For other uses of the term, see Star Trek (disambiguation).
Trek. The Mother Fandom. The one that boldly took us where no fandom had before. There were other sources before it that had appealed strongly to women, especially Sherlock Holmes and Man From U.N.C.L.E., but nothing grabbed us quite like Star Trek. Trek became the first fanzine-based media fandom, and Kirk/Spock, of course, the first slash pairing, and the source of the word 'slash' itself.
Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek: The Original Series has a very active fanbase that started from nearly the moment the show debuted and still flourishes today. Fans have not only kept this series alive after it was nearly canceled after its second season, but also kept it going through many years where there was no new material with their production of fanworks, their organization of conventions and their devotion to their fandom. The popularity of the show in reruns eventually brought about its resurrection as one of the large media franchises.
Although Star Trek featured a large (and diverse) supporting cast, the main characters were a triad of Captain Kirk, Spock and Bones. They serve on the starship Enterprise, exploring the furthest parts of the galaxy and protecting the Federation from hostile aliens. A product of the 1960s, the premise of Star Trek blends the then-popular Western show - in which gunslingers traveled from town to town each week solving problems, with modern concerns like the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and the counter-culture movement addressed non-controversially through the veil of science fiction.
Canceled in the 1969 third season, Star Trek was revived as a series of films in the 80s and 90s by Paramount to counter the rise of Star Wars. Far more successful than the TV series, these blockbuster films funded the creation of the spin off television series.
A current trend as viewed on Fanfiction.net, as well as through other sites, is that ST:TOS is being discovered by a number of people from countries outside of the United States where it originated. Many new fans coming into the fandom have found it through the internet, international syndication or by accessibility to buying the DVDs and other media through large media-selling websites.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation was similar to the Star Trek: TOS concept: a large, diverse crew on a ship called the Enterprise travels the galaxy, meets aliens, and spreads goodwill. This time, the ship was even bigger, and there were more aliens. TNG brings the Star Trek timeline a century forward to the 24th Century, a time in which the Federation that the characters belong to has become a stable galactic power. The militarism of Star Trek is toned down with more focus on diplomacy.
Not successful at first, the show lurched forward until the third season when it found its feet with the introduction of the Borg as arch-villains. TNG ultimately ran an unheard of (for a science fiction show) seven seasons, bowing out by choice to make way for a series of movies starring the cast. Hugely popular, TNG is the only other Star Trek series to rival the main cast in media familiarity.
TNG is what made Star Trek big in other countries, like Germany, where the Star Trek fan clubs in the 1990s grew rapidly and the fan scene was very active.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the third live-action TV show of the Star Trek franchise. It takes place on a space station on the edge of the Alpha Quadrant. DS9 is arguably the most ethnically and gender diverse show in the ST universe, with multiple characters of color and female characters in lead positions. Due to the station setting, it concentrated less on boldly going and more on dealing with the ramifications of changing alliances and reconstruction; political intrigue, religion, and conflicting loyalties are major themes. DS9 was also much darker in its depiction of both the future in general and the Federation in particular.
As a contemporary of Babylon 5, another science fiction show about a space station, these shows were often compared, the fandoms deeply divided, and there was much discussion about the influence of B5 on DS9.
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Voyager is the fourth live-action television series set in the Star Trek universe. After three shows focusing on a male captain, Voyager features the first female captain as the main character of a Star Trek franchise. The premise of the series was a return to Star Trek roots after DS9 - ship-based exploration with Voyager being stranded and lost in the unexplored Delta Quadrant. As TNG had already established that the Delta Quadrant was the home of the Borg, Voyager's later seasons added popular character Seven of Nine and delved deeply into the backstory of the cyborg baddies.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Enterprise was the fifth TV series in the Star Trek universe. It was a prequel, set earlier in the timeline than any of the other series, and intended to show how the United Federation of Planets came to be. Despite a change in showrunners in the third and fourth season, Enterprise ultimately only lasted four seasons, the first show since TOS to be canceled by the network.
Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek (2009) is the 11th movie in the Star Trek universe. It is a successful reboot of the original series with an alternate timeline that does not affect the preexisting Star Trek canon in the TOS era. Same characters, different actors, new adventures, and everything is possible.
Star Trek Characters and Pairings
Star Trek Conventions
Star Trek Zines
- List of Star Trek TOS Zines Published While the Show Was Still On the Air
- List of Star Trek Zines published 1967-1970
- every Star Trek zine listed on Fanlore can be found under Category:Star Trek Zines
- List of Star Trek Fanzines, an incomplete list
Star Trek Novels
Previously, the Star Trek novels were only allowed to be single-book adventures with no ongoing storyline or characters. With the end of Star Trek on television, these rules were relaxed. Currently, the majority of books published concentrate on the continuing adventures of the characters in the 24th Century storyline. Novel-only spin-off series include the DS9 Relaunch, an ongoing season eight for DS9, and Titan, the adventures of the now Captain Riker on his deep space exploration ship.
