The Star Trek Series Analysis

The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Star Trek novels are based on a television series that originally aired between 1966 and 1969. The crew of the starship Enterprise is on a mission for the Federation, an interplanetary alliance, to explore new worlds. It is guided by Captain James T. Kirk; Mr. Spock, a human-Vulcan who is the first officer and the science officer; and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Their orders are obeyed by various other crew members staffing positions in communication (Lieutenant Uhura), engineering (Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), and navigation (Sulu and Pavel Chekov), among others. First names never were given for Uhura, Sulu, and Spock. In each episode, these officers in the Federation’s paramilitary force, Starfleet, face challenges and danger arising from humans, aliens, or nature. Interplanetary travel, and occasionally intergalactic travel, is possible because the “warp drive” produces speeds in excess of the speed of light, and ships can burrow through wormholes in the fabric of conventional space and time. This series often is referred to as “classic Star Trek” and has enjoyed success in syndication. Because it incorporated dozens of scripts by different writers, many types of story lines were included, such as alien civilizations, time travel, interplanetary war, and artificial intelligence.

A large number of people in the television audience became loyal fans, and they were an erudite group. When the original screenplays from the television series were adapted to the novel format between 1967 and 1975, fans avidly bought and read the books. James Blish, a noted science-fiction writer, novelized the screenplays, beginning with Star Trek (1967) and continuing through Star Trek 12 (1977), finished by J. A. Lawrence, Blish’s widow. Another noted writer, Alan Dean Foster, novelized scripts from an animated spin-off that used the framework and characters from classic Star Trek,...

(The entire section is 799 words.)