photo of Kim Kindya '90

A professional trekker

Kim Kindya ’90 spends 40 hours a week thinking about "Star Trek." She’s something of a professional trekker: As a producer at Simon & Schuster Interactive, Kindya oversees the creation of computer products about the well-known sci-fi TV show, which since 1964 has spawned three long-running spin-off series and nine feature-length films. Kindya "fell into" the job when a colleague recruited her for freelance work, answering the call for " ‘geeks who are visually oriented.’ " Since 1995 Kindya has been involved in the creation of seven CD-ROMS, including two interactive movies where the user plays one of the characters and, most recently, an update to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, an interactive reference to the entire history of Star Trek, chronicling the events, races, planets, weapons, and main and supporting characters from all the Star Trek movies and from every episode of all four Star Trek TV series to date.

The work that goes into the creation of such programs is massive, especially when you consider that the Star Trek division of Simon & Schuster Interactive consists of three people—Kindya and two others. Kindya’s first month-long assignment as a photo editor was to help catalogue more than 1,500 still photographs, then match each still with text. Another CD-ROM she worked on was the Klingon Language Lab component of the Star Trek: Klingon product, "a sort of Berlitz program to learn the Klingon language, where you talk to Klingons and if you misunderstand their commands, bad things happen to you." Kindya watched hours of "Star Trek" in search of usable shots of food, weapons, animals and other categories of Klingon vocabulary.

In her current position, producer, Kindya supervises the formatting of text and artwork and coordinates the activities of computer programmers and any other contributors to a project. Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster which publishes hard-copy books on Star Trek, is a major contributor of material. Hollywood enters into the picture as well: Kindya and her colleagues must get permission from Paramount Pictures to use "Star Trek" material. "Every step of what we do," she says, "requires approval." As such she’s developed a keen sense of how Hollywood operates, though she’s based in New York City.

Her work is intense, but it suits her: "I’ve always been off the perpendicular! ‘Star Trek’ is a show that I like, but I’m not a fanatic about it, which is important because you need some emotional distance. But it does frighten me that I know Star Trek at the level at which I know it." With a master’s in journalism from NYU, Kindya has published in nonfiction venues, such as Publisher’s Weekly and Archeology magazines. She also claims to have "delusions of being a science fiction writer." She’s well on her way, having published a short story in Legends of the X-Men, an anthology chronicling the adventures of a band of superheroes originally appearing in 1960s Marvel comic books, plus another story in a small-press anthology a few years ago.

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MHK