Vividly illustrated with hundreds of full-color images of rare film posters, magazines and books -many available no where else. Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History By Frank M. Robinson is an insider's view of the prophetic writers, illustrators and editors who made Sci-Fi the most popular and important form of entertainment in the 20th century.
From the dime store novel to pulp magazines, from books to films and TV, science fiction has chronicled our hopes for and fear of the future.
Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History by Frank M. Robinson well deserved the 2000 Hugo Award and the Locus Award for Best Art Book.
- Chapter 11. Future Dreams.
In the late 1920's and early 1930's, science fiction fans did not live by print alone. There was also the movies. The science fiction enthusiast who regularly read Science and Invention for its fiction and bought the first issue of Amazing Stories probably had waited in line, popcorn in hand, to see the silent film "The Lost World" adapted from the novel by A. Conan Doyle.
It had a familiar story line by later standards- Professor Challenger, played by Wallace Beery, discovers a lost world complete with dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were brought to life by master of stop-action motion Willis O'Brien. (O'Brien had experimented with stop-action manipulation of models in the 1919 "Ghost of Slumber Mountain", a short which also featured dinosaurs.) It was not, of course, the first science fiction film.
Edison invented the Kinetophonograph capable of recording images on film, (George Eastman had just invented celluloid film, complete with sprocket holes) Louis Lumiere invented a way of projecting the film images and George Melies accidentally invented special effects.
Melies' camera jammed while filming, and when he showed the film, the images he had photographed appeared and then suddenly disappeared, leaving only the background. Voila! Movie Magic!
Melies converted his theater (he had opened one for his own magic show) to showing films, founded his own company, built his own studio, and started producing movies. In 1902 he made "A Trip To The Moon", a free adaptation of Verne's "From The Earth To The Moon". Science fiction movies had been launched.
A few years later, Fritz Lang offered a change of pace with a glimpse at which the city of the future might look like, in "Metropolis", a 1927 German film. The movie offered dazzling vistas of a futuristic city plus a convincing female robot.
A "C" for politics but an "A" for its early special effects. (Anybody who ever wondered why artist Frank R. Paul drew his men of the future wearing funny pantaloons has only to watch the film.)
In 1930 comedian El (for Elmer) Brendel starred in a less-than-uproarious version of the future in "Just Imagine", which offered a World's Fair view of a city of the 1980's. It looked nothing like the real thing. The Talkies arrived in the late 1920's but 1931's "Frankenstein" featured a character who didn't talk at all (although he did grunt a lot) Boris Karloff, who had acted bit parts before, was chosen to play the monster, though Bela Lugosi who had achieved near stardom with "Dracula", had been the early choice. Both Karloff and Lugosi later starred in the "Son of Frankenstein", with Lugosi playing Ygor, the shepherd.
In the early 1940s, Lugosi finally played the monster in "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man". Eclipsing the original was its sequel, "The Bride of Frankenstein", in which Karloff recaps his role of the monster -and this time speaks, though Karloff thought it was a mistake. Elsa Lanchester (the wife of Charles Laughton) plays both the Bride and Mary Shelley. The film also starred Dwight Frye, the fly-eating acolyte of Count Dracula, but the film was stolen by Ernest Thesinger as Dr. Pretorious, who specializes in the miniaturization of human beings.
Between the original "Frankenstein" and its sequel, director James Whale directed still another classic, "The Invisible Man", adapted from the novel by H. G. Wells. You didn't hear Karloff talk in "Frankenstein" and you didn't even see Claude Rains, who plays the invisible man, until the last few frames of the movie. Nevertheless, it made Rains a star, much as the original "Frankenstein" had made one of Karloff. (Obviously a director's lucky charm, Dwight Frye was cast in four of the major genre movies of the era: both of the Frankenstein(s)" plus "Dracula" and "The Invisible Man".)
The class act for pure science fiction was "Things to Come", another adaptation of a Wells book. It offered a terrifying preview of what the next war might be like, then suffered by comparison with the genuine article a few years later. It ends with the launching of a rocket to the moon (from a giant cannon) and Raymond Massey proclaiming that mankind had a choice as to what sort of future it wanted. "All the universe or nothing. Which shall it be?" The sets and the special effects were tops for the period.
