Welcome to Star Trek University: one Trekkie’s quest to learn about all the art, music, literature, history and science referenced in Star Trek!*
*Note: Due to difficulty of obtaining source material, historical and cultural references from alternate universes, the future, and planets other than Earth may not be included.
I’m pretty sure Starfleet officers know everything. Need some esoteric Sun Tzu quotes on an away mission? Got it. The Klingon poet G’Trok? Required reading at the academy, kids. Find an old truck floating in space at the other end of the galaxy? Sure, it’s 400-year-old technology, but don’t panic; Tom Paris knows the make, model and year it rolled off the line, and if you stand back for a second he’ll hotwire the sucker!
Klingon warriors have no fear of the semi-colon.
Unlike Starfleet officers, I don’t know everything about everything. But! As a devoted multiple-rewatcher-of-episodes Trekkie, I know a decent amount about Star Trek, which lets me fake it pretty well. Having Star Trek on-screen-dialogue level knowledge of history (The Alamo!), culture (Shakespeare!), and science (that one time those clones stole Riker’s epithelial cells!) served me really well in school, and continues to be helpful at dinner parties and Trivial Pursuit.
However, it keeps nagging at me: Is knowing that Picard or Spock or Jake Sisko mentioned something in that one episode really enough, or do I need to actually know about everything that gets mentioned on Star Trek in order to call myself educated and cultured and an upstanding citizen of the Federation who could totally get into Starfleet Academy if it existed already? (Only 148 years to go, people!)
More importantly: If I learn more about these real-world references, will it make Star Trek even better??
Join me for an an epic survey course of almost everything! I’ll post recaps here of episodes and the sources they reference, as well as other fun space happenings to be determined. I’m not going in any particular order to start with, so look for episodes (and movies!) from all the series! I have plans for some mini-courses down the road for themes that cross a number of episodes (Sherlock Holmes! The Wild West!).
Have ideas on what I should study or how this project should be run? Please let me know in comments or email me at startrekuniversity [at] gmail [dot] com!
The Chief Canine Officer examines my upcoming reading list.
Yeoman Red is better known as mylittleredgirl on livejournal, where she blogs and writes fanfic. Star Trek University’s technical director is anr, who needs to pick a silly Star Trek pen name for this project. She set up a syndication feed on livejournal, so if you want this experiment in over-achievement in your f-list, go friend startrekuni. (I’ll try and get my 21st century on here to link up to facebook & twitter & whatever else soon!)