ReWard: The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.

Every once in a while, my little blog here strives to be something more than a platform for the shameless whoring of myself and my various scribblings. There are the infrequent reminiscences and ruminations about favorite books, films, or TV shows. On rare occasions, I might see fit to delve into a current events topic. Rarer still are those entries where I try to offer meaningful writing advice, or at least a pithy anecdote gleaned from my time in “the trenches” of writing for a so-called living.

This is one of those pieces.

A couple of years ago, while faced with a deadline to have a post ready for the Novel Spaces writing blog along with being caught up in the grips of a Writing Project That Would Not Die, I came up with a list of things that seem able to confront any writing project regardless of size or scope.

The result made for a handy Novel Spaces column, and now seems like a nice thing throw into this space as a “ReWard” piece, in a desperate bid to make this site look like it’s generating fresh content on a more or less regular schedule.

So, from January 2016, I offer the following:

Continue reading “ReWard: The 7 Phases of Almost Any Writing Project.”

ReWard: Writing for “Exposure?” We’re Still On That?

While culling through this morning’s batch of e-Mail, I came across not one but two — count ’em, TWO — “invitations” to write for someone or something. No payment was offered, of course, and the language of the e-Mails themselves suggested none would be forthcoming. Indeed, perhaps my even wondering about such things might be viewed as a crime against the purity of the written word, blah blah blah.

Yep, you guessed it: I’d been offered the chance to write “for the exposure.”

Setting aside my initial thought that I’d never heard of a) the people sending the e-Mail or b) the publishing endeavor they claimed to represent, I next reaction was, “Are you fucking kidding me? We’re still doing that?”

Of course we are.

A couple of years ago during my stint writing for the Novel Spaces blog, I wrote about the long debated “writing for exposure” chestnut. Rather than regurgitate the gist of that earlier column, I figured I’d just make a few updates and tweaks before regurgitating it in full right here! Read on:

Continue reading “ReWard: Writing for “Exposure?” We’re Still On That?”

ReWard: “Dayton’s 10 Commandments of Writing.”

In one of the…let’s see, three, four, carry the one…six bazillion Facebook threads or updates I post, or the ones I visit, the topic of my personal writing “rules” came up. I was reminded of an “Ask Dayton” question I answered last year that touched on this very thing. On that occasion, I was asked about my “10 Commandments” of writing. I was also asked about my thoughts about such rules for existing in and moving through a fandom community, but the bulk of my long, bloated, meandering answer to the question was focused on the writing “rules” I was dreaming up.

After the more recent Facebook conversation, I dug up that post from last year, and tweaked the “Commandments” I had devised back then. For this go-around, I’ve removed the parts about “fandom” rules, because now I’m thinking they deserve their own post, too. We’ll see about that.

(NOTE: I thought about cleaning up the language a bit, since this was originally written for my curmudgeonly “Ask Dayton” persona, but I decided to leave it as is. You’ve been warned.)

So, without further ado, let’s revisit “Dayton’s 10 Commandments of Writing.”

Continue reading “ReWard: “Dayton’s 10 Commandments of Writing.””

ReWard: “The ONLY canon Star Trek book.”

I found myself involved in two separate conversations on Facebook today, both relating in some manner to one of my favorite topics in the history of ever, “the Star Trek canon.”

Of course, anybody who’s hung out around here for any length of time knows how I get when this particular subject comes up, mostly because people tend to dick up the conversation by confusing “canon” with “continuity,” which even when addressed doesn’t make the discussion any less taint-itching.

Anyway, during one of the conversations, a couple of blog posts I’d written a few years ago came up. One of them was this answer to an “Ask Dayton” query for the G&T Show, but you have to remember that the Dayton who answers those questions is the evil Mirror Universe Dayton, who’s really a lot like me while lacking my sense of decorum.

The other one, was a bit of goofiness in which I described the one and only canon Star Trek book. This one’s so old that it dates back to my old LiveJournal account, so I figured it was worth dusting off and dropping in here as the latest installment of my “ReWard” feature, which is really just a pretentious way of recycling some of my older shit.

So, from a post originally written on October 24th, 2010: “The ONLY canon Star Trek book.”

