Star Trek Online released the Legacy of Romulus pack for the MMO. I’ve played through it, and it’s actually quite good. There are some issues, and some things that I think Cryptic went a bit over board with. Before going through some of it, however, there’s one thing I wanted to mention about the game that’s really quite good.
The developers of Star Trek Online have done an excellent job of giving homage to what has come before. They’ve taken into account that Romulus was destroyed in the 2008 movie, and have used that to weave an interesting world (or universe). From the fact that Leonard Nimoy does some of the voice over as you cruise from sector of space to sector of space, to the fact Denise Crosby was brought back to reprise her role as Sela (and Natasha Yar in one mission). They aren’t the only ones, mind you. Chase Masterson also reprises the role of Leeta, mind you as a hologram that hosts the Dabo tables as a part of Dabo from Quark Enterprises. From Deep Space Nine to Drozana Station, Leeta can be found with a Dabo wheel.
It’s not just the actors reprising roles. It’s also the characters that are mentioned. Worf is standing in the courtyard of the First City on Qo’nos The character of D’Tan is the new political head of the Romulan Republic, and D’Tan was a character in Season Five of The Next Generation, the very well known two parter that saw Spock going to Romulus to discuss and investigate Reunification. D’Tan showed Spock a book and a set of toys with the Vulcan language written on the sides. There’s even a mission which has Bones and another that has Scotty, both in the past on an old Drozana Station.
But that’s not the end of it.
Many of the accolades that players can get point to many different famous lines throughout Trek. He’s Dead Jim. Crossing the line. Neutral no more. And many other accolades that call back to every single episode of Trek.
Now, with the introduction of the Legacy of Romulus, there’s more.
As a Romulan, the player is introduced to a population trying to find a new home after the destruction of their homeworld. These are the surivors of that catastrophe. But they won’t be so fortunate as they are hounded by Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar, who believe what they are doing is the best for the Romulan people. The player plays as a Romulan who is thrust into the conflict, and must make certain choices, even going so far as to align themselves with the Klingons or the Federation.
Right from the get go, there’s a major difference, as this new Romulan Republic has shrugged off the old uniforms of the past and taken up a fresh start. The player’s ship can even have Remen crew members aboard (and, players can also play as a Remen). The missions are interesting, which follows a conspiracy that the Tal Shiar is leading. Even to the point where the player is indoctrinated by the Tal Shiar and Empress Sela (one of the accolades for completion is called “There Are Four Lights” which harkens back to the TNG episode where Picard was held captive by Cardassians).
There are a great number of episode missions that the players can go through, before they embark on the episodes that are based on their alignment. Romulans who ally themselves with the Federation go through the usual Federation missions, and Romulans who ally themselves with the Klingons will go through the Klingon set (in some cases, they are the same, such as the missions set on Deep Space Nine and the ones on Defera).
Just like the ships available to Klingon and Federation players, many of the Romulan ships are familiar. From the old warbirds from the original series, to the massive D’Deridex Warbirds seen in the Next Generation, along with some new designs based on what has come before. Sadly, there is only one bridge option at present for the Romulan ships, something that may change in the future.
There’s a few more updates as well. Players who want a Klingon Defense Force character will now get the option to play from level 1 instead of level 20 as before. This opens up a few more mission possibilities. There’s also new UI updates, which make the game look a lot cleaner than it did before.
Plus, there’s promises of more of the same in the future, with the opening of the Cait homeowlr (home to the feline like Caitians as seen in the animated Star Trek series, when they introduced M’Ress), as well as the Trill homeworld, and even making the faction for the Cardassians available.
With all of this coming out, Star Trek Online is in good shape.
Now, it’s only hopeful that Cryptic can treat its other properties in Champions Online and Neverwinter just as well.
I recently saw the latest in the alternate universe that is J.J. Abrams Star Trek series.
Action packed and a fun ride, but filled with problems.
There was a lot of references to Wrath of Khan. A lot. And before I go on, I’m gonna warn you now, there’s a few spoilers.
Star Trek into Darkness deals with a lot of very close to home issues, that being terrorism. We see London attacked in the movie and a madman leading the charge to destroy as much as he can on his way to proving himself superior to Starfleet and the rest of the world. He’s introduced as John Harrison, but we later learn his real name is Khan Noonien Singh. We’re also introduced to Carol Marcus, who will be notable as being Captain Kirk’s ex-wife as introduced in Wrath of Khan.
Two major problems arise with this movie (and these don’t include the plot points of having Kirk die and brought back to life and Spock shouting KHAAAAAAN!). The first is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan. Khan’s name is very South West Asian, and to be more to the point, very East Indian. Yet, here’s a Whitey McWhiterson cast as the role, only because Cumberbatch is really big in television and movies right now. Seriously, couldn’t have found an actual man of colour to play the role? Worried that it might have insulted sensibilities because a man of colour is playing the role of a villain? Or just white washing a role that is known so well in Star Trek universe? To be fair, the original Khan was played by Ricardo Montalbán, a Mexican radio and television star. He wasn’t East Indian either, but during the time of the 60′s when the original series aired, there was a lot of racist actions that appeared in television (the “chop suey” accent of Chinese characters, and let’s not go into how Nichelle Nichols was paid as a day worker, and the execs tried hard to limit her time, thankfully the writers ignored that). Still, we live in the 21st Century (or at least we’re supposed to) so how hard is it to put in the casting call “East Indian decent” for the role of Khan?
The second is the treatment of Carol Marcus in the movie. She’s a brilliant scientist but as soon as we see her, she’s objectified by Kirk. Spock makes mention that the Enterprise already has a science officer, which is odd, considering the crew compliment of the ship (seriously Spock, do you do all the science?).
But let’s skip past that.
Obviously, it’s a bit of a setup (and shout out) to events in Wrath of Khan where we learn Carol Marcus and Kirk used to be married and they have a son. However, it’s done rather cheap, like a last second thought. And the scene where Carol changes in front of Kirk so the audience has a shot of her in her undies…
What was the point of that scene? Really? It was obviously gratuitous, and objectifying of the character of Carol Marcus. And before someone says “but she’s beautiful”, please note that she’s also pretty hot FULLY CLOTHED! The scene had nothing to do with the plot except satisfy the perverted fantasies of a bunch of fanboys who wanted a bit of on screen wank time for themselves. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, then toss it out. Was there a purpose that she had to change in front of Kirk? Not really, she probably could have found a small change room and change just as easily. If it was purely to have some form of nudity in Star Trek, then that’s stretching it. I really adhere to the Alfred Hitchcock school of nudity; showing less is showing more. That scene, if it really needed to be in the movie, could have been done with Carol Marcus seen in head and shoulder view on the screen standing behind a divider from Kirk.
Abrams has taken Star Trek and gone astray from what it originally was. Philosophical exploration was just as much a part of the franchise as was the action involved. The movies before Abrams came along even explored this concept, and they managed to do it in the heat of battle. In Generations the main point brought up is that time is the enemy with teeth that stalks her prey. Voyage Home was a big eco film, displaying that shit gets real if we keep screwing over the planet. Undiscovered Country was about change and that some people are very resistant to change. Those bits of philosophy were still able to breathe in the movie along with all of the action.
