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The love of Star Trek is fairly widespread. Proof of this is in a documentary called Trekkies, which appeared in a few cinemas in March 1999. The film tells the stories of the fans. They include a man who legally changed his name to James T. Kirk. There's also the story of the people of Vulcan, Alberta, who constructed a 31-foot replica of the Starship Enterprise.

Did you dress as a Romulan for Halloween? Are you brushing up on Klingon? Do you consider yourself capable of Enterprise command? If any of that makes sense to you, you could be a devout fan of Star Trek.

For Karen Andrade, the first sign of her Trek status came when she found herself eating each night alone in front of the television. Bill Binder realized he was hooked when he didn't touch his popcorn at the movies.

While many dedicated fans are known as Trekkies, others object to this name. Instead, they prefer the term Trekkers. Regardless of what they call themselves, their interest is the same: the universe and characters that Gene Roddenberry created.

Star Trek has survived many incarnations. The first part of being a worthy follower is understanding them. The Original Series (TOS), the Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), Voyager and Enterprise are the eras of Star Trek.

Besides watching the television series, Trek fans can buy merchandise, play computer games, surf the Web and read books about this spectacular universe.

More than 1,000 Star Trek conventions take place around the world every year. They attract millions of fans, according to one magazine's estimate. Besides these powwows, people around the globe have formed clubs, such as the United Federation of Planets Internationale. These clubs meet monthly or even weekly. Members of UFPI promote the Trek philosophies of peace, unity and brotherhood.

Some Trek fans are drawn to the storylines. Others like the show because the science is believable. Still others marvel over costumes and characters. Most agree, however, that Roddenberry has captured their attention because his message is a universal one of love, peace and harmony.

"Almost every episode has an underlying moral message," says Charles Richardson. "Star Trek battled such issues as slavery, racism, sexuality, basic right and wrong. Star Trek was a pioneer that caused dramatic changes not only in television, but in people, myself included.

"I found through Star Trek that by helping others, others will help you, and that our efforts should be for the greater good of the many, and not our own selfish purposes," Richardson says.

Andrade enjoys Star Trek for similar reasons. "Roddenberry used Trek as a vehicle for us to examine ourselves -- our frailties, our strengths, our prejudices, our abilities to adapt," she says. "I especially liked his vision of the future, where the Earth at last was at peace. People no longer had to work to survive, but could spend their time pursuing what really interested them."

It's hard to imagine that Star Trek could ever lose its popularity. Parents who grew up with episodes of the original series are passing on the show to their kids.

The show first aired in 1966 to tepid audiences. It wasn't until the 1970s that Star Trek became a household name. Fans have been asking for more ever since.

Getting Started

It can cost next to nothing to become a Trek fan, if you limit yourself to the episodes aired on television. However, to be a true fan, you will probably want to buy or rent all nine movies. That can cost anywhere from $3 to $300. Trek fans also buy books and computer games to keep their interest satisfied.

In his four years of being a Trekkie, Richardson says he's spent about $1,000. "I've got a bookshelf full of Star Trek materials that I continue to fill every time a new book is released or a new PC game is created. Plus, I have four uniforms in the closet," he explains.

It's hard to make a living out of this hobby. Andrade moderated a Star Trek forum. She kept the conversation going when it lagged and kicked out troublemakers, but she didn't make any money. Richardson was once offered money to perform as a celebrity lookalike in Las Vegas, but alas, as he was just out of high school and this wasn't his chosen career path, he turned it down.

Fortunately, what Star Trek has sparked in some, says Binder, is a love of science. As a result, devoted fans have enrolled in a science curriculum in college.


United Federation of Planets Internationale
P.O. Box 741086
Denver , CO   80006

International Federation of Trekkers
World Headquarters, Operations Department
P.O. Box 242
Lorain , OH   44052
E-mail :


Catch up on related news

Trekkies: Star Trek Fan Documentary
Check out how the Trekkie documentary was made

An international Star Trek fan association

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