Assignment: Lecture 11 on New Wave SF (continued) and Star Trek

Here’s the eleventh lecture, which continues New Wave SF with Samuel R. Delany and the original Star Trek series. Write a comment on this post by Wed, May 6 that is at least 250 words long summarizing the lecture, your reading of Samuel R. Delany’s “Aye, and Gomorrah,” and viewing of Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever.” While I asked you to read James Tiptree, Jr.’s “The Women Men Don’t See,” you may include it in this summary or hold it for the following week’s assignment when I lecture on it and Feminist SF (I wanted you to read ahead so that we could keep things on track). Email me at jellis at or come to my Wed 5-6pm office hours with questions.

15 thoughts on “Assignment: Lecture 11 on New Wave SF (continued) and Star Trek”

  1. Topics discussed in our 4/29 lecture included a continuation of our discussion of New Wave SF and one of its foremost writers, Samuel R. Delaney (b. 1942), one of his short stories “Aye, And Gomorrah…” and the SF television series Star Trek.
    Samuel R. Delaney was originally from Harlem and was an extremely influential African American and gay writer of SF as well as a critic of the genre. Unlike many writers of the genre, his first work was a novel rather than a short story (Jewels of Aptor, 1962). The shared characteristics of his stories included the main characters being physically or psychologically damaged, the highlighting of the social environments of the stories in colorful detail, the inclusion of mythology, an emphasis on communication, linguistics and language (as he believed our perception of reality depended on them), the exploration of cultural differences and the social construction of identity and finally, sexuality and eroticism. Some of his most important works included Babel-17 (1966), a novel about and alien language that was being received over radio broadcast, The Einstein Intersection (1967), a story wherein Earth has lost all of its humans, but their forms have been taken on by aliens who try to make sense of the remaining earthly artifacts, and Dhalgren (1975), a post-modern, controversial best seller about an anonymous youth that comes to a nihilistic, violent city, intended to represent the USA in the near future, and writes the book that is Dhalgren as a memoir of sorts. “Post-modernity” is filled with analytical skepticism and irony regarding long-standing Western, universalized theories and beliefs. It serves as a critique to early “modernist” formulations of the objective reality, human progress, the power of reason and rationality and the human.
    In “Aye, And Gomorrah…” (1967), Delaney describes a future world in which astronauts have been selected at an early age from society and pre-pubescently neutered so that they can operate in space, safe from radiation and free of sexual desire. These “spacers” are fetishized by natural, unaltered humans that live back on Earth. Those humans are referred to as “frelks,” and they often pay for the prostitution services of the spacers, who offer themselves out of desire for money, humor and to cure loneliness. The story highlighted how interventions in the human body can have unintended consequences both for the altered and for the society around them. In the story, the self-described former “American Red Indian” spacer encounters a Turkish girl who wants to fulfill her fetish (she’s a frelk) by hiring him for some kind of sexual gratification. He ultimately declines to engage her, as the girl has no money, but the underlying theme of the story might also be a kind of allegory about how individuals are judged for the desires that are innate to them. This could be a commentary on race and sexuality in addition to the commentary about altering humans and society.
    “Star Trek“ (1966-1969, NBC) was created by Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991), who was a pilot in WWII, then a commercial pilot and police officer before becoming a writer, and considered himself a “humanist” and an agnostic. The show was originally pitched to the “Wagon Train” TV series as the next logical idea for a frontier adventure (space). The general characteristics of Star Trek include socially progressive and optimistic stories about the future, a blending of the fantastic with the familiar, social criticism of the “now” with moral lessons safely veiled in SF, a formulaic quality of storytelling (unlike the early SF serial films), alien superbeings that have been around longer than humans and have had time to evolve, and scientifically-lax storylines that included lots of “technobabble,” or meaningless language that had a superficial resemblance to technology and science. Many episodes were written by New Wave writers, including Robert Bloch and Harlan Ellison, among many others. “The City on the Edge of Forever” was written by Harlan Ellison, but further adapted by other TV writers. It is a story about a time traveler that goes into the past and changes the future accidentally. Cpt. Kirk and Mr. Spock have to go and fix the past again. Cpt. Kirk falls in love with a woman from the past and realizes he has to allow her to die. The story brings up questions of ethics and causality.

