- For other uses of the term, see Star Trek (disambiguation).
It is, to many, the Mother Fandom. There were other sources before it that had appealed strongly to women and young adults, especially Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, The Saint, Secret Agent, The Avengers (TV), Route 66, The Wild Wild West, The Prisoner and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but Star Trek had a massive impact on fandom. Trek became the first fanzine-based media fandom, and Kirk/Spock, of course, the first publicly acknowledged slash pairing, and the source of the word 'slash' (and 'pairing') itself.
Star Trek's canon has been a matter of some debate for the Star Trek fandom. Some things are almost universally agreed upon, such as the non-canon status of the various novelizations[note 1] and the animated series, both of which were decided by Gene Roddenberry.[note 2] In contrast, it is a good rule to say that all TV episodes (with the exception of the aforementioned animated series) as well as all movies are canon, although some argue that all content that was not specifically "Roddenberry-approved" is not canon. This would include all Star Trek media after his death in 1991: six movies, the nearly half of The Next Generation's episodes of which Roddenberry was not involved in, and every season of all proceeding three TV series, with the exception of the first season of Deep Space Nine, which Roddenberry, while not involved in the writing process, gave his approval on. The argument of approved-Roddenberry canon is also argued against by the fact that Roddenberry notoriously changed canon on an episode-by-episode basis. Recently the official website released a video explaining the Star Trek timeline.
Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek: The Original Series originally ran for three seasons on television. It 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.
Star Trek was revived as an animated series (TAS) in the 70s by Filmation & Norway Corp., and as a series of films in the 80s and 90s by Paramount. A Star Trek movie had been proposed years before, but was rushed into production soon after 1977's Star Wars. Far more successful than the TV series, the blockbuster Trek films funded the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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 USS 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.
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 its main 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 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.
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.
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: Enterprise was the fifth live-action 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 Reboot
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 canon in the TOS era. Same characters, different actors, new adventures, and everything is possible.
Star Trek Into Darkness is the 12th movie in the Star Trek universe. It is set a few months/years after the events of Star Trek (2009).
Star Trek Beyond is the 13th movie in the Star Trek Universe. It is set approximately three years into the five year mission (stardate 2263.02).
Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery was the sixth live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe. It was a prequel, set in 2256, earlier in the timeline than TOS. It featured a main female character who was not a Starfleet captain, Michael Burnham, but the adopted human daughter of Sarek and Amanda, and therefore a previously unknown (to the audience) sister to Spock (and Sybok). Season 1 follows her career downfall and path to redemption. Discovery was the first Star Trek series offered on the subscription service, CBS All Access (plus Bell Media's Space, Z and Crave in Canada, and Netflix internationally). During the hiatus between Seasons 1 and 2, four Short Treks were released, mini-episodes drawing on aspects of the parent show.
Season 2 reintroduced Captain Christopher Pike, Number One and Spock, not long after their adventure in The Cage, the first TOS pilot. A spin-off series featuring these characters is Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Season 3 saw a fresh story arc following the USS Discovery in its new location in space and time, as predicted in the Short Treks episode, "Calypso". The former Emperor Georgiou is anticipated to spin-off into a separate series, Star Trek: Section 31.
Internationally, Discovery moved to Paramount+ from Season Four, with temporary arrangements made for access through Pluto TV or iTunes in countries who did not yet have their own Paramount+.
Star Trek: Short Treks
During the hiatus between Seasons 1 and 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, four Short Treks mini-episodes were released on CBS All Access, drawing on aspects of Discovery. They also became available with Season 2 on Netflix internationally. During the next hiatus, six new "Short Treks", from several points in the continuum, included three mini-episodes with Spock, Pike and Number One, two animated episodes and a live-action prequel to Star Trek: Picard.
Star Trek: Picard
Star Trek: Picard was the seventh live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe. A two-decades later sequel to events chronicled in Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek (2009), it featured Jean-Luc Picard and the political fallout from the destruction of the Romulan homeworld. It was the second Star Trek series offered on the subscription service, CBS All Access (and Bell Media's Space, Z and Crave in Canada), but the first for Amazon Prime internationally.
Star Trek: Lower Decks (animated)
Star Trek: Lower Decks was an animated series set in the Star Trek universe. The tone of the series was light and comedic. It followed the adventures of junior Starfleet officers on the starship USS Cerritos in the year 2380, a year after Star Trek: Nemesis.
