Do you have your towel?

May 25th: Happy Towel Day! Did you remember yours?

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“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Towel Day: Celebrating the Life and Work of Douglas Adams

don't panic

Happy 40th Anniversary, Alien.

SPECIAL ORDER 937:

PRIORITY ONE
INSURE RETURN OF ORGANISM FOR ANALYSIS
ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS SECONDARY
CREW EXPENDABLE

Today we set the Wayback Machine for 1979, and the release of a modestly budgeted, almost B-level film sent without much fanfare to movie screens, where it then proceeded to scare the shit out of everybody.

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I was closing in on my 12th birthday when the original Alien was released 40 years ago today. My uncle took me to see it…almost certainly, I’m sure, over the objections of his sister (aka, my mother), and while it did indeed scare the hell out of me, I also remember just thinking how cool this movie looked, sounded, and felt.

Of course, since I was 11 (almost 12!) at the time, I really didn’t understand why any of that shit was the way it was. It required many more viewings over the proceeding years for me to grasp and appreciate just how put-together this flick really is. When you think about it, Alien really isn’t much more than a low-budget monster movie, but damn is this a great film.

Every frame is a thing of beauty. Every syllable of dialogue and even facial expression, delivered by solid, dependable actors in a film which doesn’t really have a lot of talking to begin with, is there for the sole purpose not of showcasing the performer but instead to drive the story forward. Every note of Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting and (at times) rousing musical score is pitch perfect. And yes, the Alien as designed by famed artist H.R. Giger, scares the shit out of you.

Endlessly imitated and flat-out ripped off in the years immediately following its release, Alien set a new benchmark for science fiction and horror films which continues to inspire filmmakers to this day. 40 years, three sequels–including one of the best sequels to any movie ever, James Cameron’s Aliens–two spinoff movies and two kinda-sorta prequels later, the original Alien is still my favorite of the bunch.

Eaglemoss I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, with words by me!

Though most of my writing is found in novels or short stories, I occasionally get the opportunity to step outside my wheelhouse and try something new. First it was magazine articles (often working with Kevin) and website content or essays about various pop culture topics (ditto). Then came really fun projects like the Vulcan and Klingon travel guides and IncrediBuilds kits, and we certainly can’t forget things like our first comic collaboration. And hey, there are even a few things still in the hopper that I can’t yet talk about.

Eaglemoss-ISSenterprise-DBut here’s one I can talk about because it’s out in the wild and I even have one in my hot little hands!

Back in February, I was contacted by Ben Robinson, supreme overseer of everything Star Trek and various other things over at Eaglemoss, a UK-based purveyor of models and other collectibles representing various popular franchises. He and his team were prepping a new entry for their Star Trek Official Starships Collection and asked if I was available for some fast-turnaround work providing material for the magazine that was to accompany the model.

For those who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, when you order one of these slick little jobs from Eaglemoss, each highly-detailed model comes with a companion magazine with all sorts of information and a few short articles about the ship the model represents, interviews with or articles about its designers, and so on. If you’re into the ship/tech side of Star Trek, these are fun additions to your collection.

MirrorEnterprise-01For this latest entry, Ben and the gang were tackling something a bit different: a ship seen not on movie or TV screens, but instead the pages of a comic! After Captain Kirk and his crew encountered the “Mirror Universe” in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of the original Star Trek series way back in 1967, it wasn’t until 1994 that the premise was revisited on screen, in the form of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Crossover” from the show’s second season. Hardcore fans know DS9 would revisit the Mirror Universe several times, and sequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery would have their own kinds of fun there, as well.

MirrorEnterprise-02However, numerous comics, novels, and games have also explored this aspect of the Star Trek mythos in various ways. For example, the I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D as pictured here was introduced in Mirror Broken, a Star Trek: The Next Generation miniseries from IDW Publishing and focusing on the “Mirror Universe” versions of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and other TNG characters.

As for me? Ben asked if I could come up with a 3,000 to 3,500-word essay highlighting the different times Star Trek has visited the Mirror Universe in the pages of a novel or comic. So, to my bookshelves and archives I went! While the internet is always a nice way to help dial in when conducting research, I still enjoy pulling references from my library so I can paw through them while writing. All of that came to the fore as I wrote in rather rapid fashion the requested essay.

