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Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World

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Written with inside access, comprehensive research, and a down-to-earth perspective, Phasers on Stun! chronicles the entire history of Star Trek, revealing that its enduring place in pop culture is all thanks to innovative pivots and radical change. For over five decades, the heart of Star Trek's pro-science, anti-racist, and inclusive messaging has been its willingness to Written with inside access, comprehensive research, and a down-to-earth perspective, Phasers on Stun! chronicles the entire history of Star Trek, revealing that its enduring place in pop culture is all thanks to innovative pivots and radical change. For over five decades, the heart of Star Trek's pro-science, anti-racist, and inclusive messaging has been its willingness to take big risks. Across thirteen feature films, and twelve TV series--including five shows currently airing or in production--the brilliance of Star Trek is in its endless ability to be rethought, rebooted, and remade. Author and Star Trek expert Ryan Britt charts an approachable and entertaining course through Star Trek history; from its groundbreaking origins amid the tumultuous 1960s, to its influence on diversifying the space program, to its contemporary history-making turns with LGBTQ+ representation, this book illuminates not just the behind-the-scenes stories that shaped the franchise but the larger meaning of the Final Frontier. Featuring over 100 exclusive interviews with actors and writers across all the generations, including Walter Koenig, LeVar Burton, Dorothy Fontana, Brent Spiner, Ronald D. Moore, Jeri Ryan, and many more, Britt gets the inside story on all things Trek, like Spock's evolution from red devil to the personification of logical empathy, the near failure to launch of The Next Generation in 1987, and how Trekkie outrage has threatened to destroy the franchise more than once. The book also dives deep with creators like Michael Chabon (co-creator of Star Trek: Picard) and Nicholas Meyer (director, The Wrath of Khan). These interviews extend to the bleeding edge of contemporary Star Trek, from Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, and even the upcoming highly anticipated 2022 series, Strange New Worlds. For fans who know every detail of each Enterprise bridge, to a reader who has never seen a single minute of any Star Trek, this book aims to entertain, inform, and energize. Through humor, insight, archival research, and unique access, this journey through the Star Trek universe isn't just about its past but a definitive look at its future.


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Written with inside access, comprehensive research, and a down-to-earth perspective, Phasers on Stun! chronicles the entire history of Star Trek, revealing that its enduring place in pop culture is all thanks to innovative pivots and radical change. For over five decades, the heart of Star Trek's pro-science, anti-racist, and inclusive messaging has been its willingness to Written with inside access, comprehensive research, and a down-to-earth perspective, Phasers on Stun! chronicles the entire history of Star Trek, revealing that its enduring place in pop culture is all thanks to innovative pivots and radical change. For over five decades, the heart of Star Trek's pro-science, anti-racist, and inclusive messaging has been its willingness to take big risks. Across thirteen feature films, and twelve TV series--including five shows currently airing or in production--the brilliance of Star Trek is in its endless ability to be rethought, rebooted, and remade. Author and Star Trek expert Ryan Britt charts an approachable and entertaining course through Star Trek history; from its groundbreaking origins amid the tumultuous 1960s, to its influence on diversifying the space program, to its contemporary history-making turns with LGBTQ+ representation, this book illuminates not just the behind-the-scenes stories that shaped the franchise but the larger meaning of the Final Frontier. Featuring over 100 exclusive interviews with actors and writers across all the generations, including Walter Koenig, LeVar Burton, Dorothy Fontana, Brent Spiner, Ronald D. Moore, Jeri Ryan, and many more, Britt gets the inside story on all things Trek, like Spock's evolution from red devil to the personification of logical empathy, the near failure to launch of The Next Generation in 1987, and how Trekkie outrage has threatened to destroy the franchise more than once. The book also dives deep with creators like Michael Chabon (co-creator of Star Trek: Picard) and Nicholas Meyer (director, The Wrath of Khan). These interviews extend to the bleeding edge of contemporary Star Trek, from Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, and even the upcoming highly anticipated 2022 series, Strange New Worlds. For fans who know every detail of each Enterprise bridge, to a reader who has never seen a single minute of any Star Trek, this book aims to entertain, inform, and energize. Through humor, insight, archival research, and unique access, this journey through the Star Trek universe isn't just about its past but a definitive look at its future.