  2. In this lecture, the information on New Wave Science Fiction is continued. The main writer spoken of was Samuel R. Delany, who was an African American, gay Science Fiction writer. He had a knack for linguistics and literary theory. There were a few works of his that were extremely successful mentioned in the lecture, however the one we were assigned to read was “Aye, and Gomorrah.” Like many other writers mentioned in previous lectures, Samuel R. Delany has certain characteristics that his work his:

    1. Main characters usually have physical pr psychological damage of some sort.
    2. Highlights social background of stories in colorful detail; social situations, environments, culture.
    3. Mythology is important.
    4. Communication, linguistics, and language. (Semiotics)
    5. Explores cultural difference and the social construction of identity.
    6. Sexuality and erraticism.

    Modernity and post-modernism were also explained. Modernity is roughly the period beginning with the Enlightenment through the Industrial revolution to World War II. It focused on grand narratives, or big ideas, that were considered universal. Post-modernism follows and overlaps the end of modernity, and it is characterized by an array of cultural theories and attitudes that have developed a skepticism colored with irony, emphasizing language empowers relationships toward long-standing Western universalized theories and beliefs. Now this also ties into the mindset of Samuel R. Delany, because it was mentioned that he believed language was the key in understanding and making any connections. His “Aye, and Gomorrah” was about neutered “spacers,” and the neutering was done to help them withstand the radiation in space. These spacers were unable to have sexual tendencies. The individual would take advantage of the “sexually retarded,” which were children that had difficulties during puberty. There was a group of individuals called frelks, who had a desire to be with the neutered spacers. They had this fetish to be with someone who they knew couldn’t reciprocate their feelings.

  3. Lecture 11 focused mostly on the work of Samuel R, Delnay (1942-). Over the week we were required to read his work “Aye and Gomorrah.. A rather dark tale about how modifying the human body can have consequences on their society. I found the narrative odd, strange, dark and depressing. I do however understand that Delnay is trying to convey a message and although it is discussed in the lecture I’m not to sure I completely understand it. I am most disturbed by how the frelks pay the spacers and take advantage of their loneliness and depression. If this were an in class lecture I do feel that I would have more questions… Gene Roddenberry work although dark and gloomy, it was a more pleasant experience. I’ve never watched an episode of Star Trek, I have always heard of the show but no one in my generation really talks about that work so much as they do reference it in visual ways. It was really awesome to watch an episode, I can only imagine the excitement and anxious feeling of watching this show. It was anticipated in our previous lecture that this would be an episode about time travel and its effects on the future. Today, pop culture makes people feel as if they are experts in time travel as if they have done it themselves. It’s easy to go back and judge the narrative of this episode but like we really know how time travel would actually work. Marvel and DC have really influenced this generation and the ones before it on the idea of time travel and alternate universes. The lecture analyzes these works and uses them as example new wave SF works. Delnay has specific characteristics to his work. The one that is most significant to me is the representation of worlds with cultures and subcultures, different types of people and how they all work together.

