Star Trek-loving Amiga fans have done the seemingly impossible in downloading their own blast from the past from the digital dustbin, much like Scotty was saved from the transporter’s pattern buffer in the legendary ST:TNG episode ‘Relics’.
And, not only has the Infinite Frontiers website returned like the Enterprise coming home from a slingshot time-travel trip, its publishers have promised the return of the accompanying Commodore Amiga-based disk magazine, The Final Frontier.
The magazine was originally launched upon the unsuspecting Amiga community of the Alpha Quadrant way back in 1991, when, with phasers set on stun, it joined the fleet of discs already available on the growing public domain scene.
The Final Frontier was unlike anything seen at the time. While most disc-based Amiga mags were dedicated to gaming, or the public domain scene itself, The Final Frontier was, say Infinite Frontiers, the first disk magazine ever dedicated to Star Trek. Issue 1 was released in September 1991 and for the next 5 years it was loved by its readers and the Amiga press alike. Scoring highly in reviews in magazines like CU Amiga, Amiga Format and Amiga Shopper and being read all over the world, it was a huge hit. Each issue took a massive amount of time to create though and the publishers’ ability to pack so much in proved to be their self-confessed downfall, with each issue taking longer and longer to produce. Issue 10, released in the Summer of 1996, sadly turned out to be the last. Until now.
A new frontier
After moving to South Wales in 2013, the magazine’s Editor, Simon Plumbe, was sorting through his Amiga disk collection that finally moved home with him after sitting at his parents house for over a decade. In boxes he discovered an unfinished, unreleased copy of issue 11 of The Final Frontier. Now, 20 years after that last issue was produced, Infinite Frontiers is going back to its roots and releasing its first Amiga product in two decades and is going to complete this disk magazine ready to release it for a new audience.
Infinite diversity in infinite combinations
Infinite Frontiers itself apparently has a long, proud history and a diverse one, not just in the Star Trek or indeed the Amiga field. It was founded in August 1989 by Simon Plumbe along with school friends Stephen Coller and Mark Haggett, initially as a small local branch of a regional Doctor Who fan club. Over the years, as interests in different aspects of media science fiction ebbed and flowed, the group’s organisers moved on to Star Trek, founding a fan club: Alpha Quadrant was born. Moving into paper fanzines, a flurry of these came about, covering Star Trek, general sci-fi and even an Amiga fanzine. The next turning point came in 1998 with the launch of The Cybertronian Times, a Transformers fanzine created by Sven Harvey, which became their most popular print-based title.
Following on from the success of this, the idea was developed to try a Transformers equivalent to their Star Trek club meetings and Auto Assembly was born. Over the years this grew to become not only their primary focus (even more so after Alpha Quadrant closed) but also to become Europe’s largest Transformers convention, attracting over 1,000 attendees in 2015.
2012 saw the organisers going back to computing and video games again with the launch of Vita Player, a video games website focused solely on the PlayStation Vita console and since it’s launch it’s managed to build up quite a cult following and has attracted almost 4,000 followers on Twitter making it their most successful project to date on social media.
A new beginning
Things changed again though and 2015 saw the Transformers convention come to an end. But now, both Infinite Frontiers and The Final Frontier have returned. No doubt the Klingons will be pleased, as they’ve had no Starfleet enemies to battle since the premature demise of ‘Enterprise’ in 2005 apart from a couple of somewhat variable ‘reboot’ movies…
The Infinite Frontiers website is also seeking to not only focus on Star Trek, but reflect all of its publishers’ past diversity, and they are looking for contributors.
Here at Retro Computing News, where our own editor is a Trekkie from way back, we can only welcome the return of The Final Frontier and wish its publishers a hearty “Qapla’!”
Watch this space for more news as it happens.
Meanwhile, why not beam over to the Infinite Frontiers website?