30 review for Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Insightfully, the subtitle of Phasers on Stun! by Ryan Britt captures the essence of this latest Star Trek book. How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World is the basis of this franchise analysis. A well referenced tome that is based on hundreds of interviews including writers, actors and creators. It has numerous chapters including Star Trek shows from Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, and even the new 2022 series, Strange New Worlds. A must have for Trekkies and a most valu Insightfully, the subtitle of Phasers on Stun! by Ryan Britt captures the essence of this latest Star Trek book. How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World is the basis of this franchise analysis. A well referenced tome that is based on hundreds of interviews including writers, actors and creators. It has numerous chapters including Star Trek shows from Discovery to Picard to Lower Decks, and even the new 2022 series, Strange New Worlds. A must have for Trekkies and a most valuable resource for those interested in the phenomena of Star Trek. With its rich tapestry of information and in depth analysis makes this is a five star must read rating. With thanks to Penguin Group Dutton and the author, for an uncorrected advanced reader copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I liked this book. I’m an old-time Star Trek fan and I enjoyed the parts of the book that discussed the shows of 2001 and earlier. I also liked the discussion about movies 1 through 6. Possibly not a surprise, but I did not like the parts of the book that discussed the newer series and movies. This corresponds exactly to how much I enjoyed or did not enjoy the various series and movies. Ryan Britt actually discusses this schism which is quite common. This told me that Britt really knows his stuf I liked this book. I’m an old-time Star Trek fan and I enjoyed the parts of the book that discussed the shows of 2001 and earlier. I also liked the discussion about movies 1 through 6. Possibly not a surprise, but I did not like the parts of the book that discussed the newer series and movies. This corresponds exactly to how much I enjoyed or did not enjoy the various series and movies. Ryan Britt actually discusses this schism which is quite common. This told me that Britt really knows his stuff and discusses it in an erudite manner and with some humor. To say the least, the book is thought-provoking. So looking back, I now appreciate the value of Britt’s discussion of the newer Star Treks. The footnotes are worth reading as well, as is the convenient timeline. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group Dutton.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was an interesting look into the making of Star Trek. I appreciated all the insights and inside stories about cast members, how they were chosen, how their characters were developed, how the cast related to each other, etc. They really were “fascinating” to borrow a phrase from Spock. The presentation of the information seemed a little bit scattershot at times. It made it a little hard to follow the narrative. To some extent, reading it it felt the way it feels when you’re talking to a gran This was an interesting look into the making of Star Trek. I appreciated all the insights and inside stories about cast members, how they were chosen, how their characters were developed, how the cast related to each other, etc. They really were “fascinating” to borrow a phrase from Spock. The presentation of the information seemed a little bit scattershot at times. It made it a little hard to follow the narrative. To some extent, reading it it felt the way it feels when you’re talking to a grandmother or grandfather about things that happened in their life a long time ago. And as they’re talking, they do follow a general timeline but still throw in things here and there that they just thought of or are just tangentially related to the main story they’re telling, or suddenly they’re on to a new, related topic, and it takes you a second to realize the leap of logic they made to get there. But it was still manageable enough to be an enjoyable read. Even if you like Star Trek but aren’t a super big fan of the shows, you will probably like this one. Disclosure: I read an ARC copy provided by NetGalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    I'm not a Trekker by any stretch of the imagination, but I have enjoyed elements of Star Trek for as long as I can remember. So it is that getting so much BTS info and a wider view of the importance of Star Trek in the wider sci-fi and IRL world was fascinating. Britt goes deep into very specific elements of Star Trek, yet I love how it never feels like a casual watcher/reader is being pushed out of the narrative by a lack of knowledge. Now, I admit that this might mean that a hardcore fan might I'm not a Trekker by any stretch of the imagination, but I have enjoyed elements of Star Trek for as long as I can remember. So it is that getting so much BTS info and a wider view of the importance of Star Trek in the wider sci-fi and IRL world was fascinating. Britt goes deep into very specific elements of Star Trek, yet I love how it never feels like a casual watcher/reader is being pushed out of the narrative by a lack of knowledge. Now, I admit that this might mean that a hardcore fan might find that there is information that didn't need to be shared or obvious, but I loved how it made the deeper elements of Trek more accessible. Overall, I'm walking away from this with a much deeper appreciation of everything Star Trek and curious to look up more writings by Ryan Britt. Happy thanks to NetGalley, PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, and Plume Books for the interestingly educational read!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kieran McAndrew

