It’s Jupiter 2 Launch Day!

October 16th, 1997:

“This is the beginning. This is the day. You are watching the unfolding of one of history’s greatest adventures–man’s colonization of space beyond the stars. The first of what may be as many as ten million families per year is setting out on its epic voyage into man’s newest frontier, deep space. Reaching out into other worlds from our desperately overcrowded planet, a series of deep thrust telescopic probes have conclusively established a planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri as the only one within range of our technology able to furnish ideal conditions for human existence.

Even now the family chosen for this incredible journey into space is preparing to take their final pre lift off physical tests. The Robinson family was selected from more than two million volunteers for its unique balance of scientific achievement, emotional stability, and pioneer resourcefulness. They will spend the next five and a half years of their voyage frozen in a state of suspended animation which will terminate automatically as the spacecraft enters the atmosphere of the new planet.”

Lost In Space, “The Reluctant Stowaway”

jupiter2-missionpatch

Tied Up With Tie-Ins: Dark Skies!

Yep. Feelin’ the need to babble about some tie-ins.

For those new to this “irregularly recurring blog feature, “Tied Up With Tie-ins” happens when I get the itch to take a (usually) fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. This often means something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood, though I’m certainly not snobby about checking out something newer.

For this latest installment, though? We’re turning back the clock a bit…not too far, but just far enough to be reminded that “History as we know it is a lie” thanks to a little TV show called Dark Skies.

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70 years ago was The Day the Earth Stood Still.

“I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: Join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer; the decision rests with you.”

Klaatu, taking “F*ck Around and Find Out” interstellar.

Today, September 18th, 2021 (if you’re counting its New York City premiere; September 20th if you mean opening across the U.S.), marks the 70th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite films, The Day the Earth Stood Still from 1951. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. Though I’m of course too young to have seen it in theaters, I watched it numerous times when I was a kid, whenever it ran on my local TV station’s Saturday afternoon SF/horror movie double feature. When home video became accessible even to poor bastards like me, TDTESS was one of the first films I acquired on VHS, and later LaserDisc and eventually DVD and (finally?) Blu-ray. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watched it, and thanks to a local theater owner here in Kansas City, I was finally able to watch a pristine print of the film on a big theater screen several years ago.

(We pause to recall fangasms…..everybody good? Okay. Moving on….)

Continue reading “70 years ago was The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

“Space…the final frontier….”

These are the voyages where the legend began, 55 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 in those far off days of Yesteryear which was the setting for my childhood, you had to wait for your favorite episodes to cycle back around in the rotation on one of your local TV stations. 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 channel 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 48th 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.

Meanwhile, fate and circumstances have seen to it that I’m able to continue contributing — albeit in a very small way — to this vast, ever-expanding universe that Gene Roddenberry gave us back in 1966. It is the very definition of a “dream job.” I doubt I’ll ever have another job that’s as rewarding and just plain fun as what I’m currently privileged to do, and I never allow myself to take that for granted. Ever. My only regret is that I didn’t figure this out years and years ago.

Speaking of years? Star Trek looks pretty dapper for 55. Enjoy your cake, everybody.

Tied Up With Tie-ins: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea!

Has it really been *five months* since the last time I did one of these? Well, I suppose I’ve been busy, and besides…I warned you about this particular blog feature. I believe the words “irregularly recurring” were used.

So, there you go.

For those wondering what this is all about, “Tied Up With Tie-ins” is where I take a (usually) fond look back at a favorite series of movie or TV tie-in books. This often means something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood. Examples include novels based on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic WomanPlanet of the Apes, and Space: 1999 among others. That said, I’m not snobby about newer stuff, as I’ve previously written about novels based on one of my favorite TV series of the 21st century, 24 and I’m curretnly eyeballing for future installments shows like Castle and (maybe) the JAG/NCIS franchise. We shall see.

Meanwhile, this latest installment, I’m returning to those thrilling days of yesteryear as we dive beneath the waves and down into the ocean’s murky depths, on a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea….

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Happy Judgment Day!

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

Love, Skynet.                                             

Celebrating the 24th anniversary of the fall of humanity and the rise of the machines.

Judgment Day: August 29th, 1997. Sunblock optional.

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

Tuesday Trekkin’: Old-school Star Trek book covers.

“Wait,” I can hear someone saying. “It hasn’t even been a month since the last time Dayton did this. You don’t think he’s trying to make this ‘irregularly recurring’ thing of his more regular, do you?”

Sometimes, I like to change things up and actually do things like this on a more frequent basis than “Oh, holy hell. It’s been eleventy billion months since the last time I did something like this.”

And so, here we are.

For those just joining in our reindeer games, “Tuesday Trekkin’” is basically an excuse for me to wax nostalgic about some facet of old-school Star Trek fandom, be it a fondly remembered bit of funky merchandise, anniversaries or other celebratory observances and “milestones” of important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my fancy on any given day. The “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker is something of a tip of the hat to a pair of friends, Dan Davidson and Bill Smith aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” Over on Facebook, they have a fan group, Camp Khitomer, devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. They also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there where they invite members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

What are we yammering about today? Old-school art that graced various Star Trek books way back in the Before Time. This is one of those topics which can go off the rails pretty quickly, so for today’s look back we’re sticking with those books published by Bantam Books during the 1960s, 70s, and early 80s. That means we’re starting our conversation with the covers that graced the set of original series episode adaptations written by James Blish.

Continue reading “Tuesday Trekkin’: Old-school Star Trek book covers.”

Come see us at Planet Comicon this weekend!

At long last, after traversing the odyssey that has dilated time beyond all ability to comprehend, Kevin and I are finally attending our first in-person convention in nearly two years. We’re emerging from our hidey-holes today and venturing into the (hopefully) warm and welcoming environs of Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City for this weekend’s Planet Comicon, the Midwest’s largest pop culture convention!

(No, they didn’t pay me to say that.)

What will be doing all weekend? Most of the time, we’ll be manning tables in the Artist/Creator Alley area of the con’s main exhibitor floor. If you’re attending the show, feel free to stop by booths 1639 and 1641 and say “Howdy.”

A number of our writing friends will also be in attendance, including our neighbors on our Artist Alley aisle, Jeni Frontera and Jason Arnett. Located elsewhere on the floor will be Kevin J. Anderson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and John Jackson Miller, with them and others setting up shop at the Bard’s Tower booth. And we can’t forget Elizabeth C. Bunce, Dennis Young, and the incomparable Timothy Zahn, who will have their own tables in the alley.

As I write this, Kevin and I are confirmed for at least one discussion panel: “My Search History Is Interesting.” Conjured and to be moderated by Jeni Frontera, this one promises to be informative and funny as hell as we recount the trials and tribulations of being a writer while conducting research by tunneling into the deepest, darkest corners of the internet. Elsewhere, during past Planet cons Kevin and I sometimes have gotten drafted into other activities such as playing announcer/host for trivia contests, costume contests, and the like. I have no idea if anything like that will happen this time around, but I’ve learned to never say, “Never.”

Other than that? Pushing books, and wandering the con seeing what’s what. I have one daughter who’s absolutely beside herself that members of the cast from the Supernatural TV series will be in attendance, and another who just loves the vibe of a good con.

For those of you traveling to Kansas City for the con, please note that our mayor has re-instated a mask mandate for all indoor public activities, and this certainly qualifies. Masks will be required for all attendees, including staff and guests. No worries, though. I’m ready to receive visitors.

Welcome to Kansas City, Earthlings.

Maybe we’ll see you there!