Starting with the "New Frontier" series by Peter David, the line expanded to include novel-only series. Other novel-only series include Starfleet Corp of Engineers and Vanguard, set on a Federation space station in Kirk's time.
The tie-in novels are not very popular with many fans and there is much discussion about them, and why they fail, in letterzines. Despite their paracanonical status, some details from the books have become fanon or canon. For example, Hikaru Sulu did not have a first name in canon until Star Trek VI, when a name used in novels was adopted.
Fans have created fansites to collect information about the novels and other licensed Trek-related materials: see below.
Star Trek and the Tensions with Traditional Science Fiction Fandom
The huge influx of Star Trek fans in the late 1960s and the 1970s were an example of some of "free range" fannishness. There were many, many instances of the old school, general science fiction fans being very unhappy with the influx of Star Trek fans who they felt to be huge mobs who were uneducated in the ways of fandom; folks who didn't know the language, didn't know the customs, hadn't "paid their dues," were female (!), hadn't learned at the knees of the "right" people, supposedly weren't interested in "real" science fiction, and essentially invaded traditional fannish places. And vice versa: Star Trek fans found the general SF/sf fans to be hostile, unwelcoming, snobbish, rigid, and overwhelmingly male. The culture clash was huge and long-lived and a major source of discussion.One fan writes of discovering science fiction fandom because of Star Trek and writes of the tensions between the two groups:
Robert Runte, editor of the 3rd edition of "The NCF Guide to Canadian Science Fiction & Fandom," points out the three specific problems of what he calls the "1970s' Barbarian Invasion":"I joined a fan club, Star Trek Action Group, and my very first convention was Terracon 77 in Liverpool. I've been going to conventions ever since. I eventually discovered that there were local fans and began attending Warped Out, which was the forerunner of what developed into Glasgow's Away Team. Then came 1980 when Glasgow had it's first Eastercon. That's when I learned that there were general SF fans out there. Even although the universities had SF groups, as a student I knew nothing of their existence. I guess they hadn't learned the concept of advertising. Or worse, I was a MEDIA fan, and they didn't want the likes of me in their midst. Once I began mixing with SF fans of various shades I began to learn that I was a member of a much despised and looked down on group, being a Star Trek fan. I learned that there were such things as fannish fans who produced little fanzines which talked about what they had for breakfast or the colour of their toilet paper, and who never seemed to talk about SF. My previous exposure to fanzines was of the Star Trek variety which contained stories about the characters. What these fanzines were was something else. The fannish ones appeared to run the fan rooms at conventions and looked down on anyone who wasn't in their little clique. I learned that they didnt like media fans, considering us as something they had trod in. They seemed to have this idea that media fans didn't read books (come to my house and see how wrong that idea is!). And they didn't like people wearing costumes." 
From a 2010 interview with Paula Smith in Transformative Works and Cultures:More recently, many long-time sf fans, especially in zinedom, considered the rise of Trekdom to be the greatest Barbarian Invasion of them all... What really hurt was the massive flowering of media fandom in general during the 1970s following the example set by Trekdom.
1) "The mere size of the influx destroyed the close-knit intimacy of fandom...Fans felt themselves a minority at their own celebrations ( conventions )...prominent fanzines suddenly became obscure as their print runs fell hopelessly behind the exploding numbers of newcomers...Clubs were also shaken as established fans found themselves out-voted..."
2) "The newcomers were a new type of fan...As viewers rather than readers, they tended to be less literate...to be passive consumers rather than active doers. They arrived at conventions expecting the organizers to put on a show for them, rather then get involved...they often seemed to view fandom as a commodity or service they could buy, rather than as something one did. Two-way communication was lost."3) "...( as with most empires overrun by barbarians ) fandom was already rotting from within...factors had begun to erode fandom's former cohesiveness...by the mid-1970s there were over a thousand SF ( book ) releases a year, making it impossible to remain current on the whole field...the chances of two fans having read the same book declined sharply, eroding the sense of community which used to stem from a shared literature.” 
