Monday, September 25, 2017

Star Trek: Disco

Disco was the revival of dance music. The rock and roll of that began to take hold in the late 60s was for listening, not engaging. But people like to dance so disco grew into the void.

The current Star Trek void has spawned something similar: Star Trek Discovery. And just like the dance music, it’s as easily maligned as it is catchy.

Star Trek Discovery is a prequel, set 10 years before the original series. So I hate it. It’s a closed box, antithetical to the whole theme of Star Trek. It’s also short-sighted, literary and figuratively. The writers need to bend and twist to keep from crossing into future timelines that are not only canon, but beloved. Yes, it’s great seeing a young Serek, but we’re never going see anything beyond Beyond.

There are no ‘ah ha’ moments worth the price of prequel. Even one as beautiful as Discovery.

The pilot looked great. Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin were fresh and fantastic. The design language is a little neon for my tastes, but the details were enthralling.

“It would be unwise to confuse race with culture,” was my favorite line from episode 1, and raised the value of the enterprise (small ‘e’). It made the show worthy of the mantle.

Maybe that will continue. I’m not sure I’ll know. It’s all in the delivery. As in, whether I feel like adding CBS All Access to my list of streaming services. Which makes little sense. It’s not like CBS doesn’t already broadcast into my house. Through an antenna of all things, the savior of all cord-cutters everywhere. The device that is old, with new life. Like . . . I don’t know . . . help me out here . . .

If I were in Europe, I’d watch Disco on Netflix. As it is, I probably watch Saturday Night Fever again.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Going Deep, South

In the months before my birth, my father worked for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. A skinny kid just out of college with a strange, ethnic name. A Yankee. He went down to the deep South to help make sure everyone eligible could register to vote.

He was not supplied a sidearm or Kevlar vest. Just a paper card stating his name and authority given him by the federal government. That’s how he went to rural Alabama to suggest to some that their lifelong convictions about blacks and Jews and anyone else they might not like weren’t squaring with the rest of America. We were, as it states in our Declaration of Independence, all created equal.

Not everyone who took on such a mission lived to tell their story. In fact, my father never really told his. I’d ask, and he’d deflect. I came to learn that he felt sharing his stories carried a tone of self-aggrandizement. He did not go on some grand adventure. He did not go seeking glory. He thought African Americans should be allowed to vote. He was a Conservative and that, once upon a time, was a Conservative value.

I wish he was around to ask all kinds of things, but mostly, lately, I’d love to ask him what he thought about Confederate and Nazi flags, the new KKK and the threat to 52 years of progress. He’s not, so I guess it’s my turn. All our turns to reach down, grab onto the ideals at our cores and decide what we are, as individuals and citizens.

We all need to go deep.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Helsinki and Me

Yep, I'm going to Helsinki to bask in the wonders of science fiction and fresh seafood. I will be working while I'm there, as exhibited by my schedule. I'm just a little bit excited that anyone wants to know my opinion on anything.

My WorldCon schedule.

Thursday, Aug 10, 7:00 PM
Impact of Awards
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Messukeskus, 209 Moderator Caroline Mullan | Teresa Nielsen Hayden | Daryl Gregory | Ran Zhang | Michael J. Martineck

Friday, Aug 11, 3:00 PM
New Publishing
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM | Messukeskus, 206 Orjan Westin | H-P Lehkonen | Michelle Lovi | Gillian Polack | Michael J. Martineck

5:00 PM
So You’ve Decided to Self-Publish. Now what?
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Messukeskus, 215 Moderator Deborah J. Dean | Francesca T Barbini | Jonathan Brazee | Annie Bellet | Michael J. Martineck

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The writing on the wall

Found this on the wall at The River City Cafe in Myrtle Beach. I'm going to embark on a whole new marketing campaign for my book.  I'm going to write on walls.  At first, I thought maybe just the title, but now I'm thinking the full book. Line by line. If you follow me around long enough you can read the damn thing for free.

Which seems counterproductive, but nobody can follow me forever. Not even me.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cupid as Link Boy

This painting was the inspiration for my lastest novel, The Link Boy. How, exactly, does a 19th century oil promote 21st century science fiction? I have only guesses. If I knew how my mind worked, I’d fix it to work better. Here's what I think about the link --

Cupid as Link Boy (1771) was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92), hangs at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, it’s one of those works that lingers in you, despite the hundreds of other works your pass to view it, and long after you’ve left the space.

The painting is a dialectic. It suspends contradictions in one time and place. Link boys were there poorest of the poor, making a few coins a night by holding torches – or links, as they were called – for people leaving clubs or playhouses. They would provide light so the rich could navigate home. They would also lead people into dark alleys and waiting thieves.

Link boys were the playthings of gentlemen pedophiles. Which makes an association with Cupid – God of Love – obscene. The batwings, the phallic torch, the tattered clothes and the pensive look on the innocent little face, redirect the whimsy of the painting’s base. Something wonderful like Cupid, debased by class and industry and birth of our modern society.

Somewhere in there, I found a book about the direction of our modern society, and how the pressures of industry and class can turn a sweet, sweet cherub into a devil.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Star Trek Discovery: Or lack there of

Star Trek Discovery is 10 years before Kirk and Spock? Ten years? Really? Did no one learn the lesson of Enterprise?

It’s actually a pretty simple lesson: The end boxes you in. Sure, there are individual story arcs with fresh characters, but the viewers have already seen the future. They know where this show is headed. I find this take particularly egregious when it comes to the Star Trek franchise, which is all about wide, open ends. Exploration. Going boldly. No box. No ends.

A prequel structure also sets up contradictions. “That’s not how they met the Romulans.” “They don’t meet the whatevers for another 15 years.” Etc. The blips counteract whatever ah ha moments the writers hope to generate by showing an early iteration of what’s to come. The fun of seeing a piece of pipe laid for the future that happened 50 years ago is, well, not that much fun.

I hate to base my ire on a trailer. Still, this looks like a black and blue show. Gray industrial tunnels. Cobalt lighting. Stuff that looked cool when Alien was released in ’79. None of the brilliant, primary color, optimism intrinsic to the design language that launched the series of seven shows, novels, comic books and live entertain experiences.

Maybe the show will be great. Or maybe this new streaming service’s view of the future is painfully short-sighted.

We’ll discover soon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pre-order Now - The Link Boy



The pre-order page is now up on Amazon and looking pretty official. I'm even closer to being actually excited.

The Link Boy