When Star Trek debuted on NBC on September 8, 1966, there was little indication that its longevity across multiple platforms (films, series, books) would rival that of series such as Doctor Who, or that the series (and its fans) would become fixtures of popular culture, objects of academic study, and an outsized influence on science fiction.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the hit franchise, and celebrations of its cultural impact have been as varied as the show’s own incarnations.
To celebrate this momentous anniversary, PopMatters seeks submissions about Star Trek, including: the television series, from The Original Series (TOS) to the highly anticipated 2017 new installment; the films, both the originals and the J.J. Abrams reboot; and ancillary materials such as novelizations, comic books, videogames, etc.
We welcome any approach to the franchise, though possible topics may include:
Identity: How has Star Trek’s representation of gender, race, and/or sexuality changed over time? In what ways has the franchise been progressive/regressive in matters of representation? Is it possible to read Star Trek queerly?
Technology: What role has Star Trek played in spurring technological innovation, especially regarding mid-century space exploration? Has the franchise changed the relationship between pop culture and science?
Culture: What role have alien languages (such as Klingon) played in the show and its wider cultural impact? How has Star Trek impacted fashion over the years? How has meme culture, or any other subcultures, appropriated Star Trek?
Fandom: What role does the Star Trek fandom play in the production of ancillary content like comics, novelizations, and video games? How do the disputes between the ‘original’ fans and the ‘reboot’ fans affect the Star Trek franchise? What role does unofficial material play in Star Trek ownership?
Remakes, Reboots and Continuity: What responsibility, if any, do the reboots have to the original franchise’s fan base? What role do original cast cameos play in maintaining continuity between the early films and the later ones? Does the idea of “canon” or “canonicity” hold any sway given Star Trek’s multiple iterations? How do initial critical reactions compare with modern expectations and experiences?
Influence: How has Star Trek influenced science fiction film and television more generally? Does the series have descendants, responses, opposites? What have been the show’s own influences? Are there novels or mythologies that have contributed to the franchise’s main themes?
Politics: In what ways does the franchise invite comparisons between its fictional content and potential real-world analogues? Is Star Trek inherently political? Does it encourage a rethinking of the division between political art and entertainment media?
Other areas of interest may include: Disability, age, special effects, and comparable productions (Roddenberry and Andromeda, Abrams and Star Wars, for example).
Deadline for Features pitches: August 12th, 2016
Deadline for final, polished articles: September 9th, 2016
For television, please submit your pitches and features to PopMatters’ editor Erin Giannini; for film, please submit your pitches and features to Carl Wilson and Desirae Embree using the PopMatters / Submittable interface: https://popmatters.submittable.com/submit
Be sure to identify your article as StarTrek50 in the header.
Send inquiries or questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org