Science Fiction as Political Theory

As of 2022, the Star Trek franchise is composed of 11 television series, including hundreds of episodes, 13 movies, and dozens of books, with more of each on the way. Star Wars includes 11 movies, 7 television series (as of this writing), dozens of books, and two theme parks. Stargate, four television series, one web series, three films, and 6 graphic novel series. Dr. Who includes six television series, four movies, dozens of audio dramas, and hundreds of novels. Battlestar Galactica, three television series, hundreds of books, games, and podcasts. This is just scratching the surface; there are many more franchises, each of which has thousands of independent fan-based videos, podcasts, and stories. The list goes on and on. Given this astonishing variety, can we treat any one of these franchises as a coherent whole with a consistent political school of thought analogous to how we would treat any one recognized political theorist? Must the political message from the 1960s produced Star Trek be the same as the 2021 produced Star Trek Discovery?  Certainly, we must expect some difference between two shows produced 50 years apart, given the different environments in which they were produced.  Star Trek, taking its cue from the 1960s zeitgeist, presented a world in which racial differences were minimized while arguing for the need for cooperation between different cultures. Star Trek Discovery, on the other hand, taking its inspiration from the racial unrest of the George Floyd era pointedly presented its main character with an “ethnic hairstyle,” which is congruent with the desire of many African Americans demands to be acknowledged.  Does this change in the style of presentation of questions surrounding racial harmony fundamentally change the underlying message?

The Science Fiction Franchise

More than any other genre, Science Fiction uses the concept of a “shared universe” that its characters exist in, what is often called a franchise. Why does this happen? The answer lies in a combination of commercial and creative areas. From a studio’s standpoint, commercially, there is a great incentive to make the best use of the tools that they have. Movies and television series are costly to produce, and studios have limited budgets, making every production something of a gamble. (Universal Pictures reportedly lost $150 million on Waterworld in the mid-1990s, endangering the viability of the studio).[1]  Nevertheless, a hit franchise can produce millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars for its studio. Capturing an audience is a massive expanse for a studio, so it makes sense to leverage past series as an avenue to capture an audience for a new series. Of course, a new production within an established franchise will start with huge advantages, including a built-in audience for the first few episodes or movies chief among them. Studios even save costs by reusing sets and props between shows. So, we see that studios have solid financial reasons for making multiple shows within one franchise, and also for attempting to make subsequent shows appealing to the original audience.

However, none of this means that a follow-on show in a franchise would be particularly close to the preceding shows from an editorial standpoint, which is what we are interested in.  Why would we expect a franchise to maintain a consistent political or social theme?  The answer lies in the original reason that a Science Fiction show is created and the consistency of the creative crew behind the show(s) when they become a franchise and the culture that grows up around the franchise.  For an example of the first point, we can look to the origins of Star Trek under the direction of Gene Roddenberry.  Gene Roddenberry was what we would today call a “showrunner.”[2]   A showrunner is a person who is recognized as the principal creative force behind a show, he or she may be the originator (who conceived and sold a pilot) or a producer or director, though they will almost always have a principal role in writing and editing scripts.  In fact, Gene Roddenberry said that during the first year of production of Star Trek he stepped away from producing the show to become a “full time story and script rewriter.”[3]  Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek for a reason, he had things that he wanted to say, and Star Trek was his platform.  As he said,

“It troubles me that there are no programs on television, at least none I’ve see, that point out that the world is operating in a very primitive way on the basis of hate.  Our own president hates the Commies, and he and his henchman believe that therefore everything they do to defeat the Commies, whether it’s illegal or not, is justified because of their hate.  The Ayatollah feels the same way, and in Northern Ireland both sides feel the same way, and in India the same things are happening.  If we are ever to turn the corner away from that, we need our artists and poets and entertainers pointing it out.”[4]

Gene Roddenberry intended to point out the mistakes he believed people were making, and as the primary creative force on Star Trek, the show reflected his ideas. The point here is not that he injected any particular political belief into the show (although he certainly did) as much as it is that the show’s point was to act as a platform for his political beliefs. It is only natural that a show is likely to favor the beliefs of its showrunner, whatever those beliefs may happen to be.

