Star Trek: Picard‘s “Fly Me to the Moon”

Five episodes in and we finally get some forward movement! The blonde from last week is identified as Picard’s ancestor (mentioned in his speech in “The Star Gazer”) and Q is taking an interest in her, which is never good. Meanwhile, the Borg Queen is plotting and Brent Spiner is back as yet another member of the Soong family. My review of Star Trek: Picard‘s “Fly Me to the Moon.”

An excerpt:

It is completely unclear what Q is playing at here. It’s easy to guess, but there are many different possibilities. He’s obviously trying to influence Renee in some way—he wouldn’t be posing as her therapist otherwise—but I don’t think it’s quite as simple as Picard’s assumption that he’s trying to stop her from going on the mission to break history. For one thing, Q said that the breaking of history was Picard’s fault. For another, even Picard himself admits that he isn’t sure. We continue to get a nice mash-up of the actual history we’ve been living and the fictional history that Star Trek has thrown at us for the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Picard’s exact line is that records from the hundred years before first contact (established in the aptly named First Contact as 2063), which tracks with comments made by Spock in the original series’ “Space Seed” in particular about how fragmentary records are from the late twentieth century.

midweek music: “Women with a Y”

One of my absolute favorite songs by one of my absolute favorite bands, Uncle Bonsai is a folk trio I first learned of through Vin Scelsa’s “Idiot’s Delight” radio show in the 1980s. I got to interview them when they came to New York and played at the Bottom Line, and then they gave a great show where they double-billed with Christine Lavin.

This song, “Women with a Y,” has one of the greatest verses ever written:

Mary was a martyr
Mary must have been a martyr
‘Cuz her God in all his wisdom couldn’t look her in the eye
So he took her and he left her
With some jackass in a stable
While he boasted of the conquest to the other holy guys
So the man takes his position
With the woman in submission
‘Cuz the Bible says that’s how they do it here.
And the women fall from favor
All because some horny savior
Showed that men can come just once and disappear

I’m incredibly jealous of Andrew Ratshin for writing that verse. Just brilliant.

Anyhow, here’s the whole thing….

Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Acquisition”

The Ferengi show up for no compellingly good reason, totally wasting the talents of Ethan Phillips, Clint Howard, and Jeffrey Combs. The Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch suffers through “Acquisition” so you don’t have to.

An excerpt:

I don’t understand the logic behind even doing this episode. Some of the worst hours of Star Trek have been aggressively unfunny Ferengi episodes, from TNG’s “Ménàge à Troi,” Rascals,” and “The Perfect Mate” to DS9’s “Profit and Lace” and “The Emperor’s New Cloak” to Voyager’s “False Profits.” And while there are good Ferengi episodes, the bad ones all have one thing in common: the Ferengi are portrayed in the most caricatured manner possible, as cackling morons with the brains of a flea.

In other words, the bad Ferengi episodes all fail to take the Ferengi as a concept in the least bit seriously, focused more on what will get the most cheap laughs rather than what will make a good story or on considering that the Ferengi are a space-faring species and that the Ferengi Alliance has a considerable amount of territory in the Alpha Quadrant.

The Ferengi in this episode are so dumb that I find it impossible to credit that they ever even learned how to operate their ship, much less fly it through space safely and sneak gas grenades onto Starfleet vessels.

conventions in April!

I’m gonna be at two shows in April 2022!

From 8-10 April I’ll be at Fan Expo Philadelphia at the Bard’s Tower booth, alongside fellow word-slingers Claudia Gray, Dan Wells, and Brian Anderson, comics creators Wendy & Richard Pini, and actor Carlos Ferro.

The following weekend, 15-17 April (Tax Day weekend, and also the weekend prior to my 53rd birthday), I’ll be at the Indiana Comic Convention in Indianapolis, also at the Bard’s Tower booth, alongside authors John Jackson Miller, Gama Ray Martinez, and Rick Heinz, as well as that Ferro fellow.

At both of the above, I might be doing some panels, too, but most of the time I’ll be at the Tower selling and signing my books.

Watch this space for some further announcements, as I’ve got three Author Guest of Honor gigs this year, and two other cons that are confirmed…..

my Sunday feeling

Today is the third day of HELIOsphere 2022, which has been a low-key but generally quite good convention. I’ve done some programming, sold a few books, seen lots of people, some of whom I haven’t seen in ages, and generally am pleased.

