24 August 2011

A Trekkie, I Do Confess It

I am so old school when it comes to matters of Star Trek. I like the original series best, prefer some of the older novels (Diane Duane*, Diane Carey**, Margaret Wander Bonano***, and Janet Kagan****), and thought the reboot movie with two Spocks and the destruction of the entire previous timeline/storyline to be entertaining as a movie but total do-do when it comes to the Start Trek mythology proper.

But while I may be old school, I am always ready to be amused. A Tumblr blog called Spock is Not Impressed takes a single idea - Photoshopping this one image of Mr. Spock - and runs with it.  I've been wanting to learn Photoshop - this may be my motivation for doing so! 

All above images from Spock is Not Impressed


* Diane Duane is, to my mind, the best writer of the ST novels.  She crafts her sentences well and has a keen ear for affect and a keen eye in description.  Her first ST novel, The Wounded Sky captures the crisp yet affectionate comaraderie of the Enterprise crew and the wonderment of Space that we 1960s NASA babies still cherish. 

Her more extensive series -- Rihannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages --  takes as its jumping off point a TV episode moment of espionage by Kirk and Spock.  Duane demonstrates her writerly craftiness well: the Romulans ("Rihannsu" as they call themselves) maintain a strong code of honor and nobility similar to that of the Ancient Romans of Earth.  When writing of them, Duane's language shifts into a more stylized, epic sensibility.  I appreciate writers who have that kind of sensitivity to context and character.

** Diane Carey has a fine, intense way with a ST story.  Some are better than others - in my opinion, of course.  She is prolific, that's fer shur, having written 30 ST novels so far.  That may be why the quality varies.  It's hard to maintain a high tone of story, tone, and writerliness at that pace. 

My 2 favorite of hers are Best Destiny (a tale of Kirk as a smart-ass teen who finally figures it out; life, that is) and Final Frontier (where we meet Kirk's father, George, and see where Kirk gets his integrity gene). 

Ms. Carey doesn't appear to have a website - at least I wasn't able to locate one.  A list of her books is at this wikipedia page.

*** Margaret Wander Bonanno's relationship with the world of ST has been a bit rocky due to Paramount's uneven handling of the ST universe with regards to the authors they hire.  "Play the game our way, get published" seems to have been the Paramount mantra for awhile.  But I think she, like Carey, made the mistake of thinking the ST universe was her own.  I stopped reading her stuff when it seemed to me that her non-ST book The Others was an affair with the Vulcan way - the kind of story referred to in the fan-fic biz as a "Mary Sue."

[from Wikipedia]: "A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader. It is generally accepted as a character whose positive aspects overwhelm their other traits until they become one-dimensional. While the label "Mary Sue" itself originates from a parody of this type of character, most characters labeled "Mary Sues" by readers are not intended by authors as such. Male Mary Sues are often dubbed "Gary Stu", "Larry Stu", "Marty Stu", or similar names."
I don't mean this as a slam on either author.  If I wrote anything for ST it would be totally a Mary Sue novel!  In its idealized form, the ST Universe is a great and desirable place to be.

Her best ST books - again, in my opinion - are Dwellers in the Crucible and Strangers From the Sky.  In both she captures the deep emotional connections that ST characters often share.

 **** The late Janet Kagan wrote one gorgeous ST novel, Uhura's Song.  Its writing is a tad stilted, and Spock is unlike any Spock I saw in the original series, but the story is fully realized and the story both a romp and a reminder of the ST ethos of the IDIC (Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations).  What I especially admire is that she snuck in a believable, non-stereotyped gay character (Rushlight to-Vensre the Bard). It's not stated in the book that he is gay, but Kagan noted this in an online comment I read somewhere (an old NaNoWriMo forum, I think).

If you are totally ST geeking at this point, let me refer you to this Wikipedia article which is a list of all the ST novels published to date.  You're welcome!

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