Star Trek The Next Generation Q-Squared: Q and Trelane equals Craziness

Star Trek has quite a long mythology, and one thing that most fans love is find a million different ways to connect a billion different ideas, all to create sometimes amazing stories.

Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, A.C. Crispin, and Manny Coto have proven themselves very very adept at creating these type of stories, but one writer who has achieved an 100 percent success rate at this is noted author Peter David.

And Star Trek The Next Generation Q-Squared is yet another major win for him in this category.

David takes the idea of Q and combines him with The Original Series character of Trelane, and of course chaos erupts. Now this concept has been around ever since Q first snapped his way onto the Enterprise D, but this story takes it, pumps it full of adrenaline, and smashes it into time travel and universe hopping dramatic craziness.

The tale, simplified and made linear as best as possible, is the following: Q and Trelane arrive on the Enterprise D and seek Picard’s guidance in helping mature Trelane, who is a younger member of the Q continuum. When that inevitably falls apart, Trelane goes on a tear and starts playing hopscotch with different realities. Cue Q and Picard trying to stop the mad Trelane, and survive all the crossovers of Picards and Rikers and Worfs clashing.

One of the realities shown is our main Star Trek, as seen on television and movies, that we all known and love.

Another reality is based on the Federation at war with the Klingons, as introduced in the classic TNG episode Yesterday’s Enterprise. This version is far more militaristic, paranoid, and downright brutal. You definitely would not want to hang out here.

The third reality is a David creation, and while more like our television version, it is also more dire. This is where Jack Crusher is still alive and Captain of the Enterprise, with his ex-wife Beverly Crusher as ships doctor, and busted to First Officer his best friend Jean Luc Picard. Riker and Troi have followed, shall we say, different paths here as well.

Yesterday’s Enterprise

David brings his considerable skill, not only as a writer of immense complicated tapestries, but as a guru of Star Trek myth and magic, to Q-Squared. Literally millions of bits of Trekkiness pop up all over the place here, and it all works because the powers of Q lends itself to just this kind of time and dimension jumping adventure. Reaching back to earlier Kirk tales is just one such example, and how it works so well here. Some connections are more obscure, and are probably meant to be so, because sometimes David goes abit dark.

Which means we all love Tasha from one place fighting side by side with Worf from another place, we also see how tragedy ripped the Crushers apart in another place. Cheers and tears mere pages away from each other in some cases.

Now David has done this before, it is another trademark of his starting with Strike Zone, his first Star Trek book which had Worf and Wesley in lighter and darker subplots respectively, and gives Q-Squared a definite feel of realism to it. Yes, a time travel tale set on a space ship can be realistic.

That is because David knows how to focus on the characters. Whether it is the Picard and Data we know and love, or the variations that pop up, we believe in them. One particular new creation that David logically inserts into one universe is completely natural and is a testament to his prowess as a writer.

The last part of Q-Squared smashes forward at super speed, with everyone and everything colliding in a massive derailment, so to speak. This breakneck ending is powerful and wonderful and funny and tragic and thinking and all Star Trek.

Just like Star Trek should be.

Scoopriches

…is currently reading Star Trek Voyager Violations by Susan Wright.

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Bridge to Terabithia is Simply Excellent

For a long long time, I had many many classic books on my To Read Someday List.

Some, like Black Beauty or A Wrinkle In Time, were okay. Others, like The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, were disappointments.

And then I collide with Bridge of Terabithia.

And I fall instantly in love.

SPOILERS to follow on the ideas the book presents.

Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia is a classic children’s book written by Katherine Paterson in 1977. The story, which came out of an event that troubled her son, won awards and is constantly censored. We start with Jesse Aarons, a lonely boy going into the fifth grade who trains and trains on the family farm to be fast enough to win a school footrace. This is very very important and a rather prestigious honour to win this unofficial prize. While running he meets the new neighbour, a tomboy city girl who is also in the fifth grade, Leslie Burke.

