Westworld and the Holodeck.
A state-of-the-art entertainment complex where you can live out your wildest dreams, surrounded by people who look, sound, and even feel like flesh-and-blood. The sixth-season TNG episode “A Fistful of Datas” tips its (cowboy) hat to the 1973 film Westworld, in which a robot gunslinger runs amok in a Wild West fantasyland, terrorizing the hapless players whose fun day out has just turned into a nightmare.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett discuss the connections between Westworld’s amoral theme park and Star Trek’s holodeck. We consider the risks human beings will take for excitement, the moral cost of creating artificial beings for exploitation in games of sex and violence, and whether such complex systems can ever truly be kept under control.
Holographic Rights on Voyager (00:15:23)
Prostitution and Holographic Sex (00:23:34)
Vic Fontaine (00:30:14)
Safety Protocols and Corporate Responsibility (00:33:50)
Hubris Versus Sabotage (00:48:00)
Post-finale Voyager Novels and the Holo-revolution (00:52:00)
Final Thoughts and Recommended Viewing (01:01:00)
Tony Black and Duncan Barrett
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate 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.