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The best writers of "Star Trek"

This list includes writers from all of the Star Trek series, especially since many of them worked on more than one. Only writers who wrote more than one episode.

1. Ronald D. Moore

Producer | Battlestar Galactica

Ron Moore was a member of the Kappa Alpha literary society during his time at Cornell University. He dropped out of college during his senior year, after which he moved to Los Angeles, California, with a friend in hopes of becoming a working writer. He was two weeks away from joining the United ...

Best Episodes: Yesterday's Enterprise (10/10) with Behr/Manning/Beimler All Good Things... (10/10) with Brannon Braga Trials and Tribble-ations (10/10) with Rene Echevarria Family (9.5/10) The Defector (9.5/10) Reunion (9.5/10) with Brannon Braga/Thomas and Jo Perry Relics (9.5/10) First Contact (9.5/10) with Piller/Menosky/Bischoff/Bailey Data's Day (9/10) with Harold Apter Our Man Bashir (9/10) Rightful Heir (9/10) The Die is Cast (9/10) The Search: Part I (9/10) The House of Quark (9/10) Rejoined (9/10) with Rene Echevarria Sons of Mogh (9/10) The Pegasus (9/10) Redemption II (9/10) Redemption (9/10) Gambit: Part II (9/10) Tapestry (8.5/10) Sins of the Father (8.5/10) The Next Phase (8.5/10) Thine Own Self (8.5/10) Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places (8.5/10) (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager)

2. Ira Steven Behr

Producer | Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Graduate of Lehman College in New York City, Behr studied Mass Communications and Theater, and was offered a playwriting scholarship at Brandeis University. Instead, Behr elected to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in writing comedies for television and film. However, instead of comedies, ...

Best Episodes: Yesterday's Enterprise (10/10) with Moore/Manning/Beimler The Way of the Warrior (9.5/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe The Maquis: Part II (9.5/10) Past Tense: Part II (9.5/10) with Rene Echevarria Homefront (9.5/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Second Sight (9/10) with Mark Gehred-O'Connell & Robert Wolfe The Adversary (9/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Paradise Lost (9/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Little Green Men (9/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Captain's Holiday (9/10) Qpid (9/10) The Jem'Hadar (8.5/10) The Search: Part II (8.5/10) Through the Looking Glass (8.5/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Rules of Acquisition (8.5/10) The Homecoming (8.5/10) Bar Association (8.5/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe Heart of Stone (8.5/10) with Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine)

3. René Echevarria

Producer | The 4400

After graduating with a degree in History from Duke University in 1984, Rene Echevarria moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater. He joined the Circle Repertory Lab Company in 1985, where he assistant directed a production of Victor Muniz' play "Darts", and acted in a production of ...

Best Episodes: I, Borg (10/10) Trials and Tribble-ations (10/10) with Ronald D. Moore Lower Decks (9.5/10) Past Tense: Part II (9.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr Explorers (9.5/10) Improbable Cause (9.5/10) Birthright Part II (9/10) Ship in a Bottle (9/10) Rejoined (9/10) with Ronald D. Moore Equilibrium (8.5/10) Facets (8.5/10) Mind's Eye (8.5/10) The Offspring (8.5/10) Preemptive Strike (8.5/10) ...Nor the Battle to the Strong (8.5/10) True Q (8.5/10) Crossfire (8.5/10) (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine)

4. Peter Allan Fields

Writer | Star Trek: The Next Generation

Peter Allan Fields was born on May 12, 1935. He was a writer and producer, known for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993) and McCloud (1970). He died on June 19, 2019 in the USA.

Best Episodes: The Inner Light (10/10) with Morgan Grendel Duet (9.5/10) Necessary Evil (9.5/10) The Circle (9/10) Half a Life (9/10) Crossover (8.5/10) with Michael Piller Dax (8.5/10) with D.C. Fontana Blood Oath (8/10) (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine)

5. Melinda M. Snodgrass

Melinda M. Snodgrass was born on November 27, 1951 in Los Angeles, California, USA. She is a writer, known for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Odyssey 5 (2002) and Wild Cards .

Best Episodes: The Measure of a Man (9.5/10) The High Ground (9.5/10) The Ensigns of Command (9/10) (The Next Generation)

6. Michael Taylor

Director | Global Warming: The Signs and Science

Michael Taylor is known for Global Warming: The Signs and Science (2005), The Dead Zone (2002) and The Great Warming (2006).

Episodes: The Visitor (10/10) (Deep Space Nine/Voyager)

7. Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Robert Hewitt Wolfe was born in 1964 in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Andromeda (2000) and Alphas (2011).

Best Episodes: The Way of the Warrior (9.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr The Wire (9.5/10) Homefront (9.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr Second Skin (9.5/10) Second Sight (9/10) with Mark Gehred-O'Connell & Ira Steven Behr Shadowplay (9/10) The Adversary (9/10) with Ira Steven Behr In the Hands of the Prophets (9/10) Paradise Lost (9/10) with Ira Steven Behr Little Green Men (9/10) with Ira Steven Behr Hard Time (9/10) Past Tense: Part I (8.5/10) Through the Looking Glass (8.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr Invasive Procedures (8.5/10) Bar Association (8.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr Heart of Stone (8.5/10) with Ira Steven Behr (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine)

8. Bradley Thompson

Bradley Thompson is known for Battlestar Galactica (2004), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) and For All Mankind (2019).

Episodes: The Assignment (9/10)

9. David Weddle

David Weddle is known for Battlestar Galactica (2004), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) and For All Mankind (2019).

10. Michael Piller

Writer | Star Trek: Insurrection

Michael went to school in New York before taking a creative writing course. The professor for this course told everyone, "There are enough bad writers out there. There needn't be anymore". Michael recalls that the professor would rip up his writing and he would be so broken-hearted. This professor ...

Best Episodes: The Best of Both Worlds: Part Two (10/10) Ensign Ro (9.5/10) First Contact (9.5/10) with Moore/Menosky/Bischoff/Bailey The Perfect Mate (9.5/10) The Best of Both Worlds: Part One (9.5/10) Time's Arrow (9/10) with Joe Menosky Melora (9/10) with Evan Somers & Steven Baum & James Crocker The Masterpiece Society (9/10) with Adam Belanoff Emissary (8.5/10) Unification II (8.5/10) Caretaker (8.5/10) with Jeri Taylor Evolution (8.5/10) Crossover (8.5/10) with Peter Allan Fields Booby Trap (8.5/10) with Ron Roman/Richard Danus A Man Alone (8/10) (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager) *He also co-wrote Yesterday's Enterprise(10/10), but is uncredited.

11. Jerome Bixby

Writer | The Man from Earth

Jerome Bixby was born on January 11, 1923 in Los Angeles County, California, USA. He was a writer and composer, known for The Man from Earth (2007), Star Trek (1966) and Fantastic Voyage (1966). He died on April 28, 1998 in San Bernardino, California, USA.

Episodes: Mirror, Mirror (10/10) By Any Other Name (9/10) with D.C. Fontana (The Original Series)

12. Paul Schneider

Writer | Star Trek

Paul Schneider was born on August 4, 1923 in Passaic, New Jersey, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Star Trek (1966), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) and Options (1989). He was married to Margaret Schneider . He died on October 13, 2008 in Riverside, California, USA.

Episodes: Balance of Terror (9.5/10) The Squire of Gothos (9/10) (The Original Series)

13. Jeri Taylor

Producer | Star Trek: The Next Generation

Jeri Taylor was born on June 30, 1938 in Evansville, Indiana, USA. She is a producer and writer, known for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Star Trek: Voyager (1995) and Quincy M.E. (1976). She was previously married to David Moessinger and Dick Enberg .

Best Episodes: Unification I (9.5/10) The Wounded (9.5/10) Chain of Command: Part II (9.5/10) -uncredited The Drumhead (9.5/10) The Outcast (9/10) Eye of the Needle (9/10) with Bill Dial Caretaker (8.5/10) with Michael Piller The 37's (8.5/10) with Brannon Braga Night Terrors (8.5/10) with Pamela Douglas Silicon Avatar (8.5/10) (The Next Generation/Voyager)

14. Brannon Braga

Writer | Star Trek: Generations

Brannon Braga was born on August 14, 1965 in Bozeman, Montana, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).

Best Episodes: Timescape (10/10) All Good Things... (10/10) with Brannon Braga Reunion (9.5/10) with Ronald D. Moore/Thomas and Jo Perry Parallels (9.5/10) Cause and Effect (9/10) Birthright Part 1 (8.5/10) Frame of Mind (8.5/10) The 37's (8.5/10) with Jeri Taylor Parallax (8.5/10) Schisms (8.5/10) Emanations (8/10) (The Next Generation/Voyager/Enterprise)

15. Naren Shankar

Producer | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Naren Shankar is the Executive Producer/Showrunner of the critically acclaimed television adaptation of the international best-seller science fiction novel series, The Expanse, an Amazon Prime Original Series from Alcon Television Studios. Naren spent eight seasons as a Writer-Executive Producer and...

Best Episodes: The Quickening (9.5/10) Gambit: Part I (9/10) Face of the Enemy (9/10) Preemptive Strike (8.5/10) Heroes and Demons (8.5/10) Homeward (8.5/10) (The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager)

16. Gene Roddenberry

While in junior high school, he became interested in science fiction, and years later while reading a copy of 'Astounding Stories' when he was working as an airline pilot, he decided to give it up and become a writer. He moved West and joined the Los Angeles police force to gain experience that ...

Best Episodes: The Menagerie, Part II (10/10) The Menagerie, Part I (9.5/10) The City on the Edge of Forever (9.5/10)* Space Seed (9/10)* with Gene L. Coon & Carey Wilber Encounter at Farpoint (9/10) with D.C. Fontana (The Original Series/The Next Generation) *He also co-wrote The City on the Edge of Forever and Space Seed but is uncredited on both.

17. Gene L. Coon

The son of U.S. Army Sgt Merle Jack ''Pug'' Coon and decorator Erma Gay Noakes, Eugene Lee Coon was born in Beatrice Nebraska on January 7, 1924. At four years old, he sang on the radio at WOAW-AM in Omaha. He knew twenty four songs, including one in French and one in German. As his boyhood went on...

Best Episodes: The City on the Edge of Forever (9.5/10)* Space Seed (9/10) with Carey Wilber & Gene Roddenberry A Taste of Armageddon (9/10) with Robert Hamner Errand of Mercy (8.5/10) The Devil in the Dark (8.5/10) (The Original Series) *He also co-wrote The City on the Edge of Forever but is uncredited.

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The 15 Best Star Trek Books Ever Written

Picard reads on Risa

Like all our favorite franchises, "Star Trek" is a multimedia phenomenon. Today's kids grow up in a world full of TV series, movies, comics, games, and, of course, tie-in novels. "Star Trek" novels are notable because they're non-canon by default, and that's allowed their writers to go ham while exploring strange new worlds. Some of these earliest tie-in writers went on to become science fiction titans, and sometimes those titans like to return for more Trekkie fun.

"Trek" books are also a unique part of the fandom experience. "Star Trek: The New Voyages" was a licensed, two-book anthology, printed in the late '70s and curated from fanfiction. Wilder still, in 1985, writer Della Van Hise saw her "Star Trek" novel "Killing Time" published and recalled for an edited reprint as longtime fans realized their beloved slash fiction pairing of Kirk and Spock was no longer hiding in the shadows. It's a goofy testament to how fans helped "Star Trek" thrive in the first place, and today, these tie-in novels are still great comfort food. These are 15 of the best that I've found, read, and loved over the years.

A Stitch in Time by Andrew Robinson

Elim Garak isn't special to "Star Trek" fans alone. He's also part of actor  Andrew Robinson in a unique way. The charming-yet-wily Cardassian tailor (and spy) called Deep Space Nine his home, but Garak's too big a personality to be contained by its steel corridors (or with a word from Dr. Bashir, his unlikely best friend.) Robinson grew him that way from the start, creating an in-character diary to guide him through Garak's behavior. Garak's diary, however, took on a life of its own as Robinson made readings from it part of his convention appearances. Eventually, Robinson was coaxed into turning it into a novel.

"A Stitch in Time" is epistolary, presented as a series of letters sent by Garak to Dr. Bashir in the wake of the Dominion War. Contained within are fragments of Garak's childhood, memories of a long-ago love, and preparations for the future. The greatest compliment I can offer is that every word drips with Robinson's genteel drawl. No one else could have written this novel, and it's the perfect love letter from an actor to the character he brought to life.

Imzadi by Peter David

"Imzadi" was rereleased in 2003, packaged with its sequel and listed as "Imzadi Forever." By all accounts, the follow-up is a fine tale, but I haven't read it. My recommendation is for the original 1992 release, which I eagerly bought in hardcover. Like another upcoming Peter David selection, "Imzadi" has a complicated timeline, but the emotional thread and David's clean prose make the plot easy to follow.

The word "imzadi" is first used in "Encounter at Farpoint," telepathically sent to Riker by Troi. However, it's author Peter David who expands on the power of the Betazed term for "beloved." The word refers not to a teen's first love but to something richer and deeper. The novel explores Riker's and Troi's early relationship through the lens of a distant, alternate future in which Troi is dead, and Riker is a bitter old cuss. Obviously, nobody wants a future like this one, but the Guardian of Forever, that magical archway from classic "Star Trek," has our backs. The return of this sentient space rock is always a selling point, but the story also has all the political twists and turns a Trekkie could want.

How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford

John M. Ford was one of the best, most underrated writers of the modern era. Until recently, almost all of his work had fallen out of print with his death in 2006. Most of his catalog is still pretty hard to find and requires trawling used bookstores with an eye for treasure. Unfortunately, that includes 1987's "How Much for Just the Planet?" It's Ford's second "Star Trek" novel, and it's a "Dr. Strangelove" -style artifact of perfect absurdity.

"How Much for Just the Planet?" is a surreal sci-fi mélange: Take the crew of the Enterprise, pit them against opportunistic Klingons, and add a previously undiscovered planet full of untouched dilithium. Then, mix in a troupe of truly incomprehensible, goofball aliens, slap everybody in a hotel (with a golf course — it's a plot point), and make them play in a "Squid Game"-style competition that focuses on heists and ballroom dancing instead of murder. The goal is friendship and having some good laughs along the way.

