We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honoured dead. And yet it should be noted that in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect, to nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.
– Captain Kirk. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Earlier today, Leonard Nimoy passed away. He was 83 years old.
The loss comes as a huge hit to myself and so many of my friends. Twitter has slowed to a standstill and only an occasional tweet mourning his passing appears in my timeline. I expect they’re also crying and taking a break from the Internet, thinking back to the relationship they had to the actor. I know I did when I first heard, only pausing for a second to smile over the irony that I was crying over having lost Mr. Spock.
Rarely has a single person been such an icon to span generations of geek culture. By appearing in 80 episodes of a TV series and a handful of movies, it feels like he has single-handedly shaped geek culture for eternity. I’ve read his last tweet over and over again, wondering if it was his way of saying good bye. I think it was.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
I grew up loving Star Trek, and I think it is probably amongst the five most influential things ever to have appeared in my life. It shaped so much of my love of science fiction and fantasy and gave me the belief that humanity could one day blossom into a species where things like race, money, strife and crass xenophobia was a thing of the past. I couldn’t express it in those words at the time, of course, but that’s what it all boiled down to.
The Starship Enterprise, NCC-1701, was a ship filled with human beings, all with their own unique traits and attributes, strengths and foibles, but there was one person on board who was set apart from the rest, the one alien recluse on a ship of emotional humans. Spock, the green-blooded, half-Vulcan, logical, stoic, intelligent first officer was a breath of fresh air in a field of science fiction that had grown stale and stagnant with tales of robots and ray guns. Here was a creature so alien, yet so human; one that all pre-pubescent nerds like myself could understand and relate to. Despite his logical exterior and calm, we all loved him and saw in him the most interesting struggle that a person can undergo – a search for identity. He was trying to come to terms with his human side and understanding what it meant for him, and so many episodes bring up this conflicted side of his personality.
None of the later Star Trek series did as well in casting a character with a similar nature, even though they all tried. Star Trek: The Next Generation had Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Odo (Rene Auberjonois). Even Star Trek: Voyager got some of the same when they introduced Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) into the cast. None of them ever shined as bright as Leonard Nimoy did as Mr. Spock.
We’ve lost a very special person today, and the world will not be the same without him. Leonard Nimoy is survived by his two children, his stepson, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and an older brother.
We love you, Leonard. You will live long and prosper in our hearts and minds. I always have been – and always shall be – your friend.
Give our greetings to Sarek.