On Star Trek: The Original Series

Star Trek in the Real World

By Norman Spinrad

Star Trek as the pivotal work in the growth of SF cinema into a dominant force, and the concurrent growth of SF publishing into what it is today….

The creation of the Star Trek concept…was a cunning and audacious stroke of genius that changed the relation of SF to popular culture forever….

Star Trek imprinted the imagery of science fiction on mass public consciousness, where it had never been before, opening, thereby, the languages and concerns of science fiction to a mass audience for the very first time…so that years and a generation of Trekkies later, George Lucas could confidently begin Star Wars with a full-bore space chase and take the largest film audiences in history with him from the opening shot.

–Norman Spinrad, Science Fiction in the Real World

You must pardon me for beginning this essay by quoting myself, but the above words were written long before I sat down to write this. They appeared, not in a piece on Star Trek itself, but as part of a chapter on cinematic science fiction in a critical book exploring the relationship of science fiction to the wider world around us, and, for purposes of this discussion, that is as important as the words themselves, or who happened to be the author thereof.

In science fiction, and in the real world, there has never been a phenomenon quite like Star Trek. One scarcely knows where to begin. Consider perhaps the most improbable event of all: Star Trek’s third and final  …

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