|USS Enterprise, image courtesy of Memory Alpha|
Last week marked the 45th anniversary of the television premiere of Star Trek. I've loved this show since I first watched it on late night television reruns in the 80s. It still remains an enduring passion after all this time. Star Trek was escapist fantasy in the best sense; A constant reminder that there was a larger universe out there than I could ever imagine. And I continue to believe in the value of space exploration and scientific research. While I have come to recognize the limitations of the show itself, its progressive tone, utopian vision, and ethnically diverse cast continue to be a source of inspiration. Star Trek was the first television series to impress on me that science fiction could intelligently address contemporary socio-political issues. And while the formula it originally employed has become stale to downright embarrassing from overuse, Trek's influence can still be felt within the television industry, popular science fiction, and popular culture in general.
Other commentary: David Alan Doane, They Boldly Went, Ryan Paul, Charlie Jane Anders, Ty Templeton,
While it might be awhile before we have a better overall understanding of the influence of 9-11, it would be equally hard to deny that it has had an impact on popular fiction. The event certainly raises questions about the nature of evil, the uses and abuses and limits of power, human rights, and it has inspired new apocalyptic scenarios. I'm of the opinion that the superhero genre would have been popular even if 9-11 didn't happen, but Charlie Jane Anders lists the various ways in which the present glut of superhero movies refer to it. Annalee Newitz does the same with science fiction. Andrew O'Hehir notes how some of the most sucessful film franchises only obliquely refered to 9-11. Matt Zoller Seitz lists various works that were inluenced by 9-11, starting with In the Shadow of no Towers. Paul Gravett discusses two works by Joe Sacco and David B.
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