To Boldly Go…

When I was about 4 or 5, I caught an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series on early morning TV (in the early 90s). I don’t remember what episode it was and there’s a good chance it was one of the sillier ones but a bit like when I picked up the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes for the first time I was hooked. Star Trek would go on to be a very significant presence in my life but there was one thing I’d never done and never even entertained the thought of doing, going to a convention.

Until now.

On Sunday, I ventured to the NEC in Birmingham to attend ‘Destination Star Trek’. This being my first convention I didn’t really know what to expect, sadly a lack of funds meant that I was unable to purchase a bridge photo shoot or photographs with my favourites but I did buy tickets to hear William Shatner enthuse about the mysteries of the universe and to hear George Takei and Walter Koenig talk about their memories of working with DeForest Kelley. Money definitely well spent, especially in the case of latter. There were several free talks, the highlight for me being the look at the upcoming Roddenberry Vault release (which I have pre-ordered…) but at first I was a bit dismayed about the lack of things to do outside of talks.

There were a few vendors selling various Star Trek themed things but nothing that really stood out and there were only a few costumes and props on display. I don’t know what it’s like at other conventions but it all seemed a bit lacking…then I saw someone dressed in an utterly amazing Luxwana Troi costume (who turned out to be Misty Chance, a UK based drag artist who is utterly fabulous). After psyching myself up (social situations are difficult for me), I started asking the amazing cosplayers if I could take their photos I soon I was having a great amount of fun.

Yes it would have been amazing if there had been a ‘gaming zone’ (particularly as I have a several decks of the Star Trek Customisable Card Game and absolutely no idea how to play) and themed food & drink rather than just the bog standard burgers & beer but after a spectacularly long day (I had to leave my flat at 5am) I came to the conclusion that it was seeing several hundred people coming together to celebrate fifty years of a science fiction series which really made my day.

I look forward to attending more conventions in the future.

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(If you want to see the photos I took, they’re up on my Instagram :))

Collection of Trek (Non-Fiction)

Following on from my previous post about my collection of Star Trek fiction, here’s photographs of my collection of non-fiction. Some of them are slightly random… not pictured are the Federation Passport by JM Dillard (pub. 1996) and the Starfleet Survival Guide by David Mack (pub. 2002).

Non Fiction Books 2

TNG Technical Manual by Rick Sternbach & Mike Okuda (pub. 1991)
TNG Companion by Larry Nemecek (pub. 1992)
Where No One has Gone Before by J.M. Dillard (pub. 1996)
Inside Star Trek by Herbert F.Solow & Robert H.Justman (pub. 1996)
Encyclopedia by Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda &  Debbie Mirek (pub. 1997)
Science Logs by Andre Bormanis (pub. 1998)
DS9 Technical Manual by Michael Okuda Denise Okuda & Doug Drexler (pub. 1998)
New Worlds, New Civilizations by Michael Jan Friedman (pub. 1999)
Sticker Book by Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda & Doug Drexler (pub. 1999)

Non Fiction 1

Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph (pub. 1975)
The Art of Star Trek by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (pub. 1995)
Star Trek Cookbook by Ethan Phillips and William J Birnes (pub. 1999)

Collection of Trek (Fiction)

I’ve just been home to visit my mum for a few days, at my parents there is a cupboard known as “Steph’s Cupboard of Crap”. It’s mostly magazines, college coursework, computer games and books… one day I will empty this cupboard and my mum will have more space to store her crap but for the moment – it’s my cupboard!

Many of the books contained within this cupboard are Star Trek related books. I was sort of considering making a post and offering the paperbacks for something like 50p + postage but I’m a little too attached to my Trek collection… some of them I read so long ago I can’t actually remember what they are about but you never know, one day I might re-read them.

Fiction Books 3

First Frontier by Diane Carey and Dr. James Kirkland (pub. 1995)
The Joy Machine by Theodore Sturgeon and James Gunn (pub. 1996)
Mudd in your Eye by Jerry Oltion (pub. 1997)
Mind Meld by John Vornholt (pub. 1997)
Heart of the Sun by Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski (pub. 1997)
Assignment: Eternity by Greg Cox (2 copies) (pub. 1998)
Insurrection by JM Dillard (pub. 1998)
Across the Universe by Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski (pub. 1999)

Apparently these ones are a bit on the rare side, I was completely unaware of this fact until recently. Here is my little collection of Star Trek Adventures books.