As for the current run of Star Trek films, they’re action filled and fun, but they are a far cry from Star Trek films and television shows of the past.
Captain’s Log; Stardate 83405.31
We entered the Sierra Sector with slight apprehension, but we knew that we can’t back down. The Borg has tried to invade and destroy the worlds in both the Alpha Quadrant and the Beta Quadrant for years since the Enterprise D first encountered them so many years ago. I reflect on the history of the Borg and can’t help but wonder if what Captain Archer was describing in his starlogs in the 22nd Century was not in fact the Borg that they had encountered. And if it was, what were they doing there. None of that matters now, it would seem, as we prepare for battle.
I just hope it isn’t our last.
“Shields up,” T’Chall called out as she moved to her command position. “Ready tricobalt devices. Let’s make the Borg sorry they ever decided to venture this far into Federation space.” The crew responded as T’Chall always expected of them; with efficiency. They’d worked together as a crew for five years, and they only got better with time.
“We’re being hailed,” Lt. H’Lorru announced, a beige coated Caitian who happened to keep his mane tied back at all times. A recent addition to the crew, but a welcome one.
“Let me guess,” T’Chall muttered as the usual Borg greeting sounded out across the bridge.
“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”
“You’d think after nearly thirty years they’d come up with something new,” F’aat, first officer of the Ocelot said as she shook her head. F’aat had been first officer for as long as T’Chall was captain.
“Obviously originality is irrelevant to the Borg,” T’Chall added with a smirk. “Ensign Side,” she called out to her helmsman, one of three crew members not Caitian, this one an Orion. “Attack pattern Omega. I don’t want to wait and see what the Borg has planned.”
“Yes Captain,” Side said with a grin as she piloted the ship into position.
The Ocelot, like her sister ship, the Defiant, was a versatile ship. Quick, powerful and deceptive. The Ocelot had a cloaking device similar to the Defiant’s as well, but after years of helping the Romulans find a new home, the Ocelot and her crew were honoured with several Romulan technical designs which helped her even more than the Defiant ever had. If the Ocelot had been flying with the Task Force that struck against the Dominion, that war would have ended a lot sooner.
Weapons fired as the Side dive bombed the lone Borg cube that had invaded this sector of space. On her port side was an Odyssey Class star ship called the U.S.S. Farpoint, on her starboard side, a Miranda Class vessel called the U.S.S. Merrimack. The Ocelot would lead the way.
“No other ships in sight, Captain,” Natt, the Ocelot’s tactical officer announced, a young Caitian who’d seen his fair share of battles thanks to signing on with this ship. “They’re being a little bold, don’t you think.”
“Don’t underestimate them, lieutenant,” T’Chall replied as the ship rocked from a blast from the cube. Nothing the ship couldn’t handle. “If there’s one thing the Borg is good at, it’s adapting.”
The Ocelot kept her attack up, firing a volley from her sets of phase cannon and launching a full spread of photon torpedoes. As the Ocelot fired directly on the Borg cube, the Merrimack swung about to hit the cube’s more sensitive areas. Meanwhile, the Farpoint acted as a diversion so the two smaller vessels could make the most damage in as little time as possible.
“The Merrimack is caught in a tractor beam,” tactical officer Natt responded from his console. “Her weapons are down. Shields are being depleated.”
“Helm,” T’Chall quickly announced. “Give the Merrimack support. Fire on the tractor beam. We can’t lose that ship.” Side quickly agreed and began steering the ship toward the Merrimack’s position.
“Captain,” called out M’Kaso, one of the Ocelot’s science officers. “I’m detecting a ship decloaking to the Merrimack’s starboard.” M’Kaso tapped her controls quickly as T’Chall waited. “Definitely a Klingon ship. Raptor class by the look. No, wait, a Puyjaq Class escort. No registry, but she’s called…”
“Let me guess,” T’Chall said with a sigh. “It’s the Tigris.”
“Makes sense,” F’aat said as the ship was rocked by another volley from the Borg vessel. “S’Returru is suicidal. But why she’d attack us during a Borg attack…”
“She’s not attacking us,” Natt called out. “She’s targeting the Borg cube.”
“Small miracles,” T’Chall said as she focused her attention back to the view screen. “I doubt she’ll attack us after dealing with the cube. Most likely she’ll attempt to steal what debris she can and go to warp as fast as she can. Keep firing on the cube.”
The Ocelot continued her assault on the cube as the Tigris pulled the Merrimack out of range, then turned sharply and began firing on the cube. Not as fast as the Ocelot, she still had some power to her, and her crew was well versed with what they needed to do.
“The Tigris has pulled the Merrimack out of harm’s way,” M’Kaso informed T’Chall. “And she’s making a run at the cube.”
“Match her, helm,” T’Chall called out. “We may currently be on the same side, but when this is done watch out for S’Returru. We never know what she’ll do once the danger is past.”
Together with the Farpoint, the two smaller vessels pounded the Borg cube, it wasn’t long before they managed to overpower it and finally destroy it. But it was costly, as the Tigris took heavy damage.
“The Tigris is dead in the water, Captain,” M’Kaso called out.
“I know exactly what S’Returru was doing,” T’Chall muttered as she looked to F’aat. “This was her way of getting some leverage. Come in and help, speed off and remind us how ‘we owe her one’ at some other point in time.”
“That’s her standard MO,” F’aat replied. “But looks like she won’t be able to use that this time, especially if we help her.” One of the console terminals chirped as the Ocelot received a hail. “Looks like the captain of the Farpoint is hailing us.”
“On screen,” T’Chall announced as she sat back in her chair. Soon, the human captain of the Farpoint was visible. “Not exactly an epic battle, Captain Majors.”
“Better this way,” he replied with a chuckle. “We’ll tow the Merrimack. I take you’ll handle the Klingon vessel.”
“I know who it is,” T’chall said with a nod. “She’ll need some help getting underway again, so we can offer that to her at the very least.” T’Chall paused before giving F’aat a look. “Do we have anyone in engineering that isn’t Caitian? Would most likely make it easier.”
“Well, it seems as though you’ve got things handled here, Captain,” Majors replied. “See you back at space dock. Majors out.” With that, the screen shifted back to the view of deep space, along with the Klingon escort vessel that hung like a wounded bird.
“I suppose we should begin…” F’aat began before she was cut off by another chirp from a console.
“Another vessel, Captain,” M’Kaso reported. “Bearing 2-1-3 Mark 6. Can’t identify it, Sir. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But, she definitely has a…”
I am struttin’ my stuff today, because I am quite close to completing the first book of Rocket Fox.
There were times when I took a look at what I was doing and just thought…
It seemed a great deal larger than I had originally planned. But, I managed to carry on and pounce on the idea.
Oh, I know there are going to be those who will bemoan what I’ve been doing, saying it’s not worth it, you really shouldn’t try, so on an so forth. I, however, have a few things to say to that.
