The Meaning of Star Trek by Thomas Richards

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"Star Trek" has no equal. Easily the most cerebral show on television, it brought a literary sophistication to the raw material of science fiction and confounded all the formulas of television. By taking classic stories and putting them in strange new contexts "Star Trek" became a modern Odyssey in outer space, a set of stories so basic to our culture that they can be told over and over again.

But while legions have devoured score of books on every aspect of the series, no book has ever dared to explore what "Star Trek" means-where it comes from, why it is so popular, how it creates a coherent world-until now. The Meaning of Star Trek captures the essence of this timeless television masterpiece by examining it in the context of literary history, social history, anthropology, myth, and religion-how it grew from a science fiction tradition; how the history of the federation reconfigures our own; how it handles the concept of first contact with other cultures; how its stories relate to classic myths; and how its tales of wonders, marvels, and miracles appeal to our sense of religion. Most importantly, The Meaning of Star Trek is a vital bridge between the universes of classical literature and popular entertainment, showing how this television series mines literary classics-and how those classics were the popular entertainment of their own time.

Enlightening, provocative, and tremendously accessible, The Meaning of Star Trek is a Trekkie's dream, and a book no student of literature or television will want to be without.

About Thomas Richards

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Thomas Richards is a former associate professor of English and American Literature at Harvard University. He is the author of two works of nonfiction as well as a novel, Zero Tolerance. A Guggenheim fellow, he lives in California.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published June 9, 1997 by Doubleday. 208 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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While the general tendency in myth is toward tragedy, this is not the case with Star Trek, which is motivated, he asserts, by ``essentially comic visions emphasizing the triumph of the hero, the flourishing of civilization, and the importance of all action.'' No doubt the usually sunny, comic vis...

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Publishers Weekly

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While he draws on themes that span the canon of celluloid Trek, the examples he cites are mainly from Star Trek: The Next Generation television series and the book's most engaging passages are those that explore particular TNG episodes: his analysis of the Hugo Award- winning episode, ""Inner Lig...

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Pocket Books: Star Trek Paramount Star Trek Starfleet Academy Tour The Klingon Language Institute Vulcan Information Center The Meaning of Star Trek is a literary and cultural analysis of the Star Trek universe by a former Harvard professor.

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