    This is one hell of a good look at the history of 'Star Trek'. Engaging on every level, Britt explains the highs and lows of the series as an experience that is worth having. There is no bad 'Star Trek', he posits, because 'Star Trek' is aspiring to be something more and, even when producers make a wrong turn, the experience informs future development. This is one hell of a good look at the history of 'Star Trek'. Engaging on every level, Britt explains the highs and lows of the series as an experience that is worth having. There is no bad 'Star Trek', he posits, because 'Star Trek' is aspiring to be something more and, even when producers make a wrong turn, the experience informs future development.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    4.5 😳🖖🏼

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

    Review forthcoming in Locus.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book was a chore to get through. Somehow I thought I might learn something about Trek but that is difficult for a person whose familiarity with the material is already the product of a good portion of his lifetime. This book may be an absolute delight for you, but I fear I had the wrong expectations. I was hoping for in depth discussion of all of Trek and instead it’s the highlights which aggregate a series of interviews that have been done over a while. If you care about an actors opinion This book was a chore to get through. Somehow I thought I might learn something about Trek but that is difficult for a person whose familiarity with the material is already the product of a good portion of his lifetime. This book may be an absolute delight for you, but I fear I had the wrong expectations. I was hoping for in depth discussion of all of Trek and instead it’s the highlights which aggregate a series of interviews that have been done over a while. If you care about an actors opinion over the sociological implications of the treatment of homosexual or queer gendered characters, hello, see this book. I am fairly certain that Tom Hardy isn’t mentioned in the book and that might be a benefit in your opinion. It is what it is.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Penguin Group- Dutton for an advanced copy of this entertainment history book. Star Trek has been responsible for many things in its almost sixty year of existence. Growth in the interest in science fiction as a genre, a rise in attention from media companies, a line of comics, toys and ears, soundtracks, a successful book series, with many bestsellers, role playing games and more. Also we can't forget the billions in lucre for Paramont. And fandom, w My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Penguin Group- Dutton for an advanced copy of this entertainment history book. Star Trek has been responsible for many things in its almost sixty year of existence. Growth in the interest in science fiction as a genre, a rise in attention from media companies, a line of comics, toys and ears, soundtracks, a successful book series, with many bestsellers, role playing games and more. Also we can't forget the billions in lucre for Paramont. And fandom, with conventions, cosplay, and dictionaries of languages from the show, all due to a fans wanting more and more from their characters and franchise. Slash fiction too. Can't forget that. Science fiction writer and commentator Ryan Britt describes the humble beginning of this show, where it is going and the long shadow it has cast on fans and entertainment in Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World. The book starts with a history of the creator of Star Trek, Gene, Roddenberry and his development of the show focusing on most of the creative people who had a hand in the show's birth. From there it follows the many iterations of the show, animated, movie, Next Generation with brief descriptions of the show, problems behind and in front of the scenes, and what was going on around the show that effecting its development. The book goes right to the present, covering the books, comics, movies, slash fiction and more. Fandom is a big subject, and also the role of representation in the shows. A very well written book with a lot of new revelations and interesting side stories. Even as a longtime fan much of what I read was still new to me. The sourcing was interesting, and you could tell a lot of work and care went into this. Not a gossip or just a quick making of series, this is a very comprehensive examination of the show and its legacy, and Britt has a very good way of presenting everything. I've read a lot of books about Star Trek, the Shatner books, the Mark Altman Books, most everything, but this one I really enjoyed, and got the most out of. Recommended for fans of Star Trek and for readers of cultural history and how a show that ran a short period of time sixty years ago could become so monumental.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mrs C