What didn’t I know until I received my copy of the model and its magazine? The article I wrote wasn’t just a feature of the magazine; instead, it was pretty much the whole thing. Ben and editor John Ainsworth took my pithy words and dressed them up all nice and pretty with loads of awesome cover art to accompany the text. For the comics we also get a few choice panels from some of the more memorable “4-color adventures.” As with the model itself, the magazine turned out really nice, if I do say so myself.

Apparently, subscribers to the Official Starships Collection don’t automatically get sent this one as their next offering. Instead, the I.S.S. Enterprise-D is a “shop exclusive.” Of course, those without subscriptions can also buy one if they want. Example? Such a person could just click on this linky-type thing right here:

Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection – I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

When it comes to the books and comics and other “expanded universe” media, I’ve always enjoyed pulling together this sort of material and presenting to a part of the Star Trek fan base who might not be familiar with these corners of the franchise. Who knows? Maybe somebody buying this model will read the essay and decide they need to check out a novel or comic or three. I’d be all right with that.

This was my first time working with Eaglemoss, and I enjoyed working with them. I don’t know if I’ll get to do it again, but I’d certainly be up for it if the planets align in favorable fashion. Until then, many thanks to Ben and John for the opportunity!

StarFest bound!

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Thanks to the wonder that is scheduled posting here on the blog thing, by the time you read this my hetero life mate Kevin and I will be on our way to Denver for the annual StarFest Convention!

(Be sure to click on the link and check out the guest line-up. William Shatner. Nichelle Nichols. Ben Browder from Farscape! Rick Sternbach! Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead! Peter Macon from The Orville! And many more!)

I’ve run out of fingers to keep an accurate count of this sort of thing, but I’m reminded that this will be our 17th consecutive year attending as guests of the con. Regular readers know that this show and Shore Leave are my two favorite conventions to attend, and the two I make every effort not to miss. Indeed, I make sure to lock in my availability for these shows before committing to anything else.

AvailableLight-coverWhat’ll we be up to this weekend? The usual sorts of convention shenanigans. We’ll have our tables in the vendor area, of course, and I’ll have with me minty fresh copies of Available Light and other titles, all ready for the autographing and such.

We’ll also be participating in programming, including the guest meet-n-greet on Friday night. We help out with the talent show and the big costume contest on Saturday evening, and we’ll be serving up another couple of Late Night Movie Action with Dayton and Kevin. On Friday it’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as this cult classic celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2019. For Saturday, we’re presenting Once Upon A Deadpool (aka, “the PG-13 version of Deadpool 2“), which is actually a follow up to our screening of the first Deadpool flick at last year’s StarFest. It’s a whole sequel observance kind of thing, offered in the spirit of good old-fashioned family entertainment.

Beyond that? I’m sure we’ll find some kind of trouble to get into.

If you’re reading this and planning to attend the con, be sure to swing by and say hello!

GoneTrekkin

Happy 80th Birthday, Lee Majors!

The Six Million Dollar Man himself celebrates his 80th birthday today!

It’s been a bit since I saw him pop up anywhere. He looked great from the photos I saw from the set of Fuller House where he along with Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner guest-starred last year. They both still look great, and I hope I have half his energy when I’m his age.

Also? I fervently maintain that Lee Majors has the manliest running stride in the history of running men. Fight me.

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Geek Fact: When I was a kid, I so wanted a jacket like the one in this pic.

Geek Fact 2: I kinda still do.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Majors!

Happy 52nd Birthday, “Arena!”

On January 19th, 1967, Captain James T. Kirk faced off against a formidable foe. Trapped on a barren planetoid, he has no choice but to find some way to defeat his enemy in a battle for the ages.

I have many favorite episodes of the original Star Trek series, but “Arena,” the 18th episode of the show’s first season, is at the top of my list. When I was a kid, the draw was Captain Kirk being a badass, facing off against a scary enemy that’s as cunning as he is while outmatching him in strength and ferocity. As I grew older and started to see the different layers baked into various episodes, I gained a new appreciation for this particular story.