However, Star Trek is a complicated franchise composed of many individual movies and series; what relationship do the subsequent works have to Gene Roddenberry’s conception? Are they an extension of what came originally? Are they a restatement or a “reboot”? Does the audience understand Star Trek one way because Gene Roddenberry produced it, and do they then treat a subsequent series differently because it was produced by someone else? Or does the label “Star Trek” supersede any differences? Political theorists are use to treating one author as a unified whole but still can see the evolution of ideas within his or her works. Theorists often speak of a younger Rawls writing A Theory of Justice and then an older Rawls writing the similar, yet different, Political Liberalism, for example. However, is it fair or proper to expect the general public to make these fine distinctions? Michel Foucault looked at similar questions when he examined how he (and others) thought about literature.[5] Foucault questioned the author’s relationship to the works he is credited with; he examined the strange interplay between author and audience and the tendencies to both glamorize and forget the author at the same time. He understood that, on the one hand, society tends to look at authors within “systems of valorization” which causes the author to be, in his words, “individualized.”  One work, whether it be a book or a television series, one author in the public’s mind. Star Trek is Roddenberry and Roddenberry is Star Trek. Yet at the same time, Foucault brought to the fore “the conception of ecriture”, which is societies “profound attempt to elaborate the conditions of any text, both the conditions of its spatial dispersion and its temporal deployment” which when combined with the tendency to “reinscribe in transcendental terms the theological affirmation of” an important texts sacred origin, transposes “the empirical characteristics of an author to a transcendental anonymity.”  To put it another way, rather than just being “individualized,” an author can also be mythologized so that subsequent conceptions of a text are reflected back onto the author in a way that gives the text new and consistent meaning in the eyes of its audience.

Three points Foucault made in his 1969 essay What is an Author? may help us understand these issues.  First, one person, perhaps an author or a showrunner may be an organizing motif behind the various aspects of a work or a franchise.  For example, movies and series after Star Trek include the tagline “Based upon Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry” in order to link themselves to his “myth” even though many of these were created long after his death.  This is often even given prominence over the current producers such, as when Star Trek Deep Space Nine reminds us of this in the opening credits but do not acknowledge the producers until the closing credits.

Deep Space 9 credits

Deep Space 9 credits

This is a type of “appeal to authority” in which subsequent series are blessed by their association with the original source material.  The unstated assumption being that the politics portrayed in the latter series are linked to the politics in the former series.

Foucault’s second point is that the author constitutes a principle of unity. This is an extension of the first point, though since it seemingly depends on the author’s close association with his work, we might say that in Science Fiction, this is limited to an “in-universe” perspective. This is similar to fundamental interpretations of the Bible in which the word choice of translators decides complex doctrinal views, or in a more contemporary setting, issues surrounding interpretations of the law based on the theory of Constitutional Originalism. Just as lawyers before the Supreme Court make their point based on what the text of the constitution says, Star Trek fans argue the politics of the future in Star Trek: The Next Generation based on what was written in Star Trek TOS.

The third and most germane point is that the author serves as an arbiter of ideological purity, though this is primarily in “real life” as opposed to in-universe situations. In this case, the author is a signpost who can guide both the audience and the creative talent to adapt a later series politics to be consistent (in-universe) with an earlier series, or at the very least to give a rational way that this could be so. This is particularly true after the author has died! This is when we see the current creative team become a kind of secondary author who can interpret the ideology of the original author to meet the needs of the current situation. After the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry was in declining health, and he handed creative control to Rick Berman (who had worked with Roddenberry from the start of the show) and to Michael Piller, who began as a writer and producer in the third season. After Roddenberry died in 1991, Paramount Studios gave Berman and Piller complete control through the remainder of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s 7-year run, as well as with Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. How did the creative team handle this? Did they view the franchise as a continuation of a specific political ideology? Rick Berman’s comments strongly point us in this direction, as he was quoted in 1994, “What Gene wanted me to do was basically carry the ball for him, and to try to maintain his vision,” Berman says. “He saw that I had respect for his vision – not because it’s my vision. I don’t believe the 24th century is going to be like Gene Roddenberry believed it to be, that people will be free from poverty and greed. But if you’re going to write and produce for `Star Trek,’ you’ve got to buy into that.”[6] Indeed Berman and Piller’s following series, Deep Space Nine, had many stylistic differences from the preceding series, often being called dark and moody compared to the light and optimistic tone of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the underlying ideas which had made Star Trek popular with the public were still in evidence. As Berman continued, “Whenever there is an instance in a story or in a piece of casting or in the general fabric of society in the 24th century, I always feel Gene sitting on my shoulder,” says Berman. “And if I feel that something goes against what he believed this show should be, I will fight for it.” Piller was more explicit, “Rick Berman and I are not out to change `Star Trek,'” Piller stated. “And `Deep Space Nine‘ is not a redefinition of `Star Trek.’ It’s an extension of Gene Roddenberry’s vision.”[7]