There are those that have stuck by what I’ve been doing and have taken note of several things. This is a first draft, after all. While the writing of the first book is near completion, there’s still a long way to go. So, to those who support me…
So, because I’m in such a good mood, and my work is nearing completion…
(animated gifs are not all of my creation, save for two from Champions Online, the remaining are from YouTube, Star Wars, Star Trek, Treasure Planet, Firefly, the Office, Pirates of the Caribbean, M*A*S*H, and Robin Hood)
June 30, 1997. That’s the date when the first book in the Harry Potter series was released. Fifteen years ago. Since then, there have been six more books, eight movies, scads of memorabilia, and a theme park. All of this coming from the mind of a women who began the book while living on social assistance. The latter of which should be the most important aspect of this, and as a political aside, if it wasn’t for social programs like welfare, someone like J. K. Rowling would never have written those seven books which captured the imaginations of a generation of children (and some adults, too).
But this isn’t about a political rant. It has more to do with staying power.
During that year when the first Harry Potter book hit shelves, Star Trek The Next Generation had just finished celebrating its tenth year since it launched. Captain Picard, Riker, Worf, Crusher (both Beverly and Wesley), Troi, Data, Geordi, and even the Enterprise herself are so ingrained into our minds. It helped create the feeling for Terak Nor (Deep Space Nine) and that Intrepid Class Starship lost in the Delta Quadrant. It’s been over two decades now since TNG premiered and people still talk about all of Star Trek with great memories. That’s some staying power.
I believe it’s obvious that Harry Potter will have the same kind of staying power, considering that the book series and subsequent movies tugged at the heart strings of children. As we grow older, we often find that the things we remember from our youth that were pleasing stay with us. Harry Potter will have that affect.
So it’s not hard to imagine that in another ten or twenty years, Harry Potter will still make waves and still be talked about. You never know, maybe in another thirty years there might even be the talk about relaunching the movies for a new generation of movie goers (whether we actually go sit in a cinema or watch the movies at home is another matter entirely).
Harry Potter has joined an elite class of literary and big screen giants. Joining the likes of J.R.R. Tolien’s Lord of the Rings, Lucas’ Star Wars, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Alice in Wonderland, and A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. There’s other major works of fiction that Harry Potter can be compared with, but I chose those because they all are works of fantasy (or science) fiction, readily capture the imagination, can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and are all grand, sweeping epics.
I do recall at one time, hearing those say that Harry Potter wouldn’t last. It was a flash in the pan, and we’d all forget about it in a couple of years. I may even contributed that (1997 is a long time ago, and I was 27 at the time, so I can’t exactly recall). But here we are, fifteen years later. I think that Harry Potter has passed the test of time.
This is more just personal stuff that I’ve observed, taken note of and had an affect on me. Nothing world shattering, though the shattering events of the world does in the end have an affect on me.
New stuff as we get older
Maybe it’s the way I grew up, but at one time as I was accumulating stuff (by stuff I mean electronics) I never once imagined my parents getting into some of the same stuff. This first came about when my dad bought a digital camera and a netbook. Not a laptop, a netbook. One of those smaller computers with no CD drive, but was essentially a computer nonetheless. My dad has been taking lots of photos, including the structures of old school buildings in Saskatoon. There’s a lot with some very unique designs. He wants to do the same with many of the city’s churches, and that includes more than just protestant and catholic places of worship. Saskatoon has two mosques and a synagogue after all. It’s a good project for someone my father’s age, and it’ll keep himself busy. At some point I think I may show him flickr so he can upload his photos and have a digital backup of everything he takes pictures of.
But now my folks have stepped it up, so to speak. Because most television stations switched to HD, it forced them to get a new television. Then one day out of the blue, my mother said “we’re thinking of getting a DVD player”. That took me aback, but it kind of made me happy. I could share some of my movies with my parents. Not stuff like the Watchmen or Green Hornet (the original TV series, not the horrid movie) or V For Vendetta. But movies like Waking Ned Devine, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or A Beautiful Mind, and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. Those types of movies my folks would like. Very little swearing, no gratuitous nudity or sex. Mind you, while L.A. Confidential had a lot of swearing and violence, my dad watched it because it had a good plot premise. But since my parents bought a DVD player (which they paid $15 for at XSCargo in Saskatoon) they’ve borrowed a lot of movies from the public library. It also means I can make “mix tape” cd’s for my folks and give it to them, because they can play those on the DVD player as well. No, they don’t own a CD player. I’m thinking I may make a Patsy Cline CD for mom, she enjoyed listening to my copy when we’d play Scrabble together.
It’s A Wonderful Time Of Year, mostly because I have so many days off
The past two weeks will be weird. I say will be, because I’m including the days up to the third of January. On December 20th, it was our first day of closure at the office for the Christmas season. I had to go in to deliver newspapers, but after that, I went back home and crawled under a warm blanket again. Partly because I was tired, but also because it was freakin’ cold outside. Friday past without the end of the world, along with the arrival of my Kindle, and the only rushed day was Christmas as I drove to the city to visit my parents. On the 27th it was back to work for two days, putting together a newspaper for the third. Which we did in two days. A 16 page newspaper, with two pages of it being a year in review. We were running out of copy, so I sat down and wrote an editorial on new years resolutions (which I’ll share with everyone at a later date here). I don’t often write articles, unless it happens to be an Outlook Ice Hawks’ Hockey game. Because I volunteer to do the public address announcements, so I may as well take photos and jot down notes to have a report for the paper as well. But these two weeks feel weird because there’s been constant days off separated by two days of work in the middle of it. As of this writing, it’s Saturday morning, and I won’t have to go back into work until Wednesday. That’s a four day long weekend.
Rocket Fox, the story that became a monster
I sometimes wonder if I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew by resurrecting this thing I started when I was 12, updating it and adding to it and expanding it. The world of Rocket Fox has gone from a single species of fox like humanoids on a planet over 50 thousand light years from Earth, to a planet with three individual and unique species (still 50 thousand light years from Earth). Now there’s the Vulpine (fox like humanoids), the Felanus (lesser cat like humanoids), and the Procylon (raccoon like humanoids). All of them stand no taller than 4 feet, but they are all of varying degrees of intelligence, have their own skills, their own cultures (which, admittedly, mirror Earth’s because I only have Earth as a reference), sports and religion and science. I’m half way through the first part of this series, but I’m contemplating doing some more world building before I go on. Even drawing up uniform designs, clothing designs, culture of different races and so on. After all, the Vulpine will vary in their cultures, there are different races of Vulpine, Felanus and Procylon. Foxes themselves have different species within the genus and species; the common red fox, the arctic fox, the swift fox, the kit fox, and the fennec fox. There will be examples of each in the story. Same with lesser cats; ocelots, caracals, cervals, lynx, sand cats, and even cheetahs and cougars (though, due to size, I’m considering leaving cougars out of the mix, while making a cheetah like humanoid slightly taller than most Vulpine, Felanus and Procylon). For the most part, my research of the raccoon has shown there aren’t many different breeds such as lesser cats and foxes. As far as lesser cats go, I’ll just be dealing with wild varieties of lesser cats, not domesticated cats, which are also lesser cats.
