Since the dawning of time (or at least since the time of her birth) stories have cradled, and enveloped MJ in a world of possibility. She relishes tales of adventure and journeys of self-realization. MJ runs an Emerging Writers website called Infinite Pathways where she offers editing services and platform building opportunities, has an essay in The Writing Spiral: Learning as a Writer, and is a freelance contributor to Authors Publish Magazine and Indyfest Magazine. The first two novels in her Chronicles of Xannia Quartet, Time’s Tempest and Cadence of Consequences, are currently available in print and e-book. Connect with her on her author website or on Facebook.
by M.J. Moores
And another Red Shirt dies… this time it’s not just a random crew member but the entire Star Trek universe – and that’s a cryin’ shame. Not even the Abrams re-imagined conception of the Trek franchise can pull a Kirk-returned-from-the-dead move to resuscitate this iconic sci-fi love.
Quite simply, as a society we’ve changed. The idealistic notion of star exploration and discovering “new life and new civilizations” crumbled when the world grew up. For so long the Americas cried for true peace as the Cold War remained an invisible weight on our lives. This naiveté yearning to grow beyond hatred spawned a generation and more yearning for hope. And with the dawning of the space race and regularly manned missions to outer space, we rejoiced at the idea of a new adventure and hope for the future. Even in the 1990s first-world countries were still looking at the endless potential of space, growth, and blissfully ignorant citizens.
We saw the first change in our Trek-verse with Deep Space 9 and dealing with a mostly stationary location – looking closer at individual lives and working alien relationships as opposed to wondering about out there. Then, with a return to the core fundamental of exploration, Voyager took on a love-hate relationship with the masses; some blamed the casting of Janeway, others thought the idea rather tired, but mainly the ‘real world’ was dealing with serious problems. Rather than blaming poor writing (which no one is immune to), the newer inceptions of the Trek-verse haven’t panned out for a very real reason. And then, there are the Trek fans themselves; like in the world of Heroes or X-Men we are evolving and changing.
So what do viewers want if not honest to goodness space exploration?
Survival, plain and simple. For a long time now the market has been saturated with Will Smith battling aliens over the White House; the remnants of Earth being overrun by aliens; aliens posing as humans in order to infiltrate and destroy mankind; even young kids with super-minds seeking to destroy an alien race before it destroys us. The big fantasy-books-turned-movies share this focus with the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent series’.
Consider the hot sci-fi TV shows right now: Killjoys, Extant, Dark Matter, Defiance, Falling Skies. These programs are not about finding peace or new discovery. These shows take an extremely close, dark look at the ‘what if everything went wrong?’ and the ‘how do we deal with life now?’ questions. Our collective fear of the unknown and drive to believe that we can survive against these odds leaves the sci-fi of the current era little room for innocent wonder. We’ve transitioned from an open, outreaching ideal into a people obsessed with self-preservation – and who can blame us? Look at what we’re dealing with today: global warming, terrorism, nation-wide hatred that spawns one blood bath after another.
And if you think the fan-developed TV Series Star Trek Constellations will help revitalize and refresh what poor Enterprise could not… you might want to think again. The overriding construct of the program deals with alien technology that destroys planets (a dash of Death Star anyone?) and a crippled star-class ship that doesn’t quite destroy this threat. Again, we’re dealing with survival and fear, not the traditional concepts of exploration and hope that made this franchise great.
How does that affect you, the average sci-fi fan?
If this is indeed an age of the loss of innocence, where we see monsters around every corner and fear our own extinction, then perhaps there’s a lot more going on in the world of non-fiction that needs tending before we can return to being idealists enamoured with what lies beyond our own galaxy. Trekies and Treckers hanker after a resurgence of the guiding principles that made Star Trek and Next Generation popular. Societies always have fears, and back during the comparative innocence of the Cold War, when it was nation against nation, and we thought we’d have warning before bombs dropped, and that diplomacy would help–the peace and understanding of Star Trek was a good fit. Today we’re into the type of fear marked by the selfish, the individual in the name of X: unexpected attacks not sponsored by members of the UN, fear of the random and the senseless. This is the terror that must be addressed if Star Trek will stand a chance to make it to the next century.
What do you think?