What We Look for in Fiction

I’m one of those people that doesn’t have a preference for “Star Trek” or “Star Wars.” While I’ve seen people get into epic fights over which is better, I’ve always been comfortable with seeing that they are both good for different reasons.

Andy is more of a “Star Trek” fan. Interestingly, as we were leaving “The Force Awakens,” he was talking about why. He said he didn’t like all of the mysticism on Star Wars, and that he had the same issue with Narnia. He liked “Star Trek” with it’s basis in science and humanity solving it’s own problems. He said he had enough mysticism in his life from Catholicism and didn’t need any in his fiction.

I found this interesting for a number of reasons, one because I kind of think of religion as fandom that people believe in and take way too seriously. But I also found it interesting because it speaks to what people look for in entertainment. Andy looks at world building, and prefers shows like Star Trek, Red Dwarf and Babylon 5 that doesn’t deal heavily with mystical themes.

I’m not so interested in world building, I care about the characters. Are the characters interesting, real and relatable? This, too me, is why it’s hard to say whether or not one world is better than the other. Now I could rank characters according to favorites, but not worlds so much. Other than to say there are worlds I definitely would not want to live in (like Panam).

And while I did get into Star Wars fandom in a way I never did with Star Trek fandom, the reason was because throughout high school a Star Trek series was airing on tv. I was five when Next Gen came out, and when that ended there was Deep Space Nine and I managed to hang in through Voyager (I got pissed off four episodes into Enterprise and threw in the towel, that was when I was in college and had moved on to anime. Both Star Trek and Star Wars disappointment me with their portrayal of female characters). While I was in high school, aside from the novels, Star Wars was not on tv or in the theaters. And I tend to become attracted to fandoms when I want to see the characters I love get into new adventures.

Star Trek vs Star Wars just seems so pointless to me. They both contain characters that I love. They have also both bitterly disappointed me and let me down and then worked hard to get me excited about them again despite myself. I look forward to sharing both of them with my children. Because, regardless of whether one is better than the other, it looks as if both are here to stay for awhile.

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