Spock Must Die! by James Blish

The first original "Star Trek" novel is still a good read and a great place to get some context for the ways "Trek" fiction has evolved. "Spock Must Die!" feels fresher than its 1970 print date in many places, but bear in mind, it plays with some "exotic sexuality" tropes regarding Spock. Yeah, he was definitely the unlikely sex symbol of original "Star Trek," but Blish's prose occasionally takes that to a funky place.

Otherwise, this book does introduce some neat concepts way before later "Star Trek" wore them out. The evil clone plot line is a groaner staple now, but Blish's novel twists it up with some unsettling fridge logic questions about how the transporter room could work with some mad science drive. From there, the science is pretty pulpy, but the high-stakes thrills leading up to the title drop — a Spock does have to die — make for a nice, cozy ride through an earlier science fiction era.

Q-Squared by Peter David

Like most "Star Trek” tie-ins, "Q-Squared" isn't canon, but it's close enough to an assumed truth that fans have kind of adopted it anyway. It's a three-lane timeline pileup, and this time, it is a little confusing. It makes sense for there to be some confusion over what the hell is going on because this book brings in John de Lancie's omnipotent trickster, Q . And it's not a Q story unless everyone (including Picard) asks, "What the hell is going on?" at least once.

In this case, what the hell is going on is a tantrum thrown by a young Q whom "Trek" fans know as Trelane, the Squire of Gothos. A longtime "Star Trek" favorite, Trelane was a quirky, omnipotent brat that futzed around with Kirk and his buddies until his family pulled him in line at the end of the episode . David's novel draws on the fan-inspired retcon that this classic character is actually a Q ( a speculation John de Lancie also shares ) and ties it all together in a messy bow. It doesn't always make sense, especially the semi-metaphorical sword fight finale. Still, it's a great trip through the fringes of the Continuum.

Spock's World by Diane Duane

Author Diane Duane is a modern treasure. Her "Young Wizards" fantasy series remains one of the best ways to hook a kid on the dreams hidden inside books. Still writing and still a part of fandom today, she also wrote 1988's "Spock's World," one of the first and best books to dig into the social intricacies and history of Vulcan.

The framing narrative deals with a fledgling separatist movement working to pull Vulcan out of the Federation, and it provides a chance for Spock and his family to take the spotlight. It's a great political yarn, and it pulls on some threads from classic "Trek" episodes, most notably "Amok Time." However, the real meat here is the intricate world building with lingering glimpses of major moments in Vulcan history. It's a great reminder that what makes "Star Trek" so special are the worlds it explores. Although "Spock's World" is not canon, Duane's graceful creation continues to influence other "Star Trek" creators .

The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack

With the debut of every new "Star Trek" TV series, you can rest assured that a swath of new tie-in novels are in the works. Obviously, the tie-in tradition continued with "Picard." The first novel based on Jean-Luc's solo outing was published within a month of the show's premiere. "The Last Best Hope" is a prequel to " Picard ," and it does a solid job of fleshing out a number of connections that the first season didn't get a chance to work on.

Though a lot of the novel is devoted to Raffi , the troubled intelligence officer we grow to love on the show, it's the glimpses of Romulan culture that stand out. The religious order introduced in the show, the Qowat Milat , are in sharp focus here and help round out the childhood of Elnor , our orphaned Romulan Legolas. "The Last Best Hope" has another trait that may make it attractive to fans of the show: Until "Picard" contradicts it, this book is currently as close to actual canon as a "Star Trek" novel can be.

Star Trek: The Eugenics War by Greg Cox

It's easier to refer to this bulk recommendation as "The Khan Trilogy." The first two novels are formally titled "The Eugenics War: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh" ( volumes one and two , respectively), and the third is "To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh." The trilogy is two parts covert war thriller and one part survivalist nightmare. All together, it pieces together the complete life of one of the mightiest (and bare-chestiest) foes in "Star Trek" history .

"The Eugenics War" is a look inside the doomed effort to prevent that legendary conflict from ever happening. As mentioned in the classic episode "Space Seed," eugenicist science created a social schism the likes of which Marvel's Magneto barely dreamed of. The effort to stop Khan from dominating Earth fails, but infighting eventually drives the tyrant into exile. The events of "Space Seed" happen after the first two books, and the final novel sees Khan struggle to survive on Ceti Alpha V , the sandy death-world we discover in "The Wrath of Khan," surrounded by loyalists and scarce resources. Great stuff.

The Final Reflection by John M. Ford

My prior John M. Ford recommendation may have the spotlight, but don't pass up "The Final Reflection" if you can find it. While not as richly built as Diane Duane's "Spock's World," Ford's book treats Klingons with such detail and complexity that it went on to affect later portrayals of the proud warrior race. It's a book that's occasionally lauded as a "Star Trek" novel that stands on its own as a great work of science fiction, which is a backhanded compliment that ignores the love and passion of "Trek" writers. Nevertheless, that is an accurate assessment here.

The focus of the book is on Klingon Captain Krenn, whose decades-long effort to prevent his own people from destroying the Federation remains a secret until he pens his own chronicle of events. During his career, Krenn flickers in and out of the lives of the characters we know, with special emphasis placed on his encounter with Spock as a child. There's some hefty focus on Klingon stratagems in the early part of the novel, which can be daunting for the reader, but the journey is worth it.

Fallen Heroes by Dafydd ab Hugh

"Fallen Heroes" is a sentimental choice. It's one of my gruesome comfort food books. Pairing the horrific invasion of DS9 with a time-shifted mystery, the novel puts Quark and Odo together as ad hoc detectives trying to stop the massacre of their friends from happening. It's not a perfect tale, and, coming back to it later, it misses some character tone due to how early in the show's airing it was published. Still, it's a good yarn from a time when we were starved for stories that put our best frenemies together.

Author Dafydd ab Hugh has a gift for crunchy, visceral action sequences, and that got him a pretty decent gig writing "Doom" tie-ins in the '90s. It's best to go in with the reminder that, according to the classic "Star Trek” fiction trope, our heroes will be alright by the end, but there's some gnarly road before this book gets there. "Fallen Heroes," like many older tie-in novels, is easily found used.

Q-In-Law by Peter David

Peter David gets on this list three times because, along with his clean prose and keen understanding of the franchise, he also understands what a fan would kill to see. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great recurring characters, and two fan favorites take the spotlight in "Q-In Law." The omnipotent Q is a guaranteed good time, but adding Deanna Troi's dramatic mother Lwaxana to the mix makes for a salty popcorn festival.

The premise is simple: Noticing that the Enterprise is ready to host a wedding, Q shows up with mischief on his mind. Lwaxana arrives for the diplomatic event, and Q picks up on the Betazed noble's talent for chaos. However, for once in his life, Q gets more than he bargained for when he flirts with Lwaxana. Somewhere in the mayhem, Worf notes the crew might as well sell tickets to watch it all fall apart. I recommend tracking down the audiobook . It's narrated by John de Lancie and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (Q and Lwaxana themselves), and they happily go all in on the verbal sparring.

Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

The Prime Directive is one of the few immutable tenets of the "Star Trek” universe. However, Starfleet General Order 1 is not without its flaws. To wit, no Starfleet command or crew is to interfere with the development of an alien society. It's a Cold War product that was designed by minds worried about escalation and accidental destruction. Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens' "Prime Directive," published in 1990, digs into what happens when that order is disobeyed.

In both the original series and the movies, Kirk and his crew rarely receive lasting consequences for their actions. This novel sets about dismantling that trope. Kirk, in charge of observing Talin IV, a world on the cusp of first contact, seems to accidentally violate the Prime Directive. Worse, his mistake devastates the developing Talin society. From Kirk to Uhura, the command crew of the Enterprise see their careers ended for their failure. The bulk of the novel is the long process of the crew (who have either resigned, been demoted to ensign, or court-martialed) seeking out what actually went wrong on Talin IV. The answers are complex, and the ethical questions are thought-provoking.

Sarek by A.C. Crispin

Author A.C. Crispin was a key figure in not only helping readers understand that tie-in novels shouldn't be dismissed as "amateur" content but also in protecting other writers from being scammed. Her talents as a writer provided light but intricate stories. "Sarek" (not to be confused with the phenomenal "Next Generation" episode of the same name ) is a rich look at one of "Star Trek's" most complicated figures .

"Sarek" is a political thriller tempered by Sarek's sometimes cold Vulcan discipline. A veiled threat from an unknown alien race aims to unbalance the core of the Federation. Balanced against these high stakes is the famed Vulcan ambassador's wife's illness. Amanda Grayson 's humanity helped both Sarek and Spock bridge their two worlds. However, her impending loss threatens to undo the peace father and son forged years ago. In the book, Amanda's journal provides empathetic glimpses inside Sarek's life. "Sarek" is a novel as crucial as "Spock's World" for fans of the iconic Vulcans.

Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan

Uhura 's popularity was a big deal for television back when "Star Trek" first came on the air. Unfortunately, moments in which she took the lead were all too rare. By 1985, Uhura was still a supporting character on screen, but now, she had a couple of novels that gave her some more in-depth attention. "Uhura's Song" is the best and, frankly, the weirdest slice of fanfic-style glory to make it to the printed page.

Long ago, Uhura made friends with a woman named Sunfall of Ennien, a diplomat from the planet Eaiaou, whose love of dance and song outlived her when a deadly pandemic decimated her world. However, there's a clue in the songs Sunfall taught Uhura that might help end the pandemic before it wipes out the whole planet. This is where I have to warn you that this strange and lovely novel is basically "Warrior Cats” in space. Yes, the people of Eaiaou are cat people — with emphasis on the cat side of that equation. Shut up! It's awesome!

Metamorphosis by Jean Lorrah

This last pick is going to be a divisive one. Jean Lorrah 's "Metamorphosis" is a chunky book that lags in a few places, but it does two things well enough to get a sentimental recommendation: First, though non-canon, the book picks up after "Measure of a Man," the "Next Generation" episode that gave Data legal protection as a sentient lifeform and explores the ethical aftermath in a way that's catnip to me. Second, the novel makes the acerbic Dr. Pulaski somewhat likable and empathetic. Now, that's an achievement!

Although there's a handful of plot threads going on in this large, lumpy novel, the biggest one is Data's temporary tenure as what he's wanted to become all along — a fleshy human (with all that entails). As anyone who rolls out of bed to the symphony of their bones cracking could tell the android, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Still, he persists in a weird kind of hero's journey, and although everything is set back to baseline by the end, the trip is one of a kind.

famous star trek writers

List of Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers

Reference

List of every famous television writer who has written for Star Trek: The Next Generation, listed alphabetically with photos when available. List includes anyone who was or is on the writing staff for Star Trek: The Next Generation . Staff writers as well as guest writers for Star Trek: The Next Generation are included when available, along with more information about each Star Trek: The Next Generation writer. If you're an aspiring writer and a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then this writing staff from Star Trek: The Next Generation should be studied closely.

This list contains writers like James Caan and Gene Roddenberry.

This list helps answer the question, “Who wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation?”

Adam Belanoff

Brannon Braga

Brannon Braga

Burton armus, d. c. fontana, david bennett carren, david bischoff, david kemper, deborah dean davis.

Diane Duane

Diane Duane

Edithe swensen.

Eric A. Stillwell

Eric A. Stillwell

Frank abatemarco, fred bronson.

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

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Grant Rosenberg

Gregory w. amos, hannah louise shearer.

Hans Beimler

Hans Beimler

Herbert wright, hilary bader, ira steven behr, j. larry carroll, jack b. sowards, jacqueline zambrano.

James Caan

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James Kahn

Jeri Taylor

Joe menosky.

Joseph Stefano

Joseph Stefano

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10 most prolific writers on star trek the next generation.

Star Trek TNG was known for its exceptional writing, these 10 writers wrote the most episodes of the classic Sci-fi show.

The adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise are legendary, and fans still enjoy the episodes nearly thirty years after the series ended.  Star Trek The Next Generation   took the ideas of the original series and expounded upon them, adding rich new layers to the  Star Trek  mythos.

RELATED: The 20 Best Star Trek TNG Episodes  

TNG  was known for its exceptional writing and the show employed some of the most talented wordsmiths of the day to craft the episodes. Over the years, the show saw many one-time writers, but it was the show's most prolific writers who contributed some of the best episodes.

Hans Beimler - 15 Episodes

Hans Beimler is mostly known today as a television producer but in the 90s he wrote and produced for both  TNG  and  Deep Space Nine . Though he wore many hats during his time on  TNG  his writing contributions were a memorable addition to the show.

Many of his episodes were quite unusual for  TNG  and he often put the characters in unique situations or tried to work in stranger elements into the story. Some of his Star Trek episodes featured horror elements , such as the notorious "Skin of Evil" episode from the first season.

Melinda M. Snodgrass - 16 Episodes

Melinda M. Snodgrass has spent her entire career writing for sci-fi series and her first professional writing credits came on  TNG . She wrote a wide variety of types of episodes for the show but her contributions were usually filled with heady themes.

One of her favorite subjects to write about was Lt. Commander Data and she penned several episodes that focused on the golden android. Perhaps her most memorable contribution to the show was her episode "Measure of a Man" which is not only a great episode about Data , it is one of the best episodes of the series.

J. Larry Carrol - 18 Episodes

J. Larry Carrol has a history as an editor, both of stories and within the actual editorial department of film and TV production. He contributed to  TNG  both as a writer and story editor and has done the same for dozens of films and TV shows in his career.

RELATED: The Best Character In Each Season Of Star Trek TNG

The episodes that Carrol took part in didn't subscribe to a particular theme which showed his versatility as a writer. One highlight of his tenure was his episode "Future Imperfect" which was a taut mystery story that centered around Commander Riker and featured a great twist ending.

David Carren - 18 Episodes

David Carren's tenure on  TNG  coincided with one of the best stretches of the entire series during the fourth season. He worked as both a story editor and writer and was a big part of  some of Star Treks ' classic episodes during that period.

Character development was a large focus of his episodes and often characters were given heavy focus to grow and expand. "The Final Mission" was a particularly memorable contribution from Carren that saw both Captain Picard and the departing Wesley Crusher get a chance to build their relationship and grow as characters.

Tracy Tormé - 27 Episodes

Tracy Tormé's time with  TNG  actually started at the beginning of the series and carried through the first two seasons. He oversaw the writing process as executive story editor on top of his duties as a contributing writer.

Though the early days of  TNG  were a bit shaky, Tormé managed to contribute some of the most memorable early episodes of the series. "The Big Goodbye" was one of the show's first holodeck episodes and introduced the fictional world of Dixon Hill that Captain Picard would frequently revisit throughout the series.

