This Entertainment Weekly article about a recent backlash by Star Trek fans against Into Darkness gave me a lot to think about. On one hand it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in struggling with the new vs old versions. On the other it’s a little disturbing that it means so much to so many of us.

Yes, us.

I am one of those strange creatures with the ability to quote Shakespeare, adore Virginia Woolf’s fiction, write poetry, and all the while carry around a near encyclopedic mental database of all things Star Trek. I came at it sideways, picking up a Next Generation novel on a whim and getting hooked. The thing about Star Trek novels is that they’re not the sweet little Mary Sues or hurt/comfort shoulder patting in space that scoffers think they know about. The crew and relationships are deeper delving than hour long TV episodes allow room for, and the science is, in my opinion, far from the pseudo variety.

In fact, many of the 200 plus Star Trek novels I’ve read have been some of the most challenging reading of my life. Some of it is written by actual scientists, some by knowledgeable laymen, and some by people with the kind of imagination that lends itself to believable scientific adventure. We’re starting to see more and more of the extrapolated science from all the way back to the TOS days of primitive FX and a super franchise in the making finding its feet. Extrapolation that was extrapolated further in the novels. Set that kind of writing down into the middle of the established Star Trek universe and you have books that both entertain and educate. Are they all wonderful? No. But a surprising number actually are.

So then I moved on into the Star Trek televised alphabet, TOS, TNG, DS9 and on to the single word series–Voyager and Enterprise. That lineup is not only chronological, but also lists my favorites in descending order. I loved all the movies to varying extents.

Then along came the reboot. I was thrilled at the prospect of new Star Trek. And equally wary of Star Trek that new. Intellectually, I understand the need to move some dusty franchises into the 21st century. It makes sense as far as demographics and box office potential are concerned. It even has a lot of merit creatively. However, it’s difficult to move fans who have been deeply dug into a decades long franchise on to what feels at times like a betrayal of trust.

The big reboot movie had a lot going for it. It takes advantage of state of the art FX technology to look amazing. It gives us an acceptable new younger version of the old crew, particularly in Zachary Quinto’s Spock and Karl Urban’s delightful channeling of DeForest Kelley’s Bones. I really did enjoy it. It was just unfortunate that Vulcan is my favorite alien world and Amanda my favorite peripheral character.

The pain!

It’s also unfortunate that although I fully understand that Nero’s actions split the timeline, my other timeline loving brain just will not stop trying to analyze the two (while I watch the movies), make them fit like the pieces of one puzzle, and long for the “real” timeline that is, at least for the foreseeable future, lost to us. Except for poor original Spock, who is now part of the other reality.

That’s my problem right there. The reboot, even though it’s the one we “visit” now, is still the other reality to me, while Admiral Sulu carries out deep space missions and Ambassador Spock may visit his father on the Vulcan where he undertook Kolinahr and carries fond memories of his mother’s life well into her old age…in the real reality.

I actually thought I had a handle on it, but when I watched Into Darkness, fully prepared for the other reality, there went my brain again, trying to force it to be what I love. It is not. What it is is a whole nother Star Trek, with delusions of original magic. I miss the Star Trek where Kirk doesn’t defy the prime directive, however noble the cause. Where he doesn’t indulge in threesomes…onscreen anyway. And above all where the  beautifully stoic Spock who is my favorite Star Trek character is not in an everyman romantic relationship.

And there we have the saving grace of the whole Trek-we-know vs reboot thing. Just because there are new movies and their accompanying offshoots about a new timeline it doesn’t mean we have to give anything up. It’s all still there. All the TV, movies, novels, and games set in the original timeline didn’t disappear when the new one formed. The timelines now run on parallel tracks. One a wagon train to the stars, the other a bullet train to distant worlds.

I’ll eventually get my brain to settle down and watch reboot movies for what they are, and not what they might have been. In the meantime I intend to embrace boot up and reboot as equally as I can. I’d rather wrestle with Star Trek’s split personality than have no Star Trek at all.