A different kind of Star Trek television series debuted in 1993. Deep Space Nine was set not on a starship but a space station near a postcolonial planet still reeling from a genocidal occupation. The crew was led by a reluctant Black American commander and an extraterrestrial first officer who had until recently been an anticolonial revolutionary. DS9 extended Star Trek’s tradition of critical social commentary but did so by transgressing many of Star Trek’s previous taboos, including religion, money, eugenics, and interpersonal conflict. DS9 imagined a twenty-fourth century that was less a glitzy utopia than a critical mirror of contemporary U.S. racism, capitalism, imperialism, and heteropatriarchy.
Thirty years after its premiere, DS9 is beloved by critics and fans but remains marginalized in scholarly studies of science fiction. Drawing on cultural geography, Black studies, and feminist and queer studies, A Different “Trek” is the first scholarly monograph dedicated to a critical interpretation of DS9’s allegorical world-building. If DS9 has been vindicated aesthetically, this book argues that its prophetic, place-based critiques of 1990s U.S. politics, which deepened the foundations of many of our current crises, have been vindicated politically, to a degree most scholars and even many fans have yet to fully appreciate.
The book is currently scheduled to be published on July 1, 2023