The Appeal of Reading Star Trek Novels

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Imzadi cover image taken from Goodreads.

 

Here’s a throwback post to some of my work over at Comparative Geeks. Give them a look and tell them I sent you!

Pocket Books Keeps the Dream of Star Trek Alive

 

If you’re a fan of books and hot beverages, check us out at Blue Spider Books. And check out our blog here!

The Appeal of Captain Pike

Captain-Pike-in-Star-Trek-Discovery
Image of the three actors to portray Captain Pike on television taken from Screenrant @ https://screenrant.com/star-trek-discovery-captain-pike-explained/

WARNING: SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW

Last week saw Anson Mount’s Captain Pike exit Star Trek: Discovery, to many a viewer’s chagrin. I have been a tremendous fan of Mount’s portrayal of Pike and will miss his presence in the show. I feel that Discovery has done a wonderful job expanding Pike’s character and has successfully elevated him to the same legendary level of other Star Trek captains.

Indeed, this season’s revelation that Pike was shown his eventual fate, disfigured, unable to move, and trapped in a mechanical chair only able to transmit simple yes-and-no responses, and that he embraced it was perhaps one of the most emotionally satisfying moments of the show thus far. All at once, the character’s sense of right action, of honor, and of the love he feels for those under his command become his defining traits.

I always wondered at the depth of loyalty that Spock felt for his old captain in the Star Trek episode “The Menagerie,” a bond so powerful that he would risk the ire of Captain Kirk and his crew, the end of his Starfleet career, and likely even death for visiting a forbidden planet. But it makes sense now. Spock risked everything for Captain Pike because Captain Pike once did the same for him. Let us also appreciate that Captain Pike was Gene Roddenberry’s first draft of his idealized heroic captain character, making Pike the intellectual ancestor of every other Star Trek captain we have come to love.

(And don’t forget to sign the petition asking CBS to consider a spin-off series about the adventures of Captain Pike and the Enterprise here!)

If you’re a fan of books and hot beverages, check us out at Blue Spider Books. And check out our blog here!

Thoughts – 7-17-14

I’ve been binge watching this on Netflix lately and strongly recommend it. I’ll be reviewing it soon, I think. As much as there is familiar about it (big robots, alien monsters, etc.), there are some unique and interesting aspects of the story I’d like to talk about. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on Knights of Sidonia.

The New Jedi Order

Hello all!  For my first sci-fi post here at the Thoughts, I wanted to tackle the book series from the early 2000s called The New Jedi Order.  I was always under the impression that this book series was not well-written and generally not a good read.  However, some time ago, I decided that it would behoove me to know more about the details of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion.  This seemed to impact so much of the Star Wars galaxy that I felt under-accomplished as a Star Wars nerd for not having read the series.

Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/51/Vector_Prime.jpg
Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/51/Vector_Prime.jpg

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

…if you haven’t read any of these books or been on Wookiepedia at any point in time.

The series begins with a book by R. A. Salvatore titled Vector Prime.  This is Salvatore’s first Star Wars novel, and he does a fantastic job.  I doubt very much that this surprised anyone, as Salvatore is the rather successful author behind many of the Forgotten Realms books.  I’m sure what did shock everyone was his choice to kill one of the main cast from the original trilogy movies.  The death of Chewbacca was a hard one to take and affected the tone of the whole series, but the subsequent authors did a very nice job of picking up where Salvatore left off and expounding on the new society he created: the Yuuzhan Vong, a race from a whole other galaxy.

The Yuuzhan Vong are a completely alien entity to every facet of life in the Star Wars galaxy.  They embrace pain as a natural and very important part of life.  They intentionally inflict pain on themselves as a means of worshiping their gods.  Indeed, their creation myth tells them that the first Yuuzhan Vong were cut off of their most revered deity, Yun-Yuuzhan.  His initial sacrifice to bring his children into existence is a big part of why the Yuuzhan Vong practice ritual sacrifice of slaves and captives, as well as personal sacrifice of their person.

Another major differentiating factor is their use of biotechnology, or shaping.  The Yuuzhan Vong do not use any form of technology as we, nor indeed the denizens of the Star Wars galaxy, understand it.  But the Yuuzhan Vong take it a step further to the point that mechanical technology, no matter to what scale it is used, is blasphemous and an abomination to the gods.  This is usually the first thing they set about doing when they have conquered a planet during the invasion.

Perhaps the hardest thing to come to terms with for the Jedi is the fact that the Yuuzhan Vong exist outside the Force.  The Jedi can’t detect them, anticipate their movements, affect them with mind tricks, pick them up and toss them away, none of that.  However, the Jedi quickly become the focus of much of the Yuuzhan Vong’s efforts to splinter the factions of the galaxy by more or less posting a bounty on Jedi.

I will admit that I have not finished the series yet, but I am close to the end.  With only three and a half books to go, I believe I have found the part of the series where some start to take issue with the writing.  There is a trio of books toward the end of the series written by two authors: Sean Williams and Shane Dix.  Admittedly, I know nothing else by either of these authors.  However, they do seem to railroad the story line into a particular direction in their first book, and also have a distinctly different approach to some of the characters.

Jaina Solo is a major player, both militarily and as a Jedi, throughout the entire Yuuzhan Vong war.  She was deeply affected by the Mission to Myrkr with the other young Jedi, including her brothers Jacen and Anakin.  With the death of Anakin, and Jacen’s capture on that mission, Jaina was in a dark place for a while.  She eventually came to the conclusion that Jacen had also died in Yuuzhan Vong captivity.  As such, she closed herself off to a lot of her friends and family.  Her outlook on life became very grim as well, and she fully expected to die before the end of the war.  It therefore made absolutely no sense to me that suddenly, in Force Heretic: Remnant, she is quite jovial and optimistic about things.

