Heinlein and Roddenberry

According to Trekonomics, Star Trek was inspired by and written in reaction to Heinlein’s early space fiction:

The hierarchical structure and naval ranks of the first Star Trek series were geared to appeal to Heinlein’s readers and demographic, all these starry-eyed kids who, like Roddenberry himself, had read Space Cadet and Have Spacesuit — Will Travel. Star Trek used all the tropes of Heinlein but sanitized them. For instance, racial and gender equality were prominent features of Heinlein’s stories. Nobody cared about your sex or the color of your skin as long as you were willing to sign up for the Space Patrol or the Federal service. Starship Troopers’ hero, Juan “Johnny” Rico, was Filipino. In that regard, Heinlein had undoubtedly paved the way for The Original Series’ integrated crew. From Space Cadet onward, he made it a new norm in science fiction that people of color and women (as in Starship Troopers) could also be protagonists. That they were bestowed visibility and full agency in an authoritarian version of e pluribus unum is a different question altogether. Kirk himself, manly, resourceful, and decisive, came across as just dim enough to evince Johnny Rico. William Shatner played up to perfection the character’s kitsch, his martial swagger and womanizing slightly off-kilter in a world ruled by diplomats and scientists, all eggheads and sissies, with or without pointy ears. [link, at BoingBoing]



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