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Mar 12, 2023Liked by Evan Þ

Fun, oh course you made me think of the plots where Shatner gets to play 'someone else'. (I also ordered "Black Prism". Thanks.)

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I really thought I'd seen every important document from the original Star Trek, from the pitch document "Star Trek Is..." with Gene's fake "sexed-up" version of the Drake Equation to impress the network, to Gene's letter to Spockanalia establishing Star Trek's friendly attitude toward fan fiction... and here I am pleasantly surprised. I never knew he exchanged letter with Asimov, nor that he'd read Foundation. Awesome find.

One interesting oddity in the Star Trek fandom is that it was, at the times these letters were written, overwhelmingly female. Women saved Star Trek, women organized Star Trek, women wrote about (and for!) Star Trek. By the time The Next Generation premiered, it was considered a show for men with an overwhelmingly male audience and fandom (as depicted in the 1986 SNL "Get A Life!" sketch). Certainly that remains true today. I've often thought there was something magical about those characters in that moment that resonated in a very particular way, but which was never recaptured (even at Star Trek's absolute peak in the mid-1990s).

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Interesting! I'd heard about the early Star Trek fanfic scene being overwhelmingly women, but I hadn't heard the fandom as a whole was in the TOS days. I wonder what changed it between then and TNG?

I'm guessing a lot of the magic of TOS was for the same reasons as the magic of Golden Age science fiction in general - the cultural moment, the sense of possibility, and the sense of novelty - even though (annoyingly for my guess) it came somewhat after the Golden Age itself had vanished in books. If you're interested, I've written a post on some aspects of Golden Age sci-fi? https://papyrusrampant.substack.com/p/golden-age-science-fiction

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Thanks! I'll check it out!

(But tomorrow. Strange New Worlds Season 2 premiered last night, I haven't seen it yet, my friends are all going to talk about it on Monday, and I'm just hoping it isn't a train wreck like so much recent Trek has been. Season 1 was not terrible, so I have hope?)

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