scifi

Star Trek Discovery is not the Star Trek We Need

1966 was a time of rebellion in America: The Civil Rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the Free Love movement, were all on the rise. People were pissed — at the government, at the establishment, at each other, and at the ‘other.’

Along came a TV show called Star Trek (now referred to as The Original Series, or just ToS). In the show, we had gotten past our differences, we had gotten past greed, we’d molded the establishment. We were out to make the known world a better place for everyone, and we were actively seeking out new members. It was a very positive, stabilizing message.

Fast forward to today.

READ MORE
(Spoilers for Stark Trek: Discovery episodes 1&2; The Orville episodes 1-3)

Keir Dullea's (Star)lost Opportunity

For a short time there, Keir Dullea was going to be the face of science fiction in the 1970s. After starring in 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, Dullea went on to front an ambitious Canadian TV production, The Starlost - this was going to be the new Star Trek, the next big thing (four years before Star Wars), syndicated world-wide.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

The devolution of C-3P0

Star Wars (1977) introduced us to many interesting characters, among them a perhaps under-appreciated C-3P0. In the original trilogy, Threepio had agency. He had purpose, and he played a key role in bringing down the empire. Threepio doesn’t always make wise decisions, but he does keep the action moving forward (or at least keep up with it). He’s intelligent, articulate, the intellectual partner of R2-D2. He tells R2 what to do, gives directions (“Come on, R2, we’re going”) and takes initiative - talking his way past the guards in the security room of the Death Star.

So what went wrong?

Evolution of a story, part 2: How “Honey Bees & Blackholes” became “Long-Term Storage”

Long-Term Storage was the third of my four drabbles published on the site SpeckLit in 2015. It’s only 100 words long (that’s what ‘drabble’ means, apparently). The story is about how a group of humans flee extinction by flying into a blackhole. Please read it before continuing (contractually, I can’t post it here yet).

 

How on Earth does one come up with a story idea like that?

Here’s how…

Two Science Fiction TV shows that deserve reboots

It seems like every old science fiction show is getting a reboot, except perhaps one or two that would actually be good. There have been a few shows that were either ahead of their time or whose premises were so good, that they've already been rebooted - The Prisoner comes to mind. And there have been TV shows that have been rebooted despite their reputations - Lost in Space anyone?

But there are a couple of shows that deserve to have reboots - because they had strong story ideas and were just a little ahead of the technology needed to present them well. Let's look at those...

TV’s Influence on Science Fiction Novels

This is the story of the frozen protagonist, but it's not fiction.

Over at SFF Chronicles, a British science fiction community website, there’s a writer's topic that’s run hot and cold for a few months now in a couple of different threads: Does a novel’s main character have to change over the course of the story? There’s been a lot of back-and-forth on this, but interestingly, most of those arguing ‘no’ are referencing TV shows as their rationale for why the character shouldn’t change.

So let’s examine that.

Pages