    I'm not a trekkie, but I am interested in iconic sci-fi culture. The writing is interesting -it was a bit scattered and the writer injected too much of himself that distracted from the topic. Still, this has lots of insider info for a bit of nostalgia tacked on with other issues colored by today's standards for what makes something buzzworthy (if you're into that sort of thing). Review copy provided by the publisher. I'm not a trekkie, but I am interested in iconic sci-fi culture. The writing is interesting -it was a bit scattered and the writer injected too much of himself that distracted from the topic. Still, this has lots of insider info for a bit of nostalgia tacked on with other issues colored by today's standards for what makes something buzzworthy (if you're into that sort of thing). Review copy provided by the publisher.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    A delightful peek into what makes Star Trek so enduring and endearing. Ryan Britt explores the 5+ decades of Star Trek history, including the risks the show took and the overall progressive approach to storytelling. He interviewed many people involved with Star Trek throughout the years and we get an inside look at the behind-the-scenes drama and challenges. The book also explores the choices made in each series and movie that shaped the show, pop culture opinion, and ultimately all of the Star T A delightful peek into what makes Star Trek so enduring and endearing. Ryan Britt explores the 5+ decades of Star Trek history, including the risks the show took and the overall progressive approach to storytelling. He interviewed many people involved with Star Trek throughout the years and we get an inside look at the behind-the-scenes drama and challenges. The book also explores the choices made in each series and movie that shaped the show, pop culture opinion, and ultimately all of the Star Trek universe. Plus there's a handy guide at the end to all Star Trek iterations and the timeline for how they relate to one another. Right off the bat, I feel it's important to mention that I'm a casual Star Trek fan. I grew up with my dad being a pretty big fan and now my husband is just as obsessed, but I watch much more irregularly and without as much dedication. However, I still absolutely enjoyed this book. I loved getting the history of the show and how it has impacted pop culture and science and how those parts of society have impacted the shows as well. It was interesting to see how actors used their (sometimes unexpected) fame from the show to make real-world impact. Plus, who can resist hearing about the drama going on during planning and production from the very beginning? Overall, I definitely recommend this book if you're a fan of Star Trek, science fiction in general, or really any major fandom (Star Trek directly influenced most major film franchises since). It was very easy to read and had many moments that were funny, heartbreaking, or both. I definitely will be encouraging other people in my life to read this book soon. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for providing an advanced copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World by Ryan Britt traces the reincarnation of the famous franchise from the original show, to today’s spinoffs. Mr. Britt is a journalist and writer of fiction and non-fiction books. Even though I’m not a superfan of the show Star Trek, I do follow it and enjoy the universe. I even read several books and memoirs, my favorite is Walter Koenig’s Beaming Up For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Phasers on Stun!: How the Making (and Remaking) of Star Trek Changed the World by Ryan Britt traces the reincarnation of the famous franchise from the original show, to today’s spinoffs. Mr. Britt is a journalist and writer of fiction and non-fiction books. Even though I’m not a superfan of the show Star Trek, I do follow it and enjoy the universe. I even read several books and memoirs, my favorite is Walter Koenig’s Beaming Up and Getting Off. Phasers on Stun! by Ryan Britt touches every aspect of the TV shows and movies of this beloved franchise, from the original show to the spinoffs, to the remakes, and cartoons. I was even introduced to the wonderful Lower Decks which I had no idea existed, but after watching a few episodes I am now a fan. Much of the information was new to me, but I am not a die-hard Star Trek fan. I think much of the information in it is nothing earth-shattering. However, I enjoyed Mr. Britt’s assessments and commentaries throughout. This is a solid piece of writing the author makes his case in a clear manner. I especially enjoyed reading his views on the new shows, such as Picard and Discovery. I’ve heard mixed reviews on them, but as always, it’s nice to read a refreshing (for me at least) take on them. The one thing I didn’t see was a discussion on the fact that Paramount plagiarized the idea of Deep Space Nine from Babylon 5. J. Michael Straczynski discusses this in his book Becoming Superman, but I thought it deserved a mention Mr. Britt discusses these subjects with passion and humor. I have to admit I’ve never watched the new streaming shows. After all, how many streaming services can one have? However, the thought-provoking chapters about them did convince me that, when I do sign up, to give them a chance.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Fans will love this love letter to the fantastic world of Star Trek, from The Original Series through Strange New Worlds and beyond. Much of the book focuses on The Original Series and movies, but every era is covered, with a multitude of interviews from actors, writers and producers who all brought Star Trek to life. If you haven't watched all the shows, keep in mind that Britt includes some spoilers, but as this was clearly written for fans, I will give him a pass. Tons of behind-the-scenes nu Fans will love this love letter to the fantastic world of Star Trek, from The Original Series through Strange New Worlds and beyond. Much of the book focuses on The Original Series and movies, but every era is covered, with a multitude of interviews from actors, writers and producers who all brought Star Trek to life. If you haven't watched all the shows, keep in mind that Britt includes some spoilers, but as this was clearly written for fans, I will give him a pass. Tons of behind-the-scenes nuggets and controversies are also covered. Fans will come away remembering why they love Star Trek in the first place, and perhaps willing to give some of the shows they haven't tried yet a chance. As Britt writes, "The power of Star Trek is that it teaches you, over and over again, how to live better. How to be a more thoughtful and kinder person."

