Tag Archives: Star Trek


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine In 82.5 Hours – Max Temkin, Medium

In Deep Space Nine, “a man and his son arrive at a frontier town on the edge of known civilization.”

Not just a man – a widower. That’s a very Western thing.

DS9 is essentially a Western with an ensemble cast. Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe said, “We had the country doctor, and we had the barkeeper, and we had the sheriff and we had the mayor, we had it all, it was all there. We had the common man, Miles O’Brien, the Native American, Kira.”

But also:

Reader Evan Jacobs sees a more contemporary theme in the politics of Deep Space Nine: “To me, DS9 was largely about the Jewish diaspora. Cardassians are Nazis, Ferengis represent Jews as the world sees them (i.e., anti-Semitism), and Bajorans represent Jews as they see themselves (i.e., Israel). Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it always seemed that way to me.” I’ve always read themes of Jewish history into Deep Space Nine as well (in my view: the Federation is the Catholic church, it’s post-currency society is the prohibition on usury, and the Ferengis are the Jews) it’s one of the reasons the show speaks so personally to me.

We’re slowly rewatching Deep Space Nine. We’re a good way into the first season, which Temkin says is a turkey, but I’m enjoying it.

I’ve already watched most of Deep Space Nine — not when it first aired, but in reruns. I’ve forgotten almost all of it. We stopped watching a few episodes after Terry Farrell left, when the TV station stopped airing reruns. This was in the primitive dark ages before Netflix.



Almost nothing to this teaser, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I like that it’s new characters, new ships, etc. – not a retread of old characters, like the JJ Abrams movies have been.

I like that it’s a series rather than a movie. As other fans have said, the natural form of Star Trek is as a TV series. Although a couple of the movies have been great, of course.

And I like that they’re apparently perpetuating the traditional error that asteroids in an asteroid belt are as close together and dangerous as cars in a Walmart parking lot on Black Friday.

Star Trek actor turns Eastern monk


The actor Bruce Mars is known today for his appearance on Star Trek as Finnegan, the Starfleet Academy cadet who terrorized young James Kirk.

Finnegan appears in the episode “Shore Leave,” where the crew of the Enterprise beams down to a new planet for some R&R, not realizing the planet was created by advanced aliens as a playground where all the mind’s fantasies would instantly materialize.

As of 2013, Mars was a senior monk in the Self-Realization Fellowship, going by the name “Brother Paramananda.”

Brother Paramananda discusses his conversion briefly in a 2004 LA Times article about Eastern religion in LA, by Anne-Marie O’Connor.


The excellent Charlie Jane Anders – whom I just learned is leaving io9 – oh noes! – asks and answers the question:

io9 Was Founded on the Idea That Science Fiction Belongs to Everyone

Or, more precisely, she says, science fiction belongs to everybody who loves it:

When we started out, the notion that science fiction is for everybody was mostly about not wanting to see our favorite stories wasting their time pandering to the minority of fans who had memorized every old episode or movie. We hadn’t yet seen Star Trek Into Darkness twist itself into knots trying to copy as much of Wrath of Khan as possible—but that kind of self-referential bullshit was what we set out to critique.

But over time, I feel like the question of who “owns” science fiction has only gotten more fraught and toxic, in ways that we couldn’t have predicted back in 2007. Back then, there was no “Fake Geek Girl” meme. Women weren’t getting death threats and rape threats on the internet for expressing an opinion about comics or movies. The Hugo Award nominations were still reflecting the tastes of individual readers, rather than voting slates. There weren’t endless think pieces about whether geek culture had gone too mainstream. Geek pantomime The Big Bang Theoryaired its first episode while we were planning io9.

There’s a lot more silly gatekeeping in science fiction than there used to be. A lot of people are deeply invested in keeping other people from loving the things that they love. No, I don’t get it, either.

I’m baffled by the gatekeeping in science fiction as well. And it’s frustrating to me because much of the stuff that’s gone mainstream is stuff that I personally don’t care for:

Superheroes? Not for me. I like Iron Man and Captain America, but I think Julie and I are a movie or two behind on those. There’s an explosion of superhero movies now, and they frankly look silly to me. Bunch of grown people running around in long underwear.

We did love Jessica Jones, though.

Star Trek? The J.J. Abrams movies were fine, but they weren’t real Trek. We’re now rediscovering Deep Space Nine and TNG, which I barely remember.

Star Wars? I liked the first three movies just fine but I would not say they were the life-changing experience for me that they were for many fans. I skipped about 1.5 of the prequels. We haven’t gotten around to seeing the latest movie yet.

As for TV: Don’t watch Walking Dead because we think zombies are gross. We already talked about superhero shows. Julie likes the The Arrow but I got tired of it partway through the first season. The reverse is true for The Flash – I was enjoying it but Julie wasn’t and I didn’t like it enough to want to watch it alone.

I have a love-hate relationship with Game of Thrones. I’m liking it now. Last year I was ready to stop watching, because it had gotten tedious and depressing.

I don’t read comics or play video games.

So while young men – and I do get the impression that they are young men – are playing gatekeeper and deciding who’s a true fan, I’m wishing that more people like the stuff I like. Or maybe I should say that I wish more stuff that I like was being produced for the mainstream.

And I’m also remembering being a teen-age fan in the 70s, when being a science fiction fan still had a slight patina of geekiness. It was going mainstream fast – Star Wars was 1977, all the kids watched Star Trek in reruns, and Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke were regularly hitting the bestseller lists, or on the verge of doing so. But science fiction was still something that cool people didn’t really enjoy. So I still think it’s kind of neat that science fiction is now mainstream, and ironic that now that it is mainstream there’s so much of it I don’t participate in.

Also, as a heterosexual teenager with the usual heterosexual teen levels of libido combined with frustration of that libido: I would have been delighted to have encountered attractive young women who were also interested in science fiction.  (They probably did exist back then. I was just unaware of them.)

Assuming I worked up the nerve to talk with them – I was, alas, the kind of male teen geek who was too intimidated to speak with attractive girls unless we’d already been safely friendzoned (to use vernacular that popped up 30 years later).


William Shatner and Sherry Jackson celebrate the end of shooting of the “Star Trek” episode, “What are Little Girls Made Of?” Note Shatner’s feet.

Star Trek really got away with a lot. In the first few episodes of the first season, you’ve got Harry Mudd as a space-pimp with drug-using girls, the evil Captain Kirk trying to rape Yeoman Rand, and this episode, where a scientist discovers a planet filled with machines for making perfect, humanoid robots, and he says, “I’ll make a sexbot!”

From the book “These Are The Voyages, TOS, Season One,” by Marc Cushman and Susan Osborn.


Is the transporter on Star Trek a nifty sci-fi transportation mechanism? Or is it a sinister murder machine, killing the person who steps on the platform and spitting out a duplicate on the other end?

Start watching for the geeky fanwankery, stay for the meaty speculation about an astounding philosophical problem: The problem of consciousness. Everybody has consciousness, but nobody knows what consciousness is. You can’t prove that anybody other than you is conscious, and you can’t prove to anybody else that you’re conscious.

This is another in a series of wonderful CGP Grey video.