Willis O'Brien had another go-around with stop motion dinosaurs in the greatest monster movie of all, "King Kong". Producer-directors were Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, who had filmed the silent documentaries "Grass" (in what is now Iran) and "Chang" (Thailand). Willis O'Brien had been working on stop-action dinosaurs for a project to be titled Creation, suspended when Cooper and Schoedsack got the go-ahead for "Kong".
The story was by Edgar Wallace and Cooper; screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose (Schoedsack's wife). The jungle set did double duty for both Kong and Schoedsack's "The Most Dangerous Game" (released the year before), starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Noble Johnson, all of whom starred in "King Kong" as well.
At the time, RKO was on the verge of collapse, so it was understandable that both sets and actors would double in brass. (For trivia fans, it was Cooper and Schoedsack playing the pilots who shoot down Kong from the Empire State Building.) Kong himself consisted of six miniature models approximately eighteen-inches high, fully articulated and covered with rabbit fur; a full-sized head ideal for chomping people with three men inside to manipulate Kong's expressions; an enormous foot perfect for squishing natives; and an eight-foot hand with which to cradle Fay Wray.
One peculiarity, unnoticed by most moviegoers, was the occasional rippling of the hair on "King Kong". The "fingerprints" of the technicians who moved the models. Mae West got the credit for saving Paramount, "Frankenstein" for rescuing Universal, and "King Kong" for keeping the creditors away from RKO's door. Mae West was a force of nature, corset stays, and makeup -but two out of three wasn't bad for genre movies.
Some remarkable films showed up in the late 1930s. "Lost Horizon", "The Man Who Could Work Miracles", and the Saturday serials which included Gene Autry in "The Phantom Empire", as well as twelve-parters about Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
The 1940s saw innumerable sequels "The House of Frankenstein", "The House of Dracula", "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man", "The Invisible Man Returns". Quickie horror films "Devil Bat" and "Night Monster". Classic horror films "Cat People", "The Curse of the Cat People", "I Walked With a Zombie", "Bedlam" and "The Body Snatcher" -all produced by Val Lewton: and let's not forget "Phantom of the Opera". Plus a selection of almost classic science-fiction films "Doctor Cyclops", "Mighty Joe Young", "One Million B. C." and a series of Boris Karloff thrillers with and without Bela Lugosi; a series of Bela Lugosi films with and without Boris Karloff and a collection of serials -some of them starring comic book heroes, one of whom would show up in major productions decades later "The Batman", "New Adventures of Batman and Robin", "Adventures of Captain Marvel", "King of the Rocket Men".
The 1950s were a prelude to the 1970s and George Pal the predecessor of Kubrick and Lucas and Spielberg. The decade saw an enormous number of science fiction films that matched the outpouring of science fiction in the digest magazines. Disney filmed the definitive version of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and Christian Nyby -but probably Howard Hawks, who let Nyby take credit -directed "The Thing from Another Planet" (adapted -loosely from John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?").
Robert Wise directed "The Day the Earth Stood Still" from the Harry Bates story, "Farewell to the Master". Ray Bradbury wrote the original treatment for the 3-D "It Came From Outer Space" and saw his Saturday Evening Post story, "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms", turned into the movie of the same name.
There was that classic of paranoia, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", plus "Forbidden Planet" (which starred Leslie Nielsen as a young, serious hero, though Robby the Robot stole the show; in later films, Nielsen would discover a profitable talent for comedy). Steve McQueen was featured in "The Blob" (his first starring role) and Vincent Price in "The Fly".
"Invaders From Mars" was one of a series of films fueled by American fears of a possible conflict between the United States and what would become known as "The Evil Empire," plus the news stories about UFOs. "Invaders From Mars" was directed by William Cameron Menzies, best known for his cinematography and visual effects for "Gone With the Wind" and the silent version of "The Thief of Baghdad" (1924).
"Invaders From Mars" is about a young boy who sees the landing of an alien craft, but nobody believes him when he reports the invaders are taking over human beings. It is understandable that the aliens sketched by people who later claimed to have been abducted by them looked much like the aliens from Invaders and similar movies. Critics declared Ed Wood's 1956 release "Plan 9 From Outer Space" as probably the worst science fiction movie ever made -and George Pal's "War of the Worlds" was praised as one of the best.
