May 8, 2009

Star Trek: My Introduction into Science Fiction

We all have those things that influence us in our formative years. As parents, we give a lot of thought to how we teach our children manners, kindness, instill a work ethic, and the like. Yet, other things we do can and do have a big impact on who our children grow up to be we give little thought to.

Did my mother ever think, when I was a preschooler sitting in the living room floor watching old reruns of the original Star Trek and Lost in Space with her, I'd grow up to write science fiction? Somehow I doubt it.

I barely remember my introduction to science fiction. I was so young, not even four I believe, when I began watching reruns of the original series with my parents. All I really remember are vague impressions of bold color, thinking it was funny how their food looked like my geometric blocks, being upset when they took the series off the air "for good," and telling Mom Mr. Spock was my favorite character.

Then Next Generation entered the scene, and I ended up with my first actor crush on Wil Wheaton in his role as Wesley Crusher. I'm a little embarrassed by in now, looking back and finding the character a bit grating as I do, but I was a preteen during the original airing. (Well all but the last three episodes anyway.)

Then, Mom got into a new series called Babylon 5. I was already brainstorming and taking notes for a story idea that would eventually evolve into Right of Succession. At that point, most of what I had was character ideas. I knew who I wanted my main characters to be. I had a firm idea of their appearance, character, and history in my mind. My villain, on the other hand, was just a vague impression. Then I saw an episode of Babylon 5 with Psi Cop Alfred Bester in it.

Walter Koenig played the character in such an interesting and creepy way at the same time, it immediately pulled me in. Those first impressions of the character became a basis for Count Ralic. The character has evolved as much as the others over the intervening years, but the overall sense of darkness and a few mannerisms remain.

As you can see, I have ample reason to be excited about the release of the new Star Trek movie today. Hubby and I are heading out with friends to see it this weekend as a sort of birthday celebration. I do hope it's one of the good ones.

* The picture is courtesy of Wikipedia's article on the Alfred Bester character from Babylon 5.

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