Tag Archives: Gene Roddenberry

Through the wormhole — 10/8/09

A few weeks ago Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an article for New Scientist, Science fiction: the stories of now. It’s a stirring defense of the genre and its importance in today’s world. Robinson criticizes the jurors of Britain’s Booker award for judging “in ignorance” when they routinely overlook sf. You tell ’em, Kim!

By going here you can find an audio file of a radio program titled “The subversive side of science fiction.” This aired on an NPR affiliate in Louisville, KY, and features two guests, both sf authors/editors/scholars: Amy Sturgis and James Gunn. I loaded it on my mp3 player and listened to it while taking a walk one night. Good show.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie District 9, just don’t make any plans to see it in Nigeria; it seems they’re offended by it and are pressuring theaters not to show it. The reason?

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes.

To which one person replied:

“It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”

This article in National Geographic News is about predictions made by H.G. Wells that have come true.

Soon you’ll be able to see the pilot episodes for a couple of Gene Roddenberry shows that could have been. From the sound of it though, I’d say it’s a good thing he went with Star Trek instead.

Costumes of the sci-fi stars will be on display at the California Museum in Sacramento, running through January 10. Way too far from me, but maybe you’re luckier than I am.

Here’s something I found interesting. It’s an interview with Patrick Gygar, who is the director of the Maison d’Ailleurs (“House of Elsewhere”), a science fiction museum in Switzerland.

And lastly, the Wall Street Journal’s Book Lover column received a letter from a woman asking how to get her 13-year-old nephew off of reading science fiction and onto other genres. To her credit, the columnist, Cynthia Crossen, defended the boy’s interest in sf, and told his aunt:

So Aunt B.’s mission is to gradually nudge the boy along the spectrum from Godzilla and 50-foot women to H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein and Douglas Adams.

Excellent advice.

Star Trek’s computers sadly silent at the loss of their voice, Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett, that familiar voice of the computer in all the Star Trek series and most of the movies, passed away yesterday at the age of 78, surviving husband Gene Roddenberry by 17 years. This is sad news indeed; I’ve been hearing that voice in the various series for nearly my entire life. Not to mention seeing her in her various acting roles — the original Number One, Nurse Chapel, and my favorite, the fun and flamboyant Lwaxana Troi. A true loss for Star Trek fans everywhere. Says Leonard Nimoy:

“She was a valiant lady. She worked hard, she was straightforward, she was dedicated to ‘Star Trek’ and Gene, and a lot of people thought very highly of her.”

Which is pretty much what I’ve always heard and seems to be the general consensus. She was a devoted part of one of science fiction’s most historic and widespread successes, and she said in 1998, “It’s been a hell of a ride.” It sounds as if she had a happy and fulfilling life, and I’m sure she’ll be missed by many.

I found a couple of videos for you (courtesy of YouTube) as my small way of paying tribute to Star Trek’s First Lady. This one (posted by SuperTrekNerd) is an homage to Barrett’s computer voice on all the various Trek shows:

This one (posted by SciFiDude42) is a short segment from Entertainment Tonight with Barrett as a special guest discussing the changing role of women in Star Trek:

Star Trek: Creating the Classic (Roddenberry interview, 1986)

Here’s a nice little interview with Gene Roddenberry on Good Morning America from 1986, talking about the creation of Star Trek and some of the issues related to it.

I really liked this comment:

Mass communications is our language today, between one another; and we can’t say, “well let’s not really talk about anything serious on television.” That is a criminal statement, and a criminal intention.

Right on, Gene. We miss you, buddy.