Continue reading “ReWard: “The ONLY canon Star Trek book.””

ReWard: “What Forgotten Flix Are You Thankful For?”

With Thanksgiving upon us and the holiday eating/shopping/binge-watching season looming on the not-so distant horizon, we’re getting set to host friends and family tomorrow at Ward Manor 2.0. Michi’s mom will be here, along with a pair of our dear friends whom we’ve known since first moving into the original stately Ward casa. Food is or will be everywhere, and of course we’ll be watching at least one of the games.

But, what if the games suck?

Hey, it happens. Though Thanksgiving as borne witness to no small number of thrilling or even ridiculous gridiron classics, the truth is that as often as not, the games televised on this Day of Thanks tend to be snoozers, doing little except to enable everyone’s tryptophan coma.

For that unfortunate eventuality, we have movies.

Regular followers of this space know I haves me some movies. A bunch of them, in fact. Old ones, new ones, good ones, bad ones, so bad they’re good ones, and so on. A few years ago, I participated in a guest blog over at Forgotten Flix, a site devoted to lost screen gems of yesteryear, in which we all “gave thanks” for a favorite movie that we thought should get more attention or love.

What did I write? Well, now we come to the reason for this here “ReWard” piece. As originally posted over at Forgotten Flix in November 2010:


Let’s see: it’s Thanksgiving afternoon. You’ve stuffed yourselves like Romans, and you’re struggling against the onset of your annual tryptophan coma. The football is a snoozefest, and the only other game scheduled for the day is between two teams whose only chance of going to the Super Bowl is if they get hired to sell hot dogs. What do you do? Of course, you wander over to the DVD shelf, push past all the romantic comedies and Baby Einsteins and maybe even the three Star Wars movies.

What? They made three more? Blasphemy, I say!

Anyway, you bend way down to the shelf near the floor, where “your” movies reside. Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone, Arnie, and maybe even Mel Gibson (before the meltdown) are represented, but who’s that? Burt Reynolds? Whoa. It looks like you’ve got a couple of his classics, but a single title stands out among all the others. It’s that one film of Burt’s which showcases the definitive battle between good and evil; that renders into sharp relief the intrinsic struggle between liberty and oppression, and offers hope that one man – along with a woman, another man and that man’s dog – can make a difference.

I refer, of course, to Smokey and the Bandit.

smokey

Okay, okay. At its core, this movie is little more than an excuse to film cars driving fast, jumping over things, and getting the crap beaten out of them. The plot is razor thin: Drive from Atlanta to Texarkana, obtain 400 cases of Coors beer – which at the time was not allowed to be sold east of the Mississippi River – and drive back in 28 hours, in order to secure an $80,000 payday. Along the way, Bo Darville (aka “the Bandit,” played by jackie-gleasonReynolds) and Cletus Snow (“the Snowman,” as portrayed by Jerry Reed) run afoul of Texas lawman Buford T. Justice, a hilarious parody of every backwater redneck hick sheriff in the history of backwater redneck hick sheriffs and played to utter, sublime perfection by the late, great Jackie Gleason. Justice sets off in manic pursuit of the Bandit and his shiny black T-top Trans Am, and hilarity ensues…particularly when the Bandit stops just long enough to pick up a runaway bride (Carrie, aka “Frog,” played by Sally Field) who happens to be fleeing the scene after leaving Justice’s son, Junior, at the altar.

Got all that?

In and around all this heavy angst and intense character introspection (or lack thereof) are a series of high-speed chases, jumps and crashes, and trash-talking on the finest communications tool ever developed in the civilized world, the Citizen’s Band Radio. Meanwhile, Snowman, driving the rig with all the beer, is just hoping to get back in time to collect the cash. As if that’s not hard enough, he has to stop long enough to fight a motorcycle gang and hopefully get a decent cheeseburger for his dog, Fred, while waiting for his buddy the Bandit to show up, run blocker for the truck, and maybe help him avoid getting arrested. Written and directed by ace Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham, Smokey and the Bandit was to be the first of several collaborations with Reynolds, though none of them match the sheer goofy fun of this, the first and still the best duel ever between a Smokey and a Bandit.

burt-bandit


You can read the entire selection of guest postings at Forgotten Flix by following these links:

What Forgotten Flix Are You Thankful For? (Segment I)
What Forgotten Flix Are You Thankful For? (Segment II)

All right then! In the spirit of what the Forgotten Flix gang set out to do, for what “forgotten flix” do you give thanks?

