To boldly go...

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 10:00 AM

When I was a little girl, I used to watch Star Trek (the original) with my parents. Sometimes, when asked if I’m a trekkie, I say “I was born of trekkies” -- although, to be honest, I'm actually a big fan myself. I often have random memories of episodes -- my favorite, of course, is the The Trouble with Tribbles (I bought cute little toy tribbles for my whole family one Christmas – they really do purr when you’re not paying attention to them). I like the movies, too. I remember laughing as Chekov explained he was looking for “nuclear wessels,” and crying when Spock said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...or the one.”

And while I went into marketing, my sister got her Ph.D. in astrophysics, spent time working at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and is now a research scientist who helps maintain and study the images that the Chandra telescope sends back from its orbit around Earth (for the rest of us: she’s searching for black holes).

That’s why I'm excited about the 40th anniversary of the original episode. (Yep – older than me. We were already watching re-runs when I was little.) Google is having some fun with this as well -- as you might imagine, we have quite a few trekkies here. We're on hand at the 5th Annual Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas this week demonstrating some of our products, including Google Desktop, SketchUp and a new one that allows people to see intergalactic creations right on their mobile phones.

When I heard about the convention, I started to think about how Google Book Search can help all of these trekkies -- or anyone! -- discover fun books about Star Trek. Of course there are the biographies, and books written by the actors. But what’s really interesting is looking at the influence Star Trek has had on literature. Who knew so many books quote Spock’s famous line from the movie? There's even a whole literary tradition of subtle references to Dr. McCoy’s famous refrain, “Jim, I’m a doctor, not a xxx.”

Try plugging in your favorite lines to see where they show up. It’s really pretty amazing to see how influential this show is.


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