Listen: Bob Rehak on "Treknology: Reference Materials and Worldbuilding in Science Fiction Fandom"

Earlier this semester, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies Bob Rehak presented a lecture on "Treknology: Reference Materials and Worldbuilding in Science Fiction Fandom" during the Aydelotte Foundation's Second Tuesday Arts & Humanities Cafe series. 

Vast and detailed narrative worlds underpin some of our largest fantastic-media franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings. This talk examines the role of fan-generated reference materials -- blueprints, schematics, and technical manuals -- in mapping the "future history" of Star Trek during the 1970s, as the original television show inched toward rebirth in feature films, new TV series, and videogames. While "treknically" oriented fans debated the fine points of starship engineering and warp nacelle configuration, the reference materials they generated served not just to stabilize and solidify Trek's storyworld, but to facilitate its expansion into other media such as tabletop wargames. This case study of grassroots transmedia adaptation avant la lettre raises questions about the relationship between licensed and unlicensed creativity, the limits of authorship and canon, and the role this legacy continues to play in contemporary blockbuster storytelling.

Rehak teaches popular courses in animation and cinema, video games, and television and new media. He serves on the editorial boards of Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Transformative Works and Cultures, and the Journal of Fandom Studies. His co-edited anthology Special Effects: New Histories/Theories/Contexts was published by Routledge Press in July, and he is now completing a book on the intersection between movies and video games.