Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lincoln Geraghty is a busy man

As I mentioned below, things are picking up again in the academic Star Trek nonfiction book biz. Lincoln Geraghty, Film Studies lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, will be responsible for two of them in the next year or so.

From I.B. Tauris comes Living with Star Trek: American Culture and Star Trek Fandom, which appears to be based on Geraghty's Ph.D. thesis, Living with Star Trek: Utopia, Community, Self-Improvement and the Star Trek Universe. He describes the thesis on his faculty web page:
In it I focus on a broad range of primary material including film, fan correspondence and the multiple Star Trek series. The thesis examines the more 'ordinary' fan who does not participate in typical fan activities such as writing stories, producing artwork, or dressing up. The first half explores the historical, socio-political, and narrative contexts of the Star Trek series. The second half is a reception-based investigation of the ways in which ordinary fans then engage with that text through writing letters published in fan magazines and edited collections. has a blurb for the book:
There is a wealth of literature on "Star Trek", and this book is a welcome and original contribution to it. The book not only sets "Star Trek" in dialogue with ideas and stories of utopia, community, self-improvement, that are central to American culture and history, but goes further to examine the complex ways in which these are taken up and used by 'ordinary' fans, who engage with "Star Trek" in complex and significant ways. Lincoln Geraghty explores, for example, "Star Trek's" multiple histories and how "Star Trek" and the American Jeremiad, one of the nation's foundational texts, refer back to the past to prophesy a better future. He reveals how fans define the series as a blueprint for the solution of such social problems in America as racism and war and shows how they have used the series to cope with personal trauma and such characters as Data and Seven of Nine in moments of personal transformation. This is all in all a revelatory and original book on "Star Trek" as both TV and cinema.
From McFarland, publisher of The Literary Galaxy of Star Trek (and Susan Gibberman's Star Trek: An Annotated Guide, way back in 1991), comes A Science Fiction Phenomenon: Investigating the Star Trek Effect, which will be a collection of papers by different writers. The Call for Papers describes Geraghty's plans for the book:
Intended as a broadly interdisciplinary volume on the series and films of the Star Trek franchise, this book aims at a wide audience including students, academics and interested fans in the areas of film studies, television studies, sociology, communications, anthropology, American studies, philosophy, media and cultural studies, race and gender studies, English, politics, history, and other related disciplines. This collection will provide a multidisciplinary perspective addressing the full range of Star Trek cultural production and will not resemble any volumes analysing Star Trek currently in the marketplace. Because the five television series and ten feature films are the principal avenue of dissemination, it is expected that contributions will reflect familiarity with the entire franchise. Contributions that examine the overall impact of an entire series or compare two or more are particularly welcome, as are those contributions that examine the film franchise in its industrial and cultural context. Having recently survived cancellation contributions dealing with Star Trek: Enterprise and its place within the franchise, including fans, merchandise, new media practices, are also welcome. Previous volumes on Star Trek have tended to look exclusively at either the series or fans, and often ignore the differential nature of the films and relevant merchandising of Paramount's senior franchise. This volume will attempt to gather those strands of Star Trek together and analyse them within the context of a media product that has lasted 40 years in a global television market. Publication of this volume would coincide with the 40th anniversary of the series.
A few of Geraghty's papers on Star Trek are available online. Anyone interested in academic critiques of Star Trek or trying to decide whether to buy his books can check out the following:

Telling Tales of the Future: Science Fiction and Star Trek's Exemplary Narratives

'Neutralising the Indian': Native American Stereotypes in Star Trek: Voyager

'Help When Times are Hard': Bereavement and Star Trek Fan Letters

Creating and Comparing Myth in Twentieth-Century Science Fiction: Star Trek and Star Wars


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