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Happy 50th birthday to Star Trek!

This is the franchise that taught me to love science fiction before I could read (and, in fact, it greatly inspired my reading), before Star Wars, before school. Its characters, lessons, and fandom have had a major and ongoing impact on my life, my family, and my work.

Today I raise my glass in loving memory of and lasting gratitude to those who made Star Trek and who have walked on to that Undiscovered Country, including (but most certainly not limited to)
Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry,
DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, and James Doohan,
Grace Lee Whitney, Mark Lenard, Jane Wyatt, Ricardo Montelban, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, Michael Ansara, and Brock Peters,
Gene L. Coon, Alexander Courage, Jerry Goldsmith, Robert Wise, Harve Bennett, Samuel A. Peeples, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Adrian Spies, S. Bar-David, Jerry Sohl, Paul Schneider, Theodore Sturgeon, Oliver Crawford, Fredric Brown, Don Mankiewicz, Gilbert Ralston, John Meredyth Lucas, Jerome Bixby, Margaret Armen, John M. Ford, James Blish, Jack B. Sowards, and Joan Winston,
and, gone far too soon,
Anton Yelchin.

So... favorites.

My husband and I got to talking about our Trek favorites (several of which we rewatched for our recent Trek-athon), and I thought I'd share. I'm not saying these below are the very best, but they are my very favorites.

(Disclaimer: I left a lot of favorites off this list in the interest of brevity. If you ask me on another day, some of my choices therefore might change.)

Favorite Star Trek Primary Character: Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy
Dr. McCoy is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, full stop. He's been a very real inspiration to me throughout my life. I lay much of the credit for my love of this "H.L. Mencken in Space" at the feet of the brilliant DeForest Kelley, whose deeply humane performance gave McCoy great life and great heart. Karl Urban's remarkably gifted (re)interpretation of the good old country doctor remains one of my favorite aspects of the new film series.

Favorite Star Trek Recurring Character: This must be a tie between Deep Space Nine's Elim Garak and Weyoun

Star Trek: The Original Series
Favorite Episode: "The Empath"
Runners Up: "City on the Edge of Forever," "Space Seed," and I'm stopping there because this list could go on and on...

Star Trek: The Animated Series
Favorite Episode: "How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth"

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Favorite Episode: "The Inner Light"
Runner Up: "Ship in a Bottle"

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Favorite Episode: "Far Beyond the Stars"
Runners Up: Favorite Episode: "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River," "The Wire"

Star Trek: Voyager
Favorite Episode: "The Chute"
Runners Up: "Deadlock," "The Year of Hell," Parts 1 & 2

Star Trek: Enterprise
Favorite Episode: "Twilight"
Runners Up: "In A Mirror, Darkly" Parts 1 & 2, "The Andorian Incident"

Favorite Star Trek Film: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Favorite Star Trek Novel (The Original Series): Ishmael by Barbara Hambly
Runners Up: The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane, Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan, How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (novelization) by Vonda N. McIntyre

So that's me. What are some of your Trek favorites?


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 8th, 2016 01:23 pm (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC)
I love it!
Sep. 8th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC)
*raises a glass* To fifty glorious years!

Bread and Circuses, Mirror Mirror, Amok Time, City On the Edge of Forever, Journey to Babel, and I could go on. <3

I've only ventured into Next Gen a little bit so far, and not enough to have a favorite yet, but I look forward to many more good stories!
Sep. 14th, 2016 02:54 pm (UTC)
Bread and Circuses, Mirror Mirror, Amok Time, City On the Edge of Forever, Journey to Babel, and I could go on. <3

Yes to all of these!!! There were so many great episodes.

I'll confess that Next Gen is my least favorite Trek, but then again that's a bit like saying my least favorite chocolate or my least favorite red wine... it's still great! ;)
Sep. 8th, 2016 07:55 pm (UTC)
The Chute is a favourite of mine too. Sacred Ground is my favourite VOY episode.

