Federation Politics in Star Trek.
The United Federation of Planets is at the heart of Star Trek’s utopian vision of a deeply complex future society, though relatively little interest has been shown in the nuts and bolts of the organization’s democracy and governance. The machinations of the Klingon High Council have taken up more screen time than the workings of the Federation’s own equivalent, and the bulk of our time is spent in the military environment of Starfleet rather than the civilian halls of power.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett are joined by Star Trek novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, a West Wing-inspired novel about the day-to-day business of the Federation president and her staff. They discuss the three Federation presidents shown on screen—in The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country, and Deep Space Nine’s “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost”—and examine how future Star Trek might engage with the democratic and diplomatic process in more detail.
Military and Civilian Authority (00:09:36)
Presidential Qualities (00:17:34)
The Birth of the Federation (00:35:59)
President Ian McKellan (00:43:24)
Tony Black and Duncan Barrett
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Tony Black (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Cast changes in Star Trek. We look at some of the actors who have come and gone in the course of the franchise’s continuing mission.
Stuart Baird and Star Trek: Nemesis. We look at the final film outing for the crew of The Next Generation and how it compares with director Stuart Baird’s two previous films: Executive Decision and U.S. Marshals.
Star Trek and Fan Service. We look at the good, the bad, and the downright incomprehensible episodes geared specifically towards pleasing fans.
Galileo and “Distant Origin.” We look at how the Star Trek: Voyager writers adapted the persecution of Galileo Galilei by the Catholic Church to tell the story of Voth scientist Forra Gegen.
An International Approach to Star Trek. Is the franchise’s vision of the future one that could only have sprung from mid-20th-century America? What might Star Trek have looked like had it emerged from a very different culture?
Michael Eddington, Jean Valjean, and Les Misérables. We look at the role played by Victor Hugo’s classic novel in the DS9 episode “For the Uniform.”
The Human Frontier in Guernsey. Duncan is interviewed live at the Guille-Allès Library to discuss his book Star Trek: The Human Frontier.
Cyrano de Bergerac on Deep Space Nine. We compare “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” with Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano De Bergerac and Steve Martin’s Roxanne.
Gothic Fiction in Star Trek: Voyager. We look at the influences on Captain Janeway’s gothic holonovel, from Jane Eyre to The Turn of the Screw and Rebecca.
Star Trek’s Dark Ages. What does it take to get from today to a utopian future? We take a look at Star Trek’s imagined history and ask if we’ll ever make it to first contact with the Vulcans.