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)
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.
Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection. We look at some of the inspirations behind the script of the third TNG film, including Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and discuss Piller’s book Fade In.
The British Isles in Star Trek. We discuss the portrayal of our homelands over a few synthales at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and examine real-world independence movements and the effects of transporters on national identity.
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.