"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Friday, May 27, 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.4: The Gorn and the Wub

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds continues to be the best Star Trek since the original series, even more like TOS than was TNG, even though both had standalone episodes.  Indeed, both had great episodes and great characters, but TOS and SNW both have Spock, who is right up there with the great captains as a transcendent character.   And  Pike increasingly strikes me as Kirk at his best.

[Spoilers follow ... ]

My favorite moment in this superb episode is Spock smiling, ever so slightly but noticeably, when he and the crew on the bridge learn that Uhura and Hemmer survived.  An always timely reminder that Spock is not only Vulcan but human.

And speaking of reminders, let's talk about the Gorn, who first appeared in the original Star Trek.  Back then in the 1967 episode "Arena," Kirk's combat with a Gorn captain was evocative of Fredric Brown's 1944 story, also titled "Arena," and Brown received story credit for the episode.  In SNW 1.4, the Gorn are evocative of Philip K. Dick's "Beyond Lies the Wub," his first published story, which appeared in Planet Stories in 1952.  Both deal, in very different ways, with an intelligent species that hunts another intelligent species as food.  I guess that's not enough for Dick to get story credit, but it's worth noting the degree to which Dick's ideas continue to percolate through so much subsequent science fiction.

Noonien-Singh also had another excellent episode, and is now among my favorite new characters in this series.  Indeed, she has the potential to be up there with the best characters in all the Star Trek series.  Meanwhile, Hemmer is increasingly interesting, and also had a strong, thoughtful episode.

If you're a devotee of classic science fiction, you just can't miss with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and I'll see you back here next week with my review of the next episode,

See also Star Trek: Strange New Worlds 1.1-1.2: Great Characters, Actors, Stories ... 1.3: "Instead of terraforming planets, we modify ourselves ..."

I interview Rufus Sewell about Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle

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