This is the title of the thirteenth episode from the sixth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
. It originally aired on February 11, 1998
and was still enjoyed by audiences for many years afterwards in reruns
. The story was written by Marc Scott Zicree and directed by Avery Brooks
who also stars as Commander Benjamin Lafayette Sisko
. In this episode, Sisko loses a friend in a war. He begins to question his place and loses confidence in why he's continuing on. However, he begins having hallucinations that he is actually, Benjamin Russel, a black writer on Earth in the 1950s, writing science fiction stories for a pulp magazine. The magazine editor refuses to publish his writings, because he tells the story of his alter-ego in the future. The publisher, and most of society in the terran 1950s, couldn't accept the idea of a black captain running anything, least of which a space station.
One of the more endearing aspects of this particular episode for fans of the series is that all of the characters are in attendance in Sisko's hallucinations. The actors are presented in their 1950s incarnations, including the individuals who are usually wearing pounds of latex and makeup to look like aliens. This is one of the few times we get to see Armin Shimmerman's bald head. Let me tell you it's quite a treat.
Ben goes through a major identity crisis as he struggles between these two worlds, and in the 50s world his short story about the future world is not published, because of racism and ignorance. Ben goes into a speech at that point, which includes the phrase, "You can pulp a story but you cannot destroy an idea." which in many ways sums up the entire Star Trek mythos to a tee. Great episode.