The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Into the New Frontier...

I have signed up on Twitter.  You can just click on the link for Twitter on the right side of the page to see my tweets.  I will also be tweeting announcements about new posts on this blog as well as my other blog that outlines what is planned to take place in my classroom.  Please follow me on Twitter so you aren't checking the blogs for nothing.

One of the first tweets I received was from Larry Nemecek, aka Dr. Star Trek which was a re-tweet of something that made me laugh  Perhaps you have seen this before, but it was completely new for me and so I am going to paste it below...

I almost choked when I saw this while taking a sip of coffee.

The SciFi Diner has posted another interview with Nicholas Eftimiades, American Government Official, author, and educator.  I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, but will be doing so within the next few days.

I am currently still watching Voyager.  I just started the 5th season today.  Voyager really hit its stride in this season and produced some very good episodes.  One of my favorites from this season is "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy".  It is one of the episodes that features Robert Picardo's brilliant performances as "The Doctor".  The entire episode is great with a lot of humor woven into a story in which The Doctor saves the ship from being attacked by aliens.  The best part of this episode is before the opening credits.  The Doctor is daydreaming that he is giving a recital for the crew.  While singing Le Donna e Mobile from Verdi's opera Rigoletto, Tuvok begins experiencing the Pon Far, the onset of his Vulcan mating drive which takes place once every seven years.  The Doctor deals with Tuvok's condition during the recital by improvising new lyrics to Verdi's classic.  Here's the video from YouTube:

This video has excellent resolution and looks great in full screen mode.

I am continuing to watch Fringe as well.  Still enjoying it as I am about a third of the way through the first season.

I was listening to Victor Hugo's Les Miserables on audiobook, but it is very detailed, and would take over 70 hours to get through, so I have abandoned it for the time being.  I might decide to see if I can find an abridged version of it that gets to the point faster.  The unabridged version is way too detailed to get through.  Perhaps it is because of the times we live in.  When Hugo penned his masterpiece in 1862, life was much slower then and I could imagine someone sitting and reading this by the fire or by candlelight.  It is unfortunate that those times are gone and that we have become so busy that we cannot find time to be entertained by a good book.

 So, I have begun listening to a work on non-fiction called The Physics of Star Trek by Dr. Lawrence M. Krauss of Arizona State University.  So far, this is a very interesting book as Dr. Krauss picks apart the why's and how's of many scientific aspects of Trek.  More on this later when I finish my listen.

This morning, I awoke early and decided to take advantage of the quiet in the house by finishing reading Peter David's New Frontier Trek novel, After the Fall.  This is the 15th novel in the series.  There are 18 total books in this series at this point.  This series is unique because David creates a whole new universe for Star Trek to play in with new characters, but he also includes characters that any a Trekkie would recognize.

I am not going to go into a story synopsis at this time because my memory cannot handle recapping all of the books I have read so far.  Suffice it to say that this is a great series of books and well worth reading.  Here is the cover art of the volumes in the New Frontier series in order:

There are 18 novels as I stated before.  The first four novels were published separately and then later they were combined into a single volume.

One of the things that make great sci-fi is to have a good story.  The New Frontier series is full of good stories, and each book could stand alone to tell a story, but even more than that, the best of this series are the characters.  The author has created some great characters and has also brought in some characters that we who are familiar with Trek will know.  Remember Commander Shelby from the TNG two-part episode "Best of Both Worlds"?  Shelby takes a very important part in this series.  Also Dr. Selar, another TNG character that we only see once but her name is mentioned numerous times in TNG is an integral character.

Here is a rundown of some of the characters that appear in this series...

Captain Makenzie Calhoun: Commander of the USS Excalibur.  He was a very young warlord on his home planet, Xenex.  Discovered by Jean-Luc Picard, and at whose urging was pursuaded to attend Starfleet Academy.   Mac worked hard at his studies, and managed to get into some trouble at the academy.  His solution to the Kobiaski Maru test at the academy was to destroy the ship becasue in his mind, the Romulans had already killed everyone on the Kobiashi and were just using it to lure a Starfleet vessel into an ambush.  He knows how to think on his feet and always comes out on top of a situation.  He is not opposed to bending, or even breaking the rules to accomplish his mission.  He has a sword that his most prized possession from his youth.  It was used to kill his father on Xenex, and when he came into possession of it, he used it to avenge his father's slaying.

Elizabeth Shelby: A by-the-book officer who expected to be in command of the Excalibur, but instead was assigned to be Mac's first officer.  She and Mac were involved during their Academy days.  She learned to be more flexible in her thinking and was given her own command of the USS Trident.  As an extension of their relationship, she and Mac got married.  Later Shelby was promoted to Admiral.

Burgoyne 172: A Hermat, both male and female.  Outgoing and amusing character who has many interesting qualities.  S/he is the Chief Engineer of the Excalibur.

Dr. Selar: Vulcan and Chief Medical Officer of the Excalibur.  Marries Burgoyne 172.  It is a volatile relationship because she is very Vulcan, and Burgy is very emotional.

Robin Lefler: Just as we remember her from her two appearances on TNG.  She really grows up in the series and gains a lot of self-confidence.

Mark McHenry: Brilliant navigator of the Excalibur.

Zac Kebron: Security Chief of the Excalibur.  He is from a race of people called the Brikar, a people whose biochemistry is based on silicon instead of carbon.  He is often described as being a "moving mountain" with a bad atitude.  Once he makes up his mind to something, there is very little that can move him off course.  Great character.

Soleta: Half Vulcan, half Romulan but chose to follow her Vulcan heritage.  Always in an internal struggle between her two halves, much as Spock.  She manages to hide her Romulan heritage because if it is discovered, she'll probably be kicked out of Starfleet.  When she is finally found out, she resigns from Starfleet and goes to work for the Romulans.

Morgan: Mother of Robin Lefler.  She is very old, due to being a sort of immortal, however, she finally lost her corporeal existence and became the computer on the Excalibur.  She uses her life experience to be a very effective member of the Excalibur crew.

Si Cwan: A prince of the Royal Family of the Thallonian Empire.  Serves as an un-official ambassador aboard the Excalibur, and later works to resurrect his empire.

There are a number of other characters that appear and dominate for different segments of the story arc.  Suffice it to say that this Series is an outstanding one that every Trek fan should take a look at.  Peter David is an outstanding story teller and I very much appreciate is work.  This series is available for the Kindle.

Well, there it is.