The Wrath of Khan and Classic Literature.
Nicholas Meyer, upon putting his stamp on the Star Trek universe with The Wrath of Khan, introduced classical human literature to the franchise in a way never before seen. Khan Noonien Singh's bookshelf on the wreckage of the SS Botany Bay displayed a host of significant texts—from Shakespeare to Milton—which spoke to his grandiose fate as one of the galaxy's most dangerous villains.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Tony Black delve into the literature that Meyer brought to his first Star Trek film, focusing heavily on Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and Melville's Moby-Dick, discussing how they connect with and reflect Khan and his nemesis: Admiral James T. Kirk. Along the way, it's Tony's turn to recount his Star Trek origin story.
Tony's Star Trek Journey (00:02:25)
What do books represent? (00:13:18)
A Tale of Two Cities (00:21:07)
Nick Meyer's Bookshelf (00:42:47)
Paradise Lost (00:52:37)
King Lear (01:01:24)
Final Thoughts (01:06:55)
Duncan Barrett and Tony Black
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Pandemics in Star Trek. We look at disease outbreaks on Federation worlds and beyond in relation to real-world plagues and pandemics, such as the Black Death to HIV.
Religion in Star Trek. We consider how the franchise’s presentation of faith and religious practice has changed over the course of half a century, and how our own beliefs have impacted our viewing.
Schooling in Star Trek. For Starfleet officers whose families have joined them in space, providing a well-rounded education can be a challenge. We take a look at how education is handled in Gene Roddenberry’s future.
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.