Westworld and the Holodeck.
A state-of-the-art entertainment complex where you can live out your wildest dreams, surrounded by people who look, sound, and even feel like flesh-and-blood. The sixth-season TNG episode “A Fistful of Datas” tips its (cowboy) hat to the 1973 film Westworld, in which a robot gunslinger runs amok in a Wild West fantasyland, terrorizing the hapless players whose fun day out has just turned into a nightmare.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Tony Black and Duncan Barrett discuss the connections between Westworld’s amoral theme park and Star Trek’s holodeck. We consider the risks human beings will take for excitement, the moral cost of creating artificial beings for exploitation in games of sex and violence, and whether such complex systems can ever truly be kept under control.
Holographic Rights on Voyager (00:15:23)
Prostitution and Holographic Sex (00:23:34)
Vic Fontaine (00:30:14)
Safety Protocols and Corporate Responsibility (00:33:50)
Hubris Versus Sabotage (00:48:00)
Post-finale Voyager Novels and the Holo-revolution (00:52:00)
Final Thoughts and Recommended Viewing (01:01:00)
Tony Black and Duncan Barrett
Tony Black (Editor and Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.
Michael Piller, Joseph Conrad, and Star Trek: Insurrection. We look at some of the inspirations behind the script of the third TNG film, including Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness and discuss Piller’s book Fade In.
The British Isles in Star Trek. We discuss the portrayal of our homelands over a few synthales at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, and examine real-world independence movements and the effects of transporters on national identity.
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.
Gay Representation in Star Trek. We look at the franchise's fraught engagement with LGBT issues, from The Next Generation to Discovery.
Star Trek's Impossible Choices. We consider the influence of Sophie's Choice on Star Trek's storytelling and the dilemmas Starfleet captains are forced to face that the rest of us might consider impossible.
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.