Pal was born in Hungary and came to the States in 1940 where he produced "Puppetoons", astop action cartoons for Paramount, and won a special Academy Award for them in 1943. (He would go on to win five Oscars for special effects in his science fiction and fantasy films.) Pal's first science-fiction film was "Destination Moon", co-scripted by Robert Heinlein, followed by "The War of the Worlds" (based on the novel by Wells), "The Conquest of Space", and "The Time Machine". Probably the best of all his films was "Tom Thumb" -a musical adapted from the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. A few years later Pal followed it with "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm" (scripted by Charles Beaumont) and "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao", starring Tony Randall, who played six roles.
Pal's last two movies were "Doc Savage -The Man of Bronze" and this author's "The Power". Critics said Pal made hash of "The Power", though it wasn't entirely his fault. The first script was quite good, but the second was reportedly tailored to the wishes of the star, George Hamilton, who wanted a less ambiguous, "happy" ending. Years later, when Pal met the author to discuss another deal, the first thing he said was, "How will you ever forgive me?" George Pal was a talented man and a class act.
The 1960s were hardly without their share of excellent films -including Hitchcock's "Psycho", adapted from the book by fantasy and science-fiction writer Robert Bloch. The rights were purchased by Hitchcock through a "stalking horse" -an unknown who bought it for a low fee, then turned around and immediately sold it to Hitchcock. (Obviously Bloch's agent would have asked for a lot more money if he had known that Hitchcock was the real buyer.) Bloch acknowledged that the rights for the largest grossing black-and-white movie ever made-up to that time were purchased for peanuts but also admitted the movie had made his reputation in Hollywood.
"One Million Years BC" (starring Raquel Welch) was released in 1964, "Fahrenheit 451" directed by Francois Truffuat, and adapted from the Ray Bradbury book, in 1968. Ron Borst in his book "Graven Images" descibes the film as being "...a futuristic allegory of firemen who burn books, Librarians who die for books and people who become books." In keeping with the nature of the story the printed words in the film are to proclaim "The End".
The decade also saw "The Day of the Triffids", "The First Men on the Moon" and "Doctor Strangelove" and the first film starring Sean Connery as James Bond (Dr. No). 20th Century Fox Released "Fantastic Voyage" and "Planet of the Apes" starring Charlton Heston which was popular enough to spawn four sequels.
The most important science fiction movie of the decade was "2001: A Space Odyssey", produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-scripted by Arthur C. Clarke from his short story "The Sentinel". MGM was in a stock option battle at the time the film was being shot in England and stateside the company had almost shut down Its huge sound stages silent except for the television series starring Richard Chamberlain as "Dr. Kildare" and George Pal's shooting of "The Power".
"2001" was reportedly referred to as "Kubrick's Folly" by management people who had seen the rushes and hadn't the foggiest idea what the film was about. What it was about was like nothing that had ever been filmed before. It was released to mixed reviews (in the science-fiction community as well as the general one), and it took a few weeks before the studio realized it had a hit on its hands. (It didn't help with the stock option battle financier Kirk Kerkorian ran away with the studio.)
The movie was a seminal film. No other science fiction film had even come close to touching it for visual grandeur and scientific accuracy. It hardly made Kubrick's reputation but it vastly enhanced it. The same could be said about Arthur C. Clarke. Special effects were by Douglas Trumbull, who won an Oscar and went on to produce his own science fiction movie, "Silent Running". The movie featured Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood, but the real star was Douglas Rain as the voice of HAL, the computer. (The name of HAL was composed of the first letter of the alphabet preceding the letters IBM -an in group joke.)
Science fiction films would never again be the same. Stanley Kubrick had been around the film world for a while ("Paths of Glory", "Spartacus", "Lolita", "Dr. Strangelove"), but the next landmark in science fiction films was made by a thirty-two-year-old neophyte with only two films to his credit.
George Lucas had gone to the School of Cinema and Television of the University of Southern California and while there had made a short titled "THX 1138", which won first prize at the 1965 National Student Film Festival. He subsequently won a scholarship to observe the production of Francis Ford Coppola's "Finigan's Rainbow" and developed into a protege of Coppola's.