I’m not sure which of the authors penned this part of the book, but it is making this trilogy within the series quite difficult to read at times.  However, my overall opinion on the series still stands.  It has been my experience that The New Jedi Order is a vastly underrated series in the Star Wars expanded universe.  I intend to have future posts that return to this series, so please tell me your thoughts on the book series in the comments.  May the Force be with you.

Soothing Sundays – The Enterprise-D Idling for 24 Hours

Happy weekend, everyone! I’ve decided to start a little something new on the weekends, something to calm your nerves and help you recover in time for Monday. I’ve decided to call it Soothing Sundays. (Is that a thing already? I’m making it one if it isn’t.) This first entry is a YouTube video that features the Enterprise-D idling for 24 hours straight–some calming white noise. I think future iterations of this series will feature other light sounds, relaxing music, and my favorite ASMR videos from around the Internet. Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below and please be sure to check back each Sunday to see what I’ve found for you.

Hey, Listen!

My Editor-In-Chief has asked that I give you all a sort of “about me” blog entry.  Well, here it goes.

I’m 26 years old and have lived in Indiana all my life.  I have been married for nine months to my wonderful wife, who is pregnant with our first child!  Like the EIC, I attended Wabash College.  Unlike the EIC, I do not have a Bachelor of Arts in English.  My degree is in German.  I have never really had any idea what to do with it, as I was not an exceptional German student.  None the less, I have managed to survive pretty well so far.

My nerd credentials are somewhat extensive.  Star Wars was my first science fiction memory and love.  I couldn’t have been much older than 8 when I first saw A New Hope, in its original release edit.  We were over to dinner at a friend of my father’s house.  I realize now he probably wanted as much to share Star Wars with my brother and me as to distract us so the adults could talk.  But it was that day that sparked my love of space and all its magnificent glory…and sometimes danger.

Additionally, I grew to be quite the fan of Star Trek.  This will undoubtedly draw some hissing breaths from some readers, but we are more common than you might think.  My next major sci-fi love would not come for several years after that.  During that in-between time, my videogame love expanded with such classics as Sonic the Hedgehog, Warcraft (I’m talking MS-DOS version), Rebel Assault II, and the like.  As I got into middle school and high school, I discovered things like the realm of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Stargate SG-1, the Battlestar Galactica reboot, Shogun and Rome Total War.

There are still more nerd influences that have shaped me into my current form.  Games like Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and Dungeons & Dragons, television shows like Transformers: Beast Wars, Spiderman: The Animated Series, the animated X-Men series of the 90’s, Batman: The Animated Series, and other various superhero cartoons, as well as Doctor Who, Farscape, and Game of Thrones.  As you can see, the list is quite extensive.

It is my hope that some, if not most, of this is something we have in common.  I hope to expand on that commonality as my posting continues here on the Thoughts.  For now, I would love to see comments that highlight some of your favorite nerd influences.  Please comment with them below!

Greetings and Salutations

Hello, long time and new readers!  I would like to take some time to introduce myself.  My name is Phil and I am one of the new contributors that Jeremy spoke of in his post here.  I do have a profile set up here on WordPress, but have no blog posts on it.  I do plan to use it as I become accustomed to the blogging ways for more personal posts.

In regards to the content of my posts for Jeremy’s blog, they will primarily focus on Star Wars Star Wars was really my first science fiction love, and, despite some of the overboard modifications Lucas put it through, will always hold a special place in my heart.  I will branch out to other sci-fi things from time to time.  After all, I’m not one of those “Star Wars is the only good sci-fi” kind of nerds.  I enjoy many other sci-fi shows, including, but not limited to, Star Trek, Farscape, Stargate (the movie, SG1, Atlantis, and Universe), Battlestar Galactica (the reboot from 2003), and Doctor Who.  If there is ever a particular topic on which you would like to hear my thoughts, please feel free to leave the suggestion in the comments section.

Star Wars Expanded Universe Image from http://www.subdivx.com/X12X15X180715X0X0X1X-el-universo-expandido-de-%E2%80%98star-wars%E2%80%99-llega-a-su-fin.html
Star Wars Expanded Universe Image from http://www.subdivx.com/X12X15X180715X0X0X1X-el-universo-expandido-de-%E2%80%98star-wars%E2%80%99-llega-a-su-fin.html

This is all a little surreal for me.  I am so used to watching YouTube videos or reading posts and being the commenter.  To be the one asking for comments makes me feel strange, but also good (get it? anyone?).  It is my hope that this will be a successful and healthy place for my nerd knowledge to flow and help expand the knowledge of my fellow nerds.

The Road So Far… Updated

Any other fans of Supernatural out there? Image from http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj23/angel-de-guarda/Supernatural/Day19_20000.jpg
Any other fans of Supernatural out there? Image from http://i268.photobucket.com/albums/jj23/angel-de-guarda/Supernatural/Day19_20000.jpg

Hello again, everyone! I hope all your weeks are going well. I wanted to go ahead and announce our fourth contributor, the amazing and accomplished blogger Natacha Guyot. Go and check out her personal blog and ready yourselves for an awesome comic book post from her that will be up in the next few days.

That is all for now, but I’ll keep you all posted as the situation continues to develop. As always, thank you all for being here!

Thoughts – 7-8-14

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An image of my haul from my first trip to the amazing flea market in Mobile, Alabama with my girlfriend and the kids. This shows my progress through collecting the Black Company and Dune books back at that time. I really need to review that comic one of these days.