Naren Shankar - 29 Episodes

Since his time on  TNG,  Naren Shankar has become a prolific producer on some of TV's biggest hit series. However, early in his career he was a frequent writer and story editor for  The Next Generation  and contributed some classic tales.

Shankar's time on the show coincided with the last three seasons and though the quality of the later seasons began to slip, there was still gold to be found. "The First Duty" saw the character arc of young Wesley Crusher come to fruition as the moral lessons he learned on the Enterprise paid dividends when he got to Starfleet Academy.

Joe Menosky - 33 Episodes

Joe Menosky is a frequent  Star Trek  contributor and even worked on  Star Trek Discovery in recent years. Menosky has worked in a variety of capacities in the story department and wrote many great episodes of  TNG. 

His most memorable contributions to the  Star Trek  universe deal with a variety of topics and he rarely stuck to one theme or character when writing. The episode "Darmok" is Menosky's most memorable episode and is one of the best episodes that really showed what made  TNG  a great series. The episode is about communication and overcoming prejudices in order to solve a problem.

Brannon Braga - 39 Episodes

Brannon Braga made a career out of  Star Trek  and was involved with  TNG,   Voyager  and  Enterprise , as well as the feature films of the '90s. Braga started as a staff writer for  TNG  before graduating to story editor and finally to featured writing credits.

RELATED: Captain Picard's 10 Smartest Decisions In Star Trek TNG

Braga's contributions to the show are as varied as they are numerous and that ability to work was what kept him involved with  Star Trek  for so long. One of his most notable contributions as a writer was the classic two-part episode "Chain of Command" that added elements of intrigue and action to Captain Picard's character.

Ronald D. Moore - 54 Episodes

Ronald D. Moore is a Sci-fi TV writing legend and has contributed to not only  Star Trek  but several other great series as well. Notably, Moore continued his tenure into  Deep Space Nine  and helped to contribute some of the best episodes of that series as well.

Moore's writing is known for his innate ability to interweave complex storylines into one narrative and he excelled at developing characters. Moore was involved with  TNG  for years and he even wrote the memorable finale "All Good Things" which was the perfect way to send off the beloved show.

René Echevarria - 56 Episodes

René Echevarria saw his time in  Star Trek The Next Generation  through to  Deep Space Nine  and even contributed writing for other pieces of  Star Trek  media. He transitioned to mostly producing, but has continued to write sporadically for other series as well.

As a writer, Echevarria had a flexibility that made him perfect for a weekly TV series but he did specialize too. Echevarria contributed  several episodes that focused on The Borg species including the two part episode "The Descent", and the classic episode "I,Borg" which explored the complexities of the Borg identity.

NEXT: 10 Major Flaws Of Star Trek TNG That Fans Chose To Ignore

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The great tv writers: gene roddenberry.

By Martin Keady · June 16, 2020

famous star trek writers

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter, producer and creator of the original Star Trek television series, and its first spin-off The Next Generation . Suffice it to say, he was one of the most successful writers of his day.

I’m not a Trekkie myself, so the first time that I heard the name “Gene Roddenberry” was in Frasier , specifically the episode “Star Mitzvah”, whose title is a clue to the fact that it is something of a homage to Star Trek , the legendary sci-fi show that Roddenberry had created.  

In “Star Mitzvah”, Frasier is due to attend his son Freddie’s bar mitzvah and wants to pay tribute to him in Hebrew. However, because he himself is not Jewish (Freddie is Jewish through his mother, Frasier’s ex-wife Lilith), Frasier enlists the help of Noel, a devout Trekkie, to teach him the Hebrew he needs. Unfortunately, because Frasier does not hold up his end of the bargain – namely securing the autograph of an actor who had appeared in one of the numerous spin-offs from Star Trek – Noel decides to wreak a terrible revenge by teaching him Klingon instead of Hebrew. In typical Frasierian fashion, Noel learns all too late that Frasier has made amends by buying him a wig that Joan Collins had worn during a guest appearance in the original Star Trek series. He tries to warn Frasier before he gives his speech, leading to this marvellous exchange with Roz (Frasier’s producer, who Noel is in love with):  

“Noel: I’ve got to call him before he delivers his speech.

    Roz: You taught him dirty words in Hebrew, didn’t you?

   Noel: Uh, not quite.   They’re the same words, but they’re in Klingon.

Roz: From Star Trek?   That’s not even real.

Noel: It’s the fastest growing language on the planet!   This is what you people don’t understand. [becoming passionate] A man named Gene Roddenberry had a vision…

    Roz: CALL HIM!”

Star Mitzvah is one of the few truly great Frasier episodes in the show’s three-season-long decline between Niles and Daphne finally getting together (which robbed Frasier of much of its comic tension) and the triumphant last season that gave the show the send-off it deserved. And this exchange between Noel and Roz is the best example of how, throughout the entire 11 seasons of Frasier , the greatest sitcom ever frequently referred to and often even paid tribute to Star Trek , a TV series from the 1960s that did not run for nearly as long but none the less exerted an even greater cultural influence. Noel is right: Gene Roddenberry did indeed have a “vision” when he created Star Trek . In fact, for many Trekkies (and even the odd non-Trekkie such as myself), he is the man who put the “vision” – in the sense of having a grand idea or view – in television.  

As Noel and every other self-respecting Trekkie surely knows, Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (to give the great man his full name) was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1921, but his family soon moved to Los Angeles, where his father worked as a policeman. It is telling that Roddenberry’s own father was literally a figure of authority (exactly like Frasier’s father, who was another policeman), as this may have planted the seed early on in his mind about the literally singular importance of a commander or leader. Indeed, he himself evolved into such a commanding, authoritative presence when he became a pilot in the US Army Air Forces and flew nearly 90 combat missions during WWII.  

Roddenberry continued to fly after the war, working as a commercial pilot for Pan Am, until he suffered his third plane crash (following two during the war) when his plane came down in the Syrian desert during a long-haul flight. Although he personally was not responsible and indeed actually dragged some passengers to safety from the wreckage, several people were killed and the experience seems to have ended his flying career. Instead, having become the rarest of pilots – one who survives a hat-trick of crashes – he appears to have decided that from then on he would soar imaginatively rather than physically, by pursuing his long-held ambition to become a writer.  

First, however, he had to continue making a living and so he literally followed in his father’s footsteps and became a police officer in Los Angeles. Fortunately, although he began in the traffic division, helping to oversee LA’s network of super-highways, Roddenberry was soon transferred to “The Newspaper Unit”. Although this sounds like the title of a James Ellroy novel (a spin-off from LA Confidential , perhaps), it was in fact the public information – or publicity – division of the LA police, probably the first of its kind in the world but entirely fitting for a city in which everyone was involved in generating (or preventing) publicity of some kind.  

Roddenberry was extremely fortunate, because his stint in the public information division not only enabled him to become a speechwriter for the Chief of Police (again, only in Los Angeles would the chief of police have had a speechwriter at this time) but it literally brought him into contact with the new and burgeoning medium of the day – television. As TV began to boom in US in the late 1940s and early 1950s, with mass ownership of TV sets, cop shows soon became one of its staples and consequently various production companies and directors began approaching the LAPD for assistance, to ensure the verisimilitude of their product. As a result, Roddenberry first became a technical adviser to these companies and directors, on shows such as Mr. District Attorney (a TV version of an already popular radio drama), then a contributing scriptwriter (initially writing under the alias of “Robert Wesley”) and finally a full-blown television writer. In the end, because he was increasingly unable to perform the two very different jobs of policeman and TV scriptwriter, he finally quit the police in 1956 and became a full-time writer.  

It would be an entire decade before Star Trek first hit the TV screens of America and in that time Roddenberry, like so many of the great TV writers who were to follow him, wrote for numerous television programmes of wildly varying quality. His military experience proved invaluable on his first major job, writing for The West Point Story , a “title-story” (i.e. the title is the story) about the famous military academy, and even this early on his career he was obviously prolific, as he apparently wrote about a third of all the scripts for the show during its two-season run. However, many of the other programmes that he wrote for throughout the first half of the 1960s, from Hawaii Passage (a drama set on a cruise ship) to Have Gun – Will Travel (a Western drama), were not nearly as successful. Nevertheless, the money was good, even if the shows themselves often were not.  

Roddenberry finally got the chance to create his own show and draw on his own experience as both a former pilot and a former policeman in 1963, when he created The Lieutenant , a series about a young officer of that rank who is assigned his first command at the height of the Cold War, when Americans genuinely feared that a Soviet attack or even invasion was imminent. It was not a big hit – in fact, it was cancelled after just one series – but it was none the less invaluable. First, it proved to Roddenberry that he could create his own series (however short-lived); secondly, it allowed him to examine the idea of command or leadership that had been so important to him throughout his whole life, from being the son of a policeman to commanding men in the air and on the ground; and, finally, at around this time he also came up with the idea that would change both his own life and the still-new medium that he was writing in. That idea, of course, was for a show called Star Trek .  

The genesis of Star Trek can be traced back through Roddenberry’s earlier television writing, even on shows that never actually made it to the small screen. Before he had begun work on The Lieutenant , he had seen a film, Master of the World (1961), which was based on a classic Jules Verne novel, about an airship that had travelled around the globe, and had thought that it could provide the basis for a television series. The idea came to nothing originally, but after The Lieutenant was cancelled, partly because Roddenberry had run into difficulties when writing a script about racial tensions in the military, he returned to it. However, rather than keep the idea earthbound, as it were, he decided to take it into space – literally. So, in 1964 he wrote a pitch or outline document and registered his idea with the Writers Guild of America. Before he had even written a pilot or spec script, he called the show Star Trek , and with that two-word title he effectively created a television series that would not only outgrow television and indeed other story-telling media (particularly cinema) but expand into and directly influence the wider culture, both in America and around the world, in a way that Roddenberry himself surely could never have imagined.

As is often the case with any kind of trek or journey, the first few steps on Roddenberry’s quest to create Star Trek were faltering, to say the least. He shopped the idea and the outline around various studios and production companies, and even had to shelve it briefly while he worked on other shows, but finally it found a home at NBC, one of the three main US TV networks. The first ever episode was broadcast on 8 September 1966, but just as Roddenberry had struggled to sell the show in the first place, now it struggled to find an audience. Ratings were low initially and barely recovered during the first series. Nevertheless, despite the widespread belief that the original Star Trek television series was cancelled virtually immediately, it ran for three series and nearly 80 episodes, which would be a good run now in the 21 st century but was exceptionally long for a non-hit series in the 1960s. However, despite this investment by the network, Star Trek failed to capture a widespread audience and it was finally cancelled in 1968.

There are many theories, especially among Trekkies themselves, as to why Star Trek enjoyed its spectacular, indeed unprecedented, rebirth after the relative failure of the original series. The most popular is that the first ever moon landing in 1969, which was broadcast live around the world and remains even today arguably the single greatest and most important broadcast in the history of television, stimulated an appetite for science fiction in general and for stories about space travel in particular that had never existed before. If that was the case, the fact that actual manned space travel did not go any further than the moon and has still not done so today, more than a half-century on, may have created an appetite for something that could only be sated by art or entertainment, rather than reality itself, and Star Trek effectively filled that void.

Another theory is that although the initial audiences for Star Trek were relatively small, the members of those audiences were devoted to the show in a way that had not really been seen before, and arguably has never been seen since, or at least not until the development of social media in the early 21 st century. Throughout its initial three-season run, Star Trek was in perpetual danger of being cancelled, but one of the reasons why it survived was that both individual fans and fan groups organised letter-writing campaigns to NBC demanding that the show continue. That devotion to the show led to avid fans of the series, such as Frasier’s Noel more than thirty years later, being called “Trekkies”, which was originally regarded as a put-down but soon became a badge of honour.

Whatever the actual reason for it, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that after the original series was cancelled repeats or re-runs of Star Trek began to attract far bigger audiences than had ever been the case when the series was first shown. Those repeats or re-runs led, in turn, to fans’ conventions and other events that celebrated the original show, and throughout the 1970s Star Trek became one of the most widely syndicated TV shows around the world. Overseas audiences, who were largely unaware that the show had supposedly been a flop in America the first time around, added to the burgeoning US audiences. Finally, by the time that the extraordinary success of Star Wars (1977) officially ushered in “The Age of Sci-Fi” (the cultural moment that we are still living in today and conceivably will be for the rest of human existence), the old TV show whose title sounded very similar to Star Wars – Star Trek – was becoming a fully-fledged cultural phenomenon.  

While all this was going on throughout the 1970s, Roddenberry himself was experiencing an extremely difficult decade. Having risen relatively quickly from being a humble police officer to a seemingly successful television writer and producer, he then experienced a downturn after the original run of Star Trek was deemed a failure. Even as the show he had created was being broadcast to more and more nations and ever bigger audiences around the world, he himself was reduced to writing “sexploitation” movies, such as Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), for Roger Vadim, the French film producer and self-styled “discoverer” of Brigitte Bardot. Later still, he was reduced still further to paid appearance at Star Trek fans’ conventions, of the kind so brilliantly parodied in various episodes of Frasier , particularly in the superb episode, The Show Must Go Off , in season eight, when British acting veteran Derek Jacobi plays a classical actor reduced to playing a cyborg on a Star Trek- type TV series.  

Fortunately for Roddenberry and his creation, the ever-growing interest in Star Trek around the world was finally and financially realised right at the end of the 1970s when, in the wake of Star Wars , the first ever Star Trek film (which was simply called Star Trek: The Motion Picture ) was released in December 1979. Consequently, more than a decade after the original TV series had been cancelled, Star Trek began a new journey, one that has proved to be infinitely more enduring and more successful than its first attempt at a trek or quest. And such has been the success of the Star Trek franchise (no other word will do to convey the numerous films, TV sequels, merchandising items and every other conceivable product related to the original idea and title) that it can now legitimately lay claim to being the single-most successful television series – at least in financial terms – ever made.  

Gene Roddenberry died in 1991 from heart difficulties, but by that point it could truthfully be said that he had lived out the Vulcan maxim that arguably his greatest character, Dr Spock, had made almost a universal greeting back on Planet Earth: “Live Long And Prosper”. The military and then commercial pilot who had somehow survived three plane crashes ultimately survived the initial commercial “crash” of his most beloved creation, Star Trek , and lived long enough to see it “prosper” and eventually make him very prosperous indeed. Even more remarkably, after his death he effectively embarked on his own actual and personal Star Trek , as some of his ashes were stored, sealed and put aboard first the Space Shuttle and then other manned and unmanned space flights. And even if those missions ultimately failed to reach the deep space that Roddenberry had so beautifully and vividly dreamed of, the man himself would surely have realised that his original vision – “To Boldly Go Where No Man Had Gone Before” – had finally made him The Writer Who Boldly Went Where No Writer Had Gone Before.  