  4. During this lecture we continued to learn about New Wave SF. We learn about Samuel R. Delaney, a gay African American SF writer. The characteristics of his stories include the main character usually having a physical or psychological damage. Highlights the social background of stories in detail. Features mythology, something that is existent in the story or emerges from the story. Explores cultural differences and how characters come together with different backgrounds. Incorporates communication, linguistics, and language. He also incorporates sexuality and eroticism in his stories. Some of his major works are “Babel-17” (1966), “Einstein Interaction” (1967), “Dhalgren” (1975), and “Aye, and Gomorrah”. Babel-17 is about language and a poet heroine in a future galactic society. An alien language has been received during radio broadcasts, much of the story is to decipher this alien language. “Einstein Interaction” is about earth losing its humans, and a race of aliens attempt to make sense of artifacts and take on human traditions. “Dhalgren” is one of his controversial works, it is about the possibilities and difficulties of youth culture and partly about being a writer. Next, we learned about the Star Trek original series created in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry. It is a space opera that takes place in space where a crew and their spaceship set out on voyages to explore new worlds and meet aliens. Some of the characteristics of the show include a socially progressive and optimism of the future. It blends the fantastic with the familiar, it is formulaic with a beginning, middle, and end. Features alien super beings, and not scientifically accurate. The first episode of Star Trek is called “The City on the Edge of Forever”, 1967. It is a time travel narrative where, Mr. McCoy played by DeForest Kelley goes back in time to change the future. To correct this, captain Kirk played by William Shatner and Mr. Spock played by Leonard Nimoy must sacrifice a woman named Edith Kneeler.

  5. In our eleventh lecture we continued to discuss New Wave SF starting with the history of the writer Samuel R. Delany who was a linguistics literary theorist. We touched on some of his major works and five characteristics found with in his writing. The sixth characteristic of his literature can be found within our reading for the week entitled “Aye, and Gomorrah.” Further research that I came across in a review of this short story an article entitled “Queer Writing Practices” one critic wrote they felt Samuel R. Delany was expressing his own feeling for being gay at a time when it wasn’t excepted. They touched on the quote the pretty female frelk had stated to the spacer, “You don’t choose your perversions. You have no perversions at all. You’re free of the whole business. I love you for that, Spacer. My love starts with the fear of love. Isn’t that beautiful? A pervert substitutes something unattainable for ‘normal’ love: the homosexual, a mirror, the fetishist, a shoe or a watch or a girdle.” I thought that was a telling observation and gave more meaning to this passage for me. It also shed light on the emotions the gay community had at that time.
    Then we moved onto Star Trek, a science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry had an unusual history, he started out as a pilot in the air force then after the war became a police officer. He is described as a humanist which is why certain characteristics of this series reflect that, such as in this show it is considered as a socially progressive and optimistic depiction of the future. There were moral lessons of safety that can be found within it. For this week we watched the episode that Harlan Ellison wrote whose own writing we read last week. This series was about time travel where Dr. Spock and Captain James T. Kirk travel back in time to fix a present outcome. Meanwhile in the story Captain Kirk is faced with an ethical challenge.

  6. In Lecture 11 we continued to discuss New Wave SF. We started with Samuel R. Delany(1942-) an extremely influential African American and gay writer of SF. Delany was the keynote speaker for the second annual City Tech SF symposium in 2017. Some of his critical work includes The Jewel Hinged Law(1977), The American Shore(1978), Starboard Wine(1984), and more. Aside from a great storyteller, he was an insightful literary SF critic. Samuel Delany’s first SF work was the novel, Jewels of Aptor(1962). The characteristics that his stories share are the main character usually has physical or psychological damage of some sort, highlights the social background of the story in great detail, mythology, communication, linguistics and language, explorer cultural differences in the social construction of identity and sexuality and arudasism. Major works of Samuel Delany include Babel-17(1966), Aye, and Gomorrah(1967), influenced by particle physics and the effects of radiation on the human body. In the story, spacers are astronauts who are neutered before puberty so that their reproductive organs are damaged by radiation from space. Furthermore, we discussed Star Trek: The Original Series that was on MBC from 1966-1969. The series was created by Gene Roddenberry(1921-1991). The opening narration of the series was space, the final frontier is the voyages of the Star Trek enterprise. The five year mission to explore a strange new world, to seek out new life and new civilizations. Some general characteristics of Star Trek are socially progressive and optimistic television series about the future, blends the fantastic with the familiar, formulaic episodes, and scientifically lax: Not scientifically accurate and suffers from technobabble. Characters of the show are Captain James T. Kirk played by William Shatner, Mr. Spock played by Leonard Nimoy, Dr. Mccoy played by Deforest Kelley, Mr. Sulu played by George Takei, etc. Many Star Trek episodes were written by new wave SF writers like Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch well known for his novel Psycho that was eventually made into the film which I enjoy, Harlan Ellison and Richard Matheson. The first episode of Star Trek was “The City on the Edge of Forever”(1967). The episode is about time traveling. After Dr. Mccoy changes history and destroys his time, Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk have to travel back in time and prevent the outcome.