Love many TOS episodes. Amok Time and DEvil in the Dark are especiall favourites.

TOS- anything with Data and his cat.

DS- Forget the titles but the episode where the Dax symbiant is stolen and the one where Odo loses his shapeshifting powers and is left perched on a rock.
Sep. 14th, 2016 02:55 pm (UTC)
Yay for another fan of "The Chute"!!! :)

"Amok Time" and "Devil in the Dark" were both fantastic.

I know which DS9 eps you're talking about! Both were great. I really loved the idea of the Sax symbiant. Such a unique idea, and it played out so well over the series.
Sep. 8th, 2016 08:54 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3

I have been rolling around in the feels online all day, but the NASA tribute video made me extra happy:

Sep. 14th, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this!!!! <3 <3 <3
Sep. 8th, 2016 09:46 pm (UTC)
Right there with you on "Wrath of Khan." Not only is it the best Trek film, but it's one of the best SF films, period.
Sep. 14th, 2016 02:57 pm (UTC)
YES! Yes. Well said.
Ace Hamilton
Sep. 9th, 2016 12:56 am (UTC)
Some good choices! I agree about McCoy.

One of my favorite episodes is A Taste of Armageddon. Such a unique concept, one that could only be told in a science fictional context, and yet it seems more relevant now than ever.
Sep. 14th, 2016 02:58 pm (UTC)
That was a great episode! And you know, you're right: it feels eerily prescient, doesn't it? Now I need a rewatch. Thanks for the inspiration!
Ace Hamilton
Sep. 15th, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of service! Do you have an episode that qualifies as a guilty pleasure? One that you can't really defend, but love (and not in a Spock's Brain kind of way)?

For me it would be The Apple because it was the first episode I ever saw. I didn't watch again for quite a while. When I finally decided to give the show a second chance, I tuned in and it was The Apple again! I'm lucky I ever became a fan at all. :)
Ace Hamilton
Sep. 9th, 2016 01:01 am (UTC)
Despite the wide gulf between the best and least TOS episodes, I have come to realize there is only one episode that holds nothing of value for me: And the Children Shall Lead. I love watching all the others.
Sep. 14th, 2016 02:59 pm (UTC)
LOL. It doesn't really reach the so-bad-it's-good level of "Spock's Brain," does it?

Ace Hamilton
Sep. 15th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC)
No, it just kind of sits there!
Sep. 9th, 2016 01:24 am (UTC)
I just got all verklempt, reading the list of all the dear folks who have trekked on. It's humbling to be human.

My favorite Trek episode is "City on the Edge of Forever", although i must say that I love "The Empath" as well. They both have such....transcendence, I guess. Because Spock is my favorite character, almost anything that featured him was a winner in my book.

(didn't really watch much Trek after the first season of TNG. No time. Babies!)

(so don't have any opinions on any of the books or series that followed. Loved the episode of TNG that had Data losing his head ....in...ummm....San Francisco? With Mark Twain in attendance? )

The novels of the original series that I absolutely loved were "Price of the Phoenix" and "Fate of the Phoenix". I wonder what I'd think if I read them now. Can't remember a thing about any of those books and I bought them as quickly as they were released. Still have them....somewhere!

I thought it was a brilliant idea, the re-booting of the franchise. Opens up a lot of possibilities. I know purists will hate it, but somehow, I sort of view filmed stories as being a bit different than written ones. By that I mean: JRR Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings. He invented that world and all that is in it. Therefore, when Peter Jackson comes along and makes a film out of it and changes what Tolkien wrote, (even IF it is a brilliant film(s), then I think purists have a right to bitch. On the other hand, if you have a world that was created strictly *for* film, with characters (etc) constantly in flux, constantly evolving, then I think that canon is something that is pretty flexible (or unreachable!) as well. Are there any hard and fast rules about the Federation, truly? (well, not if you're James Tiberius Kirk!)

wow, that was a long ramble. Sorry.