Written by Gene L. Coon, one of the original series’ tragically underappreciated contributors, “Arena” is also based on a short story written by Frederic Brown. It’s a prime example of what’s become a classic Star Trek trope, with our heroes encountering something mysterious, misunderstood, and perhaps dangerous only to learn something new about themselves while discovering the truth. The episode opens with a terrific action sequence and proceeds from there as Kirk turns almost obsessive in his desire to hunt down the alien ship which has just destroyed a Federation colony. The pursuit runs the Enterprise afoul of a previously unknown and very powerful alien race, the Metrons, who don’t like this confrontation that’s now on their doorstep. In response, they deposit Kirk and the captain of the alien ship, a reptilian Gorn, on the surface of a small planet and force them to fight one another to the death:

METRON: We are the Metrons. You are one of two crafts which have come into our space on a mission of violence. This is not permissible. Yet we have analyzed you and have learned that your violent tendencies are inherent. So be it. We will control them. We will resolve your conflict in the way most suited to your limited mentalities. Captain James Kirk.

KIRK: This is Kirk. 

METRON: We have prepared a planet with a suitable atmosphere. You will be taken there, as will the Captain of the Gorn ship which you have been pursuing. There you will settle your dispute.

KIRK: I don’t understand.

METRON: You will be provided with a recording-translating device, in hopes that a chronicle of this contest will serve to dissuade others of your kind from entering our system, but you will not be permitted to communicate with your ship. You will each be totally alone.

KIRK: What makes you think you can interfere with–

METRON: It is you who are interfering. We are simply putting a stop to it. The place we have prepared for you contains sufficient elements for either of you to construct weapons lethal enough to destroy the other, which seems to be your intention. The winner of the contest will be permitted to go his way unharmed. The loser, along with his ship, shall be destroyed in the interests of peace. The contest will be one of ingenuity against ingenuity, brute strength against brute strength. The results will be final. 

Oh, it’s on now.

Pretty much everyone knows how this story ends, with Kirk figuring out how to rig a crude bamboo cannon while fashioning gunpowder from the “sufficient elements” provided by the Metrons. He blasts the Gorn but doesn’t kill him, and at the last moment decides to spare the alien captain’s life. This is enough to impress the Metron and spare the crews of both ships:

METRON: By sparing your helpless enemy who surely would have destroyed you, you demonstrated the advanced trait of mercy, something we hardly expected. We feel there may be hope for your kind. Therefore, you will not be destroyed. It would not be civilized.

KIRK: What happened to the Gorn? 

GORN: I sent him back to his ship. If you like, I shall destroy him for you.

KIRK: No. That won’t be necessary. We can talk. Maybe reach an agreement.

METRON: Very good, Captain. There is hope for you. Perhaps in several thousand years, your people and mine shall meet to reach an agreement. You are still half savage, but there is hope. We will contact you when we are ready.

So, Kirk has that going for him, which is nice.

Yes, you can tell me that by modern production standards, “Arena” – like much of the series itself – looks hopelessly dated, but I don’t care. The strength of the story carries the day, here, triumphing over skimpy budgets and the limitations in costuming, prosthetic make-up, and physical and visual effects of the era in which it was made. I still love this episode, and it’s one of the those I list off whenever somebody is new to the show and wants to see what makes it tick. In so many ways, it is quintessentially Star Trek.

KIRK: We’re a most promising species, Mister Spock, as predators go. Did you know that?

SPOCK: I’ve frequently had my doubts. 

KIRK: I don’t. Not anymore. And maybe in a thousand years or so, we’ll be able to prove it. Never mind, Mister Spock. It doesn’t make much sense to me either. Take us back to where we’re supposed to be, Mister Sulu. Warp factor one.

SULU: Warp factor one.

SPOCK: A thousand years, Captain?

KIRK: Well, that gives us a little time.

Happy 40th Anniversary, Superman: The Movie!

Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed, but always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage.

They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all–their capacity for good–I have sent them you, my only son.

December, 1978: I was eleven, and my perception of Superman was as a guy from comic books, Saturday morning cartoons, and reruns of a 25-year old television show.

Then the lights in the theater dimmed, and I got schooled.

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Opening nationwide on December 15th, 1978, Superman (marketed as Superman: The Movie) was the first time a comic book character was given a serious, big-budget treatment for film or television. Until that point and beyond the comics which had featured Superman for four decades, the public’s perception of the Man of Steel largely was limited to Super Friends cartoons and the 1950s Adventures of Superman television show.

