While the Pastimescapes blog continues to be on an indefinite hiatus, I feel I should take a few moments as a lifelong Star Trek fan to capture a few thoughts on Leonard Nimoy, who passed away on Friday at the age of 83.
The night he died, I decided to watch Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as a personal tribute. Directed by Nimoy, it is my favorite of his body of work. Besides, I needed the good humor and fun of The Voyage Home on such a sad day. In many ways, the 1986 film really is perfect. It made Star Trek more accessible to a wider audience.
Thanks to my brother, I was fortunate enough to see Star Trek IV in the theater back then. I was in sixth grade, and the movie left quite an impression on me.
Though I practically grew up watching Star Trek reruns, Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the movie that really started the obsession for me. I remember combing all of the public libraries I had access to at that point in order to read everything I could find on Star Trek, especially how the show and movies were made.
At one of those libraries, I discovered Nimoy’s first autobiography, I Am Not Spock (1975). Somewhere around here, I used to have a battered copy of its sequel, I Am Spock (1995). Neither takes a conventional approach, and both books offer some insight into the man behind the character.
I actually watched Star Trek IV twice the night Nimoy died. After it ended the first time, I started it again, this time with a commentary track by Nimoy and William Shatner playing. Fortunately, their commentaries were recorded at the same time, so the effect is as if you are watching one of the best Star Trek films alongside the two legends.
The rest of the weekend, I watched a half-dozen Star Trek episodes, including “Amok Time” – perhaps the best of the Spock-centric episodes. I did not know him personally. I never even met him. But as a fan, there is still a loss, and watching Star Trek seemed the best way to acknowledge that loss to me.
“‘It’s a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done before; a far better resting place I go to than I have ever known.'” –Kirk contemplates the loss of Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (paraphrasing Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)