Starlog 13: Adventures and Star Trek: The Multiple Other

Professor: Adventures

Professor at Christmas

The trees are covered with lights.  The houses are covered with lights.  The lawns are covered with lights.  The driveways are lined with lights.  The lights are colorful and dazzling to a garish extreme.  Sometimes the lights are coordinated with music.  It all is a terrible monstrosity until I close my eyes and a feeling that is pine and mulling spices moves over my arms and around my chest.  There is something, though, at the edge of this goodwill.  Something dark.  I open my eyes and see alf1 grinning.

Star Trek: The Multiple Other

In true Star Trek tradition, the new season of Star Trek: Discovery contributes to the discourse of Otherness.  Captain Burnham is a non-traditional lead because the Captain is both black and female—a doubled Other.  However, she is human and therefore recognizable and relatable in the context of vast space.  Cleveland Booker, or Book, the first life form she meets after crashing onto Hima, which first appears to be a double of Earth, also seems to be a doubled Other since he appears as both black and male.  However, it soon becomes apparent that Book is Other quadrupled because he is a thief—someone who operates on the outskirts of a legal system—and because he is alien.  Other lifeforms who visibly (at least from a human perspective) are alien are present, and as Captain Burnham moves in the midst of them, it becomes apparent that Captain Burnham herself is an alien—not just a comparatively different life form but also from a different and distant time and location.  She is, as Book states, “a true believer” who believes in something—the Federation and its code—that has passed out of time yet exists through the presence of Captain Burnham.  She is, as Book states, a “time traveler” and a “ghost”.  She exists when and where she is not supposed to exist.  Furthermore, she, like her ship, becomes relatively unlocatable.  Her ship is lost to her, and she is lost to her ship.  Both are lost to another dimension of time and space.  By simultaneously being both a ghost and alive, she crosses into the uncanny, which in and of itself is an indicator of difference.  What does it mean to be the Other, and what does it mean to be (an)Other doubled, doubled, and doubled again?  Ultimately, difference becomes a factor of commonality within the multiplicity of Otherness.  

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