Monday, June 13, 2005

Star Trek Roots: HG and GR
There are many intriguing connections and parallels between the lives, work and ideas of H.G. Wells and Gene Roddenberry. They were both born into relative poverty in constricted circumstances. Health problems in childhood turned them both to reading, and changed their lives. They both had a spotty mixture of scientific and literary education.

They were both self-taught professional writers, and gravitated towards the most popular storytelling medium of their time. They used pretty much the same method and philosophy of science fiction storytelling. They both became the best-known storytellers about the future of their era, and they both revolutionized how science fiction stories would be told after them. They both championed the science fiction of consciousness. Along the way they both became celebrated figures, influential in the larger world.

(Wells was referred to by friends as "HG," and Roddenberry was and still is often called "GR." For convenience, I'll employ these initials much of the time.)

H.G. Wells wrote his first science fiction some 70 years before Star Trek (which is the amount of time that separates Kirk's Enterprise from Picard's in the Star Trek universe.) It's possible to draw a straight, solid line between HG's approach to science fiction and GR's approach to Star Trek. That line would run through at least one important if obscure figure who wrote in the period about halfway between them, and more recently it would widen to include the ABCs of GR's generation (Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke.) Anyway that's the argument I'm about to make in the course of this brief look at some of what connects HG and GR.

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