Fiction Books 4

Planet of Judgement by Joe Haldman (pub. 1977)
The Starless World by Gordon Ekland (pub. 1978)
Trek to Madworld by Stephen Goldin (pub. 1979)
Perry’s Planet by Jack C. Haldeman II (pub. 1980)
Death’s Angel by Kathleen Sky (pub. 1981)

These ones were taken on my bed when I got back from visiting my parents… check out my funky spotty blanket! Ahem…

Fiction Books 1

New Voyages 2 by various (pub. 1978)
The Search for Spock by Vonda N. McIntyre (pub. 1984)
The Vulcan Science Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah (pub. 1984)
The Voyage Home by Vonda N. McIntye (pub. 1986)
Demons by JM Dillard (pub. 1986)
Spock’s World by Diane Duane (pub. 1988)
The I.D.I.C Epidemic by Jean Lorrah (pub. 1988)
The Lost Years by JM Dillard (pub. 1989)

Fiction Books 2

Enter the Wolves by AC Crispen (pub. 2001)
Crucible: Spock by David R. George III (pub. 2006)
Sarek by AC Crispen (pub. 1994)
Starfleet Academy: Crisis on Vulcan by Brad and Barbara Strickland (pub. 1996)
New Frontier: House of Cards by Peter David (pub. 1997)
S.C.E: Have Tech Will Travel by various (pub. 2002)
Strange New Worlds #5 by various (pub. 2002)
Strange New Worlds #10 by various (pub. 2007)

Books not pictured:
Star Trek the Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry (pub. 1979)
Vulcan’s Glory by D.C Fontana (pub. 1989)
Amazing Stories by various (pub. 2002)

I saw it!

Photobucket Just watched a sneaky posting of the Star Trek trailer online (it’s officially online from Monday), all I can say is GEEKGASM! It looks amazing, from the opening with rebel!Kirk and Ben Cross doing a nice voice over telling Spock he’s a child of two worlds (and a little snippet of Amanda having a tender moment with Sarek). Ben Cross is not one of my favourite actors, but I think I’m okay with the casting now… he looks like he’ll be a good Sarek (no one will ever beat Mark Lenard).

Zachary Quinto is going to be awesome as Spock, Chris Pine looks good as Kirk… Zoe Saldana is unbelievably hot and I can’t wait to see her on the Enterprise, one thing that hasn’t gelled is Simon Pegg as Scotty. Fair enough you didn’t see much of him in the trailer and the sound quality wasn’t that great, but something about him didn’t seem… right… maybe all that will be fixed when I see the HD version on Monday.

I might be going to the cinema on Saturday night, with a bit of luck they’ll stick the trailer in front of any random film here in the UK.

I’m not sure I can wait until May, anyone want to join me on a raid of Paramount? I’ll bring the popcorn.

http://www.trailerspy.com/videoplayer.swf

Much Squee!

(I had a massive database fail and had to restart things, some posts might vanish and reappear)

Not only that but TrekMovie posted this snippet from the ‘Entertainment Weekly‘ article that contains the closest thing we’ve had to a plot synopsis and a few spoilers!

Star Trek’s time-travel plot is set in motion when a Federation starship, the USS Kelvin, is attacked by a vicious Romulan (Eric Bana) desperately seeking one of the film’s heroes. From there, the film then brings Kirk and Spock center stage and tracks the origins of their friendship and how they became officers aboard the Enterprise. In fact, the movie shows how the whole original series crew came together: McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoë Saldana), Scotty (Simon Pegg), Sulu (John Cho), and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). The adventure stretches from Earth to Vulcan, and yes, it does find a way to have Nimoy appearing in scenes with at least one of the actors on our cover — and maybe both. The storytelling is newbie-friendly, but it slyly assimilates a wide range of Trek arcana, from doomed Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood) to Sulu’s swordsmanship to classic lines like, ”I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” More ambitiously, the movie subversively plays with Trek lore — and those who know it. The opening sequence, for example, is an emotionally wrenching passage that culminates with a mythic climax sure to leave zealots howling ”Heresy!” But revisionism anxiety is the point. ”The movie,” Lindelof says, ”is about the act of changing what you know.”

The synopsis makes me feel quite good about the film, I was a bit put off with the uniforms and the shiny!bridge but I’m liking the plot and can overlook the fact that no one had actually seen a Romulan until the events of ‘Balance of Terror’ as it’s messing with timeline stuff.

  • Romulan attack on USS Kelvin takes place ‘before Kirk was born’
  • Chris Pine still ‘fresh-faced space cadet’ when confronting Romulan villains
  • Kirk’s black shirt defined as ’space-cadet colors in Abrams’ Trekverse’
  • Phasers are “sleek silver gizmos with spring-triggered barrels that revolve and glow in the transition from ‘’stun” to ”kill.”

