I just finished Star Trek Lives! (1975) by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston. An absolutely delightful book by three early fans of Star Trek. Through their eyes you’ll experience the very first Star Trek convention, a visit to the TOS set, and interviews with Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy and more. You’ll also hear their perspectives on fan culture (including fanfiction), and Star Trek’s characters, philosophy, and reasons for its lasting appeal.
It’s a very easy, enjoyable read, and essential reading for Star Trek fans.
I wanted to pull out this quote, that speaks to what I do on this blog and what we do over on the Women at Warp podcast:
Star Trek’s greatest fans are also its toughest critics. They make a game of finding minor inconsistencies among the episodes, more seriously criticizing certain episodes where some idea seems wrong or out of touch with the overall spirit of Star Trek. Their criticism of Star Trek is aimed at improving it. It is a service.
There are also some really neat quotes from early women fans. This was one of my faves:
I overcame a rather strict and almost Victorian upbringing to acquire the dubious honor of being known among my friends as the Original Dirty Old Broad. This came about as a result of a very pornographic Star Trek story that I wrote for a friend’s birthday, and wound up reading aloud at a mildly inebriated New Year’s Eve party. Star Trek seems to have taken possession of my senses, and although that is not unusual, stressing the sexual side of the show is.
Somehow my life does not seem destined to run down the usual paths. Starting with a long-term marriage, and encompassing activities that included archery, competitive pistol shooting, skiing, and breeding and showing purebred dogs, my life more resembles something that would interest our Mr. Sulu with its variety. The hobbies that appear to have ‘taken’ include the dog-breeding and Star Trek. And this past year has been a bonus for both interests. It enveloped a trip to the New York Star Trek Con, and one to Milwaukee in teh name of fandom; two letters from Gene Roddenberry and one from Leonard Nimoy, the notorious and well-received publishing of GRUP’s first issue and the floods of fan mail that followed.Mrs. “Steve” Barnes. The book notes that GRUP is the fanzine with a nude centerfold of Mr. Spock.
The book doesn’t shy away from the popularity of Kirk/Spock shipping:
When we asked how Spock and Kirk regard one another, what in fact their relationship consists of in texture, Gene Roddenberry said:
‘…I definitely designed it as a love relationship. And I hope that for men…who have been afraid of such relationships…that they [Spock and Kirk] would encourage them to be able to feel love and affection, true affection…love, friendship and deep respect. That was the relationship I tried to draw. I think I also tried to draw a feeling of belief that very few of us are complete unto ourselves. It’s quite a lovely thing…where two halves make a whole.
As I said, just delightful.