If you want an image of the future as we desire it, imagine a boot stamping on Jonathan Jones’ face… forever

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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. Nicholas Tosoni
    October 29, 2014 @ 6:13 am

    Um…"STARFEET Command?"


  2. Josh Marsfelder
    October 29, 2014 @ 10:37 am

    I appreciate your thoughtful and erudite comment. Surely, writing 6000+ words a week on Star Trek does not excuse me such a grievous and unforgivable error. No matter, of course, that spellcheck does not recognise "Starfleet" as is or the fact I need to revise all of these essays anyway.


  3. Dustin
    October 29, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

    "unthinking, blinkered, self-absorbed, monolithic collective of zombified capitalists"

    If we've learned at least one thing about 24th Century humanity and the Federation, it's that they absolutely find capitalism repulsive. So this bit doesn't make any sense.


  4. Josh Marsfelder
    October 30, 2014 @ 11:50 am

    It's a consequence of the paradox/catch-22 Star Trek: The Next Generation faces. Yes, these are the ideals the 24th Century is supposed to represent. But those ideals are still wedded to a series of world-building concepts that come straightforwardly from militaristic science fiction and are completely incompatible with them. Gene Roddenberry's commitment to the United States-esque Federation puts him at odds with the utopian ideals his show is trying to convey elsewhere.

    You can't have true generative freedom the way Star Trek wants under the model of government it glorifies. Western capitalism's ultimate destiny is the Borg, and Star Trek will have to come to terms with that if it wants to continue.


  5. K. Jones
    October 30, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

    I wonder if there's something to be said for the coming to terms with that we've seen out of a lot of the non-canon, but "near" canon post-24th Century stories from the books or video-games.

    It seems to me that in almost all of them you get a sort of specific kind of shuffling that's not randomly selected based on writers' favorites – but typically what we see is the incorporation of an enemy – The Romulans. Rather than let them stand as their own unique culture, they always seem to be the potential ultimate endgame of "Federation Diplomacy". Peace treaties developing into curt friendship developing into straight up Reunification. But bringing in the Romulans would only really dramatically speed up the timeline for Federation Borgification, wouldn't it? Certainly the whole UFP would become "much more Starfleet" – much more militaristic in its operations.

    Conversely a lot of post-DS9/VOY writing balances "alliances with old enemies" with "schism at the heart of the Federation". It's the novel series that has the huge crux of Andorian secession from the Federation Charter, right? The equivalent and opposite of the Vulcans, with their emotional high ground rather than a logical one … you could almost map the counterforces of stifling restraint versus unbridled passion onto the soul of the Federation's war with itself.

    Consumption and seeking out new resources and spreading your influence across the galaxy is logical. But is it ethical? That's the question Q asked, too.


  6. Daru
    November 19, 2014 @ 11:43 pm

    Yes hand's down I would have so preferred now to see the episode play out as having the conspiracy be about Starfleet Command seeking more control, rather than an alien threat. As a kid I was very surprised by the story – oh and how Tasha would have worked here is she'd been given the chance!


  7. TommyR01D
    October 2, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

    It’s odd: most other commentators see the Borg representing communism.


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