).
The world of Star Trek, the possible future imagined actually included people who looked like me who were doing things way outside the sandbox drawn for me. Despite the institutional racism and inherent misogyny in our society I was a superstar at almost everything I tried. My skill was learning and mastering new skills. Although I was good at a lot of things I did not like a great majority of things I tried- meaning learned and mastered and walked away from. Despite external pressures and naysayers I kept at it because I *knew* in my heart of hearts from the time I was little that the human race was meant to evolve into a more peaceful and equitable global society. I knew I could be what someone like me maybe had not been because- Star Trek.
I know this like I know the sky is blue. We all accept that the sky is blue and consider this core social knowledge. This is how I approach the world. Knowing in my heart of hearts from the time I was little that the human race was meant to evolve into a more peaceful and equitable global society. I know we were meant for better and all this foolishness on the way is simply a phase in our evolution. Like when we all learned to walk- one step at a time. Each time we got up it was 50/50 we'd learn and master this new skill and be able to apply it at will. Vary it, improvise, choreograph.
So, my Star Trek story is that this narrative in all its versions imagines us as better than we are. A world beyond petty -isms and -obias. No sexism, no racism, no ageism, no antisemitism, no Islamahomophobia, no homophobia, transphobia. Imagine. Someone did over 50 years ago and we are still not there yet. Closer still but everyday recently it feels 50/50.
That little African American girl grew up to play soccer for 30 years because she loved it. She made a career that did not exist in her childhood- educational technologist, digigriot, digital media arts and robotics teacher. Note the technology trend? I was an educational technologist before there were Educational Technology graduate or undergraduate programs. I'm proud to be among the pioneers in this field. I love education, innovation, reflection and the intersection. I have a big hungry brain. In whatever I tried I never thought I couldn't because I knew it was possible like I knew the sky was blue. Why? Because everyday at 4:00pm or whatever time it came on after school my little brother- the afrofuturist- and I watched Star Trek and imagined ourselves in a society without the limitations we encountered daily. Why? Because Star Trek.
One of my few regrets is that I never made it to a convention and met Leonard Nimoy. I am so thankful he dedicated his life to the character of Spock. This is one of my favorite characters from all genres of storytelling.
Today I teach Photography and Film (PAF), Computer Programming and Robotics (CPSR) and Robotics. I'm lucky I love my job- this is a great educational community full of innovation and reflection. Here, like Lieutenant Uhura, I get to use all my geeky talents and hungry brain as part of a team of educators.
Educators working to prepare our students for an ever evolving future full of innovation.
Educators working to prepare our students to boldly go...where no one has gone before. (cue music)
I loved science fiction as a child, my 1st books were The Stainless Steel Rat series. But unfortunately I was the only one reading science fiction in elementary school and the books where located in the Youth Adult library section (The Main Philadelphia library ) a forbidden area for elementary school students at the time (1960's). I had to make a secret pact with the check out librarian to get the books. Soon I decided to write my own stories and add family and friends as characters in my short lived career as a budding writer.
When someone told me about a science fiction series on TV with an Asian man and a Black woman - I was shocked - was this possible? I started watching the show immediately and became a fan of Spock and Sulu (it was love at 1st sight) and seeing an afro haired Black woman gave me so much pride. I always secretly wished Spock and Uhuru would become lovers. Even though I had to wait many years for it to happen - It was well worth the wait.
Star Trek got me interested in exploring different cultures and traveling internationally . I thought if I could not travel to space and meet aliens - I could travel the world instead and meet different people.
Fifty years ago this week, the first Star Trek episode aired on television. It has become more than a television show for so many people, myself included. I remember watching first run episodes with my dad when I was 5 or 6 years old. Then I watched syndicated episodes after elementary school. They aired every weekday on a local television station at 4:00 pm. In 6th grade, we had a "Star Trek" club where we reenacted episodes at recess. I was the only girl, but I wasn't Lt. Uhura. I was Mr. Spock. (And I had a huge crush on Captain Kirk -- both the adult version and my grade school version!) The show was a huge part of my cultural experience in my formative childhood years, and it has impacted me for nearly all of its 50 years.
Because of Star Trek, I became passionate about Greek and Roman mythology. I read everything I could get my hands on at my local Carnegie Library about stargazing and star lore. I begged my parents for a telescope, and my dad got me one for my 12th birthday. I spent so many nights outside my parents' bedroom window looking at the moon, planets, and double stars. I dreamt of going into space, or, at minimum, flying an airplane. I wanted to be an astronomer, but Mrs. Johnson's seventh grade pre-algebra class taught me I do not speak the language of math. And that is the language of astronomy. Instead, I became an amateur astronomer, and I gave planetarium shows for eight years at my local science museum. It was the best volunteer gig I've ever had.
Star Trek certainly fed the intellectual side of a girl who always cast her eyes upward. But the show was much more than an intellectual influence.
Gene Roddenberry had a vision for humanity that was filled with the opportunity to explore, learn, and unite. There are usually challenges with those goals, but, in the Star Trek universe, the good guys always won if they worked hard, showed initiative, and were innovative.
What I learned as a kid from watching and re-watching the crew of the starship Enterprise fight the good fight has now become my work ethic: Work hard. Show initiative. Be innovative. Solve problems. Help people.
Star Trek was a good teacher.
I am forever grateful to the Great Bird of the Galaxy for being such a visionary and showing a little girl from a small Oklahoma town the universe has infinite diversity in infinite combinations. In the mid-1960s and 1970s, I learned race doesn't matter. Gender doesn't matter. Even species doesn't matter. Star Trek taught me EVERYONE matters. And that's the most important lesson of all.
Thank you, Gene, and beloved cast and crew members for truly giving me the universe. I will always...remember.