cover image Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World

Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World

Ryan Britt. Plume, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593185-69-8

“The number one rule of Star Trek is that the good guys out there boldly going are not racist colonizers,” writes journalist Britt (Luke Skywalker Can’t Read) in this entertaining tour through the sci-fi franchise’s expanding galaxy. “Obsessed with Trek” since age six, Britt plumbs his fanatacism, as well as his archive of interviews with the show’s stars, to map the history of the Star Trek universe, from the original 1960s TV series to the show’s sundry spin-offs and films. He highlights the progressive politics of the “OG Trek” (it was the first show to air an interracial kiss on network television); recounts the 1968 uprising that saw thousands of fans demanding, via impassioned letters, that NBC execs give the show a third season; and elucidates how the controversial decision to kill off Mr. Spock in 1982’s The Wrath of Kahn made the movie a “massive crossover hit.” While megafans will find some of the trivia familiar, Britt’s scrupulous, often funny, and sometimes controversial zeal breathes new life into the canon’s obsessive discourse, as when he delivers the droll hot take that “Janeway’s preference of black coffee versus Picard’s love of Earl Grey tea is the perfect microcosm for understanding why Voyager has a greater social and political impact than Next Gen.” Whether or not they agree, Trekkies will tear through this at warp speed. (May)