This spring, there have been two major events in the world of science fiction: The cancellation of the latest Star Trek series, (Enterprise), and the release of the latest Star Wars prequel (Revenge of the Sith). It's a sad commentary on the state of science fiction writing today to say that Enterprise was canned because it stunk, and Revenge has been both anticipated and dreaded because fans are hoping it doesn't stink too much.
For those of you who aren't into sci-fi, all the hubbub might be a bit confusing. So to explain it all, this week we compare and contrast Star Trek (ST), Star Wars (SW) and their respective fans.
SW: The phrase “I am your father” usually refers to Darth Vader talking to Luke Skywalker.
ST: The phrase “I am your father” could refer to James T. Kirk talking to any number of youngsters across the galaxy.
SW fans: Really, really want a light saber of their own, but would use it sparingly and only against forces of the Dark Side.
ST fans: Really, really want a phaser of their own, set on stun, but would use it indiscriminately against: that idiot who cut them off on the freeway; their boss; the yappy dog across the street…
SW: Has the Millennium Falcon, which is a fast, extremely maneuverable ship unless the hyperdrive is broken….
ST:: Has the Enterprise, which is a large, powerful ship unless the dilithium crystals have been shattered, used up, stolen, burnt out….
Fantasy novels: Have wizards with amazing powers and fantastic spells unless the wizard is rendered unconscious, has lost his staff/wand/familiar….
SW fans: Dress up like Stormtroopers, Wookies, and Jedis, and are generally regarded as weird by society.
ST fans: Dress up like Vulcans, Romulans, and Ferengi, and are generally regarded as weird by society.
Sports fans: Wear giant foam cheeses, or call themselves puckheads, and paint their bare chests or faces with team colors and are generally thought to be perfectly normal by society.
SW: In the “character written in to state the obvious for the benefit of the audience” department, has Admiral “It's a trap!” Akbar.
ST: Has Counselor Deanna “I sense danger, Captain” Troi.
SW fans: Of all the characters, Star Wars fans don't really want to play Jabba the Hutt, from Return of the Jedi. That's because he was a big, ugly slug.
ST fans: Of all the characters, Star Trek fans really don't want to play the guys in the red shirts from the original Star Trek series. That's because their main job was to be eaten by big, ugly slugs, or worse.
SW: The women of Star Wars were made to wear elaborate hairdos that involved the painful application of hair accessories to keep them in place.
ST: The women of Star Trek were made to wear elaborate costumes that involved the painful application of duct tape to hold them in place.
SW fans: Have never forgiven George Lucas for Jar Jar Binks.
ST fans: Have never forgiven the writers for Wesley Crusher.
Non sci-fi fans: Assume that because Star Wars or Star Trek fans like to obsess over the details of technology, costume, or space travel, that they are anti-social types that don't like relationships with the opposite sex.
Non sci-fi fans: Clearly have never seen Star Wars or Star Trek fans swoon over Han Solo, young Obi-Wan Kenobi, Seven of Nine, James T. Kirk, Princess Leia, or Benjamin Sisko.
ST fans: Like to point at Princess Leia's unfortunate “buns on head” hairdo and laugh.
SW fans: Like to point at Yeoman Rand's unfortunate “beehive gone mad” hairdo and laugh.
SW: Is all about the fight between good versus evil, with good winning. This beats having people watch shows which are all about people doing really stupid stunts.
ST: Is all about a hopeful future and thoughtful treatment of interesting issues. This beats having people watch shows like Fear Factor, which is all about people eating worms. Okay so the Klingons ate worms (Gag), but you get my point.
My message to all sci-fi fans: Live long and may the force be with you.
To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.