For more than 50 years, Star Trek was engineered to be a show (then movies, then other shows, then… well, you get it) that fans had to actually engage with. Sorry/not sorry about those puns, but they work. Gene Roddenberry and the other writers crafted stories that were always so much more than a series of explode-y shoot ‘em ups linked together by a tenuous series of unimportant talky bits. Sure, Star Trek is exciting and full of adventure and special effects, but at its core reactor heart, Star Trek had—and has—something to say. Rodenberry, and the now-hundreds of other creatives behind the scenes knew that they could comment on things—politics, gender, ambition, need, greed, aging, whatever—because they respected their fans enough to know that even though they may not agree with their views, they could at least start a conversation that could lead to more understanding on both sides. But rather than hit viewers over the head with heavy-handed sermons from the bridge, Star Trek has enough wit and wisdom to present its commentary on real life in a witty and often funny context of entertaining, and intriguing, fiction.

In my new book, The Wit and Wisdom of Star Trek, I was tasked with selecting some of the best and most memorable quotes and moments from The Original Series. This assignment is akin to having to choose the most memorable or impactful Shakespearean sonnet or line from Wilde, and one that I did not take lightly. Since many of the same issues faced in the 1960s are still around today, I tried to pick those that were as timeless, and timely, as possible. Whether it’s about life, death, war or prejudice, Star Trek’s characters give voice to issues and various viewpoints. And to balance out the wisdom, as Star Trek does, the quotes included in the book are balanced with, and complemented by, with some of the show’s most-memorable phrases, with, for good measure, some facts and quotes about the show, its stars and its impact.

It was heartbreaking to learn, the day we were to print the book, that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. In today’s world of staged charity, Nimoy’s kindnesses to his co-stars, crew, fans, and yes—even me—are well documented and 100% true. Though it would cost us some production time, we literally stopped the presses, redesigned the book, and included a special dedication to him. I’m enormously proud to have contributed a small part in honoring the man who meant so much to us all.

In the end, it became apparent that Star Trek itself is about wit and wisdom: A not-so-distant future in which Earth-bound petty grievances and apparent differences are put aside and humanity, as a whole, bands together for everyone’s good. I’m pretty sure that every Star Trek fan wishes that we will, eventually, get to that place. In the meantime, I’m hopeful that we’ll follow Star Trek’s lead and, with a little bit of our own wit and wisdom, find ourselves worthy of tomorrow.


Robb Pearlman is an editor, pop culture enthusiast, and the author of Nerd Haiku, 101 Ways to Use a Unicorn, Spoiler Alert and Fun with Kirk and Spock. He has had been a featured panelist at Comic-Cons in San Diego and New York, performed at the Nerdnite Nerdtacular, and has been featured on several pop culture blogs and SiriusXM radio shows.

Visit to order The Wit and Wisdom of StarTrek, which is available now from Cider Mill Press. 

Gene Roddenberry
Star Trek
Robb Pearlman
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