One example of the differing cultural expectations of how money, and value, changed hands:The SF guys didn't want to talk about things that women were interested in. Buck Coulson, an SF (and U.N.C.L.E.) writer, used to say, 'There is no subtle discrimination against Trek fans in science fiction—it's blatant.' And the women said, 'The heck with this,' and started making their own zines and organizing their own conventions.... Trek fandom was the mirror image of science fiction fandom. I would say 90 percent of science fiction fandom at the time was men and 10 percent was women, and there was a reverse 10-to-90 men-to-women split in Trek fandom. The two groups quickly diverged; after a while, only about 5 to 10 percent would shuttle back and forth between the two fandoms.
In a 1989 issue of Comlink, a fan groused:Very little of what you say about fans and what they write is new I found it surprising when I delved in to media fandom, being a long-time fan, that one must pay money for a media fanzine, and it's mostly fiction. In sf fandom, editors mostly trade fanzines for artwork, articles, letters of comment or money (collectively know as 'the usual'). While I can understand that it takes money for a fanzine, since I publish, I was surprised at the attitude that some media fanzine editors had that 'this zine costs money, you know,' as if this would be news. I go the impression that money was very important to media zine editors, while in sf fandom, it's very rarely talked about.
In the next issue, another fan replied:Ever since I returned to fan activity a year ago, I have been carping about the way media fandom has brought about the deterioration of Fandom As I Know It... I am... unhappy about the number of 'media' fans who come passively to conventions to be entertained, and who are rarely capable of stringing ten words together in a sentence -- much less of combining two ideas and getting a third/better one, and who seem incapable of doing anything beyond the level of superficial sociality. I still think there are too many of them underfoot... 
From a 1990 issue of Comlink:I'll try to respond to your letter even though I have difficulty employing ten words in a sentence. Yes, we are everywhere! Media Fen, Costume Fen, all of us, we're everywhere you go! Lucacons, Westercons, World Cons! We like to be entertained. We enjoy seeing artists and authors do magic tricks and juggle hoops while balancing on a large rubber ball. For too long, we have been judged by the color of our fannish activities and not by the content of our interests. I have a dream where media fen will no longer have to sit at the back of the ballroom during the panels, go through separate doors to con suites, or get soda from separate bathtubs. We will costume you in the halls, we will filk you around the jacuzzi, we will meet the tru-fen where ever they may be until victory is ours. We shall overcome, we shall overcome. 
I was especially interested in the comments on the on-going 'readers versus media fans' discussion. I, too, recall the attitude of science fiction fandom toward Star Trek fandom in its infancy. But, actually it goes back beyond that. A few years before the Trekkies, the same sort of thing was happening with the old-line sf fans and the 'hippie' invasion of the late 60's and early '70's -- between, broadly, the fans who crowded around the bar and the ones who retreated to dark rooms with loud stereos and funny cigarettes. But it's just human nature: the existence of an in-group implies out-groups, those pathetic and often obnoxious people who don't share _____ (fill in the blank). Just as Star Trek fans discovering sf cons were often made to feel like second class citizens, so too, at Star Trek cons after the summer of 1977, were people in Princess Leia outfits and Imperial Stormtrooper outfits often looked upon as somehow inferior. Not to mention smaller out-groups. I can recall a serious conversation among committee members at a Star Trek con in the midwest about whether they should ban Runners from their next con. 'Runners' you say? Well, there was a small, but dedicated group of boisterous, youthful Logan's Run fans who wore quite nicely done uniforms and, in keeping with the nature of their characters, spent a great deal of time chasing each other around the function rooms and corridors, and zapping each other with blasters. Admittedly, they could be a little annoying if you were having a conversation in the vicinity, but it hardly seemed reasonable to ban them from a con. Like I said, it's human nature. 
While the term Feral Fandom wasn't yet used, the fannish divide over space, power, and tradition is similar.
Star Trek and the Release of Star Wars
The Star Wars fandom enticed many fans away from the Star Trek fandom, something that often created bad feelings between the two.
In September 1977, a Star Trek fan writes about Star Wars and Star Trek:
- "Not all of Star Trek fandom has reacted favorably to Star wars however. Two extremes have already formed, one saying that 'Trek is Dead.' citing Star Wars as its killer; and the other faction maintains a grin-and-bear it attitude, assuming that the enthusiasm will eventually wane, leaving ST fandom intact, and that Star Wars 'is just another rerun movie.' Actually, both groups in those extremes are in a few disappointments. For the people that maintain Trek is dead, there are still those die-hard Trek fen who consider ST the ultimate show of all time. Those types of fans will always hold on to whatever they see in Star Trek to the exclusion of what any competition may offer. Some people are also just too hooked on ST fandom to ever give it up for something else, and others may stay with ST fandom simply to avoid the effort and hassles of 'making it' in another fandom." 
