Star Trek: The Original Series: Devil’s Bargain by Tony Daniel (2013). New York: Pocket Books.
In this novel a planet about to be obliterated by a massive asteroid resists Federation attempts to evacuate their people. I haven’t read any Star Trek novels before so I was curious to see what they’d be like. I found it entertaining, and I will definitely check out some more from the library.
I finished reading this last week and a few days later heard of the sad passing of Leonard Nimoy, Mr Spock. I often think how remarkable is the legacy of Star Trek (and I say that as a devout Star Wars fanatic!). While I’m more familiar with the “Voyager” and “Next Generation” incarnations of Star Trek, I thoroughly enjoyed the films from the Original Series. I particularly loved The Search for Spock from 1984, which I watched for the first time a few years ago.
My introduction to Star Trek was as a teenager, already a convert to Star Wars at the time. I recall that Star Trek: Voyager was played on a weekly sci-fi night, when I would plant myself in front of the tv until midnight with shows like Roswell and The X-Files. Later on I undertook research on fan subcultures for a sociology assignment at uni, where I wrote an analysis of the way that fan subcultures (particularly those surrounding Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings) can seem to serve as a kind of religious system. It’s a topic that fascinates me and one that I’d love to explore further.
I eventually married a Star Trek fan (an Anglo-Ukrainian INTJ engineer with two university degrees and the personality of a Vulcan who likes to say outlandish things like “maths is easy”) and so we had to find a way to meet on a common ground. Which meant that for the last several years we’ve been watching our way through countless episodes of Star Trek. We’re currently deeply immersed in the latter part of Star Trek: The Next Generation and I have grown to love the characters and stories. I even named one of my cats “Riker” after Commander Riker. (I wanted to call him Lestat after the Anne Rice vampire, but when I met my kitten for the first time I had to concede that he was most definitely not a Lestat… Not even a Louis or Marius.)
There are several things I particularly appreciate about Star Trek, but perhaps the thing that stands out to me the most (apart from the entertaining stories) is the outright acceptance of multicultural, multiracial and women officers. I love this idea that they normalise a future in which a united humanity has found a balance between people celebrating their heritage and accepting others as fellow humans. I also love the blurring of the lines between human and machine, characters like Data, Seven of Nine and the whole Borg thing. I love that in Voyager there’s a ship headed up by women officers and people from ethnic backgrounds that would typically be marginalised – of course I want to imagine that in the future a woman who is capable will be given command of starships.