ReWard: “Getting Over the Post-Con Blues”

Holy crap, people.

While working up my infodump of this year’s Star Trek convention in Las Vegas (a work in progress, by the way), it occurred to me that I have the perfect warm up to that post-mission report, in the form of an “Ask Dayton” query I received at the end of last year’s con. Basically, it asked how one readjusts to whatever passes for “normal life” in the wake of a weekend as awesome as…well…the one we just had.

So, check it, yo! Originally posted on August 19th, 2012: Ask Dayton #40 on the G&T Show – “Getting Over the Post-Con Blues”


Dear Dayton: The cast of idiots from G and T were in Las Vegas last week, along with some of their listeners. What advice do you have for them to combat post-convention blues? What does Dr. Dayton prescribe for our intrepid cast?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You were in Vegas last week. Rub it in.

And now, you’re home, and you’re asking a guy who didn’t get to go to the con how best to get back into the groove of the hackneyed, dog-eared, reheated lump of leftover shit the rest of us call “normal life.”

(Note: I was there this year, of course.)

Hopefully, the first thing you did was get yourself to a decontamination shower. You were in Vegas, in a hotel, with thousands of convention goers, remember? Another term for that is “incubation chamber.” The instant you got home, there should’ve been a team standing by in biohazard suits, ready to scrub you down from head to toe, in the vain hope of ridding your bacteria-infested body of any lingering vestiges of con funk, or whatever other communicable and/or social diseases you acquired during your stay in the City of Sin. Wash your ass, Patient Zero. Twice. In fact, sand-blast that mother fucker.

(Note: By all reports, I seem to have escaped contamination.)

Okay, now that you’ve been declared “clean,” by the CDC, the next thing you should’ve done was go through all the free swag you collected and all the other cool shit you bought (none of which, I noticed at last check, seems to have made its way to stately Ward Manor…but, I digress). Some of that stuff’s bound to bring back some fun memories, right? Autographs? Check. Photos with the stars? Yup. T-shirts? Okay. Tribbles or phasers or imitation horga’hns? If that’s your thing, sure. The latest Star Trek novel by your favorite author, perhaps even the guy who writes up answers to these questions every fucking week? Hmmmm?

No?

Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying.

(Note: We actually gave away an assload of copies of From History’s Shadow. No really, we counted.)

I assume lots of pictures were taken, yes? Perhaps there are photos just begging to have the story behind them retold for our amusement. If not, then we’ll just make up some shit. Listeners could start a thread on the show’s message boards, or a special album on its Facebook page, and have one gathering place for all the great photos. That way, they can be enjoyed not only by those who were at the con, but also those of us who unfortunately had to miss it.

(Strong preference should be given to those pictures featuring hot ladies in costume. But it’s just a suggestion.)

(Note: I’m gonna add in requests for those awesome fans who created – for lack of a better term – “puppets” of Balok, Nomad, and the Horta. Those folks rocked. Hard.)

As for getting over any post-convention blues you might have? Hey, you’re doing it right now! Listening to friends Nick, Terry and Mike talk about Trek, whether it’s the con or the movies or whatever episode Terry’s watching for first time or Star Trek Online or even those books people say they read (I call bullshit on that last one, by the way)? Sure, it’s not quite on the same level as hanging out with all sorts of cool Star Trek celebrities, or going to the kickin’ parties. Maybe it doesn’t measure up to being crammed into a hotel room while you all slam beers and exchange flop sweat, and wonder who the fuck is responsible for introducing that gaseous anomaly into the sardine can you called “your suite.” Still, the G and T Show provides a place where fans of Star Trek can come together in celebration of this wonderful universe we all love so much. I can’t think of any better remedy for the post-con blues.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, somebody needs to introduce me to Holly Hearse, dammit!

(Note: I don’t know if Holly was there this year. If she was, I would’ve liked to meet her. I also missed out on meeting in person several folks I’ve come to know via this blog or Twitter or Facebook. That’s my biggest regret of the whole weekend. Hopefully we can correct that soon.)

