Destination Star Trek
'Star Trek' continues to live long and prosper - and now London's set to host the biggest convention ever outside the US. Scott Snowden is very excited
For most people, sci-fi conventions such as Destination Star Trek evoke clichéd images of overweight obsessives in T-shirts two sizes too small, blokes who could tell you exactly how to repair a damaged nucleonic tetryon emitter. Yet half the colossal crowd at many conventions is female. And regardless of where you register on the geek gauge, it's impossible to ignore the fact that 'Star Trek' has accumulated a worldwide following like no other TV show or movie in history.
Set phasers to fun
These conventions are mostly held in the USA, but this weekend Trekkies (or 'Trekkers', as some fans prefer) from across Europe will make the pilgrimage to the ExCel Centre in the Docklands for what will be the biggest gathering of 'Star Trek' fans and stars ever outside North America.
'Star Trek' inspires huge affection. Is that logical?
'Star Trek' provides an unusually positive form of pure escapism. Each series has addressed societal issues that actually matter and there's a consistent optimism that mankind will prevail.
Tell me more, Captain
There are more than 40 'Star Trek' stars on the guest list, including, for the first time at a covention anywhere, all five captains from the various TV series: William Shatner, Sir Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula.
What's on the flight log?
As well as an opportunity for fans to meet their favourite stars, watch stunt shows and catch live interviews, conventions are a chance to hang out with likeminded enthusiasts, albeit while standing in line. Queues - for autographs, photos with the stars, even the live talks (the really big gatherings often operate a fluid, one-out-one-in policy) - are very much part of the experience and often become a forum for intense debate on critical issues, such as the controversial destruction of Vulcan. That was a disaster, obviously.
Captain, Klingons on the DLR!
It's not necessary to dress up, but many do arrive in Starfleet uniform or Spock ears.