I caught the bug for technology from Star Trek, when I was ten years old.
Star Trek debuted in 1966, the year I was born. Created by Gene Roddenberry as a western in space, it lasted three years and was canceled. It was in reruns that the show found its following, spawning more series and movies. None of that existed in 1976. Star Trek was not “The Original Series.” It was Star Trek.
I was ten years old when I visited my friend, Luke. Smart, kind, charming, he was my first school friend. We would walk home together and visit at his place or mine. There was no internet, then, and no video games. Watching television was a treat. We had a black and white. Luke’s was colour. Most homes only had one television, and Luke had brothers. His older brother, Derek, was not a nice boy. He was a prick, really, and wouldn’t let Luke and I watch Gilligan’s Island. Derek wanted to watch Star Trek. Luke said the show wasn’t bad, really, so we sat down and watched.
If you have watched the series, you may remember the episode, Who Mourns for Adonais? The crew of the Enterprise are held captive by an alien who claims to be Apollo, the Greek god. A giant hand locks the Enterprise in orbit and Apollo wants the crew to worship him. Kirk, Spock and crew manage to disable Apollo’s power source and escape. Cheesey stuff, for sure, but I loved it.
A new Star Trek fan was born. For years I drew pictures of the Enterprise — badly, it’s not an easy figure to draw. I continued to be fascinated by large feats of engineering like ships and bridges. Star Trek had plenty of cool technology: communicators, phasers, tricorders, replicators, and computers. Computers were still mostly a fiction back then, and when they entered the marketplace I was quick to pick up on them. I had caught the bug for technology.
I have watched every Star Trek series and movie. My kids were brought up to be proper trekkies. This year, I was delighted to watch the new series, Star Trek: Discovery. Star Trek is easily the most successful television and movie franchise. It taps something in all of us. It feeds an optimistic world view in which we live in peace with technology and each other.