Review of Malley’s Excavating the Future: Archaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television



Review of Excavating the Future: Archaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television by Shawn Malley

Pedro Ponce

Shawn Malley. Excavating the Future: Archaeology and Geopolitics in Contemporary North American Science Fiction Film and Television. Liverpool University Press, 2018. Hardcover. 232 pp. $120. ISBN 9781786941190.


In the epilogue to Excavating the Future, Shawn Malley’s provocative and fastidiously researched monograph on archaeological motifs in several contemporary science fiction mainstays, the author updates us on the war on terror, a central backdrop to the fictional narratives he has scrutinized in the preceding chapters: “As I compose this on St. Patrick’s Day of 2017, Iraqi and coalition forces are poised to recapture the city of Mosul, the last major ISIS stronghold in northeastern Iraq” (191). Malley’s self-reflexive envoi is as striking for what it omits as for what it remarks; given his engagement with the geopolitical truths obscured by the hunt for authentic artifacts, it’s surprising that he would not invoke the ongoing contest over truth and authenticity taking place just across the border from his academic post in Quebec. 

As I compose this review, on the other side of the Canadian border, we have just buried the 41st U.S. president, amidst a deluge of favorable comparisons to the 45th. Before nostalgia for the first and second Bush administrations has a chance to overtake us, however, we would do well to follow Malley’s scholarly trajectory: deriving a perspective on the present by assiduous scrutiny of the framing past. 

Before Malley gets to the second Bush administration, his study takes us to the cradle of civilization, via the history and mythology surrounding Babylon. The human heritage associated with the ancient city and its Mesopotamian environs, as well as the threat to this heritage presented by the war on terror, implicates the stakes of preserving its artifacts for posterity. But this stewardship, a significant part of the U.S. mission after 9/11, is not without strategic value in the larger conflict between West and East. Malley unearths telling parallels between the war and preservation efforts mounted around the second Gulf invasion. Just as the Department of Defense issued a deck of cards featuring images of Iraqi “most wanted” in 2003, four years later, DOD’s “Legacy Resource Management Program issued its own deck of cards, this time representing archaeological sites in Iraq and Afghanistan [featuring] instructive slogans about the archaeologically rich terrain upon which soldiers are fighting and to which they should feel historically and culturally connected” (36). 

Even more suggestive than the links between soldiering and stewardship in the theater of war are their contemporaneous representation in SF film and television. Central to this representation is the pursuit of ancient artifacts that do much more than drive the plot, according to Malley’s introduction: “as a source of objectified temporality in SF, archaeology is a critical tool for unearthing the contradictions and fissures of political discourse displaced into imagined futures” (3), as well as “an important critical medium for teasing out ideological subtextures of historical representation within the genre” (7).

Malley culls from several fan favorites to make his points: Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007), Smallville (2001-2011), and the rebooted version of Battlestar Galactica (2004-09). Other choices might seem more questionable—the SyFy channel original film Manticore (2005), the second installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers reboot (2007), the pseudo-documentary series Ancient Aliens (2009- ), and Ridley Scott’s disappointing Alien prequel Prometheus (2012). More often than not, though, Malley makes these and other excavations of the future richer through his rigorous historical and theoretical framing. The titular monster in Manticore is unleashed by Iraqi insurgents in possession of a looted magic amulet. More than a topical creature feature, the film exposes the uncomfortable synergies between military occupation and the media, between hearts and minds and shock and awe: “Sanitizing the archaeological past of its association with dictatorship, the SF telefilm implicitly exonerates the destructive effects of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the West’s invention of WMDs. Like the Iraqi extras in this film, the material remains of Mesopotamia play bit parts in cultural spectacles of propriety and control” (42). Malley observes a similar dynamic at work in Transformers 2, in which director Bay “repositions archaeological ‘landmarks’ separated by hundreds of kilometres into a single diegetic field” to represent a battle scene around the Great Pyramid at Giza (66). This aesthetic displacement is just another form of cinematic violence that resonates with the structural violence obscured by the spectacle. Observes Malley, “Tongue-clacking goat herders, whooping Bedouins with their camels, and ubiquitous squawking chickens are atmospheric and anachronistic extensions of the pyramid, a monolithic Orientalist chronotopic threshold waiting activation by [hero] Sam [Witwicky], the Autobots, and the U.S. military” (67).

