Okay, okay, he's listed. Now leave me alone...

Dixon Hill
Dixon Hill character created by Tracy Thorne
Based on characters and concepts created by Gene Rodenberry

"A crisis for Captain Picard -- or a case for Dixon Hill, private detective?"
-- blurb from ST: TNG #65

Is this goofy or what? In the cash cow world of Star Trek, evidently no concept is too silly not to milk dry.

In one of Star Trek: The Next Generation's more popular episodes, "The Big Goodbye," we discover that USS Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard likes nothing better than to kick back and enter the Holodeck, and pretend that he's DIXON HILL, a tough guy San Francisco private dick straight out of the 1940s pulps.

Picard first discovered the Dixon Hill character while reading some old detective fiction -- the first Dixon Hill story "The Big Goodbye" was supposedly published on Earth in 1934 in Amazing Detectives Stories Magazine.

Fascinated by the two-fisted gumshoe, Picard programmed a holodeck simulation so he could play detective. Dressed in period clothing and sporting a spiffy slant brim hat, Hill had an office, complete with a sexy secretary and a bottle of Scotch. However, due to the inevitable holodeck malfunction, and compromised safety overrides, Hill/Picard is soon caught up in a real case where the consequences could prove fatal indeed.

It's was a cheesy but popular enough concept that it was used a few more times in subsequent episodes, and in the 1996 Star Trek flick First Contact. And no doubt there are endless toys and trading cards and posters and games and bikini briefs and all sorts of essential collectibles featuring an image of Patrick Stewart with a Dixon Hill-era fedora clamped down on his shiny dome.

It even inspired at least one novel, 2002's Star Trek: The Next Generation #65: A Hard Rain by Dean Wesley Smith. In that one, Picard has to enter the Holodeck to become Hill and locate the 'Heart of the Adjuster' (actually a golf ball-sized hunk of space metal or something) or else the Enterprise will be blown to smithereens.

Even Trekkies (or Trekkers or whatever they call themselves this month) -- generally not the most discerning and discriminating of readers -- found this one not quite up to the high standards of literary excellence that other Star Trek spin-off novels are so well-known for.




Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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