Beyond the issues of authorship, we also see that franchises tend to share behind the camera production staffs, which strongly implies a consistency of political outlook from show to show. For example, in the Star Trek franchise, Gene Roddenberry was the creative force behind both Star Trek TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation, while Rick Berman was on the creative team for both of those shows as well as Star Trek: Voyager. Brannon Braga was on the creative team for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager,Enterprise, and several Star Trek movies. There are many instances of the same creative team working as directors, writers, and producers on the many Star Trek iterations. This is often a case of the commercial pressure to make a profit dictating the hiring of creative talent since these people are proven to be successful within the franchise. The creative success of these people reinforces the commercial success of the subsequent shows as it draws in an already existing audience, producing (at least in the eyes of the studio) a virtuous cycle of commercial and creative success. This leads to a consistency of visual and storytelling elements that the audience associates with the franchise and comes to expect as a defining element. When any of these elements are violated, such as with the look of the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery season one, the push back from fans can be considerable. Even to the point of necessitating a re-design of the characters. This indicates the value that the audience (and hence the studio) sees in the consistency of the look and feel of a franchise.

Science Fiction and the Shared Universe

A franchise’s canon is one of the most important topics we must examine to understand the ability to interpret a franchise as a coherent political whole.  As we have already examined, world-building is integral to the concept of Science Fiction; because of this, each Science Fiction franchise has its own unique canon.  (In this instance, the term canon is used in the sense of “official knowledge”[8] not to be confused with a set of literary works which are fundamental to a particular type of literature.).  A franchise’s canon springs from several different sources.  First, as noted, the world-building exercise necessitates a body of knowledge that will allow the new fictional world to make sense.  In this form, the canon is called a “pitch bible” if used to sell a show to a studio or a “show bible” if used to educate prospective writers or producers who use it to help them assemble a story.  It is essential to understand that once a show has become successful, this will not be a static document but will evolve as the franchise adds new episodes, characters, etc.  This is one of the prime differences between true Science Fiction and other branches of Speculative Fiction such as Fantasy; true Science Fiction is held to a much higher standard of consistency by its fans than other branches.

The show’s creators do not dictate a franchise’s canon, it has morphed into an interactive exercise in world-building shared by those creators and the franchise’s fans.  This interactive canon is embodied in the concept of “fandom.”  Science Fiction franchises such as Star Trek and Babylon 5 have become public conversations in which creators and fans discuss (or perhaps argue?) over the meaning of in-universe politics and how the show relates to today’s politics, as well as over plot and character.  As Shun Duke said while speaking of the interaction between fans of a franchise and the creative team in Science Fiction, “I do think that the community of science fiction makes change a more practical expectation. For one, public discourse is a constantly evolving entity; by simply adding new voices to the fray, you can effectively change a conversation. It’s not an easily evolved entity, mind, but it does change.[9]”  While this might seem contradictory on the surface, that a franchise can be treated editorially as a whole while allowing the fans to interpret and extend the canon, this process also inoculates the franchise from straying too far in new directions.  This is because the conversations are conducted, in part, through official franchise web pages and semi-authoritative digital forums such as websites with a high degree of visibility and respect from the fans, and via social media managed by the various franchises’ creative teams.  The “fandom community” is devoted to a show because they identify with certain elements, lines of thought that stray too far from what the fans identify with will likely be ignored in the long run.  The community members that treat a franchise with respect will likely become more popular within the community.  An example from the Star Trek franchise of a semi-authoritative fan site would include Memory Alpha, a fan-run wiki that has over 50,000 articles, or Trekspertise, a YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers.  J. Michael Straczynski maintains an ongoing conversation with the fans of his various Science Fiction shows through his social media presence.  In fact, the Star Trek creative team has gone so far as to open the official Star Trek website to the fandom community. “StarTrek.com accepts pitches for essays, reported work, features, and more”[10]  they say.

