Abstract

The long-lived Star Trek franchise illuminates the evolution of social priorities and anxieties over more than fifty years. Specifically, it provides a useful lens on shifting attitudes toward science, technology, diversity, and hybridity. This article suggests that Star Trek is grounded in what we call a bio-utilitarian ethos, that embraces techno-scientific changes if they contribute to the greater good but rejects them if they increase individual happiness at the expense of the whole. An examination of multiple forms of hybridity on the “final frontier” further reveals that the franchise has moved toward an increasingly apprehensive and pessimistic preoccupation with the technological and genetic enhancement of humanity. This shift reflects, and potentially shapes, attitudes toward real-world techno-scientific developments.

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