Ask Dayton #14 – Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Question: Dear Dayton: With all the Star Trek vs. Star Wars stuff heating up lately, what is your take on the whole thing? I mean, it’s just TV/movies, but people are so passionate about it! I do think there is such a disparity between the amount of Star Wars books and Star Trek books that, well, makes Trek look kinda weak. (Not in the stories, I think Trek novels are awesome for the most part!) Plus, do you think JJ Abrams trying to bring “more Star Wars into Star Trek”as he has said is a good thing? Thanks Dayton, Semper IDIC!
Answer: Ah, the classic conundrum: Star Trek or Star Wars. Choices, choices. What is one to do when faced with such a dilemma? It seems that ever since that wonderful summer in 1977 when George Lucas first brought his baby to the silver screen—before episode numbers and sub titles and special editions—debates such as this have raged.
Which has the better characters? Which has the better stories? Who would win in a fight between the Enterprise and a Star Destroyer? What would Kirk do if he had to face off against Darth Vader? How long would it take the dashing captain to seduce Princess Leia? Are Q and Palpatine bowling partners? Fans and “students” of both franchises have for years written numerous magazine articles and books, created entire websites, and held uncounted panel discussions at conventions in order to wage these and similar arguments.
Meanwhile, the rest of us were out getting laid.
I happen to like both Star Trek and Star Wars (though I’d like to take a baseball bat to both Neelix and Jar-Jar Binks). Now, if other people prefer one over the other because that’s just a personal kink, that’s okay, too. More power to you. If you think Captain Sisko is more badass than Boba Fett, that Princess Leia in her metal slave bikini beats Seven of Nine in her catsuit, or that the Doomsday Machine would slice through the Death Star like Thai food through my digestive tract, then go you. Who am I to judge?
However, if somebody wants to embark on a long-winded diatribe in the hopes of convincing me that one is better than the other, I’d warn such people before they take that first preparatory deep breath that I don’t give one tenth of a Grade-Z taco shit about that sort of stuff. Save me the comparison charts, blueprints, technical manuals, and whatever else their parents gave them as a college graduation present. I just don’t care. My eyes glaze over when I start listening to such things, and my thoughts often begin running toward the homicidal.
As for the idea that there are more Star Wars books than Star Trek books…ah, nope. I could bore the show’s listeners with a bunch of statistics, but as Nick reads this live on air it’s just too goddamned early for that sort of nonsense. Instead, here’s a couple of links for everybody to check out once their vision clears and the coffee kicks in:
List of Star Trek Novels:
List of Star Wars novels:
As of this writing, the list for Star Wars has been updated more recently than the one for Star Trek. Despite this, I think folks will agree that while Star Wars does indeed have an ass-load of books (including several I’ve enjoyed over the years), Star Trek’s numbers are somewhere in the metric fuck-ton range.
(For those needing a comparison, a fuck-ton is fifty shit-barrels more than an ass-load.)
In the interests of fairness, I should point out that it’s not unusual these days to see Star Wars outclassing Star Trek in a bookstore’s science fiction section. I honestly don’t know which ones sell more overall, but both franchises obviously sell enough to keep plugging and making their respective masters happy.
(And not for nothing, but—given the chance—I’d write an old-school Star Wars story in a New York Minute. Something like a Darth Vader story set between Episodes III and IV, or Han Solo and Chewbacca pissing off the Empire. Or, a novel version of something like the Crimson Empire comics series. Aw, yeah.)
Now, as for this business about J.J. Abrams trying to sex up Star Trek by giving it something of a Star Wars vibe, I have to say that to a certain extent, I’m down with it. I love the action, energy and fun of Star Wars, particularly the first movie…the one they now call “Episode IV,” for all you young folks. The original Star Trek has more in common with that than folks like to admit, after all, so amping up things for the big screen isn’t that crazy a notion.
Just keep Jar-Jar Binks far, far away from the thing, and I’ll be happy.
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.
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