The Corner

Keeping It Real

John Miller writes below:

Samuel Taylor Coleridge once wrote about the “willing suspension of disbelief” — a behavior that proficient writers must instill in their readers when they tell fantastic tales. It requires a commitment to “a semblance of truth.” In other words, if you want to spin a yarn about characters who come back from the dead, underwater attacks on the White House, and infrared satellite surveillance from desktop computers, at least get the little things right.

Well said. This is essentially my criticism of Leonard Nimoy’s scorn for much of the Trek fanbase.

I don’t mean to sound like Christopher Lloyd in Taxi whining that Gene Roddenberry had Romulans do “things no Romulan would ever do,” but consistency matters. Successful artistic realms — be it Narnia or Middle Earth, Arrakis or that faraway galaxy a long time ago — seduce us and hold our loyalty by seeming possible, plausible . . . real. It’s easy to mock fans who get too caught up in the “it could really happen!” spirit, but last I checked, plausibility was a major aspiration of art and even good entertainment (if “art” is too snooty for this discussion). And for the Star Trek franchise, internal consistency is a big part of the show’s success. By staying somewhat loyal to the details, or what some call “the canon,” the franchise has earned the loyalty of generations of Trek fans.


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