The Concept Album
So, I was thinking about a thing. That tends to happen when I’m awake, or, like last night, when it’s close to 2 a.m., I know I have to be up at 5:00, and I still can’t sleep. Anyway, as I imagine everyone would in that situation, I was thinking of the Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
I’m not sure where I first came across this collection of concept drawings, but I have the feeling it was well before the time of the Internet. I know it was during my most die-hard period of Star Trek fandom, where I could actually sit through Star Trek: The Motion Picture all the way through without wandering off for snacks or a nap (it’s really long, people). And I know that it was during this time (1990-1992 or so), because I absolutely hated what Ralph had put together.
The Star Trek people knew they wanted to restart the franchise somehow, and they knew they wanted something different. What Ralph gave them was probably (in their minds) a little too different.
As I said, back then, I hated Ralph’s concept art as much as they must have. But nowadays, I wonder… what if they’d gone the other way? What if they’d said “This isn’t out there enough?” What if they’d really gone for it, really pushed the envelope and made something truly weird, something the fanbase definitely wouldn’t have seen coming?
Star Trek might not have been the enduring classic it turned out to be if they’d gone this way… but damn if I wouldn’t have watched the hell out of that movie. Well, now, at least. 1991’s version of me would have recoiled in horror.
So what sci-fi movie or book have you seen that really went for it? That was really out there? And how did that work out?