After watching the second episode of the second half of Star Trek Discovery’s first season, I can only say one thing:
Holy transwarp spore drive!
I have not been so excited about a series in the Star Trek universe since the third season of The Next Generation.
Granted, a lot of the old guard of fans could take issue with the re-imaging of the Klingons, the spore drive (I am wondering myself halfway insane how they will solve the issue of keeping it canon although it never shows up in the future) and the fact that most Star Fleet characters you meet are not Knights in Shining Armor™, but rather heavy on the darker shades.
I myself am struggeling with the unfortunate pseudo-existence of the only likable Klingon in the series so far and the general nastiness and dishonourable conduct of all other Klngons we have met.
But the rest… Marvelous!
Characters with more then ine side to them, dark secrets, conspiracies and a complicated plot and story arch spanning the whole of the season and possibly beyond. All things we do not see in classic (i.e. TOS and TNG) at all.
Also, I love the diversity of the crew, the painful relationships (oh the heartache and forced betrayal…)
Of special not are Lt. Commander Saru, sapient descendant of a prey-species with an outlook on life and caution to match, Cadet Tilly, whose wide-eyed enthusiasm is rapidly being eroded, and Lt. Stamets, who by now might be more cosmic tardigrade then human.
So many interesting characters, especially the non-human ones.
Discovery is currently stuck in the beloved Mirror Universe and things have gotten really ugly. Tilly is ‚acting‘ captain, Stamets has met his counterpart in the forest, and everybody is messed up or stuck in the mess or both. Also: Mirror universe Vulcans always wear beards…
Also also: Plot twist galore! Michelle Yeoh is The Emperor! Splendid!
So, Star Trek Discovery offers depth, mystery and the touch of darkness hardly seen in the Star Trek Franchise (except for aspects of DS9) and I hope itvwill run for many seasons to come!
I went to watch The Last Jedi a few days ago and enjoyed it immensely. Others did not. In fact, I have seen a petition being shared on the web that calls for the elimination of The Last Jedi from the official canon. Although I do not wonder why, as I make clear in the podcast, I find the notion alone, that someone would start such a petition, highly irritating.
In fact, the petition is the main reason why I chose this topic for my 49th episode, it is a bit of a rant but enjoy anyway. And: Happy hollidays, merry christmas, have a cool yule or whatever you prefer!
It has been two weeks since I opened an account with Netflix and I am already despairing! I binge-watched The Expanse, but to my dismay, it is only two seasons long so far, with another season due in 2018.
But what seasons they are!
The Expanse offers a relatively hard sci-fy look into what the solar system could look like in about 200 years. It features:
A united Earth and Moon
An independent Mars
An independent coalition of various factions in the asteroid belt beween Mars and Jupiter and settlers on the Jovian Moons
realistic high-tech space flight
realistic problems of space travel and colonies
realistic battles and weapons technology (all based on our best understanding of science)
a strange alien artifact which may be a weapon, or something else entirely
great characters and character development
The Expanse is hands down the best science-fiction series I have ever seen. It is gut-wrenchingly realistic in its portrayal of the struggles one faces when confronted with the fact that outside is nothing but hard vacuum. All the characters are real, have real motivations (even if it just greed) and the really good guys and knights in shinig armor types are few and far between, but all are human and even the bad guys are not beyond redemption.
And the space battles are simply one step beyond everything I have seen so far!
Try it out yourselves, watch it!
I hope The Expanse will be for science fiction what Game of Thrones is for fantasy.
In the last few weeks before the summer holidays it came to my attention that some of my pupils are active fanfiction writers and are active on several sites dedicated to fanfiction.
I am rather delighted by that, especially since the writers are not interested in Vampire romance drivel, but rather congregate around Harry Potter. I have since checked out some of sites mentioned in the conversations with my pupils. I have also avoided reading the stories authored by them, since I consider it a breach of their privacy, given the fact I know them personally and am ina special relationship with them.
But Iäh my Cthulhu! What have I found…
I guess there should be something called Rule 34b or Rule 35 or something… (If you are unaware what Rule 34 is, just google it) and it should be:
If you come up with some weird scenario in a canonical fictional universe and/or a weird crossover involving two or more canonical fictional universes, there already exists fanfction for it.
This is what I have come across (and skimmed over some stories):
Star Wars / Doctor Who crossover
Doctor Who / Harry Potter crossover
Harry Potter / Star Wars crossover
There are others, a seizable number containing paranormal entities who would get their behinds extremely prodded by Count von Count, but those I chose not to read.
Alas, there is also some Cthulhu / Harry Potter crossover fiction but this I also have not read, I fear the power of the Great Old Ones may be mocked and as a devoted cultist, I may be forced to devolve into an online troll, which I refuse to do as a gentleman.
