10 Times Star Trek Changed The World

8. You Say Trekkie, I Say Trekker

Trekkies Gabriel Koerner
Paramount Pictures

Are you a TrekkIE or a TrekkER? Not that whole debacle again, surely! It is a moot point, of course, but one brought up in the eponymous Denise Crosby documentaries about the fandom. The debate itself highlights to what extent Star Trek, more than any other TV show, has impacted the cultural zeitgeist of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Star Trek can arguably be credited with the invention of contemporary fandom through its fanzines and the letter writing campaign that saved The Original Series from its first season demise in the 1960s. It is truly at the Convention where the title of Trekkie comes into its own, however.

Gene Roddenberry had premiered both The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before at The World Science Fiction Convention in 1966, but the first Star Trek Convention (with guests) – Star Trek Lives! – is generally recognised to have taken place in New York in January 1972 to a vastly unexpected turn-out. In the documentary For the Love of Spock, Leonard Nimoy recalls, in posthumous narration, walking on stage at this first convention to be greeted by a "thunderous wall of noise".

Over the decades, Star Trek Conventions would become a pop-culture phenomenon with hundreds taking place each year around the world; fans came to cosplay their hearts out, collect their collectibles, and often to share their emotional stories with the actors.

Crosby’s 2004 Trekkies 2 underscores the international impact of these fan gatherings. From Italy to Brazil, the UK to France, Australia to Serbia, the sentiment that "Star Trek knows no borders" is matched by a unifying hope for the future, and the fact that "nobody is ostracised [at conventions] because they are different".

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Jack Kiely is a writer with a PhD in French and almost certainly an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek.