Monday, April 18, 2016

To Explore Strange New Words...



As we're boldly going towards the 50th anniversary of the launch date for Star Trek, I thought this would be a good time to split an infinitive or two and see what terms that iconic show gave us. So, ahead warp factor 1. Engage.


There were Trekkies and Trekkers. A subtle distinction, but I heard it this way: a Trekkie would give up a paycheck for an original pair of Spock's ears; a Trekker just loves to watch the show. Yeah, I'm a Trekker, that's about as far as I'll go.


Warp drive and warp speed. And hyper drive. I remember hyper drive from one of my favorite science fiction movies, Forbidden Planet (1956), and there were perhaps science fiction books that referred to something along those lines even earlier, but Trek put those three terms in the driver's seat for the general public. Hyper drive was the term used in the pilot episode with Captain Christopher Pike. They switched to warp drive in the Kirk era. Means faster-than-light travel.


Transporter. Something that Dr. McCoy hated. Turns you into energy, beams you to a distant location and hopefully reassembles you. Which leads to the next term...


Beam me up. That's what the transporter does to you--beams you up to the ship or elsewhere. And hopefully intact.


Phaser, as in "Set phasers on stun." A beamed weapon that can stun or destroy, depending on the intensity.


Vulcan. It's both the name of Spock's planet and the name of his people. Vulcans. Really logical folks, they had to evolve in that direction or else they would have wiped themselves out, as they were barbaric in their past. Spock, however, has a human side, which occasionally creates problems for him.


Live long and prosper. A really nice form of goodbye. Has a good 1960s feel to it. In response the other party would say, "Peace and long life."


Photon torpedo. What the Enterprise uses when Kirk is really hacked off at an enemy. Not much left of the bad guys when that thing hits them.


Communicator. Now we have smartphones, but back then (or back then in the future) these hand-held gadgets were ultra-cool. Sort of the first flip-phones. Allowed two-way voice communication. That's when we'd hear one of our favorite phrases, "Kirk to Enterprise."


There're plenty more terms, but we'll keep it short.


Live long and prosper.


Keep writing, friends.

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