One might ask “where did this entire idea come about of using different species of foxes and lesser cats”. That’s easy. I’ve always had an interest in space exploration and science fiction, and some ideas I’ve gotten in the past came from covers of supermarket tabloids. Like the time I was 11 and saw a cover story about scientists believing that dinosaurs very likely would have evolved. That’s how this entire idea came about. But it went further than that. Earth, for example, has thousands of species on it, including humans. What if, somewhere in the galaxy, on another habitable planet, the evolutionary chain affected another species. Not primate like, but something else. What if it was wolves, or tigers, or lions who were given the evolutionary advantages to become the dominant species on a planet. What if it was one of the smaller species, like foxes, lesser cats or raccoons. It sort of ballooned from there, and during my 12th year on this planet, the idea came about and I wrote stuff down. It sat in a box for almost 20 years, until I dug it out, dusted it off and decided to take another stab at it. But it has grown a great deal since I was 12. There’s a lot more that can be explored.
One of those ways of exploration of the society of Vulpinia Prime was given to me as a suggestion by a friend. She said instead of writing history as the story is told, have sections of that history in an appendix at the back of the book. Good idea, so I’ll do just that. From slang terms, to different species, to histories of the planet, and even some maps and pictures.
Oh, I’ve also been asked where I came up with the names for the three species. Vulpine comes from vulpes vulpes, the genus and species of the fox. Felanus comes from Felidae, which is the family of all lesser cats. It grows more complicated with each species, such as Ocelots being Felidae Leopardus L. pardalis, and lynx being Felidae Lynx lynx. The name for the raccoon like humanoids comes from the genus of raccoons, Procyon. I just added the ‘l’ in there on my own.
Star Trekking across the universe…
I think it should be obvious to most, I am pretty much a Trekkie (or Trekker, whichever one prefers). I’ve watched every series (including the animated series), and was pretty pissed when Enterprise was cancelled. Mostly because there was word they were going to explore the Catians, the feline race of the Star Trek universe, in season five. But I noticed a major difference between the different series and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot. While it’s entertaining and fun to watch, there’s something with the new Star Trek that’s missing. Something those four different series had in common. That something missing is hope. The common underlying factor in every series, from the original to Enterprise was there was a tone of hope. Star Trek was actually a series that allowed Gene Roddenberry the chance to explore societal issues in the present day without having to explain things to the censors. Basically, he snuck issues of race relations, wage disparity and gender politics past the censors in 1966 and continued to do so with Next Generation. Rick Berman picked it up from there, and it even allowed people like Avery Brooks to explore some of that as well (Brooks not only played Sisko, but he directed several episodes of Deep Space Nine including the groundbreaking episode Far Beyond The Stars).
The original series broke ground having not just a black woman on the show, but also a Japanese American at the helm. There are a lot of stories about Nichelle Nichols treatment while working on that original show, and how she was hired as day labour. Nichols went onto assist NASA in the recruitment of women and people of colour to add to NASA’s ability to explore and study space. George Takei has gone on to become a huge proponent of gay rights and has been very outspoken of Japanese American history, especially touching on his own experiences from internment camps for Japanese during World War II.
This continued on throughout the other television series, as Next Generation explored things like torture, touching on gender and even transgender in an episode or two. Deep Space Nine took another step by having a black man as the first commanding officer in the television series. It often goes unsaid, but Avery Brooks wasn’t the only person of colour, as along with Michael Dorn who played Worf, Alexander Siddig played the role of Dr. Julian Bashir, chief medical officer for the space station. Voyager continued this tradition by having predominantly female crew members in positions of authority, as Kate Mulgrew played the role of Captain Kathryn Janeway, and Roxann Dawson played B’Elanna Torres, chief engineer of Voyager. Dawson herself had a lot of say in the development of the character, and the episode Extreme Risk, Torres continually pushes herself in dangerous holodeck simulations that almost kill her, was praised by fans as being one that tackled the issues of depression and inner conflict that many deal with daily.
Even Enterprise stepped up its game, as it explored what the history of Starfleet was, and how it went about meeting those new civilizations. Using humanity as a backdrop in meeting new cultures and how it has to deal with those new cultures and with its own survival in this new frontier. It would have been interesting to see how the series would have played out had it gone to seven full seasons like Next Gen, DS9 and Voyager had.
But the reboot, I don’t see any of that hope that the series provided. Entertaining, yes, definitely. There might be a glimmer of hope, in that the characters have that hope of coming together in a way we’re all familiar. But not in the same way that hope is mirrored in reality.
So part of my holiday has been dedicated to writing. And thus, I have indeed.
For the most part, it’s been a matter of organizing and getting things together. But I’ve also been adding a bit of story here and there, which has really been helpful thanks to ywriter (which I mentioned before here). Essentially, I had to introduce an antagonist sooner. That antagonist happens to go by the name of Colonel Stigian (first name I’ll make up in second draft). It’ll also allow for more to be seen with some of Senia’s mentors (and along with Clarfax and Hardy’s), such as Captain Rita Mallard.
I’ve gotten the complaint from a couple of people who have said that this is extremely female heavy for a story, and that it might not go over that well. But to be honest, I wouldn’t be targeting just boys with Rocket Fox, but girls as well. Because I am firmly of the belief that girls can do things boys can. And one of those things happens to be reading sci fi adventure stories (trust me, I’ve seen some of the fandoms on tumblr, and there are a lot of women that are apart of them, like Mass Effect, Star Trek, the Avengers, and on and on and on).
Also, I’m trying to set up Vulpinia as a matriarchal society. Women, or females as the case may be with the characters seeing how they aren’t human, approach the routine of politics, business and so much more of life a lot differently than men do. Women would have more of the high profile positions, but men would also be there as well. Yes, I understand that’s my own viewpoint on what a matriarchal society is, but I’ve also had research that points to other matriarchal societies on Earth. Some are actually cultures within the human race. They worked very well, which is one of the aspects for Rocket Fox. Instead of a society that tried to be controlled by a church (let’s face it, that’s what happened to us), they became very inquisitive. They explored space and met other cultures.
Not saying that their views on religion were less than ours, but they knew how to separate their faith from their government and from the want to discover. The Vulpine and Felanus are actually, very religious, they just don’t wear it on their sleeves and consider it something very private with a few exceptions).
But in this story, the females of the society are the main focus, because they get stuff done. They hold the greatest rank, but also know that the opinions of the males is equally valuable. They understand that different view points might help them out of a situation. So, yes, I may not be targeting or getting a lot of boys with this story (though, it’s possible that many would read it), but that leaves a story that could be read by a good number of girls.
And that’s never really a bad thing at all.
New stuff in STO (Star Trek Online)! Which is one of the reasons why I haven’t posted anything in a while.
Left the game for a bit (from boredom, really), but decided to come back to it after seeing something new.