Star Trek: Prodigy (animated)
Star Trek: Prodigy was an animated series aimed at a young audience but set in the Star Trek universe. It followed a motley crew of young aliens who escape slavery and had to figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy searching for a better future. Guided by a holographic version of Captain Kathryn Janeway (Star Trek Voyager), these six outcasts knew "nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise. Over their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents."
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
After much secrecy, a full-blown Pike series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, was eventually announced. It was the eighth live-action TV series in the Star Trek universe, and promised to revisit the theme of space exploration in more self-contained episodes.
The Star Trek franchise has also spawned a series of non-canonical tie-in novels, first published by Bantam Books, and then Simon & Schuster (in their Timescape, Pocket Books, Wanderer and Gallery imprints). A few fans went from writing fan fiction to pro novels for the first time.
For a time, the Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation novels were only allowed to be single-book adventures with no ongoing storyline or shared original characters. With the end of Star Trek on television, these rules were relaxed. Spin-off novel series include the DS9 Relaunch (ongoing adventures for the DS9 characters), Voyager's return to the Delta Quadrant, and "Titan", the adventures of Captain Riker on the ship he attained in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. Books concentrating on these ongoing 24th Century storylines (resolved in a 2021 trilogy, "Coda") have seemingly come to a hiatus with the arrival of Star Trek: Picard.
Starting with the "Star Trek: New Frontier" series by Peter David, the line expanded to include several novel-only series. Other novel-only series include "Starfleet Corp of Engineers" and "Vanguard", set on a Federation space station in Kirk's time. Star Trek: Enterprise spawned a post-series line of novels, Rise of the Federation.
The tie-in novels are not always popular with some 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. Kirk's parents' names and Uhura's first name, now also canonical, also came from the licensed novels.
The arrival of Star Trek: Discovery coincided with a move to trade paperback as the standard release for Gallery's tie-in novels. Most of the "Discovery" novels are prequels to events in the streaming series. Most new books now have unabridged audios, available as downloadable files and CD sets (from Blackstone Publishing for Simon & Schuster Audio). Excitement generated in anticipation for Star Trek: Picard even saw a return to hardcover prequel novels.
Fans have created fansites to collect information about the novels and other licensed Trek-related materials: see below.
- Category: Star Trek Fanfiction
- The Last Tempest by Bill McClure (1993) (Star Trek: TOS/Star Trek: TNG/Star Trek: DS9 crossover)
- Signe Landon Star Trek Postcards by Signe Landon (1976)
- I Love This Job!: A Collection of Star Trek Cartoons by Larry DeSouza (1997)
- The Kiss (Star Trek: TOS art) by Linda Wan (2003)
- The K/S Art Project edited by Dovya Blacque (2010)
- The KS Project (2018)
Star Trek Conventions
Star Trek Fan Clubs
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
- some Star Trek apas: APA Enterprise, K/S & K.S. (Kindred Spirits), Final Frontier, Talking of Trek, The Duty Roster
- some Star Trek letterzines
- Infinite Unknowns - 2014 ezine
Star Trek Podcasts
- Mission Log (2012-ongoing)
Conflict & Controversy
Star Trek and Star Wars
Fandom and Profit
An early example of fannish engagement, fanac, and legalities was the statement printed in May 1968 in Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans Bulletin, a newsletter supported and read by TPTB and Leonard Nimoy, warned fans of violations and fanac:
Quoted below is a letter I received from a member of the Legal Dept, of Paramount Pictures Corporation, the organization which films STAR TREK, in reply to my inquiry as to the possibility of our infringing on the copyright laws by taping the shows, taking pictures off the TV screen, etc,:
- "As you can appreciate, STAR TREK is an exceedingly valuable property and one in which we and NBC have invested a great deal of time, money and effort. Therefore, we must be constantly on guard to protect this important investment.
The LNNAF can, therefore, no longer accept ads for the sale of tapes, scripts, pictures, STAR TREK fiction, or any other items which bear any connection with or reference to STAR TREK, its crew members or starship, and, in our case, most particularly Mr. Spock. On the other hand, such items as "Leonard Nimoy bookmarks", or pencils stamped "I am a Leonard Nimoy fan", or any such other similar items you might wish to offer thru the membership in order to raise money for UNICEF would, I am confident, be acceptable. 
- As you surmised, reproduction and sale of STAR TREK pictures, tapes or scripts, would be an infringement of our valuable copyright and/or merchandising rights in STAR TREK, as would any other commercialization of the characters, material or any other elements of this series. It is for this reason we must respectfully request that such reproduction or sale or any other commercialization be discontinued.
- In addition, we cannot authorize any taping of programs for home use, since the right to reproduce such episodes of the STAR TREK series for home use is one which is restricted under the provisions of our NBC STAR TREK contract.
- We do, however, greatly appreciate the interest that you and the members of the Leonard Nimoy National Association of Fans have shown in STAR TREK and we hope to be able to keep this outstanding series on the air for many years. Very truly yours, (Signed) Howard Barton, Assistant West Coast Counsel - Television"
Despite what anyone has said, no one has ever objected to the sale of film clips for charitable causes, as swaps, or even reproduced as photos or slides for sale at conventions. There is NO great profit in it for anyone, least of all Paramount, who could not care less about someone's couple of bucks extra selling clips.
What is unethical, illegal, and in violation of Paramount's right to license and merchandise is a situation where someone has reproduced scripts and is selling them, or the situation which arose wherein items were bought from STAR TREK ENTERPRISES (the only licensed Star Trek souvenir dealer) and then resold to fans at some 25% more. And if I were a new fan who had been taken in such a deal, I'd be as mad as Paramount and Star Trek Enterprises were! Also illegal and unethical are the mass producing of phasers, communicators, tricorders, etc. which are all copyright by Paramount. One such item made for display, entry in an art show, as a costume prop, or for one's own enjoyment is obviously not a violation. Making a number of them and turning it into a business IS a violation. Another violation is the selling "bootleg" blooper films. The film is the property of Gene Roddenberry, allowed him by Paramount. I don't think I have to lay out the impropriety if the selling such films. I might stress that Star Trek episodes legally obtained from outlet houses are ALL RIGHT. It is fhe bootleg prints that are a violation. (Usually they have been stolen to begin with.) Any tapes made on a home television recorder and sold are also on very shaky legal ground — the same goes for sound tapes which might be sold.REPEAT: Any item you obtain for your own pleasure or perhaps as a swap is fine. But turning it into a business and profiting from other people's work without a license or permission from Paramount is at the very least unethical, if not illegal.
Despite the early push-back from Paramount, the producers of Star Trek were still a little slow in realizing the profit that could be made from fans. It wasn't until Equicon 1974 that Paramount Studios began taking notice of some of the merchandising opportunities beneath the Star Trek franchise. From a notice in the pocket program:
ILLEGAL SALE OF Star Trek ITEMS cannot be constantly policed by EQUICON -- nor do we want to do it -- but infractions will be reported, and purchasers risk losing both money illegally-bought items! It's too bad the practice takes place, since sale of illegal ST items is, in fact, STEALING from people who would get the legal royalties -- the creator of the show & ST people! Supporting this very un-Star Trek philosophy is highly illogical for anyone calling himself a FAN!
AMT and Lincoln Enterprises will soon have phasers and other items for legal sale: be patient!Anyone caught selling (legal or illegal) items anywhere on the convention floor outside of the Sales Room will be charged a $25 table fee. The ONLY exception is fanzine -- amateur publications -- which may be carried around and sold out-of-hand.
The official marketing people's slow response's to fan demand regarding Star Trek merchandise was evident to Franz Joseph, a fan who'd created a set of detailed blueprints. Before the 1974 convention, Joseph had attempted to get permission to sell his creation he had titled Booklet of General Plans. These plans later became the Star Fleet Technical Manual:
...months later, with a major Trek convention approaching, Joseph had still not received official permission to sell his work. Bypassing Roddenberry, he made a one-time deal with Paramount to sell the “General Plans” (the Enterprise blueprints) at the upcoming convention. Equicon 1974 took place in Los Angeles from April 12–14. Of the 500 copies of the General Plans Joseph had prepared, 410 sold immediately; 450 requests for additional copies were taken on postcards. Paramount, which received Joseph’s royalty check shortly thereafter, sensed it was on to something, and began negotiating for a mass-market release of both the General Plans and the still-growing Technical Manual. The results exceeded all expectations. The blueprints went on sale across the nation on May 24, 1975, selling out within two hours. By May 28, 50,000 additional copies had sold, prompting Ballantine to print 100,000 more. 
