The latest instalment in the Star Trek franchise is out this week and as a closet Trekkie I’ve been patiently waiting, reading and watching reviews. I began watching Star Trek in the mid 70’s with re-runs of the original series and loved watching the adventures of James T. Kirk and crew. Growing up in the mid 70’s it was fascinating to imagine what life would be like in the future. The year 2000 seemed light years away and back then I would have never imagined how much our world would change.
In Star Trek they explored far away galaxies, seeking out new life and new civilizations. Watching episodes for the first time was an adventure and I loved humor, the cheesy acting but most importantly the special effects like the aliens with wierd heads, the rock creatures and life on Vulcan. I remember being let down many years later visiting a Star Trek exhibit in Washington DC where they showed all the costumes and artifacts from the series. When I realized that the phasers and tricorders from the original series were actually made of wood it was a truth that hit hard. Thinking back it would have been better if I had never known.
Since then I’ve seen the Next Generation series, all the movies and the other iterations of the Star Trek franchise. With each phase the special effects become more interesting, there is more depth to the stories and we still have the opportunity to project our minds into the future.
We have come so far in the past 40 years and franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars and the hundreds of science fiction shows have given us potential visions of the future. Futurists, scientists, technology and the American and Russian space programs have allowed us to expand our imaginations and realize that anything is possible. Back in the 60’s and 70’s who could have ever imagined the Internet, cell phones, personal computers, satellite TV and the ability to collaborate and communicate instantly with anyone on the planet.
What will the next 40 years bring? Nanotechnology; life extension through DNA and stem cell research; poverty eradication; the ability to back up your mind, peace and global cooperation? Some are predictable but what new technologies or experiences will blow our minds that even today we could never even imagine what changes they would bring? Will we make first contact with beings from another planet? Will we have the ability to extend life indefinitely? These are difficult questions but what I do know for sure is the advances we make in the next 40 years will dwarf the advances of the last 40 years.
Here’s the trailer for the new Star Trek series…