They added the race called the Ferasan. Distantly related to the Caitians, the Ferasan are a more feral looking feline race. Longer canine teeth, different fur colouring and patterns. They are a playable race on the Klingon side of the game. Something nice about adding the Ferasan is that now the Caitians also have more additions for hair and fur patterns, so you can make some differences instead of just colour of the fur and eyes.
Displayed above is S’Returru (left) who is currently a captain in the KDF (Klingon Defense Force). On the right is my main character, Vice Admiral M’iaa T’Chall, who up until recently was commanding the U.S.S. Lynx, an Odyssey Class starship for which the latest Enterprise is built for (U.S.S. Enterprise NCC1701-F). But, the devs for STO released a new ship.
Thanks to efforts to match the Klingons with their carrier ships, the Federation has called out to other races to help match the intensity. The Caitians answered, making the Atrox Carrier class ships available.
The Atrox is a larger vessel (a little longer than the Odyssey Class starship) and doesn’t have the greatest maneuverability. However, it is powerful and has decent defensive capabilities. But the Atrox’s main attribute is she is an aircraft carrier.
She comes complete with a large squadron of Stalker Class fighter craft. So she’s basically a point and shoot, not fly in and take part in combat, though she does have her weapons banks.
No, that wasn’t a lisp.
Time for something silly.
Granted, yes I am more of a Star Trek fan than Star Wars (I did like the first three movies, being the ones that were released first, not Episodes I, II, and III), but there’s appealing things from the first Star Wars movies that have transcended pop culture. Just as there’s been such things in Star Trek.
And for viewing pleasure, another size comparison of ships, mostly focusing on Star Wars and Star Trek, but there is also a few other franchises. The largest ship weighs in at over 17,000 meters, from the Star Wars universe the Executor class. Coming in next is the Lexx (from the TV Series Lexx) at 10,000 meters. Finally, from the Star Trek universe, the Voth City Ship at 9,800 meters in length.
- May the Forth Be with You: International Star Wars Day (ragrobyn.wordpress.com)
- May The Fourth Be With You! – Entrepreneurial Lessons Behind Star Wars (That You’d Probably Want To Rip Off!) (bizsugar.com)
- May the 4th Be With You (lezgetreal.com)
- May The Fourth Be With You: Eagles As Star Wars Characters (philly.sbnation.com)
- Joss Whedon Does “Star Wars:” Good Idea or the Best Idea? (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)
- Star Wars day: religion and penguins (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
Guess what today is!
It’s an important date in (future) history.
It’s a date we know that’s coming. A very important date that changes everything for Earth and all human kind. After years of war and strife, humanity comes together because of one important thing.
Happy First Contact Day.
On this day in 51 years, we’ll meet Vulcans.
I wanted to add this in the last size comparison I did a while back. Because this ship is huge!
In the Star Trek universe, the time setting has hit the early 25th Century. The Klingons have torn up the Khitomer Accord with the Federation. The Gorn have become a part of the Klingon Empire. The Orion Syndicate has forged an alliance with the Klingons (and in response to that alliance, the Orions sent 1500 Orion Slave Girls to Quo’Nos). There is still the threat of the Borg as the Federation negotiates with the Deferi to enter the Federation. Caitians have become more visible in Starfleet. The Undine, better known as Species 8472, have made attacks on Klingon and Federation outposts. The Cardassians are rebuilding, but their efforts are slowed by a rebel faction of Cardassian-Jem’Hadar called the True Way. The Romulans have become more dangerous since the destruction of their homeworld. And the Breen… well, the Romulan saying still holds true. Never turn your back on a Breen.
In response to all of these threats, the United Federation of Planets had to construct a ship capable of meeting these problems head on. Introducing the Odyssey Class starship.
With a crew capacity of over 2000, the Odyssey has four forward weapons slots and three aft weapons slots. These are mostly fixed with phaser banks and photon torpedo cannons. The Odyssey also has the advantage of Chevron separation. The saucer section of the ship can separate and become a dangerous enough tactical strike vessel. Thus making the Odyssey doubly dangerous.
While I’m not sure of the exact length, it’s safe to say that the Odyssey is over 700 meters in length. Here’s a size comparison using the chart that I have had before, but now includes the Odyssey. Famous Odyssey class starships: U.S.S. Enterprise-F. Naturally, in the size comparison, the ships from the Rocket Fox series are kept.
- STO: “The 2800″ episode 1 – Second Wave (westkarana.com)
- DS9 Stories/News: The Dominion Members (rindastartrekds9.wordpress.com)
There was a great comment made by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Real Time with Bill Maher a while back. It asked the question, or at least it gave the opinion “we stopped dreaming”. Here’s the comment in it’s entirety.
First of all, let’s clarify what the NASA budget is. Do you realize that the $850 billion dollar bailout, that sum of money is greater than the entire 50-year running budget of NASA? And so when someone says, “We don’t have enough money for this space probe,” I’m asking, no, it’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that the distribution of money that you’re spending is warped in some way that you are removing the only thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow.
You remember the ’60s and ’70s. You didn’t have to go more than a week before there’s an article in Life magazine, “The Home of Tomorrow,” “The City of Tomorrow,” “Transportation of Tomorrow.” All of that ended in the 1970s. After we stopped going to the Moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming.
And so I worry that the decision that Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. Tomorrow’s gone. They’re playing for the quarterly report, they’re playing for the next election cycle, and that is mortgaging the actual future of this nation, and the rest of the world is going to pass us by.
For a better representation, here’s the video clip from Real Time.
It’s something that worries me as well, because I grew up wanting to know about space, exploration, the Moon, and so much more. A while back I talked about books that introduced kids to the wonders of space. Where is that now? Where are the books and the teaching of what’s out there? Where’s the interest? It’s almost like when the last Star Trek series wrapped up, the interest in space exploration was gone. Even before then.
I don’t speak of that lightly. Star Trek had a hand in shaping people’s interests. In the documentary by William Shatner, The Captains: A Film By William Shatner, Shatner himself talks about meeting the head of Bombardier in Canada who told Shatner Star Trek was the reason he became an aeronautics engineer.
But we don’t do that anymore. We don’t celebrate the discovery of space. A very large part has to do with the current climate of politics, and the upsurge of racial tensions that are occurring again in the world. Overtly racist comments and the worry about our national security is overshadowing the want to explore space. Yes, I know Newt Gingrich said that if he were president there would be a lunar base during his term. In time, that might happen.
But not with the current climate in the world.
We need to start dreaming again.
“Captain’s log, no stardate. For us, time does not exist. McCoy, back somewhere in the past, has effected a change in the course of time. All Earth history has been changed. There is no Starship Enterprise. We have only one chance. We have asked the Guardian to show us Earth’s history again: Spock and I will go back into time ourselves and attempt to set right whatever it was that McCoy changed.”
- Captain James T. Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, “City on the Edge of Forever”
“I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened. I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened.”
- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows, Ch. 7
The third act is underway, dubbed City at the Gates of Dawn (in honour of Chapter Seven of Wind in the Willows “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and the Star trek Episode “City on the Edge of Forever”). The first part of the third act will be launched this evening.
Last time, I did a size comparison with a map of ships that had already been created. I just added the Nighthawk from Rocket Fox. Now, I’ve taken the liberty of adding the Barrow’s Revenge, the Barrow class cargo cruiser (which the Revenge originally was), the Maverick fighter craft and the Nighthawk fighter craft.
Eventually I’ll add in the Lionid’s Pride, the Pirate’s Victory, RVA Tritan, the IPF Osprey, the IPF Kestrel, and the IPF Tiger’s Pride. The Tritan and the Pride are the largest ships in the grouping, quite possibly as long as the Sovereign class starship at 600 meters.
And just because, here’s the Rocket Fox ships on their own.
- A size comparison (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
Just how big is the Nighthawk class fighter from Rocket Fox? I found a handy chart to help and added said fighter class into the mix. This comparison chart contains everything from the U.S.S. Enterprise E from Star Trek to the Drakh Hordes fighters of Babylon 5 to the Firefly class transport ship called Serenity and the International Space Station.
When compared, the RVA Nighthawk (Registry NH-001) is about the size of a Jem’Hadar fighter craft which is 95 meters in length. The Nighthawk clocks in at 85 meters in length. I might add other ships, like the Lionid’s Pride or the Barrow’s Revenge in time. For now, here’s the chart.
I didn’t really look at it like this until a friend of mine pointed it out. When they heard my description of Rocket Fox, their reaction was “so, like Wind in the Willows meets Star Trek”. Admittedly, I never thought of it like that, but he did have a point. Yes, it was like Wind in the Willows meets Star Trek. After all, I was born the year after the original Star Trek series was canceled. Wind in the Willows was a major part of my reading growing up. So, there was a very good chance that the two would play a significant role with inspiration.
I came up with the idea for this star system and the races within it back when I was 12. Granted, the Vulpine were originally called the Foxians and the Pantherans were originally called the Pursians (you may groan now). Also, the Jackai didn’t exist and neither did the Felinus. The worlds themselves, including races, cultures, space ships, none of it had been really fleshed out yet. You could say that it took almost 30 years to do that (about 28 of those years the idea was on hiatus).
So, there is a bit of give on my part to admit that yes, a lot of influence has come from both those particular aspects of fiction. So much so that I’ve decided to name the three main acts of the first series after a combination of Wind in the Willows and Star Trek. Such as The Riverbank of Space, The Final Frontier being the first act (clunky and long and quite possibly will change in the future). The second act is To Boldly Go Down the Open Road. Again, a little clunky and long, but it fits. It also might change in the future. The third and final act of this first series is a little more fitting. City at the Gates of Dawn. Those familiar with both Wind in the Willows and Star Trek will catch the references (Space, The Final Frontier and To Boldly Go being the most obvious). The first two acts also include the titles of two chapters from Wind in the Willows; The Riverbank and The Open Road. The third act also includes combination of chapters and television episodes, but in a much tighter fashion. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and City on the Edge of Forever. Piper happens to be from Chapter 7 of Wind in the Willows, while City happens to be the Harlan Ellison penned episode of Star Trek.
I did enjoy both growing up, so it’s no surprise really that there is that much of a connection from others who read it. And I’m not embarrassed at all. In truth, I’m glad I could write something that people could see two completely different genres come together.
I just finished writing the scene in Rocket Fox where the Nighthawk is introduced. I will have to work a bit on the scene to describe the ship a bit more in detail, but I had a piece of music playing and it really made me smile how well it fit for the introduction of the ship.
From J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek – Enterprising Young Man.
I had a lot of favourite books as a child.
I had a full collection of Hardy Boy mysteries and Nancy Drew mysteries that I kept tucked away. Big Richard Scarry books. And then there was Wind in the Willows.
I remember Mole and Ratty and Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger quite well. I even watched the television series. Plus I read the sequels to the book. It’s probably this combined with a long held memory of watching the Star Trek reruns on CBC that helped bring out what I’m writing with the Swift Fox and Rocket Fox series. A friend of mine read the story I wrote and said “it’s like Wind in the Willows meets Star Trek”. That comment made me smile.
Wind in the Willows still holds a pretty high place for me.
- The Wind In The Willows (dihs2011reading.wordpress.com)
- Badger’s Den from The Wind in the Willows (imagimapco.wordpress.com)
- Badger’s Den from The Wind in the Willows (imagimapco.com)
- Wind in the Willows: when it comes to romantic heroes, my heart belongs to Ratty (telegraph.co.uk)
- Wind in the Willows (roxannachante.wordpress.com)
- ArtsBeat Blog: ‘Wind in the Willows’ Musical in the Works (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Downton Abbey writer to stage The Wind In The Willows (telegraph.co.uk)
- Children ‘must be capable of reading Harry Potter by 11′ (independent.co.uk)
I come up with a lotta story ideas. Some, like Swift Fox and Black Mask & Pale Rider, see the light of day. Others are attempted, but often get swept under the rug. There is an idea I have that I’d like to try and bring out fully.
Mind you, it’ll most likely be relegated to fanfiction, but I don’t have an issue with that, as long as people read it. This story holds something dear for me, in that it represents an aspect of hope.
The story takes place in the Star Trek universe. Star Trek has to be the biggest ideal of hope. Hope for the future. We saw that hope grow as in the early to mid 90s, the series Deep Space Nine had the first commanding officer (and eventually captain) of not just a starship, but an entire space station was African American. Ben Sisko’s role in the Dominion War was an important one, and he was a voice that many listened to. He was seen as the Emissary by the Bajoran people. That hope continued when years later, Star Trek Voyager came to television, with the first Starship from an on going series had a woman as captain. Katheryn Janeway was a diplomat and a scientist, and had the arduous task of returning the crew of both Voyager and the Maqis back to the Alpha Quadrant.
This idea I have is going to go one step further. First, the ship that will be commanded is a Bellerophon Class starship. Basically a souped up Intrepid Class (Voyager starship as an example).
Second, the main character (or at least the captain of the starship, as with Star Trek, the crew is always featured around the captain) will be a woman, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Her name is Fadra Englen and she is a first generation Canadian, born to parents who emigrated to Canada from Palestine. Fadra was born with a genetic mutation that granted her heightened strength, sight, hearing, resistance to disease and slowed her aging process and granted her a regenerative ability. This genetic mutation gave her an interest in science and medicine, something she pursued with vigor. She eventually graduated with a masters in medicine from the University of Saskatchewan, but instead of being content with research grants and writing papers, she wished to do some good. Fadra eventually took a position at a medical facility in the town of Silver Spring, on the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, south of Saskatoon.
After a time, however, Fadra would realize her skills were needed elsewhere, and so she enrolled in Starfleet. Her first assignment would be aboard the USS Toronto, a medical ship that assisted during the Dominion War.