Malley’s reading of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) invites comparisons between 9/11 and its cataclysmic precursor in the American mind: the mushroom cloud. Malley discerns this parallel when archaeologist Jones witnesses a nuclear test in Nevada:

If in the moment the audience confuses Jones staring in awe at the detonation with our mediated ground-level views of the towers collapsing in inverted mushroom clouds, the ghostly apparition of the crystal skull is a crystal ball for a post-9/11 America experiencing resurgent Cold War anxieties in the form of nuclear brinksmanship with terrorist states like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea.

101

The rebooted BSG and Prometheus gain depth, if not complete coherence, from Malley’s cybernetic reading. In the former, the Galactica itself is an artifact which preserves what remains of humanity after Cylons attack. The search for Earth that galvanizes the narrative is replete with excavations for other artifacts that serve as guides, not just to a new home planet, but to the intertwined destinies of humans and the enemy cyborgs they created. “In BSG,” notes Malley, “archaeological sites are places of assembly, contestation and ultimately critical reflection on the dangerous antagonisms and imperial politics that have brought humanity to the brink of extinction” (147). And by going into the intertextuality between Prometheus and the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia (the archaeological classic that the cyborg David watches avidly as the crew of Prometheus sleeps), Malley makes a strong case that the film’s real plot is not about the human past but the cyborg future: “If Prometheus ultimately fails to break radically from the parasite of franchise mythology, the film does gesture towards a cyborg subjectivity beyond recycled myths of biological or mechanical reproduction” (185), adding that “[h]aving given birth to an alien life form herself, [Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, the sole human survivor at the film’s conclusion] is also a cyborg, suggesting a co-evolutionary future alongside [David] her artificial companion” (188).

Invoking such heavy-hitters as Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, and Homi Bhabha, Excavating the Future is best for scholars or advanced students already acquainted with a fair amount of theory. Nevertheless, Malley maps rich territory at the intersection of literature, media studies, history, and geopolitics.

Review of Lee’s Exploring Picard’s Galaxy: Essays on Star Trek: The Next Generation



Review of Exploring Picard’s Galaxy: Essays on Star Trek: The Next Generation edited by Peter W. Lee

Todd L. Sformo

Peter W. Lee, editor. Exploring Picard’s Galaxy: Essays on Star Trek: The Next Generation. McFarland, 2018. Paperback. 262 pp. $39.95. ISBN 9781476666617.


While I don’t recall much about an essay I read in the 1990s on Gilligan’s Island, I do recall one line: “linguistically speaking, Gilligan owns the island.” So when I came across the title Exploring Picard’s Galaxy, ownership of the galaxy sprang to mind. In a way, the 15 essays in this book have something to do with ownership, not of the galaxy, of course, but of interpreting that unique SF state of being: humanity’s historical future. According to P.W. Lee’s Introduction, this volume commemorates the 30th anniversary of The Next Generation (TNG) and is the first book to “solely” employ TNG as a “lens” (2) on issues ranging from government to multiculturalism (Part I), identity to gender (Part II), and martial arts to music and history itself (Part III). Since SF is a comparative argument on human progress, each essay considers the historical future as baseline, assessing whether both the real present and the TNG galaxy live up to ideals 24th century human progress. 

As comparative argument, the essays tacitly grant that TNG represents the progress a “fantasized humanity has made” (64, Achouche. Also see the chapters by Olaf Meuther and by Justin Ream and Alexander Lee), but the authors most often see a lack of advancement, with the culprit being the imposition of 20th century values upon the 24th century; hence, all three parts of the book, to varying extents, consider the Federation and its enlightened values as a starting point for comparisons with recent history, including the Cold War (Anh T. Tran), the Reagan Era (Simon Ledder, et al.; Bruce E. Drushel), and the economics of network TV (Katharina Thalmann). 

