Fighting for the Future

BookFighting for the Future

Fighting for the Future

Essays on Star Trek: Discovery

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 67


June 19th, 2020



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The first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery, the newest instalment in the long-running and influential Star Trek franchise, received media and academic attention from the moment they arrived on screen. Discovery makes several key changes to Star Trek’s well-known narrative formulae, particularly the use of more serialized storytelling, appealing to audiences’ changed viewing habits in the streaming age – and yet the storylines, in their topical nature and the broad range of socio-political issues they engage with, continue in the political vein of the series’ megatext.

This volume brings together eighteen essays and one interview about the series, with contributions from a variety of disciplines including cultural studies, literary studies, media studies, fandom studies, history and political science. They explore representations of gender, sexuality and race, as well as topics such as shifts in storytelling and depictions of diplomacy. Examining Discovery alongside older entries into the Star Trek canon and tracing emerging continuities and changes, this volume will be an invaluable resource for all those interested in Star Trek and science fiction in the franchise era.

List of contributors: Sherryl Vint, Andrea Whiteacre, Torsten Kathke, John Andreas Fuchs, Ina Batzke, Sarah Böhlau, Will Tattersdill, Kerstin-Anja Münderlein, Diana Mafe, Whit Frazier Peterson, Henrik Schillinger, Arne Sönnichsen, Judith Rauscher, Amy C. Chambers, Mareike Spychala, Sabrina Mittermeier, Jennifer Volkmer, Si Sophie Pages Whybrew and Lisa Meinecke. 

‘From the philosophy of time travel and alternate dimensions to the fraught politics of representation in contemporary film and television, Fighting for the Future sets scholarly coordinates for the series that has redefined Star Trek for the twenty-first century.’
Gerry Canavan, Marquette University

'This volume is a solid addition to the literature of Star Trek. As Discovery continues to chart its course alongside the other CBS productions... Scholars will reach for this book as the first collection of analyses of the new era, which had meaningfully differentiated itself from previous entries in the franchise.'
Cait Coker, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Author Information

Sabrina Mittermeier is a lecturer and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Augsburg. Mareike Spychala is a lecturer and research assistant in American Studies at the University of Bamberg.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Preface: Unheimlich Star Trek11
Introduction: ‘We Get to Reach for the Stars’: Analyzing Star Trek: Discovery15
‘Boldly Going Where No Series Has Gone Before?’ – Discovery’s Role Within the Franchise and Its Discontents29
Looking in the Mirror: The Negotiation of Franchise Identity in Star Trek: Discovery31
A Star Trek About Being Star Trek: History, Liberalism, and Discovery’s Cold War Roots51
The Conscience of the King – Or: Is There in Truth No Sex and Violence?71
These are the Voyages? The Post-Jubilee Trek Legacy on the Discovery, the Orville, and the Callister91
‘Just as Repetition Reinforces Repetition, Change Begets Change’ – Modes of Storytelling in Canon and Fanon113
From Series to Seriality: Star Trek’s Mirror Universe in the Post-Network Era115
‘Lorca, I’m Really Gonna Miss Killing You’: The Fictional Space Created by Time Loop Narratives137
Discovery and the Form of Victorian Periodicals155
To Boldly Discuss: Socio-Political Discourses in Star Trek: Discovery Fanfiction175
‘Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations?’ – Negotiating Otherness in Star Trek: Discovery197
Afrofuturism, Imperialism, and Intersectionality199
Interview with Dr. Diana A. Mafe on ‘Normalizing Black Women as Heroes’201
The Cotton-Gin Effect: An Afrofuturist Reading of Star Trek: Discovery211
The American Hello: Representations of U.S. Diplomacy in Star Trek: Discovery231
‘Into A Mirror Darkly’: Border Crossing and Imperial(ist) Feminism in Star Trek: Discovery253
Interrogating Gender275
Star Trek Discovers Women: Gender, Race, Science, and Michael Burnham277
Not Your Daddy’s Star Trek: Exploring Female Characters in Star Trek: Discovery297
‘We Choose Our Own Pain. Mine Helps Me Remember’: Gabriel Lorca, Ash Tyler, and the Question of Masculinity317
Queering Star Trek339
‘Never Hide Who You Are’: Queer Representation and Actorvism in Star Trek: Discovery341
‘I Never Met a Female Michael Before’: Star Trek: Discovery between Trans Potentiality and Cis Anxiety361
Veins and Muscles of the Universe: Posthumanism and Connectivity in Star Trek: Discovery383
Coda: Star Trek and the Fight for the Future401
Notes on Contributors403