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Communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation


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About the Book

Star Trek: The Next Generation blended speculative science fiction and space opera in its portrayal of communication. Multiple modes of communication used between characters are presented and the multilevel tapestry of communication in the series is critical in its appeal. This book proposes that these patterns of communication reveal a foundational philosophy of Star Trek (while enticing millions of viewers). These patterns serve both to cause strong empathetic connections with characters and to impel viewers to form relationships with the show, explaining their extreme devotion.

About the Author(s)

Thomas D. Parham, III is executive director of screenwriting at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles County and a Writers Guild of America member with produced television credits.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas D. Parham, III

Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 205
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, biography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7668-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3657-3
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
Launching The Next Generation  1
The Twin Strains of Sci Fi  4

One—Background 7
Science Fiction from Shelley to Star Wars  7
Growth of a Genre  11
Star Trek’s Generations  15
The New Voyages  24
Contextual Communication Theories  32

Two—The Intrapersonal Context 44
Data and Symbolic Interactionism  44
Gender Differences, Worf and Troi  52
Character Realization with Picard, Riker, Crusher and La Forge  59
Summary  63

Three—The Interpersonal Context 65
The ­Parent-Child Dyad  65
The ­Mentor-Protégé Dyad  67
The Friendship Dyad  70
The Romance Dyad  74
Summary  83

Four—The Group and Organizational Contexts 85
The Enterprise Command Crew as a Group  86
Starfleet as an Organization  92
Summary  98

Five—The Mass Communication Context, Part I 100
Intrapersonal Issues: Philosophy of The Next Generation  100
Interpersonal Issues: Parasocial Interactions  112

Six—The Mass Communication Context, Part II 116
Group/Organizational Issues: Fans and Texts  116

Seven—Next Frontiers for Communication Contexts 128
Intrapersonal Issues on Star Trek: Discovery—Michael Burnham and the Four Loves  128
Interpersonal Issues on Star Trek: Voyager  136
Group/Organizational Issues on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—Organizational Dissent and the Maquis  142
Audience/Artifact Relationship with Star Trek: Enterprise—Reception Theory  145
Summary  149

Conclusion 150
Expanding the Universe  150
Trek Tech  151
The True Legacy  153
“The sky’s the limit”  154
Appendix A: List of Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes 157
Appendix B: Research Instrument for Star Trek Survey 160
Chapter Notes 163
Bibliography 169
Index 185