ReWard: “Singin’ lo-righta-lay-ho…”

Earlier this evening, I Tweeted about the sauna that was my daughter’s Taekwondo dojang:

The A/C at my kid’s Taekwondo studio is broken. The main room smells like parboiled armpit, with a hint of old jockstrap.

This generated a handful of comments from my friends on Twitter and Facebook, including this one from friend and fellow word-pusher Rich White:

I was thinking that should make you nostalgic for boot camp.

To which I replied:

I can’t imagine anything making me nostalgic for boot camp. When folks say they’d do it over again given the chance, I just look at them and imagine what they’d look like getting a 2×4 across the face.

So, nostalgic for boot camp, I ain’t. 🙂

However, I’m often nostalgic about other aspects of my time in uniform, which made me think of a post I’d written a couple of years ago. In this case, I had been asked a question if there was something particular I missed about my military days. After pondering that query for a short while, I offered up my thoughts in a blog entry originally posted on May 22, 2011 on my old LiveJournal blog: “Singin’ lo-righta-lay-ho…”


I had an interesting conversation today with one of my Facebook friends, during which the topic of my time in the service came up. She asked me a question that I’ve fielded more than few times: “What do you miss?”

The answer varies very little; I missed the travel, of course, and the opportunity to learn and do things I likely would never have done had I opted to pursue a different path than joining the military. First and foremost, though, I miss the people with whom I served. Well, most of them, anyway. Military friendships are an odd thing, given that most of the time you go in knowing that it’s understood to be — in large part, at least — temporary, and I’m not even talking about one or both of you dying in combat or anything like that. Sooner or later, one or both of you is going to be transferred somewhere else, and though you might end up at the same place at some point down the road, more than likely you’d never see each other face to face again. Back before the internet, e-Mail, webcams, Skype, and all that jazz, the latter scenario was the more prevalent one. On the other hand, the introduction of those things into the mix have allowed me to reconnect with people I’d not talked to in years. Another thing about military friendships? When you do finally get back in touch, it’s like no time at all has passed.

Anyway, those were my answers, but my Facebook friend wasn’t letting me off the hook that easy. I couldn’t get away with the simple, predictable answers. She challenged me to name something else – something unexpected – and I had to think about it for a minute. Then it came to me.

I miss the singing during formation runs.

If you’ve never done it, you’ve likely seen it on TV or in a movie (the boot camp scenes during Full Metal Jacket, for example). A group of soldiers or Marines is running in a group, with one guy singing a ditty (or song, or chant…whatever you want to call it), one line at a time, and the group repeats what he says. Repeat. The whole idea is to provide a cadence to keep the unit in step, running at the same pace, and motivated throughout the run’s duration. If you were able to take your mind off of maybe puking all over your shoes, that was a bonus.

I used to love that shit.

Not always, you understand; it was something I learned to appreciate. During my first duty assignment at Camp Pendleton, I would be running with the group while senior NCOs sang the cadence and we barked it back as loud as we could. By the time I moved on to my next assignment on Okinawa, *I* was one of the NCOs expected to do that sort of thing. So, I learned fast, taking pointers from those who did it better than I did, and in short order I began piecing together my own little batch of songs to sing as we did our regular early morning runs. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I really wasn’t all that bad at it. More importantly, I really dug doing it.

As I moved to later duty stations, my relative seniority among my unit’s NCO cadre saw to it that I was one of those tasked with leading PT (physical training) sessions, and if I wasn’t the one who started us off on one of those runs, then it didn’t take long for me to get called out to sing my little songs. By this point, doing the cadence on a run was something I anticipated and even relished. A typical run of this sort normally was three miles, and I had enough material to cover about half that distance if push came to shove. The idea was to spread the wealth, though, so I’d sing for a bit then call someone else. Still, there were occasions where I’d be called out again during the same run.

What I really got a kick out of was when I’d get tapped to lead things as the unit ran into a populated area like down the main street on base or in public as we took part in some kind of parade or other function. For whatever reason, I was always able to kick things up a notch and really get the group singing loud and ornery, to the point where I’d swear we were rattling windows as we ran past. Though our specific unit never numbered more than 50-75, it was when we got to run with the company or battalion that the fun really started. There’s a definite rush to having your every word repeated by several hundred Marines as you run down the road, the songs echoing off buildings or hillsides or whatever you happen to be passing.

