Neelix and Paris both love Kes, but Kes only has eyes for Neelix, but Paris is in love, and Neelix is jealous, and instead of talking it out like mature adults, the two men act like total fucking morons, and then bond over taking care of an alien infant on a hostile planet, because of course they do. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch has a very hard time typing the word “Parturition.”
So I’m glad that this whole mishegoss is done with by the end of the episode. Neelix and Paris bond over raising the cute alien baby (who, I gotta say, reminds me so much of the baby from Dinosaurs that I was just waiting for it to cry out, “Not the Mama!“), and in the end all three of them are friends.
On the other hand, in order to get there, we have to suffer through an hour of my two least favorite characters on the show. It boggled my mind to read that the episode was prompted by a belief that Paris was underused in season one, as it flies in the face of the season one that I just watched. (Hell, he was pretty much the POV character and lead protagonist of “Caretaker” and “Heroes and Demons” portrayed him as if he were in charge of the damn ship.)
What happens when you take a nifty premise that has the potential for lots of surreal niftiness? Well, if you’re Star Trek: Voyager, apparently what you do is make it the most boring episode ever. Go fig’. The Voyager Rewatch gets “Twisted” again, like we did last summer……
What a tiresome slog of an episode. It’s maddening, because the basic story here has so many possibilities, and we get precisely none of them. The crew approaches the scientifically impossible rearranging of the ship’s innards with absolutely no sense of urgency or concern or confusion. They just sort of wander the corridors and then wander the corridors some more and then go back to the holodeck, because of course, we have to make sure the holodeck is functioning normally.
Or, rather, just abnormally enough so that we can keep amortizing the cost of the bar set. Sigh.
Back in 2007, as part of the celebration of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s 20th anniversary, I wrote the novel Q & A, which was the ultimate Q story, showing that everything Q did in all his appearances was all geared toward one particular goal.
JL Gribble bought the book from me at Capclave last year, and she just reviewed it on her blog. And she liked it, too! Check it out!
Yay for multiverses! DeCandido takes threads from through-out the history of The Next Generation and crafts a solid, enjoyable adventure. I highly recommend this stand-alone novel to all Star Trek fans.
A look back on the first season of Picard, the first Trek production since 2002 that wasn’t a prequel — the good, the bad, the ugly, the nifty, the not-so-nifty, the finished, and the unresolved. Also, I want more Kestra, please. My overview of the inaugural season of Sir Patrick Stewart’s return to the role that made him a household name is now up on Tor.com.
One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this season is that this is the first Star Trek season that feels like it takes place in a galaxy where people live. It’s partly a function of it being the only series not to take place on a military installation of some kind—aside from DS9 all the others take place completely on starships, and DS9 takes place on what used to be a Cardassian station. But the waning days of the 24th century look lived-in. A lot of the thanks likely goes to director Hanelle M. Culpepper, who directed the first three episodes of the season. The visual feel she established is a perfect mix of old and new, with Star Trek’s trademark nostalgia for old things mixed with high-tech accoutrements. It feels like a happy future that acknowledges the past while still willing to move forward.
Kes is fertile! Neelix isn’t sure about parenthood! Tuvok misses his kids! Wildman is pregnant! And Voyager is too sexy for its shirt! The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch goes through the “Elogium,” an episode that is entirely about fucking and procreation.
As for Neelix, he’s not nearly alien enough. From the moment he finds out what the elogium is, up until his final scene with Kes, Neelix says a whole lot of things about parenthood, including some really hoary and stupid gender-role distinctions (thankfully, Tuvok punctures these pretty thoroughly). If those exact same lines of dialogue were given to a middle-class suburban white guy in 1950s America, not a single word would change. That’s a spectacular failure of imagination.
Everything comes to a head on Coppelius — the super synths, the Zhat Vash, the Borg Cube, La Sirena, Soji, Soong, Narek, Data, Seven of Nine, and more than one big-ass fleet of ships. My take on the grand finale of Star Trek: Picard‘s first season, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.”
Rather famously, playwright Anton Chekhov believed that stories should not have extraneous details. On several occasions, Chekhov wrote about this in letters, variations on the theme that if you have a gun on the wall in your story, it should be fired by the end of the story, or it shouldn’t be on the wall in the first place.
This season of Star Trek: Picard has hung a good many guns on the wall, and while Part 2 of the season finale fires most of them, it doesn’t quite fire them all, and a few of them misfire badly. Having said that, it’s a most satisfying conclusion to the season.
The latest installment of Alvaro Zinos-Amaro’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread, which has been going through the various post-finale DS9 novels, has reached the Worlds of DS9 miniseries, and this week he got to my part in it, Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed, which appeared in Volume 3 alongside David R. George III’s Dominion tale (which he’ll review next week). Best part is that Alvaro really liked it, even though he’s not a huge fan of Ferengi episodes. Yay me!
