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The Naval War FilmGenre, History and National Cinema$
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Jonathan Rayner

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719070983

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719070983.001.0001

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‘Damn the photon torpedoes!’ Star Trek and the transfiguration of naval history

‘Damn the photon torpedoes!’ Star Trek and the transfiguration of naval history

(p.153) 6 ‘Damn the photon torpedoes!’ Star Trek and the transfiguration of naval history
The Naval War Film

Jonathan Rayner

Manchester University Press

Star Trek's adaptation of naval history and imagery to science fiction can be read in the light of relation to the depiction of scientific and military responses to alien threats. In their deliberate evocation of a known, shared, naval heritage, the Star Trek films and series create an unchallenging, incontestable ‘space’ for pride in national history and naval prowess. The accessibility and expansion of the Star Trek format in its films and spin-offs underpin its relevance and prompt its replication in another, more specifically navalised, post-Cold War science fiction series, Sea Quest DSV. As illustrated by the Japanese animated series and films, which portray the adventures of Space Battleship Yamato, the reinvocation of naval history and heroism in science fiction is not simply an American prerogative. This vessel, built from the remains of the sunken World War II battleship, defends Earth against alien invaders. The poignancy of this vessel and her name as a symbol of Japan is further enshrined by her self-destruction to save planet Earth in Yamato yo towa ni/Be Forever, Yamato.

Keywords:   Star Trek, naval history, Sea Quest DSV, Space Battleship Yamato, battleship

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