But I guess eventually, I will not be able to resist the lure of those unholy writings anymore and read it anyway…
In any case, the universe of fanfiction is a very diverse place and I have hardly scratched its surface. I can only guess at the horrors and wonders that wait there.
And while I am typing these lines, another thought occurs to me and I saunter over to Google to check for something else…
Yes, there is in deed crossover fanfiction for Harry Potter and Fallout. Iäh my Cthulhu! Iäh my Cthulhu in deed!
The weather was tolerable recently, so I decided to don my ranger helmet and armor and scout the area I am now living in in depth.
Just behind the house, in the steeply rising hills, there trickle hidden brooks through weed chocked marshland infested with an astounding number of dragonflies.
It felt weird. Something was off. The brooks trickled too ominously, the dragonflies buzzed too abundantly… Had I stumbled into a time vortex, and stepped into a landscape of earth’s distant past, the Carboniferous?
There was also this rustling in the undergrowth… Was there a Arthropleura hiding, lurking for prey?
Not wanting to disturb this august creature, much less having its mandibles sink into my leg, I pressed on until I reached the top of the hill and looked around, there, the next surprise awaited me: A sign saying „Bethesda Krankenhaus“ (i.e. Bethesda Hospital) pointing towards a street winding downhill towards the southeast. I mean, I am the only one who is thinking FEV Lab here?
And just so you know I am not making this up, here is the sign at the entrance of the hospital, because I went there to check it out:
The question remains, do we have a reality-overlap here? What is being bread in the lowest level of this hospital?
The weirdness did not end there, either. Somewhere around here, there is a place where you can rent Zeppelins (although I have not seen any flying, yet):
So what is going om here? There seems to be a massive overlap of various realities plus some temporal anomalies in this town or maybe being caused by something in the hills. Do the hills have eyes or is this a comletely unrelated question? Only time will tell and I will have more opportunity to get to the bottom of this.
In the end, everything will have a perfectly reasonable explanation… Or at least that is what they want you to believe anyway…
Writing a story set in a utopian or close to utopian society is harder than I thought… This maybe because most of the stuff I have thus far written is either dark fantasy or Cthulhu Mythos related or in some Steampunk setting with some type of international conflict or the usual villain-tropes going on.
A few weeks back I thought I could participate in a call for short stories in a utopian setting, either near future or further on in time. Initially, I found it really hard to come up with a scenario that is engaging, offers potential and is not some blatant trope-bashing or something that has been written about dozens of times before. Things like a futuristic crime story where some high-tech criminals just doing it out of boredom for example.
I have found a good scenario for my story now, I think it is internally consistent and it works against a utopian background, but it has been a rather long way to get there. Now I just have to make the deadline.
Note to self: Writing positive stuff is harder than writing negative/dark stuff…
Oh my Cthulhu! What is the world coming to? A major, august and venerable sci-fi series get a lead that *gasp* does not carry a y-chromosome? (I initially wanted to say something else, but went for the familiy-friendly option).
Jodie Whittaker is the 13th Doctor!
OK, I am a day late to the party, not having had a proper internet connection for the past three days but this also gives me the opportunity to add my two thoughts after reading some (a lot) of the comments around the web and also after grabbing the headline in The Guardian, concerning the fact that two, lets say less reputable print-products, had nothing better to do then releasing pictures of Jodie Whittaker in the nude, and thus proving again, how primitive their respective audiences are.
Alas, they are not the only ones focusing on the fact the next Doctor will be portraied by an actress, not an actor and being highly sexist about it.
Oh, it’s the death of the franchise… (well, it wasn’t with Star Trek and Captain Janeway).
How can you change a male lead into a female one… (it worked with Starbuck in the Galactica reboot, rather splendidly, I must say)
And so on and so forth…
It all comes down to this: There are still a lot of sci-fi fans out there who have not caught on to the fact that sci-fi is no longer a 90% male hobby and fandom. The times have changed and are changing still. This is not a white male only club, get used to it!
We had female leads in Star Wars since the beginning (Carrie Fisher, always and forever in our hearts) and Star Trek had the first female and African-American lead, and this was 50 years ago! Star Wars was released 40 years ago and both Uhura and Leia have been pillars of the fandom and both their characters and actresses have become legends! Stop whining as soon as a female shows up to take a place in the spotlight! It is not a new thing and you are not being overrun, OK? This world is a diverse place, this fandom is a diverse place, the series which spawned the fandom can be as diverse as the fandom!
Personally, I think Jodie Whittaker is an excellent choice, I loved her in Attack the Block, the movie that also saw the first major role of a certain John Boyega…
Which leads to a personal wish of mine: Finn (a.k.a. FN-2187) has to make a cameo appearance in Doctor Who! Well… Just a dream…
I am really looking foreward to seeing her in action as the 13th Doctor!