Nichelle Nichols is known to many as Star Trek’s Lt Uhura. But the actress singer extraordinaire is a lady who wears many hats and has a great many strings to her bow. Before she boldly went where no woman had gone before, as Leutenant Uhura of ‘Star Trek’, Nichols was and still is is an accomplished Singer and Dancer and has done a great many things with her life after Star Trek. She still sings and records her music for her strong following of fans. Nichelle has just recently completed work on her second fictional Novel ‘Saturna’s Quest’ which was co written by her friend Jim Meechan. ‘Saturna’s Quest’ is the sequel to ‘Saturn’s Child’ and Nichols was happy to give Sci Fi Pulse some valuable insights into Saturna’s new adventures.
“As you know, SATURN’S CHILD was the first book of a trilogy on the Adventures of Saturna. SATURNA’S QUEST is the second. A short synopsis follows:
Nichelle Nichols continues her captivating trilogy of ‘The Adventures of Saturna’ with this sequel to her highly acclaimed sci-fi novel, ‘Saturn’s Child.’ With ‘Saturna’s Quest,’ takes her readers on a literary roller coaster that will keep them turning pages to the end.
Having discovered her father is Tetrok, the newly crowned Ruler of Planet Fazis, Saturna sets out to meet the Earthian woman, Dr. Nyota Domonique, now Governor of Mars, who is about to learn she is Saturna’s mother. Recovering from this news, Nyota, with an official invitation from Earth, takes Saturna and her ever-present loveable “familiars,” Catlyke and Mushii, on a grand tour of the beautiful Blue Planet. Saturna captures the hearts of all as she travels Earth and the Moon Colony; the reader is given a futuristic glimpse into the marvels of the 22nd century.
However, the dreaded secret surrounding Saturna’s birth, which violated the laws of Fazis and Earth, hangs ominously over the lives of her and her parents like a dark cloud.
The story is replete with subplots, the most unique being a growing relationship between Saturna and the powerful Isidros, leader of the Gregorian Empire located in the far reaches of the Galaxy. Through Imagination Communication, a highly advanced and sophisticated form of out-of-body time travel, they have developed and guarded their secret relationship for years.
Meanwhile, Valton, Tetrok’s cousin and archenemy, uncovers the secret of Saturna’s birth. His devious scheme of exposure threatens to initiate interplanetary conflict, while destroying Tetrok once and for all, and ensuring his own ascension to the Ruler ship of Fazis at last.
With her Co-author, Jim Meechan, Nichols has created a gripping saga of adventurous intrigue and engagingly memorable characters. ‘Saturna’s Quest,’ with an even more unique and dramatic cliffhanger ending than ‘Saturn’s Child,’ will once again leave the reader asking the question…”When is the sequel coming!”
“Saturna’s Quest” will be out Feb 22…your readers can get a copy at www. Uhura.com.”
The character of Saturna is somewhat based on Nichelles childhood as the Actress turned writer explains, “ Saturna was a figment of my childhood imagination and so I suppose you could say that she was my alter ego, and that I lived vicariously through this mystical, magical being (me/her?) from another world. Consequently, through her, I could “become” anything and anyone I wanted to be. I infused in Saturna all the characteristics my young mind imagined her to need, which were all that I understood from the teachings of my mother and father.”
A great many fans have enjoyed performances by Nichelle when she has sung at the great many ‘Star Trek’ Conventions. So I asked Nichelle about her music and whether or not she had any plans to sing again in the near future.
“Funny you should ask…to coin a phrase, I have continued my musical career in several ways, through records, tape and CDs. Shortly after my star was installed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, we opened my one-woman show, ‘REFLECTIONS’, at the Westwood Playhouse in LA. It received exceptional reviews and we took it to Toronto for a two-month run and the Canadians loved it. I was the guest solo artist for the 80th anniversary concert of the Erie Pennsylvania Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; last fall I sang in concert with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (they had just finished a tour ending in Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall); and I have been known to break out a cappella with a song or two at Star Trek Cons. Later this year, we plan to remount ‘REFLECTIONS’ for a limited run. A high quality video tape and maybe a DVD will be made available following the run in response to the many requests I’ve had from fans. We will also have a CD of the sound track. Many of my book tour stops are being coordinated with future Star Trek and Sci-fi conventions this year.”
For the most up to date information on Nichelle convention appearances click here .