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Harlan Ellison wrote Star Trek’s greatest episode. He hated it.

The famously cantankerous science-fiction legend died this week. The story of “City on the Edge of Forever” represents his career in miniature.

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Harlan Ellison in 1977

Harlan Ellison, the legendary, legendarily irascible speculative fiction writer who died this week at age 84 , wrote the greatest episode of Star Trek ever made. And he hated it.

“The City on the Edge of Forever” aired on April 6, 1967, late in the original series’ first season , and won acclaim for capturing everything Star Trek could do at its best while suggesting weighty themes and emotional depths only hinted at in previous episodes. It won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Episodic Drama on Television. Ellison accepted both. Neither salved his bitterness that the episode had been rewritten.

At the Hugos he dedicated the award to “the memory of the script they butchered, and in respect to those parts of it that had the vitality to shine through the evisceration.” “The City on the Edge of Forever” that aired may have been praised by virtually everyone who saw it, but it wasn’t his “City on the Edge of Forever,” and a compromised triumph was no triumph at all for Ellison. Ellison would spend the next several decades being publicly aggrieved by “City on the Edge of Forever.”

Was the reaction overkill? Of course. Overkill was part of Ellison’s persona. He held grudges. He deployed lawsuits liberally, sometimes successfully. (He’s now acknowledged in the credits of The Terminator thanks to one such suit.) He boasted of assaulting his publisher in the ’80s . And many never looked at him the same way after he groped author Connie Willis at the Hugos in 2006, for which he apologized — then grew angry when the apology wasn’t immediately accepted.

Ellison was famous for his contributions to science fiction and American literature, which extend well beyond his Star Trek script. But he was also famous for his grievances. The story of “The City on the Edge of Forever” represents that duality in miniature, and helps explain what made him both a beloved and divisive figure.

Star Trek ’s best episode is credited to Harlan Ellison alone. It was a lie he would not let stand.

Leonard Nimoy (as Mr. Spock), DeForest Kelley (as Dr. McCoy) and William Shatner (as Captain James T. Kirk) stand in front of The Guardian Of Forever

Here’s the version of “The City on the Edge of Forever” that’s been seen by countless viewers since 1967: After administering a small dose of a dangerous drug to Lt. Sulu (George Takei), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) accidentally administers a massive dose to his own abdomen after getting knocked about when the Enterprise hits some interference from a strange time distortion.

Driven temporarily mad, McCoy beams down to the nearest planet, home to the Guardian of Forever, a talking portal that allows visitors to travel through time and space. When McCoy uses it to travel back to Depression-era New York, the Enterprise ’s landing party learns their ship has disappeared. Whatever McCoy has done has distorted history in such a way that the universe as they know it has ceased to exist.

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) give chase, in time learning that McCoy has changed time by saving the life of Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), the near-saintly proprietor of a soup kitchen. If allowed to live, her idealistic message of pacifism and tolerance will delay the United States’ entry into World War II, allowing Hitler to develop the atomic bomb, win the war, and dominate the Earth — shutting the door on the hopeful future imagined throughout the series.

And so, as Spock says twice in the episode — first as a question then as a statement arrived at through cold, hard logic — Edith Keeler must die. The only problem: Kirk has fallen in love with her and isn’t sure he can bring himself to let her die. But, after reuniting with McCoy, he does just that, stopping the doctor from saving Edith from a truck that strikes her down in the street.

Many elements contribute to the episode’s greatness. The Guardian’s planet is an eerie, dreamlike place, one that inspires Kirk to comment, with understated poetic flair, “These ruins stretch to the horizon.” Journeyman director Joseph Pevney wisely lets the atmosphere, both of the alien world and 1930s New York, do a lot of the work.

Then there’s Shatner, who, often justifiably, gets a lot of flak for laying it on thick, but his performance here is measured. His love for Edith feels real, far removed from the flings seen in previous episodes. So does his heartbreak.

Yet much of the brilliance can be traced back to the script. Star Trek had raised philosophical issues before, but few as thorny as whether taking one life can be justified in the name of a greater good. And not just any life: Kirk falls for Edith because she’s virtuous and beautiful and finds him charming, sure, but also because she’s the living embodiment of the utopian principles he’s sworn to uphold as a member of Starfleet.

She believes in humanity’s potential to overcome hatred and selfishness, in the possibility of the better future in which Kirk lives. But to make that future possible, he has to let her die. She has the right message at the wrong time. It’s a Kobayashi Maru scenario in the form of a tragic romance.

It’s a near-perfect episode of television, recognized as such from the moment it aired. The credits bore only one name: Harlan Ellison.

Ellison knew it was a lie. He’d seen the script through several drafts, only to have it reworked, at Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s insistence, by D.C. Fontana, Gene Coon, Steven W. Carabatsos, and Roddenberry himself. Ellison asked his name be taken off, but backed down. It would be the last time he backed down on this matter.

Most writers would sit back, take the praise, and keep quiet about the sausage-making process. Ellison wasn’t most writers, telling anyone who’d listen what had happened to his script, all the alterations and adjustments that made it lesser than the version he’d dreamed up. In 1975, during a short-lived rapprochement with Roddenberry, Ellison published the original version in his collection Six Science Fiction Plays , allowing the curious to compare and contrast the version they knew with the version that might have been.

Ellison’s version shares much of the filmed version’s bone structure. The time travel, Edith Keeler, the central moral question are all there. But it also contains a murderous drug-dealing crew member (an element Roddenberry found out of sync with his vision of an idealized future and a squeaky clean Starfleet), alternate-universe space pirates summoned into existence by the altering of time, 9-foot aliens (who would become the much more budget-friendly talking portal), and a World War I veteran named Trooper.

Most significantly, at the climactic moment, Kirk can’t bring himself to let Edith die. It’s Spock who makes the choice. Ellison saw Kirk as a man who, at a critical juncture, couldn’t let the love of his life die to save the universe. Roddenberry thought otherwise. The question of which feels truer to Kirk, and to Trek , serves as a litmus test for fans of the show.

Without Ellison’s talent and imagination, “The City on the Edge of Forever” wouldn’t have existed. Applying the butterfly effect to its absence — appropriate, given the episode’s plot — the Star Trek we know today wouldn’t have been possible without the ripples of complexity and moral ambiguity Ellison helped introduce to the series. (Not that Ellison had anything nice to say about the later series.)

But Ellison, whose early history includes multiple stories of running away from home, could seemingly never live comfortably in any world, even a world he helped create, be it Star Trek or the larger world of speculative fiction, which he helped shape with his work and his championing of other writers. Because Ellison could always imagine a better world, one in which “The City on the Edge of Forever” aired without evisceration, one in which the same sort of piggish shortsightedness that led to that evisceration wasn’t allowed to run rampant in so many aspects of life, one in which everyone finally saw he was right.

Reflecting on “The City on the Edge of Forever” years later, Ellison wrote, “The solitary creator, dreaming his or her dream, unaided, seems to me to be the only artist we can trust.” Ellison did a lot of that sort of dreaming. Sometimes the dreams went astray.

Ellison always had to have the last word. And then he’d just keep talking.

Ellison’s adventures in the TV trade — there would be more, and more frustrations — prompted him to write about television for the Los Angeles Free Press, unsparing observations collected in the influential 1970 book The Glass Teat and its sequel, The Other Glass Teat . It also assured he’d keep prose as his primary profession, helping to shepherd and elevate the literary careers of others.

The landmark collection Dangerous Visions , a collection of stories from science fiction stars and stars-to-be, appeared the same year as “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Again, Dangerous Visions followed in 1972. (A long-promised third volume never arrived.) He mentored Octavia Butler and others. He wrote. And wrote. And wrote. In a 2013 interview with the Guardian , Ellison put his tally at around 1,800 short stories, novellas, essays, and scripts. Today, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” both the filmed teleplay and Ellison’s original drafts, represent only a tiny fraction of his output and influence.

famous star trek writers

But even with his version of “The City on the Edge of Forever” available for the world to read, the matter felt unsettled for Ellison. It didn’t help that Roddenberry was out there telling his version of the story, claiming that Ellison’s script was filled with budget-breaking elements and that he had Commander Scotty dealing drugs.

Ellison knew better. The pirates were added at Roddenberry’s insistence and Scotty never dealt drugs in any drafts. He didn’t even appear in any drafts. Then there was all that money others were making from the episode, money that seemed never to find its way to Ellison.

This would not stand. So in 1995, four years after Roddenberry’s death, Ellison published “The City on the Edge of Forever” again, this time as a standalone book titled The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay . The book includes two treatments for the episode; Ellison’s final draft of the screenplay; testimonials from Fontana, Kelley, Nimoy, and others; and a new introduction from Ellison designed to set the record straight.

The opening sets the tone:

“Speak no ill of the dead? Oh, really? Then let’s forget about a true introductory essay to this book. Let’s give a pass to setting the record straight. Let’s just shrug and say, ah, what the hell, it’s been more than thirty years and the bullshit has been slathered on with a trowel for so damned long, and so many greedy little pig-snouts have made so much money off those lies, and so many inimical forces continue to dip their pig-snouts in that Star Trek trough of bullshit that no one wants to hear your miserable bleats of “unfair! unfair” … that it ain’t worth the price of admission, Ellison.”

And so it goes for 90 profane, repetitive, discursive, hilarious, pitiless, insightful pages. It’s, in its own way, classic Ellison, who turned interviews into monologues. Smart interviewers generally knew to get out of his way and just let him talk. In the end, Ellison always had the last word. And then he just kept talking.

Ellison was sometimes too much, and too much in ways that are hard to excuse; offenses committed out of an excess of passion are still offenses. But, oh, that passion. Ellison simply had to fight back against every perceived slight and loss. He even had to fight back against any wins that weren’t on his own terms. He left behind miles of scorched earth and a towering body of work. He reshaped science fiction and changed the way his readers looked at the world. It wasn’t enough. Nothing ever was.

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50 Years and Counting: 'Star Trek' Writers Explain Its Serious Staying Power

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famous star trek writers

The starship Enterprise first hit television screens on Sept. 8, 1966. Since then, it's become a global phenomenon, spanning 700-plus individual episodes of television and more than dozen feature films, including this year's "Star Trek Beyond."

There are events going on all over the globe to commemorate the anniversary, and a brand-new box set of remastered episodes on Blu-ray with every adventure of the original crew from screens big and small.

What is it that's given "Star Trek" its remarkable staying power? That's the question we put to David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana, two writers who have helped bring "Star Trek" to life over the years.

"The stories still ring true, even now," Fontana told us. She was one of the first writers to work on the original "Star Trek" series and wrote the pilot for "Star Trek: The Next Generation." It was the message "Star Trek" had that she felt gave it staying power.

"You sit down and you watch one and you get the message from the middle of the story, the one we were hiding behind science fiction, whether it was about feminism or racism or, you know, the Vietnam War, which nobody else could talk about but we could under the guise of science fiction," Fontana said.

Of course, "Star Trek" has made waves for many, including aliens, women and blacks, from the beginning. It even featured one of TV's first interracial kisses — between William Shatner's Captain Kirk and Nichelle Nichols' Lieutenant Uhura.

Writer David Gerrold was in college when "Star Trek" premiered on television, and he instantly began sending pitches for episodes into the studio. He's perhaps most famous as the writer who brought us the furry Tribbles and their love of the advanced space-grain quadrotriticale in the original series episode " The Trouble with Tribbles ."

Over the phone, he told us that the success of "Star Trek" can be attributed to three things. The first part was that the show was fun. The second part was that it presents a "positive vision of the future where we're all thriving and working on interesting challenges."

He insisted that the third part of the franchise's longevity, however, isn't immediately obvious. "[The show] says that everybody's included; we're all going to be a part of the future. Nobody's being left out," Gerrold noted.

"In the past, television as a medium tended to erase," Gerrold elaborated. "Originally it erased blacks and Asians, and when they were included, it erased gay people. It didn't recognize the contributions that women make. And, so, 'Star Trek' was saying, look, here's women captains and black people and Asian people and now we have gay people and Klingons. So, it didn't matter who you were, 'Star Trek' says, you're part of this. And that's very important to the little kid watching TV at home wondering if he's going to be a part of the future."

Over the years, "Star Trek" has boldly offered a vision of the future that audiences have been able to look up to. With a new series called "Star Trek: Discovery" helmed by Bryan Fuller coming in January 2017, fans can only hope that "Star Trek" lasts another 50 years and beyond.

Triticale, the Earthly ancestor of the Tribble's favorite quadrotriticale, is a real hybrid of wheat and rye first bred in labs in the late 19th century in Scotland and Sweden. That doesn't stop Ensign Chekov from insisting it was a Russian invention.

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The Best Star Trek Novels: A Personal List

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famous star trek writers

Star Trek has always been my fictional comfort food. When times are tough, I can always put on an episode or open a book and things aren’t so bad for a while. I don’t know if it’s the excitement of scientific discovery, the positive vision of humanity’s future, or just the premise of a diverse and competent crew working together to make the galaxy a better place—I almost always end a Star Trek story feeling a little more hopeful than when I began. If, like me, you’ve watched all the Star Trek out there and still want more, here’s a list of books to get you started.

The Rihannsu Series

This series of novels follows the Original Series crew as they become entangled in various Romulan plots to dominate the galaxy, beginning with a secret lab of psychic super soldiers and climaxing with a doomsday weapon aimed at the heart of Federation space. Kirk is initially sent to investigate the hijacking of a Starfleet vessel. There he meets and (eventually) befriends Ael, commander of Bloodwing , a warship full of defectors from Romulus. Together, the two crews work to keep the simmering tensions between the interstellar powers from boiling over into all-out war. The Rihannsu books provide a densely detailed portrait of Romulan history, philosophy, and culture. You will come to understand the origins of their language, and how it shaped the thinking of their people and their quixotic sense of honor. While all of this is technically non-canon, you can definitely see its influence on the show Picard . If you always wanted to know more about this fascinating yet enigmatic people, Rihannsu and Picard make an excellent pairing.