Somewhere along the line he became one of the cameramen on "Gimme Shelter", a Rolling Stones documentary. In 1971, with Coppola acting as executive producer, Lucas co-scripted and directed the full-length version of "THX 1138".
Two years later, at age twenty-eight, he shot "American Graffiti" on a budget of seven hundred thousand dollars and with a shooting schedule of twenty-eight days. The actors included Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Suzanne Somers, and Harrison Ford, all of whom found fame in later films or television shows. But at the time of the shooting, probably the best-known member of the cast was Wolfman Jack.
Four years after the release of "American Graffiti", Lucas, now an old fogy of thirty-two, wrote and directed "American Graffiti" for a budget reported to be around ten million. The film won seven Academy Awards and for many years was the top-grossing film of all time. lt was soon followed by two sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi", both of them also huge winners at the box office -the worldwide gross for all three at the end of the century was $1.5 billion. (Three "prequels" were due to follow: the first- "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace" to be released in 1999.)
"Star Wars" has been credited as being an outgrowth of the old Saturday serials, of being a science-fiction remake of "The Wizard of Oz" with Luke Skywalker the unlikely embodiment of Dorothy and R2D2 and C-3PO the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, all of it inspired by Joseph Campbell's views on human myths.
To an extent, all of it was true. Lucas was certainly an admirer of Joseph Campbell, Oz might have been in the back of his head (much later he was an unpaid consultant on the film "Return to Oz") and what boy hadn't been fond of the Saturday serials?
Lucas Film Ltd. was one of a number of companies owned by Lucas, which also included Lucas Arts Entertainment Company Ltd. LLC (interactive entertainment software computer games) and Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC (Industrial Light & Magic -his special effects company and Skywalker Sound). Twenty years after the release of Star Wars, Lucas could have stocked a small warehouse with all the Oscars and awards his companies had won.
Lucas had directed four films - "THX 1138", "American Graffiti", "Star Wars", and the first of the prequels but was also executive producer of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" directed by Steven Spielberg and co-executive producer as well as story creator of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" directed by Spielberg again.
Lucas' credentials in the field of imagination were impeccable -so were Steven Spielberg's. The same age as Lucas. Steven Spielberg attended California State University Long Beach and made a twenty minute film entitled "Amblin". On the basis of that film Universal signed Steven Spielberg to a four year contract.
Steven Spielberg directed a number of episodes of various television shows and then directed the made for TV movie "Duel" scripted by Science fiction writer Richard Matheson). A "Duel" between a middle-aged salesman driving a car and an unseen driver of a tractor trailer. "Duel" won numerous prizes in European film festivals and is considered by many to be Steven Spielberg's only worthwhile film.
It was a coincidence that saw the release of Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", in 1977, the same year that saw the release of "Star War". In 1980, Spielberg and Lucas teamed up on of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and the rest was history. Spielberg was to follow "Close Encounters" with "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), which at one time was second only to "Star Wars" in box office receipts. Later, Spielberg was to executive produce the popular "Back to the Future" trilogy, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, both of whom had been stars of TV sitcoms. Like Lucas, Spielberg soon started his own company, Amblin Entertainment, and ended the century as an associate in a new studio, DreamWorks.
In 1993, Spielberg directed "Jurassic Park", based on the novel by Michael Crichton, which totaled close to a billion dollars in world-wide receipts. Spielberg began filming "Schindler's List" a film about the Holocaust, while doing post-production work on "Jurassic Park". A side of Spielberg not generally known was the philanthropic. He established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation to videotape the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. He was also chairman of the Starbright Foundation formed to develop projects enabling seriously ill children to combat the emotional and physical challenges that accompany prolonged illness.) But Lucas and Spielberg weren't the only players when it came to science fiction films.
It was director Ridley Scott's idea to marry the horror and science fiction genres. "2001" and "Star Wars" had been immensely popular Science Fiction movie releases as had "The Exorcist", "Carrie", "The Omen" and "Halloween" had been popular horror movies. With "Alien" (1979) Scott successfully combined the two genres. It had been done before notably "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Thing and even in "Frankenstein", but never in a hardware science fiction context of rocket ships and space travel.
Scott had vastly admired "2001" but wanted his own film to involve a workaday spaceship and its blue collar crew. for design of his monster and the alien spaceship on the planet's surface Scott choose Swiss designer H.R. Geiger who specialized in "bio-mechanical" weird constructions of flesh and technology. For much of the design of the interior of the spaceship Scott used Ron Cobb, a lover of science fiction and a cartoonist for the Los Angeles Free Press, an "underground newspaper". (Between Geiger and Cobb "Alien" won an Oscar for best visual effects.)
Besides being one of the scariest movies ever shot, "Alien" made the reputation of actress Sigourney Weaver who played Warrant Officer Ripley and became an icon for feminists everywhere. Weaver intended to leave the series after the first sequel, but came back to portray Ripley two more times. The first sequel "Aliens", directed by James Cameron was extremely successful but was more of an action adventure picture than a horror thriller.
Scott tried his hand at another Science Ficton film a few years later with "Blade Runner" starring Harrison Ford as the "Blade Runner" who hunts replicants, or manufactured human beings. The setting was Los Angeles of the future looking like a cross between present day Los Angeles and Tokyo, smothered in smog and rain. Loosely adapted from P.K. Dick's novella "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", by Hampton Francher and David Peoples, the film was visually stunning. Syd Mead did the set design while Douglas Trumball again was responsible for the special effects.
The test screening of the film did not go over well and Ford was called back to add a film noir voice-over, while outtakes were used to add a happy ending. Early reviews showed that most critics admired the appearance of the film they were confused by what they considered a dreary story line and unsympathetic characters. Of such reviews cult classic are born.
Some years later, a director's cut was released minus the voice over narration and the happy ending. This was an entirely different film and a much darker one. For the first time it was clear that Harrison Ford's character was a replicant design to hunt down other replicants. The basic subtext came to the fore. How important are memories in making us human beings?
One minor note: All of the lines of dialogue in the movie -and there were some great ones -some of the best ad-libbed by actor Rutger Hauer during a read around, where the cast is gathered around a table and read through their parts for the day. Hauer's contribution were the lines the replicant Batty says just before dying: "Like tears in the rain".
Like "2001", "Alien" and "Close Encounters", "Blade Runner" was a triumph of science fiction filmmaking, a seminal film that engendered more after-the-fact analysis than any film since 2001. Strangely enough, Ridley Scott never made another science fiction film. He went on to make "Thelma and Louise" instead.
Another major science-fiction filmmaker surfaced with the release of "Terminator". Directed by James Cameron, the story was about a humanoid robot from the future sent back in time on a mission of murder. His objective: to eliminate the future mother of a man who would become the savior of the human race in its forthcoming war against the robots. The robot was implacable, unstoppable.
Cameron's decision to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role was brilliant. Schwarzenegger, whose dialog for the entire film wouldn't fill a page, had one of the greatest lines in movie making: "I'll be back." but of all the modern actors, probably only Schwarzenegger could have said it with as much menace in his voice.
"Terminator" gave a major boost to the careers of both Cameron and Schwarzenegger. Cameron went on to direct "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", "The Abyss", and the biggest blockbuster of all, "Titanic". An accomplished screenwriter, Cameron was a hands-on director with the reputation of a perfectionist and the personality of a daredevil. In shooting "The Abyss", a spectacular underwater adventure (it won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects), Cameron spent more time in a wet suit underwater than did any of his stuntmen. He even had pages of his script laminated so he could write on them in the filming tank.
Schwarzenegger who first appeared in "Pumping Iron", a documentary film about body building starred in "Conan the Babarian" and "Conan the Destroyer" prior to his role in "Terminator". after "Terminator" Schwarzenegger went on to star in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day", as well as "Total Recall" and another film adapted from a P.K. Dick story "Predator".
Schwarzenegger showed a surprising talent for comedy as well as action adventure and soon became one of Hollywood's highest paid talents. Around this time not every science fiction film was a success. One of the most eagerly awaited of all "Dune" directed by David Lynch was close to a disaster both critically and at the box office. When, this debacle was later turned into a tv mini series Lynch removed his name from the credits.
