Star Trek: 5 Literary Precursor Captains To James T. Kirk

1. Captain Nemo

James Mason Captain Nemo The obvious technology and ranks aside, Kirk and Nemo share other similarities. First, Nemo is a genius. Not only in his design of an underwater vessel far before its time, but in his creative tactical innovativeness. Nemo developed the tactic of ramming various Imperialistic military vessels of the 1870's with a specially designed dorsal blade located on the spine of his ship, the Nautilus. He was also credited with exceptional piloting skills. Kirk is an exceptional helmsman as he is able to deftly manoeuvre the battered hulk €“ The USS Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine" around the sun-eater that threatens the Enterprise. Later, Kirk arms it with an explosive and rams the automated weapon with the Constellation. In terms of Kirk's tactical genius €“ hey, the guy can out-think a Vulcan at chess. Nemo also is devoted to his crew. He mourns the death of his crewmembers who were killed by the giant squid in the Bahamas. He also rewards them generously with treasure and gold bullion from the Spanish wrecks found at the bottom of the sea. Kirk has also demonstrated on numerous times how devoted he is to his crew. In "The Tholian Web", Kirk willingly allows Scotty to beam the boarding party from the USS Defiant first, before he himself is beamed aboard the Enterprise. That ends up with Kirk trapped inter-dimensionally, and how Spock and McCoy have to rescue him later, reciprocating their loyalty. Nemo is popularly known to be Latin for "No-one", but it is also Greek for "I give what is due", as in the concept of Nemesis. Cool, huh? I mean, if you really want to include J.J. Abrams' version of Kirk, well, the Nemesis reference is just too obvious to be missed. In the Abrams re-boot, Nero kills Kirk's dad and later, Kirk kills Nero. If that isn't an obvious case of simply giving what's due, then I don't know what is. So, there are clearly literary precedents for Kirk's character, but Kirk is more than just an amalgamation of these figures' main attributes. Kirk is all of these figures for a new century. When Gene Roddenberry envisioned this character, he saw him as a way of taking what was valuable from the past and creating a hero for the future with it. He is the best of heroes and a way for us to imagine what the future can be with just such a hero in it. ... Not to mention how to do a flying drop kick and landing on your opponent with a scissors leg-lock. The man was a gifted martial artist.
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John Kirk is a Teacher-Librarian and currently a History/English Teacher with the Toronto District School Board. But mostly, John teaches Geek. Comics, Sci-Fi (Notably Star Trek), Fantasy and Role-Playing and table-top games all make up part of John’s repertoire, There is a whole generation of nerds-in-embryo who rely on him to make sense of it all, to teach that with great power comes great responsibility, that the force will be with us always and that a towel IS the most useful thing to have in one’s possession. When John isn’t in the classroom, he can be found in his basement writing comic reviews for www.popmythology.com and features for Roddenberry Entertainment's www.1701news.com.

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