Happy 50th, Star Trek. I wish I might be around for your next 50....perhaps if The Doctor might give me a lift, I shall be!

Edited at 2016-09-09 01:33 am (UTC)
Sep. 14th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
It's humbling to be human.

That it is. I teared up more than once, just typing the names.

You're going to inspire me to go back to Price of the Phoenix and Fate of the Phoenix. It's been forever, but I remember both really scratched my h/c itch. They were the closest thing officially published that I found reminded me of the best and most powerful fan fiction stories.

I agree with you wholeheartedly about the reboot. I especially loved that the 2009 movie established that this was an alternate timeline, a delicious exploration of "What if?" without denying the original stories or their truths. And the cast is simply perfect. Perfect.

My favorite part thus far has been the exploration of the Pike-Kirk relationship, and Pike's place in Trek history, in general.

I've been frustrated with the studio -- in particular, I felt Star Trek Beyond was strong in a lot of positive ways, but it was both wrongly and under promoted (the first Trek film in history not to have a novelization, if I'm not mistaken!), and that's disheartening. I'm also brokenhearted over the loss of the gifted Anton Yelchin and the idea of a future Trek that will forever be missing its brilliant Pavel Chekov. That said, I do look forward to seeing where that part of the franchise chooses to go next.

Happy 50th, Star Trek. I wish I might be around for your next 50....perhaps if The Doctor might give me a lift, I shall be!

If there's room in the TARDIS (I hear it's bigger on the inside), I'd love to join you so we could celebrate the 100th anniversary together!
Sep. 14th, 2016 07:14 pm (UTC)
ha ha! (re the Phoenix books) Yeah, I guess that is the correct sort of label to put on that, isn't it? Never really thought about it before. Although....yeah, now that you remind me, some of that stuff was quite cloying .....it's been years, maybe i'l revisit it as well. And say "meh".

Reboot: it's really such a simple idea, when you think about it. And yet....now they can simply do ANYTHING. I loved it when they made Kirk the person who sacrificed himself for the sake of the ship and not Spock....that alone opened so many possibilities in my mind. But they are really without limit. And, a big YES ! to the cast. I was telling my son the other day that i love how Pine handles 'interpreting' James T. And i LOVE the Pike/Kirk relationship. It's wonderful. I don't follow ST fan fic, but i can imagine that they are (or they should be) having a field day with where the fleshing out of the story has taken them (and i don't mean in a slashy way). Perhaps the studio WILL do a novelization at some point??? I'm disheartened with studios in general right now. Look what those dolts at WB did with the 'new' Hobbit/LOTR 'collector's edition'. What nonsense. Fie! PHFFFFTTTTT! And a lot of other stuff! Re Anton: the older we get, the more triumphs we witness, and the more tragedies. But the tragedies.....it feels as if we are being pulled along with our beloveds....even the ones that we really don't know. They will fill that gap somehow, and, like you, I look forward to *how*. They have a chance to be brilliant, a chance to look back at Anton and forward at the same time. *crossing fingers* and hoping for goodness.

I would love to share some of the space in the spatial TARDIS with you... what fun~! Looking forward to that #100!
Sep. 17th, 2016 10:35 pm (UTC)
I just found something that (if you've never seen it) I think you are sure to love


A better and more evocative rendering of "The Empath" ....would be difficult to find....
Sep. 18th, 2016 01:46 am (UTC)
oy......today I revisited "Price" and "Fate". If I'd only let them (like James T) rest in peace, rightly or wrongly adored in a distant part of my memory. They do read like fan-fic. Not even top-notch fan-fic. And, oh, the slash implications (which I didn't get at the time!)

was there no editor to impose reason? Apparently not.

However, the all time Stinker (and Slinker (although it's unfair to Gollum, really) of all ST novels just came to mind, although I can't remember (thank god) the name of it. It was a mash-up of Trek with Here Come the Brides.

