Trek & Wars: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

Original image by Brian Nielsen

OK Folks, we need to talk. I’m sure you’re aware that there’s this whole Star Trek vs. Star Wars and which one is better and why thing. Horsefeathers, I say! It needs to stop. You can not compare the two, it’s like apples and oranges.

Yes, that’s right. Two different things. Star Trek is Science Fiction. And yes, I’ll say it. Star Wars is not.

I will pause while you recover.

Don’t start thinking that this is some sort of secret ploy to draw you in while I bash Star Wars and tell you how much better Star Trek is, it’s not. I simply hold the opinion that Star Wars, while set in space, is not Science Fiction. Yes, it is set in a universe that is more technologically advanced than us, but that doesn’t make it Science Fiction. No, instead I believe that Star Wars is in fact a fantasy tale.

Have you heard this story before? A young man, orphaned, is living a very modest life. One day something happens and he learns the true identity of his parents. He leaves home and goes on an adventure meeting new friends, and eventually leads the fight against a supreme evil. Sound like Star Wars? Yeah, well I also just described Wheel of Time, A Sword of Truth, and Harry Potter. Among others, I’m sure. Along with that plot line Star Wars also has a princess, a pirate, several wizards, and bumbling comic relief. Still sound like Science Fiction?

Star Wars being Fantasy and not Science Fiction isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a genre change. A paradigm shift. Nothing more.

Star Trek, on the other hand, is Science Fiction. It’s set in a possible Earth future where we, as humans, have overcome problems and united for the betterment of all. Eh, for the most part. There’s no Force or other magical system, it’s entirely science based. Except for Q, but we can file that under “Science we haven’t figured out yet.” Star Trek, in fact, like most good science fiction, is a parable. Except for most holodeck episodes. It’s a story to helps us learn right from wrong, though usually at the expense of some other hapless and less enlightened race.

Thus, other than personal preference, there’s no reason to argue over which is better. If you liked apples better would you argue with an orange enthusiast? No, because it would be stupid to argue over the virtues of two different kinds of fruit when the only reason you like one over the other better is taste and texture. Neither of you is right and neither of you is wrong. The same is true for Star Trek and Star Wars. You can like both of them equally for what they are separately, or you can choose to like one over the other based solely on preference. But really, fighting over it is just silly.

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