Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World (Hardcover)
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An Esquire Best Book of 2022!
Written with inside access, comprehensive research, and a down-to-earth perspective, Phasers on Stun! chronicles the entire history of Star Trek, revealing that its enduring place in pop culture is all thanks to innovative pivots and radical change.
For over five decades, the heart of Star Trek’s pro-science, anti-racist, and inclusive messaging has been its willingness to take big risks. Across thirteen feature films, and twelve TV series—including five shows currently airing or in production—the brilliance of Star Trek is in its endless ability to be rethought, rebooted, and remade.
Author and Star Trek expert Ryan Britt charts an approachable and entertaining course through Star Trek history; from its groundbreaking origins amid the tumultuous 1960s, to its influence on diversifying the space program, to its contemporary history-making turns with LGBTQ+ representation, this book illuminates not just the behind-the-scenes stories that shaped the franchise but the larger meaning of the Final Frontier.
Featuring over 100 exclusive interviews with actors and writers across all the generations, including Walter Koenig, LeVar Burton, Dorothy Fontana, Brent Spiner, Ronald D. Moore, Jeri Ryan, and many more, Britt gets the inside story on all things Trek, like Spock’s evolution from red devil to the personification of logical empathy, the near failure to launch of The Next Generation in 1987, and how Trekkie outrage has threatened to destroy the franchise more than once. The book also dives deep with creators like Michael Chabon (co-creator of Star Trek: Picard) and Nicholas Meyer (director, The Wrath of Khan). These interviews extend to the bleeding edge of contemporary Star Trek, from Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, and even the upcoming highly anticipated 2022 series, Strange New Worlds.
For fans who know every detail of each Enterprise bridge, to a reader who has never seen a single minute of any Star Trek, this book aims to entertain, inform, and energize. Through humor, insight, archival research, and unique access, this journey through the Star Trek universe isn’t just about its past but a definitive look at its future.
About the Author
Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths (Plume 2015), and writes about Star Trek weekly for Den of Geek! and Inverse, and has covered Star Trek for SyFy Wire, Tor.com, and Star Trek.com, extensively. Lev Grossman has said about him, “Ryan Britt is one of nerd culture’s most brilliant and most essential commentators.” Ryan's Non-Star Trek writing of his has appeared in Vulture, VICE, CNN Style, and The New York Times. He’s also the senior entertainment editor at Fatherly.
"Britt’s scrupulous, often funny, and sometimes controversial zeal breathes new life into the canon’s obsessive discourse… Trekkies will tear through this at warp speed.”
“Whether you’ve been watching since TOS or you’ve just gotten hooked on Discovery and Strange New Worlds, if you’re a Star Trek Fan, you’re going to want to pick up this definitive oral history of the franchise.”
“Both longtime Trek fans and those new to the franchise will find this to be a thoroughly entertaining and informative read.”
“Britt combines his extensive knowledge of the Star Trek franchise with interviews conducted over the past decade to craft a thoughtful exploration of the show’s history. His narrative bridges fact with fandom and is packed with fun anecdotes… But the book’s ultimate mission is highlighting why Star Trek continues to be a groundbreaking series. From Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura to Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou and beyond, Britt shows readers how Star Trek has always been at the forefront of representation and the effect those efforts have had on television and in popular culture… Britt’s lively writing style will engage newer fans and confirmed Trekkies alike… a fun ride that few fans will be able to resist.”
—Library Journal (starred)
“Ryan Britt is our foremost sci-fi journalist, bringing to the pop culture of the last half-century a reporter’s eye and a fan’s caress. With Phasers on Stun!, it’s as if he used a nucleonic beam to probe our deepest questions about all things Trek—and then answered them!”
—Morgan Gendel, Hugo Award–winning writer of “The Inner Light,” Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 5, episode 25)
"With Phasers on Stun!, Ryan Britt has written a comprehensive, deeply researched, merrily opinionated romp through all things Trek."
—Nicholas Meyer, director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
“Ryan Britt doesn't just have his finger on the pulse of Star Trek fandom; he's driving the conversation from the bridge of the Enterprise. His decades of living, breathing, and interviewing the players behind the groundbreaking and beloved franchise make him the definitive voice for both casual and die-hard fans—and this book. A must-read!”
—Caseen Gaines, author of We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy
"Phasers on Stun! is the very fun, intriguing, and mindful Star Trek history book you didn’t know you needed.”
—Chase Masterson, "Leeta" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine