Star Trek: Essays Exploring the Final Frontier

Emily Strand, Amy H. Sturgis (Eds.)

by Emily Austin , Erin Bell , Javier Francisco , Edward Guimont , Una McCormack , John Jackson Miller , Martine Gjermundsen Ræstad , Kristina Šekrst , Emily Strand , Amy H. Sturgis , Brunella Tedesco-Barlocco , Daniel Unruh , Andrew Higgins

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The critical anthology ‘Star Trek: Essays Exploring the Final Frontier,’ edited by Amy H. Sturgis and Emily Strand, will surprise and inform readers from beginning to end. In the foreword, science fiction scholar and novelist Una McCormack asks, “Why ‘Star Trek’?” These essays answer that question over and over again with original perspectives, scholarly research, and thorough analysis of the ‘Star Trek’ media universe. Divided into three sections, “Exploring the Series and Films,” “Exploring the Ideas,” and “Exploring the Multimedia Storytelling,” this collection features deep dives into characters like Jonathan Archer and Seven of Nine, as well as broader investigations of the political, imperial, ecological, and linguistic systems at work on the futuristic Final Frontier. The essays range widely in content, from discussions of ancient Greece and Rome in the ‘Original Series’ and conspiracy theories in ‘Voyager,’ to series-wide studies of the creation of fictional languages and the consequences of imagining a future with infinite energy resources. Despite its range and variety, the anthology provides a rich, coherent understanding of how the series’ creators, writers, actors and fans have worked together to develop the most popular and challenging speculative fiction series of our era. Ultimately, and in the best tradition of science fiction, these critical essays on ‘Star Trek’ provide insight not only into this franchise but into our present, very human selves—our struggles, our prejudices, and our dreams.

Dr. Kathryn N. McDaniel
Andrew U. Thomas Professor of History
Chair, Department of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Gender Studies
Marietta College

After more than 55 years of transmedia storytelling, 'Star Trek' is a global phenomenon that has never been more successful than it is today. 'Star Trek' fandom is worldwide, time tested, and growing, and academic interest in the franchise, both inside and outside of the classroom, is high; at the moment, more 'Star Trek' works are underway or in development simultaneously than at any other moment in history.

Unlike works that focus on a limited number of stories/media in this franchise or only offer one expert’s or discipline’s insights, this accessible and multidisciplinary anthology includes analyses from a wide range of scholars and explores 'Star Trek' from its debut in 1966 to its current incarnations, considers its implications for and collaborations with fandom, and trace its ideas and meanings across series, media, and time. 'Star Trek: Essays Exploring the Final Frontier' will undoubtedly speak to academics in the field, students in the classroom, and informed lay readers and fans.

Foreword: On Not Liking Star Trek
Una McCormack

Amy H. Sturgis and Emily Strand

Part 1: Exploring the Series and Films

Chapter 1 “A Conservative World”: Greece, Rome, and Stagnation in Star Trek: The Original Series
Daniel Unruh

Chapter 2 The Truth Is Out There (Specifically, the Delta Quadrant): Star Trek: Voyager as 1990s Conspiracy Culture
Edward Guimont

Chapter 3 Beyond the Wilds and the Waves: Reevaluating Archer, the Armory, and Enterprise
Amy H. Sturgis

Chapter 4 “Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young”: The Nostalgic Drives and Generational Anxieties of Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Brunella Tedesco-Barlocco

Part 2: Exploring the Ideas

Chapter 5 Darmok and Jalad on the Internet: The Importance of Metaphors in Natural Languages and Natural Language Processing
Kristina Šekrst

Chapter 6 Two Faces of the Same Coin: Star Trek’s Federation and the Terran Empire
Javier Francisco

Chapter 7 “He Was a Son to Me”: Understanding Seven of Nine as a Queer, Posthuman Parent
Erin Bell

Chapter 8 The Future Burning Brightly: The Dual Impact of Energy in Star Trek’s Post-Scarcity Universe
Martine Gjermundsen Ræstad

Part 3: Exploring the Multimedia Storytelling

Chapter 9 “Dif-Tor heh Smusma,” “Jolan tru,” “NuqNeh”: Exploring the Glossopoesis of the Star Trek Universe
Andrew Higgins

Chapter 10 Expanding Universes: Star Trek and Rise of Multimedia Narratives
John Jackson Miller



Amy H. Sturgis holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and focuses on intellectual history, speculative fiction, and the Gothic. Sturgis, who teaches at Lenoir-Rhyne University and Signum University, has authored four books, edited/co-edited ten others, and published more than sixty essays, many on topics related to the intersection of science fiction and history. She has been interviewed as a genre expert by 'LIFE Magazine', The Huffington Post, and NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” among other media outlets. Sturgis also contributes the “Looking Back on Genre History” segment to the Hugo Award-winning podcast 'StarShipSofa'.

Emily Strand, M.A. (Theology, University of Dayton, 2005) has taught religion at the collegiate level for more than 15 years. She has authored two books on Catholic sacraments and several academic essays on religious and literary themes in popular culture. Emily co-edits three forthcoming scholarly volumes and co-hosts the podcasts 'Potterversity' and 'Meet Father Rivers'. In 2021, she was a featured scholar of Christian Science Fiction in the Canadian documentary, 'The Science Fiction Makers'. She also writes about pastoral liturgy and popular culture at the blog and is a member of the Rebel Legion, a professional 'Star Wars' costuming association.

Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, film, cinema, television, animation, franchise, storytelling