Recap: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 06 E 13 Far Beyond The Stars

While enjoying his father's first visit to the station, Captain Benjamin Sisko suddenly finds himself experiencing another life - that of Benny Russell, a science-fiction writer for the magazine Incredible Tales circa 1953, facing the racial prejudices of the day. Russell comes up with an idea for a story called "Deep Space Nine". As the world of Benjamin Sisko begins to encroach upon that of Benny Russell, he is forced to wonder: which is the dreamer, and which is the dream?

Tropes

  • All Just a Dream: Probably.
  • And You Were There: The people in Benny Russell's world resemble those in Benjamin Sisko's (except without rubber foreheads, etc. where applicable). In a few instances, Benny even sees a few of them as their DS9 counterparts.
  • Call Back: Bashir finds that Sisko is experiencing the same synaptic potentials in his brain as he did during "Rapture".
  • Casting Gag: In Sisko's dream, Kay (played by Nana Visitor) and Julius (played by Alexander Siddig) are a married couple. In real life Visitor and Siddig had gotten married not long before this episode was produced.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Benny's breakdown when he's fired. He sure seems like he's going to take that table with him.
  • Heroic BSOD: Sisko starts going into one when he learns that his friend Quentin Swofford has been killed. The vision from the Prophets is meant to help him work through it.
  • Homage: The writers here knew their '50s science fiction creators...
    • Benny is based on Samuel R. Delaney, right down to Delaney's story "Nova," which Analog Magazine rejected for having an African-American protagonist.
    • Albert Macklin, the writer of robots who eventually sells a novel to Gnome Press, is Isaac Asimov...three guesses who Isaac first sold I, Robot to. (Asmiov was also a science consultant on Star Trek The Motion Picture and inspired the concept of Data.)
    • Herbert Rossoff is Harlan Ellison by any other scream.
    • Kay "K.C. Hunter" Eaton is based on Catherine "C.L." Moore, and the same reasoning underlies the use of initials. For the same reason, she's also a reference to Original Series and TNG writer D.C. Fontana.
    • Jules Eaton, her husband, is Moore's husband Henry Kuttner, who was one of HP Lovecraft's proteges.
    • Douglas Pabst is John W. Campbell. Campbell was the editor who rejected "Nova."
    • The plot line about Benny's story is also inspired by the real world controversy surrounding the Comics Code Authority's refusal, on openly racist grounds, to allow publication of the EC Comics comic story "Judgement Day", by Al Feldstein and Joe Orlando. The story in question was a Robots Enslaving Robots satire of racism, in which the twist ending was that the disgusted human observer of the racist alien robots, whose face had been hidden in a spacesuit throughout the story, was revealed to be a black man. William Gaines's disgust at this caused EC to finally stop publishing comics altogether.
    • Finally, Rossoff lists the writers in the September 1953 issue of Galaxy when he threatens to join them: Theodore Sturgeon (writer, "Shore Leave" and "Amok Time"), Isaac Asimov (see above), and Ray Bradbury (who never had a direct association with Star Trek, but he did have a starship on The Next Generation named after him). Sturgeon really was the writer of the cover story of the real-life September 1953 issue of Galaxy.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Played for laughs with the Buffy memo (see Trivia), and far, far more seriously with Benny's story.
  • Mars Needs Women: One of the sketches Roy Ritterhouse comes up with (which the writers then have to create stories for) is of a beautiful, scantily-clad woman being menaced by what looks like a giant praying mantis.
  • Mythology Gag: The March 1953 cover of Incredible Tales and the September 1953 cover of Galaxy feature references to the original series. The stories listed on the Incredible Tales cover are all original series episodes, credited to their actual writers—including "The Cage" to Gene Roddenberry. "Court Martial", listed on the Galaxy cover, is credited to "Samuel T. Cogley," Kirk's attorney in that episode.
    • The Incredible Tales cover also features the Delta Vega station from "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and Galaxy has a painting based on Starbase 11 from "Court Martial" and "The Menagerie".
  • Playing Against Type: Or for type...or both. Most of the "roles" played by the main characters in Sisko's dream are either markedly different from, or somehow the same as, or both at the same time, how those characters are on DS9:
    • Herbert Rossoff (Quark) is either an idealistic leftist writer, who supports Benny Russell in his fight against prejudice, or just someone who enjoys complaining and being different (a la Quark to the entire Federation).
    • Douglas Pabst (Odo) is a morally compromised editor, who only believes in the power of money...or someone who may sympathize, but he has a boss, and he follows orders (as Odo was under the Cardassians).
    • Jimmy (Jake) is a street smart petty thief and hustler. Racism has already made him extremely cynical at his young age.
    • Darlene Kursky (Dax) is a ditzy secretary, though with Hidden Depths—and she goes from the experienced hundreds-of-lives type to the younger newbie ("bless you, my child").
    • Willlie Hawkins (Worf) is a smooth-talking ladies' man, but he's an athlete and a local hero.
    • Albert Macklin (O'Brien) is diffident and stuttering, but he's an engineer's writer, with a love of the efficiency of robots.
    • Kay Eaton (Kira) and Julius Eaton (Bashir) are pretty much the same as in the real world, though more passive, less convinced they can change anything substantive.
    • The two policemen who beat Russell are played by the same actors who play Dukat and Weyoun, continuing their villainous role.
  • Politically Correct History: Defied.
  • Precision N Strike/N-Word Privileges: Jimmy tells Benny exactly what white people will "always" see black people as, even in the future. This marks the only time the N-word is used in the entirety of Star Trek.
  • Raygun Gothic: Particularly in the drawing that Roy Ritterhouse does of the space station, which looks just like it would have had the series been created in the Fifties.
  • Visions of Another Self: Nearly episode-long instance of it.