Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World (2022) – Ryan Britt

I have one complaint about Ryan Britt’s examination of Star Trek, it’s too short! It goes by at warp speed, sharing anecdotes new and old, and taking us through Trek’s entire timeline up to 2022.

The series, the movies, the fandom are broken into separate chapters and Britt delivers an easy-to-read, occasionally brilliantly funny examination of the idealistic universe that Star Trek is, where the human adventure is just beginning and where we can strive to be the best versions of ourselves (as w should here).

With glimpses behind the scenes with interviews with casts, writers, showrunners and creators from all the series and movies, Britt lays out Trek in a way few writers have before, tying it into historical context, examining the prejudices of the time, and how the franchise continues to move forward with its embracing of the Vulcan philosophy, IDIC – Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

Finally, and far too late if truth be told, there is better representation and inclusiveness in Star Trek. I grew up in the 70s, so I loved what I thought was the diversity seen on The Original Series, but Discovery really nails it, and shows how wonderfully diverse humanity and the universe is.

But Trek, for the most part has always driven forward, has always been political, has always been humanist, even with all our faults.

Reading Britt’s book, I was delighted with the way he doled out familiar history, but shining a hand beacon into the darker corners that may not have been completely explored before. It’s, to coin a phrase, fascinating, and his ability to guide us like a skilled navigator taking us on a slingshot around the sun, through Trek’s history, and highlighting its good and bad in front of and behind the camera, is fantastic.

This is a bit of a must-read for any Star Trek fan. Sure, there are going to be things you know, some things you may not, but it’s the way Britt weaves it all together that makes this book unputdownable. I flew through it and was disappointed when I reached the end of it, I could have read on and on, not only because of the subject matter, but in the fun and informal way that Britt writes like he’s talking to the reader, specifically to you.

Star Trek is still going strong, easily warping into another renaissance, and with the way Picard: Season 3 is going, I’d say this one may last quite some time.

Check out Phasers On Stun! and boldly go…


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