Last week Gerry Canavan, author of the upcoming UIP book on SF master Octavia Butler, shared his thoughts on the most auspicious anniversary of the year. As you may have heard, Star Trek is turning 50 this month. Fifty! Even a man as far-seeing as Gene Roddenberry couldn’t have seen a future where the world remembered Star Trek in 2016, let alone celebrated its creation. Writing in Sight & Sound, Canavan gets to the nub of Trek’s vision:
Star Trek is an Idea. I wouldn’t say it is an idea expressed particularly clearly, cogently or coherently; it might not even be an especially good idea, as many who have critiqued the politics of the franchise since its inception have ultimately come to conclude (with varying amounts of bitterness or regret depending on how much they may have once loved or still love the series, the way I do). But it is an important Idea nonetheless. The Idea of Star Trek is that the future might be good instead of bad.
Canavan then explores just how often, and consistently, Trek and its many offshoots fail to live up to the Idea. Entertaining and insightful, the article captures an absurd truth behind Star Trek fandom: those who love it also love to complain about its failings.