The Wrath of Khan and Classic Literature.
Nicholas Meyer, upon putting his stamp on the Star Trek universe with The Wrath of Khan, introduced classical human literature to the franchise in a way never before seen. Khan Noonien Singh's bookshelf on the wreckage of the SS Botany Bay displayed a host of significant texts—from Shakespeare to Milton—which spoke to his grandiose fate as one of the galaxy's most dangerous villains.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Tony Black delve into the literature that Meyer brought to his first Star Trek film, focusing heavily on Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities and Melville's Moby-Dick, discussing how they connect with and reflect Khan and his nemesis: Admiral James T. Kirk. Along the way, it's Tony's turn to recount his Star Trek origin story.
Tony's Star Trek Journey (00:02:25)
What do books represent? (00:13:18)
A Tale of Two Cities (00:21:07)
Nick Meyer's Bookshelf (00:42:47)
Paradise Lost (00:52:37)
King Lear (01:01:24)
Final Thoughts (01:06:55)
Duncan Barrett and Tony Black
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Voyager, History, and Nostalgia. We explore the show’s obsession with the past, debates around historical truth, the pleasures of nostalgia, and whether the homeward mission was inherently retrogressive.
A Christmas Carol and Tapestry. In this special holiday episode, we look at the influence of Dickens’s classic story on of the most popular episodes of TNG and the role Christmas plays in the secular societies we see in Star Trek.
Star Trek and Human Rights. To mark International Human Rights Day, we consider how Star Trek has engaged with real-world debates about human and animal rights, the impact of war on our most dearly held principles, and the Federation’s role in policing the future.
Director’s Cuts and Star Trek. At this live roundtable recorded at Prince Charles Cinema in London, we discuss how a director’s cut impacts the fan relationship with a film before we watch the UK premiere of the director’s extended edition of The Wrath of Khan.
Time Loops in Star Trek. We consider the role of time loops, both within the Star Trek universe and beyond, and explore the darker issues at play when the loops begin to unravel.
The X-Files and Star Trek. In a Halloween special, we explore connections between these two long-running sci-fi franchises.
The Federation’s Field of Dreams. We discuss baseball in Star Trek and why it’s such a good fit for storytelling in Gene Roddenberry’s universe.
Star Trek and Allegory. We look at the relationship between Star Trek and allegory—on screen and off—from the 1960s to present day.
Star Trek and Epic Heroes. We look at Star Trek’s engagement with epic narratives Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh, and how Starfleet heroes compare with their ancient forbears.
Star Trek’s Design Influences. We look at how the franchise’s style has shifted over the course of its half a century, from the sleek, contoured lines of Kirk’s original Enterprise to the rough-and-ready look of the USS Discovery.