Once TPTB observed the voraciousness of fans' desire to buy all things Trek, they swung into action. This led to a common topic in newsletters and other fan correspondence -- that of the gullible fan who'd buy anything. From a fan in 1976: "I'm sure we all shudder when we stop to think about the sheer amount of $$ we put into our collections of ST memorabilia. Yes, I know it's for love or whatever, but it's still $$$... There are dealers at all the cons selling garbage... [such as] very poor quality offset or litho photographs... I stood and talked to dealers who have admitted that... Trekkies will buy anything and they are out for the big bucks."  From a fan in 1979: "This month several professional magazines, which are often referred to as prozines as the opposite of fanzines, will be the target for discussion. It is an indication of Star Trek's endurability that some of these attempts are only suitable for lining birdcages - the assumption is that Trek fans will buy anything, no matter how simple-minded the content. The brevity of their appearance is eloquent testimony as to the fallacy of this opinion. [("All About Star Trek Fan Clubs" (dreadful), "Media Spotlight" (not too bad), "Science Fantasy Film Classics" (very good)."  From a fan in 1988: "It is true that many fans will buy anything that has the words "Star Trek" on it, and that is sad, for in their zeal to own everything Trek-ish, people are getting ripped off." 
It was also profit that changed the nature of conventions. No longer did the celebrities attend cons for the cost of their travel, or for a very nominal fee. Instead, convention guests demanded large fees, something that propelled all sorts of other changes in how fans interacted with each other -- socially in person, via zines and other fanworks, and visibility.
- Lincoln Enterprises
- Paramount and Fans, Fanac, Paramount, and Profit
- Tie-in Novels
- Fandom and Profit
inside page from The Clipper Trade Ship #11 (1976), a parody of an ad, making fun of Star Trek fans who will buy anything having to do with the show
Star Trek vs. 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 too young and immature, were female[note 3], hadn't learned at the knees of the "right" people, supposedly weren't interested in "real" science fiction, and supposedly 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.
Naturally, as Star Trek / media fandom became more established, it developed its own set of "in"-speak and ground rules. With the publication of slash fanfiction in the 1980s paranoia about using U.S. mail to distribute pornography created a clandestine, underground atmosphere. "Gatekeeper" practices evolved, with the word feral used to describe people who began participating in Trek fandom without an introduction.
Star Trek and Other Early Media Fandoms
See: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Influence on the Sime~Gen Universe. (much talk about Trek)
See Timeline of Star Trek Meta for further examples.
- Lessons From Star Trek: Leadership, Teamwork, Decision-Making (1990)
- Gay Me Up, Scotty: How Star Trek Failed To Boldly Go There, Archived version by Boylio on September 6, 2010
- Just what level of “don’t ever fuck with us” is Starfleet? by lj-writes on tumblr (May 04, 2018)
- After 50 years of Fandom, Beatrice Scroggin is Still in Love With Trek, Archived version By Emily L. Hauser (February 17, 2020)
- what is a star trek?, Archived version by wongbol on tumblr on February 22, 2020. -- A humorous overview of the Star Trek franchise.
- Definitive Guide to Star Trek Fanfiction on the Web[note 4]
- Complete Starfleet Library: Star Trek Books
- I Hear Star Trek: A Guide to the Audios
- Memory Alpha Star Trek Wiki (for info from canonical Star Trek material)
- Memory Beta non-canon Star Trek Wiki (for info from apocryphal Star Trek material, such as novels, comic books, RPG sourcebooks, video games and other licensed work)
- My Star Trek Scrapbook (collection of period press clips, publicity material and fan contributions featuring magazine/newspaper interviews, articles, rare photos, behind-the-scenes material)
- Star Trek Comics Checklist: A Guide to Star Trek Comics and Graphic Novels
- Star Trek Expanded Universe Wiki (for Star Trek fanworks, such as RPGs, fan fiction and fan films)
- Star Trek Fan Films: Paramount's 2016 Guidelines, Archived version
- Star Trek Fandom in Australia, National Library of Australia, Accessed April 22, 2013
- Star Trek Prop Authority (for info about props, costumes, auctions, interviews, just about everything else)
- Toon Trek: References to Filmation's Star Trek: The Animated Series
- Trek BBS (discussion forums for all Star Trek topics)
- Trek Core (screencaps, multimedia, publicity photos and such for all series and movies)
- "the novelizations are expected to conform to canon also"', see more in Not Canon, and The Hands of TPTB at The Fate of the Phoenix.
