This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

That's John Gill

Posted by: James Lileks under Praise, Technology Updated: August 18, 2014 - 12:28 PM

There’s no word for something that’s dorky, nerdy, and geeky all at once. We need a turducken-like word to describe nested layers of sci-fi obsessiveness. It’s geeky to know how warp speed is achieved in Star Trek; it’s nerdy to know the names of its inventor and his life story; it’s dorky to be unable to sustain human contact with other people unless they know these things.

That said, here’s some dorknerdky.

When I was a kid I drew Star Trek comic books. Couldn’t draw people, but I could draw the Enterprise, and that was sufficient. There was little else a fan could do; the show was long gone, the cartoon was off the air, the novelizations of the TV shows were just recaps of stories thrice told. Oh, there was talk of bringing it back, but we all knew it was over. Here’s lookin’ at you, Yeoman Rand. We’ll always have Rigel.

Nowadays I imagine going back to my young self, and asking what he’d like to know. I suspect Star Trek would come up. Did they ever make another show? Well, kid, yes and no. The good news: they made a movie. A movie! Was it awesome? It was . . . endurable, and we made lots of excuses at the time, but it was hard going. So that was the end of it, then. Drat. No. They made 12 more.

At which point my young self would be confused, because there weren’t two movies about the same thing, let alone 13. That’s when I’d have to elaborate. See, they brought Star Trek back, and it lasted for seven years. Then there was another Star Trek show that lasted for seven years, and while it was going on there was another Star Trek show that lasted for seven years, then one that lasted for four. There’s a quarter-century of Star Trek in your future, and for the most part you’ll like it.

The hard part would be explaining the fan movies, I think. With a dozen movies and hundreds episodes extant, there would still be such enormous hunger for the original Trek that people would spend their own money to build the sets and write the scripts and film their own versions of Star Trek, with varying degrees of artistic success. By 2014 we hadn’t returned to the moon or invented warp drive, but . . . there are consolations.

There will come a time when the tools of creation have been distributed to the audience, and the audience responds by making something that exceeds the source material. Something visually indistinguishable from the products of Hollywood, something that isn’t bound by the crack-monkey hit-the-beats dictates of a committee effort, something that channels all the raw geek fan love and brings to life the Star Trek you always knew was there, but had never seen like this.

That’s a trailer for the 20-minute finished portion of Return to Axanar, which is here. If I’d show this to my 15-year-old self without any context of what came before in the last quarter-century., I think he would have been unable to walk for a week. Yes, there are other fan-made movies and web series, and some look remarkably good. But the acting and the script often make you wince. This has actors who’ve done many things - including actual Star Trek TV shows.

Made by fans, funded by fans: it’s a Kickstarter project.

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