(postmodernbarney.com) -- There Is No Star Trek Canon (Part II)
John Gorenfeld looks at the calls for strict adherence to the Trek canon, and then laughs and laughs and laughs.
The punchline is that Trek had the loosest of canons until TNG rolled around and even then it was fairly loose until all of the TNG spinoffs got their fingers on it.
Science Fiction is always written about the time in which it was written. Post-JFK original series was bright-eyed exploration and morality tales and American exceptionalism. But a Trek written by Roddenberry in the mid-1970s? What would that feature? Howabout swingers and orgies aplenty?
Then, in 1979, the first Trek movie arrived, and so did a novel of the film, written by Roddenberry. Strikingly, the book ignored everything that had ever happened in the show.
Roddenberry’s novel of TMP begins with the conceit of a foreword by Admiral James T. Kirk. (Excerpted here.) We’re not past the first paragraph before Kirk is explaining how he was named for his mother’s “first love instructor,” also named James. (Damn it, Abrams, how could you have betrayed Roddenberry’s vision by leaving this out of the Kelvin sequence?) It’s the first of several references to the 23rd century’s daring new heterosexual swinger mores. Not your father’s Star Trek, indeed!
Next Kirk tells us about a Federation divided between the “New Humans,” who are “willing to submerge their own identities into the groups to which they belong” –uh, in other words, everyone is joining ’70s cults–and the last of the “primitives,” like himself, who still indulge ancient Earthling customs, such as taking the last name of your father, in this case George Kirk, the guy with a soft spot for the dude who taught his wife some new things.
I’ll spare you a review of Chapter 1’s discussion of the “Mind Control Riots,” which forced the Federation to become very hush-hush about installing cyborg equipment in Captain Kirk’s head, and just focus on Roddenberry’s explicit declaration, in the foreword, that the TV show–from the perspective of the Star Trek universe–is not what really happened…