- As with its progenitor, "Star Trek Chronology"... "not taken into account were officially licensed non-live action works – such as the various Star Trek novels, comics, and games, which are considered apocryphal; nor was 'Star Trek: The Animated Series', which was considered non-canon at the time of writing the 'Encyclopedia', or any previously licensed in-universe reference work which had hitherto been considered 'official'. Mirek commented, regarding 'The Animated Series': I am not really sure why it was discounted. I believe Roddenberry did not like the animated series, and Michael, who respected the man enormously, valued his opinion. Gene was largely out of the loop for TNG, in my opinion, so what happened with 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan' and onward, shouldn't be attributed to him. Mike worked on all those films, and they have to be recognized as part of the 'universe'. Even though the official franchise has since then elevated 'The Animated Series' to canon, Okuda has maintained his stance for the 2016 fourth edition, as stated in that edition's introduction and despite remaining an 'Animated Series' fan himself." – Memory Alpha
- "For a paper on the early history of Star Trek fan fiction, I've tried to estimate the sex ratio in science fiction zine publishing during the 1960s, and the sex ratio in early Trek zine fandom: SF Fanzine Publishers of the 1960s: about 17% female. Star Trek Zine Fans: 1967-71: about 83% female" -- Fan Fiction Statistics: How much fan fiction is there on the web? How many fans? Who are they? (2000) Keep in mind that female SF fans, like female pro SF writers, often used male names and personae.
- After you've finished reading my novels (ahem) if you're still hungry for more Star Trek Fanfic, try the following site:
The creators of this site say that their is the Definitve Guide to Star Trek Fanfic on the Web--and I believe that! From websites to newsgroups--if it's Star Trek fiction, they've listed it!
Paul S. Gibbs comment
- Official Star Trek Timeline Revealed, October 10, 2021.
- Everything we know about Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1, May 11, 2020.
- Star Trek: Prodigy Creators Confirm Which Universe It Takes Place In, September 18, 2021.
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Series With Pike, Spock And Number One Headed To CBS All Access, May 15, 2020.
- Hikaru_Sulu on Memory Alpha (accessed 19 October 2011)
- I hear Star Trek: a guide to the audios on Have Phaser, Will Travel (accessed 20 May 2020)
- Despite this statement from Howard Barton stating that the LNNAF can no longer accept ads for "STAR TREK fiction, or any other items which bear any connection with or reference to STAR TREK, its crew members or starship, and, in our case, most particularly Mr. Spock.," Vickers, in the very same issue of Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans Bulletin -- May 1968 -- plugs some fanzines: "FAN-ZINE LOVERS!!! Two great zines crossed my desk which I want to highly recommend to all of you! The first one is ST-PHILE which contains a wealth of information and fantastic sketches about STAR TREK and its crew. Sample contents: The Original STAR TREK Idea (by Gene Roddenberry) and A Preliminary Study On Vulcan Cultural Evolution. A MUST for all STAR TREK fans! At 50 cents per copy, order from Juanita Coulson .... The second one is EN GARDE and is chocked full of exciting reading matter about THE AVENGERS, past and present! Sample contents: Profiles on Diana Rigg & Patrick Macnee; You Have Just Been Murdered. Heartily recommended for AVENGER fans! Order from Richard Schultz... at 50 cents each. Help! RS is looking for the epilogues, the "off-into-the-sunset" scenes of the black-and-white shows and the finishes of the color shows as well, even if they didn't ride off into the sunset. He's also trying for the "Mrs. Peel, We're Needed" sequences from the beginning. Can anyone help supply him with information?
- from Peggye Vickers in Leonard Nimoy Association of Fans Bulletin (May 1968)
- Franz Joseph and Star Trek’s Blueprint Culture posted March 11, 2012.
- The Halkan Council #14 (January 1976)
- TREKisM #3 (January 1979
- Beyond the Farthest Star #3 (July 1988)