Buy My Enemy, My Ally at  Amazon

"Metamorphosis"

The Enterprise-D finds a seemingly magic mountain on the planet Elysia. Commander Data is sent to investigate and ends up literally going on a Hero’s Journey, complete with a quest to help a fair maiden by traveling into the underworld. This adventure tests Data to his limits, for at the end awaits a treasure beyond compare, the android’s only wish: to become human. That would be enough to explore for any novel, but  Metamorphosis keeps going past where the credits would normally roll on an episode. We get to follow Data through his awkward first steps of being human, learning how to live with a fragile fleshy body, and coping with his new limitations. My favorite moment is when Data realizes he no longer has all of Starfleet’s databanks in his memory and will have to actually do his homework to prepare for briefings. The story keeps twisting from there, and goes to some pretty ridiculous lengths that I won’t spoil for you. The whole book feels like a metafictional commentary on narrative structure, and I love it just a little bit more every time I read it.

Buy Metamorphosis at  Amazon

"Planet X"

Speaking of ridiculous premises, there was a comic in which the crew of the Enterprise-D entered the Marvel Universe and fought Kang the Conqueror with the help of the X-Men. Even more ridiculous, this novel is a sequel to that comic book. This time, the X-Men end up in the Star Trek universe and help Picard and crew resolve the civil upheaval on a world experiencing mutations in its population. People are developing strange and dangerous powers, and the rest of the society hates and fears them for it. The X-Men find this all too familiar, and together with the Enterprise crew, they manage to bring both sides of the conflict together to find a peaceful way forward. There’s lots of fun bits like characters commenting on the uncanny resemblance between Captain Picard and Charles Xavier, years before Sir Patrick Stewart played the latter role. My personal highlight is Worf and Wolverine fighting X-Men villains together on the holodeck. Is it great literature? No. But it is a fun and weird pop cultural artifact worth exploring if you can find a copy.

Buy Planet X at  Amazon

The Mirror Universe Series

The Mirror Universe is a dark reflection of the Star Trek universe we know and love, and the source of endless “evil twin” plots. Basically, everything is its opposite. In the Mirror Universe, the tolerant and peace-loving United Federation of Planets is actually the xenophobic and warlike Terran Empire. Instead of the collegiate atmosphere of cooperation, these human supremacists are motivated solely by hatred and self-interest. In the Terran Empire, the quickest way to a promotion is literal backstabbing. The rest of the universe is similarly warped, and these books will take you on a guided tour through it all. You will learn the history of the Terran Empire’s bloody rise and catastrophic fall, follow the adventures of a space pirate named Luc Picard, and witness the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance crushing the galaxy beneath its boot heel. Just a few of the bizarre reflections you will witness as these books take you to all your favorite corners of a familiar galaxy to see just how different things could be. Honestly, it reads like what would happen if they tried to do a “darker and grittier” Star Trek reboot. If you enjoyed Discovery’ s voyage to the Mirror Universe, this series is for you.

Buy Dark Mirror at  Amazon

The Cold Equations Series

This series is all about the many different forms of artificial life that exist in the Star Trek galaxy. Doctor Noonien Soong is surprisingly not dead, and leads the crew of the Enterprise-E on a merry chase as he carries out a crazy complicated plan to resurrect his artificial son. On his journey you will learn a great deal about his life and work, as well as the development of Data. Once Soong succeeds in bringing him back, Data proves himself to be a chip off the old block, setting out on a quest to resurrect his departed daughter, Lal. Along the way they discover a secret Fellowship of Artificial Intelligences, from whom they learn the ancient history of artificial life. Of course, it turns out the AIs are scheming to destroy all organic life in the galaxy, but the books take this plot in an unexpected and much more satisfying direction than the more recent Picard . Finally, if you were wondering what the hell happened to Wesley after he vanished from TNG, these books have answers for that, too.

Buy The Persistence of Memory at  Amazon

The Department of Temporal Investigations Series

Time travel is a big no-no in Starfleet. Divergent timelines, alternate histories and temporal revisionism are all frowned upon by the members of the Department of Temporal Investigations. It’s their job to keep people from screwing around in the timestream and rewriting history. If you fly your ship back to the past and pick up a whale, you’ll likely get to have an unpleasant chat with Agents Dulmer and Lucsly. The regulation of time travel is a fertile subject for sci-fi, and this series covers every angle from policing abuses to helping victims of temporal displacement cope with their situation. There are complex political machinations between the different states as they try to agree on responsible rules for time travel. It’s fascinating to witness the debates of a governing body composed of people not just from different places, but also different eras. These books are able to cover (nearly) the entirety of Star Trek history, making narrative connections between almost every time travel event in the canon. It’s a real treat for completist fans, and has a ton of fun playing with all the tropes and toys in the time travel box. The second book in the series is both a sequel and its own prequel. They’re honestly some of the best time travel books I’ve ever read, Star Trek or not.

Buy Watching the Clock at  Amazon

The Klingon Empire     Series    

If you’re tired of reading about very polite and pleasant professionals working together in the post-scarcity utopia of the Federation, perhaps you’ll enjoy a rousing adventure with Star Trek’s beloved space vikings: the Klingons. The Empire must expand again, meaning there is battle, honor and glory to be had—a Klingon’s three favorite things. The first three novels of this series embed you with the crew of the IKS Gorkon on a tour of duty. It’s one of few stories that explores Klingon culture beyond the warrior class. The books use multiple point-of-view characters to paint a complete picture of life in the Empire at all levels of their society, from lowly medics to mighty commanders. It’s also a fun way for fans to catch up with all of the Klingon supporting characters from the shows. And of course, no Klingon tale would be complete without an epic battle. At one point, they pause their war of territorial conquest to fight a civil war on the side over the outcome of an honor duel. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Star Trek’s greatest warriors, the Klingon Empire series will show you a good time.

Buy A Burning House at  Amazon

The Q Continuum Series

This series focuses on the impish immortal prankster Q. He has once again kidnapped Picard to take him on a wild transcendental trip to learn about the secrets of the universe. They go back in time to see Q’s misspent, troublemaking youth and witness the secret history of the Q Continuum. But on this stroll down memory lane, Picard learns about a terrible threat that awaits them beyond the bounds of their galaxy. The Q Continuum is preparing to face its greatest foe, an utterly malevolent being with the ability to reshape reality at will, more powerful than even the Q. Picard and the Enterprise end up playing referee in a battle between gods for the fate of all existence. This series is another treat for completists—through Q’s life story, the novels manage to tie together the most extensive history of the Star Trek universe I had ever read at the time.

Buy Q Space at  Amazon

Star Trek is a fictional universe of unlimited narrative potential, perfectly built to support a never-ending collection of stories. Sometimes I find it hard to believe Star Trek didn’t begin as a novel, as its dense ideas and rich world-building are perfectly suited to the form. These are just a few of my most fondly remembered favorites. It is by no means a complete or ranked list. Any of the listed series will be worth your time, but there’s plenty more where that came from. If there are any great ones I left out, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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BH Shepherd

Column by BH Shepherd

BH Shepherd is a writer and a DJ from Texas. His short stories have appeared on Thuglit.com and numerous print anthologies. He also writes about comic books at www.docawesome.tumblr.com .

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List of Star Trek: The Original Series writers

  • View history

This is a list of writers for the original Star Trek television series sorted by the amount of episodes written. Collaborations are marked with dashes. (-) Contributions, pseudonyms and episode numbers are noted in parenthesis.

  • 1 13 episodes
  • 2 12 episodes
  • 3 10 episodes
  • 4 4 episodes
  • 5 3 episodes
  • 6 2 episodes
  • 7 1 episode

13 episodes [ ]

  • "Arena" (S01E18) (Teleplay)
  • "Space Seed" (S01E22) (Teleplay - with Carey Wilber)
  • "A Taste of Armageddon" (S01E23) (Teleplay - with Robert Hamner)
  • "The Devil in the Dark" (S01E25)
  • "Errand of Mercy" (S01E26)
  • "The Apple" (S02E05) (Teleplay - with Max Ehrlich)
  • "Metamorphosis" (S02E09)
  • "A Piece of the Action" (S02E17) (Teleplay - with David P. Harmon)
  • "Bread and Circuses" (S02E25) - with Gene Roddenberry
  • "Spock's Brain" (S03E01) (as Lee Cronin)
  • "Spectre of the Gun" (S03E06) (as Lee Cronin)
  • "Wink of an Eye" (S03E11) (Story, as Lee Cronin)
  • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (S03E15) (Story, as Lee Cronin)

12 episodes [ ]

  • "Charlie X" (S01E02) (Story)
  • "Mudd's Women" (S01E06) (Story)
  • "The Menagerie, Part I" (S01E11)
  • "The Menagerie, Part II" (S01E12)
  • "The Return of the Archons" (S01E21) (Story)
  • "A Private Little War" (S02E19) (Teleplay)
  • "The Omega Glory" (S02E23)
  • "Bread and Circuses" (S02E25) - with Gene L. Coon
  • "Assignment: Earth" (S02E26) (Story - with Art Wallace)
  • "The Savage Curtain" (S03E22) (Teleplay - with Arthur Heinemann) / (Story)
  • "Turnabout Intruder" (S03E24) (Story)

10 episodes [ ]

  • "Charlie X" (S01E02) (Teleplay)
  • "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" (S01E19)
  • "This Side of Paradise" (S01E24) (Teleplay) / (Story - with Jerry Sohl)
  • "Journey to Babel" (S02E10)
  • "Friday's Child" (S02E11)
  • "By Any Other Name" (S02E22) (Teleplay - with Jerome Bixby)
  • "The Ultimate Computer" (S02E24) (Teleplay)
  • "The Enterprise Incident" (S03E02)
  • "That Which Survives" (S03E17) (Story, as Michael Richards)
  • "The Way to Eden" (S03E20) (Story, as Michael Richards - with Arthur Heinemann)

4 episodes [ ]

  • "The Changeling" (S02E03)
  • "Patterns of Force" (S02E21)
  • "Elaan of Troyius" (S03E13)
  • "That Which Survives" (S03E17) (Teleplay)
  • "Mirror, Mirror" (S02E04)
  • "By Any Other Name" (S02E22) (Teleplay - with D. C. Fontana) / (Story)
  • "Day of the Dove" (S03E07)
  • "Requiem for Methuselah" (S03E19)

3 episodes [ ]

  • "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (S01E07)
  • "Catspaw" (S02E07)
  • "Wolf in the Fold" (S02E14)
  • "The Corbomite Maneuver" (S01E10)
  • "This Side of Paradise" (S01E24) (Story, as Nathan Butler - with D. C. Fontana)
  • "Whom Gods Destroy" (S03E14) (Story - with Lee Erwin)
  • "The Galileo Seven" (S01E16) (Teleplay - with S. Bar-David) / (Story)
  • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (S03E15) (Teleplay)
  • "The Cloud Minders" (S03E21) (Story - with David Gerrold)
  • "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (S02E16)
  • "The Paradise Syndrome" (S03E03)
  • "The Cloud Minders" (S03E21) (Teleplay)
  • "Wink of an Eye" (S03E11) (Teleplay)
  • "The Way to Eden" (S03E20) (Teleplay) / (Story - with D. C. Fontana)
  • "The Savage Curtain" (S03E22) (Teleplay - with Gene Roddenberry)

2 episodes [ ]

  • "Mudd's Women" (S01E06) (Teleplay)
  • "I, Mudd" (S02E08)
  • "Dagger of the Mind" (S01E09)
  • "The Galileo Seven" (S01E16) (Teleplay - with Oliver Crawford)
  • "Balance of Terror" (S01E14)
  • "The Squire of Gothos" (S01E17)
  • "Shore Leave" (S01E15)
  • "Amok Time" (S02E01)
  • "Court Martial" (S01E20) (Teleplay - with Don M. Mankiewicz)
  • "Operation: Annihilate!" (S01E29)
  • "The Deadly Years" (S02E12)
  • "A Piece of the Action" (S02E17) (Teleplay - with Gene L. Coon) / (Story)
  • "Obsession" (S02E13)
  • "Assignment: Earth" (S02E26) (Teleplay) / (Story - with Gene Roddenberry)
  • "The Trouble with Tribbles" (S02E15)
  • "The Cloud Minders" (S03E21) (Story - with Oliver Crawford)
  • "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" (S03E05)
  • "All Our Yesterdays" (S03E23)

1 episode [ ]

  • George Clayton Johnson - "The Man Trap" (S01E01)
  • Samuel A. Peeples - "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (S01E03)
  • John D. F. Black - "The Naked Time" (S01E04)
  • Richard Matheson - "The Enemy Within" (S01E05)
  • Adrian Spies - "Miri" (S01E08)
  • Barry Trivers - "The Conscience of the King" (S01E13)
  • Fredric Brown - "Arena" (S01E18) (Story)
  • Don M. Mankiewicz - "Court Martial" (S01E20) (Teleplay - with Steven W. Carabatsos) / (Story)
  • Boris Sobelman - "The Return of the Archons" (S01E21) (Teleplay)
  • Carey Wilber - "Space Seed" (S01E22) (Teleplay - with Gene L. Coon) / (Story)
  • Robert Hamner - "A Taste of Armageddon" (S01E23) (Teleplay - with Gene L. Coon) / (Story)
  • Don Ingalls - "The Alternative Factor" (S01E27)
  • Harlan Ellison - "The City on the Edge of Forever" (S01E28)
  • Gilbert Ralston - "Who Mourns for Adonais?" (S02E02)
  • Max Ehrlich - "The Apple" (S02E05) (Teleplay - with Gene L. Coon( / (Story)
  • Norman Spinrad - "The Doomsday Machine" (S02E06)
  • Robert Sabaroff - "The Immunity Syndrome" (S02E18)
  • Jud Crucis - "A Private Little War" (S02E19) (Story)
  • John Kingsbridge - "Return to Tomorrow" (S02E20)
  • Laurence N. Wolfe - "The Ultimate Computer" (S02E24) (Story)
  • Edward J. Lakso - "And the Children Shall Lead" (S03E04)
  • Rik Vollaerts - "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" (S03E08)
  • Judy Burns & Chet Richards - "The Tholian Web" (S03E09)
  • Meyer Dolinsky - "Plato's Stepchildren" (S03E10)
  • Joyce Muskat - "The Empath" (S03E12)
  • Lee Erwin - "Whom Gods Destroy" (S03E14) (Teleplay) / (Story - with Jerry Sohl)
  • George F. Slavin & Stanley Adams - "The Mark of Gideon" (S03E16)
  • Jeremy Tarcher & Shari Lewis - "The Lights of Zetar" (S03E18)
  • Arthur Singer - "Turnabout Intruder" (S03E24) (Teleplay)
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D.C. Fontana, Pioneering 'Star Trek' Writer, Dies At 80

D.C. Fontana, a pioneering screenwriter famous for her work with Star Trek, died this week. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Jarrah Hodge, co-host of the podcast "Women at Warp" about Fontana's legacy.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Science fiction has lost a pioneer. Dorothy Fontana, better known to "Star Trek" fans as D.C. Fontana, died earlier this week at the age of 80. She was one of the first women to write science fiction screenplays for TV. Before Fontana wrote for the original "Star Trek" series in the late '60s, women were relegated to writing soap operas or comedies. Undoubtedly, though, Fontana's lasting legacy will be breaking into a field where no woman had gone before.

