Joe Cianciotto here. Today, I write about two things that I’m very passionate about: science fiction and the city of San Francisco. The city, with its proximity to Silicon Valley and two major universities, Stanford and UC Berkeley, is familiar to those engaged in science research and literature. Thus, the area is often chosen to be the setting of science fiction movies. Star Trek, the long-running TV series that spawned films and a fandom, is one of them.
In the Star Trek fictional universe, Starfleet is the principal organization that conducts space research, exploration, defense, and diplomacy. The headquarters of Starfleet and many of its components are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Starfleet Command, the command center of Starfleet, is located in Fort Baker, which is connected to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge. I think the creators of the franchise were aware of Fort Baker’s past as a U.S. Army post, and in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from the Starfleet Command complex.
Starfleet’s corps of officers is trained in Starfleet Academy, near the headquarters in Fort Baker. While the Academy has many campuses, including one in Marseille, France, most of the scenes involving officers-in-training are set in the Fort Baker Campus. The very selective Starfleet Medical Academy is also located in the same area, and is responsible for training Starfleet Medical personnel.
Many of the ships that Starfleet deploys in exploring deep space are built on Mare Island, 23 miles northeast of San Francisco. In real life, Mare Island was a U.S. Navy shipyard where more than 300 landing craft, destroyers, gunboats, and submarines used in World War II were built. In fact, my dad, “Smokin” Joe Cianciotto, Sr., worked in the shipyard for more than three decades. Among the vessels built was the Navy’s first aircraft carrier, USS Langley. In the Star Trek universe, USS Enterprise NCC-1701 was built in Mare Island’s orbital drydock facilities in the year 2245.
Finally, the Federation Council of the United Federation of Planets has its headquarters in the Presidio, across the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker and Starfleet Command. The location makes it easy for the Starfleet Command and the Federation Council to meet and decide on policies and strategy. Interestingly, the Federation Council was inspired by the real-life United Nations, which was also founded when the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco in 1945.
The location and history of San Francisco makes it a great setting for science fiction. I wonder how the City will look like in 2245. One can only imagine the great Golden Gate Bridge still looming large in the near-distance.