Sunday, March 01, 2009

Where No Queer Has Gone Before

The Star Trek online series Phase 2, the new Star Trek voyages, is receiving high marks and acceptance for the quality of it's shows. There has been over thirty million downloads of the web only episodes.

Now, they have available for download an adaptation of an unproduced Star Trek Next Generation episode by David Gerrold. David Gerrold is a major science fiction writer and penned one of the most popular original series episodes The Trouble with Tribbles. He is also gay.

Blood and Fire was never produced for the Next Generation because of the controversial subject matter for its time - gays on Star Trek and the episode's focus on the crew battling a deadly and infectious disease, a metaphor for AIDS.

The Canadian Gay online news site Xtra! has more.
The original Star Trek series was acclaimed when it first aired in the 1960s for its racially diverse cast, prominent female characters and political themes.

Carlos Pedraza, who adapted the original Blood and Fire script for the web series says putting gay characters into the Star Trek universe sends a positive message to Star Trek fans.

“The lack of seeing gay people in the Star Trek universe basically said to gay people, ‘You don’t exist in the future,’” Pedraza says. “Including gays shows that we’re not a disease and we don’t need to be cured, and we contribute as we’ve always contributed to the advancement of science, culture and art.”

But Pedraza says acknowledging the controversy that gay characters have created for 21st-century Star Trek fans proved a difficult balance when writing characters with 23rd-century sensibilities.

“We didn’t want the gay characters treated by the other character differently because they were gay. We really wanted to show that being gay in the 23rd century is normal,” Pedraza says. “What we tried to do was make a comment by showing how normally they are treated, and showing that the remarks that other people on the show make about these two characters have to do with the affection that they hold for each other, not that they’re the same gender. That speaks volumes to modern audiences.”

Blood and Fire has certainly struck a chord with Star Trek’s legions of fans. The episode was downloaded more than a quarter-million times in the first week that it was available, and has sparked debate on Star Trek fan discussion sites.
Phase 2 episodes including Blood and Fire Part 1 are available for download now.

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