What are the advantages of thinking about a Science Fiction franchise as a unified whole comparable to how we would think of one theorist’s work?  First, we will get a richer, more thought-provoking experience, with insights that might not be apparent otherwise as similarities and contradictions between works are brought out.  A prime example of the value, and the pitfalls, of this in Political Theory is Niccolò Machiavelli.  Perhaps the first modern political scientist, Machiavelli has quite a reputation among most people as a realist who teaches politicians how to attain and hold power via his work The Prince. Most people who have no idea what Political Theory is or how it works will still have heard of Machiavelli and may even have a basic understanding of his best-known work.  Moreover, his name has even become synonymous with realist, some would say manipulative, politics.  It is unfortunate however, that few people outside the field of Political Theory have had the opportunity to read his Discourses on the Ten Books of Titus Livy, which provides a much fuller and much different viewpoint on his thinking.  The Discourses show Machiavelli in a much different light than The Prince; he is revealed as a man who values personal liberty and security, who is concerned with citizens leading a virtuous and good life, and with the defense of republicanism.  A person who has read both works will likely have questions about the differences in Machiavelli’s thinking.  Are these differences simply because each work has a different audience, one is for a leader and the other for citizens?  Or has he changed his mind at some point?  Or perhaps, reading both works, we can glean something more subtle about this thinking that is not apparent from reading just one.  For example, the idea of “vivere sicuro” (secure living) is explicit in The Discourses but implicit in The Prince. The Prince deals with questions concerning how a leader should treat his subjects when the leader is mainly concerned with his own well-being, The Discourses deals with how subjects should respond when their liberty is threatened.  When the two works are taken together, we see the relationships between citizens and leaders in a new way.  Are the two fated to always be at odds, or is there a way that leaders and subjects can live in peace?  Machiavelli has a lot to say about the subject, though that is harder to understand when one reads just one of his works.

Further, two or more works do not need to be by the same author (or in the same Science Fiction franchise) to benefit from such an examination.  In the 1950s, Isaiah Berlin questioned the viability of Political Theory as a field because “no commanding work of political philosophy has appeared in the twentieth century”[11]  though it would not be too long after that that John Rawls published A Theory of Justice, which changed the landscape forever.  Some have said that the next 30 years consisted primarily of responses to Rawls.  Many of these responses have been criticisms of the implementation or the viability of Rawls’s theories (by Amartya Sen, for example). Others, however, have “replied” to Rawls by conceiving of entirely new ways of organizing society!  Would Michael Sandel’s Liberalism and the Limits of Justice from the left or Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia from the right been published if not for Rawls?  It can be argued that the tension between these opposing paradigms has been the driving force of Political Theory ever since.  What does it mean when we say “Life is never fair” or when we debate the role of government in establishing an egalitarian society?    It has been through contrasting these visions that we examine these ideas in a profound and meaningful way.  The arguments between these different conceptions of how society should be organized have enriched our lives ever since.

Comparisons within a Franchise

However, how does this work in VSF?  The perception has always been that Star Trek portrays a particular ethos of non-violence in all of its forms.  This has been true on the individual level, where we can see the respect that Star Trek TOS has for people regardless of their ethnicity or nationality (as racism is a form of violence).  The treatment of aliens is an extension of the concept that all people have value and should be regarded as equals.  Mr. Spock is a Vulcan and a significant cast member; one of the reasons he is included is as a reminder of these values of inclusion and respect.  In Star Trek, the concept of respect and equality also extends to different societies, hence the “Prime Directive.”  The Prime Directive is a guiding principle that informs how the Federation (analogous to a Superpower such as the United States or Russia) should treat other less technologically advanced cultures.  The Prime Directive (also sometimes called the “non-interference directive”) is Star Trek’s response to issues of colonialism and Cold War politics.  Gene Roddenberry was explicit in his condemnation of violence and stated that he did not believe that violence would continue into the 23rd Century.  However, in the 1960s war had not been eliminated, the Vietnam war, in particular, was consuming the nation, and the questions around it provided fodder for several episodes of Star Trek.

How did Star Trek look at issues of warfare?  Two episodes will be instructive here.  The first, “A Taste of Armageddon,” looks at a situation that is similar to that of the United States relationship towards Russia (the Soviet Union at that time), while the second, titled “A Private Little War,” is a clear Vietnam War allegory.