While the first two seasons of the George Reeves series attempted to tell stories aimed as much at adults as children, that faded as the show grew more popular with younger kids. Still, there are some who would argue that Superman had it better than his comics colleague, Batman, who also was a fixture of Saturday morning cartoons as well as the classic 1960s campy TV series starring Adam West.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the cartoons and TV shows as a kid, and in some ways George Reeves is still “the” Superman of my youth, but all of that got knocked down a notch with the arrival of this new retelling of his classic origin story, which continues to influence Superman tales in comics, television and film 40 years after its premiere. Further, it remains a benchmark by which most other superhero films are judged.

Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen, and who later would help to refine the whole “renegade cop on the ragged edge” trope with the Lethal Weapon films) and working from a story by the great Mario Puzo (The Godfather) and a screenplay by Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton and Tom Mankiewicz, Superman is a sweeping coming of age tale in the true sense. The film takes its damned sweet time unspooling its version of how baby Kal-El, son of Jor-El and Lara, is launched in a spaceship from the doomed planet Krypton and sent to Earth.

There, he is found and adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent. Growing up in Smallville, Kansas, it is this upbringing which will provide him with his moral and ethical foundation as he learns of his true heritage and the immense power he possesses, until one fateful night in the great city of Metropolis when he reveals himself to the world and becomes known as Superman.

(And yes, if you think you’re noticing any Christ-like parallels, go with that feeling. Dialogue spoken by Jor-El might have you reaching for your Bible. And if you think it’s overt here, try 2006’s Superman Returns or 2013’s Man of Steel. Boy, howdy.)

Superman‘s cast is big and filled to overflowing with all sorts of names you know or should have at least heard of at some point if you’re any sort of movie fan, starting with Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, and including solid supporting turns from the likes of Glenn Ford, Phyllis Thaxter, Jackie Cooper, Ned Beatty, Valerie Perrine and Marc McClure just to name the first bunch. Margot Kidder is the sassy, self-made reporter Lois Lane, but the whole smash would rest on the shoulders of the man cast to portray Kal-El and his Earth alter-ego, Clark Kent. It was the selection of a relatively unknown actor that would provide future movie and comics fans the Superman against which all others are still measured: Christopher Reeve.

superman-reeve

Simply put, Reeve is Superman. More importantly, he also is Clark Kent, a wholly separate character acting as a counterbalance to the larger than life hero who is his “true identity.” Reeve infuses the perfect blend of humanity, compassion, determination and even anger into his portrayal of the Man of Steel, then offsets it with the gentler, more humble and more than slightly bumbling facade of the “mild-mannered reporter.” It is this dual performance that grounds the entire film and gives it just the right amount of realism to help the viewer “believe a man can fly.”

Costing more than $50 million dollars–an enormous sum in those days–Superman spared little expense when it came to bringing its story to life. Extravagant sets, gorgeous location shooting, all manner of model and miniature effects and, of course, the numerous flying sequences which (for the most part) really do hold up rather well when compared to modern-day CGI-stuffed FX techniques. Legendary film composer John Williams provides a wondrous score, including a main theme which I’m fairly certain just about anyone can name in three notes.

Superman would be followed by three sequels: 1981’s Superman II, Superman III in 1983, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace in 1987. The production of the first sequel is a tale known to many a movie buff, as the film was shot largely in tandem with Superman, and that director Richard Donner was fired before the second film could be completed. A large portion of the sequel was reshot by another director, Richard Lester, who changed the film’s overall tone away from what Donner had intended. A version of the film which attempted to showcase Donner’s original vision, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, was released on home video in 2006.

Elsewhere, Superman also paved the way for other projects tying into at least some aspects of its mythos: 1984’s Supergirl starring Helen Slater, and the syndicated Superboy television series which ran from 1988-1992. Superman Returns, released in 2006, is a sequel as well as something of a tribute to the 1978 film and–to a much lesser degree–Superman II while discarding the events of Superman III and IV. Personally, while I think the “tribute” aspects of the film ended up working against it, there was a lot of potential in this updated version of what Donner gave us. I would’ve liked to see another film (or two) showcasing the best of what the setting had to offer without getting bogged down in sending too many valentines to the original movie. However, the Superman franchise has since been rebooted (again) with the aforementioned Man of Steel. It and the “DC Universe” movies which have followed it have charted a completely different direction for the character while leaving us to wonder what might’ve been.

