On September 8, 1966 an episode of Star Trek first appeared on television. In the forty years since, Star Trek has developed into an international phenomenon and holds a cherished place in American popular culture. Many events are being held this month to commemorate the franchise’s history. Here at the University of Iowa Libraries, it is possible to experience the history of Star Trek in person through two important collections, the papers of writer and director Nicholas Meyer and the M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines.
Nicholas Meyer directed two of the Star Trek feature films, and also wrote screenplays and provided a creative perspective that re-energized the franchise. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is widely regarded as the best of the films featuring the original cast, and Meyer’s papers, held in the Special Collections department, contain a wealth of information on the development of the story, the technicalities of filming, and the controversies within fandom over the fate of Spock. Meyer corresponded directly with many fans, and these letters provide a fascinating glimpse of the level of dedication among the fan community. In addition to many screenplays from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which Meyer wrote, the collection also contains an enormous amount of material related to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, including storyboards, concept art, and production memos.
The fanzines in the Horvat collection reveal the development of early Star Trek fandom, from its simple beginnings in meetings of like-minded friends to the large media conventions of today. The zines contain fan fiction, discussion of the future of the franchise (particularly during the 1970s when Star Trek was almost entirely sustained by fan activities), and news of conventions. The collection contains a copy of the first Star Trek fanzine ever produced, Spockanalia, and other examples of early fan creations such as Devra Langsam’s Masiform-D.