  7. In our last lecture, lecture 11 we discussed the continuation of New Wave Science Fiction. We began with Samuel R. Delany (1942- still alive) he wrote short fictions like The Jewels Hinged Jaw (1977) and The American Shore (1978). Delany’s first Science Fiction piece was not a short story but a novel, Jewels of Aptor. This novel was about a poet and his three friend’s journey to the Island of Aptor to seize a jewel from the dark god Hama. The Characteristics of Delany’s work are, the main character usually have physical or psychological problems. He highlights social background of stories in colorful details. Mythology, something existing or something brought up from the story. Communication, linguistics, and language, what we say and how we say things. He explores cultural differences and social construction of identity, and sexuality. Delany had different audiences, his novels were about language. His novel Babel- 17 (1966) won a nebula award. Einstein Intersection, earth lost its humans and has been taken on by aliens. Dhalgren (1915) was Delany’s most famous novel; it was a post modern novel. Star Treks original series was broadcast on NBC from 1966- 1969. The creator of Star Trek was Gene Roddenberry (1921- 1991) a wagon train to the stars, ideas of explorations. Star Trek was set in space. 1987 Star Trek the next generation, the opening was changed to “where no one has gone before”. Some characteristics of Star Trek are it was socially progressive and optimistic, series about the future. It blends the fantastic with the formularity. It made social criticism of the here and now, and moral lesions. It was formulaic; alien were super beings, scientifically lax and techno babble.

  8. During this lecture, we learned about another writer who contributed to the era of “New Wave Science Fiction” named Samuel R. Delany, who we learned was a gay, African American writer. Samuel had written 2 stories we actually read for class called “Aye” and “Gomorrah”, both shared similar themes when reading them, involving Mythology meeting Science Fiction, a crossing of two different genres. A lot of the characters in his stories have something physically or mentally wrong with them. Samuel’s stories involve cultural differences between characters and social construction of identity . Star Trek may have been inspired by Samuel’s Science Fiction stories because a lot of the episodes involve many of the themes found in Samuel’s stories. Star Trek has the ideas of different races, but just instead of skin color, it’s used as Alien species. Every story takes inspiration from others, but making it your own really shows how great the original idea was.

  9. Continuing from the last lecture the ride from new SF is still going strong. We dove into Samuel R. Delany and his work that includes jewel hinged jaw, the American shore and starburst law, very strong SF critic, and author. Samuel R. Delany is known mostly for his short stories odly his first piece of SF work was a novel. “The jewels of Aptor” he was also nineteen at this time. which is Insane if you ask me! Most SF writers tend to write short fiction first then move on to a novel. Clearly wasn’t the case of “Samuel R. Delaney”. His work follows certain characteristics the main character usually has some sort of physiological damage. Samuel R. Delaney loves to highlight the background and the world around him in grave detail by adding all sorts of mythology. And finally communication and language. Samuel R. Delaney believes we interpret society and the world around us through language. His 5th characteristic explores the cultural difference. It’s how they’re different cultures and subcultures in the world and how our identities are socially structured. 6th sexuality. In 1975 Delaney went on to publish his masterpiece” Dahlgren” a controversial tale on anonymous youth culture and the struggles that come with it the book is also self-reflected breaking the 4th wall basically. Keeping on the subject of Samuel R. Delaney and his work we were required to read “Aye and Gomorrah” a novel by the man himself which revolves around astronauts being “neutered” to avoid any sort of radiation while traveling space and time. This short story was one of Samuels R. Delaney most controversial story.