All the science fiction action hasn't been born on on the big screen, a lot of it first appeared on the small screen. First off the television launching pad was "Captain Video" (1949-1953), telecast live by the DuMont network on a minuscule budget. A half-hour show starring the Captain and his Video Rangers, it was shown five nights a week. Many of the early episodes were scripted by Damon Knight, Cyril Kornbluth, Robert Sheckley, James Blish, and Jack Vance. It was followed by "Space Patrol" featuring Commander Buzz Corry; Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, loosely adapted from Robert Heinlein's "Space Cadet".
There was "Science Fiction Theater" and "Space: 1999", starring Martin Landau who went on to play Bela Lugosi in the film, "Ed Wood". There was "Lost in Space" and "The Starlost" - which should have been a huge success but wasn't, created by Harlan Ellison (who repudiated it) and Ben Bova, with special effects by Douglas Trumbull; and let's not forget "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", a television series spin-off from the Irwin Allen movie of the same name.
"Twilight Zone" had occasional science-fiction episodes, as did "Outer Limits" and Stephen Spielberg's "Amazing Stories". Nothing succeeds like success in Hollywood and two years after the release of "Star Wars" saw the launching of the television series, "Battlestar Galactica", closely patterned after "Star Wars" with John Dykstra, one of the special-effects wizards of the film.
Like most imitations, it never came close to matching the original. Later there would be the sitcoms, the "Coneheads" featured on Saturday Night Live, "My Favorite Martian", and as of 1999- "Third Rock from the Sun" and "Futurama". But most importantly of all, there was... "Star Trek".
The brainchild of an ex-airline pilot, Gene Roddenberry, the original "Star Trek" ran for seventy-nine episodes on NBC during the 1960s. The ratings were hardly overwhelming, and the show was cancelled after its third season. A few stations picked up on the reruns...and then more...and still more. Years after cancellation, "Star Trek"was a hit.
"Star Trek" preceded Star Wars and there was little that the television show in its later incarnations borrowed from the Lucas film. The transporter, "Beam me up, Scotty!' the Klingons, and the Borg (the best science-fiction villains since Darth Vader and the Terminator) were all unique to the series. After the success of "Star Wars", a theatrical film featuring the original cast of Captain Kirk, Bones, Spock, and Scotty was inevitable. The first "Star Trek-The Motion Picture" was a disappointment. More feature films followed that enjoyed greater success.
Then came another television series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and when that had run its course, two more series "Star Trek Voyager" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". Finally, there was small screen competition in the form of "Babylon 5", which earned a cult following of its own complete with spin-off novels, etc. "The X Files" had little to do with outer space but a great deal to do with government conspiracies, unidentified flying objects, aliens, and the like. It also spun off a feature film and the usual books and other cult paraphernalia.
William Shatner, who played the original Captain Kirk in "Star Trek" retired to writing books and producing after briefly appearing as an LA cop on tv in the 80's. The other spin-off captains carried on valiantly -Cpt. Picard of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", (played by British actor Patrick Steward- "I, Claudius" and regretfully "Dune". Captain Sisko of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (played by Avery Brooks); and Cpt. Janeway of "Star Trek Voyager" (played by Kate Mulgrew).
One of the episodes of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" -"In the Moonlight" was mentioned by TV Guide as one of the best dramatic shows of the season. In it, Cpt. Sisko is forced to betray his ideals to save the lives of millions, sacrificing the lives of a petty criminal and a ambassador of dubious loyalty. On the surface, no contest but Brooks played his part with depth and feeling unusual in a science fiction series.
No other science fiction series have had the cultural impact that "Star Trek" and its spin-offs have had with the possible exception of "Star Wars". The Cast of the TV show are among the most recognizable actors in America today. The franchises of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" do not stop with the films. There are toys, Video games, and animated spin-off series for both. Of the 19,000 plus new sci-fi fantasy horror book titles published in 1998, "Star Trek" accounted for thirty-two of them and "Star Wars" for fourteen of them, many of which topped the bestsellers list. The popularity pair has raised fears among sci-fi writers that they may take over the genre and fears as to where corporatization may lead in the next hundred years. Cover Page Index