The essays, especially in Part I, find that the socio-political climate of the 1980’s and early 1990’s is reflected in the narrative and characters but also highlight differences. Alex Burston-Chorowicz points out Picard’s inconsistency when responding to other cultures, sometimes by non-involvement and other times with a more colonial attitude, perhaps informed by U.S. foreign policy during the Reagan Era. The episode “The Neutral Zone,” on the other hand, “reinvent[s]” (16) the Cold War, contrary to real world events. Alexander Simmeth shows “the future is not always ‘better’ than the past” (241) when focusing on “Journey’s End.” Here, the Federation orders Picard to resettle Native American descendants. Larry A. Grant’s essay on the Prime Directive (PD) questions its “unenlightened form of sovereignty” (29) that has a close association between real world concepts of national sovereignty and unlawful intervention, mentioning the delayed response to the genocide in Rwanda. While no direct connection is made between Rwanda and TNG, Grant judges that blind adherence to the PD is not the solution. Tran focuses on a single topic—the policing of civil society by the FBI, noting similarities to the Tal Shiar and Deep Space Nine’s Section 31. In three separate essays, Erin C. Callahan, P.W. Lee, and Jared Miracle discuss changes made to Yar’s character leading to her “unnecessary feminization” (173). Citing interviews with Denise Crosby and others as primary evidence, these essays in general describe the transformation of Yar as due to interference by the network, imposing conservative Reagan Era values in the hopes of higher ratings. 

In Part II, a few authors begin their comparative analysis with a theoretical approach. Ledder, et al. examine “biopolitics” via Foucault, noting that TNG allows for heterogeneity in race and abilities, contrasting to more culturally homogeneous, and therefore, restrictive, societies such as Klingons, but concluding that “TNG produces an ambivalent position” (109). Ream and A. Lee cite Hegel to make the case of TNG accepting Others by subsuming them under the rubric of a “utopia of bureaucracy” (75). Joul Smith considers previous interpretations of Troi as stereotypes and reinterprets the “Troi Effect” as a positive sign of mental health awareness in comparison to other media depictions of mental health. Thalmann contrasts Kirk and Picard, noting the latter’s heroism as multi-dimensional, more vulnerable, cut from a more fatherly, diplomatic cloth than Kirk’s. This essay then questions the growth of the “Action Picard” in the ST movies. Technological advance is taken up by Meuther in relation to rights and the definition of life within the patriarchal federation and matriarchal Borg. Drushel uses the historical association between villainy and gender to examine the behavior of particular characters, concluding there is insufficient evidence to make this connection and stating, “[t]o be fair, one must acknowledge that the failure of the producers of [TNG] to populate the cast with identifiable lesbian or gay characters has many plausible justifications” (162). I was left with the impression of a scientific paper acknowledging the lack of statistical significance to reject the null hypothesis. 

Part III of the book differs from I and II in that it attempts to trace the 24th century’s use of 20th and 21st century’s humanities and history. Miracle’s martial arts essay emphasizes the bat’leth developed by Dan Curry and the coinciding rise in mixed martial arts in Ultimate Fighting Championships in relation to TNG’s extended portrayal of Klingon martial arts. Tom Zlabinger’s chapter highlights the personal growth of Picard and Data as explorers of the physical and the ephemeral through music making. Simmeth analyzes the “appropriation of history” (245) in TNG, including a critique of capitalism as narrative technique for exploring human progress. 

While the essays raise interesting questions about science fiction and society, I have two concerns that distract from the book: 1) the promise of wide-ranging scholarship is sometimes unfulfilled, primarily due to the use of broad historical periods and nominally mentioning philosophical concepts without adequate critical attention; 2) some essays are slow to get to their main point, listing peripheral details and summarizing characters or incidents without leading to insightful analysis. Overall, however, the essays interestingly teeter on a fulcrum of inferential history that swings between humanity’s conjectural future and ownership of our flawed, recent past. When the inferred future is unrealized in the show, it is due to contemporary norms and values being imposed upon it. These essays highlight our imperfect selves in TNG, revealing the present values we must struggle with to come closer to the ideal.

Review of Derry and Lyden’s The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars



Review of The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars edited by Ken Derry and John C. Lyden

Jessica Stanley

Ken Derry and John C. Lyden, editors. The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars. Cascade Books, 2018. Paperback. 186 pp. ISBN 9781532619731.


The Myth Awakens: Canon, Conservatism, and Fan Reception of Star Wars collects chapters that explore fan receptions of the Star Wars saga, focusing primarily on Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015). While the title suggests discussions of conservatism, most chapters focus on close readings and fan reception of Star Wars in a concise, easy-to-digest manner. The result is a diverse and engaging collection that would be of interest to both scholars and students interested in science fiction or fandom.

