Tribute by Eric 'Renderking' Fisk December 20th, 2008
For almost a decade, I've been pretty harsh towards Star Trek fans. It's moments like this, though, that I regret my tone. Not what I've said, but how I said it. I wish I had taken a page from Gene Roddenberry's widow, Majel Barrett. She and I were on the same page about Trekkies needing to "Get A Life" and take part in making the future depicted in "Star Trek" a reality, rather then passively obsess about it. She just happened to say it better.
This very regal, forth-right lady cared about the fans, and glowed about those of us who took the message seriously - glowed about those fans who accomplished something as if they were her children or grand-children. Sadly, she died late this past week of pneumonia. She will be missed. Here's why...
I heard Mrs. Roddenberry speak once at a Science Fiction convention
more then a decade ago in Manchester, New Hampshire. Let me just say
this about that speech she gave, it was nothing close to what I was
expecting. If you were looking for a talk about celebrating Trekkies
and thank you for keeping her family's bank account fat, you were sorely
She reminded us of what the show was really about in the beginning; making tomorrow better. She talked about those fellow fans who saw the original show and said: "I want that to be me. I want to get into engineering, medicine, science..." and found a way to do it. They took out loans or applied for grants and did their best in college and then did what they set out to do.
Star Trek was supposed to be about "Boldly Going Where No One Has Gone Before..." about looking at something that's impossible today and making it happen tomorrow and common place for all time in the days to come after that. If you can dream it, then we can do it. Star Trek about letting our wisdom catch up to our technology and use what we've learned to help all. We can look past what makes us different and focus on what makes unique while at the same time be united in what makes us the same, work together to make things better and solve real world problems.
Mrs. Roddenberry really cared about the fans of the show her husband created. Not because of what they did for her families fortune, but how the work they did in creating that show was worth while, something more then a pay check. Majel Barrett Roddenberry met many folks who went on become Astronauts, Doctors, Physicists because of that little Science Fiction Show that could... She spoke about how we've been able to make things better through science and space exploration. The best example she gave is how we can use satellites today to forecast the weather and rain patters so we can help farmers in famine stricken regions in Africa. Thanks to technology that made the Hubble Space Telescope possible, we have a better idea of our place in the universe and how special life is on our planet really is. We're just starting to find out if and how life could spring up elsewhere in our own solar system and the rest of the cosmos. Space Technology really can, and often does, make our lives better and give us hope as we keep reaching out for the stars.
She finished her speech by saying that we have it with in us to keep moving forward, to take the inspiration from our favorite shows and put the philosophy into practice. Don't just be an observer and watcher, be proactive - participate and do something with your life. You are a unique person of consequence. We all are if we chose to be.
I had the opportunity to talk to her briefly. She asked me who I was and what I did. I told her my brief story about how the episode "Tapestry" was the final push I needed to continue my education. She was thrilled. But she also told me, "Don't stop, don't slow down... don't rest on your laurels... the future is counting on you, too." That made me feel as special and important as the astronauts, physicians and physicist she talked about earlier.
I grieve with her son and the rest of her family and friends. I'm a better man because of the brief moment I knew her and spoke with her. Bless her, her memory and those like her and those of us who will help to keep her vision alive. Because of people like her Ex Astra Scientifica - "From Stars, Knowledge" is true. God Speed.