This novel passes the basic litmus test I mentioned earlier of being engaging even without its comedic frills, and I’m impressed by how DeCandido was able to compensate for the lack of actors channeling this material through his writing skills. Thankfully, he also refrains from making any of our protagonists dolts, the way that Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe sometimes did. Is this as thought-provoking and meaty as the previous novels in this mini-series? No. But a change of pace was welcome.
Check it out!
The EMH finds himself alone on the ship — or does he? The EMH is told he’s really Dr. Lewis Zimmerman — or is he? Dwight Schultz shows up as Barclay — but is it really him? The answers to these questions and more as the Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch makes some “Projections.”
On the one hand, this episode is a less surreal redo of TNG‘s “Frame of Mind,” also a Brannon Braga script (and one that heavily featured Jonathan Frakes, who directed this one). It takes a much more linear approach to the main character’s breakdown, but given that the main character is a computer program, this makes sense.
And the main reason why it works despite its derivative nature is the same reason why every episode that focuses on the EMH works, to wit, the superlative work by Robert Picardo in the role.
Chakotay is captured by the Kazon, and his fate is tied to that of a tormented teenager. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch welcomes the late great Aron Eisenberg from the DS9 set to play that teenager going through “Initiations.”
And Eisenberg hits it out of the park here. He beautifully conveys the character’s adolescent turbulence, trying to balance the needs of his people with the fact that he very obviously doesn’t actually want to die, nor does he really want to kill Chakotay. But he’s trapped by the cultural mores of the Kazon. If he doesn’t kill Chakotay, his own sect will kill him. No other Kazon sect will take him in, and no one else in the Delta Quadrant will take in a Kazon.
We get a bit of Kazon history here to go with the cultural mores—which really are akin to that of street gangs, with initiation rituals and early indoctrination of youth—and their past enslavement by the Trabe has left them with a cultural distrust of uniforms and military order and such. So the option of coming on board Voyager is also rejected by Kar, because he finds the very idea of being on a Starfleet vessel repugnant.
So many of us are kinda stuck staying home a lot, and that means more reading time! Or, at least, time spent reading so you don’t go batshit because you’re stuck staying at home a lot……
As one possible thing to read, how about my writing? We start with the work I’ve done in the world of Star Trek, both fiction and nonfiction.
- The Next Generation: Diplomatic Implausibility — Worf’s first mission as Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire
- Deep Space Nine: Demons of Air and Darkness — part of the post-finale DS9 novels, and part of the “Gateways” crossover
- The Brave and the Bold Book 1 and Book 2 — the first single story to encompass the the first five Trek TV shows, as an Enterprise prelude is followed by a novella from each of the other four (the original series, TNG, DS9, and Voyager) as they deal with an ancient, powerful artifact with the help of other ships (the Constellation, the Odyssey, the Hood, and the Gorkon)
- The Lost Era: The Art of the Impossible — the Betreka Nebula Incident sets the Klingons and Cardassians against each other for eighteen years
- I.K.S. Gorkon Book 1: A Good Day to Die, Book 2: Honor Bound, Book 3: Enemy Territory — three novels about a Klingon vessel that seeks out new life and new civilizations and conquers them for the greater glory of the empire!
- The Next Generation: A Time for War, a Time for Peace — the final chapter in the multiauthor nine-book series chronicling the year leading up to Nemesis
- Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Volume 3 — the Ferenginar half of this two-novel volume is by me, and has Grand Nagus Rom struggling to maintain power
- Articles of the Federation — a year in the life of newly elected Federation President Nan Bacco in the year following Nemesis, giving insight into the UFP government
- Mirror Universe: Obsidian Alliances — I wrote the first of three novels in this trade paperback, The Mirror-Scaled Serpent, a Voyager story in the Mirror Universe established in “Mirror, Mirror,” in which Kes and Neelix wind up in the Alpha Quadrant and get caught in the conflict between the Terran Rebellion and the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance
- The Next Generation: Q & A — the ultimate Q story as we find out why Q has done most of what he’s done in his appearances, and nothing less than the fate of the universe is at stake
- Klingon Empire: A Burning House — a look at the greater tapestry of life throughout the Klingon Empire
- Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions — I wrote the middle of three novels in this trade paperback, A Gutted World, an alternate history in which Cardassia never pulled out of Bajor and the Dominion War happened much differently
- A Singular Destiny — a followup to David Mack’s Destiny trilogy, showing the galactic consequences and fallout of the massive Borg invasion in that trilogy
- The Klingon Art of War — not really a novel, this is a presented as a text published in the Klingon Empire with ten precepts on how to live your life as a proper warrior
- The Next Generation: Perchance to Dream — four-issue miniseries of the Enterprise-D dealing with a telepathic weapon on a world where the inhabitants have three genders
- Alien Spotlight: Klingons — Kang at three different points in his life telling stories that end with the “moral” that “four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man”
- Captain’s Log: Jellico — a look at Jellico before “Chain of Command” when a new first officer reports to him on the Cairo
More non-Trek stuff to come soon…………………….