Isaac Asimov wrote a scathing opinion of Star Trek V story

US science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992). (Photo by M Stroud/Getty Images)
US science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992). (Photo by M Stroud/Getty Images) /

Isaac Asimov wasn’t a fan of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

In 1987 when plans were underway for the next Star Trek movie, this time directed by William Shatner, Gene Roddenberry discovered that he had not been consulted about the script. In a June 3, 1987 memo shared by Mission Log Podcast, Roddenberry was quite stern with Shatner when he expressed his objections to the overall concept of the film. He followed that up with a June 18th memo to Isaac Asimov where he enclosed a confidential story outline and sought Asimov’s advice.

On June 27th, Asimov offered a brief opinion on the outline, saying that if the picture were made, it would displease everyone. That was followed with a July 14th letter where he provided Roddenberry with a more detailed opinion, upon Roddenberry’s request.

Isaac Asimov said there was a lack of scientific intelligence in the movie

A prolific writer, well-respected in the science fiction genre, Asimov held nothing back when he responded to Roddenberry’s need for input.

"“To bring in a charismatic preacher who seems to be all-powerful and ends up being ludicriously wrong is going to move the more educated and sophisticated end of the audience to embarrassed laughter.”"

Asimov pointed out that the audience would be puzzled as to how Spock, who was so intelligent and rational, could be swayed by this same charismatic preacher. He went on to say that many people would be horrified and puzzled as to why Star Trek should “meddle” with such things that would offend everyone.

He also took issue with what he considered the “lack of scientific intelligence” in the movie that is “wholly foreign to Star Trek.”

"“There seems to be no clear distinction between the Galaxy and the Universe, which is roughly equivalent to seeing no distinction between Wichita, Kansas and the planet Earth.”"

Asimov summarized his thoughts by saying that he considered the treatment (story outline) “an out and out disaster.” This was, most likely, what Roddenberry suspected the writer would say which is one of the reasons he sought his input even though it did little to change the storyline of the movie.

The entire letter is available to be read at Mission Log Podcast as is the chain of correspondence that began with Roddenberry’s memo to William Shatner.

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