Sunday, August 21, 2005

What do "City on the Edge of Forever," "The Trouble With Tribbles," and "Sarek" have in common?

Right now, the only connection is that they're all Star Trek episodes, of course. But some time later this year, they will also all be books. Conlan Press will publish Writing Sarek, a book by fantasy novelist Peter S. Beagle, which will be pretty much what the title suggests: the episode's script and some behind-the-scenes, making-of information. It'll be available in paperback and hardcover; I've pre-ordered the former from Conlan Press. This should be interesting....

(Now playing: John Foxx, "This City," Omnidelic Exotour.)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I forget -- is it Trekkies or Trekkers who are canon?

Why are the Trek boards so full of really dumb discussions of canon and Trekkie vs Trekker lately? Yeah, they pop up every so often, but they seem to be everywhere right now. And what's really annoying is that each new poster who comes by to add his or her two cents is just doing a drive-by posting, regurgitating the same misunderstandings and misinformation that have been already been corrected. They aren't reading any of the other posts.

Ultimately, these are probably the two lamest and geekiest discussions I ever get myself caught up in, because I have enough sense to avoid the "Could the Enterprise beat a Star Destroyer" and "Who's the best captain" arguments. So why bother? Well, because canon and T vs T aren't matters of opinion, they're matters of fact, but fan after fan, in the need for self-expression without thought, treats them as matters of opinion, passing on myths and misunderstandings.

I've already had my say on the matter of canon, and much to my delight other people refer to it during recurrences of the canon thrash. Allyn Gibson's "personal canon" rant takes care of the other half of the canon problem.

Now, Trekkie vs Trekker...

I think my first exposure to the idea that the two terms actually had different meanings may have come from the documentary Trekkies, in which someone selling stuff at a con goes on to give definitions of the terms that I had never heard before. Then I came across one of those "You're a Trekker if this, you're a Trekkie if that" lists floating around the Internet.

So there are two theories about the difference between the words. One has to do with one's degree of fanaticism; the other says that that Trekker is a "politically correct" new term invented by people when TNG caught on and people didn't want to be known as Trekkies.

They're both wrong.

A Trekker has never been anything other than a Star Trek fan who doesn't want to be called a Trekkie. A Trekkie has never been anything other than a Star Trek fan who doesn't mind being called a Trekkie.

It's easy enough to clear up the "new fans = Trekkers" myth. For that matter, if you read the stuff below, it doesn't differentiate between types of Star Trek fans, either. This is not from the era of The Next Generation. It's not from the movie era. It's from nearly thirty years ago, which I strongly suspect is before many of the participants in these discussions were born. Fans weren't using the Internet or AOL or anything like that back then, so the "Trekker" meme had to have been floating around fandom for some time before it appeared in the magazines scanned below.

From the first couple of issues of All About Star Trek Fan Clubs Magazine, published in 1976 and 1977:

Call yourself whatever you like. But don't make up your own definitions. I'm a Star Trek fan, myself. Never cared for either Trekkie or Trekker.

(Now playing: Malka Spigel, "Like Machines," My Pet Fish.)

Monday, August 15, 2005

The rumours of its death have apparently not been greatly exaggerated...

... but a rebirth in some form is probable.

Someone posted a message reportedly from Larry Nemecek over at the fan club bbs. If it 's legit, the days of Star Trek Communicator as published by Decipher are over. Nemecek says the club and magazine will be back, but not through Decipher. Nothing's actually signed and locked in, though.

(Now playing: Julian Cope, "World Shut Your Mouth," Saint Julian.)

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's still a little early for the funeral, but...

I'm starting to wonder if Star Trek Communicator is as dead as the Star Trek Role Playing Game.

Both properties are owned by Decipher. There's been no progress or real news relating to the RPG in two years. Several books scheduled to be published in 2003 never materialized, though as I recall some of the contributors said the books were finished and just had to be printed.

As for Communicator, it's been three months and change since the last bimonthly issue. Bimonthly means every two months.

No one from Decipher or Communicator participates in any discussions on their official bbs. The older Fan Club forum did have the occasional post from Larry Nemecek and Dan Madsen, as I recall, but that was some time ago. and are overflowing with speculation and relatively few facts, aside from an article from a small regional business news website. And, more recently, a letter from the owner of Decipher, posted today, which says Decipher has had a rough year but everything is fine now. The Trek CCG was mentioned. Communicator and the RPG were not.

If not for Pocket, I'd be ready to say Star Trek is as dead as Fantastic Journey or Ark II. Buy more Pocket Star Trek books, everybody!

(Now playing: Birdie, "Thanks for the Birthday Card," Some Dusty.)