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The Meaning of Star Trek (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 9. Juni 1997

3.3 von 5 Sternen 7 Kundenrezensionen

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"Richards' analysis is excellent and covers everything from theology to the emphasis on individualism that lies at the very heart of the Star Trek universe."
--Kirkus Reviews


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Synopsis

Unique among the throng of books on the ever-popular TV series, a scholarly study places the series in the context of literary and social history, anthropology, religion, and myth, exploring the significance and lineage of its stories. 100,000 first printing. $100,000 ad/promo.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Thomas Richards neither flaunts nor abandons his academic training in his book, 'The Meaning of Star Trek.' Rather, what he is presenting is a thesis paper for popular consumption, much like Stephen Hawkins presented physics in his, 'A History of Time & Space.' Mr. Richards goes to great lengths to bury what could be tedious references within his text while presenting enough detail to emphasize his essential points. He is careful to reacquaint the casual Star Trek admirer with information before he goes on to underscore his conclusions. Unfortunately, in his effort to please so broad an audience he disappoints the academian, draws criticism from Star Trek aficionados, and irritates well informed followers of the overall scr-fi genre.
For my taste, there are three major flaws. The first is redundancy for the purpose of emphasis and clarity. Mr. Richards belabors his favorite topics by repeating the same examples from exhaustive perspectives. It is as though he is anticipating criticism and he wants to leave no room for any interpretation but his own. It is of no surprise that not only would this be a technique employed in the presentation of a thesis/paper for academic review, but is is also a device found in several of the ST:TNG episodes, "A matter of Perspective," and, 'Measure of a Man,' among others. Like a lawyer, Mr. Richards has points that he does not want us to miss, and he doesn't want us to be able to undermine his conclusions either.
The second flaw is an uncomfortable element of contradiction. For example, Mr. Richards states, '... most characters do not actually develop over time.'(pg.68) But he concludes the segement with, '... experience... turns out to be a strengthing factor in the development of the character.'(pg.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The thing that struck me most about this book is how much it reminded me of how my friends and I used to write in High School. We'd have some topic to go over, usually one we didn't care about, and we'd just put out any old thing to just get credit. The Meaning of Star Trek almost seems like that.
The biggest problem that I have with the book is that it is so selective in terms of the material it looks at when attempting to prove a point. On the whole, I believe the author discusses about ten to fifteen episodes in depth, and mentions another 10-15. This is from a series of shows that have literally hundreds of episodes to choose from. He just selects the episodes that let him prove his point and ignores all the rest, even if they do not agree with the point he is making.
He does put a perspective on the Star Trek universe that was new and different from my own thought and what I've read in other books, but his perspective is very biased. It almost seems like he decided beforehand that he wanted to say some things were true of Star Trek and then only focused on those episodes that would specifically prove his point, rather than examining the serieses in detail and drawing conclusions based on the whole picture.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Anyone who's not a devoted fan of Star Trek, particularly of its Next Generation incarnation, is likely to find this book incomprehensible. They're also unlikely to buy it in the first place. Richards does ST the honor of taking it seriously, and he offers steady supply of nifty interpretations of what it has to say about life, the universe, and everything. His glosses of individual episodes are superb, and he's led me to rethink several of my favorites. This is literary scholarship written for a literate nonspecialist audience . . . and good scholarship at that.
Well, mostly good.
As noted elsewhere, Richards purports to cover the entire ST mythos, but focuses 80% of his major arguments on the "Next Generation" series. This weakens some of his interpretations, which fit TNG better than the mythos as a whole. The theatrical movies get virtually no coverage, again glossing over some troublesome diversity of data.
Richards fares considerably worse when he ventures outside of ST. His perceptions of Science Fiction as a genre are based on "Star Wars," Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy," Herbert's "Dune," and some passing references to Verne and Wells. His entire reading in SF history and criticism seems to have been Brian Aldiss's brilliant but notoriously polemical 1973 history "Billion Year Spree."
Virtually every generalization Richards makes about SF as a genre is, to be charitable, in dire need of qualification. Trek fans unfamiliar with the genre should *not* take them at face value. Trek fans familiar with the genre should brace themselves. Profane exclamations of disbelief are optional.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I have no idea why "The Meaning of Star Trek" is also published as "Star Trek in Myth and Legend." They look like two books from the same series, and if a buyer isn't careful, he is liable to bring home two copies of the same thing. Could this be another ploy to cash in on the Star Trek phenomenon? It really passes off as two distinct books.

Within the front and back cover of the book are inconsistencies which are bothersome. Some supposed facts are actually misconceptions posing as truth. Gene Roddenberry did NOT invent the Prime Directive as Mr. Richards assumes. Gene Coon deserves the credit. The creator of the Foundation series is Isaac Asimov, not Azimov.

Petty details aside, I find the attempt to analyze the Star Trek mythos a noble one. The author is seeking legitimacy for a phenomenon that has long been ignored by the literary world. It would do good, though, if the author were to immerse himself more deeply into the culture that surrounds Star Trek. A wealth of research on Star Trek history exists (most of them available in Amazon, thank you very much) and it would do well for the author to exhaust the entire literature of canon books (not the apocryphal novels) for any future works.
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