The introduction, written by editor Ken Derry, positions Star Wars within the context of religious studies and myth, and makes a case for why scholars may want to consider the franchise as a means of “lowering the stakes” when discussing controversial issues like violence, good/evil, and morality (9). 

The first two chapters of the book both make use of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. In Chapter 1, “The More Things Change: Historical and Political Context and The Force Awakens,” John C. Lyden argues that while A New Hope (1977) and The Force Awakens are, at their core, very similar films, the way fans receive them is vastly different due to changes in society and politics. Lyden explains that both liberals and conservatives read their own politics and current events into A New Hope, and that while the same may be true of The Force Awakens, its moral ambiguity points to a larger shift in political climate. 

Chapter 2, “The Brightest Shadow: From Fighting Darkness to Seeking It,” by Lindsey Macumber, explores Darth Vader and Kylo Ren in terms of their relationship to Campbell’s shadow archetype. In one of the clearest and most concise chapters, Macumber provides a definition of the shadow archetype and its function in myth, arguing that confronting the shadow is a necessary part of growth for characters and viewers. The author explains that Darth Vader once served this purpose, but that in The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren fails to fit the archetype. Macumber ends the chapter by connecting Ren to current culture, noting that his arc provides an opportunity for audiences to navigate contemporary situations “where the evil of […] real life villains is not the result of principle or conviction, but of reactionary impulsivity” (45).

The next two chapters both address gender and female representation in Star Wars. One of the standout chapters, “’Leia the Hutt Slayer’ and ‘Rey the Next Generation Badass Boss Bitch’: Heroism, Gender, and Fan Appreciation,” argues that calling Rey the first female hero in Star Wars discounts Leia’s contributions to the saga. Chris Klassen uses Campbell’s definition of heroism and Valerie Estelle Frankel’s “heroine’s journey” as the framework to analyze Rey and Leia’s contributions to the Star Wars narrative. She argues that Rey and Leia are both heroes in different ways, with Rey representing Campbell’s hero and Leia representing Frankel’s. Rey follows a journey similar to Luke’s, positioning her both as a role-model and a target for derision from fans who believe she should not be placed in the same role as male characters. Leia wields a different kind of power through her leadership and political acumen, positioning her closer to Frankel’s Great Mother figure. Both characters, Klassen argues, serve to broaden the definition of heroism. Chapter 4, “I’ve Heard That Somewhere Before: The Myth-Making Implications of Han and Leia’s Theme,” by Kutter Callaway, analyzes the use of music in The Force Awakens, focusing on the leitmotif of “Han and Leia’s Theme.” The chapter addresses the complicated function of gender in Star Wars, and Callaway asserts that the franchise has always been as much, if not more, about the women characters than the men. Callaway argues that the use of the “Han and Leia Theme” in the controversial The Force Awakens hug scene between Leia and Rey helps to shift the franchise in that direction.

The fifth and sixth chapters focus on race in the Star Wars saga and the Expanded Universe. Chapter 5, “The Racism Awakens,” attempts to spark a dialogue about racism in Star Wars. Daniel White Hodge and Joseph Boston begin the chapter by summarizing the complicated relationship between Hollywood and race, defining the Black character tropes most common in films, and then applying them to Finn in The Force Awakens. According to Hodge and Boston, on the surface, Finn’s character represents a positive change in the Star Wars franchise, but upon examination, Finn and other Black characters fall into several of the Black character tropes and are products of hyper-tokenization. The authors contend that the lack of representation in Star Wars, paired with the racially charged fan response to characters like Finn, reveal deep issues within the franchise. Chapter 6, “Do or Do Not: There is No Try: Race, Rhetoric, and Diversity in the Star Wars Universe,” compares identity and representation of race in The Force Awakens and the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Joshua Call explores Finn’s portrayal, noting similar issues of agency and tokenization as the previous chapter. He juxtaposes these issues with the “normalization of diversity” in the game Knights of the Old Republic, arguing that the games provide a space for fans to see themselves in the Star Wars universe (102).

The final three chapters center on canon and fan communities. Chapter 7, “Ritual, Repetition, and the Responsibility of Relaying the Myth,” focuses on George Lucas’s complicated relationship with his films and their fans. Justin Mullis defines fans as “those who consume media and who are actively and willingly consumed by it,” and explains that the Star Wars fandom is not the first to conflict with the creators (109). He charts Lucas’s many revisions of the films which led to his rejection by fans and asserts that part of the success of The Force Awakens was due to the sense of comfort and familiarity created by its similarities to the original film. 

