If Only, If Only…

24-Oct-07 11:15 AM by
Filed under Star Trek; Comments Off on If Only, If Only…

Today, on the anniversary of Gene Roddenberry's passing, StarTrek.com has a thoughtful tribute to the legacy of Star Trek's creator:


… with Star Trek he created an iconic mythology which has succeeded in providing popular culture with a common reference point for all things futuristic and achievable. ("Achievable" being what distinguishes Star Trek from Star Wars.) Because Star Trek has become so firmly planted in our collective consciousness, far-reaching ideas can more easily bubble to the surface and gain acceptance, as the optimists among us push forward to realize that vision of the future. Replicators, tricorders, bio-beds, cloaking fields, transporters, and even warp drive are all concepts being pursued today by scientists and innovators, even when overwhelming conventional wisdom would dismiss them.

The article goes on to posit that humanity could realize its great potential if we would set our sights on the stars and not on petty terrestrial squabbles over land and oil. I suppose that's what makes Star Trek science fiction…

The Circle Is Now Complete

25-May-07 9:18 AM by
Filed under Star Wars; 4 comments.

At last, this is the day we've all been counting down to: the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. On May 25th, 1977, A New Hope debuted, forever changing the scape of film and American culture.

I don't remember Star Wars having ever been in the news this much — not even when the prequels were coming out. With the commemorative stamps coming out today, documentaries being filmed, and specials on television airing soon, it seems everyone has their minds on a galaxy far, far away. Here are some of the best Star Wars spotlights for you to observe today:

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Above and Beyond

12-Apr-07 10:22 AM by
Filed under Fade to Black, Star Trek; 4 comments.

Tonight, 119 parties in 32 countries will celebrate "Yuri's Night" — the 46th anniversary of mankind's first escape from Earth's atmosphere.

It seems a timely opportunity to ensure that those of you in or around New Mexico know of the upcoming opportunity to attend James Doohan's send-off. On April 27th, a memorial will be held for the actor who played Scotty on Star Trek: The Original Series, followed the next day by the liftoff of the Legacy Flight module and its payload of Mr. Doohan's ashes into outer space. Mr. Doohan's widow, Wende, has extended an invitation to any and all Star Trek fans to attend these special events.

This launch has been delayed many times since Doohan's passing on July 20th, 2005 — the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek's creator, died in 1991 and entered space in 1997. Finally, with Scotty beaming up to where he belongs, they will be in good company.

The Trek Life

Can't Be Worse Than "Darth Tater"

28-Jan-07 11:20 PM by
Filed under Star Wars; 2 comments.

The current brouhaha in a galaxy far far away is the Darth Who naming contest. Seems that Han Solo and Leia Skywalker's brat is following in his grandfather's footsteps, and readers get to decide what his street name will be.

To understand why he's doing this, I looked up little Jacen Solo's Wookiepedia entry. Link upon link later, I was again reminded of how voluminous the Star Wars expanded universe — or "EU", as Warsies call it, and not to be confused with a bunch of Anglo-Saxons uniting around a depreciated currency — is. My direct experience with this medium is neither vast nor recent, as not counting four film novelizations, I've read only two Star Wars books: R. A. Salvatore's Vector Prime and its immediate successor. I didn't have much difficulty picking up on where these characters were decades after the Battle of Yavin… but I felt no motivation to see where they were going, either.

Star Wars is an epic setting, yet its cinematic tales began and ended in a mere six films. By contrast, their literary extensions take dozens of books to tell a single saga (such as New Jedi Order or Legacy of the Force). It's far less episodic than, say, Star Trek novels, which can be picked up and read in any order, based on the appeal of individual plots and characters. Already the NJO books I read seven years ago are set 20 years in the past of the EU's current events. I can't keep up!

Star Wars is to novels as superheroes are to comic books as soap operas are to television: hundreds of characters that live, die, and live again, with intricate plot threads that only the most fanatical loyalist can weave an understanding and appreciation out of. I can't even commit an hour a week to a TV series; how am I supposed to keep up with a Star Wars book a month? I think it's great that some of my favorite films ever have left an epic impact that resonates throughout today's bookshelves; but does it have to be so darn daunting?