Ideas may be bulletproof, but nobody’s tried plasma rifles

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Adam Riggio
    August 5, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    Your comments about T'Pring's role in the story bring up a potentially fascinating idea that I'm sad wasn't explored in more detail in Star Trek. We can understand her activity as a female exercising her power to control who her mates are. And T'Pau is a figure of immense respect, charisma, and awe. It would have been wonderful if Vulcan culture had evolved with the franchise so that, as we learned more detail about it, Vulcans were depicted as explicitly matriarchal. That kind of path had a lot of potential that I don't think was ever followed through.


  2. Josh Marsfelder
    August 5, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    On the one had I want to concur wholeheartedly with you, but on the other hand I remember the one time Star Trek actually did do a matriarchal society and it made something of an ugly mess of it. One would hope that wouldn't happen in this instance given as it's the Vulcans, but I remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea of Trek attempting to do anything especially intelligent and nuanced with women until the Michael Piller era.


  3. BerserkRL
    December 14, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    the implication in “Amok Time” is that sexual urges, and according to the episode's internal logic and the reading we've been building, sexuality itself, is something unique to male Vulcans. This gets back to one of the oldest tricks in the patriarchy playboook, the idea all women are by definition passive and asexual

    Enterprise will later try to correct this. The results are not good.


  4. Josh Marsfelder
    December 15, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    I know. I still have nightmares about "Bounty".

    Not that this was at all necessary, of course. D.C. Fontana corrected this little oversight later on in the season.


  5. unnoun
    May 31, 2015 @ 1:32 am

    Sexuality is something that’s an integral part of what it means to be human(oid), and denying that is, if not actively suicidal, at the very least counterproductive and unhealthy.

    You might want to consider rewording that at some point.

    Asexual people are a thing.


  6. Josh Marsfelder
    May 31, 2015 @ 12:20 pm

    "Everyone has a sexual side, even if for some that sexual side is 'null and void'" is a thing I said at one point.


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