After the war, Fadra hoped to return to Silver Spring, but was instead called by Starfleet and asked for her services once more. She was promoted to the rank of captain, and commissioned a Bellerophon Class starship dubbed the Nightingale. The Nightingale was unlike any other starship in the fleet. Dedicated to scientific research and development, the ship had a larger medical bay to aid wounded. That was the ship’s purpose, to go into heavy war inflicted areas, and offer medical aid. Such a mission required that the Nightingale would be outfitted with defensive and offensive capabilities to defend herself against attack. Improved ablative armour plating, increased shield capabilities and even weapons arrays (four phaser banks, four photon torpedo bays).
I’ll jot down more as the days go by (and eventually, write this thing). I guess if there is any question why I’m wanting to write this, it boils down to two answers. First, because I can. Second, because I think that something like this would interest people.
Right now, the idea is in its infancy.
Regarding massive multiplayer online games, I have never played a sci-fi game. No Star Wars Galaxy for me. I didn’t even sign up for the Knights of the Old Republic beta. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of the Star Wars games, and I’ve played a few in the past with Dark Forces, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight and even Jedi Knight II. Light saber battles are always awesome.
But I’ve always wanted to fly and command a starship. From the NX class in Star Trek: Enterprise, to the Defiant of Deep Space Nine. Even with all of those games out there about Star Trek, none of them, with the exception of an old Commodore Vic 20 game, allowed you to fly a starship. Not Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force. Not Klingon Honor Guard. Not DS9 The Fallen. Not even Star Trek Elite Force II. Sure, there were Real time strategy games that did, but not like this.
One of the first things to find is the costume creator. You only have access to Starfleet crew, and cannot play Klingons until you reach level 25. Which is fine, because a lot of the Klingon missions involve Player vs Player activities. Most likely not something for someone faint of heart (really, anything Klingons do wouldn’t be for the faint of heart). Your choices for species are vast, including Vulcan, Andorian, Tellerite, Trill, Bajoran, and more (and yes, by buying ingame tokens, you can make a Klingon Starfleet member, along with joined Trill and a cat like race of beings).
The character editor is quite extensive, allowing you to create personal look right down to if they have bumps on their noses. Which means, yes, you aren’t just limited to each alien species, you can make your own and modify it to look however you wish. The character creator does have a large number of outfits, but if you have the Cryptic Points (in game money to use on the in game Cryptic Store) you can buy more. Such as uniforms from the Enterprise Series, TOS Mirror Universe Episode, Enterprise Mirror Universe, Wrath of Khan uniforms, STNG Uniforms, DS9 Uniforms, Dress uniforms, even outfits to use for holosuites.
Once the character is created you are thrust into the action. The action, in this case, being the tutorial which is almost a standard given with any game. But what a tutorial it is! You come phaser banks to phase banks with the Borg.
You enter the game as an ensign, and through a series of unfortunate events (apologies to Lemony Snicket) the command of your vessel is killed and you are the highest ranking officer to take command. Throughout the course of the tutorial you experience ship battles, ground battles, scanning, medicating, transporting and repairing. All simple stuff that gets expanded on in the game proper.
And what a proper it is. The map, or galaxy, really is huge. There are a number of different places to go, some friendly, some not so. Travel time is made easy between systems because each system is in a sector, each sector in a sector block. The sector blocks are not that hard to get across. It’s just a matter of memorizing where each important landmark (or space mark) is.
There are the standard missions, but it’s nice that you can get missions that are either away missions, ship based missions in space, or a combination of both. Such as fighting off Klingons in deep space, then having to beam over to a nearby station to continue the story.
Players can get in on the story building as well, as Cryptic has made the Foundry. The Foundry allows you to create a mission or series of missions that are only limited to the creator’s imagination. Players can access these missions through the interface commbadge used to contact any of the usual mission contacts (see? 24th Century! No need for running back to contacts in this game, they have commbadges!).
The mechanics are quite nice, as the space missions and the away missions do give you a nice variety. Space missions will include scanning anomalies, or fighting off enemy invaders, or chasing down smugglers. The weapon, shield and hull modifications a ship can get are quite vast as well. Ships can have multi target phasers, photon torpedoes, quantum torpedoes, photon mines and much more.
Away missions allow you to assemble a team and head to the planet or space station to continue a story. How your team is made up determines how easy or difficult the mission is. And in away missions, there’s always a chance to get in a phaser fight. That is, of course, on top of scanning for life signs, anomalies and much more. Your interface even allows for assisting teammates (whether NPC or player) if they happen to fall in combat. You even collect quick fix devices like hypo sprays, personal shield units, energy batteries, and different weapon upgrades and personal shield batteries and armour types. There’s even food which can help heal wounds over time. Everything from Starfleet rations to Ferengi Tube Grubs (yum!). The absolute best are the tribbles. Tribbles as devices that you can take out, pet and hold and they help heal you from wounds.
As rank systems go, they have a usual skill set up which you can adjust as you increase in level. You start as an ensign, end the tutorial as a lieutenant, and every few levels after you get a new rank. Level 10, Lieutenant Commander. Level 20, Commander. Level 30, Captain. Level 40, Rear Admiral, Lower Half. Level 45, Rear Admiral, Upper Half. Level 50, Vice Admiral. With each new rank there are new abilities to help in combat or in whatever you choose.
On top of rank, you also have three “classes” to choose from, which you can modify to suit your play style. Tactical, Engineer, Science officers.
The last is the duty officer system. Each ship has a crew, and you being the captain (or at least commander) have to give them all something to do. As you level, you gain new crew members and will eventually gain duty assignments for them to do. These are missions that the only part you as the player see are the assignment and the completion. You have to assign the appropriate crew members in order for the assignment to succeed. So, yes, you can fail (or at least your crew can fail) a duty assignment. Successful completion gives you experience, however, so load up on duty assignments for your crew, go out in the real world (away from your computer) and run some errands, come back and log into game a few hours later and they’re done. You’ve just received experience for it as well.
The game may not appeal to everyone, either by genre, branding, or play style, but the game definitely can be fun. If you do like Star Trek, you might find this a very nice game indeed. Best part, it’s now free to play.
- Star Trek Online F2P: Klingons Galore, Still Few Missions To Play (lezgetreal.com)
- Star Trek Online bringing the Klingons into the free-to-play test realm (massively.joystiq.com)
- STO: De-Borging the Manchester (westkarana.com)
I’ve had this thought for a while, and it all began with the comment “Star Wars isn’t science fiction, it’s space opera”.
Now, before I’m blasted by the legion of Star Wars fans, you’d have to look at the definitions of the two genres. First science fiction, as read at wikipedia, is defined as thus:
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”.
Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similar to, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).
So, that’s the definition of science fiction. What about space opera.
Space opera is a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities. The term has no relation to music and it is analogous to “soap opera“. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale.
Sometimes the term space opera is used pejoratively to denote bad quality science fiction, but its meaning can differ, often describing a particular science fiction genre without any value judgement.
So, technically, space opera is a sub-genre of science fiction. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that space opera IS science fiction. Thus, why I’m using the example of Star Wars. To use the opposite, I’ll use Star Trek.
