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In 1966, a new science-fiction TV series made its debut on American television. Star Trek, as it was called, was an immense flop, and after barely escaping cancellation at the end of its second season, it finally ended in 1969.

Now for some inexplicable reason, after this ratings failure vanished from NBC's airwaves it became massively popular, spawning a cult of dedicated followers who, for reasons best known to themselves, were dubbed 'Trekkies'.

Throughout the '70s, the 'Trekkies' campaigned for Star Trek's return, eventually succeeding in 1979 when the movie Star Trek - The Motion Picture was released. This was followed by a series of successful sequels, and in 1987 a spin-off series called Star Trek - The Next Generation regenerated interest in the series.

By this time, it had been widely accepted that fans of Star Trek or 'Trekkies' were, in fact, enthusiastic re-enacters. They gained a reputation for wearing plastic ears, dressing in their pyjamas, and carrying toy guns. Anything to which they expressed mild disdain was labelled as 'illogical'1, and stickers like I Grok Spock and This vehicle travels at Warp Speed, were increasingly found in the rear window of cars.

So through the '90s, fans of Star Trek and its spin-offs coined a new term to describe themselves. Distinguished from the 'Trekkie' by not possessing their negative and socially ostracizing attributes, the 'Trekker' was born.

Sadly, they fooled no-one and they proved themselves to not only be exactly the same as 'Trekkies' (by similarly wearing pyjamas and carrying toy guns, only this time with latex foreheads) but also pedantic by whining and complaining that they were, in fact, a 'Trekker', not a 'Trekkie'.

1The phrase coined by the Vulcan Mr Spock who did not display his emotions.

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