  10. The life and work of a living author as Samuel R. Delany is a clear proof that how advanced we are in the class getting close to our nowadays. Samuel R. Delany (1942 – present) is from Harlem; he is an extremely influential African American writer of SF. He is very strong on literary as well as SF critic. He started his career in 1962 in an unusual way with a full novel when the tendency was that a rookie started with short fiction works. There are some main characteristics in the way of his writing. The main characters usually have psychical or psychological damage of some sort, Delany highlights the social background of the stories and gives colorful details, mythology is important, and communication, linguistics, and language, Delany think our reality depends on our languages. He won his first Nebula award with Babel 17 (1966).
    The brief explanation of postmodernism and some issue of the modernism where the human established themselves as the center of the world. How this need conceptions of that era influenced the writers of SF and New Wave reflected those terms that were shaping the society. Terms such as Cyborg took form during the era of New Wave.
    Star Trek and the beginning of his long career in TV and Cinema full of success. Created by Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991). the series started to be emitted on NBC from 1966 to 1969. He got a unique life before reach success with Star Trek. He was a pilot of WWII and became a commercial airline pilot, a police officer for a brief time. 6 characteristics of Star Trek: it was a socially, progressive, and optimistic television series about the future, blends the fantastic with the familiar, social criticism of the here and now, it was formulaic, alien super-beings, scientifically lacks. Near to the end of the class terms like technobabble was explained alongside a short revision of the crew of the enterprise.

  11. Lecture 11 is a continuation of our lecture on New Wave SF, which includes information on the influential SF writer Samuel R. Delaney and his contributions to the genre. Discussed in the lecture is Delaney’s “Aye, and Gomorrah” and the episode Startrek: “The City on the Edge of Forever” which are both works of New Wave SF.

    Samuel R. Delaney hi is a gay African American SF writer that is originally from Harlem. His linguistic and literary theory, coupled with his writing abilities, led to him to teach writing and literature at major universities since 1988. He is a recent Temple University retiree and was a recent keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Citytech Science Fiction Symposium in 2017. Delaney’s critical works include The Jewel Hinged Jaw: Notes on the Language of Science Fiction (1977), The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction (1978), and Starboard Wine: More Notes on the Language of Science Fiction (1984). Other works by Delaney include The Jewels of Aptor (1962), Babel-17 (1966), “Aye, and Gomorrah” (1967), The Einstein Intersection (1967), and Dahlgren (1975).

    Samuel R. Delaney’s “Aye, and Gomorrah” is an SF short story published in Dangerous Minds in 1967.
    The story is about a group of beings that perform work on Mars, the Moon, and in space. Traveling to space negatively affects reproductive organs and as a result, those chosen for space traveling must have their reproductive organs removed at a young age which prevents them from maturing. The story describes the relationship that exists between the prepubescent Spacers and the Frelks that pursue them attempting to satisfy their fetish. The Spacers prostitute themselves as a way of generating income but they do so also because they feel lonely.

    Star Trek, “The City on the Edge of Forever” (1967) opens with the Starship Enterprise in distress, as it is navigated through turbulence, caused by ripples in time that are being produced by someone or something from the planet below. Upon again hitting turbulence, McCoy, the ship’s doctor, accidentally injects himself with an exorbitant amount of what appears to be a hallucinatory drug, causing him to become paranoid. He beams down to the planet below followed by the ship’s crew. While on the planet trying to locate McCoy, they discover the source of the displacement, which they approximate to be 10,000 years old. Their discovery communicates to them that it is The Guardian of Forever and is both a being, a machine, and neither and that it is its own beginning and end. Spock determines the Guardian is a time portal. Captain Kirk suggests that they use the time portal to go back in time to just before McCoy was injured, but McCoy beats them to it, jumping into the portal, simultaneously altering history and erasing life as they know it. The crew devises a plan to return things back to the way they were by jumping into the portal to a time just before McCoy is set to arrive. Kirk and Spock arrive in the 1930s, where they must blend into a depressed NYC society while awaiting McCoy’s arrival. The men are helped by a young intuitive woman named Edith Keeler and they soon find out that whether she lives or dies is the key to returning things back to normal. The men learn Keeler’s death, which McCoy’s presence in the past prevents, influences the US involvement in WWII, leading to Germany’s triumph in the war. Kirk realizes that he is in love with Keeler and is torn between trying to prevent her death or letting her die. He makes a split-second decision to let her die, ensuring the greater good, but sacrificing his morals.