And joining me now to talk about that legacy is Jarrah Hodge. She's co-host of "Women At Warp," a feminist "Star Trek" podcast. Welcome.

JARRAH HODGE: Thanks so much for having me.

CHANG: So tell us, how did Dorothy Fontana first break into this totally male-dominated turf, writing sci-fi for TV?

HODGE: Well, you know, she talks about when she was growing up, reading books and thinking, basically, I could write this, and started out on "Star Trek" in a secretarial role, as well as some of the shows she worked on previously - she had a lot of experience in Westerns - and just putting her screenplays in front of the noses of folks until they got it.

CHANG: Well, OK. So even people like me, people who are not Trekkies - we know who Spock is. He's got the pointy ears, the weird bangs. He talks all stilted. How did she deepen Spock's character and give him more texture and more nuance over the years?

HODGE: So Spock is really, I think, her most impressive legacy. And he is half-human and half-Vulcan. And what D.C. did was really explore that conflict within him. And it became, for the audience, really relatable for people dealing with all kinds of interpersonal conflicts.

CHANG: I mean, she really got in there. She made his identity conflict richer. Like, she almost got psychoanalytical with him.

HODGE: Absolutely. I think that, like us, he has family. He has problems with his father, who doesn't believe he's in the right career. He has issues with his friends maybe not always understanding him. He has emotions inside him, but his society says, you can't express them.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES")

LEONARD NIMOY: (As Spock) I am what I am, Leila. If there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else's.

HODGE: So in many ways, like, very, very ahead of its time. And she really was devoted to exploring the characters' humanity.

CHANG: So in the end, do you think she saw herself as a trailblazer for other women writers?

HODGE: I hope so. I think that in addition to carving out that space for women in the writers room, she also was very ahead of her time pushing for more complicated representations of women on TV, which, for us, it's, like, a discussion that's really come to a head in, like, the last 15 years. But 50 years ago...

CHANG: She was already thinking about that.

HODGE: Exactly - already pushing for that.

CHANG: Well, what about you? I mean, you do this podcast about "Star Trek" for women. Do you feel like what you are doing now would even be possible if it weren't for D.C. Fontana?

HODGE: I think that when we look back at the history of "Star Trek," women have played really key roles. And if you had to pick, you know, the top three, D.C. Fontana would definitely be the most influential woman behind the scenes and has really influenced what we're able to do today, as well as just our ability to feel included as women in the "Star Trek" franchise.

CHANG: Jarrah Hodge co-hosts the "Women At Warp" podcast.

Thank you very much for joining us today.

HODGE: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ALEXANDER COURAGE'S "THEME FROM "STAR TREK"")

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Memory Alpha

TOS writers

  • View history

This is a list of writers of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes.

  • " The Mark of Gideon "
  • " The Gamesters of Triskelion "
  • " The Paradise Syndrome "
  • " The Cloud Minders " (Teleplay)
  • " Is There in Truth No Beauty? "
  • " All Our Yesterdays "
  • " Dagger of the Mind "
  • " The Galileo Seven " (Teleplay)
  • " Mirror, Mirror "
  • " By Any Other Name " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Day of the Dove "
  • " Requiem for Methuselah "
  • " The Naked Time "
  • " What Are Little Girls Made Of? "
  • " Catspaw "
  • " Wolf in the Fold "
  • " Arena " (Story)
  • " The Tholian Web "
  • " Court Martial " (Teleplay)
  • " Operation -- Annihilate! "
  • " Arena " (Teleplay)
  • " Space Seed " (Teleplay)
  • " A Taste of Armageddon " (Teleplay)
  • " The Devil in the Dark "
  • " Errand of Mercy "
  • " The Apple " (Teleplay)
  • " Metamorphosis "
  • " A Piece of the Action " (Teleplay)
  • " Bread and Circuses "
  • " Spock's Brain " (as Lee Cronin)
  • " Spectre of the Gun " (as Lee Cronin)
  • " Wink of an Eye " (Story, as Lee Cronin)
  • " Let That Be Your Last Battlefield " (Story, as Lee Cronin)
  • " The Galileo Seven " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Let That Be Your Last Battlefield " (Teleplay)
  • " The Cloud Minders " (Story)
  • " Plato's Stepchildren "
  • " The Apple " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " The City on the Edge of Forever "
  • " Whom Gods Destroy " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Charlie X " (Teleplay)
  • " Tomorrow is Yesterday "
  • " This Side of Paradise " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Journey to Babel "
  • " Friday's Child "
  • " By Any Other Name " (Teleplay)
  • " The Ultimate Computer " (Teleplay)
  • " The Enterprise Incident "
  • " That Which Survives " (Story, as Michael Richards)
  • " The Way to Eden " (Story, as Michael Richards)
  • " The Trouble with Tribbles "
  • " A Taste of Armageddon " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " The Deadly Years "
  • " A Piece of the Action " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Wink of an Eye " (Teleplay)
  • " The Way to Eden " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " The Savage Curtain " (Teleplay)
  • " The Alternative Factor "
  • " A Private Little War " (Story, as Jud Crucis)
  • " The Man Trap "
  • " Mudd's Women " (Teleplay)
  • " I, Mudd "
  • " Return to Tomorrow "
  • " And the Children Shall Lead "
  • " The Lights of Zetar "
  • " The Changeling "
  • " Patterns of Force "
  • " Elaan of Troyius "
  • " That Which Survives " (Teleplay)
  • " Court Martial " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " The Enemy Within "
  • " The Empath "
  • " Where No Man Has Gone Before "
  • " Who Mourns for Adonais? "
  • " The Cage "
  • " Charlie X " (Story)
  • " Mudd's Women " (Story)
  • " The Menagerie, Part I "
  • " The Menagerie, Part II "
  • " The Return of the Archons " (Story)
  • " A Private Little War " (Teleplay)
  • " The Omega Glory "
  • " Assignment: Earth " (Story)
  • " The Savage Curtain " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Turnabout Intruder " (Story)
  • " The Immunity Syndrome "
  • " Balance of Terror "
  • " The Squire of Gothos "
  • " Turnabout Intruder " (Teleplay)
  • " The Return of the Archons " (Teleplay)
  • " The Corbomite Maneuver "
  • " This Side of Paradise " (Story, as Nathan Butler)
  • " The Doomsday Machine "
  • " Shore Leave "
  • " Amok Time "
  • " The Conscience of the King "
  • " For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky "
  • " Obsession "
  • " Assignment: Earth " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " Space Seed " (Teleplay and Story)
  • " The Ultimate Computer " (Story)
  • 3 Ancient humanoid

Star Trek home

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Published Feb 22, 2019

From the Writers: A Behind the Scenes Guide

Discovery writers Erika Lippoldt and Bo Yeon Kim take you behind the scenes of "The Sound of Thunder" with photos and commentary

Behind the Scenes "The Sound of Thunder"

StarTrek.com

We knew from the very outset of Season 2 of Discovery that we would write the episode where Saru would be returning to his homeworld. That meant filling in a lot of worldbuilding details both for his character’s backstory, and for the Kelpiens as a new alien species. Luckily, we were able to use both the Short Trek “The Brightest Star” and Episode 204, “An Obol for Charon” (written beautifully by Alan McElroy and Andy Colville), to set some of this up.

We wanted to build out a dynamic between the Kelpiens and the Ba’ul that was much more complex than simply prey and predator. Saru is obviously far too intelligent to just be mindless cattle. But we also wanted to find ways to portray how intelligent beings can become trapped in these situations, when a species is pre-warp not just because they are “primitive” as a culture. More than that, we wanted to create a scenario where our own, human understanding of right and wrong, of what is acceptable, is not a given. So, what if Saru’s people didn’t just accept the fact that they are prey – what if they themselves facilitated it?

We introduced this notion in “The Brightest Star.” In assuming the role of the village’s priest, Saru’s father Aradar wasn’t simply being mindlessly obedient to the Ba’ul; he represented someone whose kind have been oppressed for so long that it has become second nature to comply. He, and the rest of the Kelpiens, accepted this dynamic as “the Balance.” When Saru questioned this, Aradar admonished his son not out of ignorance, but rather wisdom. He understood that things were the way they were because it ensured a relative peace within their delicate, binary world. Aradar, in a sense, was helping his son come to terms with his own inevitable death.

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But Saru was able to break away from that vicious cycle. We often imagined Saru as the Galileo of his people. He was able to take a step back from all the ingrained beliefs his people had, in order to see things from a new perspective.

But what happens if the Galileo of your people was taken away by advanced aliens who show him a whole universe beyond what he knew… And then he returns to his home planet with his eyes fully opened to the systemic oppression that’s going on there, and the means to do something about it? This of course brings us back to one of Starfleet’s most famous rules: the Prime Directive, or General Order One. It was an exciting challenge for us to find the juiciest story to tell within these parameters…

Concept Art

The first step in making a script reality is getting designs from our production designer Tamara Deverell (based on just a few lines of description). This is concept art of the Kelpien village. Every e-mail from Tamara was a treat, as our words were transformed into beautiful worlds.

Concept Art

The Ba’ul “monolith” went through many variations, but this was one of my (Boey) personal favorites.

Concept Art

Very early concept design for a Ba’ul “culling” ship that invokes War of the Worlds . They eventually became “sentry” ships as the story changed.

Bridge

This episode had a fair amount of bridge action, which meant at least one long day shooting on the bridge set. Here the cast and crew prepare to roll on the first scene of the day.

The Bridge

Because of the number of bridge crew members involved in a bridge scene, we use a three-camera setup in order to get as much coverage as possible for each take. It is always such a pleasure to work with this talented and enthusiastic group.

The Bridge

After a wardrobe change for Sonequa and Doug, the cast gathers around for a private read-through (followed by blocking) of the next scene. Script supervisor Angela is near at hand to keep an eye out for continuity issues.

The Ready Room

Our fantastic director, Doug Aarniokoski, watches Saru on the video village monitor, while in the background you can see the cast and crew actually filming the scene in the Captain’s Ready Room. Reality vs on-camera magic!

Wilson Cruz

For this scene, we wanted to track what Culber had been through in his time in the mycelial network, and get across what he’s feeling now that he’s back on the ship. Doug A set up these two shots to really get inside Culber’s head, as portrayed by the wonderful Wilson Cruz.

Saru’s Quarters

From the very early conception of the episode, we knew we wanted a scene where Siranna sees Kaminar for the first time from space.

Next, it was time to head to Kaminar, aka a beach outside Toronto. One of the many challenges of filming on location is having to contend with whatever weather Mother Nature sends our way. Naturally, this being summer in Toronto, there was a torrential downpour the morning of our first day out.

Flooded beach

Not even video village was spared. But, given our limited time on location, the crew soldiered on and we got what we could until the weather cleared -- which, thankfully, it did.

Technocrane

A technocrane is set up on the beach so that we can capture the full scope of Saru’s home village. We don’t get to travel to alien planets as much as we’d like to on the show (mainly due to production costs), so when we do, we want to make sure we make the most of it.

Pylon on beach

Production designer Tamara Deverell and her team did an amazing job of dressing the beach to seem like an inhabited Kelpien village, including a partial pylon (pictured) and partial huts. This was of course enhanced with VFX to give it that extra alien touch!

Hannah, Doug J, Doug A

Finding the right actor to play Saru’s sister was vital to the episode — someone who can emote through her prosthetics, and do so alongside the masterful Doug Jones. We were so lucky to have found the perfect Siranna in Hannah Spear right in Toronto where we shoot.

Meeting Siranna

A lot of work also went into the garden where we first meet Siranna. Here, Doug A supervises a private blocking of the scene, which involved a lot of complex emotional turns, particularly for Hannah, who executed it beautifully.

Concept Art

Kelpien tea pot and cups were designed for the Short Trek “The Brightest Star” and for this episode.

Background Kelpiens

The background actors had to suffer through heavy prosthetics on a hot summer day on the beach, wearing those crazy Kelpien boots.

Background Kelpiens

Back indoors, we headed to the Ba’ul citadel where Saru and Siranna encounter their first Ba’ul.

Doug and Mario

Here, Doug A and props master Mario Moreira walk through the steps for the scene where Saru co-opts the Ba’ul technology in order to communicate with Discovery.

The Ba’ul

The Ba’ul presented us with a great many technical challenges, but it was amazing to witness Doug Jones and Javier Botet facing each other off in the same room.

Doug, Hannah and Doug

Doug A talks through the heartbreaking scene where Saru helps Siranna through her Vahar’ai.

Doug and Hannah

Doug J and Hannah share a brother/sister moment even in between takes. We couldn’t have asked for better Kelpiens, let alone fantastic actors and lovely human beings.

Ba’ul Alphabet

The Ba’ul language, which we imagine the Kelpiens might learn in lieu of their own written language, which was lost.

Star Trek: Discovery streams exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States and is distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space Channel and OTT service Crave.

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TOME OF NERD

famous star trek writers

The 6 Best Star Trek Novels of All-Time

How did it take me this long to write a best Star Trek novels article? Don’t get me wrong, I love things like Warhammer 40 and Star Wars . But Star Trek is my bread and butter. It’s what I grew up adoring and continue to follow closely in adulthood.

So that is why Tome of Nerd felt a little incomplete without at least touching on the work of best Star Trek novels. The list below examines everything out there and tries to identify the best of everything. You will find books from almost every series and also a noteworthy spin-off. These are the best of the best and a great place to dive in for any fan of Star Trek.

And don’t forget to check out my companion articles The 7 Best Star Trek Voyager Novels and The 7 Best Star Trek DS9 Novels .

