Dean Wesley Smith
After I turned in my selections of wonderful stories for Elisa and Paula to judge for this year's anthology, Elisa and I were discussing ideas for my introduction. She suggested that maybe I should talk about the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series.
My initial reaction was: Forty years? Wow. That's fantastic!
Then a second thought came to mind. That's not possible. I'm not that old.
But I am. I can recall every Friday evening during my high school years. I would always be home to watch Star Trek. (Okay, that should give you a pretty good idea of what my social life was like when I was a teenager, but let's not go there.) Suffice it to say, Star Trek was an important element in my life during those years.
In hindsight, I realize that the reason I would insist on watching the show every week was clear: I didn't like being where I was during those high school years. What kid really does? Star Trek gave me an escape, in much the same fashion as the shelves and shelves of Andre Norton, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Robert Heinlein books in my basement bedroom. Star Trek and all of those other books took me out of that house -- out of that teenage life that everybody hates -- to strange new places, distant planets, and awesome adventures. Science fiction, with its wonderful worlds, futures, and messages of hope, was what I turned to for a few hours of not thinking about the world around me. More importantly, though, it let me believe that a better future was possible.
Remember the world in which Star Trek was born? The cities of this country were going up in flames, and bombs were going off so often that only the regional ones were reported. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy were shot. Nixon was elected to his first term. And the war just kept getting bigger and bigger. I believed from almost the moment I understood what Vietnam was about that I would be drafted, when I got out of high school. To me, it also meant that I would eventually be shot at and maybe killed.
That I would be drafted in the fall of 1969 seemed inevitable. It was a fact that all guys thought about a great deal in those days. We didn't talk about it much, though. It was just too scary to talk about.
I was one of those who didn't believe the war was right, but I also didn't believe in copping out by cutting and running. So there I was, stuck in a life I didn't much like, with a future of war and likely death facing me.
So, you can see why I made it home every Friday night to watch the original Star Trek. And I have a pretty good memory of writing a letter when they tried to cancel the show in 1968.
I can't imagine what I would have thought if some time traveler had walked up to me during those years and said, "In forty years, you will have managed to stay out of Vietnam. You will have written over twenty Star Trek novels, edited several Star Trek anthologies for new writers, and written a few Star Trek scripts." I'm sure I would have just laughed. Being a part, even a minor part, of such a unique show would never have crossed my mind in 1966.
About thirteen years ago, my wife and I got the chance to join in creating some of this wonderful universe, and we jumped at it. Writing under the name Sandy Schofield, we wrote Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Big Game. Suddenly, I was a Star Trek writer. And it's such a high for me that I get to give new writers out there the same chance.
In nine volumes, there have been almost two hundred new Star Trek stories. Over one hundred different writers have joined in inventing Star Trek, the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. I'm sure every one of them, since they are all fans, can talk about the influence Star Trek, in every incarnation, had in their lives, just as I can. The shows, now shown in syndication, continue to influence future generations as well.
With the world becoming a little rougher than it has been the last few decades, we now need the wonderful vision of the future that Star Trek brings us even more. We need the escape, the hope, and the belief that mankind goes forward.
At the moment, we only have the books and games that can bring Star Trek and its hope and vision to all of us. You hold it in your hand. You are the cutting edge of Star Trek -- written by the fans, people like you and me, who love this universe almost more than our real one.
For forty exceptional years, Star Trek has given us all a look ahead, a wonderful escape into a great universe. So sit back, turn off the news, and let a few of your fellow fans take you away on twenty-three wonderful trips into the future. You won't want to come home.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.