Happy Birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation!

Tonight…the 24th Century begins…..”

That’s what greeted those of us lounging in front of our televisions 32 years ago tonight, when legendary radio and TV personality and ABC broadcaster Ernie Anderson introduced us to “Staaaaaaaaaar Trek: The Next Generation” with a 90-second teaser just before the premiere of the series first episode, “Encounter at Farpoint.”

Seems like…well, it sure as hell doesn’t seem like 32 years ago that’s for sure.

I’ve told this story before, but on September 28th, 1987, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s premiere in the TV room of my barracks at Camp Pendleton. The room was stuffed with Marines, and maybe it was because of the beer, but we all stayed to watch the whole thing.

While we didn’t hate it, it was obvious that this show would go through a growth period as the folks behind and in front of the camera tweaked and pulled at this or that. Still, it was new Star Trek, by golly,  and little did we know at the time what that would come to mean.

Now here we are, 32 years after the series premiere and 17 years since the last time he did so, and Patrick Stewart is preparing to return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard. It’s a helluva fun time to be a Star Trek fan.

And while we’re waiting to see what comes of that? Maybe I’ll run “Farpoint” later tonight. Happy 32nd Birthday, Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Go. Go see what’s out there.

TNG-season1cast

Happy 30th Anniversary, Alien Nation the TV series!

That was the scene in California’s Mojave Desert five years ago: our historic first view of the Newcomers’ ship. Theirs was a slave ship, carrying a quarter million beings bred to adapt and labor in any environment. But they’ve washed ashore on Earth, with no way to get back to where they came from, and in the last five years the Newcomers have become the latest addition to the population of Los Angeles.”

Cue funky opening music and credits.

AlienNation-01

Los Angeles, 1995: Aliens are everywhere.

After their very massive starship crashes on Earth, 250,000 genetically engineered aliens who call themselves “Tenctonese” find themselves forced to assimilate into a world very different from the one to which they’d been heading. The people already living here also find themselves dealing with the very harsh reality that not only is there life “out there,” but there’s actually quite a lot of it. If one ship full of alien slaves can find their way to Earth, what about the people who enslaved them? What about any other enemies they might have? What would such people think of humans, and what if they decide we’re a threat?

Meanwhile, the Tenctonese just want to live, pay their bills, watch crappy TV, and basically take advantage of the unexpected gift of freedom they’ve received, but are they truly free? While many humans have welcomed these “Newcomers,” there are many others who’d be happy to see them climb back into their ship and fly away. Since that’s not really an option, such people are okay with taking more extreme steps to keep “Earth for earthlings.”

Then there’s Matt Sikes, cynical and halfway burnout police detective, who’s kinda sorta okay with the Newcomers, even though his last name when translated into Tenctonese is two words that mean “excrement” and “cranium” or “shit head.”

Then they make a Newcomer his partner. Whoops.

Continue reading “Happy 30th Anniversary, Alien Nation the TV series!”

Your Moment of TrekZen.*

The toys of my youth, when strict onscreen accuracy took a backseat to our imaginations on our way to hella fun.

Dinky-StarTrek-Space1999

That’s right, kids: back when I was 9 years old, these were the bomb. No, the “real” U.S.S. Enterprise didn’t shoot fat orange discs out the front of its saucer section, and neither did the Space: 1999 Eagle ever sport green as part of its color scheme. And let’s not even talk about the Enterprise‘s shuttlecraft.

I never managed to get my hands on the Enterprise (or the Klingon cruiser that was also available), but I do have distinct memories of breaking at least one Eagle.

Ah, the good old days.

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

Happy 45th anniversary to Planet of the Apes…the TV series!

Yeah, I can see some of you younger folks out there, giving me that Kevin Hart blinking side-eye GIF. You’ll just have to bear with me as we dive headlong into a nice inviting pool of nostalgia.

I know. Again.

POTA-TV-03

The success of 1968’s Planet of the Apes film spawned four (Count ’em! Four!) sequels over the ensuing five years. However, as budgets dwindled with each successive installment and returns on investment following suit, the fifth film, 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes, was viewed by many as the franchise finally running out of steam. That said, each of the five films made money, so the idea continuing to do something with the property was still very much a real thing.

Continue reading “Happy 45th anniversary to Planet of the Apes…the TV series!”

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

“Space…the final frontier….”

These are the voyages where the legend began, 53 years ago tonight!

I’ve mentioned this before (about a zillion times), but my earliest memories include Star Trek to some degree. I wasn’t old enough to watch the show during its original broadcast run, but I watched the reruns every day after school. Beyond that, I had the Mego figures and that crazy bridge set. I built the AMT models, and I read the occasional Gold Key comic book or poster book or collection of James Blish episode adaptations.

All of that was just filler of course. Anchoring all of that were the reruns. Always, the reruns.

Back then, before VCRs, DVD, iTunes or NetFlix, you had to wait for your favorite episodes to cycle back around in the rotation. I watched the series on a little black and white television and its crappy little antenna as the show was broadcast on a low-power local UHF station in Tampa. Depending on the time of day and prevailing weather conditions, I might not always get a decent picture. If I was out in the boonies somewhere–like my aunt’s house–I might have to fiddle with the antenna throughout the episode, and as often as not I might be forced to choose between having a picture or having sound.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that today also marks the 46th anniversary of the animated Star Trek series, which premiered on NBC on this date in 1973. I did catch (most of) those episodes during their initial run, and the show helped to spark a lot of the Trek-related toys and other merchandise which came out in the mid 1970s, like those aforementioned Mego action figures.