Yeah, that was a lot of fun.

I’ve given thought on more than one occasion to assembling some kind of book filled to overflowing with such chants, with sections for each of the services (as much as typing that might make me twitch ;D). I’ve seen one or two such books over the years, and found them lacking. Then the idea gets filed as I move on to something else, and I forget about it. Ah, well. Maybe one of these days.

Anyway, there’s a bit of ramblin’ for a Sunday night.

ReWard: When books went to war.

Earlier today, I spent a few minutes exchanging e-Mails with a friend about a book pertaining to the Second World War that’s currently in development. I made a comment that the proposed art for the cover reminded me of something somebody like Bill Mauldin might have drawn back during the war; not the subject matter, but the general style…that sort of thing. That brief back-n-forth got me to thinking about Mauldin’s seminal collection of wartime cartoons, Up Front.

Naturally, I went digging for one of my copies of this book. I actually have four: an original hardcover edition my father gave to me, a more recent reprint of that edition, a 1950s paperback version and my prized Armed Services Edition.

This last one, of course, started me thinking about ASEs in general. My brain has a tendency to hopscotch once I get going on something. Sorry. As I started looking through the small number of ASEs I’ve collected, I remembered that I’d once written about these fascinating little books, back when LiveJournal was still my blog du jour. It’s been a few years, so I figured it’s safe to dust off that entry for old time’s sake.

Originally posted on May 4, 2010: “When books went to war.”


Today’s mail brought with it an item I’d been waiting for these past few days, an “Armed Services Edition” of the science fiction novel When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie (Yeah, it was a book before it was a movie, and it even has a sequel, After Worlds Collide).

For those who might not know, the Armed Services Editions were a series of paperback books printed and distributed to American troops during World War II. Between 1943 and 1947, more than 120 million copies of the ASEs were printed, featuring in excess of 1,300 titles ranging from literary classics, pulp fiction, and poetry to history, military topics, science, biographies and various other subjects. Almost all of the titles were unabridged, though due to printing restrictions around 90 of the books selected for the program were edited/trimmed/condensed, when possible by the original authors (by all accounts, the abridgments were strictly for length, rather than content). Printed on the same presses used for digest-sized magazines, the ASEs were typeset so that four titles could be printed at once, with the resulting books sized so that they could be carried in the cargo pocket of a soldier’s uniform.

According to many articles I’ve read, the books were a tremendous hit with troops desperate for anything to help pass the long stretches of low or no activity while in theater. The books – like magazines and comic books of the day – were printed as inexpensively as possible, and intended to be read, passed on, and perhaps ultimately thrown away. Indeed, the ASEs paved the way for the large-scale production and distribution of mass-market paperback books, with publishers like Penguin Books and Pocket (hah!) Books leading the way. Despite this inherent “disposability,” many copies of ASEs still exist and have been long sought by book collectors. There are only two known complete sets, one in the Library of Congress and another owned by a private collector.

As I was already something of a WWII “student” (calling one’s self a “fan” or “buff” of a war has always sounded grossly inappropriate to me), I started collecting ASEs almost by accident a few years ago, when I happened across a copy of The War of the Worlds in a used bookstore. Since then, I’ve acquired twenty-three different titles, ranging from SF to mysteries to a couple of C.S. Forrester’s Hornblower novels, military fiction and history, and even a copy of Bill Mauldin’s classic Up Front. Naturally, the condition of individual copies varies, but I’ve been fortunate that most of the ones I’ve acquired are in pretty decent shape, including one that looks to be in almost-mint condition. Not bad for 60-odd years on, eh?

Trivia: Want to know what the rarest and most sought-after ASE title is?

 The Adventures of Superman,
considered by many collectors to be the “Holy Grail” of the Armed Services Editions.
No shit.

And no, I don’t have a copy. You’ll know when that day comes. Believe me.