With that, take a look and enjoy!

Star Trek: Destiny by David Mack – Amazon

Star Trek: Destiny is an epic Star Trek adventure featuring the crews from The Next Generation , Deep Space Nine , and Voyager (with a few others thrown in). The story takes place post-Nemesis and spans the entire galaxy. The Borg have returned. A mysterious new world is discovered. And a long lost starship is found. Starring Picard, Riker, and Ezri, each crew finds themselves solving a different piece of the puzzle.

You will find Destiny on many of the best Star Trek novels lists because it’s the next great chapter after the television/film franchise. The trilogy, now collected together, touches on just about every aspect of the Star Trek universe imaginable. David Mack keeps the pace quick and jumps between the crews with skill. This is a page turner, a mystery, and an action-adventure all rolled into one. If you’re a Star Trek buff and want to start reading the book, this is the place to begin.

famous star trek writers

A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson – Amazon

Plain, simple Garak. The fan favorite character returns in the post-DS9 world to reveal his secret origins. As he works to rebuild his home world, he reflects on his history. Some of the biggest Garak mysteries, such as his exile from Cardassia and how he ended up on Deep Space Nine, are revealed in A Stitch in Time .

The biggest selling point of A Stitch in Time is that it was written by Garak himself, Andrew J. Robinson. It’s no cheap cash-in. The novel is expertly written and provides a wonderful addition to Star Trek lore. This is truly a rich character piece that only adds depth to an already strong character. If something like Destiny sounds too intense, A Stitch In Time might be right up your alley. Filled with mystery and intrigue, it’s easily one of the best Star Trek novels published.

famous star trek writers

Spock’s World by Diane Duane – Amazon

A crisis on the planet Vulcan has led them to request succession from the Federation. Spock must return home, with the crew of the Enterprise, so help solve the problem. As Vulcan history and rituals are revealed, Spock must try to mend the relationship between his two worlds. Can he find a balance within himself and save the Federation?

Spock’s World might sound like a random addition to a best Star Trek novel list, but this TOS-era book is highly regarded and praised. Diane Duane delves deep into Vulcan lore. Half the book is dedicated to the history of Vulcan culture. This provides many different tales to appreciate while keeping you hooked into the main plot. It is a foundational work, to say the least. If you are a fan of Vulcans, Spock, or really any TOS-era stories, Spock’s World is a must read.

famous star trek writers

Imzadi Forever by Peter David – Amazon

When Deanna Troi dies unexpectedly, Riker sets out on a time-traveling adventure to save her life. Traveling to the past and the future, Riker is at odds with his love for Troi and his duty to Starfleet. Will he be able to save his “beloved” Imzadi?

This is a shockingly good novel. When you think about the Riker and Troi dynamic, you might not necessarily want to read an entire book (or two, as they are now collected) about their history. But Imzadi will prove you wrong. Peter David masterfully crafts a time traveling tale that spans not only the history of Troi and Riker, but many of The Next Generation crew. This is a story of love between two people, but also one of mystery, science fiction, and adventure. It has all the makings of a classic Star Trek tale. The sequel, included in Forever , throws Worf into the mix as well. There is a reason this is considered one of the best Star Trek novels. Check it out.

famous star trek writers

Q-Squared by Peter David – Amazon

Q returns, but this time he needs Picard’s help. Q-Squared brings together the worlds of TNG and TOS as Trelane hijacks the Q-Continuum. Can the Squire of Gothos be stopped? Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise must traverse the multiverse and prevent the destruction of all existence.

If there was a Hall of Fame for Trek novelists, Peter David would be a shoe-in. He does it again in Q-Squared , a story that many consider one of the best Star Trek novels ever. If you love Q, then this book is a must read. But even for those of you who are less keen on Q (heresy!), there is a lot to love. Peter David mixes in various parallel universes, some you know and some that are new, to create a fantastic adventure in the world of Star Trek. This is one of the greats that can’t be missed.

famous star trek writers

New Frontier by Peter David – Amazon

Star Trek: New Frontier introduces us to Mackenzie Calhoun, captain of the U.S.S. Excalibur. Calhoun was handpicked by Captain Picard himself to command the new vessel to address the collapse of the Thallonian Empire. Joined by some TNG favorites, like Dr. Selar and Lt. Robin Lefler, the crew begins the next great Star Trek adventure.

famous star trek writers

More in the Tome of Nerd:

  • Star Trek DS9: The Complete Dominion War Guide
  • The 8 Best Star Wars Canon Books
  • My Journey Through the Comic Book Speculation Bubble…
  • The 7 Best Star Wars Books to Start Reading Now
  • Maximum Carnage: Enjoying a Classic Spider-Man Event

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Star Trek's History With the Writers' Strike, Explained

As the 2023 Writers Guild of America Strike continues, it's a worth look at two historic strikes at the same time Star Trek was just coming back.

As the Writers Guild of America strike completes its second month, the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers still refuses to reopen negotiations. Countless writers, actors and other artists are waiting to find out if shows they worked their entire lives for will still happen. In fact, two WGA strikes threatened to kill Star Trek , but each time creative thinking saved the franchise.

If the studios agree to a fair deal for the writers by the end of next month, 2023 would mark the shortest writers strike on record. The current shortest strike happened in 1973, right when series creator Gene Roddenberry just got NBC to put Star Trek back on the air. The longest writers strike in history happened in 1988, lasting a full 22 weeks. The strike coincided with the start of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation , Roddenberry's last shot at turning his universe into an enduring franchise. Roddenberry was a member of the Writers Guild himself, and no one at Star Trek ever really tried to cheat the strike rules. Rather, because entire livelihoods were on-the-line, producers tried to do everything they could to avoid losing their shows. In both cases, studio executives nearly lost their nerve when it came to giving Star Trek a second chance.

RELATED: Metropolis Series Adaptation Halts Production Due to Writers Strike, Budget Concerns

Star Trek: The Animated Series Was Saved by a WGA Strike Loophole

From the moment Lucille Ball funded a second pilot, Star Trek was simultaneously a low-budget series and incredibly expensive. Alien sets, visual effects and other trappings of science fiction are expensive to produce. In fact, visual effects supervisors had to invent techniques to even approximate Roddenberry's and the other writers' visions. Yet, after its cancelation, Paramount saw the series earn even higher ratings in syndication than it did on prime time. So, keeping things budget conscious, the network commissioned Roddenberry and Filmation Studios to make an animated series . Roddenberry tapped Dorothy "D.C." Fontana to, effectively, be the showrunner. Yet, when it came time to assemble a team of writers, the strike was in full swing. Fontana, heavily involved in the WGA, still had to get the show done or the NBC deal would go away.

The unions have been fighting the same battles for years. The 1973 strike was about ensuring writers earned a livable wage from script fees and residual payments for the new technology of "pay cable" and "videocassettes." Since the strike was only with producers of live-action, there was a loophole that allowed guild members to write one episode for an animated series. Fontana was able to offer her former colleagues a job while staffing Star Trek: The Animated Series with the storytellers who made the live-action series a hit. It was a win-win. She also was able to hire popular science fiction novelists like Harlan Ellison and Larry Niven.

RELATED: Daredevil, Penguin Temporarily Shut Down Production Due to WGA Strike

Star Trek: The Next Generation Turned to the Fans for Help in the 1988 Strike

In 1988, Star Trek: The Next Generation was finishing its first very rocky season. Because Paramount sold it straight into syndication, networks had to agree to two seasons upfront. The show did okay in the ratings, but the situation in the writers' room was deteriorating. Still, there was a glimmer of hope. While taking a studio tour with his then-girlfriend, Star Trek fan Ronald D. Moore convinced someone to take him to the Star Trek sets. He gave a spec script he'd written to Richard Arnold, Roddenberry's keeper of the canon. The script got him on the producers' radar, right as the strike happened. Unlike D.C. Fontana, who'd been isolated from Roddenberry and, effectively, driven off the show, head writer Maurice Hurley could do nothing.

The strike shortened the season by four weeks, but the writers lost even more time for preparation. Since Moore turned out to be a good writer, Paramount's lawyers drew up a waiver that allowed fans to submit story ideas or full scripts. It didn't help the writers that season, but a handful of ideas and even full scripts were purchased. Writers don't want to go on strike. They wouldn't be in the business if they didn't love telling stories. However, when studios refuse to pay the people who make their product their fair share, they have no choice. Hopefully, the 2023 WGA strike is resolved before any Star Trek shows are threatened.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+

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List: Star Trek’s Women Writers

I have my first article up at Trek Radio , where I list all the live-action Trek episodes that credit women writers.

From the intro:

“I wanted to take a look back at the women working behind the scenes of the five live-action Star Trek series, starting with the writers. I wanted to celebrate all the women from D.C. Fontana on, who broke barriers and made their mark on the franchise.

It’s hard to narrow down what to highlight. D.C. Fontana’s “The Enterprise Incident” and Jean Lisette Aroeste’s “Is There In Truth No Beauty?” brought us some of the most interesting, complex, empowered women guest characters in the entire Original Series.

Melinda M. Snodgrass’ script for “The Measure of a Man” was the first TNG script ever accepted on spec and it has stood the test of time, widely recognized as one of the top 10 episodes of TNG.

“Message in a Bottle,” teleplay by Lisa Klink, strikes an impressive balance between being exciting and humorous, all the while doing the work of character-building for Seven of Nine, Torres and The Doctor.

But there’s so much more.

I created the list below as a resource for other people who want to find Trek episodes that credit women writers. I chose to include women who received credit for writing, teleplay, or story, due to the difficulty making judgments about who had what significant impact over a particular script.”

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Star Trek's Scotty played by a Scot for first time

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For the first time in almost 60 years Star Trek character Scotty is being played by a Scottish actor.

Previously the role has been filled by Canadian actor James Doohan and Englishman Simon Pegg.

Now Scottish actor Martin Quinn is portraying a younger version of the character in the prequel series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Martin jokingly told BBC Scotland News, "We are rebranding him, he's from Paisley now."

Montgomery "Scotty" Scott has been a character in the science fiction franchise since it first began in 1966.

Doohan played the Scottish spaceship engineer in the original series and seven Star Trek films before Pegg took on the role for director JJ Abrams' reboots from 2009.

Martin's young Scotty appeared as a surprise cameo at the end of the second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and he will play a recurring role in season three.

The 30-year-old, from the Gallowhill area of Paisley, says he hopes even more Scottish people will watch Star Trek now that they have cast a real Scot.

"It's the power of representation isn't it?" he said.

"I was always into Star Wars because Ewan McGregor was there. It's because there was a Scottish guy in Star Wars.

"Even though he was doing an English accent, I was like 'that's so cool, he's from here and he's in Hollywood'.

"I wasn't as interested in Star Trek because it wasn't a real Scottish person."

While neither Doohan or Pegg had a natural Scottish accent, both actors and their character were beloved by fans.

Martin says: "I think James Doohan based the character off some Aberdonian he had heard, and even Linlithgow has claimed him, but I'm not sure what that's from."

In 2022, when Martin was auditioning for the series, producers gave the show a code name so he would not know it was Star Trek.

"I suppose that helped because you weren’t putting pressure on yourself to emulate James Doohan," he says.

Since taking the role, he says he has been working with writers to suggest authentic Scottish changes to his character.

"They let me put in the word 'baw-heid' instead of 'turnip-heid," he says.

"Maybe they think all Scottish people are farmers? But they were very gracious about it.

"And [the writers] are wanting to be authentic to Scotland as well, and that's really nice - not everyone's like that."

Martin says his accent has caused occasional confusion with the North American cast and crew on set.

"I'm constantly having to enunciate because I don't think they know what I'm saying," he says.

"It’s trying to find the balance, because it’s not just Scottish people watching this TV show, but I want to be as authentic as possible to how I speak."

Martin began his acting career when he was six years old at PACE Youth Theatre in Paisley.

The theatre school's alumni also include actorJames McAvoy and singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini.

When he was 18, Martin was cast in the lead role in the National Theatre of Scotland production of Let The Right One In.

It took him to the Dundee Rep and eventually to London's West End where he was spotted by the actors Richard Wilson and Alan Rickman.

They funded the last portion of his scholarship that let him attend Guildhall drama school in London.

However, it was Martin's first paid role in BBC comedy Limmy's Show that he says he owes "everything to".

"It meant I got praised for doing acting as opposed to a slagging" by his classmates, he says.

He also says there can be a working-class boy stigma that if you prefer acting to football there is something wrong with you.

"We’re potentially missing out on the next generation of really good Scottish actors and that is a bit of a worry," he says.

More like this story

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I’m Glad Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Has Been Renewed For Season 4, But It’s A Shame There’s Also Some Bad News For The Franchise

It's a day of both good news and bad news.

Anson Mount as Captain Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds on Paramount+

One of the best reasons to have a Paramount+ subscription is so you can access the modern era of Star Trek TV. Ever since Star Trek: Discovery premiered on then-CBS All Access in 2017, the small screen corner of the sci-fi franchise has been revitalized, with some of the other shows including Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks . Well, there’s some good news and bad news that’s come in today. Strange New Worlds has been renewed for Season 4, but Lower Decks will be ending.

For those of you who’ve enjoyed watching the adventures of Captain Christopher Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise in the immediate years ahead of The Original Series , there’s yet another batch of episodes on the way, though it’ll be a while until that specific group arrives since Strange New Worlds Season 3 isn’t expected to premiere until 2025. Unfortunately, those of you who have enjoyed the comedic hijinks of Boimlier, Mariner, Tendi and Rutherford on the animated Lower Decks must now prepare for the last hurrah with Season 5, which will premiere later this year on the 2024 TV schedule . Executive producers Mike McMahan and Alex Kurtzman released the following statement regarding the news:

We wanted to let you know that this fall will be the fifth and final season of Star Trek: Lower Decks. While five seasons of any series these days seems like a miracle, it’s no exaggeration to say that every second we’ve spent making this show has been a dream come true. Our incredible cast, crew and artists have given you everything they have because they love the characters they play, they love the world we’ve built, and more than anything we all love love love Star Trek. We’re excited for the world to see our hilarious fifth season which we’re working on right now, and the good news is that all previous episodes will remain on Paramount+ so there is still so much to look forward to as we celebrate the Cerritos crew with a big send-off. Finally, thank you for always being so creative and joyful, for filling convention halls and chanting “LOWER DECKS!” We remain hopeful that even beyond season five, Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, Rutherford and the whole Cerritos crew will live on with new adventures. LLAP

Now it is worth noting that Star Trek: Lower Decks ending shouldn’t come as a complete shock. Last October, Mike McMahan told CinemaBlend’s own Mick Joest that he wasn’t sure if Season 6 was in the cards , saying that “ you shouldn’t assume that this stuff is gonna stick around unless you vocally and watch it early on.” Sure enough, Season 5 will be the show’s last, so hopefully the writers were able to craft a conclusive ending rather than leave fans with any lingering plot threads.

