Shuttle Pod: The Podcast Episode 17 – Larry Nemecek Talks Trek’s Past, Present, and Future

This week, the Shuttle Pod crew sits down with Larry “Dr. Trek” Nemecek to talk about Star Trek history, what Trek means today, and what the future of the franchise holds.

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Larry Nemecek is possibly most well known for his creation of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, has provided a wealth of material to the knowledge base of the Star Trek universe, particularly during the pre-Internet (read: pre-Memory Alpha) days, when Larry’s guide books were the only go to reference source you needed on your bookshelf.

On this episode, Larry talks about how he came into a life where Star Trek is his job. What was it like to write the first Star Trek Companion book?

We also asked him what he thinks about upcoming Star Trek Beyond and, perhaps more in Larry’s wheelhouse, how he feels about CBS’s new Star Trek television series, Star Trek All Access.

Finally, Larry gave us an insiders look into his Portal 47 deep dive fan experience. “It’s like a mini-con all year long—beamed right to your own center seat! Wherever that may be.” For $25/month, Portal 47 gives you all-new backstage access via a monthly package of Larry’s own insider archives, memories, and Trek show contacts whose voices and tales you’ve likely never heard before—topped by a couple of live Telebriefings each month online, and live Portal events at cons and in LA.


You can get more from Larry at his official website, Enterprise in Space, twitter, and at Larry Nemecek’s Trekland , Con of Wrath, Portal 47, and Trekland Trunk on facebook.

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$25 a month for his private streaming service that provides news to the fans?


Oh, that’s rich. Well, it would be for HIM!

Yeah no, gotta agree Harry.
I’ve gladly bought a lot of what Nemecek has sold over the years, the latest being his beautiful Stellar Cartargraphy Reference Maps. But I just can’t imagine paying $25/mo for Trek news, or even 1/5 that amount really.

I do intend to go ‘all access’ with the new Trek show though.

Dude, did you listen to the podcast? Portal 47 is a lot more than a news site.

Ummm, it’s not a “news site” at all. ;-) #pioneeringishard

I heard it was a news site. Any comment? **emergency beam out**

i find it funny how people are complaining about the subscription when there isn’t any feedback on it.

Hmmm…I don’t know Harry, crazydaystrom, and CmdrR. I certainly understand why what Larry’s offering might not appeal to some as you note. I mean access to 20+ years of behind the scenes of Trek contacts? I suspect I still have model glue residue lurking under my fingernails from building AMT Enterprises older than twice that. But I can see that he might be able to offer this access to a younger set of fans and make a go of it for that generation as their Trek version of Ralph Story or Huell Howser documenting its past and present so that generations of Trek fans to come will know where they and it are going as the benefit from seeing from whence it came.

We may entertain doubts about whether this concept has a sustainable market, but I do note that my local non-profit TV station, KCET, regularly employs the aforementioned products of the deceased Messrs. Story and Howser to encourage monthly subscriptions on par with what Nemecek’s asking – so, I think he’s got a shot.

And what’s the worst that could happen? To salvage a failed effort, he ends up putting together Larry Nemecek’s STAR TREK’S GOLD segments that he can license to PBS stations across the nation? Come to think of it; I’ve been watching CBS’ OTA DECADES channel and such segments would fit right in when they air various TREK episodes there.

As a total side-comment, I do enjoy Things That Aren’t Here Anymore.

Thanks… I think. Don’t see where “generation” is relevant either way, old or young. The point is TO go beyond “same-o same-o”; there is a lot of repetition out there, while so much is still going unarchived, unseen, unheard. And the guests in the “live” part of the Portal, who both created Trek themsevles and knew those no longer here to speak for themselves, aren’t getting younger. Neither is the assumption that anything “old” has nothing to offer on a new perspective for what’s coming.

As we say, Portal 47’s not for everyone.

Larry Nemecek,

In reply to your comment uniquely iidentified by the following URL:

You are welcome. It was not my intent to give the appearance of a backhanded complement, only a nod to the current economic model that supposedly says no one’s going to get rich off of us Trek OFs because it just takes too much work to impress us.