In “A Taste of Armageddon,” the Enterprise crew attempt to open peaceful relations with planet Eminiar VII only to stumble into a war zone, but this is no ordinary war. Eminiar VII has been fighting a virtual war with a neighboring planet, Vendikar, in which attacks are conducted via computer simulations followed by the “casualties” committing suicide by entering disintegration chambers which confirm their deaths. This situation has been going on for hundreds of years; without the physical destruction of a “real war,” the two sides have found their arraignment not only sustainable but in a strange way even comforting. The people of Eminiar have accepted that they are a violent people, and their war has become a way of life that they feel no need to challenge. They pride themselves on their self-perceived enlightened approach to warfare. The two planets have a treaty that governs this arrangement; failure to abide by the treaty terms both by either side will result in traditional fighting.  The Enterprise is “destroyed” in one of these simulations, causing the Eminiar leadership to detain the Enterprise delegation; the crew is then expected to enter a disintegration chamber. Captain Kirk, of course, fights back and gets the upper hand by destroying the computers which conduct the attacks. Eminiar is given the choice of abrogating their agreement with Vendikar, or they could attempt to negotiate peace.

Kirk Argues for Peace

Kirk Argues for Peace

When it was first broadcast during the 1960s Eminiar VII and Vendikar would have reminded American fans of the US and the Soviet Union, which often seemed to be on the verge of war. The US and Soviet Union maintained the peace partly through the concept of “mutually assured destruction,” in which each was subject to catastrophic casualties in the event of a nuclear war. Eminiar VII and Vendikar had suffered over a billion casualties in their war, not unlike what might happen on Earth in a real war. However, the horrors of war are hidden on this planet, they have sanitized and modernized horror. Death has become industrialized; it is hardly even objectionable. Roddenberry seemed to be saying that war should not be clean and convenient, we should not be removed from the consequences, making war easy only perpetuates rather than ends it. In “A Taste of Armageddon,” the concept of a real war is entirely evil; it has no redeeming quality whatsoever. Nevertheless, this arraignment might have continued indefinitely were it not challenged by Kirk; only through forcing the two parties into a real war was the peaceful resolution of their grievances considered.

Just a year later, Star Trek broadcast “A Private Little War,” in which the same crew visits what they believed to be a peaceful planet only to find the “Village people” hunting and killing the defenseless “Hill people.” After a bit of investigation, they learn the village people have been corrupted by the Federations archenemy, the Klingons, in violation of a treaty between the Federation and the Klingons. Kirk has a decision to make, does he work towards a peaceful resolution to save the hill people, or does he arm them so that they can defend themselves?

Kirk argues for war

Kirk argues for war

As important as these questions are when we look at these episodes individually, we find subtler questions when we contrast the two.  First, why is violence treated differently in these situations?  In “A Taste of Armageddon,” the Federation does not have a significant stake in the situation other than a general concept of maintaining good foreign relations; they are in effect just observers. The violence is occurring between two different parties, the Federation ambassador even makes a point of saying he is a neutral third party only interested in peace, yet the protagonists’ reaction is vehement disgust.  Why would the peoples of Eminiar VII and Vendikar consent to voluntary suicide to maintain a treaty that condemns them to unending war? Clearly, in the eyes of the Federation, this is not reasonable. Kirk risks everything to change the situation; by forcing abrogation of the treaty, he may be causing the very horrors of war that he believes are evil. The people of Eminiar VII and Vendikar are suffering, and he has decided that this is intolerable! This reflects the highest ideals of Star Trek; as Gene Roddenberry said, violence is not a reasonable course of action. A truly evolved race will look to reason and will rise above the moment to find a solution that works for all. At the climactic moment when the leader of Eminiar VII cannot quite bring himself to take the leap and turn his back on violence, Kirk pleads with him to rise above himself. “Were human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands,” Kirk says, “But we can stop it, we can admit we are killers, but we are not going to kill today. That’s all it takes, knowing that we are not going to kill-today!” His argument turns the tide allowing the Eminiar leader to conceive of a new way, to turn his back on his violent instincts and work towards peace. In “A private Little War,” we find two cultures in a similar situation, they are fighting and dying over trivial issues. Though there is one big difference here, the Federation has a stake in the game. This time the Klingons (who are a stand-in for the Soviet Union) are supporting the antagonists. Now the Federation is willing to engage in state-sanctioned violence as a matter of policy. Worse, this will not be a sanitized war, it will be fought at close range with primitive weapons that will cause massive amounts of suffering. This is violence in support of state policy. The audience would be right to ask, what has happened? What has changed? The answer is that this is a surrogate war in which the Federation has a stake. The relative political positions of the Federation and the Klingons have become more important than the rejection of violence.

