Michèle and Duncan Barrett are mother and son - she a distinguished social theorist now working in literary and cultural studies, he a writer still in his teens. Together they take Star Trek - the TV series, films, and related projects - and explore it for what it tells us (and asks) about being human. From the progressive politics that underpinned the original program to the declining faith in rationalism that haunts Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the Star Trek story has grappled with powerful philosophical and social issues.
And throughout its thirty-year history, Star Trek has explored its themes through the metaphors of Western maritime exploration. Yet unlike the voyagers of earlier centuries, its crews have sailed not by sea but by galaxy. But in search of what?
As Michèle and Duncan Barrett persuasively demonstrate here, the continuing voyage of Star Trek is a quest not for new lands but for new answers: what does it mean to be human? Witten for both the true Trekker and the complete novice, Star Trek: The Human Frontier is that rare work of cultural studies, informed by the knowledge of literature, social thought, and popular culture.