In 2002, author Andrew Carroll revived the ASE program as a means of supporting troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Seven titles, including a condensed version of his own War Letters, were printed and distributed. At the time, I even approached then-Pocket Books and Star Trek editor John Ordover about offering any Trek titles in the format, and he did investigate the possibility. I don’t remember the exact details, but the gist of it was that it apparently was cheaper to just print up more copies of books in regular mass-market format and donate them.

(And not for nothin’, but it would’ve been way cool to have an ASE edition of The Last World War. Ah, well….)

As for the ASEs I’ve collected and other than When Worlds Collide, I have no way of knowing if any of them were carried by soldiers, sailors, or Marines in Europe or in the Pacific. I’d like to think most of them were, and that they provided their owners with a brief respite from the chaos, terror and…yes…boredom of war.

You can read more about the ASE program (including a complete list of titles) at these sites:

Books Go to War: The Armed Services Editions in World War II
Wikipedia: Armed Services Editions

(Yes, I do tend to blather on about my various hobbies, don’t I?)

ReWard: More original series Trek stories? Yes, please. Always.

I got an odd e-Mail this morning:

“I see in your blog that you’ve just finished writing an original series novel. I don’t really like those, so I won’t be buying or reading yours. I like to support writers whose books I enjoy reading, so I hope your next book is about the Next Generation or maybe Deep Space 9, because I like reading those books.”

Now, I get that not everyone will like everything (or even anything) I write. Within the realm of Star Trek fandom, I understand that not everyone likes every flavor of Star Trek. However, I’m not sure what this person was attempting to accomplish by sharing this little missive with me. Was I supposed to pledge to never again write a TOS novel in the hopes of retaining this person’s patronage?

I’ve seen similar discussions pop up along these lines (see below), and more than once I’ve been asked some flavor of, “Why write a TOS novel? Aren’t there enough of those? Why not write something else?”

Because I wanted to. I mean, duh.

So, I’m not bothering with a response to the e-Mail, but it did remind me of this bit I wrote back in 2010 when I came across a bulletin board discussion that covered some of the same ground. It prompted the following post originally written on May 9, 2010: “More original series Trek stories? Yes, please. Always.”



So, I’m reading message boards this morning, and I come across a discussion started by someone commenting that they didn’t want to see any more stories with the original Star Trek characters. He’d done some thinking, and figured that this one group of people had encountered far too many adventures to be credible. It wasn’t realistic, apparently. To make it more interesting, he was referring only to the original series’ 79 episodes, and not even the subsequent animated series and movies, to say nothing about the novels, short stories, comics, and what-have-you produced in the nearly 45 years which have elapsed since audiences first heard those now-immortal words, “Space…the final frontier.”

I’ll admit that I used to wonder every so often how Kirk and company ever got any sleep. If you were to chronologically order all of the adventures featuring them over the years, it probably comes out to them encountering an alien planet, ship, or other threat about once every six or seven minutes, give or take. Yeah, that’s more than a tad unrealistic.

Then, I remembered one key, salient point: Kirk and the gang? Um, they’re not real.

I’ve been reading Superman and Batman stories my entire life, and both of those boys were cranking out adventures decades before I was born. I also dig my fair share of James Bond tales, and he’s been rockin’ the spy thing since before I showed up, too. Ditto Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom, and so on. Guess what? I still like a well-executed story with any of those characters. Hell, there are any number of characters who’ve been doing their respective things in book/other form for decades and for which I have little or no interest, but I know they’ve got their fans. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? Tom Swift? Mike Hammer, Nick Carter, or Spenser? Even “men’s adventure” heroes like Remo Williams and Mack Bolan still draw fans after decades of stories, and new Bolan adventures continue to be published at a regular (and rapid) pace.

A good story is a good story. If it’s a bad story, then it’s one I’ll likely never revisit again, so no problem there. That still leaves a lot of good ones, and if they feature characters you’ve long ago grown to love, then so much the better. For me, that goes double for Kirk and his merry Enterprise band. I can’t ever imagine myself saying something like, “Please, no more stories with these characters. There are too many.” If I have my way, I’ll be reading a good original series-era tale while being wheeled into the dining facility at the retirement home.

Besides, I figure at that age, I’ll be in the bathroom a lot, and I’ll need something interesting to help pass the time.

Thoughts?

ReWard: “The trouble with tribble tweets.”

