Recently re-reading the 1926 H P Lovecraft story “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath”, I came across a curious quote that closely resembles the famous statement of Star Trek. Is this the origin of ‘where no man has gone before’?
Judge based on the quote itself, which is a statement of intent of our protagonist Randolph Carter to seek out a ‘sunset city’ of great beauty he’s seen only three times in a dream:
At length, sick with longing for those glittering sunset streets and cryptical hill lanes among ancient tiled roofs, nor able sleeping or waking to drive them from his mind, Carter resolved to go with bold entreaty whither no man had gone before, and dare the icy deserts through the dark to where unknown Kadath, veiled in cloud and crowned with unimagined stars, holds secret and nocturnal the onyx castle of the Great Ones.
Strip this of the archaic language – how easily to go from ‘go with bold entreaty whither no man has gone before’ to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’?
Our friends over at Wikipedia certainly see a connection, though no actual claim of attribution. The only earlier source they found was from a 1958 document from the White House and NASA called Introduction to Space. It seems likely that Gene Roddenberry could have read that document, given the theme – but where did the White House get the quote?
4 thoughts on “Did Lovecraft Provide Star Trek with “Where No Man Has Gone Before”?”
I just read the story and the phrase jumped out at me. I’ve been looking for an answer but no one seems to know.
Check out Lovecraft Annual No. 16 which mentions this article and goes far more in depth to possible connections.
I discovered this myself just the other day when I was reading the dream quest of unknown kadath. It makes perfect sense to me that this was an inspiration for Gene Roddenberry honestly with the types of themes and beings explored in his Star Trek series TOS and TNG—-much in common with the weird fiction/cosmic horror genre.