Cinema and Media Studies Star Trek
Daniel Bernardi, Michael Green
  • LAST REVIEWED: 06 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0138


Few popular narratives in recent history have generated as much cultural material as Star Trek: six television series and eleven feature films, as well as novels, comic books, video and role-playing games, conventions, websites, and fan fictions. In other words, Star Trek is more than just a television show and feature film franchise. The Making of Star Trek (1968), by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry, was among the first trade books in what would also become a Star Trek publishing juggernaut. Hundreds of popular novels, nonfiction monographs, and essays have been published over the last five decades, from the Star Trek Encyclopedia (1997) to The Klingon Hamlet (2000), a version of Shakespeare’s play written entirely in the fan-created language of one of the most popular alien species represented in the Trek mega-text. Scholarly interest in Star Trek gained momentum a decade after the original series (TOS) was cancelled by NBC in 1969. Indeed, Star Trek was becoming a phenomenon around the same time that cultural studies, critical theory, and film and media studies were evolving in the academy. The original show and its spin-offs used casting, metaphors (aliens), and allegories (wars between worlds) to engage in controversial social issues, including racism, gender equality, the “nature” of sexual identity, nationalism, and colonialism, among other contentious subjects—which happened to also be the subjects of new critical inquiry. In the 1990s, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) solidified the fan following of the Star Trek narrative around the time that audience and reception studies began to compete with textual analysis as a preferred critical mode of study. Spearheaded by Henry Jenkins, fan and audience studies have become a primary area of Star Trek scholarship in particular, and of film and media studies more generally. Important critical Trek analysis has emerged from other disciplines as well, including sociology, political science, history, religion, and philosophy. This bibliography represents a cross section of the most important scholarship on this unique cultural phenomenon.

Reference Works and Bibliographies

Many popular Star Trek reference works are aimed at fans and general readers, including Gibberman 1991, a comprehensive guide. The website The Complete Starfleet Library informally catalogs academic books as well as popular nonfiction works and novels. Both are especially good sources for academics researching primary texts. Geraghty 2002, a thorough bibliography, draws upon the author’s expertise as a Star Trek scholar, as well as his knowledge of science fiction studies in general.

  • The Complete Starfleet Library.

    Not a formal or scholarly bibliography, but a trove of texts for researchers, organized both by year and genre. Researchers can find novels, scripts, fan guides, graphic novels, biographies, episode guides, and collectibles guides, among many other categories, dating back to 1967.

  • Geraghty, Lincoln. “Reading on the Frontier: A Star Trek Bibliography.” Extrapolation 43.3 (Fall 2002): 288–315.

    An extensive bibliography that includes a great deal of scholarly and popular Star Trek sources published from 1967 to 2002, as well as some citations on related Star Trek subjects such as fandom and science fiction studies.

  • Gibberman, Susan R. Star Trek: An Annotated Guide to the Resources on the Development, the Phenomenon, the People, the Television Series, the Films, the Novels, and the Recordings. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1991.

    Entries on various sources, mostly popular, relating to Star Trek, and organized by subject: novels, reviews, directors, and so on. Though the guide goes only through 1991, it is still remarkable for its scope and detail, with more than 1,300 entries. A valuable initial resource for researchers.

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