Pity that the black shirt didn’t equal MIRROR UNIVERSE but glad to see that Kirk is still a cadet.

The Trek writers talked a bit more to UGO, and I liked that they talked Sarek & Amanda (sort of) as they are my favourite Trek couple. I hope it means that they have a very loving relationship but it’s not without it’s problems because their families object or something, I’d hate it for be because Sarek = jerk.

UGO: Alright, alright. Fair enough. Let me ask you another question, about the character of Sarek who I know is going to appear in the film. We’re going to meet Sarek and Amanda. And I’ve always wondered, and maybe you guys know the answer whether it’s in the movie or not, did Sarek and Amanda engage in a koon-ut-kal-if-fee ceremony? Or not because she was an outlander, do you know the answer to this?

B: What can we tell you about this…

UGO: I know you’re dying to get into this! I mean, I know you can’t say much, and that’s cool, but c’mon.

A: Well let me say this… let me say that one of the things that attracted all of us to covering some things that had never been covered in canon about Spock is his background. A lot of people don’t know that his mother was human, and that his father was Vulcan. A lot of people that came to work on the movie, that was something they found out.

UGO stunned into silence.

A: We all know relatives that know basic things about Kirk and Spock, and that kind of seminal thing that was in Spock’s background was invaluable. And Nimoy’s involvement is a testament to the fact that there’s continuity in that character. And you are going to get to see this rich character who was torn between two worlds. And his parents are torn in two worlds. And the pain that that caused their two families

I am unbelievably excited about this film.

Recommended Books: ‘Spock’s World’ by Diane Duane (1988)

Synopsis: “Captain’s Log, Stardate 2410.500; the 23rd Century. From halfway across the galaxy, Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise are summoned by the ruling council of Commander Spock’s home planet – Vulcan. At stake is the planet’s future as a key member of the Federation. At issue is Vulcan’s mysterious past and its historic struggle for the meaning of logic. Torn between his duty to Starfleet and his unbreakable ties to Vulcan, Spock must find a way to reconcile his own inner conflict and the external threat his planet faces – or the Federation will rip itself apart.”

Review: You might be thinking (and quite rightly I suppose) “a Star Trek book?!”, well bare with me because believe me this is not only a brilliantly written Star Trek book but it is also an excellent piece of political science fiction.Diane Duane explores not only Vulcan’s past, but it’s future in this cleverly written and well-plotted story which is just as much a mystery as a conspiracy. Duane looks back to the original series and uses elements from the popular ‘Amok Time’ and can be congratulated for developing a character beyond what we saw on screen.

One of the ruling groups of the Vulcan council has posed the vote that Vulcan leaves the United Federation of Planets, it’s a vote that has personal ramifications for Spock and Sarek as they must ultimately make the decision if the vote is successful to leave their loved ones and remain on Vulcan or leave their home and be cast out.

Sarek faces a battle of concious, does he speak from his heart or do what his government requests of him? He makes the decision to do what ever ‘cthia’ – reality-truth, a word that has been mistranslated as meaning ‘logic’ and misunderstanding seems to be at the heart of the matter – tells him to do.

Duane has interestingly created characters, such as K’s’t’lk a twelve legged glass spider type being who is a physicist who more or less exists in a different plane of existence and her work with physics reflects this… as well as the now-famous Horta crew member. She deals with the established characters very well, no one seems out of character including characters we’ve only briefly met.

In typical Vulcan fashion, they want to hear all the reasons, all sides from pro-succession presentations to anti-succession and T’Pau has called upon Kirk, Spock and McCoy as not only voices of the Federation but as people who have a more personal relationship with Vulcan.

McCoy though has a bee in his bonnet, something doesn’t seem right. He starts digging into the archives and asking the right questions and soon uncovers a deep conspiracy that lies at the core of the matter, McCoy’s evidence eventually gives reason for Vulcan to stay after throws apart the whole matter.

It was refreshing to see McCoy the ‘hero’ for once, particularly as the plot itself gave little opportunity for Kirk to be an action hero and I loved that McCoy went off and learned Vulcan via RNA (basically language by absorption!).

Another character, who had a minor role, that I think was very well written as Uhura. Early in the story we see some of the posts on the internal bulletin board and discover that Uhura is working on a thesis that is going to essentially re-write everything to do with the universal translator. I thought that was a nice touch.

