I am so pleased to have multi-New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros with me here today for a long and rambling chat about one of our favorite fictional universes. But as you can tell (despite the rather misleading bookcover posted at right), it’s not the Regency universe we’re all agog over (despite the fact that we both write stories set in that universe), but the Star Trek universe. I happen to know as a result of my Avon FanLit past that Teresa is a huge fan of Star Trek, and after I saw the new movie a couple of weeks ago, I desperately needed someone with whom to gnaw over my feelings about both the new movie and the original canon, and I have a feeling Teresa would be just the person for the job.
I was right! Here’s our conversation:
Jackie: So, tell me, Teresa, how and when were you first exposed to the Star Trek universe (dates are not a requirement, but which series did you start with, etc.)? What do you think drew you to continue following it after that first exposure?
Teresa: Would you believe I’d never seen a single episode of STAR TREK until I met my husband-to-be when I was 20? I was always more of a LOST IN SPACE/LAND OF THE LOST girl myself. But he introduced me to the original series and I soon found myself completely immersed in the fictional world of the Federation. I think the humanity of the stories and the relationships between the characters were what I found so irresistible, especially the Kirk, Spock and McCoy banter.
I also developed a pretty heavy crush on young Captain Kirk. (Or as he’s known around our house–“Oh captain, my captain” .) Although the original series will always remain my favorite, I was also quite captivated by THE NEXT GENERATION when it debuted.
So how about you, Jackie? Are you a Kirk or a Spock woman? 🙂
Jackie: Um, both? I’m a Gemini, so I hate having to choose :).
I have to say, though, that I have always been drawn more to the super-cerebral, stoic character than to the hot male alpha, which could explain why I was always fonder of Spock than Kirk, and why my favorite TNG character is Data. One of my favorite scenes in the first episode the Next Generation series was when Riker met Data for the first time and opined that he was Pinocchio, although personally, I always thought Data was a little more like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz–he thinks he doesn’t have a heart, but he really does.
Must admit, however, that Chris Pine might make me change my mind about the Spock/Kirk dynamic. Loved the actor who played Spock in the movie (and dug that he and Uhura have the hots for each other, although I’m pretty sure that must be a breach of Star Fleet protocol, lol), but…well, all I can say is CHRIS PINE!
I’m curious to know whether you watched any of the series that came out after TNG, or whether it stopped there for you? And also, which is your favorite of the original cast movies and of the TNG movies?
Teresa: I’m a huge Data fan too! And I agree with you completely because he really was the “heart” of TNG for me. Killing him off in NEMESIS was a colossal blunder that made a not-very-good movie even worse.
And the Spock/Uhura thing totally caught me off guard in the new movie! But I totally bought into it because of the acting, especially her tenderness toward him and his barely restrained passion toward her. I think the “reboot” of the franchise by making it a slightly different timeline was particularly brilliant from a creative standpoint and will free them from adhering so strictly to official STAR TREK canon. And yeah…Chris Pine was rather…hawt!
I really loved DEEP SPACE NINE too, especially Quark, Kira and Odo. Great characterization and a lot of humor. I wanted to like VOYAGER but would often catch myself falling asleep during episodes, which I think is a bad sign. And ENTERPRISE was really just finding its footing when they ended it. During that period, I felt that shows like BABYLON 5, FARSCAPE, and STARGATE were actually doing a better job of capturing the spirit of STAR TREK than the franchise’s own shows.
My favorite original cast movies–I’m torn! My husband would say STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KAHN but I think I’d have to go with STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME. My favorite TNG movie would be FIRST CONTACT. I didn’t like them killing Captain Kirk in GENERATIONS much more than I liked them killing Data. I wanted to believe they were both still out there somewhere exploring the galaxies!
Jackie: Ah, at last, someone who shares my undying Data-love. I, too, was upset when they killed him off at the end of NEMESIS, although I kind of thought they killed him without killing him, if you know what I mean. (One of my favorite jokes is that the moral of NEMESIS is “Always back up your Data.”)
I watched DEEP SPACE NICE pretty faithfully until they killed off Jadzia Dax. After that, the series took a turn that felt a little too “dark” to me for the franchise. But maybe I was just mad because I liked that Worf was happy and getting nookie :).
We also agree on best franchise movies, though I have to confess that I’ve never seen GENERATIONS, and only learned TODAY–from Wil Wheaton’s tweet about the Shatner scene that was cut from the movie)–that Kirk was killed off at the end. So until today, there I was, thinking he WAS still out there exploring the galaxies!
But that brings me to the question of the franchise “reboot.” While I was watching the movie, I loved it and thought it was brilliant. Certainly, the way they did it followed all the established rules of the Star Trek universe, although I did think they way they maneuvered the storyline to make Kirk the captain was a bit strained. But after I came home, itching to watch the old episodes and movies, I wondered if I could ever really enjoy them anymore because now it’s all stuff that never actually happened. I’m trying to convince myself that I can just imagine that all that canon really did happen in a parallel universe and remembering the episode of TNG where Worf wound up in the wrong parallel universe and all the Enterprises were popping into the same space to assure myself that that’s entirely possible in Star Trek physics, but I’m not sure it’s working.
Is there anything you can tell me to ease my pain? Because I can’t wait for the NEXT new Star Trek movie to come out to get another fix!
Teresa: “Always back up your Data”, eh? I hadn’t heard that one before but it’s perfect! Brent Spiner frequently makes jokes about the misbegotten “killing off of Data” concept in NEMESIS in his Twitter tweets.
And I liked Worf with Jadzia in DEEP SPACE NINE but I liked him even better with Deanna toward the end of THE NEXT GENERATION. That episode you mentioned–PATTERNS–is one my favorites because of the alternate realities where they were together. I liked Riker but I just never felt he deserved Deanna because he’d let her go one too many times. Did you ever read the Peter David STAR TREK novel IMZADI? That was the best treatment of the Riker/Troi love story. And I have to admit right here that my hero Morgan MacDonnell from A WHISPER OF ROSES was based on a Klingon archetype . Highlanders? Klingons? Not much difference, eh? They both growl a lot.
And I didn’t find that the movie interfered with my enjoyment of the previous incarnations of STAR TREK at all because I CAN convince myself that the movie and its future sequels are occurring in a slightly alterered timeline, which leaves the original timeline intact in my mind. Hmmmm…wonder what you and I would be doing in a slightly altered timeline? Accepting our Oscars for Best Original Screenplay perhaps?
Jackie: Ah, wouldn’t that be brilliant?
Thanks, Teresa, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, and to allay my fears. I don’t know if there’s much that’s more fun for a Star Trek junkie than talking Star Trek smack with another fan.
Teresa’s many wonderful books, including her two most recent releases, Some Like It Wild and Some Like It Wicked, can be purchased at bookstores, retail outlets, and online booksellers everywhere. Please join me in thanking Teresa for her time and for her continuing generosity and kindness to her readers and writers in the romance community. We love you, T!