Hey! Star Trek‘s got another cool anniversary worth noting today!

Tonight marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the original broadcast of “The Trouble With Tribbles,” regarded by many as one of Star Trek‘s most memorable episodes. Written by David Gerrold as a freelance submission to the original series, the script was his first professional sale, and the episode has since become one of those bits of Trek lore that even non-fans recognize.

The episode received a sequel, in the form of the 1973 episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” from the animated Star Trek series, written by Mr. Gerrold. He also wrote about the creation, production, and enduring impact of the original episode in his own book, The Trouble With Tribbles: The Birth, Sale, and Final Production of One Episode, which also was released in 1973. Future incarnations of Trek would not forget the tribbles, either. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original series in 1996, an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has Captain Sisko and his crew travel back to the events of this episode and find themselves interacting with Kirk and the Enterprise gang in the utterly whimsical romp, “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

(Note: Friend and fellow word-pusher Terry J. Erdmann chronicled the production of this episode in his e-Book exclusive project for Pocket Books, The Magic of Tribbles – The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “Trials and Tribble-ations”. Check it out. It’s a fun read.)

To celebrate the episode’s anniversary here in The Fog, I’ve dug into my archives and pulled forth a bit of goofiness Kevin I originally wrote for Star Trek Magazine back in 2009, in response to a rather odd request from our editor. You can read all about that, and see the results of that “interesting” conversation, right here. From a post originally written on April 25, 2010, I present to you “The trouble with tribble tweets.”


(Photo courtesy of StarfleetMom on Twitter.)

This new entry at Doug Drexler’s website, The Drexfiles, is pretty amusing. It’s a photographic travelogue of a wayward tribble. Thanks to Doug’s rather storied career, the tribble goes on a pretty slick journey to various Hollywood locales. Be sure to check out some of the characters the little wanderer encounters on his/her journey.

The entry reminded me of some stuff we did for Star Trek Magazine editor Paul Simpson last year, for an issue that came out a couple of months ago. Last fall, he came to Kevin and me with an unusual request: retell an episode of the original Star Trek as a series of “tweets,” or the 140-character missives you’ll find on the “microblogging” service Twitter. It sounded like fun, and since Kevin and I have acquired a reputation – earned or not – as being a bit on the irreverent side of things when it comes to writing about Star Trek, we figured this was right in our wheelhouse.

The result? Well, behold “The Trouble With Tribbles,” 140 bytes at a time….

@OneCoolTribble Anybody know where we’re going?

@Navel_Lint As long as we just get there. Where are we, anyway?

@Untamed_Mane Some guy’s pocket. Man, it’s dark in here. At least it’s comfortable.

@TribbleThreat Get off me!

@Moscow_Made And Spock takes three seconds to remind me why I hate coming to the briefing room.

@Captain_1701 Okay, we’re @K7. No flames, no debris, no floating bodies. #Priority1DistressCallFail

@FirstOfficerSpock “Two and only two” means “The number of my boots up your…” #Kirktionary

@OneCoolTribble I hope @CyranoJones sells the Spican Flame Gems. They’re starting to chafe.

@OneCoolTribble Too bright! Too cold! Oh, pretty lady. Nice touches. Right behind the—oh, yeah. That’s it.

@OneCoolTribble We may not have any teeth, but….

@CyranoJones Six credits each? Sucker. Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet, here I come!

@OneCoolTribble nom nom nom Holy Mugato Crap! This stuff is better than bacon! #quadrotriticale FTW!

@Captain_1701 First it’s Baris. Then it’s the Admiral. Now, it’s Koloth. What’s next? Unknown alien probe? #FML

@NuthinButMyBonez Note to self: schedule annual exam—FULL exam—for @Captain_1701.

@Hail-Yeah Hey, that one Klingon looks just like Trelane!

@OneCoolTribble Too much #quadrotriticale. Doesn’t this ship have any bathrooms?

@OneCoolTribble Uh oh. This is not gonna end well.

@OneCoolTribble Hey, where’d you guys come from?

@Cotton_Ballz Mom?

@PowdRPuff Mom?

@Trumps_Wig Mom?

@Miracle_WorkR He only THINKS it’s a technical journal….