Meanwhile, the family and I attended a screening of Superman here in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago, and I have to tell you: 40 years after that awesome December afternoon in 1978, I still got goosebumps when John Williams’ music blew through the speakers and that big red “S” warped onto the screen. Movies like this exist to be seen this way. All things considered, the film holds up remarkably well and remains one of my very favorite movies.

40 years old, and still looking good. Happy Anniversary, Superman.

My 2019 convention calendar begins to take shape.

Previously, on the Fog of Ward:

Yeah, yeah. I know. I’ve been neglecting this space in recent days, but the honest answer for that is I just didn’t have anything to say that I felt was worth polluting the blogosphere over.

However, as we head into the last turn of the track that is 2018, I’m starting to look ahead to the new year with respect to the work I hope to be doing and projects that excite me. Part of that is figuring out which conventions I’ll attend in my role as “Guy Who Writes Things.”

On that front, a couple of events are pretty much locked in as they are every year. First, there’s the Starfest Convention held annually in Denver. Kevin and I make a point never to miss this one, and 2019 will mark our 16th consecutive appearance as guests of the show. This year it’s set for the weekend of April 26-28, and of course Kevin and I are already keen to start that drive west.

Later in the year is Shore Leave, the other con I try to never miss. This year it’s the weekend of July 12-14, which means it’s once again right in the thick of things so far as competing for space on Kevin’s work schedule with Comic-Con International and the big Star Trek con in Las Vegas. This means I’ll likely be attending this one stag again.

Closer to home, Planet Comicon is celebrating its 20th anniversary with what is shaping up to be their biggest and best show yet. It’s going on the weekend of March 29-31, and they’ve graciously invited Kevin and me to come join the party.

New for this year is a smaller show that’s popped up on our radar: the Neosho Art Council’s first-ever ArtCon, will take place on Saturday, February 9th and spend the day celebrating all the coolness and awesomesauce that is pop culture. Several creators from the region have been invited to attend, including Kevin and moi. Readers with sharp, long memories may think Neosho rings a bell, that’s because a significant chunk of The Last World War takes place there. How ’bout them apples?

Meanwhile, Kevin’s work at Hallmark sees to it that he attends several shows I likely won’t get to, such as the aforementioned Comic-Con and Vegas Trek con as well as New York Comic Con. Circumstances may see to it that I end up at a couple of these, and I’ve also been invited to attend a couple of new shows later in the year. More on those as details firm up.

As is always the case, you can keep tabs on our con schedule by visiting my Appearances page. Stay tuned for more updates!

Happy 40th Anniversary to the Star Wars Holiday Special!

In the annals of television history, there have been those rare occasions when something has been conceived, developed, produced, and aired without anyone along the way thinking better of the whole thing. KISS Meets the Phantom of the ParkSupertrain. Cop Rock. Legends of the Superheroes. That Lebron James thing. Galactica 1980. The Tuesday Night Book Club. You get the idea.

No such list is complete without the Star Wars Holiday Special on it, if not capping it.

Sorry, fellow Star Wars fans. We have to own this one.

It was on Friday, November 17, 1978 that this singular entry in the Star Wars mythos premiered to audiences tuning into CBS that evening. For those of us who saw Star Wars first-run in theaters, this was a highly anticipated moment. I begged and pleaded for my parents to let me watch it on “the big TV” in the living room rather than the dinky one they let me have in my bedroom. There I was, lying on the living room floor, all of 11 years old, while my mother read a book and my father managed to avoid voicing his contempt at all things space-y or science fiction-y, ready to behold an all-new adventure from that galaxy far, far away….

In hindsight, weed would’ve helped.

Following the events of the original Star Wars film (yeah, yeah. “Episode IV: New Hope“), Han Solo and Chewbacca are cruising back to Chewie’s home planet so he can be with his family to celebrate “Life Day,” but they’re being chased by the Galactic Empire who of course is still pissed about that whole Death Star thing and is hunting anyone connected to the Rebel Alliance.

