When art and potential are dragged down by greed and terrible leadership, this is the result. Spoilers ahead.
In a follow up to a recent post, I am pleased to reveal more details about my next novel in progress.
Its codename is Blackout, and is the character driven, science fiction action thriller I alluded to before. A few more crumbs for you: it will be written in first person, and will feature a female protagonist. This will be my first novel to have both of those things. All of my prior works were written in third person, and previous novels have either had male protagonists or male/female lead splits.
I am also pleased to announce that I will be returning to Youtube with a new channel and will have a bevy of new content for my other social media presences to coincide with this, starting next month. I realize that in the past on this very blog I have made content promises that I underdelivered on. The truth is that the biggest problem about me sharing myself with the world was my identity crisis. I have always been embarrassed about my appearance and my voice, and this created an endless cycle of anxiety and apprehension about putting myself out there beyond saying “oh look here’s some books I wrote.” Now that I am my authentic self and am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my adult life, and also now that I am on the cusp of having some good, legitimate recording equipment, I will be putting myself out there in equal measure to my creative work.
More to come soon!
Lots of movies and video games these days are being remastered and rereleased; the games industry is especially notorious for dusting off and rereleasing older titles because lack of creativity and originality and risk. I figure why not jump off that bridge too, eh?
I jest. Mostly.
The truth of the matter is that I released my first book too early. I pulled a CD Projekt Red move before that was even a thing, though to be fair at the time that was more like a Bethesda maneuver. I have talked about this in previous blog posts, but to reiterate, back in 2016 I was in a position where I didn’t expect to see many more days in my life, and I was obsessed with at least leaving something behind, a legacy. I was desperate to make my then-girlfriend and my family proud. I had something to prove to myself, which I then externalized to an unhealthy extent.
That’s a fanciful way of saying that I freaking rushed my first novel out the door too fast. Year 200’s basic foundation was solid and of course I fell in love with my characters, but I did not spend enough time on polishing the work, and especially I did not dedicate enough time to ensuring the work reflected my true creative voice. This is why I often mention that the sequel, In the Baron’s Shadow, is where I found my author voice. In that work, I had shaken off the overly enthusiastic and excessively quippy narrative tone I had previously adopted for blogging, and moved away from relying on the cliches and similes that are all too often used as crutches for beginning writers.
So then, I may be playfully calling this a remaster, but in reality this is an almost complete rewrite. The plot and character dialogue will not be altered, because I don’t believe in altering published canon (see the term, “Lucasing”), however the entire structure that the story, characters, and their interactions live upon is being rebuilt from the ground up. In addition, with this second crack at the story, I am going to be able to add back in elements that I cut from the original draft because at the time I felt I lacked the skill to implement them without killing the narrative flow.
For an idea of how this will look, here is the first paragraph of the book.
“Out in the fringe of the Solar System, two hundred years beyond Terra’s death, there was an aberration: a silent, star-lit field pierced in an ungraceful manner by a metallic human construction. The overworked, underpowered shuttle sputtered across the expanse, struggling to stay on course toward the blue orb in the distance. The passengers’ fragile hope of making it to their destination alive was wounded by a collision between the shuttle and a hunk of debris.”
And now, rewritten:
“It was quiet in this pocket of the Outer Solar System. That was, until an aberrant perturbation caused a relative ruckus. It was an overworked Type-E passenger shuttle, freshly caught by Neptune’s gravity. There was nothing in the vacuum to transmit the creaking inside its bulkheads, nor the crackling of sparks coming from its overloaded circuitry, but it made up for it with a wobbling, visual commotion and plenty of fresh interference to filter out in comms traffic.”
It is a short sample to pick up on this to be sure, but I’ve done away with the attempts to be overly cute in my narration, and have dialed back on the character descriptions and perspective-distancing titles that, to be frank, I ripped from games such as Borderlands. The final product will be a story that will at last be able to stand by its younger sisters, In the Baron’s Shadow and Lunacy.
More details to come on this and my other two aforementioned writing projects in 2021.
If you have followed me up until now, even in a haphazard fashion, you know that the After Terra series is my flagship as far as creative works, and that the fourth full length novel in said series, Return of the Gods, was due to release last year. It could have been made available last year. The book is done. I mean, of course there is still a lot of editing and finessing I am going to perform on the work, but it is already of a higher quality in its current state than anything I have published before, so I could have hit the button. But, I wanna do things right this time. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, Return of the Gods will be released when it is truly ready, and when I have successfully rebuilt and reestablished myself as a creative entity, after having made the decision to commit to transitioning gender. Yeesh, what an ask of myself, eh? I tend to make that last bit sound like a smaller deal than it really is.
So while Return of the Gods is cooling its heels in my creative space, I do have two new writing projects lined up for 2021. One was technically started for last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I was unable to make as much progress as I normally do in Novembers. Said project is a memoir. That’s right, I’m writing about me. Maybe it will end up being more of an autobiography, not sure yet, but that’s a thing.