For example, I entered my teenhood while watching Trek’s first airings on NBC. I’ve been toe to toe on the convention floor with the likes of Gene, Majel and Bjo. Not namedropping, and I definitely don’t want to oversell those experiences — I mean the only one of those 3 that a had anything that would pass for conversation with was Bjo and while I am eternally grateful to her for those talks, I think her motivation was primarily because she pegged me right off as what people would probably now call a shy sensitive “Sheldon Cooper” type attending his first convention which she and her husband were throwing, and she wanted to make sure I had a good time and got my price of admission’s worth out of the experience.

BTW, I did.

My point was we of history’s first wave of Trek fandom have some extremely palpable and visceral moments committed to memory from those times. You have a tough row to hoe in trying to put something together that can compete with that. Not that I want to discourage you, only acknowledge why some are extremely doubtful.

I think Trek could definitely benefit from a resident Howser/Story digging around in its history and I encourage you to review their works to get an idea of how to present it in an entertaining and fun manner, and I wish you luck.

63 minutes and 47 seconds, hmmm..


47 minutes and (almost) 47 seconds into the interview she asks him about Portal 47.

You can’t make this stuff up …

I’d rather get another Ginsu or Chia Pet.

I like Larry Nemecek. He is a scholar and a gentleman.

And you, sir, are way overdue for another sit-down with me. Later in the year, perhaps.

I listed to the first ten minutes of the cast, and Mr. Nemecek and I had the same limited ‘tools’ of Trek fandom back in the 1970s (Tech Manual, Blueprints, “Making Of,” etc.). In New York , we briefly had the “Federation Trading Post” retail shop on East 51st Street, so it was like going to a convention every time you walked in (barrels of tribbles, model ships, books, LP records, blueprints, etc.). I just can’t see that level of ‘deep-dive’ fandom being valid for Trek anymore because the property has ‘officially’ stagnated. We can’t really get too involved in the universe JJ created because it exists strictly for the new films (in which we all, let’s face it, have limited interest beyond getting a ‘taste’ of Trek every few years), and the show was cancelled (again) over a decade ago. Star Wars keeps chugging along and has a well-oiled (by Disney) machine for the hardcore and casual fans, whereas Trek has no new material, and no such machine. The fans are also getting old, and getting the younger generation to enjoy Trek is difficult with lack of content aimed at younger people, or anyone, for that matter. Hopefully the new show will reawaken all of this. Good luck to Mr. Nemecek in the Brave New World of hardcore fandom.

Oh, there’s still plenty unknown Trek to excavate–old AND new. We’ve found some TOS crew (!!) still out there to talk to the Portalfolk.

@Larry Nemecek: It seems that Marc Cushman pretty much covered all the TOS folks (including most of the guest stars) in his research for the ‘These Are the Voyages’ volumes. Have you found some folks that he wasn’t able to interview?

Honestly (and admittedly, I’m still in the middle of listening to the podcast), my issue isn’t with paying $6 a month on it’s own. Even when combined with my Netflix subscription and stuff that’s fine. BUT I’m not completely against it, but I’m at least UNEASY about the idea of paying $6 a month to watch this show WITH COMMERCIALS. In addition to that, I have no idea what to expect from the new show. I have concerns about paying $6 a month, with commercials, and possibly getting (for example) something on par with Season 1 of Enterprise or Season 1 of TNG (which were both, to put it kindly, less than stellar).

Good point, re: fee+commercials. Let’s see how this shakes out, and what the market really does tell CBS AA. But Star Trek as a core production, with a known potential future worth and quantity unlike anything to be made now outside Wars and Who, rises above all that. CBS AA has made bold choices so far re: the actual show.

Enjoyed the Podcast Larry. Also enjoyed the DVD commentary you did for STTUC with Ira Steven Behr. Some comedy gold there my friend lol.

This was a pain to listen to without headphones. It’s like they’re talking into the mic sometimes and then maybe as a reflex, turning their head to each other to talk. I’ve done it before when sitting in on a friend’s pod but it really creates this bad up and down in volume for listeners. I’ll have to listen later when I can pop in earbuds or something.

Love the Tech manual. My buddy and I laughed out loud at details like the “photon emitter” on a phaser. (aka a lightbulb.) Anyway, mine is still with me, including an autograph in the Engineering section by James Doohan.


When a newly elected legislator in my state took office (c. 1989), his staff was horrified at the level of technology used in the state capitol. The newspaper quoted one of his aides as saying they found the technology to be “the equivalent of stone knives and bearskins.”