[Ads-l] Antedating of "Trekkie" for Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Wed Feb 3 07:09:08 EST 2021


The wonderful Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction has 1970 as its first use of the word "Trekkie."  See below for 1969 usage.

Fred Shapiro


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From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2019 7:05 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Antedating of "Trekkie"

The OED's first use for the term "Trekkie" meaning a fan of "Star Trek" is dated 1970.  One or more citations from 1969 are discussed in the following excerpt from the website fanlore.org:


The Awful Offal is a 4-page essay by David Gerrold<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FDavid_Gerrold&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512346196&sdata=UzQp%2BU6ZeEi94mC6PltfksAKZenXEtvd31BZJv%2BnOgs%3D&reserved=0>.

Accompanying it is an illustration of Kirk and Spock created by Jerry Mayes. Another illo, a horribly racist cartoon by Maynes accompanies the essay on the last page. This illo does not appear to be directly related to the essay and is simply embedded random filler.

The essay was printed in the science fiction zine "Trumpet" #9 in 1969. A similar 1968 essay, one by Harlan Ellison<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FHarlan_Ellison&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512346196&sdata=1hJ8Bxo44MMnOjf6dDl9y5mT4rIY6VhAqFP5QoQs%2Bx4%3D&reserved=0>, is The Words in Spock's Mouth<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FThe_Words_in_Spock%2527s_Mouth&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512346196&sdata=0u%2FRDz5XUo4onwBxDd521DtJcyY3p3tbtS%2FA2AjapHI%3D&reserved=0>.

Gerrold's essay starts with the provocative statement that "with the exception of Lord of the Rings<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FLord_of_the_Rings&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512356206&sdata=o1fJMdyu08SBxHl05zJW8UY1jDNvf8FgtGgHpf%2FxtOc%3D&reserved=0>, Star Trek<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FStar_Trek&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512356206&sdata=uU5gQN%2BtVVzloKzJPbhvGMsi4%2F6YrOBkYgfoi9Uzewc%3D&reserved=0> is undoubtedly the worst thing that has ever happened to Science Fiction (note the capitals).... [snipped] But lest, at some future con I be quoted out of context and get punched in the nose, or ostracized, or worse, I now reserve the right to elucidate upon the very definitely opening sentence of this essay."

Gerrold makes much of the differences between "science fiction" and "Science Fiction," and how uneducated, undisciplined fans of Lord of the Rings and Star Trek are ruining almost EVERYTHING.

He also employs the term "trekkees," a very early use of this label. Replies to his essay in the next issue of "Trumpet" spell it "trekkies<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ffanlore.org%2Fwiki%2FTrekkie_(glossary_term&data=02%7C01%7Cfred.shapiro%40yale.edu%7Cdaa64ac08d3a4e5afc4608d687747084%7Cdd8cbebb21394df8b4114e3e87abeb5c%7C0%7C0%7C636845331512356206&sdata=SlEGx8Zh9FfFL3nBwLqlM2hr%2BOAQaT2qMFergJs%2Bic0%3D&reserved=0)>." It is unclear if the spelling Gerrold used was a consistent typo by the editor, or Gerrold's choice of words, and if it was the latter, was the double "ee" used because the term hadn't been standardized, ignorance, or something else?


Fred Shapiro



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