@OneCoolTribble RT @Cotton_Ballz Hey, that pointy-eared guy rubs ME the RIGHT way. Pass it on.

@PowdRPuff Wait. How’d I get picked to get probed and prodded by the doctor?

@FirstOfficerSpock “In sickbay with a headache” means “I hope Bones replaced that bottle of Saurian brandy.” #Kirktionary

@NuthinButMyBonez See, that didn’t hurt at all, did it?

@PowdRPuff Didn’t hurt? Coulda bought me dinner first. Tell ya what. Next time, *I* wear the glove. #ExamFail

@Short_Rownd Hey guys! You’re never gonna believe what I found! Tweetup @K7 Storage Bin 42. BYOB!

@Miracle_WorkR He only THINKS I don’t want to go on shore leave….

@Moscow_Made I can’t believe the waitress thought I was only 17. I need to grow a moustache. Worked for Lenin.

@LieutenantFreeman She thought I looked like @Captain_1701. I get that a lot.

@Woolee_Bullee Klingons? Where’d these guys come from? And I thought it smelled bad inside @CyranoJones pocket.

@Moscow_Made Can you believe this Klingon? Dissin’ on @Captain_1701?

@Navel_Lint Wait a second! What’s wrong with being soft and shapeless?

@Miracle_WorkR He only THINKS he has delusions of godhood….

@Miracle_WorkR Hauled away AS garbage? #ItsOnNow

@Tuff_Muffin Fight! Fight! Fight!

@TwitterCritR Get me outta here!

@OneCoolTribble Don’t leave me on the table, bro!

@Moscow_Made “Small disturbance” means “Klingons fight like they smell: Badly.” #Kirktionary

@LieutenantFreeman I’d give a million credits for someone to take my place in this line-up.

@Miracle_WorkR “Confined to quarters” means “Me, my journals, and that awesome green stuff.” #Scottionary

@Untamed_Mane Hey! We’re on the bridge!

@PowdRPuff Look at me! I’m scannin’ for lifeforms!

@Cotton_Ballz I’m hailin’ me some frequencies!

@Trumps_Wig I’m in the captain’s chair! I run this sh….WHOA!

@Navel_Lint Heads up, @Trumps_Wig!

@Tuff_Muffin Check it out! @Captain_1701 is taking me to the station! I’m meeting with the big dogs! Boo-yah!

@Woolee_Bullee WTH? And I’m still stuck with @CyranoJones? Captain’s favorite! Captain’s favorite! #whatabrownfur

@Tuff_Muffin Hey, what smells like Klingon in here?

@FirstOfficerSpock “Au revoir” means “Suck it.” #Kirktionary

@Cotton_Ballz RT @Trumps_Wig Be sure to try the chicken sandwich and coffee.

@OneCoolTribble Hey @Short_Rownd and all you cargo-bin boys. Bust up your party pronto – the fuzz is on the way!

@Short_Rownd Bust it up? This party’s just getting started!

@TwitterCritR Wow, what a buffet!

@Eraser_Head Hey, I don’t feel so good. This stuff tastes funny.

@SnoBalls Hey! Shut the door!

@NewLoofah Grab on to something!

@LoneMuppet Look out below!

@UglyTribbling Geronimo!

Twitter is over capacity. Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.

@NuthinButMyBonez Hey, that guy looks like Trelane!

@FirstOfficerSpock @NuthinButMyBonez The resemblance is uncanny.

@Tuff_Muffin Looks like @Captain_1701 needs us to rough up a Klingon!

@Navel_Lint Told ya that guy smelled funky.

@Trumps_Wig Stuck here? With @CyranoJones? For 17 years?

@PowdRPuff Uh, 17.9 years.

@Trumps_Wig #FML

@OneCoolTribble Not me! I’m on the Enterprise! Hey, I feel all tingly! Wait, where are we? What smells like Klingon?

@IM_Hungry What’s for dinner?

As part of the runup to the issue’s release, I started a Twitter account with a username “OneCoolTribble,” and goofed around with it here and there. Along with that, I solicited folks to send me pics of tribbles in various places. Some of those can be seen over on Twitpic.com. They’re not as cool as Doug’s, but I laughed at most of them. 🙂