Dissecting Star Trek

Athena Andreadis. To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek, Crown, 1998
This is a totally curmudgeonly dissection of Star Trek from the perspective of someone very savvy in the fields of biology, linguistics, and anthropology. Transporters? Bah! Universal translators? Yeah, right! Human-alien hybrids? Get real! Changelings, holodecks, telepaths, pure energy beings? Git-outta'ere! Okay, she knows its just a TV show and you have to keep things interesting, but even so, it's always to good to know why these things are impossible. 

Andreadis struts her stuff cutting down the premises of most of the gimmicks of the Trek universe that a scientist of her training is entitled to kill. And it's a joy to watch. There is a rich tradition of nit picking in trek-dom and she is setting herself as a grand master. Violation of the Prime Directive is a particularly popular debating point and her discussion of the ethical inconsistencies it leads to both in the series and as a practical philosophical edict has to be the best I have ever seen. Her discussions of Klingon society, Vulcan psychology, and Trill symbiosis are pretty keenly thought out as well. I totally recommend it and even ufologists can learn a thing or two from it. Like, human-alien hybrids? Get real! -- Peter Rogerson, from Magonia Supplement 39, July 2002

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