"Star Trek" has no equal. Easily the most cerebral show on television, it brought a literary sophistication to the raw material of science fiction and confounded all the formulas of television. By taking classic stories and putting them in strange new contexts "Star Trek" became a modern Odyssey in outer space, a set of stories so basic to our culture that they can be told over and over again. But while legions have devoured score of books on every aspect of the series, no book has ever dared to explore what "Star Trek" means-where it comes from, why it is so popular, how it creates a coherent world-until now. The Meaning of Star Trek captures the essence of this timeless television masterpiece by examining it in the context of literary history, social history, anthropology, myth, and religion-how it grew from a science fiction tradition; how the history of the federation reconfigures our own; how it handles the concept of first contact with other cultures; how its stories relate to classic myths; and how its tales of wonders, marvels, and miracles appeal to our sense of religion. Most importantly, The Meaning of Star Trek is a vital bridge between the universes of classical literature and popular entertainment, showing how this television series mines literary classics-and how those classics were the popular entertainment of their own time. Enlightening, provocative, and tremendously accessible, The Meaning of Star Trek is a Trekkie's dream, and a book no student of literature or television will want to be without.