Lookie what we have here!
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, but apparently the “Ask Dayton” option was once again added to the G and T Show this week. Hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros managed to scrounge together a few minutes during a rather action-packed show, taking them away from their usual discussion about the latest happenings in and around the “Star Trek Universe” in order to devote them to this sad little exercise.
(Never forget: This shit was all their idea. From the jump. 114 of these damned things, and every single one of them is on those three chuckleheads.)
Anyway, what was in the mailbox this time around?
What do you think is on Gene Roddenberry’s floppy disks?
Okie doke, folks. Here’s your chance: cue up all those “You turn my floppy disk into a hard drive” jokes you’ve been saving since the 1980s. Go on, get it out of your system. I’ll wait.
Everybody cool, now? Grab your cigarettes and bask in the afterglow while I get on with answering the question.
A couple of weeks ago, geek circles were abuzz with news that a computer data recovery firm, DriveSavers, had been contracted by Gene Roddenberry’s estate to look into possibly retrieving whatever secrets might be squirreled away on 200 floppy diskettes that once belonged to the renowned Star Trek creator. 200 floppy diskettes! For all we know, the Great Bird of the Galaxy might well have been hoarding a heretofore undiscovered prototype copy of Windows or HALO.
Nah, probably not.
Though finding hardware to read such an antiquated storage medium is pretty tough for regular everyday folks, the gang at DriveSavers is pretty savvy, and this sort of thing was right in their wheelhouse. According to various articles I read, the group was successful in prying the data from the cold, dead claws of those ancient coasters. However, as DriveSavers was bound by a confidentiality agreement, they couldn’t tell the rest of us spectators just what had been retrieved. So far, the Roddenberry estate hasn’t shared anything, either. No doubt they’re sifting through the archives and deciding what’s private and what might be appropriate for sharing with the masses.
Therefore, we’re just going to have to speculate, aren’t we?
Now me? I figure a lot of the material is likely stored correspondence, like early versions of email or other documents Mr. Roddenberry would’ve first composed electronically before printing it and having it distributed to staff and whoever else. I’m sure a lot of it is pretty mundane, but given the time period the disks were used, there might be some pretty cool memos and whatnot pertaining to—for example—the early development of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We could be talking about stuff that has yet to be chronicled in any sort of “Making Of” book or documentary. That alone might make the whole effort worth the trouble of retrieving data from all those disks.
What else might there be? Early drafts of an outline or chapters from The God Thing, the Star Trek novel Mr. Roddenberry was supposedly writing way back when, but for which nothing has seen the light of day beyond a very small circle of people? If you don’t think I’d love to get a call one day from somebody wanting to hire me to take all of those notes and make an attempt at finishing it, you’re insane.
Part of me is hoping there might be a draft of a never-completed and never dispatched reply to a fan letter I wrote him in 1977, but I’m not holding my breath.
How about this? What if there’s a contract he was drafting to put out a hit on George Lucas? Oh, relax. It’s a joke, people!
What if there’s a half-completed Star Trek script in there, somewhere, focusing on the legendary Garth of Izar and the Battle of Axanar? Hold on…who am I kidding? Who would want to watch that?
I’d love to think there might be notes and other stuff pertaining to ideas for new television shows he may have been trying to develop. We all know he attempted to do just that in the 1970s before his return to Star Trek, and I admit to having a soft spot for some of those efforts, flawed though they may have been. And let’s not forget that a couple of series actually were developed from his initial concepts, like Earth: Final Conflict and Andromeda. Personally, I’ve often wondered if one of the early ideas he was thinking of dusting off might be a new take on Assignment: Earth, the series he had devised in 1968 before making it a Star Trek episode. A new version of that, without the Star Trek connection, is something I’ve always been surprised has never happened.
Lastly, anybody want to take bets on whether they find a stash of his favorite Kirk/Spock slash fanfic? Come on, that’d be pretty damned epic, amirite?
Come on, Roddenberry estate! Don’t keep us waiting like this!
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #221 on January 24th, 2016. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The G and T Show. Listeners are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
As always, thanks to Nick, Terry and Mike for making me a part of their show.