8

OK…it’s not often you run into stuff like this. In 1933, Edmond Hamilton wrote a pulp story, “Kaldar, World of Antares” (Magic Carpet, Apr ‘33). The story, beyond it’s interesting features, is just a good pulp SF yarn from a veteran writer. What are those features? First, an almost exact description of the transporter ala Star Trek. Then, an almost exact description of light sabres ala Star Wars. In the same story! From 1933! In one of the few reprints of the story, from Donald Wolheim’s “Swordsmen in the Sky” anthology (ACE, 1964), we can see that the illustration looks like it’s straight out of Star Wars, with clashing light sabres meeting with explosive results. Also included in the anthology is a story by Leigh Brackett, Hamilton’s wife. Brackett wrote the original draft of “The Empire Strikes Back” script. Did this 1964 anthology inspire Roddenberry or Lucas? Can these all be just coincidences?This book comes out of Rusty Hevelin’s collection and had the Rod Serling ad tucked inside. Rusty and Serling attended Antioch College together. More coincidence?

  • What Roddenberry said:Starfleet is not a military organisation.
  • What JJ Abrams (together with most subsequent Star Trek writers) heard:Starfleet is definitely a military organisation.
  • What Roddenberry said:The Federation operates on a moneyless economic model.
  • What JJ Abrams heard:The Federation operates on a capitalist economic model.
  • What Roddenberry said:The Federation is a futuristic, post-scarcity utopia with no poverty or bigotry.
  • What JJ Abrams heard:The Federation is the United States of America in space.
Intolerance in the 23rd century? Improbable! If man survives that long, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear. It’s a manifestation of the greatness that God, or whatever it is, gave us. This infinite variation and delight, this is part of the optimism we built into Star Trek.
—  Gene Roddenberry, in The Making of Star Trek (1968)
6

Seth MacFarlane on Gene Roddenberry: Hall of Fame 2010

"Now how many science fiction franchises are so well-founded that they could tell a purely character based story with no pyrotechnics. Gene knew Star Trek was not about the space battles the special effects, the action - anybody could do that. It was about the people, and the ideas. Some of the best star trek installments looked like they cost a nickel. They did comedy beautifully - maybe you'd remember Leonard Nimoy got the job directing "Three Men And A Baby" because of Star Trek V. Also not to be undervalued is that Gene's shows took science seriously and as a result Roddenberry left his mark on generations of scientist, physicians and astronauts who credit star trek as the reason they entered their professions. Roddenberry's vision of the future literally shaped our presen" (x)

We laughed and we joked, and so far we hadn’t even gotten to the reason why I was there…Finally they said, ‘This has really been wonderful,’ and they asked me to read for them. I said, 'I’d love to.’ They handed me a script and apologized, saying the part I’d be playing would be the communications officer, but that they were changing the whole role, that there was nothing for me to read, and would I read this part here, because that would probably be close…

And I said, 'Oh, well, tell me about this Spock person, what does she do?’ And they explained, 'Oh, wait a minute, you’re not reading for Spock now. Spock is male and has already been cast. We just felt in order to get a feeling…’ I said, 'Why don’t you tell me about the character, the person, and I can read it as if I’m going after that role, and you can see if I can act.’

Joe Sargent said, 'That’s a great idea…He’s half-alien, has green blood, and he’s totally logical about everything.’ I said, 'What do you mean he’s half-alien?’ They said, 'His mother’s an earthling,’ and I said, 'Well, then he doesn’t have total logic,’ and we laughed about that.

So I read for the role, pretending I was up for the part of a female Spock…When I finished, one of the guys said, 'Call down to personnel to see if Leonard Nimoy has signed his contract yet.’ Of course, they knew he had, but that was their charming way of telling me that I had really done a good job.

—  Nichelle Nichols describes her audition for Star Trek in front of Gene Roddenberry, Joe Sargent, Eddie Milkis, and Gregg Peters. From a 1987 interview printed in The Star Trek Interview Book by Allan Asherman.

In its vision of the future, Star Trek pushed the principles of equality a little further forward. In Star Trek equality is kinetic, quick, and real. It is not equal opportunity, but equal reality. It means that everyone’s stomach is full, not potentially full, and that everyone’s home is a decent place to live. It has a lot to do with the verb to be. Or as Gene remarked in several of his speeches, “We are on a journey to keep an appointment with whatever we are.”

Equality means, in Star Trek, that there is no equal pay for equal work – there is no pay for any work, because one works for the love of it and no other reason. Everyone’s real job, according to Star Trek, is to explore what it means to be human; to refuse to accept what we perceive as the limits of the human mind, to ignore them; to traverse every possible dimension of outer space and find out what’s out there; and to travel every possible level of intradimensional mind space and find out what’s in there.

— 

Yvonne Fern, “Gene Roddenberry The Last Conversation” page 15.

What an outstanding quote, summing up Star Trek so neatly in a couple of paragraphs. So many have tried to talk about Star Trek without acknowledging this, or with trying to shoehorn it into a different form, but if you try to square this circle then you diminish the Star Trek stories you tell as a result. 

“It is not equal opportunity, but equal reality.”

Just think about the implications of that for a moment. 

“IT IS NOT EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, BUT EQUAL REALITY.”

Mind blown yet?

7

Gene Roddenberry on Star WarsI like Star Wars. It was young King Arthur growing up, slay-slaying the evil emperor finally. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of entertainment - Everything doesn’t have to create a philosophy for you - for your whole life. You can also have fun” - Gene Roddenberry footage from the documentary Trek Nation.