Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

About "The Switchblade Papers"

"Star Trek" went off the air in 1969, and was GONE for ten years. It was missed. These days, with more than 500 hours of "Star Trek" material available in one form or another, it is rather hard to imagine just how long that dry spell was, particularly the eight years until "Star Wars" got Hollywood thinking that there might actually be money in SF again.

"Star Trek" had originally been produced by Desilu studios, and they had licensed a number of products; when the rights to the series were sold to Paramount in 1979, all of those licenses were summarily canceled. One of the Desilu licensed products was a miniature figure line, and accompanying RPG, produced by the now-defunct Heritage Miniatures.

I flew out to San Francisco in February of 1979 to visit my friend Steve Lortz, and to attend a gaming convention. Steve ran a game of the Heritage Star Trek, and swindled us a couple of times. He had been showing off his freshly painted "Star Trek" figures, including a group of Klingons, and had gotten us thinking in those terms, and then he threw a traditional Bug Eyed Monster at us (a scenario expressly forbidden in the Star Trek series, and all subsequent Star Trek material), and then...

I am not sure just when I started to fictionalize those games; probably not until I got a functional word processor in 1987. Somewhere along the line, prompted by a thorough reading of the FASA "Star Trek" gaming material (which included a great deal of information from John M. Ford's Klingon novel, "The Final Reflection") I started to tell the story, and it took off in another direction, and bogged down, and then I started again, and THAT bogged down, and then in February 1990 I finished both stories, finally accomplishing the original goal with "Gordian Klingons". It is interesting to note that the story, as completed, is not REALLY a retelling of the gaming session at all, it just happened to incorporate that story in making its own quite different point.

I had played Spock (rather badly) in the original game; I developed Slark from the FASA material. He is probably as close to a personal avatar as any character I have ever written, which is not to say he is all THAT close...

It should be noted that at the time these stories were completed, I had seen something like half of one episode of TNG; they are set in the universe of Classic Trek, as expanded by the FASA material, and modified by my own perceptions of how things ought to be.

One way or another, I am inclined to think that Gene Roddenberry turns over in his grave every time someone reads one of these stories, and I am content with that; Roddenberry gave a great deal to SF culture, but he also did some STRANGE things to it...

Uncle Hyena
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