Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Star Trek ("All Our Yesterdays", 1969)
The penultimate episode of the original series provides a neat example of this literary poverty. Kirk, Bones and Spock land on a planet whose sun, as sci-fi suns are prone to do, 'is about to go nova.' Mr Atoz (A to Z), the planet's only remaining resident, guards a library of 20,000 discs. An intransigent and distrustful librarian, Atoz has used the discs and 'the Atavachron' to send, without their consent, everyone else back into the past. Inevitably, in a hail of pink and yellow light, our three heroes accidentally get sent back in time too. Reversing the usual order, Kirk gets transported to a foppish version of Restoration England, while Spock and Bones end up sharing a prehistoric cavern with a glossy cave-girl. Following adventure and seduction, they return, and Scotty beams them out with seconds to spare.
A smug librarian, who has connived with a tyrant to imprison people in antiquity against their will, on a dying planet. A library that literally transports people back in time, as the last remaining room on a dying world. Not exactly a forward-thinking vision of libraries or librarians. Captain Picard, twenty-five years and many stardates later, causes bemusement on his Enterprise with his fondness for Shakespeare, Joyce and Conan Doyle. A renaissance man on a ship of fools - poor Jean-Luc!