Celebrating the 64th anniversary of the invention of time travel….
Dr. Emmett L. Brown
Rockin’ it Outatime Since November 5th, 1955
Celebrating the 64th anniversary of the invention of time travel….
Dr. Emmett L. Brown
Rockin’ it Outatime Since November 5th, 1955
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”
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Roses are Red
Violets Are Blue
Suck on my big fat CPU.
Celebrating the 22nd 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!
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I know I said it would be an irregularly recurring series of self-indulgent babbling, but it’s been a little more irregular than I originally planned or would’ve preferred. So, let me try to get back on the horse here and see what happens.
A short while back on Facebook, I made a post mentioning the 1983 miniseries V. This four-hour “limited” or “event series” (as it’d likely be called today) depicted the arrival of aliens on Earth with seemingly benign motives. They show up in massive, saucer-like spaceships that hover over every major city around the world and proceed to make all sorts of awesome, too-good-to-be-true promises while asking for a comparatively minor favor in return: help with engineering a special compound for use fighting environmental contamination on their home planet.
Eight years ago, Patrick Darby opened Novel Books, a small independent book shop located in Clarksburg, Maryland. Every summer during these past eight years, Patrick along with his family and staff have brought their small-town bookseller charm an hour east to the Shore Leave convention, which convenes every July in Hunt Valley.
As part of their preparation, Patrick and his team see to it that each of the convention’s author guests is represented by stock from their respective backlists, which he makes available for sale to con attendees looking to get a book signed. This is especially helpful on Friday night when the annual “Meet the Pros” mass autograph signing takes place with all of the author guests. Most years, Patrick and company are able to “debut” at least one new title at the convention, including releases which aren’t due in bookstores for a week or more. I’ve benefited from this little bit of publicity myself, with both my Vulcan and Klingon travel guides along with Summon the Thunder, the Star Trek Vanguard novel I wrote with Kevin, premiering at the con. The Novel Books gang is just as much a part of Shore Leave as any long-time attendee. For them not to be there would be disappointing, to say the least.
But, that’s exactly what’s in danger of happening, and that’s just a small part of a much larger concern.
Most people know running an indie book shop in this day and age is a hard road to travel. The hours are long, the profit margins are slim, and the behemoth that shall not be named here looms over your shoulder every minute of every day. It doesn’t take much to send things off track, and in the case of Novel Books several things happened which now threaten to take the train right off the tracks. They’re in something of a financial bind and could use some help. From the GoFundMe page they’ve established:
Novel Books opened 8 years ago in Clarksburg, MD. The store was growing each year, until last year, when very large, unexpected costs put the business in jeopardy. The losses are hard to recover, and the store is on the verge of closing.
Patrick, the owner, is a dedicated bookseller, who wants to provide a space, and selection, for the families of the Clarksburg area to enjoy books, events, and classes. Novel Books currently offers Story Time for toddlers, space for local books clubs, and gaming tables for chess clubs and Magic: the Gathering card tournaments. New programs include multi-week courses on music for toddlers and using Legos to teach science and engineering. A goal is to bring authors to the store for signings and new release events.
Patrick has been a successful advocate for infrastructure in the historic district. He hosted a nine-month-long candidate forum for the recent midterm elections. Novel Books has been a champion for small businesses in the shop local movement.
Patrick uses an RV for multi-day off-site events. The vehicle left him stranded in Tennessee last year for over a month, with a major engine overhaul. It is also intended to be used for pop up sales at local events, and communities.
The other, more personal, problem from last year is medical expenses for an undiagnosed problem with Patrick’s right arm. It’s progressively harder for him to use his hand to carry things, and do daily activities. He has no insurance.
The requested funds would go to catching up with debt for rent, and vendors. It would be applied to medical expenses and further tests. And finally, to make additional repairs to the RV. If the goal is exceeded, Patrick would like to hire someone to help plan more events and programs at the store, especially if his condition worsens.
Novel Books can grow again, just like the book industry has been doing over the last five years, but is asking for your help to be strong again.
Thank you for your support.
It’s an uphill climb, to say the least, but the farther their signal can be boosted, maybe the more help they’ll receive. So, I’m hoping my fellow Shore Leave peeps of every stripe will help attract attention to the cause so Patrick and the Novel Books family can get the help they need, and the store can stay open and continue to play a valuable role in its community…and return to the con each year. So, if you’re a lover of indie booksellers, authors, and conventions like Shore Leave where such folks tend to gather, please check out the Novel Books GoFundMe page, consider supporting their effort, and sharing their info:
Thanks for reading!
It seems like just a few short months ago that we were all running to the movie theater to see Avengers: Endgame, and now here we are with this week’s release of Spider-Man: Far From Home. We’ve been doing this in fits and starts since 2008 with Iron Man, the first movie in what was to become “the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
After all these years, you’d think some of the basic protocols would be all but ingrained into our collective consciousness, but we all know someone who’s going to drop the ball on this. Because of this, it’s a warning we need to repeat often:
“Stay through the credits.”
It’s been a while since we last visited this topic…all the way back to 2016 and Captain America: Civil War, so we’re definitely due for a look at the updated picture. Since 2008, we’ve been treated to:
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Deadpool (yes, not an official MCU film but still here because fucking Deadpool, people)
Captain America: Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Avengers: Infinity War
Deadpool 2 (Again…fucking Deadpool)
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Spider-Man: Far From Home
What’s the one rule that applies for each of these movies? Say it with me:
“Stay for the credits.”
(* = Endgame didn’t have such scenes until…you know, it suddenly did.)
And yet, there I was today with Clan Ward, watching people leaving the theater just as the credits began to roll at the conclusion of Spider-Man: Far From Home, even though there’s not one but two–count ’em…two–extra scenes: One during the credits, and one just after.
OH, THE HUMANITY!
Forgive them, Stan Lee, for they know not what they do.
Now, it’s arguable that several of these little add-ons aren’t essential to enjoying either their respective movie or the larger story arcs laid down over the course of these films, but some of them are. Besides, dang it! They’re part of the run, amirite?
You stay for the credits, people.
Friends don’t let friends leave a Marvel movie early.
If you’re catching these flicks for the first time at home with disc or digital download, then you fast forward if you have to, but the rule is the same: “Stay for the credits.”
With that in mind, I’ve instituted a checklist of tips to help Marvel moviegoers avoid missing out on the important stuff lurking in and around a given film’s end credits. Consider this a public service, movie nerds:
1. You stay for the credits.
2. You stay after the credits.
3. You stay until the lights come up.
4. You stay until they start the slide show between screenings, and you make sure you sit through the entire slide reel at least once.
5. And look on the back of your ticket and the underside of your popcorn. Just in case. (via Bernie Kopsho on Facebook)
6. Then run across the hall and sit through the credits of the non-Marvel movie. LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE.
7. Then run outside and look for skywriting, because who knows? (via Bernie)
IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE.
In summation: “Stay for the credits.”
Okay, now we’re done. You can go home.