Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Here is an interesting article about how and why Star Trek and Star Wars attract different kinds of fans and why their fans act so differently, even though the works are both ‘sci-fi.’ The differences seem to be profoundly influenced by the type of sci-fi (hard sci-fi vs. space opera) as well as the medium of the work (TV vs. movie). In the end, the method you use to tell the story matters almost as much as the story itself.

Excerpt: Fans of Trek and Star Wars are galactically different
By ANDREW DANSBY, Houston Chronicle
May 7, 2009, 5:42PM

The two Star worlds represent different strata of nerdiness, with Trek the fundamentalist faith of the two. Grown Star Wars fans might offer self-deprecating humor based on their fandom, but it doesn’t inspire the stigmatized reverence that Trek does.

(on the type of sci-fi)

Some of that is the difference between dramatic space opera and harder science fiction, the former basically a Western set in space, the latter more speculative fiction with an affinity for how things work in the future.

Steve Hammond, who lives in Scotland, where he and a crew of more than 30 created Intrepid, a series of original Trek-related episodes that can be seen online (www.starshipintrepid.net), suggests the science is an important part of the allure.
“With Star Trek, a technological discovery or an artifact or a piece of knowledge or, in the best stories, a ‘Big Question’ can be something which drives the story,’ he says. “The science part actually matters…”

“The genius of Trek,” he says, “is to do the science part without losing sight of the characters and goals and the humanity. Whatever the story is apparently about, however distant it is, we know that it’s really about us.”

(on the medium)

Google ‘famous Trekkies’ (a phrase many Trek enthusiasts abhor) and the names are lovably laughable for the variety. What do former Vice President Al Gore, wrestler Chris Jericho and country star Brad Paisley talk about at a dinner? Star Trek.

Because it was televised, Trek could make its impact closer to home. Jericho says his first memory of the Trek universe ‘was seeing Captain Kirk fight a lizard kind of guy in the desert when I was three or four years old. That instantly got me hooked.’

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