May 29 2024

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Shatner On Trek Fandom

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William Shatner is in his eighties, an age when most people have retired, but he is still working and that work includes attending many Star Trek conventions.

It took a book and then a film documentary for Shatner to get why people attend Trek conventions.

“I wrote a book called Get a Life years ago, where I felt I’d done my due diligence and figured out why it is that people come to these conventions,” said Shatner. “And it’s to see each other. That was my final conclusion. Then I did a film documentary and some deeper research. And it was therein that I discovered that this pop culture goes deeper than we’d imagined.

“There is a mythological component, especially with science fiction. It’s people looking for answers – and science fiction offers to explain the inexplicable, the same as religion tends to do. Although ninety-nine percent of the people that come to these conventions don’t realize it, they’re going through the rituals that religion and mythology provide.”

Times have changed in the convention world and Shatner has been there to see how the conventions have evolved over time. “It’s metastasized, I guess is the word,” he said. “It’s become a huge, huge business. There used to be one or two conventions a year. Now I have to be careful and pick and choose where I go.”

Shatner also spoke briefly about the loss of his co-actor and friend, Leonard Nimoy. “I loved him,” he said. “He was a wonderful man. And we’re all so much the less with his passing. Two other people connected to Star Trek have also passed away recently: Maurice Hurley, who produced and wrote the first two seasons of Next Generation, and Harve Bennett, who produced four or five of the Star Trek movies I was in. We’ve lost a lot of wonderful people of late. It makes you consider your own mortality.”

Shatner will be appearing at the Wizard World Raleigh Comic-Con in Raleigh, N.C. this weekend.

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9 thoughts on “Shatner On Trek Fandom

  1. Bravo Bill on commenting on all three recent losses in the Trek fold. Each one will be missed!

  2. Mythology? Religion? Fan’s are participating in “ritual” because they think it’s real. They’re doing it because it’s fun to pretend. Waaaaay different than a religion. Very strange comments.

  3. Have to upvote that. And in a related note, would like to say that this site’s coverage of those sad events, especially Nimoy’s passing (that memorial page), has been pure class. Some of the best coverage on the net. Very well done.

  4. “You’ve turned an enjoyable little job I did as a LARK for a few years into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!!!”

  5. When you see, and in some unfortunate instances, interactive with quite a few people who go to Trek conventions, you’d be surprised how accurate Shatner’s observations are on this, although having seen grown women reduced to the kind of tears and tantrums I’d expect from a 2 year old just because they’d gone to see Robert Beltran who proceeded to very accurately slag off Voyager, I’d suggest Shatner’s religious ritual comments don’t actually even get close.

  6. He’s not saying it’s a literal religion – it’s a way of thinking that relates to religion. In ancient Rome, when great men died they would posthumously be regarded as gods; now we venerate media figures. Society may have changed, but we still have the same instincts (or, as Jung might put it, we still think in mystical/mythical terms).

  7. Similarity holds between science fiction fanhood, myth, and religion, though not identity. The comparison with myth that includes possession of a shared story is good. So is the comparison with group rite practiced by the religious. But religion has a strong element of social control which the other two lack. Religions validate the dominant position of an elite: Gods bless rulers, and only priests have special access to gods. Myth is a component of religion; however the converse is not true.

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