Star Trek - 40 Years of Science Fiction Cult


No other science fiction name has created so much media interest as Star Trek. It first appeared as a television series, written by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960s. Star Trek was not very popular at first. The original series was on the air for only three years. But it was the start for further series and 11 full-length films. Books, computer and video games have emerged in the past four decades. Since the beginnings, Star Trek has created a huge community of followers with thousands of fan clubs. Meetings and conventions take place all over the world with Trekkies in their Star Trek clothes and with phaser pistols.

Star Trek is set in the 23rd century. People can travel through space at warp speed - faster than light. Many Earth-friendly planets have been discovered. Together they form the United Federation of Planets. In the original TV series the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew travel to far away sections of the universe. In each episode the Enterprise goes on new missions, explores new worlds and civilizations and "boldly goes where no man has gone before". On their mission they meet many enemies, for example the Klingons. With Star Trek Gene Roddenberry tried to create a perfect universe, in which the peoples of planets live together in peace.



The crew of the Enterprise is made up of members from different countries and planets: Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Mr. Spock from the planet Vulcan, Medical Officer Leonard "Bones" McCoy, the female Black Communications Officer Uhuru and others.

The original Star Trek series shows characters that are very different from each other but who work together in harmony on the same ship.  James Kirk is a real commander who likes to make decisions. Sometimes he is aggressive, at other times humorous and ironic. Mr.Spock, with his pointed ears, always makes logical decisions and never understands when someone shows emotions, like crying or laughing. His arguments with the ship's doctor McCoy are legendary. Even though McCoy does not always understand the Vulcan, the two officers respect each other.

Star Trek also brought about new technology: a computer that talks to you and gives you scientific answers for questions, or a transporter that beams people to other places over great distances. The communicator that Kirk and his crew flips open was later on used for mobile phones of the 90s. And NASA even named its first space shuttle “Enterprise”.

Over two decades after the original series ended Star Trek - The Next Generation featured a new crew and a new Enterprise. Other sequels followed: Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise.  11 full-length films have been made since 1979.  The most recent one appeared in May 2009 and shows young Kirk on his first mission as captain of the Enterprise.

Since 1966 Star Trek has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry. The franchise is currently owned by CBS.



Related Topics



  • appear = show
  • argument = quarrel
  • boldly = bravely; without being afraid
  • century = a hundred years
  • commander = the person who is in charge of a ship
  • communicator = here: machine with which you can talk to other people; like a mobile phone
  • community = group of people
  • convention = conference ; when people who believe in the same things get together
  • crew = the people who work on a ship
  • currently = at present , now
  • decade = ten years
  • decision = a choice that you make after you think about something
  • develop = grow
  • discover = to find something that you did not know about before
  • distance = space
  • emerge = come up
  • enemy = person you fight against and who is not your friend
  • episode = one of a series of TV programmes
  • even though = while
  • explore = to travel around a place and find out more about it
  • feature = show, present
  • female = woman
  • First Officer = an officer who is just below the rank of a captain
  • flip open = open up
  • follower = a person who believes in a topic or ideas
  • franchise = here: the right to use a name
  • full-length = the normal length of a cinema film
  • further = extra, more
  • huge = very, very big
  • ironic = you use words that are the opposite of what you mean, often in a humorous way
  • multi-billion = many thousand million
  • on the air = to be shown on TV
  • own = belong to
  • phaser pistol = a gun that is used in Star Trek ; it can hurt or kill you or even destroy objects
  • popular = liked by many people
  • sequel = a film or series that continues the first part, often with the same characters
  • series = a set of TV shows that have the same characters and are usually shown at the same time every week
  • transporter = a machine that transport objects from one place to another