Jesse is slow to welcome Leslie, and Leslie disrupts the schoolyard dynamic when she, a girl, enters the footrace and wins. This chaos disturbs Jesse, who hides much from his large poor family including his artistic ability, but he overcomes and Leslie, who is a well read only child from a family with money, becomes a good friend. A development that causes ripples in many circles.

Leslie and Jesse proceed to have many dramas unfold around them, which leads to many thoughts and feelings being experienced and discussed, and the two learning of the differences that exist between them. Some of this occurs when the pair go adventuring into a secluded wooded area, just pass a creek, nearby their homes.

This land of playing and talking and make believe and planning and friendship is christened Terabithia.

And it becomes their secret refuge.

All until the massive emotional ending, when it becomes something else.

Bridge to Terabithia is a truly excellent story that packs a huge wallop, one that stays with you long after the final page. Add to that the multiple themes and concepts that are threaded expertly throughout the novel by Paterson.

Terabithia clearly takes place in the early 1970’s in a conservative small town where nothing seems to ever change. Little bits and pieces are sprinkled around to cement this notion, including how Jesse describes the music teacher, Miss Edmunds, who amazingly wears pants and sings folk songs, and he likes so much she is one of the few who know his drawing skills. This unconventional aspect is noticed but not commented on too much, but the discussions that spring out of Leslie coming to Jesse’s church for a visit are fascinating and show how the friends view the world, all shaped by their upbringings and environment. Another small chunk is the kerfuffle Leslie causes when she reveals to the class the fact that her family has no television set. And the passage involving spanking versus hitting kids is short but truthful to the cultures shown. So many moving parts pop up and immerse the reader in the setting, making it so easy to understand how Jesse and Leslie’s friendship would sprout conversation.

Now most would say the religious discussions alone, and the emotional ending, are the reasons so many small minded people want to ban Terabithia, but I have a different theory, one shared by many.

To me it is obvious that Jesse is gay and Leslie is lesbian.

It is never stated, nor do the kids ever express themselves in his matter, and I think only Leslie is worldly enough to even know or understand the concept, but this feels present to me right from the start. Neither Leslie and Jesse show any romantic feelings towards each other, which is not definitive of this of course, and also very refreshing to treat male and female characters as friends and not potential romantic interests, but you also get the idea they have no feelings towards almost anyone else as well.

And the almost part is what brings further complexity to Terabithia, and reinforces the LGBTQ theme showcased in the tine and place. Jesse has what seems like a crush on the pants wearing music teacher, the above mentioned Miss Edmunds, but it really is admiration for an adult who gets him and his art and encourages him. She is noticeably different and is fine with it, and Jesse longs to be this. His desire at the start of Terabithia to win the footrace was too fit in, and that was disrupted by Leslie being Leslie. Which brings up the idea that maybe Leslie does know she is different from the town norm, but because of her liberal big city upbringing with open parents, she is more at ease. This might be why Leslie wants to help and understand notorious school bully Janice Avery, even after she and Jesse help orchestrate part of her pain. Maybe possibly, once Leslie realizes the full story of Janice, her feelings towards the older girl changed. Some might call this a stretch, but so many things about Terabithia have such power and chemistry and reasoning behind them, that the Janice subplot just leads me in that direction.

Even if Paterson never meant this idea, Jesse and Leslie are excellent living characters who have an excellent wonderful friendship. Jesse grows massively from all aspects of his knowing Leslie, and Leslie benefits immensely from teaching Jesse about the wider world.

The two learn about life and God and living, both in their real world of 1970’s small town and in their fantasy woodland existence in Terabithia. They have truly wonderful and heartbreaking journeys, both together and apart.

And I loved every minute with Leslie and Jesse.

Scoopriches

…is currently reading Star Trek Captain’s Peril by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens and William Shatner.  Googliebear picked this one for me!

P.S. Please avoid the terrible movie from a few years ago. So much is wrong with that film, far too many points to list. Just don’t.

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Distant Early Warning: Facing Your Zombies

A woman must face her life while confronting the unliving.

That is the basic premise of Distant Early Warning, a zombie quasi apocalyptic novel by Canadian author Elizabeth Hirst.

In the not so far future, society has changed and gotten more dire but not totally collapsed, because of ecological turmoil. To add to the world’s problems, recently the dead in northern Ontario have risen from the ground as screaming zombies and are pushing the people farther and farther south.

This mess is troubling to Felicia “Denny” Dennigan, a young woman working at a University who has family issues, majorly around her absent father that she loves so much. Then one day she sees news footage of her dad as zombie. Thus begins her trek up north, with the faithful dog Geoff, to find out what happened, and hopefully put him to rest.

And to say she is unprepared, emotionally and organizationally, despite her best efforts, is to put it mildly.

Hirst tells a very compelling tale, and the influence of thrillers like The Hunger Games can be felt on every page. Which means Distant Early Warning can get fairly violent sometimes (but not Katniss level), and some mature issues are present.

A sense of danger exists for Denny even before her trip, all because we can tell she has emotional issues that impair her life. Much groundwork is laid for this early one, with plenty of payoff at the end. Denny’s survival throughout the start of her journey stems mostly from determination and good luck, not skill and experience.

This emotional turmoil impairs good judgment, and when Denny realizes this issue, she does much better against the dangers that peril, her. But of course, like any great adventure tale, this also means the threats get amped up as well. Hirst wisely moves part of the action to the spiritual realm, as Denny smartly deals with foes physical and mental. Methinks the author has studied psychology, because Denny would make a great case study in grief and PTSD and intimacy issues.

My only small quibbles was that the ending happens rather quickly, even through it is all set for a sequel, and that some slight copyediitng would help it. Otherwise, Distant Early Warning is an interesting adventure story with fascinating characters and is quite gripping.

Scoopriches

…is currently reading the ANGEL AND FAITH SEASON NINE COMICS!!!!!!!!

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Star Trek Deep Space Nine The Siege: Very Very Awesome

Another Star Trek book after almost twenty years!

And this time, it is a Deep Space Nine one!!

Writer by the Geek God and Star Trek Maven Peter David!!!

So yes, I am talking about Star Trek Deep Space Nine The Siege!!!!

And it is Awesome!!!!!

The Siege, as Peter David notes, was written based on the series bible and early scripts, so any inaccuracies in characterization or situations or technology from what aired is simply because nothing had been shown yet.

But this limitation only causes very very minor hiccups in the story, all because David is simply the best there is at what he does.

Deep Space Nine is a space station on the edge of Federation territory that Starfleet runs for the recovering from war Bajorans. And they have a wormhole nearby, giving passage to the far side the galaxy. The crew is a motley mix of personalities and backgrounds with the rules sometimes bending, all because of the unusual diplomatic problems that comes their way.

The Siege is early on in the series and has the station rocked by news of a brutal murder that appears unsolvable. They cannot evacuate anyone, since the killer might flee. Then more murders occur and tempers rise and outside parties shove their noses into everything. As all this chaos is ongoing, Doctor Bashir faces an ethical dilemma still very much relevant today.

Which makes this book a tour de force for David.

This tale is a taunt thriller, and very graphic with the killings and aftermaths, so it not for the squeamish. David thinks through how the investigation would occur, and the ramifications for all involved. When the who and the what of the killer is revealed, along with a couple of good surprising plot twists thrown in for good measure, it is an immense gamechanger for the story.

This causes the finale of The Siege to become an epic page turner, with the same adrenaline rush as The Hunger Game series. But, as David readily admits, if they ever tried doing this on the television series, the costs would be astronomical.

The Bashir subplot is also impressive, with David’s liberal politics being on full display. I am not against his point of view, and he is well known for doing this, and Star Trek is quite certainly the place for a good powerful moral argument. Which means those who like some solid meat to their reading, it is right here.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine The Siege is a slamming story that nails the characters precisely. One of the best Peter David has done.

Scoopriches

…is currently reading the ANGEL AND FAITH SEASON NINE COMICS!!!!!!!!

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Three Random Thoughts on DC Movies Versus Critics

Ever since Marvel’s well deserved success with building a movie universe, DC had finally realized it should get into the game as well. And that resulted in Green Lantern, which everyone promptly forgot and are the better for it.

Then DC announced Man Of Steel and that Zach Snyder was attached and hate began forming all over the interwebs. Now this is not new, I recall the anguished cries over Tim “Beetlejuice” Burton and Michael “Mr Mom” Keaton even being close to Batman, but then the movie came out, it was great, and Geeks learned their lesson of prejudging. I was not impressed with 300 or Watchmen, but was interested to see what Zach would do. And when Man Of Steel was completely excellent, I figured the same lesson of prejudging would be rehashed yet again.

But instead, the haters dug in and kept hating. And this silly cycle continued even onto Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, only now ending at Wonder Woman.

I knew this was going to happen with Wonder Woman. Even through it is the same tone and real world feel and themes of the other DC movies, and has the dreaded Zach Snyder writing the Story and Producing.

So why is Wonder Woman different with the ever dwindling haters?

First we have to look at the roots of the hate.

 

Fear

Some people are just afraid of change. While most Geeks were clamouring for Comic Book Movies to be taken more seriously, and very much got their wish with The Dark Knight, that quickly changed. But after Iron Man got released, some Geeks glommed onto the bit lighter tone of the Marvel movies, which over time became increasingly more jokey. And a certain segment of Geekdom fell in love with this and demanded the same of DC movies. When we saw Captain America Civil War, some of the audience laughed all through it. Peggy Carter dies. Laughter. War Machine paralyzed. Laughter. Iron Man’s parents killed. Laughter. It was a very weird experience and told volumes about how some viewed the Marvel films.

With Batman V Superman, Zach Snyder wanted to make a serious drama, and with screenwriters Chris Terrio and David Goyer, they did. The story they crafted, spanning decades of comics and related material, treated people to an intelligent character study. While some Geeks did not like the way Superman and Batman were portrayed, and I can understand this criticism, it was not without precedent. Same with those who did not like the real world atmosphere.

But for the vast majority of the Geek haters, it just comes down to fear. This is a newer, fresher, today version of these classic characters, who have been made newer, fresher and today many times over the decades. Instead of embracing it, they rebelled, and some quite often acted like spoiled toddlers.

Batman V Superman redefined superheroes movies forever, and that is an excellent turning point for the genre.

A quote from Joss Whedon sums up this situation so well

“There is never progress without hateful, reactionary blowback.”

Geeks who live like this are sad. They probably think Jor-El in Superman The Movie should have been wearing a headband. I just wish they would grow up, accept progress, and stop yelling at the clouds.

 

Jealousy

A few in the entertainment industry are simply jealous. Dan Slott, who has been writing Spiderman for several years now, has constantly attacked Batman V Superman. I have read a handful of his comics and was not impressed at all, and this was before his rantings on twitter about BvS. Methinks Slott knows Batman V Superman will be considered a classic forever and forever, while his work will be bargain bin fodder. So instead of learning and improving, he just attacks and attacks. At one point Slott promised on New Years 2016 to stop going off on Batman V Superman, but that did not last long. He even stated he would come back as a ghost to mock the movie.

Other creators have taken shots at the DC movies, with increasing levels of silliness. When they complain about Lois and Clark in a bathtub, but ignore them in bed in Superman II, or that Batman dared to kill, but conveniently forget all the death in Batman 89, they show their intellectual dishonesty. The list of what they complain about goes on and on, ignores logic and history, and shows how much The Lady Doth Protest Too Much.

 

Cowards

A whole bunch of “movie reviewers” are complete cowards. These unprofessional and uneducated “journalists” spend so much time writing clickbait “reviews” that just trash Zach Snyder and almost everything DC, all because they know that small segment of Geeks will scramble over to them. Reading these people is just plain torture. It becomes very obvious many do not pay attention to what they are watching, or know anything about anything.

The late great Roger Ebert produced reviews, that even if I did not agree with him sometimes, were crafted with thought and wisdom and understanding of what a film was. Ebert taught classes where he would go through Citizen Kane frame by frame, analyzing every part of it. I am not going to say Ebert would like the DC movies, but I would love to see his reviews of them. They would be honest and interesting, unlike the haters of today.

When the Wonder Woman “reviews” came out, the trolls praised the movie and ignored, downplayed, or trashed Zach Snyder’s contributions as Story writer and Producer. All for the mighty clicks from the ever shrinking hater audience. The above tweet was sent out, then deleted, by one “critic.”

Some of these “critics” started changing their tunes over the last year, mainly when Batman V Superman did gangbusters, the Extended Edition on dvd and blu ray sold massively, and Suicide Squad hit theatres and became a huge success. The DC movies made money. Tons of money. From the theatre. From the dvds. And from the merchandise. I have met sooooo many people who really do not go online that much, who loved these films. And they eye roll when I tell them about the hate. My neighbours kids and her friends, a Costco employee I chatted with, and my father, just to name a few, all loved Batman V Superman. One of the neighbours kids friend, a preteen girl, told me she cried at the Martha moment and when Superman died, wanted to know how Superman will come back, and can’t wait for Wonder Woman. And this girl is a future Geek and maybe future Geek writer/artist.  The culture war has been won by DC.  The movies have been accepted and embraced and loved by the general public of Muggles.

These “critics” have seen which way the wind was blowing and promptly changed course. Slowly, begrudgingly, praising the DC films, moving inch by inch towards where the public is, all for the almighty click. Scott Mendelson of Forbes was into this early on. These people will probably announce next year that they were always big fans of the DC movies right from the start. They have no faith in their beliefs and should not be given attention.

 

Which brings me back to Wonder Woman. This is not the first female superhero movie, but it is WONDER WOMAN. One of the most well known comic characters of all time. And we have been waiting forever and ever for this movie. The public anticipation is massive. These “reviewers” know that in order to not appear misogynistic, they have to treat Wonder Woman fairly. And with this fairness came massive positive reviews for a DC movie.

They ignored Snyder’s work on the film, which the amazing director Patty Jenkins always acknowledged. They pretended that so many of the themes and concepts and ideas in Wonder Woman were not present in Batman V Superman, despite the obvious truths they are. The haters bellow about Pa Kent’s speech to young Clark in Man Of Steel, but when the same things are said by Queen Hippolyta to Princess Diana, not a word of criticism. They scream when Superman and Batman kill, but no mention when Wonder Woman does it. And when Superman and Batman connect through their shared humanity in the brilliant Martha moment, howls of protest. But when Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor connect through their humanity just before the final battle, no mockery comes up. The list goes on and on and on.

There is only one difference between the two films to explain this attitude away. Zach Snyder did not direct Wonder Woman.

So it received a fair shake.

And because Wonder Woman is a truly sensational movie, it got sensational reviews.

Which is something all the DC movies deserved.

Scoopriches

…is currently reading the BUFFY SEASON NINE COMICS!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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Three Random Thoughts on the Wonder Woman movie!!!!!! SPOILERS!!!!!!!

I HAVE SEEN WONDER WOMAN!!!!!!!!

HERE IS MY SPOILER FILLED THREE RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST EXCELLENT DC MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

It Is A Wonderful Movie!

Gal Gadot and Chris Pine and Patty Jenkins and Zach Snyder and Deborah Snyder bring Wonder Woman to life, in thought and deed and personality. We not only witness the sheer power and skill Diana has in battle, but also her loving nature of trying to save everyone and everything. And she realizes, much to her dismay, that even with all her powers, she cannot do it all. Learning to be a heroine, a destiny she does not fully comprehend until the end, exposes Diana to this lesson, along with the complexities and multitude of this new world around her. Steve Trevor does a beautiful job pointing out to Diana some the hypocrisy she practices, which helps her fully realize she is no longer on Paradise Island. The Amazon Warrior for Peace is here to change our world, and the world changes her as well.

 

It Fits So Well Into The DCEU!!

From the onset, DC stated each movie would have its own style and tone, all to fit the character, but still be connected and real world. And Wonder Woman delivers that in a massive way, same as the previous films. That is no wonder, since Zach Snyder helped write the story and produced. Wonder Woman touches on so many of the same themes as Batman V Superman, with questions of when to help and how, the nature of good and evil in humanity, and how we should always have hope for our people. Bruce Wayne and Steve Trevor are kindred spirits with their respective speeches at the finale of each film. And maybe that is why Diana responded so much to Bruce at the end of Batman V Superman.  Everything comes full circle….

 

The Setting!!!

So many know nothings blather on about Wonder Woman’s time period going from World War Two to World War One, insisting it is because of the well deserved success of Captain America The First Avenger which also is in WW2. But the DC movie people wanted changes to the characters that made sense, whether it was Lois and Lex knowing Clark’s secret or Wayne Manor falling into disrepair. So making Wonder Woman not take place in her traditional World War Two place, but come to Man’s World to stop Ares during The Great War is brilliant. As Steve Trevor easily explains, all these countries involved for so many many years and millions upon millions dead, is a true horror. This leads to the idea that Wonder Woman is the first to cross No Man’s Land, which is simply brilliant. Add to this the very old fashioned social customs, sexism, and women voting issue of the time, which are excellent themes for Wonder Woman to bump up against.

 

WONDER WOMAN IS WONDERFUL!!!!!!! GO SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Scoopriches

…is currently reading the BUFFY SEASON NINE COMICS!!!!!!!!

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Three Random Thoughts On What I Think Will Happen In The WONDER WOMAN Movie!!!

Very Very Soon, Friday June 2nd 2017 to be precise, the next most Awesome DC Movie will be unleashed upon us!

Yes, I am babbling about Wonder Woman!!!

And so because the internet did not demand it, here are my predictions of what will happen in the Wonder Woman movie!!!

World War One!

A big change this film makes is making World War One the setting. I don’t think it was simply because they did not want to follow in the awesomeness of Captain America The First Avenger, but because of the time period itself. World War One was a nasty brutal conflict that included extensive use of tanks, machine guns, poison gas, and airplanes. Many of which for the first time. Bringing Wonder Woman into this dehumanizing insane fight with her mission of peace actually feels very natural. Also, this was the time when the Suffrage movement finally succeeded and women got the right to vote. This makes another excellent backdrop to play Wonder Woman against.

Steve Trevor and Etta Candy!!

Everyone wants these sensational supporting characters to not survive the movie, but somehow move into the present day. Many are worried these two will perish, since that might be the reason why Diana walked away from humanity for a century. And they would be waaaay to old to Peggy Carter in. I am thinking magically (MAGIC!) trapped in time is the answer here. Bruce Wayne can solve the legal paperwork issues, and then it is simply lots and lots of therapy to get Steve and Etta used to the modern day.

She Will Fly!!!

I hate the invisible jet a whole whole lot. So when George Perez finally got DC to let Wonder Woman fly, I was soooooo thankful. The glorious Batman V Superman was not clear about whether she could fly, but I really really really really hope she can. Just say Hermes blessed her with flight and call it a day. Plus, the awesomeness of Wonder Woman and Superman zooming into the sky, then remembering to go back and get Batman, would be a most excellent scene in Justice League.

Soon we will find out how many of my fearless predictions come true! And since my success rate with these is…. shaky at best.

AND GO SEE WONDER WOMAN JUNE 2ND!!!

Scoopriches

…is currently reading the BUFFY SEASON EIGHT COMICS!!!!!!!!

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