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Author's enterprise boldly explores Trekkie craze
By Melissa Hirschl

April 1, 2006

If your bumper sticker proudly states “My Other Car is the Starship Enterprise”, you may already know Jacqueline Lichtenberg, a Chandler resident whose life has been heavily intertwined with the original iconoclastic Star Trek TV show. The show lasted only three years, but the adventures of Spock, McCoy and Kirk sparked a die-hard following around the world. She is the primary author of the Bantam paperback, “Star Trek Lives!” written in 1975. It is a five year research project on why fans wouldn’t let the phenomenally successful sci-fi show die.

A former chemist, Lichtenberg is a prolific science fiction writer who rockets her readers into worlds landscaped with aliens, intergalactic travel, and even vampires.  She is also the originator of the cult classic Sime~Gen Universe, the fantasy world that is the backdrop for many of her stories. Lichtenberg has written over 20 novels (two of which are award winners), 13 short stores, and two non-fiction books. Her ST “Kraith” universe has been inspiration for many fan-created magazine stories and was read by ST creator Gene Roddenberry.

WN: What was so special about ST?

JL:  “It was a show that totally changed the landscape of television; it was not comedy; it was not for nine-year-olds and it was the first real dramatic science fiction show. That was a tremendous breakthrough. Most of the people who watched it had never read a science fiction novel since ST was aimed at adolescent boys. This was relationship driven fiction, which incidentally is what I write about in my novels.”

WN: How did you become involved with ST?

JL: “I participated in the “Keep Star Trek on the Air” campaign when I was living in Israel, even though I had never watched the show. A good friend, Bjo Trimble convinced me the show was worth saving, and I was enrolled in the quest. I finally watched the show when I returned to the U.S. I ended up pointing at Spock on the television screen and screaming ‘He’s not human!” That was a defining moment for the rest of my life.”

“Eventually I co-wrote the book “Star Trek Lives!” with Sandra Marshak and Joan Winston. This was a non-fiction book of interviews with Gene Roddenberry and various stars of the show. It also compiled information from surveys we sent out to hundreds of ST fans asking them what makes them so committed to the show and why they pursued so many related interests such as conventions and fan fiction writing.”

WN: Tell us about the Kraith universe.

JL: “Kraith picks up at the end of the original ST series; I did eight of the stories and 50 others created the rest. In Kraith, I destroyed the Enterprise, which fans didn’t think was a good idea. I gave Spock a sister as well. Roddenberry, who read the Kraith series, also eventually destroyed the ship and gave Spock a brother. He introduced mysticism to Vulcan culture, even though fans had objected when I did that. Apparently I had learned to think fiction structure just as Roddenberry had.”

WN: What is the major premise of “Star Trek Lives!”?

JL: “The major message is that fans are not bubble-headed children or insane adults. Fans are intelligent people who contribute much to the world. We originally designed the book to have a center section of fan fiction. We wanted to demonstrate that fans can write good science fiction themselves. No science fiction ‘fanzine’ (magazines written by and for fans) had ever done that before. Today there are thousands of fans posting stories on-line.”

WN: Did you anticipate the effect the book would have on fans?\

JL: “Absolutely. That’s why I founded a volunteer organization, Welcommittee to answer fan mail. The organization introduced fans to each other. We got thousands of letters a month from people who thought they were the only ones in the world who watched the show. Conventions soon sprang up all over the country as a result, as well as fan magazines called “fanzines.” 

WN: What impact did the book have on the media?|

JL: “It blew the lid off Star Trek fandom. It made it New York Times material and there were many articles written on it. The second effect was that fans have now picked up other TV shows and write about them too. Instead of having editors, these fan-fiction writers use beta readers to edit their stories, then post them online.”

WN: What exactly is Sime~Gen and what are the basic themes of your stories?

JL: “It’s the universe I invented for my many of my science fiction stories and for other writers as well. I created it to trigger creativity in other people. Sime~Gen’s main theme is that human nature can change and that we need to develop compassion. My books also all have esoteric philosophical underpinnings which I have adapted from various philosophies such as Buddhism, Jewish mysticism, tarot, and astrology.  Sime~Gen now owns which houses a free writing school.”

WN: What was your first book?

JL: “House of Zeor, in which I designed the main character to appeal to Spock fans. It was patterned after ST fan fiction and was in print continually for 21 years. It is now reprinted in Sime~Gen: The Unity Trilogy, three stories I have co-authored with Jean Lorrah, a Professor of English at Murray State University in Kentucky. We were the first female collaborating team in sci-fi history.”

To learn more about Lichtenberg and her corporation Sime~Gen, visit the website where you will find lists, newsletters and websites devoted to sime~Gen professional and fan-written fiction. Lichtenberg’s books can be found on Amazon and in the library. She now has her first e-books, “Molt Brother” and “A City of a Million Legends” at



Photo by David Stone













































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