Though I started out reading mysteries and writing them, Star Trek’s arrival on the scene changed that.
The series had just gone into syndication in Los Angeles the same year women got into West Point. Both these were big deals for me because everything I’d read and was generally out in the media said I was important enough to be…well, much of anything.
Here, we had women becoming officers in the prestigious military academy.
And Star Trek? Uhura was on the bridge!
Looking at it from today’s perspective, Star Trek itself never did have really good roles for women. The Orville did what Star Trek couldn’t.
But at that time? It was far more than what I’d seen. The bridge was an important place. She was doing something important.
Star Trek also was a very different show. Its roots were in the Western, so there was a lot of fun action but not violent. The stories had a lot of characterization. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy didn’t always get along, but they remained friends.
The show felt incredibly different. Was all science fiction like this?
Not everyone felt that way. The special effects…aliens…I was often told in school that I was weird for liking Star Trek. That I should like Little Rascals (also airing on KTLA), which I couldn’t stand; or the Fonz (very hot in the hearts of many teens). I didn’t understand the appeal of the Fonz either.
One woman from our church kept saying that her son had worked on the set and everything was so fake. That has me scratching my head today. All TV is fake. Your point?
But Star Trek got me to read science fiction. Now I mined the library for those books. We had all the classic authors of the pulp era.
Small problem though: I didn’t like the adult books. I know from Dean Wesley Smith that the genre started like the Western—you know, good guys win. It was very popular at that point. Then it veered away from that and lost popularity as a genre.
So I liked the children’s books (probably called young adult today). They were adventures in space and very exciting to read.
But writing it? I wasn’t even thinking about it. Because fantasy was yet to come and that’ll be in Part III.
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