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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Aug 29, 2018

Untimely Ends for Star Trek’s Redshirts.

Set phasers to stun, use thrusters only while in spacedock, and—whatever you do—avoid the narrative! The last of these—taken from John Scalzi’s parodic novel Redshirts—might apply equally to Starfleet’s young supernumeraries and the ensigns of the novel’s Starship Intrepid.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook look at how the redshirt trope has played out over the course of Star Trek’s half-century mission, using Scalzi’s novel as a counterpoint. We consider what it means to die a good death (on screen and in reality), why some lives are viewed as more valuable than others, and what our feelings about redshirts might tell us about the limits of human empathy.

Intro (00:00:00)
Scalzi’s Novel (00:03:12)
Featured Extras and Meaningless Deaths (00:10:05)
In the Fridge (00:20:37)
Post-Mortem on Voyager (00:27:15)
Willing Suspension of Empathy (00:43:45)
Pain and Suffering (00:56:45)
Good Grief (01:03:05)

Duncan Barrett and Clara Cook

Tony Robinson and Clara Cook (Editors) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)