Keep an eye out for the sentient computer on the Enterprise’s rec’ deck, not only is it a clever idea but you find yourself becoming attached to it without realising that it is the computer.

One thing that I haven’t dealt with yet is the chapter framing. Each chapter set in the ‘present’ is followed by a chapter set in Vulcan’s past. These chapters are brilliant, it’s fascinating to see how Duane has established historic Vulcan from the dawning of their civilisation through the violence of the tribal days, finally up to the teachings of Surak and eventually the uniting of Earth and Vulcan by the marriage of Sarek and Amanda.

This book is a breath of fresh air in the Trek-genre, and is a good piece of science fiction writing. Whilst it pays to have at least a passing knowledge of the main characters, I think you could pick up this book without really knowing much about the world of Star Trek. A definite recommendation.

Disliking Wesley

I’m reading ‘Just a Geek‘ by Wil Wheaton, enjoying it very much and loving the honesty that Wheaton has when talking about his career, family, life after Star Trek and his writing. I’m only familiar with him from TNG but I do have a copy of ‘Stand by Me‘ sitting on my desk that at some point I will get round to watching (along with ‘The Goonies’).

On the way home from work tonight I was thinking about my feelings towards Wesley Crusher. I’m twenty-two, too young to have seen the original run of TNG but do have fond memories of watching the re-runs on BBC 2 (which for me was the first time seeing them).

Originally I hated Wesley because the episodes he was in were usually the rubbish ones (or at least early on) and always featured him saving the day somehow. Re-watching them now I can appreciate what the producers had tried to do; Wesley was aimed at the younger viewers in order to make them go “wow, he’s a kid like me I could be on the Enterprise and save the day!” I still dislike the character but for different reasons than I did when I first watched the show.

If I had been a member of the crew, got through Starfleet Academy and been good enough to get what was probably the most sought after posting in the universe, and then this kid comes along who is not only smart but the son of one of Picard’s closest friends and he gets given a prestigious position as a helm officer on the Enterprise just because a strange alien creature told Picard to give him encouragement and opportunity… I’d have been pissed off.

I’m imagining that to be a helm officer you need to pass some sort of flight test and get certified (basing this on my knowledge of the RAF and Royal Navy), so that poor crew member who had worked hard got all the right qualifications and experience who put their name forward for consideration as primary conn officer, missed out.

Having been in a similar situation not so long ago, I can’t begin to tell you how angry and upset I was by what happened.

We were having a restructure at work as the production lx was leaving and the rig maintenance was being brought in-house. I went off for a week off and came back to discover that the dep who was coving for me was now full-time in-house, responsible for operating the lighting board and overseeing the followspots… I opened the show as a followspot there, I’d been through the technical period and two years down the line you could consider me sort of head followspot as I was responsible for overseeing teaching and making sure the show was always spotted well. Prior to that I was the board operator at a different theatre, and I’m a qualified electrician.

This dep had been with the show for what I would say equalled a month, during the times she was in for maintenance with us we’d found out she actually knew less than she said but since we were all learning that sort of thing doesn’t get mentioned.

I made the decision that it was going to be my last night working there, I couldn’t stomach what had been done and I was angry that no one even bothered to tell me there was a job going that people knew I would have been more than interested in (I’d been asking since the show opened if I could learn the board and that had been what my original terms of employment had been).

I was angry and my boss came to speak to me, I told him exactly what I thought of his decision (I didn’t care by that point, I was leaving as far as I was concerned). I went home that night and wrote my letter of resignation, then spent the night panicking about getting another job and coming to the conclusion that I’d have to go back North.
 
I got a phone call in the morning from my boss which was basically “you were right, I’ve screwed this up. Can you come in for an interview this afternoon?” – I went in for what turned out to be just a formality, I had the job.

I hope that doesn’t sound like I got my way but that’s what happened. To me now it seems like someone got screwed over by Picard putting Wesley in as the helm officer and either this person just swallowed their pride and carried on with their job or they asked for a transfer.

That’s what makes me dislike Wesley, was that the producers made him into the character that other people resent. Even when he gets to the academy I imagine that he’s isolated again, not just by coming into an already established group but because he’d be perceived as someone who got given an extra special opportunity.

I don’t hate Wil Wheaton though, he’s just the actor who played Wesley and you can’t blame him for the material he had… although the fact he told the script writer of ‘Nemesis‘ it was the best Star Trek film since ‘Wrath of Khan‘ and the best TNG movie, which looses a few points from me 😉

(This is random but my boss was a child sci-fi star, he was Steven in ‘The Tomorrow People‘)