Chapter 8, “Memory, History, and Forgetting in Star Wars Fandom,” focuses on the collapse of the Expanded Universe after Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise and George Lucas’s multiple film revisions. Using theories from the “first generation of fan studies,” Syed Adnan Hussain argues that when Lucas or Disney imposed new rules on the canon, rather than erasing part of the fandom’s collective memory, the moves created splinter factions, not unlike those that arise in major religions (136). Hussain asserts that understanding these various traditions of fandom is essential to truly understanding Star Wars fandom. 

In Chapter 9, “The Ion Canon Will Fire Several Shots to Make Sure Any Enemy Ships Will be Out of Your Flight Path: Canonization, Tribal Theologians, and Imaginary World Building,” Kenneth Mackendrick argues that Star Wars provides a means of understanding canonization in a religious context. He argues that canonization relies on the interpretation of an authoritative interpreter and then allows for world building through cooperation by fans. 

As an edited collection, The Myth Awakens flows together seamlessly thanks to the chapter organization, overlap in critical approaches, and overall tone. The approaches to gender, race, and fandom can easily be applied to topics outside of Star Wars, making this an excellent collection for emerging scholars and university libraries.

Review of Rabitch, et al.’s Set Phasers to Teach!



Review of Set Phasers to Teach! Star Trek in Research and Teaching edited by Stefan Rabitsch, Martin Gabriel, Wilfried Elmenreich, and John N.A. Brown

Bruce Lindsley Rockwood

Stefan Rabitsch, Martin Gabriel, Wilfried Elmenreich, and John N.A. Brown, editors. Set Phasers to Teach! Star Trek in Research and Teaching. Springer, 2018. Paperback, 236 pages, $39.99. ISBN 9783319737751.


The four co-editors of Set Phasers to Teach include three Austrian academics specializing in American Studies, History, and Computer Science, respectively, and one independent scholar and consultant (John N. A. Brown) specializing in UX (User) Research. All appear to be enthusiastic supporters of the feedback between Star Trek in all its iterations and the scientific and academic communities. This enthusiasm is reflected in the heading of their Preface: “‘Engage!’ Science Fiction and Science Inspire Each Other and Move Society Forward” (ix). Their fifteen contributors lay out in fifteen distinct and concise essays the variety of ways in which specific episodes, events and characters, and the overall themes and trajectory of the franchise facilitate this positive feedback loop.

The format and layout for each essay in the book includes original illustrative cartoons highlighting the theme of each essay, an abstract with keywords, a brief “Editors Log” summarizing the thesis of the essay, and illustrative quotations from specific episodes of one or more Star Trek episodes. Essays are broken down with informative subtitles, and contain Works Cited (Endnotes) and sometimes additional Recommended Readings and in-text footnotes. 

The appendices are comprehensive lists of every Star Trek episode (through Discovery, Season 1) and film, listing them by Season, Episode, Title, Stardate, Director, Credited Writers, and Original air date, all derived from Wikipedia and the Memory Alpha Wiki. This information will enable a reader interested in following up specific themes and episodes mentioned in the essays to track them down and facilitate streaming them (or excerpts) for use in teaching and research.

The editors and authors make good use of available primary sources (the episodes and films) as well as commentary by contributors to their creation, and scientists, astronauts, and others who have commented upon the influence of Star Trek on their own lives and work. The emphasis is on the power of narrative to, as they quote Gene Rodenberry remarking in the Introduction to Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, “show humans as we really are. We are capable of extraordinary things” (xi).

The essays cover a wide range of topics, including using Star Trek to teach literature by highlighting its frequent uses of and references to classical literature, and the ways episodes can be used to bring out themes such as self-sacrifice, revenge, and pride (Elizabeth B. Hardy, at 9). Erin K. Horáková provides an illuminating essay and critique of how the series engages “with Post-war American Jewish Identity” (13-27). Stefan Rabitsch explores the role of the original series in translating American culture to tell “modern morality plays” in the historical period of the Cold War when America was replacing Britain in a “benevolent” role as “protector and defender of the western world” (29-43). He notes, “Even though the original run ended in 1969, the Star Trek formula was such that it could easily be adapted to changing contexts by virtue of the frontier’s inherent metaphorical characteristics while supported by a stable utopian world of scientific progress and discovery” (39).