Which is good, as the 18 hours from Thursday night to Friday afternoon were incredibly fraught. Wrenn has been doing the job-hunting thing, and a job possibility that had been going very very well suddenly took a major left turn Thursday night, and things were — not good. They’re a little better now, but we’re, at the very least, back to Square One when as recently as Thursday afternoon we thought we were at the penultimate square before the finish line. Sigh.

The convention has been a great balm, however.

Which is especially nice, given that today has the double whammy of being my late grandmother’s birthday — she would’ve been 99 this year, had she lived — and the anniversary of David Honigsberg’s death.

It was fifteen years ago today that I got the horrible news that David had collapsed in the apartment he shared with his wife Alexandra and died. I spent most of the day at the hospital with Alexandra and Glenn Hauman, with Glenn and I having been deputized to make the phone calls to people to deliver the horrible news.

I’m now four years older than David was when he died, and it still freaks me out that he’s not around. I hate that he didn’t live to see me and Wrenn get together, as he would’ve loved to have seen us become a couple. I still miss making music with him — being on stage with David and the rest of the Don’t Quit Your Day Job Players throughout the 1990s are among my fondest musical memories.

Tonight, Wrenn has a bunch of job applications to send out, and we may also go see The Batman. I have to spend this week doing some editing and writing up some Patreon stuff — I still owe my patrons a TV review or two and a vignette for March — and get a short story written.

Today is also the 60th birthday of my friend and colleague Kevin J. Anderson. I’ve known Kevin for so many years, and in fact the very first novel I ever edited professionally was a collaboration between Kevin and John Gregory Betancourt called Born of Elven Blood, a YA novel published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers back in 1995. Kevin is now one of my publishers — the Bram Gold Adventures are published by his WordFire Press, as was my collaborative thriller Animal — and also a dear friend. I particularly love doing panels with Kevin — on several occasions, he and I have been on panels about writing and media tie-ins and any number of other subjects, and it’s always a blast — and he and I are among the regulars at Bard’s Tower.

Happy birthday, Kevin. Happy birthday, Gramma, wherever you are. And rest in peace, David.

talkin’ Bram Stoker’s Dracula on its 30th anniversary

The not-entirely-accurately-titled Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, came out in 1992, which math tells me was 30 years ago. How time do fly…

Anyhow, the latest Quarantine Panel on the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track is a retrospective on a movie that, for a movie called Bram Stoker’s Dracula, isn’t nearly as Bram Stoker-y as it might be. Watch me, ToniAnn Marini, and Classics Track mavens Joe Crowe & Gary Mitchel discuss everything from Anthony Hopkins being gloriously OTT to Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder’s wandering British accents……..

Star Trek: Discovery fourth season overview and Star Trek: Picard‘s “Watcher”

My last two-post day for a bit on, at least until May when Picard‘s season finale and Strange New Worlds‘s season premiere drop on the same day…..

A look back at what is truly the most purely Star Trek season ever, though it’s not without its flaws — particularly pacing issues that dogged the latter half. Still and all, the fourth season of Discovery is what Trek is all about……

An excerpt:

My favorite thing this whole season is watching the developing relationship between Burnham and Rillak, very nicely played by Sonequa Martin-Green and Chelah Horsdal. The captain and the president start out somewhat adversarial, but the more they work together the more smoothly their working relationship becomes, and by the time the season is over, the pair of them make a fantastic team talking to 10C and convincing them to retract the DMA and stop causing harm to these individual life forms that they didn’t even recognize as being higher life forms until they showed up on their doorstep.

It’s the first episode this season that isn’t giving us a new status quo, so you’d think there’d be more forward movement. We do get lots of references to past Trek, hilarious comedy with Seven and Musiker, and a nice bit of acting by Ito Aghayere as young Guinan, but overall there’s not a lot of forward movement here. My review of Star Trek: Picard‘s “Watcher.”

An excerpt:

Jurati gets to verbally fence with the Borg Queen some more. I’m loving the way Annie Wersching is playing the Queen, which is more than I can say for how she’s being written. For some reason, they’re leaning into the awful portrayal of her on Voyager as a mustache-twirling villain. Jurati begs her for help, and even makes her a compelling offer: someone to talk to. The Queen said last week that the silence was maddening, as she’s been cut off from the Collective, and Jurati offers to keep her company if she helps Jurati get the transporters online so she can beam Seven and Musiker out of their car chase.

Then when it’s over, Jurati pointedly leaves the room, and the Queen fumes. I was practically expecting her to shake her fist and cry out, “Curses, foiled again!”