In October 1977, the Star Trek Welcommittee printed a prominent warning to fans who may be interested in writing Star Wars (which had just been released a few months earlier) fiction. This warning doesn't appear to have any basis in example, something the notice mentions. It may be an attempt to keep fans within the Star Trek fandom and an example of the early tensions between the fandoms. It may be a brag by ST fans, pointing out that Roddenberry had been a benign PTB. Or it may have been much more a friendly warning, one with no hidden motives. The text of the warning: "IMPORTANT! Please take note: If you are a zine editor, writer, etc., who is planning to publish/contribute to a fanzine based on STAR WARS...be advised 20th Century Fox may not be quite as understanding as Paramount has been for years about Star Trek. YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF BOTH 20th CENTURY FOX'S & BALLANTINE BOOKS' EXCLUSIVE LITERARY RIGHTS IF YOU ARE PUBLISHING STAR WARS FICTION. BOTH of these prestigious corporations/companies have the legal right to SUE TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW anyone publishing SW-based fan fiction (or spin-off fiction). As APOTA has been informed., there have been no known cases of Ballantine taking such action, but do you want to be their test case?" 
For some fans, the change in fannish interests was due to what they perceived of as a lack fresh ideas and boredom. A fan writes in the Star Wars letterzine Jundland Wastes #2, : "Many of us are 'graduates' of ST fandom, and it seemed to me that after a while every other ST story was about 'Kirk dies and Spock goes off his logical rocker,' or 'Spock dies and Kirk just can't bear to live anymore,'... continual variations on one very narrow theme. The 'overkill' on this kind of relationship story (I'm talking here about the friendship relationship, not K/S) got to be 'way too much... One reason I left ST for SW was because SW themes were fresh, not the same old relationship hash."
- "By next year, at the very least, a new fandom will spring into existence: Star Wars fandom. But why a whole fandom for just one movie? Why so much excitement just for two hours of fantasy on film?... The mundane reviewers suggest that people are tired of all the disaster films, the film jammed with social commentary, heavy symbolism and heavy meanings. Or maybe there hasn't been a big escapism film in a long time, and Star Wars luckily cased in by appearing at just the right time? Or maybe the special effects just swept everyone up in an identical wave of enthusiasm? Yet, not only has the mundane public turned out in record numbers to see Star Wars. Fandom has gone all out, too, and not Star Trek fandom either. All of the SF-related fandoms are talking about Star Wars: comix fandom, Sword & Sorcery, even Tolkien... Just to look at Star Trek fandom in particular, the popularity can be traced to the fact that Paramount has stalled far too long in bringing out the new series. Star Trek fandom was ripe for Star Wars to find a willing audience. Another thing about Star Wars is the scope of the film. There is an epic quality to Star Wars... It's a grand tale full of adventure and suspense... Star Trek never had that epic quality. The whole of ST might have, but you might have to think a while before you could grasp it all. Star Wars shows that epic tale in the space of two hours, so that you don't have time to lose a single instant of it... A Star Wars fandom seems almost destined. Zine should appear shortly and one can only wonder when the first Star Wars convention will be. As in the case of ST fandom in the late '60's and early '70's, it will probably be a case of Star Wars appearing as part of the programming in regular ST, SF and Comicons, until a large enough cult exists to hold separate Star Wars cons... Many of them have already instituted SW panels, and Star Wars characters now swamp the costume competitions with a multitude of Lukes, Solos, and Wookies [sic]." 
- Memory Alpha Star Trek Wiki
- Memory Beta non-canon Star Trek Wiki (for info from apocryphal Star Trek material like novels, comic books, RPG sourcebooks, video games and other licensed work)
- Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki (for Star Trek fanworks, like RPGs, fan fiction and fan films)
- Complete Starfleet Library: Star Trek Books
- Trek Core (screencaps, multimedia, publicity photos and such for all series and movies)
- Star Trek Port Authority, props, interviews, just about everything else
- Star Trek Fandom in Australia, National Library of Australia, accessed April 22, 2013
- Hikaru_Sulu on Memory Alpha (accessed 19 October 2011)
- Thoughts on Fandom by rhionnach posted September 10, 2006, accessed February 10, 2012
- The Canadian Fancyclopedia, 2009, accessed December 5, 2011
- Walker, Cynthia W. 2011. "A Conversation with Paula Smith." Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 6. doi:10.3983/twc.2011.0243.
- from Comlink #42
- from Comlink #40 (1989)
- from Comlink #41
- from Comlink #46
- from Spectrum #34
- from A Piece of the Action #55
- from Spectrum #34