Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection

Links abound in this post, but dig in if you’re a Star Trek fan as there’s lots of insights and revelations into the production of one of the most unfairly dismissed Star Trek films. I actually rate Insurrection as one of my favourite Next Gen movies, but there’s no doubt it felt like a heavily compromised entry. An unpublished book by the late Michael Piller, Fade In: The Writing of Star Trek: Insurrection, tells the story.

“They’re not out to make a quick buck, they’re looking to protect the integrity of the franchise and its mythology.” 1998’s Star Trek Insurrection went through a number of different plots before becoming the film we ultimately saw. Starting out as Star Trek: Stardust, the first take on the idea involved Captain Picard going all Heart of Darkness on a former friend from his Starfleet Academy days in a bid to find the Fountain of Youth. That treatment evolved into a remarkably Avatarish story called simply Star Trek IX in which Picard must go upriver to kill a malfunctioning Data as part of a Federation/Romulan alliance to displace strange alien natives from a planet teeming with a valuable and rare ore (spoiler: Picard actually kills Data in this treatment, and Tom Hanks was supposed to have a major role somewhere).

(via “He might have read the document when he was tired, at the end of a long day of being tied to a whale.” – metafilter.com & via Boing Boing)

The PDF of the book was originally released by Trek Core. They included this note:

When 
we 
received
 this 
submission, 
we
 were 
told 
that 
Michael 
Piller 
considered 
this 
book
 his
 last 
great
 gift 
to
 the 
fans
 and
 to 
aspiring
 writers 
everywhere. 

Unfortunately,
 Paramount
 somehow
 got 
it 
suppressed
 from 
being 
published. 

Michael
 Piller 
passed
 away
 in
 2005, 
so
 getting 
this
 book 
published
 will 
never 
be
 possible
 (not 
to 
mention
 Insurrection 
is 
quite 
old
 now, 
so 
a 
book 
about 
it 
wouldn’t
 be 
financially 
feasible 
for 
a
 publisher). 

It’s 
clear 
Michael 
Piller
 wanted 
this 
book 
read, 
so 
we
 felt 
that 
making 
it
 available 
to 
the 
fans 
made
 sense. 

It’s
 an
 amazingly 
detailed 
look 
at 
the 
process 
of 
writing 
the 
movie 
including 
internal 
memos, 
letters, 
pitches, 
story
 drafts, 
etc. 

Enjoy 
this
 unique
 glimpse 
into 
writing 
Star 
Trek 
Insurrection! 

And 
lastly, 
if
 anyone 
can 
provide 
the
 draft 
of 
Star 
Trek 
Insurrection 
that 
is 
missing 
from 
this 
document,
 please
 email 
us.

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Could Facebook be around forever?

Douglas Rushkoff is absolutely right, Facebook will go down. It’ll be another long decline that – like AOL and Yahoo! – will still be hugely profitable and popular in the mainstream for years after its prime.

[…] These companies are being valued as if they will be our permanent means for identifying ourselves.

Yet social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. It’s the people that matter, not the venue. So when the trend leaders of one social niche or another decide the place everyone is socializing has lost its luster or, more important, its exclusivity, they move on to the next one, taking their followers with them. […]

We will move on, just as we did from the chat rooms of AOL, without even looking back. When the place is as ethereal as a website, our allegiance is much more abstract than it is to a local pub or gym. We don’t live there, we don’t know the owner, and we are all the more ready to be incensed by the latest change to a privacy policy, or to learn that every one of our social connections has been sold to the highest corporate bidder.

So it’s not that MySpace lost and Facebook won. It’s that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. They’ll go down in the same order.

(via Facebook hype will fade – edition.cnn.com)

Maybe not though… I wonder if Facebook could become the Arcadia Group of the web. Maybe the next big social networking site could be… Facebook. Sort of. Just like most of the big high street retail brands are owned by the same few companies, Facebook would be the parent company of many federated niche-networks.