Wave goodbye to the Milky Way and meet us at the corner of thought and reality as we go “Where No One Has Gone Before”!
New York Times Bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente joins the show this week to discuss an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that posits that the real final frontier exists within the human mind! The USS Enterprise receives a visit from a Federation scientist who claims to have developed a technique that will revolutionize warp travel. But, when his ministrations take the ship beyond the boundaries of our galaxy and reality itself, only Wesley and the scientist’s strange companion stand a chance of returning everyone home again.
Since its very inception, Star Trek storytelling has drawn on both science fiction and fantasy tropes to create the world of the future. Starfleet officers may employ logic and technology to explore the galaxy, but they often find themselves stymied by beings and phenomena that challenge their scientific assumptions about our universe. But like any hero, whether fantastic or science-fictional, their purity of spirit and sense of wonder are their most noble traits. On this episode, we talk about the distinctions between Star Trek and space opera, the presumed hard sci-fi and harder atheism of Roddenberry’s universe, sci-fi’s roots in fantasy storytelling, the traditionally heroic qualities of Trek characters, the way early TNG channeled TOS, the progressive masculinity of Captain Picard, the religion of discovery, and Trek’s pioneering of continuity in genre television.
We also discuss comfort-watching TNG, Slacking with your commanding officer, the lovable dorks of the Federation, starting with hard sci-fi and ending up with magic and angels, all-time Wesley sweaters, the cosmic Mr. Rogers, riffing on Scotty, the endearing quality of fallibility, Riker as an HR nightmare, psychics are OP, grilling your alien tea mom, Starfleet is the real Mary Sue, the alien in striped pajamas, being a massive fan of Mass Effect, and Cath organically brings up Farscape and you better believe that Kal takes advantage of it!
Trek just wants to HUG YOU!
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