  12. Continuing with New wave science fiction, we discussed Samuel R. Delany and Star Trek. Samuel R. Delany (1924-present) first science fiction was a novel named “The Jewel of Avdor” in 1962 despite most science fiction writers beginning their works with a short story. The characteristics of his works are: 1) Main character physical or psychological damage of some sort. 2) Highlights of social background of stories and colorful details. 3) Methodology is important. 4) Communications, linguistics, and language. 5) explores cultural difference and the social construction of identity. 6) Sexuality and eroticism. His works include: “The Jewel Hinged Jaw” (1977), “the American Shore” (1978), “ Starbort Wine” (1984), “Babel-17” (1966), “ Einstein Intersection” (1967), “Dhalgren” (1975), and “Aye, and Gomorrah” (1967) about spacers who are neutered before puberty so that their reproductive organs are damaged by cosmic rays and hard radiation from outer space. The story shows how technical enhancers on the body can have unintended consequences for those whose bodies are altered as well as the changes in culture around the altered bodies. Star Trek originally aired on NBC from 1966 to 1969 created by Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991). He pitched Star Trek as a wagon train amongst the stars. Star Trek writers include: Jerome Bigsby, Robert Block, Harlan Ellison, Richard Madison, Norman Spinrag, and Theodore Sturgeon. The characteristics of Star Trek are: 1) Socially progressive and optimistic about the future. 2) Blinds the fantastic with the familiar. 3) Socially criticism of the here-and-now moral lessons safety veiled in science fiction. 4) Formulaic. 5) Alien super beams. 6) Scientific lax/technobabble. The episode we watched “The City of Forever” broadcasted in 1967.

  13. This lecture was Part II of New Wave Science Fiction. We were introduced to Samuel R. Delany, a Postmodern, SF writer raised in Harlem, NY. But Delany does not fit our cookie cutter shape of your typical SF creators – he is African American and also identifies as gay. Also unlike many other SF writers, Delany jumped headfirst into the genre, writing his first SF novel as opposed to short stories many other authors began with.

    His works have the following characteristics:
    Main characters physical/psychological damage
    Highlights culture and social environments
    Communication, linguistics, and language – shows how language shapes our world
    Explores cultural differences and social construction of identity: meaning he writes about different subcultures in the worlds, his characters come from different backgrounds, and describes how this shapes our identity
    Sexuality and eroticism

    Over time and with the development of his writings, Delany had various audiences. A wider, traditional SF audience, as well as a narrower, intellectual audience during his time in academia. His significant works include “Babel-17” (1966), “The Einstein Intersection” (1967), “Dhalgren” (1975), and “Aye, and Gomorrah” (1967), which was apart of our assigned reading for this lecture. This short story is influenced by particle physics and the effects of radiation on human beings in which Spacers (or astronauts) are neutered before puberty to protect their reproductive from being damaged by radiation. A group that Spacers call “Frelks” are particularly attracted to the Spacers and their lack of specific sex identity. The androgynous sell their bodies to frelks for money.

    NBC original series Star Trek (1966-1969) was also discussed during Lecture 11. Star Trek was created by Jene Roddenberry (1921-1990), who had an interesting career timeline. He was a pilot in World War II turned commercial airline pilot, turned Los Angeles Police Officer when he finally quit, and became a fulltime TV writer. Roddenberry’s Star Trek has been characterized as socially progressive and is written in a way that is optimistic about the future (unlike many other works of SF during New Wave); it blends the fantastic with the familiar; contains social criticism of the here and now, and moral lessons that are veiled by SF. For instance, Star Trek had the very first interracial kiss on broadcasting television in a 1968 episode. This show is also characterized by its formulaic episodes that contain a beginning/middle/end; it contains alien superbeings (who are far more advanced than the human race). And lastly, it is “scientifically-lax,” meaning there are scientific, technical terms used but not always used correctly.