Today, of course, I have Star Trek literally at my fingertips: Blu-rays on the shelf or episodes streaming over the internet, and I even have my favorite episodes stored on my phone. Then there are the books (Fun fact: I’ve written a few of those, in case you were wondering), comics, role-playing games, computer games, toys, models, websites, and pretty much anything you’d care to name. Star Trek is everywhere. Hold up a picture of the original Enterprise or Kirk and Spock, and most people will know what you’re talking about.

Star Trek looks pretty dapper for 53. Enjoy your cake.

Kirk Fu preview pages!

star-trek-kirk-fu-manual-coverY’all need to start limbering up. Kirk Fu is coming.

Oh yeah, it is.

That’s right, kids! Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual is heading to bookstores on March 3, 2020, from Insight Editions, with words by me and awesome art by Christian Cornia. The book is being distributed by Simon & Schuster, and wouldn’t you know they’ve loaded up some preview pages to the book’s page?

Oh yeah, they did.

Go to the book’s page and tap on the “Look” button in the upper lefthand corner and you’ll get to leer at six spreads from the book, showcasing some fun examples of Christian’s work. Here’s a couple from one of twelve signature Kirk moves you’ll learn about in the book:

star-trek-kirk-fu-manual-9781683835219.in05(Click to biggie size these.)
star-trek-kirk-fu-manual-9781683835219.in06

Head over to the Star Trek: Kirk Fu Manual page on SimonandSchuster.com to check out the rest of the preview. Just be sure to stretch beforehand. I don’t want you pulling any muscles when you try to take on a Gorn or whatever.

I went and Trekked myself…again!

Again, with the babbling. Again, with someone recording it for playback by unsuspecting innocents.

It’s been many months since my first virtual sitdown with Darrell Taylor and J.K. Woodward for their Go Trek Yourself podcast. Back in November, we chatted about my Star Trek: Discovery novel from last year, Drastic Measures, as well as a smattering of other topics such as my longtime writing partnership with my best bud, Kevin.

AvailableLight-coverThis time, the main topic is Available Light, my Star Trek: The Next Generation novel from earlier this year. We also cover a bit of ground so far as what the novels have been doing over the past several years. This includes plotty-plot threads which have brought us to where my book is in the “Star Trek novel timeline,” and what’s next when I had the baton to David Mack next month for his own TNG novel, Collateral Damage.

The “too long, didn’t read” version of what you might want (but don’t necessarily need) to read to prep yourself for reading this whole plotline:

  • TNG: A Time to Kill, by David Mack
  • TNG: A Time to Heal, by Dave
  • Section 31: Control, by Hey! Dave
  • TNG: Hearts and Minds, by me
  • TNG: Available Light, by me
  • TNG: Collateral Damage, by Dave (coming in October)

Unlike last time where I think we talked for something like a week, this installment comes in at a more reasonable running time of 45 minutes. Wanna listen? Go here:

Go Trek Yourself Episode 57: Dayton Ward

Many thanks to Darrell and J.K. for having me back on to hang with them for a while. We did talk about doing this again in the near future, so stay tuned!

GoTrekYourself-logo

August writing wrap-up.

Holy crap! We’re already into the “–ber” months of 2019? How the HELL did that happen?

That means August’s in the can. Wow.

Looking back at the month’s blog stuff, I realize I’ve been fairly neglectful of this space. The first half of August was devoted to wrapping up the latest novel project as well as few other things (see below), along with my always interesting activities as I continue my consulting work with CBS. Indeed, things associated with that role have dominated my Labor Day weekend. Maybe I can talk about those, one of these days.

Meanwhile, here’s a look at August’s writing run rundown:

Continue reading “August writing wrap-up.”

Happy Judgment Day!

Roses are Red
Violets Are Blue
Humanity’s toast
Suck on my big fat CPU.

Love, Skynet.                                             

Celebrating the 22nd anniversary of the fall of humanity and the rise of the machines.

terminator-101Judgment Day: August 29th, 1997. Sunblock optional.

Here’s hoping you can get out, enjoy it, and maybe take advantage of all the sales!

“Hey, Dayton! Why don’t you have a podcast?”

No, the headline isn’t some oh-so clever way of announcing my new podcast. Far from it, actually.

So, yeah. Podcasts.

Lots of people have podcasts. I mean…a lot of people have podcasts. I should know, because I’ve been a guest on my share of them over the years. It’s too bad it’s not a paying gig, because that sort of thing totally beats donating blood or other body fluids for money, or being one of those guys who stand on the Strip in Las Vegas handing out cards with hooker phone numbers on them.

solicitorsYep. It’s totally a real thing. Totally.

Alas, I do such things for the glory and the fun…oh, and to talk about my writing or promote a new book or some such thing. I occasionally show up on a podcast for reasons other than self-promotion, and those are their own special brand of fun. Indeed, I tend to enjoy those situations more than the “Let’s talk about my new book,” shows, as I’m not the focus of the episode and instead we’re just talking about something we all love. For example, I “guest co-hosted” several episodes of Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast for just this reason, and I’ve popped into other shows like UnderDiscussion and the Sci-Fi Diner to talk about various geeky subjects. Then there are the podcasts I listen to just for my own entertainment. There are quite a few of those, actually, and I know I’m certainly not an outlier when it comes to this kind of thing.

BREAKING NEWS: Podcasts are pretty darned popular, by golly.

Continue reading ““Hey, Dayton! Why don’t you have a podcast?””