Star Trek: Lower Decks crew

All this being said, just because Star Trek: Lower Decks is ending doesn’t mean we’ll never see its characters again. After all, Jack Quaid and Tawny Newsome played Boimler and Mariner in live-action for last year’s Strange New Worlds / Lower Decks crossover , so perhaps there’ll be another opportunity for them to return to that show or some other live-action venue. Maybe they could even be joined by costars like Noël Wells or Eugene Cordero. And then, of course, these characters could simply keep being explored in books and comic book series.

As for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds , Season 2 ended with Pike being forced to decide whether he should follow Starfleet’s orders and retreat from the battle with the Horn, or defy them to save his captured crew members. So with Season 3 needing to resolve that plot thread and explore various other stories, it’ll obviously be a while until we learn what Season 4 holds in store.

The upcoming Star Trek TV shows lineup also includes Starfleet Academy , and the Michelle Yeoh-led Section 31 movie will also exclusively play on Paramount+. Meanwhile, the theatrical side of the franchise is beginning development on a Star Trek origins movie , so keep visiting CinemaBlend for the biggest updates on all these projects.

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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.

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‘star trek: lower decks’ to end with season 5.

However, Paramount+ renewed 'Strange New Worlds' for season four.

By James Hibberd

James Hibberd

Writer-at-Large

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'Star Trek: Lower Decks'

Paramount+ has made two big decisions about its Star Trek universe.

Strange New Worlds has been renewed for a fourth season, while Lower Decks will end with its previously announced upcoming fifth season, expected to air sometime this year.

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Meanwhile, Strange New Worlds is currently in production on its third season, which is set to debut in 2025.

“ Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks are integral to the Star Trek franchise, expanding the boundaries of the universe and exploring new and exciting worlds,” said David Stapf, president of CBS Studios. “We are extraordinarily proud of both series as they honor the legacy of what Gene Roddenberry created almost 60 years ago.”

Strange New Worlds is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the  U.S.S. Enterprise . The series follows Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock, Number One and the crew of the  U.S.S. Enterprise , in the years before Captain Kirk boarded the starship, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy. It stars Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn, Ethan Peck, Jess Bush and Christina Chong.

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Netflix Movie Inspired by True Story Did Not Accuse Diver of Murder, Judge Rules

By Gene Maddaus

Gene Maddaus

Senior Media Writer

  • Netflix Movie Inspired by True Story Did Not Accuse Diver of Murder, Judge Rules 8 hours ago
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No Limit

A judge has sided with Netflix in a legal conflict launched by a famous diver, who claimed that a movie inspired by his life falsely accused him of murder.

Judge Bruce G. Iwasaki granted Netflix’s motion to throw out the lawsuit Tuesday, finding that the diver, Pipin Ferreras , could not prove that the fictional film was about him.

“ No Limit ” was released on Netflix in September 2022. It tells a story “inspired by real events” of a couple, Pascal Gautier and Roxana Aubrey, who engage in free diving, plunging to extreme depths without an oxygen supply. Roxana dies on a record attempt, with the clear implication that Pascal has sabotaged her equipment.

Popular on Variety

Ferreras is never mentioned in the movie, which includes a standard disclaimer that it is a work of fiction and that “any resemblance with reality is coincidental.” However, the film ends with a tribute to Mestre, displaying a title card with her photo and a one-sentence account of her death.

Netflix filed a motion to throw out the lawsuit in November, arguing that while the film was inspired, in part, by Mestre’s story, it was not meant to be a literal account of her death.

The writer-director, David M. Rosenthal, said in a court declaration that he learned of Mestre’s story by watching an ESPN documentary; he then read more articles and books about the case. But Rosenthal said he was also inspired by “Le Grand Bleu,” a 1988 film about rival free divers directed by Luc Besson, as well as by films and novels depicting dangerous romantic relationships.

“The film was not intended to depict any particular person, but rather explores my imaginings of how a particularly toxic relationship might unravel in a unique, high-pressure environment like the world of no limit free diving,” Rosenthal wrote.

He also argued that the film’s ending is “intentionally vague,” as the viewer is left to decide whether Pascal killed Roxana or not.

“The drama created by uncertainty is far greater than any created by an obvious villain,” he wrote.

The judge disagreed with that, finding there was no ambiguity about whether the character of Pascal was to blame. But Iwasaki also held that Pascal was not the real-life Ferreras — and that therefore the film is not defamatory.

“No reasonable viewer would find that the Film portrayed Plaintiff,” the judge wrote.

Iwasaki wrote that many of the parallels between the movie and Ferreras’ life story would be common to any movie about free diving. And he found significant differences, noting that the abusive and controlling relationship depicted in the film bears no resemblance to Ferreras’ account of a harmonious marriage.

Ferreras’ attorney, Alexander Rufus-Isaacs, said he would appeal. He has argued there are 22 similarities between the fictional portrayal and the true story, making it abundantly clear that the film is about his client.

“I think this is one of the strongest libel-in-fiction cases I’ve come across,” he said.

Rufus-Isaacs has also sued Netflix on behalf of real-life figures represented in “Inventing Anna” and “The Queen’s Gambit.”

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COMMENTS

  1. The best writers of "Star Trek"

    Paul Schneider was born on August 4, 1923 in Passaic, New Jersey, USA. He was a writer and producer, known for Star Trek (1966), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) and Options (1989). He was married to Margaret Schneider. He died on October 13, 2008 in Riverside, California, USA.

  2. The 15 Best Star Trek Books Ever Written

    Simon and Schuster. It's easier to refer to this bulk recommendation as "The Khan Trilogy." The first two novels are formally titled "The Eugenics War: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh ...

  3. Gene Roddenberry

    Eugene Wesley Roddenberry Sr. (August 19, 1921 - October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter and producer who created the science fiction franchise Star Trek. Born in El Paso, Texas, Roddenberry grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a police officer.Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the Army Air Forces during World War II and worked as a commercial pilot after the war.

  4. List of Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers

    Eric A. Stillwell (born 1962, Okinawa, Japan) is a producer and writer who has worked on a number of television series, made-for-television movies, and motion pictures, including numerous Star Trek series and motion pictures.Stillwell graduated from the University of Oregon in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.

  5. 10 Most Prolific Writers On Star Trek The Next Generation

    Naren Shankar - 29 Episodes. Since his time on TNG, Naren Shankar has become a prolific producer on some of TV's biggest hit series. However, early in his career he was a frequent writer and story editor for The Next Generation and contributed some classic tales. Shankar's time on the show coincided with the last three seasons and though the ...

  6. The Great TV Writers: Gene Roddenberry

    The Great TV Writers: Gene Roddenberry. Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 - October 24, 1991) was an American television screenwriter, producer and creator of the original Star Trek television series, and its first spin-off The Next Generation. Suffice it to say, he was one of the most successful writers of his day.

  7. Harlan Ellison wrote Star Trek's greatest episode. He hated it

    Getty Images. Harlan Ellison, the legendary, legendarily irascible speculative fiction writer who died this week at age 84, wrote the greatest episode of Star Trek ever made. And he hated it ...

  8. Peter David's Best Star Trek Novels

    This novel serves as a sequel to the TOS episode "The Doomsday Machine" and the TNG two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds." Unlike most other Star Trek writers, David often cross-pollinates elements from different series into one story. For instance, he's not afraid to use the time portal from the TOS episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" to tell a story surrounding the ...

  9. 50 Years and Counting: 'Star Trek' Writers Explain Its Serious Staying

    Writer David Gerrold was in college when "Star Trek" premiered on television, and he instantly began sending pitches for episodes into the studio. He's perhaps most famous as the writer who brought us the furry Tribbles and their love of the advanced space-grain quadrotriticale in the original series episode " The Trouble with Tribbles ."

  10. The Best Star Trek Novels: A Personal List

    The Mirror Universe Series. The Mirror Universe is a dark reflection of the Star Trek universe we know and love, and the source of endless "evil twin" plots. Basically, everything is its opposite. In the Mirror Universe, the tolerant and peace-loving United Federation of Planets is actually the xenophobic and warlike Terran Empire.

  11. List of Star Trek: The Original Series writers

    This is a list of writers for the original Star Trek television series sorted by the amount of episodes written. Collaborations are marked with dashes. (-) Contributions, pseudonyms and episode numbers are noted in parenthesis. Gene L. Coon "Arena" (S01E18) (Teleplay) "Space Seed" (S01E22) (Teleplay - with Carey Wilber) "A Taste of Armageddon" (S01E23) (Teleplay - with Robert Hamner) "The ...

  12. D.C. Fontana, Pioneering 'Star Trek' Writer, Dies At 80

    D.C. Fontana, a pioneering screenwriter famous for her work with Star Trek, died this week. NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Jarrah Hodge, co-host of the podcast "Women at Warp" about Fontana's legacy.

  13. Gene Roddenberry

    Gene Roddenberry (19 August 1921 - 24 October 1991; age 70), sometimes referred to as the "great bird of the galaxy", was an American filmmaker and TV producer, best known as the creator of the science fiction television series Star Trek, beginning the long running Star Trek franchise.Roddenberry's remains (some of his ashes in a small capsule, about the size of a lipstick) were the first to ...

  14. Celebrating Star Trek's Women Writers

    Star Trek has a history of not only highlighting powerful women on-screen, but featuring them behind-the-scenes as well. Going as far back as Star Trek: The Original Series, each series has featured women as episode writers, which was a striking move for a 1960s show.As the franchise continued to grow throughout the years, more women joined the Star Trek writing family, bringing us stories of ...

  15. Star Trek

    Star Trek is an American science fiction media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, which began with the eponymous 1960s television series and became a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon.Since its creation, the franchise has expanded into various films, television series, video games, novels, and comic books, and it has become one of the most recognizable and highest-grossing media franchises ...

  16. Category:Writers

    Category to list writers of Star Trek episodes and films. Authors and writers of all Star Trek novels, reference books, comics, and other franchise-related publications are currently listed under Category: Star Trek authors. Story editors and script supervisors can be found in Category: Story editors.

  17. TOS writers

    This is a list of writers of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes. Stanley Adams "The Mark of Gideon" Margaret Armen "The Gamesters of Triskelion" "The Paradise Syndrome" "The Cloud Minders" (Teleplay) Jean Lisette Aroeste "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" "All Our Yesterdays" S. Bar-David "Dagger of the Mind" "The Galileo Seven" (Teleplay) Jerome Bixby "Mirror, Mirror" "By Any Other Name ...

  18. 15 Amazing Things You Never Knew About 'Star Trek' Writers

    So here are 15 facts, you never knew about the 'Star Trek' writers: George Clayton Johnson who wrote the first episode of The Original Series, "The Man Trap", co-wrote the famous ...

  19. From the Writers: A Behind the Scenes Guide

    Reality vs on-camera magic! StarTrek.com. For this scene, we wanted to track what Culber had been through in his time in the mycelial network, and get across what he's feeling now that he's back on the ship. Doug A set up these two shots to really get inside Culber's head, as portrayed by the wonderful Wilson Cruz.

  20. Ray Bradbury

    Ray Douglas Bradbury (US: / ˈ b r æ d b ɛr i / BRAD-berr-ee; August 22, 1920 - June 5, 2012) was an American author and screenwriter.One of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers, he worked in a variety of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and realistic fiction.. Bradbury is best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and his short-story ...

  21. The 6 Best Star Trek Novels of All-Time

    Star Trek: Destiny by David Mack - Amazon. Star Trek: Destiny is an epic Star Trek adventure featuring the crews from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager (with a few others thrown in). The story takes place post-Nemesis and spans the entire galaxy. The Borg have returned. A mysterious new world is discovered.

  22. Star Trek's History With the Writers' Strike, Explained

    The longest writers strike in history happened in 1988, lasting a full 22 weeks. The strike coincided with the start of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Roddenberry's last shot at turning his universe into an enduring franchise. Roddenberry was a member of the Writers Guild himself, and no one at Star Trek ever really tried ...

  23. List: Star Trek's Women Writers

    I have my first article up at Trek Radio, where I list all the live-action Trek episodes that credit women writers. From the intro: "I wanted to take a look back at the women working behind the scenes of the five live-action Star Trek series, starting with the writers. I wanted to celebrate all the […]

  24. TV Rewind: Deep Space Nine Is One of Star Trek's Best Outings

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is perhaps the most famous case of a Trek series that was ... Lauren Coates is a freelance entertainment writer with a passion for sci-fi, an unhealthy obsession with ...

  25. Star Trek's Scotty played by a Scot for first time

    The famous Star Trek character is being played by a Scottish actor for the first time. News. ... he says he has been working with writers to suggest authentic Scottish changes to his character.

  26. I'm Glad Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Has Been Renewed For Season 4

    One of the best reasons to have a Paramount+ subscription is so you can access the modern era of Star Trek TV. Ever since Star Trek: Discovery premiered on then-CBS All Access in 2017, the small ...

  27. 'Star Trek: Lower Decks' Canceled After Season 5

    However, Paramount+ renewed 'Strange New Worlds' for season four. By James Hibberd Writer-at-Large Paramount+ has made two big decisions about its Star Trek universe. Strange New Worlds has been ...

  28. 'Fallout:' Walton Goggins calls The Ghoul ruthless, wickedly funny

    "I was an aspiring young writer at that point. It almost derailed my entire career," he joked. ... 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' renewed for Season 4, 'Lower Decks' to end ... Famous birthdays ...

  29. Star Trek: Scotty played by Scottish actor for first time

    The famous Star Trek character is being played by a Scottish actor for the first time. BBC Homepage. ... "And [the writers] are wanting to be authentic to Scotland as well, and that's really nice ...

  30. Netflix Wins Dismissal of Diver's Defamation Suit Over 'No Limit'

    A judge has sided with Netflix in a legal conflict launched by a famous diver, who claimed that a movie inspired by his life falsely accused him of murder.. Judge Bruce G. Iwasaki granted Netflix ...