The One Sci-Fi Image That Started It All For Me

Over the years, people have asked me what got me into science fiction, fantasy, tech, and everything else. It was a singular image I saw in television in 1988 when I was but a child of 8. I was flipping channels, when I came upon a show I had never seen before called Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the episode “Skin of Evil”, the episode in which Tasha Yar had died.

The image that started it all

I caught the tail end of the episode, in which a door had opened from the ship to an open field with a blue sky, and the main characters were filing in to a wake for Tasha, the room being the holodeck, but of course I didn’t know that at the time, since I had never watched a single episode of the series prior to that, nor any science fiction show. I had pretty much limited myself to cartoons, such as He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, the Silverhawks and others that most other kids my age were watching. Granted, “Skin of Evil” wasn’t the best episode of the series, not by any stretch, and probably wouldn’t have been the best episode for a mere lad of 8 to watch, given the subject matter. Also, and this is neither here nor there in the course of this particular post, but it was in the latter part of the first season, which was while The Next Generation was still trying to come out from under the shadow of its predecessor, the original Star Trek, and still very much trying into it’s own, which wouldn’t really happen until the third season. But I digress back to my original point…

Nevertheless, I, in my 8-year old self, was in awe, completely entranced, that a space ship could have something like this open field upon it, and I wanted to learn more about how this could be, so I started watching Star Trek, as well as other science fiction & fantasy shows religiously, because I wanted to see what the possibilities of human imagination were, even as an 8-year old child, and learned about all the advanced technologies on Star Trek. This also set in motion what would eventually be the course of my life in computers, technology, sci fi and fantasy, gaming, and many other things that would come to influence my life in so many ways.

It exposed me to so many rich worlds, like those on Star Trek, as well as those in games, both video games I came to know and love like the Final Fantasy series, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, as well as tabletop and pen & paper games like Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, Mordheim, and so many others I would play with friends on long weekend adventure, where we would have anime, or some random sci-fi movie in the background, all while consuming vast quantities of beer, soda, chips, and pizza, all while discussing many topics, including things like tech, sci fi and fantasy, and everything else in between.

But it all started with that one open door to that green field on that otherwise grey hallway that I saw on television in 1988 while flipping channels by chance that made me want to know more, to wonder what the possibilities were, to think of the limits of human imagination, and to set me on the course for the rest of my life.

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