A Brief Guide to Star Trek

ADS
9.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Read Online Download

 

 

Brian J. Robb
is a writer and biographer whose previous books have included a
New York Times
and
Sunday Times
bestselling biography of
Titanic
star Leonardo DiCaprio;
Screams & Nightmares
, the definitive book on horror director Wes Craven;
Counterfeit Worlds
, exploring the life and work of Philip K. Dick; and a series of acclaimed film star biographies. For over ten years he was the managing editor of
The Official Star Trek Magazine
.

 

 

Recent titles in the series

 

A Brief Guide to Secret Religions

David Barrett

 

A Brief History of Angels and Demons

Sarah Bartlett

 

A Brief History of Roman Britain

Joan P. Alcock

 

A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II

Michael Paterson

 

A Brief History of France

Cecil Jenkins

 

A Brief History of Slavery

Jeremy Black

 

A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes

Nigel Cawthorne

 

A Brief History of How the Industrial Revolution Changed the World

Thomas Crump

 

A Brief History of King Arthur

Mike Ashley

 

A Brief History of the Universe

J. P. McEvoy

 

His Finest Hour: A Brief Life of Winston Churchill

Christopher Catherwood

 
A BRIEF GUIDE TO
STAR TREK
 

BRIAN J. ROBB

 

 

 

 

 

Constable & Robinson Ltd

55–56 Russell Square

London WC1B 4HP

www.constablerobinson.com

 

First published in the UK by Robinson,
an imprint of Constable & Robinson, 2012

 

Copyright © Brian J. Robb 2012

 

The right of Brian J. Robb to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

 

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in
Publication data is available from the British Library

 

ISBN 978-1-84901-514-1

eISBN 978-1-84901-822-7

 

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

 

First published in the United States in 2012 by Running Press Book Publishers, a Member of the Perseus Books Group

 

All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International Copyright Conventions

 

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the publisher

 

Books published by Running Press are available at special discounts for bulk purchases in the United States by corporations, institutions, and other organizations. For more information, please contact the Special Markets Department at the Perseus Books Group, 2300 Chestnut Street, Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19103, or call (800) 810-4145, ext. 5000, or email special
[email protected]
.

 

US ISBN 978-0-7624-4439-7

US Library of Congress Control Number: 2011933252

E-book ISBN 978-1-84901-822-7

 

9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

Digit on the right indicates the number of this printing

 

Running Press Book Publishers

2300 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-4371

 

Visit us on the web!

www.runningpress.com

 

 

 

 

For Paul Simpson,
whose valuable feedback and
Star Trek
brainstorming sessions
helped immensely to focus and shape my thinking.

 
Contents
 

Introduction
: The Storytellers

 

Chapter 1
     Evolution:
Star Trek
Creator
Gene Roddenberry

 

Chapter 2
     First Flight: The Two
Star Trek
Pilots

 

Chapter 3
     Where No One Has Gone Before:
Star Trek
’s First Year

 

Chapter 4
     Too Short a Season: Consolidating
Star Trek

 

Chapter 5
     Timeless: The Birth of a Franchise and Fandom

 

Chapter 6
     Persistence of Vision: The Original
Cast Movies

 

Chapter 7
     Far Beyond the Stars:
The Next Generation

 

Chapter 8
     Future’s End:
The Next Generation
Movies

 

Chapter 9
     New Ground:
Deep Space Nine

 

Chapter 10
   Business as Usual:
Voyager

 

Chapter 11
   Yesterday’s Enterprise:
Enterprise

 

Chapter 12
   Hollow Pursuits: Unmade
Star Trek

 

Chapter 13
   Future Imperfect:
Star Trek
(2009)

 

Chapter 14
   Legacy: Can
Star Trek
Live Long and Prosper?

 

Bibliography

 

Index

 
Introduction
 
The Storytellers
 


The job of
Star Trek
was to use drama and adventure as a way of portraying humanity in its various guises and beliefs
. Star Trek
is the expression of my own beliefs using my characters to act out human problems
.’ Gene Roddenberry

 

Whether you are relatively new to
Star Trek
, having enjoyed the J. J. Abrams blockbuster movie from 2009 or the sequel, or a fan of the show who’s been following the various series and movies since the US debut of the original in 1966, it is clear that this iconic television show that struggled through its first three years on air has – to adapt the worlds of the Vulcan Spock – ‘lived long and prospered’.

The phenomenon of
Star Trek
has been much studied, from features in the popular media and in-depth academic analysis to fan commentary and internet flame wars. The forty-five-year history of the ‘franchise’ has been dissected every which way in an attempt to discover the reasons for its success, longevity and cultural impact – why has
Star Trek
been so long-lasting when other science fiction TV series have fallen by the wayside, and why have its various iterations on screens large and small been so popular?

This is not an academic tome, but a critical cultural history of
Star Trek
. It’s an in-depth look at how the various series and movies were made, the creative forces driving them, what their cultural impact was and what it all means. The book will
examine how
Star Trek
changed through the decades and how it perhaps eventually failed to change enough with the times to escape ossification and irrelevance, requiring a dramatic re -invention to save it. It will also look at what the future might be for the
Star Trek
concept, assess what the series’ impact has been on viewers, and consider the unstoppable growth of
Star Trek
fandom.

Star Trek
now spans five distinct television series (six, if you include the often overlooked early-1970s
Star Trek: The Animated Series
) and eleven movies, from 1979’s
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
to J. J. Abrams’ 2009 reinvention, which has led to a new series of movies to take the franchise through the next decade and maybe beyond.

While many have pointed to the way
Star Trek
has reflected and critiqued the ethical, social and philosophical issues of our times and attempted to depict progressive gender, class and racial representations – so offering a hopeful and positive vision of the future of humanity – the secret of the success of the series is much simpler: it’s all down to great storytelling.

The genius of Gene Roddenberry in creating
Star Trek
was to tackle those serious and important issues through well-told science fiction action-adventure tales that appealed to a mass audience. It was the unusual stories and unforgettable characters that first attracted curious television audiences in the 1960s, while the forward-looking ideas presented by the series turned many of those viewers into lifelong fans.

Legend elevates Roddenberry – known to fans as the Great Bird of the Galaxy – to the status of sole creator of
Star Trek
. However, while his important role as the instigator of the series and author of its concept should not be undervalued (three times, no less: in its original 1960s incarnation, its reinvention as a series of movies and its return to television in the 1980s), Roddenberry himself wasn’t necessarily the most successful
Star Trek
storyteller. In fact,
Star Trek
has enjoyed more success when under the control of other storytellers, as this book sets out to demonstrate.

Other books

Dangerous Obsessions by Kira Matthison
A Calculated Romance by Violet Sparks
Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart
Celestial Beauty by Angela Castle
The Hunt by Allison Brennan
Mozart’s Blood by Louise Marley
This Holiday Magic by Celeste O. Norfleet