Forty years from one step

Like almost everyone in my generation (who isn’t more than three years older than me) has lived in a world where humans have set foot on the moon. For us, this isn’t just an historical event — it’s a part of our culture. Almost everyone knows the phrase:

That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.

It’s more than a line from a movie. It’s more than a scene from a newsreel. It’s more than a footnote from a history textbook. It’s the moment when the sheer power of human will and imagination proved that the impossible is not beyond reach.

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Where Star Trek went wrong

Many years ago, I wrote an article for the University of Waterloo’s student newspaper, The Imprint, where I laid into Star Trek: Generations (page 24) as a not-so-great adaptation of a television show to a movie. To say that I was a tad harsh is to characterise me as a tad off-beat. The fact that I referred to William Shatner as a “carpet head” is now thoroughly embarrasing (I have significantly more respect for him than I did 15 years ago).  

I considered this a bit of a coup, myself. Not the lambasting of the movie — the fact that I managed to get the article into the school’s newspaper which, at the time, had a policy of first-received, first-published. For those of you who won’t know, the University of Waterloo once held the lofty position of Geek Central. (It’s now a trendy school, apparently. I’m having trouble coming to terms with that.) There were more Trekkies per capita at that University than for 1,000 kms in any direction.  

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I’d actually missed something extremely significant about the movie, that would come back to haunt Trekkies and Trekkers alike many years later. Something so important not only to Star Trek, but to the genre as well, that there’s a serious need to retcon that movie.  

Kirk shouldn’t have died.

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