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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. Doug Drexler
    March 25, 2014 @ 6:51 am

    Josh! What a terrific article… except for one thing! Shoot me an E-mail:


  2. Doug Drexler
    March 25, 2014 @ 6:55 am

    By the way… have you seen Star Trek Continues? IMO it outstrips all fan TOS to date.


  3. Josh Marsfelder
    March 25, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

    Well, now I feel really silly and embarrassed knowing that actual creative personnel are reading my strange little Star Trek blog. Still, I'm heartened you (mostly) enjoyed my look at these stories, and thanks for dropping by!

    I'm certainly aware of Star Trek Continues: I haven't watched it yet because there just aren't enough episodes made yet for me to do a comprehensive look at the show and do it justice, but I plan to cover it as part of a series of bonus essays for the book version of this project.


  4. BerserkRL
    April 3, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

    You seem to be doing comics, but not the ten or so books that came out in the 1970s, which were nearly all the Star Trek we had. Is there a reason for that?


  5. Josh Marsfelder
    April 4, 2014 @ 8:24 am

    Short answer is that this guy already did the 1970s tie-in books, and I have nothing to add:

    Longer answer is because of my positionality and views on what this project is. Yes, if this blog was a definitive, chronological history of Star Trek the tie-in novels would absolutely be something I'd want to cover. But that's not what Vaka Rangi is.

    I'm interested in very specific themes and motifs here, and as far as that relates to the decisions about what spin-off material to cover, my experience has been shaped considerably more by comics and fanfiction than by tie-in novels, so that's what I prefer to focus on.

    Also, you touched on the nut of it yourself when you said the books were "…nearly all the Star Trek we had". See, I'm not convinced that's actually the case: They were certainly the most well-known amongst a certain subset of fandom, but the mere existence of stuff like the Gold Key series and the zine scene seems to disprove that claim to me.

    Put another way, the very fact the tie-in novels are seen as the definitive, authorized, heir apparent to Star Trek is what makes me less willing to cover them. It's an official history, and I hate official histories. I embrace the marginal perspective wherever and whenever possible.

    And I mean it's not like I'm ignoring them completely: There are a few stories from the Pocket line I want to look at in the 1980s and 1990s. But I'm doing something manifestly different with this specific period of Star Trek history: I'm attempting to construct an elaborate narrative about potentialities and the counter-factual, and that draws my attention to different things.

    Also, in terms of the particular stories I cover in this post, the reason I looked at them is pretty much mainly because the nice gentleman above was associated with them.


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