Out of the closet, into the universe

"2,4,6,8. How do we know that Kirk is straight?" is the battle- cry for a new breed of SF fans, the Gaylaxians, who in America have unsuccesfully lobbied Star Trek's producers over recent years for gay characters to be introduced to the series.

This, and other revelations, appear in Science Fiction Fans (published this week by Routledge), a study of Doctor Who and Star Trek addicts. The Gaylaxians claim that Kirk and Spock's relationship was closer than we were ever told: Kirk really did go where no man had gone before. And according to the book, some fans in the States have taken to publishing their own explicit accounts of Kirk and Spock's relationship although, bizarrely, the authors turn out largely to be heterosexual women.

However such lobbying seems set to be in vain. For all its protestations at reflecting contemporary society, Star Trek has always been entrenched in the conservative moral values of the early Sixties. There are good guys and bad guys; the good guys win but not before learning a folksy home truth about themselves. That has been the keystone of Star Trek's international success for 30 years, even up to Deep Space Nine (5pm, 10pm Sky One). It is unlikely that the producers will endanger foreign sales to less liberal countries by tampering with it now.

Which means that Kirk and Spock won't be holding hands on the bridge, for the time being, anyway. And here we were thinking it was just the Enterprise that could be warped.