Sounds good, right?

One has to wonder what would have happened if social media had existed that evening, with millions of Star Wars fans live-tweeting or posting reaction videos on YouTube. I think it’s a safe bet that the entire internet would’ve melted to slag before this thing’s first commercial break. Part Star Wars and part variety show, it succeeds at being neither, yet does so in a manner from which it’s impossible to look away. It is a glorious dumpster fire, if in fact one can use such a term in a complimentary fashion.

As it unspools to our ever-increasing horror, we catch up with pretty much everyone who survived the events of the first film, and we also meet a few new characters. Some, like Boba Fett – introduced as he is in a kind of Heavy Metal -like diversion into animation for reasons that I firmly believe are firmly rooted in mood-altering substances – would go on to make numerous appearances and contributions to Star Wars lore. Others, like Bea Arthur’s Ackmena (a personal favorite) and Harvey Korman’s Krelman, are perhaps best left in the trash compactor of Star Wars history. We do get to see Chewie’s home planet and his family, though even that can’t escape ridicule thanks to the names given to Chewie’s father and son: Itchy and Lumpy.

They’re Wookiees, 1970s TV execs. Not dwarves.

The decision to make it a sort of variety show/musical hybrid means calling upon a literal all-star cast of entertainers of the day. Along with the aforementioned Bea Arthur and Harvey Korman, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, and the band Jefferson Starship are on hand trying to lend an air of dignity and much-needed humor to the proceedings. The music segments are like acid trips (or antacid trips, as the case may be) and watching Korman struggle to find the funny in the material he’s given is painful. Only Bea Arthur comes out relatively unscathed, because Bea Arthur could do no wrong (Fight me). If the entire thing had been delivered with the same tone and sensibility – and maybe add some Muppets or strippers or something – those of us who watched it during its original broadcast would likely still have scars, but they might not be so deep and lingering.

And yet, I admit to having something of a soft spot for it. When I was 11 and Star Wars was everywhere and everything, as I read the monthly comic from Marvel or the novelization or Splinter of the Mind’s Eye over and over again, this helped scratch the Star Wars itch, even in an admittedly inept way.

Derided by critics and fans alike, the Star Wars Holiday Special has nevertheless achieved a weird flavor of cult-like status. How they convinced the main Star Wars cast to participate in this has to rank as one of the most epic cocktail party “They had embarrassing photos of me” stories ever. It was never broadcast after its single airing and has never been officially released on home video in any format. You can find links to it here and there, though, and the best April Fool’s gag ever would be for the whole thing to receive a total remastering for 4K Blu-ray.

George Lucas has fervently denied having any connection to its production, and cast members like Harrison Ford insist they’ve never seen it. Carrie Fisher, in her usual style, seemed to take the whole thing in stride, joking in an interview with The New York Times that she made Lucas give her a copy of the special so that she could have something to play at parties when she wanted everyone to leave. Damn, I miss her.

For better or worse, the Star Wars Holiday Special is a thing that exists, and it’s now 40 years old. I’m gonna go and cry in my blue milk, now.

Happy Life Day, Wookiees!

Talking Trek and Eating Brains on the Super Geeks Podcast!

And once again, I’m babbling.

I’m babbling, and somebody decided it’d be cool to record said babbling and offer it up for later listening to an unsuspecting populace. This time, I sit down with hosts George Silsby, Carlos Pedraza, “Chelle,” and Sunseahl Silverfall for an all-new episode of their Super Geeks podcast.

While we spend a few minutes talking about my writing – specifically, the experience of writing Drastic Measures, my Star Trek: Discovery novel – the conversation does end up bouncing around to talking about the show itself, the recently announced and still-forthcoming “Picard” series and “Lower Decks” animated series, the pros and cons of streaming services, and assorted topics that seem to pop up as we move merrily along.

The episode clocks in at an hour and fifty minutes, but it sure seemed to fly by. Have a listen, if you’re of a mind to do so:

Super Geeks, Season 2 Episode 13: “Dayton Ward Ate Our Brains!”

Many thanks to George, Carlos, Chelle, and Sun for inviting me to hang with them for a bit. They’ve invited me back to talk about whatever at some future date, so maybe our paths will cross again one day soon!