I often get asked why the hell do you like Star Trek as opposed to Star Wars. Probably any Trekker or Trekkie will know the reason or have good reasons of their own, and I don’t hate Star Wars. Let me just say that right off. Star Wars has a really good story and an over arching concept that tells an interesting and rather epic story. Star Trek, on the other hand, has developed a huge backstory and history surrounding the place where Starfleet comes from and where each of the alien species comes from. But for me, Star Trek has something which is a lot closer to home.
Whereas Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (and keep in mind, galaxy is big so it’s not taking place in the Milky Way Galaxy, but another galaxy billions of light years away), Star Trek takes place in our galaxy, with our planet as a focal point. It’s our future, not a past that takes place somewhere else. So for me, Star Trek means hope for our future. This is the kind of thing that Gene Roddenbarry had strived to create. A utopian Earth, but still lots of exploring and issues to deal with in the rest of the galaxy.
We got to see that with the original series, Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager. We even get to see that in Enterprise, and even though it’s ancient history for the other series, its still our future. It is still something to look forward to.
While I like some escapism in my fiction, I still like to be reminded that there will always be some future filled with hope. That’s why I’m not big on dystopian fiction. I like to think our future is going to be alright and we’re going to get over the things that plague us like racism, sexism and classism. I’d like to think that those who claim themselves to be anti-anything (from SJW to feminism to black to anything else that impedes progress) will one day die out and their backwards, barbaric and outdated beliefs can be left behind.
Star Trek doesn’t look to the past. It looks to the future. For me, that future is filled with hope.