Archives: Star Trek

Doomsday Music

So here’s a cool thing. If you’re a musician, or music scholar, and happen also to be a fan of the original Star Trek, boy, do I have a link for you.

I’ve long said that the original Star Trek had some of the finest, most memorable music for any television series, ever. I’ve sometimes wondered if it’s so hummable just because I’m used to it, having seen the shows so many times, but I don’t think that’s the real story. There truly was gripping background music tracked through the first two seasons, and among the finest was the music originally composed for my favorite episode, “The Doomsday Machine,” and used in numerous episodes thereafter.

Trek Record

Here’s a weird little blast from the past. When I was a kid, I ended up with a Star Trek record produced by the Peter Pan company that contained four stories, and I recall listening to them multiple times, especially my favorite, which I’ve linked to here.

Apparently comic books were sometimes included with these old Peter Pan records, and even though these were created in the ’70s, the artists and the company that hired them didn’t have enough provided information to know that Uhura wasn’t a blonde white woman and Sulu wasn’t a black man. Yet they must have had stills of the bridge and Kirk and Spock and McCoy, because the artist does a fair job with them.

The Peter Pan record company didn’t hire the original actors to play any of the parts in these recordings, although I think the gentlemen playing the parts of Spock and McCoy did a fair job and sound as though they at least were familiar with the parts they were playing.

Revisiting Universe R

cosmos alexandriaMany moons ago, back when I blogged as BG_Editor (that’s Black Gate editor), I took a little trip to Universe R. I talked about that trip in an article I wrote for Steven Silver, but I’ve never mentioned it on this blog, and I thought it time.

When it comes to the parallel universes we visit in speculative fiction, some of my personal favorites are the ones where Rome never fell, the one where Spock has a goatee, and Universe R.

I imagine a lot of you have thought about it. It’s that place where great artistic works were never lost. It’s the land where overlooked, forgotten, or under appreciated poets, playwrights, authors, and artists were encouraged and celebrated and lived on to craft more work. I don’t mean the egoverse where you’re the top of the charts or have written a chain of bestsellers – this universe is for the artists you wish had gotten a better deal. Universe R can’t be completely logical, of course. For instance, I’ve been lamenting the destruction of the Library of Alexandria since I first learned of it – and especially after I saw Carl Sagan walking through it in Cosmos – but if the Library of Alexandria had survived, we’d probably be further along with a lot of developments and some of the later artists who prospered in Universe R might not ever have been born. You can’t worry about Universe R making that kind of logical sense or the whole thing falls apart.

GenCon 2017

gencon writerEarly this afternoon I’m driving off to GenCon 2017. I’ve been looking forward to it all year. I’ll get to connect with writer friends I rarely see, interact with fans, and bask in the glow of all of my favorite forms of nerdery. I’ll get to wander the great hall of treasure, examining scores of wonderful products. Even if I don’t actually intend to buy any but a tiny percentage of what I see, it’s fun to look it all over.

And then there’s the section of artists and writers, which I’ll be visiting as well, both to say hello to some writer friends and to check out the work of the professional and semi-professional artists. You can find some amazing things.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do a daily blog of my adventures, as I’ve sometimes done in the past. I’ve never been able to gauge how interested people actually are in hearing about conventions they themselves don’t attend. I’ll be busy on a number of panels each day. (You can see most of my schedule here.)

But I can say this — come Saturday night I’ll finally reveal the secret sword-and-sorcery project I’ve been working on. I can hardly wait to share the news, but I will hold on for just a little longer…


trek continues crewI don’t know how it is for people growing up today, but as a child of the ’70s I ended up growing up with the ’60s all around me. Sure, there were ’70s TV shows, but there were an awful lot of ’60s reruns on the television, and the music from the ’60s was still in the air. When I think of my childhood I remember the jangly guitar of the mid ’60s rather than the disco of the ’70s, and I remember the thrill of watching original Star Trek.

It should come as no surprise then that I’m excited when the lovingly crafted Star Trek Continues releases a new episode (one of a final few, alas). You can find it here.