Along with this, I am working on new science fiction story. At this time all I am going to tease is that it will be written in first person, and one of the cinematic themes that will color the narrative and setting of the story is a future-transposed United States versus Soviet Union sort of vibe. Think of some Cold War, Space Race ideas played out over a cyberpunk space western and you might be on track to where I’m going with that. More to be revealed in the future.
The gaming industry is much ado about… something. (more…)
A review post that should surprise exactly no one! (more…)
Oh hey internet.
Because of positive response, and because there are only 4 copies left of the now out-of-print version of After Terra: Year 200, I am keeping my promotion going until they are all gone.
What is the promotion again, you ask? I’m glad you did.
If you buy a copy of After Terra: In the Baron’s Shadow or After Terra: Lunacy directly from me, you get Year 200 for free. Buy both, and you also get a digital download of After Terra: Beginnings or Slayer’s Keeper for free. Your books will be signed by me, and what’s more, is if you want, your name will be featured here in a sort of Hall of Fame on my website, my Patreon page, and in After Terra: Return of the Gods.
In the Baron’s Shadow and Lunacy are $15 USD when purchased direct from me. I’ll take care of shipping. Drop me a line at email@example.com if you’d like to partake of this deal.
A revisit of a review, that was in itself a revisit of a retried pilot. Got it? Good.
Here we go, the second pilot, and the first episode featuring Captain Kirk. This episode has in many aspects aged worse than most of the series, but it serves as an interesting look at how many changes the show went through in its infancy. Of course, why this was aired nearly a quarter of the way through the first season and not used as the first episode as intended, I have no idea. I guess NBC was using the same kind of logic back then that Fox employed with Firefly in more recent times; that is, none at all.
If you watched other episodes before this one, it can seem a bit jarring. The Enterprise bridge, effectively unchanged since the filming of the original pilot, “The Cage,” looks drab, lacking in the more familiar color and character of later episodes. The uniforms here are muted yellows and blues without any red shirts to speak of. All of the women are wearing pants. Star Trek lore was barely even established at this point, as here we have Earth Base mentioned in place of Starfleet Command, and mistakes such as James T. Kirk’s name being misused late in the episode as James R. Kirk. The lack of establishment in this episode makes it feel more akin to something like The Twilight Zone, as opposed to the Star Trek that we know and love.
In a rare thing for Trek, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” deals with the capacity for humans to possess extra sensory perception, something that the characters here treat as a normal, if uncommon, reality. The interest in ESP happens when the Enterprise encounters a treacherous energy barrier at the galaxy’s edge while investigating the loss of an old starship, the Valiant. No surprise that of course the ship and crew are put into extreme peril.
U.S.S. Enterprise encounters the galactic barrier
This move cripples the Enterprise’s warp engines, and has a profound effect on two crew members who already possessed a small level of ESP.
(Now before you all get too nitpicky—you know who you are—and ask how Enterprise, much less Valiant, could make it to the galaxy’s edge in a relatively short time with warp drive, remember not to think too two-dimensionally. One could reach the “edge” of the galaxy just as well by traveling “up” or “down” relative to the galactic center.)
Gary Mitchell, Kirk’s longtime friend, is the most drastically affected by the energy barrier. At first his new powers seem fairly innocent; he can read fast, retain information with perfect clarity, and perform minor feats of telekinesis. But it doesn’t take long for Mitchell’s growing powers to affect his judgment, and he soon begins to view the Enterprise crew, even his friend Kirk, as a nuisance, an obstacle in the way of his development into a more advanced kind of human being. Kirk delays as long as he can to help his friend, but when it is clear that Mitchell won’t stand down, Kirk is forced to make the decision to maroon him on the only planet that the Enterprise can reach, Delta Vega. Mitchell erases any doubts about whether he can be spared when he ends up killing an Enterprise crew member while the ship is being repaired.
This leads to a confrontation between the two former friends, as Mitchell’s powers grow to nearly be on par with the Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation (worth wondering is whether Mitchell’s powers are the potential threat the Q saw in humanity when they tested Riker later on). Kirk is able to win out in the end after pleading with Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, the other crewmember augmented with the advanced ESP, to one more time look at the situation from a human perspective. At the cost of her own life, she helps the Captain defeat his former friend.
This highlights one of the more interesting morals of the episode: no matter how much a human evolves, do they ever lose their dark side? Can a human ever be rid of their base instincts? Kirk points out that for all of his power, Mitchell is not advanced enough of a life form to handle it responsibly. What we are left with at the end of this episode, is the idea that even with all of our advancements, humans still have a long way to go before we can ever be higher beings. This is deep for a low budget second pilot from the 60s.
While it will never be the strongest episode in the Star Trek franchise, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” does take some interesting chances and makes you think. It also serves as a great opening vehicle for Kirk, showing us his agonizing conflict between loyalty to his friend and his duty to ship, crew, and humanity.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is a CBS/Paramount copyright. All images in this review posting are courtesy of http://www.startrek.com, http://www.trekcore.com, http://www.imdb.com, and http://www.wikipedia.org. Images are used for informational purposes only, and no copyright infringement on CBS or Paramount Studios is intended.
Originally posted on The Uncommon Geek. Edited for a better reading experience versus what I created back in 2013.