This week on The Inglorious Treksperts podcast, the guys discussed the fan story Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited. That piece, published in the short story compilation Star Trek: The New Voyages in 1976, is a take on an earlier work of fan fiction called Visit to a Weird Planet.
The hosts said they had not read the original work, and I could not let that stand. So here are both of those stories.
Visit to a Weird Planet
Spockanalia was one of the best of the early fanzines. (I own the complete run and I need to write about them one day.) Issue number three was dated September 1, 1968, and included Visit to a Weird Planet, penned by Jean Lorrah (who would go on to write the TOS novels The Vulcan Academy Murders and The IDIC Epidemic and TNG novels Survivors and Metamorphosis) and Willard F. Hunt (a fanfic writer).
The story is subtitled “the inside story behind the antagonism of a certain network toward a certain segment of the population” — so you immediately get an idea of where this is going.
Kirk, Spock and McCoy are transporting up to the Enterprise but they materialize in the transporter set at Desilu, not their starship in space. The trio have a quick discussion and Spock suggests a “multi-parallel space-time inversion” has landed them in “a television studio filming a futuristic space adventure series.” The scene is reminiscent of the sickbay meeting early in Mirror, Mirror.
Kirk invokes the Prime Directive, he and McCoy proceed to learn their lines for the scene being filmed, and the three do their best to blend into the 1960s. I won’t give away more of the plot. You can read it yourself.
The story is very well written and does a good job of portraying a sound stage of the era. The script Kirk is handed is even described as a “sheaf of varicolored pages,” which is a deep-cut reference to the practice of printing revised pages on different coloured paper. The scripts the actors used were, indeed, “varicolored.”
Here is the story. Click through the page images or read or download a PDF of just the text.
Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited
Fan writer and editor Ruth Berman was the editor for the first run of the Inside Star Trek newsletters and, after reading Visit in Spockanalia, she started to wonder about the other end of the premise: what the actors did on the Enterprise. So she wrote that story and it was published in Spockanalia issue 5. However, like the Inglorious Treksperts, I first read the piece in Star Trek: The New Voyages. It too is well written and entertaining.
Click here to listen to the guys talk about it on the podcast, flip through the page images, or read the text or download the PDF.
Both these stories are, of course, Galaxy Quest before there was Galaxy Quest, and they kicked off a whole series of related tales. We also got Visiting a Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited (TNG), Visit to the Weirdest Planet—Earth (Voyager), Visit to a Weird Island (Gilligan’s Island), Visit to a Weird ‘Verse, Re-revisited (Firefly), and others. I’ve read most of those. The original two are the best, although the Gilligan one is also clever.