ahorbinski: My Marxist-feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.  (marxism + feminism --> posthumanism)
Bibliographic Data: Penley, Constance. NASA/Trek: Popular Science and Sex in America. New York: Verso, 1997.

Main Argument: Penley argues that what she calls "NASA/TREK"--the hybrid pop culture object that is NASA and Star Trek, combined--is "popular science," which is "a collectively elaborated story that weaves together science and science fiction to help write, think, and launch us into space" (9). In her view, "popular science, fully in the American utopian tradition, proposes that scientific experimentation be accompanied by social and sexual experimentation" and that "we are, or should be, popular scientists one and all" (10).

NASA/Trek )

Critical assessment: It has to be said up front that this book has not aged well, which makes it all the more annoying when people writing now cite only this book for arguments about fans. As the quotation from the last page of the book above should make clear, moreover, this is very much part of the "first wave" of fan studies in that its attitude towards fans and fan works is so utopian. Fandom certainly can be a space for the production and contemplation of alternatives at multiple levels, but that does not make everything fans do part of some better world.

Further reading: Contact; Gravity; Galaxy Quest; Katie King, Networked Reenactments

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Andrea J. Horbinski

May 2016

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