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Perhaps some of the most famous opening lines in the history of television and instantly recognisable about the planet. Star Trek and all things science fiction are a weakness of mine. Issac Asimov was something of a hero to me as a young lad eager to divine the future. Far more fun was his world of robots and vast empires than A.C Clarkes rather more 'science' based writing. Now though things are beginning to catch up with all these predictions.

It was left to bubble gum cards to do justice to Star Trek and its kind.

Perhaps the most famous of all predictive novels in our recent history was George Orwell 1984 (1984 having been arrived by simply reversing the publication year 1948.) Well 1984 came and went and still nobody is sure if Big Brother exists. It certainly does not in anything like the manner described in the book but it never was expected to be so.

Going back a little further in time 1966 had been the scene of a nuclear attack of London as nuclear war was raging in HG Wells Time Machine (1895). Well I am glad that one failed to come about.

Another milestone which looks certainly to be a failure is A.C Clarkes 2001. HAL is nowhere in sight at the present and unlikely to be for a long time. Indeed 1997 was the birth year of HAL in the 2001 novel. Well Deepest Blue seems to be a very ignorant cousin of HAL.

Star Trek needs no introduction so I am not giving it one. The original series ran 1966-9 after a faltering start (to cerebal) things improved but not enough for the five year mission to be completed. The writers for seasons 1 & 2 reads like a who's who of sf writers. Robert Bloch did a number (most memorably, The City on the edge of Forever. Perhaps the greatest episode ever and certainly in the top three) Harlan Ellison (who never really saw eye to eye with Gene Roddenberry by all accounts, on plot lines. Gene always wanted the crew to get to the edge of the universe and met God who was either a child, mad or both.) and Richard Matheson (other works, The Incredible Shrinking Man and Duel.)A& BC Gum, Star Trek [1969] made an early offering of 55 cards based on the series.

Although formula stuff (as can be verified by the number of spoofs and even a random sentence generator for an early computer which claimed to write Star Trek scripts. Its life Jim but not as we know it, the engines cannay take it Captain, I'm a doctor not a carpenter/brick-layer Jim. etc) You could always guarantee the fifth man of the landing party (the one whose name you never quite remembered) was a dead man before the end of the episode.Primrose Confectionary, Star Trek [1971] helped keep the series alive in the minds of the many.

The Russians were said to have complained that there was no Russian representative on the bridge of the enterprise in its original form. This was sorted out when the series became a regular occurance. Nichelle Nichols was a rather overworked character being token black and token woman on the bridge (also the centre of the first multi-racial kiss on US television. Kirk who else?) which shows just how far things have thankfully progressed

Although the series did not do well in the ratings (certainly there was evidence of slippage in the third series) there was a band of harden fans, 'trekkies' which kept the name alive during the wilderness years.

There seemed little desire by the studio bosses to revive the series in its full version but did commision a cartoon version called Star Trek the 22 episodes ran 1973-4 and had the voices from the original characters. It also had a rather bizare character on the bridge which would have been beyond the original series make-up department (such things as people crawling about under rugs were the usual standard of the series make-up department. Although Spock had been intended to be green but the backroom boys kept insisteing on altering the colour balance to make him pink.) This created the Star Trek Logs which were actually written by Alan Dean Foster (he of Alien fame)

Eventually the crew got back together in the Motion Picture (1979) Topps Chewing Gum, Star Trek, the motion picture [1979]although not the smash it could have been other films were drafted (the original film borrowed heavily from a couple of earlier episodes). The next film was The Wrath of Khan which was a direct adaptation of an episode in the original series. Other films were to follow which more or less succeeded but the original stars were very much beginning to show their age. Even more spoofs were coming out in regard to the rapidly ageing crew.Lyons, Star Trek [1979]leapt on the revivial of fortunes.

Then came

The Next Generation et al.

It all began in 1987 and was set 80 years in advance of the original series and the revolutionary character was Data. The film Star Trek Generations skillfully handed the baton from the old to the new crew (even if some of the mechanisms for getting the older crew into the plot were pretty feeble).

Now of course there is no stopping the business, Deep Space Nine appeared which changed the format in that the adventures came to the cast rather than roaming about the galaxy. Not that it was too succesful and eventually Worf was brought from the Enterprise to spice things up. The Voyager appeared which had the classic concept of a ship blasted through space and making an effort to return back to earth. Many sets (almost too many to name have been produced to cover these series.)