Earlier this year I learned that May is Expanded Science Fiction and Fantasy Month. This challenge is a simple one. Pick any science fiction or fantasy universe and read or watch stories that were set in it but that were not part of the original canon.
To give one example, you could read Star Trek novels that were written as continuations of that universe after The Original Series first aired.
My brain hasn’t been amenable to reading serious, full-length novels recently due to some concerns I’ve had about a friend who has Covid-19, so my first post in response to this challenge will be lighthearted and a little off the beaten path. My hope is to revisit this challenge later on this month with a response that follows the rules more closely.
There are are no spoilers in these videos unless you’re 30+ years behind on Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes and determined not to know anything about what was written about that universe in the 1980s and 1990s.
For everyone else, they’re simply good, clean fun for anyone who is looking for a pick-me-up during these trying times.
If you’ve never seen Gangham Style, I recommend watching it first. This Trekkie parody of it never fails to make me smile in large part because actual Klingons would be horrified by the frivolity and silliness of it all.
If you enjoy Frozen and Star Trek: The Next Generation, this might be right up your alley. I can oddly see Captain Picard enjoying this tune so long as no one was paying too much attention to his reaction to it. It was a short, cheerful tune that used his favourite catch phrase, after all. What’s not to like about that?
Fans of Megan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” keep reading.
The Borg would have no use for this song, but I find it amusing. They’re by far the scariest villains in the Star Trek universe to me, so it’s nice to see them on screen without any chance of them assimilating anyone.
(Why do I keep figuring out if Star Trek characters would enjoy the songs about them? I have no idea!)
I saved my best recommendation for last.
Everything else on this list was a short music video. The Orville is a TV show that lovingly parodies Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
No, it isn’t set in the Star Trek universe, but it’s easy to forget that since it was written by folks who were clearly well-versed in what the storytelling was like at this point in Star Trek history and who were fans of it.
Just like the shows it gently pokes fun at, The Orville follows an ensemble cast of characters who live and work on an exploratory vessel several hundred years in the future. The diverse crew includes officers from a wide array of planets and cultures who work in close quarters a long ways from home.
While I understand the need for recent Star Trek series and films to take darker turns in order to attract new audiences and keep up with the times, one of the things I enjoy the most about The Orville is how optimistic it is.
Life isn’t perfect there by any means, but you can generally count on things to work out well for the characters no matter what problems they face. There is a sense of hope and joy in this universe that permeates almost everything.
Sometimes these near-mandatory happy endings are included in the parody aspects of the plot, but it’s always done with good intentions. There is something comforting about this that makes me look forward to the third season even more earnestly now.
If you’re participating in the challenge, I look forward to reading about which stories or videos you’ve selected for it!