Star Trek, for all of it’s rather Shakspearean concepts and scripts and stories, still puts in place the science of the fiction. How many times have we seen a discussion take place in stellar cartography? Or had a completely indepth discussion about the physics of microscopic life forms. Or even the fact that much of the ship itself (whether it’s Kirk’s Enterprise, Picard’s Enterprise, Archer’s Enterprise, Janeway’s Voyager, or Sisko’s DS9 and Defiant) is mentioned in scientific terms that can be related with. Those data pads that the crew is always reading information from? Interesting how they look like Kindles now.
Attempting to rewrite Star Trek in another genre would be incredibly difficult. Attempting to explain holodecks, the science of physics, biology and more would be extremely difficult to translate in fantasy. You could say it’s very much like a swashbuckler. But even that would only encompass a few of the episodes, and not many of the movies. I couldn’t see Legolas say “they’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard through a transwarp conduit”.
Star Wars, on the other hand, has something that Star Trek doesn’t. It’s vast, wide open, and just plain huge. While Star Trek had many stories plotted out across a wide range of generations, Star Wars had one long, sweeping epic. Sure, it was spread out over several generations, but the story always built up to the grand conclusion, which was what we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi. And even for as much science in Star Wars as there was (I’m ignoring midichlorians, as I know much of the fandom likes to ignore it too), the concepts were much more fantasy in their base forms. The script and story itself had a larger amount of drama. You could even argue that there was a great deal of difference between the first three movies (New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) as compared to the three prequels. The first three felt much more grand in scale than that of the prequels, though the level of drama was maintained. Even though the audience knew exactly what was going to happen by the end of the third movie.
If you were to attempt to rewrite Star Wars with a more fantasy feel, it wouldn’t be that hard. A mystical “Force” that a number of “Knights” can learn to wield or who have been chosen to wield, as the white knights defend the kingdom against the evil black knights. Each of these knights has the ability to use incredible magical powers and are expert swords men as they use specially granted holy swords, many which they created themselves. The basic gist of Star Wars.
The primary, basic concept of a space opera isn’t that it’s science fiction, but that it takes place in space. The second is that it must be a massive epic that manages to encompass drama more than it captures action. The focus isn’t so much on the science, but the characters and the events. Space opera did pluck concepts from westerns and sea faring tales. And even those latter plucked from different genres themselves.
While the reason space opera is a sub genre of science fiction, it doesn’t always mean it is science fiction.
Did just a bit of writing this morning before I had to get ready for work, which helped push the total to 46,009 words. Today should be a light day throughout work, even though I do have to stay late (normal for a Wednesday), so I hope to jot down more as the day goes on to help build up the total and bring the story to it’s massive climax!
This morning’s writing spree ended with this ship wide announcement from Captain Crena Clarendale.
“Mr. Krillis, if you and Miss Snow could report to weapons control in the engine room, please. Have Miss Snow assist Mr. Fang on the long guns, and you help Miss Talia keep the engine hot. Colonel Dawkins, have your fighters ready and prepped for launch. Mr. Griffin, keep communication lines open between the Osprey, the Kestrel and ourselves.” She flipped a few of the switches on her console and issued a ship wide announcement. “Now hear this. We are currently under escort of Commander Yenna Fal of the Osprey and Jarin Tor of the Kestrel. Commander Yenna has informed us that their long range sensors have picked up a ship that is on an intercept course with us. She believes it to be the Night Sky. We could be in for a fight, so prepare for battle stations.” Crena ended the ship wide communication link and sighed as she looked to Gor’lan and Townes. “And here I was hoping that we’d have time for a spot of tea before we arrived at the Hub. Ah well, I suppose we’ll have to wait until after this affair.”
This morning’s writing was also helped along by this piece of music from Star Trek The Motion Picture.
I originally posted this yesterday on my tumblog, but I think it bears repeating here.
I felt I should make this comment, considering there’s a large discussion currently going up on my dash (yes, Snowy, I blame you, but not in a bad way). Said discussion can be followed here, here, and here. It deals with sexism and trans* bigotry in fan fiction, which can also be used as a discussion for original speculative fiction. Writing fiction, fan fiction or otherwise, has the same basic elements to story creation. In speculative fiction (such as like my own book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, and the current work I’m writing with the Barrow’s Revenge), many times you are creating your own world, or, in the case of Peter David writing a Star Trek novel or the Supergirlcomic series, creating a new series of events for established characters. In the latter, the author has been asked to create this or has pitched an idea to the publisher that holds the rights to publishing such works. With fan fiction, the author is writing established character, merely for enjoyment for themselves and others in the fandom. The basic aspects of writing either are implied here, such as correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure, plot, and even characterization.But there’s another aspect that does not involve basic writing skills. That aspect involves impact upon the reader.
People read shit. Lots of shit! They even read my shit! And because of that, as authors, we have a really big responsibility to ensure that things we write are going to have an all encompassing feeling for everyone.
Having said that, there is something that should be pointed out to the fans. Stories are going to have racist/sexist/bigoted people in them. It’s a part of life (even though I wish it wasn’t), and often times these characters are portrayed as “the bad guy”.
Bad guys don’t just wear black hats and have handlebar mustaches. They often act like douchebags, mistreat women, say unthinkable things about people of colour, and in general act with no regard for their words or actions.
To authors, this can be a device you can use in any story to convey to the reader who the bad guy is, or to convey a point where someone might rise above their current views of the world around them. To fan fiction writers, however, this is played out in a much more delicate manner.
Characters in fan fiction already have a set view of the world based on what has come before. For example, it creates a lot of ire in fandom when a female character who is viewed as strong and independent, and typically seen as a role model, is suddenly thrust into a position of “gender norm” roles. There has to be a reason why they are suddenly thrust into that situation, and if it was a complete about face from what they are normally seen by the readership/viewership, then it must have been extremely traumatic. For instance, in my own book, Black Mask & Pale Rider, one of the characters happens to be gay. Pania, a.k.a. Pale Rider, has been that way for a long, long time. She may find certain male figures attractive, but she is sexually attracted to the same sex; female. If someone were to write fan fiction of Shani and Pania, and suddenly Pania was married to a male and pregnant, I’d be asking “what the hell happened” because that’s a complete about face for the character.
When you’re writing a character that might make an off handed joke, whether racist, sexist, or trans* bigotry, as the narrator, you should explain this was offensive in some way. The character might not find the comment offensive, but you can be sure as guns your readers might.
And it’s not just a matter of saying “well, if you don’t like it, don’t read it”. As authors, we have a responsibility to educate as we story tell. The only way that the discussions of racism, sexism, trans* bigotry, misogyny and more will end is if those who happen to make a living or enjoy the hobby of writing don’t step up and start to make the change. Writers hold as much power as educators in that regard.
- Writing a world (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Some suggestions (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- The inspiring music (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Ideas are there, but… (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Where did they come from? (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Introducing, The Barrow’s Revenge Page (taholtorf.wordpress.com)