R.I. P. Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy passed away today—2/27/15. God rest his gentle soul. I am so sad.

My career as a full-time publishing professional—almost 40 years now—is due in no small measure to Leonard Nimoy and his outstanding portrayal of the rational humanoid alien, Mr. Spock. Spock was a Vulcan member of Star Fleet, and the starship Enterprise’s Science Officer, on the seminal sci-fi TVdrama, Star Trek.

I became a de facto voice for sci-fi fandom in 1977, as editor of the nationally distributed monthly, Starlog magazine; it was not my intent, but an unexpected result of doing good work. Nothing beats being in the right place at the right time. When I became an assistant editor at Starlog in 1976, it was a sci-fi nostalgia magazine. In particular, it was a loving homage to early science fiction and, in particular, the sci-fi moves of the 1950s. What gave it commercial relevance was the Star Trek TV series. The first issue of the magazine was meant to be a one-shot, loving homage to the TV show. And it surely was. Enough so that I gave it a rave review in one of the pop-culture magazines I wrote freelance for at that time (while still teaching third grade in NYC). That review helped garner an interview with the publishers of Starlog when an editorial position opened up.

I got the job.

In 1977 Star Wars hit, and the entertainment world changed forever. But Star Trek was still the lens through which sci-fi was viewed, and reviewed, and its fan-base was dedicated, and still growing.

Star Trek, The Motion Picture premiered in 1979. It was a major event. The starship Enterprise had been redesigned; fans and reviewers took this very, very seriously. Spock was aging; Captain Kirk looked ageless—albeit with a wider girth and new toupee. The second Trek film reached into the TV-spawned mythos and successfully withdrew The Wrath of Khan, in 1982. A terrific movie that helped to create a new generation of Trek fans. Ironically, it took the death of Spock to make it a hit.

To be continued . . .