“How to Name a Starship: Starfleet between Anglo-American Bias and the Ideals of Humanism,” by Martin Gabriel (43-50), argues that the dominance of Anglophone names of Starships “shows us that the ethnocentric traditions of the twentieth century, maybe even an imperialist approach to cultural history, were vivid throughout the production of the franchise” (49). 

“The Computer of the Twenty-Third Century: Real-World HCI Based on Star Trek,” by Gerhard Leitner and John N. A. Brown (51- 61), explores how the Human-Computer Interface (HCI) was portrayed in the original series, how it inspired further developments, and what remains to be done to address reliability, security and privacy concerns, and ease of use, concluding “despite the many examples of advanced HCI that already exist in the home, we are still very far from the twenty-third century. . . That said, one of the next steps has already been taken. It is now possible to have reliable and secure voice-based interaction that seems natural and intuitive to the user, provided designers and developers are willing to take the time needed to build it” (60). In the context of the challenge to aircraft safety posed by the recent crashes of the Boeing 737 Max attributed at least in part to software updates, loss of pilot control over aircraft computer systems, and training failures, this essay is a particularly interesting contribution to the collection.

Other essays explore the energy system that propels the Enterprise and other Starships, comparing the required power to the available power on Earth itself (63-70); the relationship of Starfleet to pre-modern societies and the role of the prime directive (71-81); and the way Star Trek has inspired innovations in science and technology, citing the 2017 Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize and the close relationship of the franchise to NASA (83-93). Carey Millsap-Spears presents an exploration of the use of Star Trek in teaching rhetoric and process writing while addressing the concerns and issues facing the LGBTQ+ Community in the context of a college composition course, developing research and critical thinking skills (95-105).

Additional essays address “Using the Borg to Teach Collective Computing Systems” (107-115); “Telepathic Pathology in Star Trek” (117-124); and an intriguing proposal for a better designed Video Game based on Star Trek after an assessment and critique of the games previously released since 2000 (125-135). Vivian Fumiko Chin presents a thorough review of the critical literature and interesting discussion of “Cognitive Science and Ways of Thinking About Narrative, Theory of Mind, and Difference” that explores the use of examples from Star Trek to introduce students to these concepts and ways of thinking about empathy and respect for difference, using Spock’s mind meld with the Horta in the original series (TOS) episode “The Devil in the Dark” as one example (1371-47).

In “La Forge’s VISOR and the Pictures in Our Heads,” Nathaniel Bassett gives a review of the critical literature and an explanation of the role of media studies and how socio-technical systems help mediate our experiences (149-160). In a concluding essay, John N. A. Brown discusses anthropology-based computing (ABC), cognitive bias, and the use of Star Trek to teach about scientific thinking (161-172). He observes, “A scientific thinker separates their personal perception of their own self-worth from their faith in what they think they know. They do this by assuming they are wrong and asking others to check their work. . . And that is the purpose of teamwork in Star Trek: using many minds to improve ideas. In this way they show us how to seek new facts and new information; to boldly disprove ideas that everyone has believed before” (171).

Together these essays make an entertaining and rewarding overview of the many ways one can employ Star Trek in teaching and research. They can be deployed at all levels of education, regardless of discipline or areas of expertise. The book is printed on acid free paper, is well designed, and presents its materials in a manner accessible to a general reader while giving guidance for further research to faculty and students alike. It deserves to be widely read.

One omission from my perspective is any discussion of the use of Star Trek in teaching about legal issues, which has been explored on a number of occasions, e.g., Paul Joseph and Sharon Carton, “The Law of the Federation: Images of Law, Lawyers and the Legal System in Star Trek: The Next Generation,” 24 U. Tol. L. Rev, 43 (1992); Michael P. Schartf and Lawrence D. Roberts, “The Interstellar Relations of the Federation: International Law and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,'” 25 U. Tol. L. Rev. 577 (1994); “Law, Literature and Science Fiction: A Symposium,” Bruce L. Rockwood, editor, 13 Legal Studies Forum 267 (1999). Perhaps the editors will bear this in mind if they pursue a follow-up collection, since the subject will continue to attract fans and scholars alike.