This is a choice that the producers of Star Trek have made, that violence is acceptable in one situation but not the other. However, by showing these two similar but slightly different situations, they have in effect invited the audience to question this choice. Why is violence acceptable in one instance but not the other? Are the Hill People more worthy of our involvement than the people of Eminiar VII? Is the Federation’s political standing more important than the lives that will be lost? Implicit judgments about the value of lives are being made, but it seems that these lives have a different value to the Federation. Those on Eminiar VII are worth saving, but the lives of the Hill people are less important than the Federation’s rivalry with the Klingons. Is it just that violence is OK if it supports the aims of the state (in fighting the Klingons) but not OK if it benefits someone else? Are our goals (fighting our enemy) more important than someone else’s goals (living as they see fit)? 

Do we find space for moral leadership here? On Eminiar VII, Kirk takes a stand because Star Trek’s message of the sanctity of life is being violated. We might even believe that the plot of “A Taste of Armageddon” is explicitly drawn to point this out. Gene Roddenberry was a committed humanist,[12] and he believed that it was the task of the poets and artists to bring these ideals into public focus. However, what is the audience to make of this ideal? Why do our leaders act differently in different situations? How are they seemingly enlightened in one situation and ready to shed someone else’s blood in a different situation?  Why do we treat some people as less worthy of self-determination (the primitives) than others (the sophisticated)? Are we in charge just because the primitives cannot fight back, because they are weaker? Do we as a people have the courage to live up to our rhetoric? Do we have the right and the ability to stand up to our leaders when they do not meet our high ideals?

Although we have seen significant commercial and creative reasons why it makes sense that Science Fiction shows and franchises will act as a coherent whole, nothing within the genre mandates this. However, the franchises and the audience are richer for the experience when they do. The ability to compare and contrast, or interrogate a question, as we might say in Political Theory, opens lines of questioning that would not be apparent when shows are viewed in isolation. In turn, the answers to these questions can bring a deeper meaning to the franchise, supporting the audience’s commitment to the show. Commitment will often result in a fandom community that supplies the show with a creative life outside of the production crew, resulting in a significant interaction between the creative team and the fans as well as between the fans themselves; all of this leads to a virtuous cycle.

There is no reason we should insist or even expect that a franchise will have the same consistency that we would expect in any one political theorist’s work. Franchises are made by many hundreds of people over many years; they are dynamic storylines that sometimes take unexpected turns for a plethora of reasons, either creative or otherwise. And, of course, even theorists change their minds occasionally. The real value in looking at science fiction as a whole is the ability it gives us to ask questions that we would not ask otherwise.

 

 

[1] Waterworld. 2 Nov. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterworld.

[2] “Showrunners Explain How They Literally Run the Show.” StudioBinder, 15 June 2020, www.studiobinder.com/blog/what-is-a-showrunner-definition/.

[3] “Gene Roddenberry.” The Star Trek Interview Book, by Allan Asherman, Pocket Books, 1988, p. 13.

[4] Ibid., p.6

[5] Foucault, Michel. “What Is an Author?” What Is an Author?, Open University, 2020, www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/pluginfile.php/624849/mod_resource/content/1/a840_1_michel_foucault.pdf.

[6] Cerone, Daniel Howard. “Berman in Firm Control Of Starfleet Command.” Chicago Sun-Times, LATE SPORTS FINAL ed., sec. WEEKEND PLUS, 18 Nov. 1994, p. 25. NewsBank: Access World News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/0EB421F1365B642E. Accessed 9 Nov. 2020.

[7] Cerone, Daniel. “`Trek’ Rolls On Without Roddenberry.” Chicago Sun-Times, LATE SPORTS FINAL ed., sec. SECTION 2 FEATURES, 2 Jan. 1993, p. 21. NewsBank: Access World News, infoweb.newsbank.com/apps/news/document-view?p=AWNB&docref=news/0EB421151767A097. Accessed 9 Nov. 2020.

[8] “Canon.” Urban Dictionary, 2005, www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Canon

[9] Duke, Shaun. “The Science Fiction Canon: Function, Limits, and Problems.” Dr. Shaun Duke, Professional Nerd, 23 Dec. 2016, shaunduke.net/2016/12/sfcanonproblems/.

[10] Author, N. (2020, November 09). How to Pitch Stories to StarTrek.com. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://www.startrek.com/Pitching

[11] Berlin, Issiah. Does Political Theory Still Exist? berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/published_works/cc/polthe.pdf.

[12] Gene Roddenberry’s 1991 Humanist Interview. (2017, April 19). Retrieved December 04, 2020, from http://trekcomic.com/2016/11/24/gene-roddenberrys-1991-humanist-interview