Just recently Nichelle completed working on the Disney Movie ‘Snow Dogs’ in which she shared the screen with the talented Academy award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Overall Nichelle found this a positive experience, “I can’t say enough about the pleasure it was being in ‘SNOW DOGS’ playing Cuba’s mom. I’d welcome the opportunity to work with the wonderfully talented artists and crew in that show anytime.”
Getting back to writing fiction and the pending release of ‘Saturna’s Quest’ I asked Nichelle what she thinks the appeal of writing is to her. “I don’t think there is an “appeal” that makes a writer want to write. There is, however, an irresistible impulsion, which consumes the mind until its given voice by the writer. The process is at once excruciating agony and ecstatic joy.”
On June 11th this year Nichelle will receive the great honor of being inducted as an Honorary Member of the ‘Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’. Nichelle explained a little about what this means to her. “I’m deeply honored to have been invited to join the extraordinary roster of Honorary Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. They continue to do commendable charitable works since AKA was first founded in 1908.” As a member Nichelle will be sharing a place with such luminaries as Marion Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks, among many others.
A lot of people that haven’t read Nichelle’s Autobiography ‘Beyond Uhura’ or have never met Nichelle will not know of the massive contribution, which she made to the American Space Program. Nichelle was instrumental in getting more minority groups to sign up for the space program as she explains, “In 1976-77, I embarked on one of the most challenging undertakings of my life and career. Under contract to NASA, I took off a year from my career, and through my company, Women in Motion, I identified and recruited the first women and minority astronauts for the Space Shuttle Program. After traveling across America speaking at professional organizations, universities, aerospace industries, and even testifying before Congress, the result of this endeavor was so successful; NASA raised its entry quota from twenty to thirty new recruits in order to accommodate the high quality of applicants I had reached. Instead of one Caucasian woman or one minority, NASA chose six women, three African-American men, one Japanese-American man, and I believe one Native American man. In 1984, I received NASA’s highest civilian award, the coveted Distinguished Service Award. In 1987, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American female Astronaut. She flew her first flight aboard the Endeavor in 1992 and opened each of her shifts with “Hailing Frequencies Open.” She later gifted me with her aqua Land’s End knit sweater, bedecked with her Shuttle patch sewn on, when she was my guest on the “Inside Space” TV show which I hosted for the Sci-Fi Channel in l993. We’ve remained dear friends and occasionally she stays at my home when she is in LA. If you’ve had the chance to read her book, “Find Where The Wind Blows,” you know what an extraordinary and delightful woman she is.”
As fans will know ‘Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country’ was Nichelles final appearance as her famous alter ego Lt Uhura. The Actress was kind enough to share some of her memories of this with me. “The sixth and last of the Star Trek motion pictures was “The Undiscovered Country.” It was one of my three favorites-those being ST-II, IV and VI…number IV-“There be whales, Captain”-being my number one all time favorite. I’ve always felt that if there were to be no more major motion pictures of the Star Trek “First Family,” it definitely should end with “Country”, ergo I have no regrets…sniff…sniff.”
Nichols also shared her memories of the late great Gene Roddenberry and the late Deforest Kelly AKA Dr Bones McCoy, “De Kelly was a sweet man, a fine gentleman, and a great friend. He is sorely missed. Gene was a genius and a creative giant whose shoes have not yet been filled in the Star Trek universe.”
So what about Enterprise and the possabillity of a guest role? Nichelle commented on the new show, “I have not seen the new series. If a script were offered with a high quality role-whether Uhura or not-I, as a working actor, would be interested.”
My final question for Nichelle was if she had ever considered writing a novel for Pocket Books about her Star Trek alter Ego Lt Uhura. “No, but I’ve enjoyed “Tears of the Singer” and “Uhura’s Song”, both with “lovely” stories of Uhura. Now if they only made movies like… well, we can hope, what?”
For further information about Nichelle Nichols pending projects you can find out by visiting her web site at www.uhura.com. For information and appearance dates of Nichelles Pending book tour you can find out if one will be in your area by clicking here.
I would like to thank Nichelle publicly for allowing me to interview her for this piece. I would also like to thank Nichelles Co Author Jim Meechan for being such a gentleman and helping me through the process. I wish Nichelle and Jim all the luck and good fortune in the world with the pending release of ‘Saturna’s Quest’. In regards to a possible movie starring Nichelles famous alter ego of Uhura or even a Telemovie of her novels, I for one would certainly not object.
Finally I would like to thank all those that come visit my site everyday and make these things possible.
By Ian M. Cullen