  14. 4 out of 5

    John Schorg

    I grew up watching Star Trek back in the 1960s. The original series was one of the touchstones of my youth, and I have watched all the movies, no matter which cast is featured. This is an OK overview of the entire Star Trek universe, but I enjoyed the wrestling with the early shows and movies the best. Again we have another author who cannot help but talking about himself as much as his subject matter, but this guy is at least someone who knows the subject. I cannot imagine this book being a way I grew up watching Star Trek back in the 1960s. The original series was one of the touchstones of my youth, and I have watched all the movies, no matter which cast is featured. This is an OK overview of the entire Star Trek universe, but I enjoyed the wrestling with the early shows and movies the best. Again we have another author who cannot help but talking about himself as much as his subject matter, but this guy is at least someone who knows the subject. I cannot imagine this book being a way for a novice to begin watching any version of Star Trek.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jay Gabler

    Thank you Penguin Random House Audio for the free audiobook. Incisive, fun, and passionate (this is Star Trek, after all), Ryan Britt's pop history — read by the author — is a great listen for casual Trekkies (he defends the term) and hard-core Trekkers alike. Thank you Penguin Random House Audio for the free audiobook. Incisive, fun, and passionate (this is Star Trek, after all), Ryan Britt's pop history — read by the author — is a great listen for casual Trekkies (he defends the term) and hard-core Trekkers alike.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kym Taborn

    What a fun read. A wonderful behind the scenes tour of the Star Trek phenomenon from it's beginnings to it's second Renaissance today asking the questions, and answering, why the heck are we still watching this franchise and why does the Star Trek universe refuse to die? What a fun read. A wonderful behind the scenes tour of the Star Trek phenomenon from it's beginnings to it's second Renaissance today asking the questions, and answering, why the heck are we still watching this franchise and why does the Star Trek universe refuse to die?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Errrrrrick

    You'll probably like this book about as much as you like (on average) the Star Trek tv shows and movies. It does also discuss some of the novels, conventions, etc. but the focus is on tv shows and movies. You'll probably like this book about as much as you like (on average) the Star Trek tv shows and movies. It does also discuss some of the novels, conventions, etc. but the focus is on tv shows and movies.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Karsh

    This helped me appreciate Star Trek more and carry my own in a few Star Trek conversations with friends.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim Omstead

    Worth reading if you're a Trek fan. I learned some new things from this book. Worth reading if you're a Trek fan. I learned some new things from this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Seigler

    https://bookandfilmglobe.com/nonficti... https://bookandfilmglobe.com/nonficti...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I really enjoyed this book. Even as a pretty big TNG fan I learned a lot. Star Trek has done so much for science fiction and entertainment.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    A mostly interesting history of the Star Trek series up to the present times. Sometimes a bit slow or author self-centered, but still a good read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elliot

  26. 5 out of 5

    Em B

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather Rae

  28. 4 out of 5

    Goagzyit

  29. 4 out of 5

    C.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vince Lamacki

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