Star Trek: TNG is my Soul Food

When Canada’s Netflix picked up the series, I was pretty ecstatic.  I’d love to own the Blu-Rays, but that just isn’t sensible for us right now, so I happily settle in to watch it on Netflix instead.

Watching episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is like eating soul food for me.  Watching them is like seeing old friends, visiting my hometown.  It’s nourishing, comforting, reassuring.

A bookmark with the face of Counsellor Deanna Troi sticks out of a copy of Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game

I sense that you might be troubled…

When the series originally aired, I didn’t really have anyone outside of my family who shared my passion, except for my best friend’s parents, but I think she thought that was awkward.  I always envied their VHS collection, though.  I thought that was pretty epic stuff.  When the series ended, I was fourteen years old.  I actually mourned the end of the series.  It was like this world, these people I had come to love were going away forever.  I still have a number of bookmarks floating around my apartment that are a testament to the retail therapy I used to cope!

Is the show perfect?  Of course not.  Its portrayal of women is mixed, for one thing.  On one hand, you have a number of female admirals (from a variety of earth ethnicities), but on the other hand, you have the two main female characters wearing every inch of 80’s-era makeup they could manage and still move their face.  I’m sure LGBT fans will also lament the fact that Star Trek was never quite daring enough to portray a true same-sex relationship, despite the often-mentioned sexual freedom of the 24th Century.

But the universe offered in Star Trek has a lot of beautiful things in it.  According to the lore, human beings have put aside their differences, eliminated poverty and crime, and even have done away with the kind of greed that arises from wrong-headed free markets.  Environmental destruction was turned aside at the brink, and humanity even recovered from nuclear war.

The United Federation of Planets is a conglomeration of forward-thinking space-faring cultures who have banded together for the purposes of trade, communication, protection from hostile species, and the sharing of knowledge.  There is a strong sense of cooperation, honour, honesty, and good-neighbour-liness.

And, of course, then there’s the technology!  Obviously, the ability to transcend the light-speed barrier is a pretty huge leap forward, allowing contact with other alien species.  There are replicators, creating matter from energy, making it possible to create almost anything seemingly out of nowhere.  There are matter transporters, allowing people to be moved almost instantaneously over mind-boggling distances.

There are the holodecks.  Oh. My. Word.  The holodecks.  The ability to create completely fictional places (or recreate real ones) and interact with them.  Stories and historical figures come to life.  The holodeck embodied everything a dreamer and a story-obsessed teenager could desire.

It makes me so happy that people like Gene Roddenberry and all the many hundreds of folks who were involved in creating this show were able to bring this world to life for us.  It makes me happy to know that other human beings were able to dream up this universe and then invite the rest of us in to share it.  A part of me will always live on the Enterprise NCC 1701-D.  Not only is that world an inspiration to me, but the creation of that world is an inspiration.  I can  only hope that someday I get to share one or two of the worlds that are spinning inside my own head and invite you to live in them, too.

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Such a Geek

I’m a geek.  It’s why I get loud when I need to defend Hayao Miyazaki films or how, if you mention Lord of the Rings, you’ll have to talk to me about it for the next hour.  It’s why I spend most of my spare time playing video games (one of which is set in Middle Earth—go figure) or consuming sci-fi/fantasy books, movies, and TV shows.  I used to worry so much about letting my geekiness show, but after I learned not to hide who I am out of fear of the stigma attached, I became a happier person.  I figure that if you want to know who I am, you’ll have to be introduced to the geek.  You can take her or leave her, but she isn’t likely to change.  I am blessed to be married to a geek guy, someone who doesn’t worry that his wife takes it as a point of pride that she can identify the planetary origin of a specific spacecraft from Star Trek just based on its appearance.  And I am happy that my parents raised me on Star Wars and Star Trek, let me play on the Commodore (and learn to code a few lines of Basic), and gave me my first box set of The Chronicles of Narnia when I was six or seven, and—possibly unwittingly—my first set of Dungeons & Dragons novels when I was nine.

One of my geeky girl-crushes is Felicia Day, creator of the online show “The Guild” and the Youtube channel “Geek & Sundry”.  In this following video, Day (hyping the new season on Geek & Sundry) explores the meaning of the word geek.  I’ll just get you started when she brings up the question, “What is a geek?”

As Felicia Day suggests, being a geek is more than just belonging to a specific fandom (i.e. comic books, sci-fi, video games, etc.).  A geek is a person who “dares to love something that isn’t conventional.”  My weird interests will probably always make me a bit of an outsider, but there’s something more important than all of this that leaves me on the margins of a society like ours.

I’m a geek for Jesus.

Brown t-shirt  with white text that reads

Look, I even found a Jesus Geek t-shirt on zazzle.com!

Yeah, yeah, that sounds kind of like a trite, t-shirt slogany thing to say, but it’s true.  Getting as excited about Jesus as I do about Star Trek makes me an outsider, just as Day suggests.  To a certain extent, all Christians are outsiders, all Christians are Jesus Geeks.  But sometimes I feel like that geek-as-outsider even within the Church, and not just because I treat imaginary worlds as if they were real, sometimes.

I get really, really excited about things like the Incarnation.  I mean, really excited…bouncing in my seat kind of excited.  That’s strange for someone as introverted and shy as I am.  But when our pastor starts talking about Jesus being alive, right now, in his physical, ascended body, this shy, introverted, self-conscious, white Canadian wants to jump up and shout, “AMEN! PREACH IT, BROTHER!”  Which I don’t, because I go to a church largely made up of formerly Presbyterian second-generation Korean-Canadians and I don’t want to give anyone a heart attack.  I do it inside my head, though, and then go home and give my husband, bless his patient heart, the sermon/testimony that I wanted to give at church.

This blog might end up being another outlet for those excited, half-baked, emotive geek-outs that I need to share.  In fact, I think I need to geek-out about the Incarnation for you, so expect that later this week.