The Ultimate Showdown

In the science fiction community there has always been a rivalry between Star Wars and Star Trek fans. Sometimes it seems like the Sharks and the Jets are snapping their fingers in unison and it can be intimidating. Other times it seems like they just ignore each other. And in the best of times they come together to enjoy the creative possibilities of science fiction.

Personally, I have a simple answer to the question of which is better… Firefly.

That aside, I’ve been thinking about the question of which is a superior created world. I don’t know that I ever reached a true answer, but it led me to some deeper questions. The question that has stuck in my head for several weeks as I slowly mull the potential outcomes…

(This is where I’ve caught my ship on a reef.)

Could the leanings of this epic debate have roots in our own political leanings?

Now don’t go running away thinking this is some political soap-box. I’m legitimately wondering and basing what I’m seeing on the people I know in my life. Remember, I’m one person with a generally narrow view of the population as a whole.

However, I would posture that Star Trek fans tend to be more left leaning while Star Wars fans lean right.

I’m not suggesting hardcore, fanatical leanings, just a general shift or pull. As I was debating with my inner muse on this topic it dawned on me that left leaning mindsets want a government that provides structure and equality (in a nutshell, I know people could rip this apart on multiple levels, but it’s just a thought) and if we look at Star Trek that seems to be what they project. While not on the level of Borg assimilation, the underlying theme of Star Trek is to explore and bring equality to the unknown. Star Trek, and Star Fleet, promotes bringing order to the chaos.

Star Wars, at its core, represents a battle for individuality. The slogan ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ comes to mind. The Empire seeks to bring uniformity to the galaxy and people don’t want that. Ultimately, the protagonists don’t want or expect to be provided for. They want to carve their own paths.

Don’t get me wrong, I grew up watching Next Gen. It was my Saturday night jam, occasionally followed by X-Files if my parents weren’t home. I loved boldly going where no one had gone before. But I equally loved the roguish, lone wolf attitude of Han Solo.

So where does that leave us? Pretty much where I started. Pondering the universe and myriad galaxies therein.

On a personal note, I’m pumped to have a new job that allows me the flexibility to write. I’m making progress on Atom & Go part 2. Although, I don’t have any good ideas for a title. Also, I’m contemplating hosting a table at the Twin Tiers Comic-Con in a month. I will keep you posted when and if that gets locked down.

In the meantime, keep flying the black.

10 thoughts on “The Ultimate Showdown

  1. Mark vdw

    Do be honest – Star Wars (which I definitely consider to be the superior series – despite the less than stellar *pun intended* last two installations of movies) has never been a Sci-Fi story. There’s not enough real in it to be a sci-fi. I’m gonna make someone mad as I say this, but Star Wars is a fantasy series that is set in space. Where’s the science? Star Trek is rightfully considered a sci-fi.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting, although I’m not sure I agree. I don’t believe hard science in necessary for something to be science fiction. Otherwise Atom & Go is just a western set in space. I think there are varying degrees within science fiction. Maybe I should make this the topic for my next post.

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  2. Jerry

    I think you may have a good point. My Scots Irish Appalachian roots and love for Braveheart sync well with the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Jim Webb’s book “Born Fighting” would probably support that view.

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  3. Did you ever think that the Star Wars, Star Trek and Firefly universes could be the same universe? Star Wars is set “A long Time Ago, in a Galaxy gar far away”. Same universe, different Galaxy thousands of years ago. (Just because Earth was pre-historic doesn’t mean the whole universe was). Star Trek is closer to our present time (only a few hundred years into the future). Then there is Firefly. Thousands(?) of years in the future, in a different Galaxy with no mention of Earth.
    Same universe, different times, different sociopolitical structures.

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    1. Absolutely. NASA estimates there are over 100 billion galaxies in the universe. If I remember correctly, Firefly is set in a post-earth location, although I can’t recall them ever referencing a specific galaxy. I always assumed it was the Milky Way, just somewhere beyond earth.

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  4. Boraxplunder

    That’s a…interesting take on Star Wars. I think it is a gross simplification to say that the rebels “don’t want or expect to be provided for” and rebel just because they want to be “carving their own path”, as if they aren’t fighting against an empire run by a evil space wizard who is part of a legendary group of evil space wizards known for drawing all their power from negative emotions, going so far as encouraging ‘hate’ to increase their power. Also, as we see from ’empire’ period of Star Wars movies – Solo and Rogue One – the Empire is hardly a socialist utopia providing for all their citizens.

    Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek as a “hard-ish” sci-fi show that meant to show what humanity was capable of if it rose above our tendencies toward xenophobia and nationalism. That Earth working together could create a society that could focus on exploration and discovery because it wasn’t wasting time fighting itself.

    George Lucas created Star Wars as a homage to his youth, loving WW2, Flash Gordon, and Swashbuckling epics as a child. It’s a story about good vs evil, Space wizard-knights battling for the fate of the universe.

    The issue is not so much SW vs ST, as it is Science Fantasy vs ‘Hard’ Science Fiction. I agree with your statement above that Atom and Go and Firefly could be considered a Science Fiction Western. I don’t think that there is any inherent problem with that. Military/Western/Fantasy/Hard Sci-Fi all have their place in the Science Fiction pantheon, but it doesn’t mean everyone who likes Science Fiction has to like all it’s subsets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t forget, the Force is not an everyday occurrence for most people. It is myth and legend. Han Solo references that in “A New Hope’. The Stormtrooper, not Vader, is the most common depiction of the Empire for the common man.

      As to it being a simplistic take, I’ll give you that. But I believe the simplest questions take us to deeper places than anticipated.

      Like this, a simple question as to whether the two major sci-fi franchises have vague links to political thought has led to what exactly constitutes science fiction.

      PS, don’t forget Lucas’ tip of the hat to chanbara.

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