And I was just as thrilled to discover that one of my favorite modern song writers — someone well acquainted with jangly guitar power-pop (Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne) — oversaw production on a new Monkees album. I couldn’t believe how well Micky Dolenz’ voice has aged. Released last year, I only learned about it yesterday morning. Here’s a track.

This was almost like discovering these things I love again for the first time, and both brought a smile to my face.

Dialogue Cheats

Howard ZebrasI was sending some advice along to a young writer friend last night, and I thought (I hope) that it might be of use to other writers, so I’m pasting it below.

I suppose I should make clear that I’m not one of those writers who feels you can only use “said” to indicate when someone is speaking, or that you have to avoid using adjectives with “said.” Sometimes I run across reviews that criticize an author for employing descriptive modifiers to “said.” I find that kind of criticism misguided.

I understand that almost any writing technique used to excess can be ridiculous, and this avoidance of using anything apart from said probably stems from having read fiction that’s tortuously laden with adjectives. (Have you ever read those books where the writer goes so far out of the way to NOT use said that it’s cringe inducing?). Using ONLY said isn’t the fix, though. It’s like killing the patient to stop the disease. Said isn’t completely invisible, and leaning only upon it is likewise overuse. A writer should use every trick he or she has to convey their story.

With that preamble out of the way, here are some dialogue cheats.

Link Monday

taste-of-armageddon-07Sooner or later Hardboiled Monday’s going to slide back around the corner and tip up its fedora, but for now, here are some links I found interesting.

First, here’s a nifty kickstarter for an anthology of fantasy stories assembled by the talented Marc Tassin, and crammed with gifted writers. Check it out.

Second, for role-playing fans, here’s a kickstarter for some great looking sword-and-sorcery adventures from the creator of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (incidentally, it’s marked down at RGPNow through the month of May). If you’re not familiar with AS&SH then you must not have been reading my blog for long. It does a great job of bringing the sword-and-sorcery vibe to Dungeons & Dragons.

Finally, Star Trek fans, I’ve found an excellent essay on why Captain Kirk is an inspiring leader. Well, I think it’s excellent, because it echoes everything I said here and expands upon it. It specifically references the same problems I had with Kirk in the Trek reboot movies. Enjoy.

Good Conduct… and Confusion

kowalMary Robinette Kowal, in her intelligent, well-mannered way, has launched the most even-handed discussion of the recent Hugo debacle that I’ve yet read. Admittedly, I haven’t scoured the web to read EVERY essay or report about the current mess, but I’ve remained up to date. You can find Mary’s essay here, and the remarks in the comments section are worth reading as well, for most of the contributors from both sides of the debate remain respectful.

I use the term “both sides” loosely, because there’s not truly an either/or divide, as much as some would like to believe, or would like others to believe. I appreciate that Mary recognizes this.


spock 1I’ve debated even tackling this subject. There have been numerous moving tributes to Leonard Nimoy already, including an excellent one penned by Thomas Parker over at Black Gate. Then there’s the fact I never knew Leonard Nimoy and I feel a little silly commenting upon the death of a celebrity.

But when I take into account how much the original Star Trek meant to me when I was a boy and a young man and how fond of it I remain, and when I consider how much impact Star Trek had upon my moral development, I think pausing for a moment with bowed head is more than justified.

Kane and Trek

fairestThe thing I’m MOST looking forward to this evening is a viewing of the new Star Trek: Continues episode titled “Fairest of Them All,” set as a direct sequel to the original Star Trek fan favorite episode, “Mirror, Mirror.” The only reason I’m holding off watching it is because I want to see it with the wife and family. If you don’t have to wait, go check it out now! The last two have been wonderful, as I’ve gushed about elsewhere.

Second, for Father’s Day what I most wanted to do was some gaming with the family, so we kicked back and I ran three solo episodes of monster hunters in the 1600s (sort of like Supernatural, but with characters wearing pilgrim era garb) and then ran an episode that got everyone together.