Astrogator's Logs

New Words, New Worlds
Artist, Heather Oliver             

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Spock's Farewell

Leonard Nimoy was much more than Spock, though that alone left an enormous cultural footprint beyond just SFF.

By now, the figure of Spock is solidly embedded in contemporary mythology. Because of the multi-leveled conflicts and dilemmas intersecting on Spock and my own interests and experiences, the character, his backstory and his culture have been an integral part of my mental map. They served as a mirror that allowed playful, hopeful imaginative extrapolations in a universe that recognized individual and collective good.

Farewell, astrogator, supporter of tikkun olam and shekhinah. The light in our courtyard has grown dimmer by your departure.

10 Responses to “Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015”

  1. Christopher Phoenix says:

    I didn’t know Leonard Nimoy had just left this life until I saw your post… he will be sorely missed!! Mr. Spock is possibly my favorite character from the original Star Trek, and an integral part of my mental universe as well. I think lone wolves everywhere see a bit of themselves mirrored in Mr. Spock.

    Farewell, Mr. Nimoy, we won’t forget you or the wonderful character you brought to life. Wherever you are now, may the light always shine bright for you.

  2. Zarpaulus says:

    A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
    Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) 1:36 AM – 23 Feb 2015

  3. Athena says:

    Nimoy grew up in Boston’s West End, an ethnically mixed blue-collar neighborhood (since then bulldozed away to make space for such things as the Mass General Hospital mega-complex). So he knew hardship and he never became complacent about inequities. I saw him live in a one-man play, Letters to Theo (a dramatization of Vicent van Gogh’s letters to his brother). He was very good.

  4. Kathryn says:

    I start to say he was one of us, but I was a very small child when I first encountered the character of Spock, as portrayed by Mr. Nimoy. I was three years old the first time I saw him on my mother’s tv screen. She was an avid sff fan, an early subscriber to Fantastic Worlds and Issac Asimov mags. The Prydain Chronicles, Titus Groan and Dune were the books that taught me to read, but Spock taught me that you can live with feeling inherently Other, that the internal conflict of reason and emotion is a lonely thing but must be borne because there is light on the other side, that true love, whatever its form, is reasonable and emotional – one without the other is false and fleeting. He had pathos and dignity, love and despair, he was greater than many but compassionate to all, so as I write this I realize that as a child, I knew that I was one of him. Thank you, Mr. Nimoy for your art and the muse that created Spock through you, that’s a talent.

  5. Athena says:

    When I came to the US, TOS was already in syndication. There was a single TV set in my dorm’s basement, and people would quarrel over all the time slots except that of Star Trek. On that, there was complete consensus. And Spock was always a beacon and a magnet to those of us walking between cultures.

    Your mother sounds like a wonderful person, Kathryn.

  6. Walden2 says:

    It hit me how deep the character of Spock was compared to every other main character on the original series. Think about it: We met his parents, we know his childhood, we met his betrothed and one other relationship, and we even knew he had a pet. All of this is found in the aired television series, not just the novels or any other sources.

    All the other main characters together don’t have Spock’s level of backstory. Nowadays even minor characters in SF get whole histories as if they were living persons (I’m looking at you Star Wars). Just an observation I wanted to make which added to Spock’s popularity, along with the fact that he was a sympathetic yet very strong character. Everyone else on the Enterprise was the best in their field yet had seemingly few weaknesses in comparison. No wonder that the most alien person on the starship was ironically the most relatable.

    And of course while it was not without some noticeable flaws, Star Trek was a pioneer in bringing up social issues, Spock’s interspecies background being a big part of that.

    My apologies to all of you reading this for which what I wrote is terribly obvious.

  7. Athena says:

    I’d argue that Worf is given almost as much backstory as Spock, including the fact that he marries Jadzia Dax (a death sentence for her, as we all know from TV tropes). But Spock’s character did blaze that path and he got the most in-depth treatment if only by longevity.

  8. Walden2 says:

    I agree about Worf, I was just sticking with the original series from 1966 to 1969. I could even add the Animated series from 1973-74, as the episode Yesteryear was as good as anything done in the original.

    As for Spock having the most background due to longevity, I think it was largely due to his amount of screen time due to his popularity. Even when the writers had a chance to give the other main characters more back story, such as McCoy having a daughter, they changed it in the Space Hippies episode where the character became Chekov’s old flame.

    Ironically, even when you add in all the subsequent series and films, we still don’t know as much about characters like Uhura and Sulu, except for things like Sulu was born in San Francisco. We didn’t even get his official first name until Star Trek 6.

  9. Walden2 says:

    Even Kirk: We know he had a brother who died with most of his family, we know about his numerous old flames (some more than others), and we know of several instructors he had from Starfleet Academy – who all seemed to go off the deep end. :^)

    We didn’t even learn his middle name of Tiberius until the Animated series.

  10. Athena says:

    Agreed. I personally would have liked to hear more about the rest of the regulars. The more we know, the more we care (DS9 did best in that regard).