Anyone who has spent time with me over the last couple of days has heard about this book. I’ve been consumed … first with wonder at how a book-length poem reads, then with elation as I found that no matter the structure, the use of such familiar myth resonates for me. Perhaps the structure is even key to the reading coming across as a deeper truth than it first appears. In last month’s Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens wrote about the very political King James translation of the Bible, and how it is the power of the prose that has insinuated itself so completely into the everyday lives of even non-believers.
Prime Directive is Bryan Dietrich’s goodbye to his father, but it also elevates and expresses the underlying mythos of Star Trek in a way that perhaps only an incredibly talented Professor of English can.
It is a quick read (and re-read). I recommend the book be experienced cover to cover. Rich Ristow’s Introduction readies us for something more than we’ve seen before, and Bryan Dietrich’s discourse on the underlying symbolism folds together exquisitely with his father’s story in the Afterword. I came away from the reading with a deeper understanding of how the girl in my mirror, who would sit alone in her room for hours with Bulfinch’s Mythology, could be mesmerized by a television show about space travel. I think that a part of me recognized that the characters were a collection of archetypes, expressing a hope for our collective future.
Bryan D. Dietrich’s new book is about Star Trek. It’s about ten-year-olds and Talos IV, Kirk and Klingons, captains and colonels. It’s about a suddenly single Air Force father who introduces his son to a TV show, one that brings them both together, offers them both new life if not new civilization, preparing them both to go where neither has gone before. Prime Directive is a book about a man with Alzheimer’s who doesn’t have long before beaming out of this world, but it’s also about his son, father himself now, learning how to take the helm once his captain, his Colonel, is gone.