Rebuttal to Far Beyond the Stars Article
Understanding the "Far Beyond The Stars" episode of DS9
The Deep Space 9 Episode titled "Far Beyond the Stars" must be taken on two levels.
One, is that it was a delusion used by the Pah Wraiths to prevent Benjamin Sisko from opening an Orb.
The Second, is as a portrayal of American life in the 1950s.
The first definition is actually, the least important. Deep Space Nine is a science fiction story, part of the Star Trek universe. What happens there is only of matter to those who follow the series.
Hence it is confined to the movement of the plot.
The second definition is what make Star Trek (and its spin offs) far more than
some diverting space opera but 'moral tales'.
In the words of Maya Angelou; "America is just one place in the world."
The belief that there were no Black writers or that stories with Black characters would not 'sell' is wrong. There were, as any random search can turn up, many Black writers, even in the United States, at the time of the story and predating the time.
What was probably true, as portrayed in the episode, Black and female sci-fi authors were to be kept out of the public eye; as if only white males could produce such genre.
That the character portrayed by Avery Brooks was not to be in the group portrait
because he was black, also held for the character played by Nana Visitor because
she was a woman.
The racism experienced by Benny (the character played by Avery Brooks) is accurate as the 1950s was an especially racist era in America.
It was a time of segregation where there were 'colored' bathrooms and water fountains, of hotels that only catered to white guests. Schools that were closed to black children.
In the episode, Benny had written of a Black Captain in one of his Sci-fi stories. This was rejected by his editor.
In those days, (according to other writers) Black characters had to be subordinates to white ones. Benny's story could have been published if there was a 'Captain White' who was in charge, 'Commander Black' his subordinate.
Far Beyond The Stars confronted race, something most flavors of Star Trek like to skip.
The 'everyone gets along' without any reference to process or the past when 'everyone ' didn't get along was a bold move for the writers of Deep Space Nine..
It gave Avery Brooks a chance to act, it 'unmasked' Worf, Quark, Nog, Odo and Martock, so we could see what they really looked like.
This was an extra and private plus to viewers.
He Opens It
The nervous breakdown Benny experiences is to weaken Sisko. The purpose was that when he connects to that Benny delusion in a mental institution, he rejects opening the Orb.
It is not until the last moment when he drops the paint roller, refusing to 'white out' his prose, and writes; "He Opens it", Sisko can open the Orb, gain the power.
The Mental Slavery aspect is vital. People often perform as expected because their internal slave compels them to. That was purpose of the epi; to create that 'powerlessness' within Sisko who would, believing he was Benny, perform as his 'Masters' desired.
His ability to escape that mental slavery and open the Orb was the triumph
The episode was brilliantly crafted, and depending on how much of one's attention was brought to it, that is how much one would take from it.