I began with "oy" and thus shall I close: OY OY OY. And....Ow. A whole lotta "OW".

Sep. 9th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
Hey, many of your likes are similar to mine, imagine that! :) Dr. McCoy was always my favorite too, although I do love Kirk, as played by William Shatner, in a ridiculously protective way. Any of the books by Diane Duane are absolutely wonderful, in large part because she clearly adores McCoy as well. Uhura's Song is definitely next on my list, and Ishmael is one of my guilty-pleasure faves; it's like reading Mary-Sue crossover fanfic, it hits so many cliched tropes that it's ridiculous, and I love it ANYWAY.

Sep. 14th, 2016 03:13 pm (UTC)
Hey, many of your likes are similar to mine, imagine that!

Ha! I never would have guessed. ;)

You're so right about Diane Duane's obvious soft spot for McCoy. I love that she loves him!

Ishmael is one of my guilty-pleasure faves; it's like reading Mary-Sue crossover fanfic, it hits so many cliched tropes that it's ridiculous, and I love it ANYWAY.

*cackles* This sums it up perfectly! Its multiverse-ness is something that could never happen today, I'd imagine, thanks to all the copyright holders involved and permissions needed. It represents a blissfully "under the radar" moment in time, and it's crazy.
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:33 am (UTC)
Have you read Diane Duane's "Young Wizards" series? I don't think you'd have missed it, it seems to be right up your alley, but just in case...it's amazing!

Oh, and what about "The Price of the Phoenix" and "The Fate of the Phoenix"? Those were...wow, I'm surprised that those got published way back then! I need to look them up again. I loved them, but they made me very uncomfortable back in the day because I had never read anything like them. (I mostly had that reaction to "Fate", if I remember correctly.) Now that I am jaded by fanfic I don't think they'd faze me. :D
Sep. 11th, 2016 02:50 am (UTC)
Dr. McCoy is my favorite, too!!!

We started watching the 50th anniversary special from the History Channel and I loved the guy who summed up McCoy and Spock's relationship as, "I can't stand you, but I love you!" Then he said he totally got that because it's how his entire family relates to one another. ♥

Back when I was collecting Trek fanzines, my favorites were MIND MELD and GALACTIC DISCOURSE because they put an emphasis on the threesome (Kirk, Spock, and McCoy) instead of focusing entirely on Kirk and Spock.
Sep. 14th, 2016 03:17 pm (UTC)
We started watching the 50th anniversary special from the History Channel and I loved the guy who summed up McCoy and Spock's relationship as, "I can't stand you, but I love you!" Then he said he totally got that because it's how his entire family relates to one another. ♥


I'm tickled to hear McCoy is your favorite, too.

OMG, I still have some old issues of Mind Meld. You're right about its focus on the three of them. That's what I loved, too! *instant nostalgia*
Ace Hamilton
Sep. 15th, 2016 03:58 pm (UTC)
I actually had a cat named McCoy. He just had that personality. "I'm a cat, not an escalator!"
Sep. 11th, 2016 02:56 am (UTC)
Oh! And I wanted to share my favorite Jeffrey Combs moment, except--it's not from Trek, although I enjoyed ALL of his performances on Trek. It's from the trailer for Re-Animator, a movie too gruesome for me to watch, although TODS loved it. (I often share your HPL-related posts with him.) But I did get brave enough to watch the trailer. Remember that moment where Herbert West says, "So-and-So won't bother us anymore," and another character says, "Is he dead?" There's this PERFECT little pause and wince just before West says, "Well ... not any more." Eeee!

I think my very favorite recurring actor in multiple roles and different species, though, is Suzie Plaxton--Vulcan, half-Klingon, dinosaur ... wait, that last one was on Dinosaurs. ;-)
Sep. 14th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC)
OMG, Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator is the best!!! *flails* Every line is pitch perfect. You've just picked out one of my favorites.

Great choice with Suzie Plaxton! She could do anything. (Apparently even dinosaurs, LOL!)
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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