What has Star Trek fandom meant to me? To answer that question, I’d have to go back to 1991 when I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Saturday nights. That’s what first sparked my interest in the whole science fiction genre. In the interceding years, I have taken an interest in other sci-fi franchises from the semi-utopian universe of Babylon 5 to more dystopian futures depicted in recent series such as Almost Human and The 100. The Star Trek franchise still has a unique spin on what a more utopian future could look like–one where a society is not divided along racial and ethnic lines or on antiquated gender roles, one in which a united Earth is a true meritocracy.
In terms of what fan-ficcing has meant to me is a whole different matter. I certainly enjoyed acting out some of my favorite scenes from the various Star Trek series when I was a kid. The notion of fan-fiction writing, on the other hand, provided a whole different outlet for “pretend play” in my adult years. It was a means to expand our horizons, to look into a very complex fictional universe that Deep Space Nine first opened our eyes to.
It wasn’t a transition that happened overnight, though. Being a fan-fiction writer was not something I had really considered until the release of the Deep Space Nine “re-launch” stories in novel and comic book form. While the televised series did its best to wrap up various character and story arcs, it left a lot of unanswered questions. Will Benjamin Sisko really be back some time in the future, as he promised Kasidy? What will be the state of relations between the Cardassian Empire and its neighbors after the war is over? Will Odo easily be able to reform the Dominion now that he has reunited with his people? I formed some of my own ideas about how to expand the universe of Star Trek. Those first ideas, which I started putting on paper in 2002, are now in a box somewhere collecting dust. None of them got published anywhere on the world wide web. Those ideas gained traction after Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled in 2005, and there were no immediate for another televised Star Trek series.
In effect, my authorship of Star Trek fan fiction has been a way of expanding on the vision that Gene Rodenberry first showed us back in the 1960’s. It has provided a lense through which look into a very large and diverse fictional universe. It is very often refreshing to know that even in a utopian future, human beings still struggle with the same problems from embarassing family squabbles to the angst over unrequited love. Reading and writing fan fiction has given me a means of delving into people, places, and historical events that the televised series and movies only scratched the surface of.