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Wrangler News March 2006, article --

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ARTICLE ON JACQUELINE LICHTENBERG

By Melissa Hirschl for Wrangler News – March 2006

 

If your bumper sticker proudly sticker states "My Other Car is the Starship Enterprise", you may already know Jacqueline Lichtenberg, a Chandler resident whose life has been heavily intertwined with the original iconoclastic Star Trek TV show. The show lasted only three years, but the adventures of Spock, McCoy and Kirk sparked a die-hard following around the world. She is primary author of the Bantam paperback Lichtenberg’s book "Star Trek Lives!" which she co-authored was written in 1975. It and is a five year research project on why fans wouldn’t let the phenomenally successful sci-fi show die.

A former chemist, Lichtenberg is a prolific science fiction writer who rockets her readers into worlds landscaped with aliens, intergalactic travel, and even vampires. She is also the originator of the cult classic Sime~Gen Universe, the fantasy world that is the backdrop for many of her stories. Lichtenberg has written over 20 novels (two of which are award winners), 13 short stores, and two non-fiction books. Her ST "Kraith" universe has been inspiration for many fan created magazine stories and was read by ST creator Gene Roddenberry.

WN: What was so special about ST?

JL: "It was a show that totally changed the landscape of television; it was not comedy; it was not for nine-year-olds and it was the first real dramatic science fiction show. That was a tremendous breakthrough. Most of the people who watched it had never read a science fiction novel since most of them were sf was aimed at adolescent boys. This was relationship driven fiction, which incidentally is what I write about in my novels."

WN: How did you become involved with the ST?

JL: "I participated in the "Keep Star Trek on the Air" campaign when I was living in Israel, even though I had never watched the show. A good friend, Bjo Trimble convinced me the show was worth saving and I was enrolled in the quest. I finally watched the show when I returned to the U.S. I ended up pointing at the TV and screaming ‘He’s not human!’. That was a defining moment for the rest of my life.

"Eventually I co-wrote the book "Star Trek Lives!" that I also wrote with Sandra Marshak and Joan Winston. This was a non-fiction book of interviews with Gene Roddenberry and various stars of the show. It also compiled information on from surveys we sent out to hundreds of ST fans asking them what makes them so committed to the show and why they pursued so many related interests such as conventions and science fan fiction writing. The first revival campaign kept the show on for three years so it could go into syndication where fandom kept it alive. . Enamored fans got it into syndication and it gathered momentum."

WN: Tell us about the Kraith Universe.

JL: Kraith picks up at the end of the original Star Trek series; I wrote aboutdid eight of the stories, although about and 50 others created the rest. stories were written by fans. In the storiesKraith, I destroyed the Enterprise, which fans didn’t think was a good idea. I gave Spock a sister as well. Roddenberry, who read the Kraith series, also eventually destroyed the ship and gave Spock a brother. He basically gave introduced mysticism to the whole Vulcan culture a mystical dimension, even though fans had objected when I did that.. Is there a connection to Kraith? I’ll let you decide… Apparently I had learned to think fiction structure just as Roddenberry had.

WN: What is the major premise of "Star Trek Lives!"?

JL: "The major message is that fans are not to be discounted; fans are not bubble headed children or insane adults. Fans are intelligent people who contribute much to the world. We originally designed the book to have a center section of fan fiction. We also wanted to demonstrate that fans can write good science fiction themselves. No science fiction ‘fanzine’ (magazines written by and for fans) hasd never done that before. Today there are thousands of fans posting stories on-line."

WN: Did you anticipate the effect the book would have on fans?\

JL: Absolutely. That’s why I founded a volunteer organization, Star Trek Welcommittee, to answer the fan at mail a few months before the book came out. It eventually became known as the Star Trek Welcomittee, an organization that introduced fans to each other. We got thousands of letters a month from people who thought they were the only ones in the world who watched the show. Conventions soon sprang up all over the country as a result as well as fan magazines called "fanzines.

WN: What impact did the book have on the media?|

JL: "It blew the lid off Star Trek fandom. It made it New York Times material and there were many articles written on it. The second effect was that fans have now picked up other TV shows and write about them too. Instead of having editors, these fan-fiction writers use beta readers to edit their stories then post them online. post their work on-line for data-readers to edit them."

WN: What exactly is Sinme~Gen and what are the basic themes of your stories?

JL: "It’s the universe I invented for my many of my science fiction stories. The main theme in my stories is that human nature can change and that we need to develop the capacity for compassion. My books also all have esoteric philosophical underpinnings which I have adapted from various philosophies such as Buddhism, Jewish mysticism, tarrot, and astrology. Sime~Gen Inc. now owns simegen.com which houses is also the name of my on-line corporation, which includes a free writing school."

WN: What was your first book?

JL: "House of Zeor, in which I designed the main character to appeal to Spock fans. It was patterned after ST fan fiction and was in print continually for 21 years. It is now reprinted in Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy, three stories I have co-authored with Jean Lorrah, a Professor of English at Murray State University in Kentucky.

To learn more about Lichtenberg and her corporation Sime~Gen, visit the website www.simegen.com where you will find lists, newsletters and websites devoted to sime!Sime~Gen professional and fan-written fiction. Lichtenberg’s books can be found on Amazon and in the library. She is also in the process of producing now has her first e-books, Molt Brother and City of a Million Legends at fictionwise.come-books. Live long and prosper.

 

 

 

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Updated on Friday May 26, 2006.


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