Forgotten Trek started out as a collection of Star Trek concept art on my (Nick Ottens’) personal website, which also featured real-world history and steampunk. (The steampunk section evolved into an online magazine called Never Was.)
I added the first concept arts in the summer of 2004, when my site was about two years old. At the end of the year, I named the section “Forgotten Trek” and that is how the name was born.
A fully browsable, archived version of the 2004-05 website is available here.
I switched to a different design in 2006, something darker and narrower. The website had grown considerably by then. I was publishing whatever concept art I could get my hands on and digitizing articles from a variety of sources, including Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens’ The Art of Star Trek and old issues of Star Trek: The Magazine. (I was only beginning to understand the meaning of “copyright” around that time.)
I also got help — from Andrew Probert, who shared several of his Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Next Generation designs with me, and Tracy Tobias, who had done a lot of digging into the production history of the first Star Trek film and contributed several articles to the website, including interviews with Richard Taylor and David J. Negron.
The site won several awards, including Bernd Schneider’s, who praised its “visible progression toward perfect elaboration,” and Paul Krillmeed’s, who said, “Finally a Star Trek site with something new to say.”
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has saved a version from October 2006.
The following year, it was time for another makeover. The site got an orange-red background, articles were now categorized by series and film as opposed to topic and pictures went into a sidebar. I was starting to write more original content and T.C. submitted several more stories as well.
The site had been hosted under the domain of my parents’ company all this time. I registered my own domain, ottens.co.uk, in January 2008. The Wayback Machine’s version from that month is a bit screwed up. The December 2007 archive, from before the domain switch, works better.
The design changed again in the autumn of 2008. The site got two sidebars: one for the main menu on the left and one for submenus on the right. The colors switched from black-and-red to black-and-yellow. I added some content that year and in 2009, but little else changed for the next two years.
The best browsable version of this iteration in the Wayback Machine is from December 2010.
The next big change came in February 2012, when I converted Forgotten Trek from a hand-coded HTML website into a WordPress blog. This took a few weeks. I had to manually copy and paste all the articles and re-upload all images. I took this as an opportunity to rewrite some of the older stories as well. Here is the Wayback Machine’s version from February 2012.
Over the course of the next three years, I would rewrite almost all articles and add about twenty new ones. The site caught the attention of the official StarTrek.com, who asked to republish six of my stories, including “Designing the Enterprise-C” and “Creating Star Trek’s First Alien: Spock“.
The color scheme stayed black-and-yellow until March 2015, when I switched to a new theme. The reason was that the old one wasn’t mobile-friendly. The new, full-width site looked better on smartphones and tablets.
The Wayback Machine’s version from early 2015 doesn’t work well, browse the September 2015 archive instead.
The next change came in February 2016, when I switched to Automattic’s Canard theme. It looked quite similar to the last but came with the ability to highlight five stories on the front page. The March 2016 version in the Wayback Machine works well.
In February 2018, Forgotten Trek finally got its own domain, forgottentrek.com. All the old ottens.co.uk/forgottentrek links still work, though, and will automatically forward you to the new URLs.
Over the course of 2018 and 2019, I catalogued many of my favorite old Star Trek fansites, which have since disappeared, under Fandom.
In December 2018, I switched to Anders Norén’s Hamilton as a replacement for Canard, which was no longer updated. WordPress 5’s block-based editor enabled me to beautify the image galleries. I manually created a new home page and subpages for the series and films, which were in turn organized by topic (production, starship design, costumes, etc.), hopefully making it easier to find the content you’re looking for. The November 2021 version of this iteration in the Wayback Machine works well.
In 2022, I returned to a black-and-yellow color scheme (including the 2012-15 logo) with blue highlights. I also converted back to HTML. Wordpress had become too clunky, especially for a website that doesn’t require frequent updates. I never got used to the “Gutenberg” bloc editor and it inserts a lot of superfluous code, which slows the website down. Clean and simple HTML gets rid of everything I don’t need and should load much faster even on slow connections.
Writing about lost and forgotten Star Trek fansites also made think about the survivability of my own. HTML is easier to capture for the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. It doesn’t require regular software updates. A Worpress blog could become dangerously outdated if its owner disappeared. (Like Will Riker, I’m planning to live forever, but you never know.)
- April 4, 2004: I join the delta.place community, where my website will get its own forum.
- April 16, 2004: I add Star Trek concept art to my personal website, then called Ottens Lexicon, for the first time.
- May 20, 2004: Switch to a green layout.
- May 23, 2004: The first Phase II concept art appears.
- August 9, 2004: Switch to a red color scheme. The site is now called Ottens Library.
- November 24, 2004: Another design upgrade (archived here). The name Forgotten Trek debuts.
- March 14, 2005: I move my forum to nov-net.
- June 30, 2005: Another new layout: I lose the sidebar and use darker colors.
- July 2005: Updated various stories with input from Andrew Probert.
- August 2, 2005: Forgotten Trek expands to include Deep Space Nine and Voyager.
- October 3, 2005: Tracy Tobias contributes his interview with Richard Taylor, conducted in 2001, to the site.
- Nov ember 2005: Forgotten Trek wins Bernd Schneider’s Ex Astris Excellentia award.
- November 24, 2005: I interview Syd Mead.
- May 8, 2006: My story about the Enterprise-D’s Cetacean Ops goes online, which would prove to be one of the site’s most popular ever.
- January 27, 2007: Beginning of another design upgrade. The site gets an orange-red background. Articles at Forgotten Trek are now categorized by series and film as opposed to topic.
- July 22, 2007: All pages are updated to PHP.
- July 25, 2007: I interview Rick Sternbach.
- January 16, 2008: I register my own domain, ottens.co.uk.
- May 2008: The community at nov-net closes.
- October 20, 2008: Switch to a black-and-yellow color scheme. I divide the navigation into two sidebars.
- October 24, 2008: My article about the aborted Planet of the Titans film clears up confusion about the exact sequencing of events which led to Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
- October 29, 2008: The illustrated memory wall script appears.
- February 22, 2012: Forgotten Trek is relaunched as a WordPress blog.
- November 20, 2012: I start a series about lost Star Trek fansites, beginning with Verania’s Medical Log: Supplemental.
- October 16, 2014: I enter into a partnership with StarTrek.com.
- March 16, 2015: Switch to a white background.
- June 18, 2016: Funny how I didn’t get around to covering the very beginning of Trek until so late, but there is finally a story about “The Cage“.
- February 18, 2018: The site gets its own URL: forgottentrek.com.
- December 5, 2018: Switch to Hamilton theme by Anders Norén.
- December 27, 2018: Restored the “lost episodes” of Phase II.
- December 29, 2021: Return to black-and-yellow color scheme.
- February 1, 2022: Conversion back to HTML.