I saw Quantum of Solace yesterday with my husband and son, and we really enjoyed it. It was loud and fast and had pretty women for them and a dashing spy for me. For the first time since Connery, we can all agree that we like the actor playing Bond (I didn’t like Roger Moore, my husband never liked Pierce Brosnan in the role).
But my real moment of geek-dom came during the previews.
I have a confession to make. Some of you might be surprised. Others, not so much.
My name is Gina Wilkins, and I’m a closet Trekker.
No, I don’t dress up in costume and go to cons (I haven’t had the body to wear a Seven of Nine catsuit in some time now). I don’t read the novels. But I have seen every episode of every live-action Star Trek series, multiple times (maybe I missed a couple of DS9s. I’m not sure). I even watched all four seasons of Star Trek Enterprise, which was so poorly executed and ended so abysmally that my daughter and I call it “the Star Trek that never existed.” I have seen every Star Trek film — and yes, I own every one except that awful “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” Not even for Trek would I watch that one again.
Seeing the preview for the new Star Trek movie made me sit up in my seat and say out loud, “I am so there.” I don’t know what they did to Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows (someone on Television Without Pity suggested that it involved salad tongs and a weed whacker), but he actually looked Spock-ish. As long as he doesn’t slice off any skulls, I can accept him in the role (for those who don’t recognize the allusion, I also watch Heroes, even though I — like the writers, apparently — long ago gave up trying to keep the storylines straight).
I was eleven years old when the original Star Trek premiered. I loved the idea of being in outer space, of all those alien cultures, of all the adventures to be had “out there.” I had a silly crush on Mr. Spock. Even then, I wove romances in my mind, and I lulled myself to sleep at night with stories of Mr. Spock finding a way to reunite with Mariette Hartley from the episode “All Our Yesterdays” (this was long before I’d ever heard the term “fan fic”).
The new film looks like it has potential to be a lot of fun. I don’t much care about canon or continuity — there have been inconsistencies throughout the franchise. One of the most glaring that pops up to me is Kirk’s brother, Sam, who died in the original series. Later, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Kirk says he never had a brother, but Spock was like a brother to him. That bugged me a little — but big deal. It’s fiction. None of these people ever really existed. If the new film rewrites their history a bit — fine. Just do it well. Tell me a good story. Make it fun (quick — what were Captain Kirk’s last words in Star Trek Generations?)
It wasn’t the first television show that captured my imagination and made me want to tell stories about those characters. The earliest I remember was “The Rifleman.” And I had a serious “thing” for Johnny Madrid of “Lancer.” And Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy and The Monkees and …
Am I confessing these things just to humiliate myself? I don’t think so. I’m just illustrating the evolution of a writer. I honestly do not remember not wanting to write. To tell stories. By the time I was in high school and college, I’d outgrown the “fan fic” stage and wanted to create my own characters with their own histories and quirks and challenges. I trained as a journalist, worked in advertising and employee training, but my heart was in writing. Receiving my first rejection letter after finally getting up the nerve to submit was devastating, and the second rejection even more ego-crushing, but I couldn’t seem to stop. I needed to write, and I needed to be published to validate that life-long urge. In 1986, my career dream came true.
Ninety-three books later, I still have the need to tell stories. I have new goals — I’m trying a different type of book now that I’ll tell you more about in the future. There are days when I don’t want to work, when I’d rather go shop or play or read someone else’s books or watch a movie, but I have to meet a deadline so I’m forced to write. On those days, I remind myself of how much I wanted this, how hard I worked to get here. And I think of all the fun I had enjoying the product of other writers’ imaginings — from TV to movies to the books that were always in my hand. Yes, there is fiction — literature, serious films, etc. — that is meant to make us think, to make us grow, to make us better human beings, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for escapist fare that’s simply meant to provide a few hours of pleasure.
So, tell me a good story, J.J. Abrams. Make me laugh, make my pulse race, make me care about those fictional people on the screen. I’ll try to do the same for my readers.