  14. In this week’s lecture, we covered the topic of New Wave Science Fiction and the television series Star Trek. We began speaking about Samuel R. Delany, born in 1942. He is a highly influential African-American and gay writer of science fiction. We then learned the characteristics of New Wave SF which are that the main characters have either physical or psychological damage of some sort, highlights the social background of stories in colorful detail, mythology, communications, linguistics, and language semiotics, explores cultural difference and the social construction of identity, and sexuality and eroticism. We then discussed major works of New Wave SF by Delany including Babel-17 (1966), The Einstein Intersection (1967), and Dhalgren (1975). We then learned about modernity which began with the Enlightenment through the Industrial Revolution to the second World War. It focused on grand narratives which are big ideas that were considered universal. Next, we discussed postmodernism which follows and overlaps the end of modernity. It is characterized by an array of cultural theories and attitudes that have developed as skepticism colored with irony emphasizing language and power relationships towards long-standing, western, universalized theories and beliefs. We then briefly discussed Thomas Pynchon, born in 1937. He is a highly regarded mainstream literary writer who almost always uses SF elements, jokes, and intertextual allusions in his writing. However, his work is not classified as SF. Moreover, we discussed the story we read for class, Eye and Gomorrah. The story was influenced by particle physics and the effects of radiation of the human body. In the story, astronauts called spacers are neutered before puberty so that their reproductive organs are not damaged by cosmic rays and radiation in outer space, making them androgyns lacking sexuality. The story shows how technological interventions in the body have unintended consequences to those whose bodies are altered as well as change in culture around those altered bodies. Next, we discussed Star Trek which aired from 1966-1969. It was created by Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991). He described Star Trek as a wagon train to the stars. Wagon Train was another television series that was about exploration and moving into uncharted areas. We established the characteristics of Star Trek and discussed the episode we watched for the class, The City on the Edge of Forever” which was a time travel narrative. In the episode, Bones time travels into Earth’s past and accidentally changes the future. Kirk and Spock travel into the past to correct the changes but correcting the changes requires Kirk to sacrifice a woman he began to fall in love with.

  15. Samuel R. Delaney (1942 – Present) is a Science Fiction author and critic. He was born in Harlem, New York and is an influential African American and gay author of Science Fiction. His understanding of linguistics and writing is self-taught. Delaney was a keynote speaker at the City tech Science Fiction Symposium in 2017. His short story Aye, and Gomorrah depicts a future where astronauts, called spacers, are neutered before puberty to avoid space radiation to their reproductive organs. Some unmodified humans begin to fetishize the spacers despite the fact that they have no sexuality. Spacers begin to prostitute themselves to the fetishists due to loneliness from their lack of attraction to others. The story shows how technological interventions can have unintended consequences on the bodies of those who are altered, as well as changes in the culture around those altered bodies. The original Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry (1921 – 1991) and aired on NBC from 1966 – 1969. The show had six key characteristics which were a socially progressive and optimistic view of the future, it blended fantastic with familiar, used social criticism of the here and now to safely veil morals in Science Fiction, it was formulaic, had alien super beings, and was scientifically lacks with a lot of technobabble. Season 1 Episode 29 is titled The City on the Edge of Tomorrow and is written by Harlan Ellison. In it Bones travels back in time and saves the life of a woman which directly leads to Germany prevailing in WWII which changes the course of history. Captain Kirk and Spock must go back in time to ensure the woman’s death. Captain Kirk falls in love with the woman and must choose whether to save her, causing the death of millions who did not die before, or let her die, keeping the future as they know it intact. In the end, Captain Kirk does what he knows is necessary and allows the woman to die which reverts all things to the way they were before.

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