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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Interview floating in Shark Infested Waters

For those who missed the interview Taylor Kent did with me Thursday night, here's your chance to listen to it! Not live, but as a podcast. It is currently up at the Shark Infested Waters site. Check it out when you  get a chance.

I want to take this opportunity to say that I had a fun time with Taylor. Thank you Taylor for interviewing me and for the enthusiastic endorsement of Transforming Realities--he gave it "5 out of 5 shark bites" (which means its great!) and said that he felt it was the Pilgrim's Progress for a new generation.  I couldn't ask for a better review!

Be sure to check out Taylor's other shows and drop by for a live interview some time. They are always entertaining.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Live Interview!

That's right! Live, as in, listen to me babble in real time. Call and ask me inane questions, and probably receive inane answers as well!

When?  -- Thursday, 5/28/09, at 8:30pm Central Standard Time.

Where? -- at Shark Infested Waters

Listen in, and/or call in. We'll be talking specifically about my new novel, Transforming Realties. It would be cool to chat with folk about that or whatever else you'd like to ask me. See you then!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Star Trek Movie Review

I've not done a lot of movie reviews, so take this for what it's worth. But being a long time Star Trek fan, though not in as deep as some others, it brought some thoughts to my mind as I watched it tonight and thought about it afterwards. So, here it goes without revealing any major plot spoilers.

First, I'll say for sheer fun, the movie delivers on several levels. My wife is not a big action movie fan, and the wrong kind of tension can make her not like a movie. For instance, she hated the Mr. Bean Movie because of the tension of what he would destroy next. She's not into "gross" stuff, like the one instance where the bug is dropped into a Star Fleet officer to get info out of him, pointing back to the "Wrath of Khan" movie opening. But despite that one scene she didn't care for, her rating of this movie is "excellent."  Anyone who isn't a big Star Trek fan will enjoy this movie. It has the story, the character interaction, and even some genuinely funny moments without being stupid (well, okay, maybe one was a little on the stupid side, but it was played so well you really didn't notice).

But what about ST fans? That was the biggest issue for fans of the old series. There are so many pot holes this movie could have fallen into taking on iconic figures like Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Could these actors really pull off making you believe they were these characters?

I'll have to say a resounding yes. The main characters, while not dead duplicates of the originals, one really could believe they were the younger versions of the original cast. They even studied it appears, because you saw many characteristic traits of the original actors that really sold the suspension of disbelief. Even something as simple as the way Kirk leans over shouted, "Captain Kirk" at me. Not all was the same, for sure. And if there was one aspect that bothered me at all, it was Zachary Quinto's Spock. He did a wonderful job of bringing the young Spock to life. But, and this isn't a big thing, but it did hit me, the way his mouth is shaped makes it appear he's about to break out into a smile at any moment. Just the slight upturned corners of his mouth, even in dead serious moments, that worked against him and deviated from the Spock character.

Luckily, his acting sold me despite that one issue. And I could probably point out a few other things, but overall they did an excellent job taking traits from the original cast and integrating them into these characters in such a way that you felt they really were younger versions of the originals, without simply copying them, and be able to generate that chemistry the original had. To me, that was probably the most difficult aspect of this movie they had to sell and do well if it was to get it right. And my score on them getting that right is 9 out of 10. Thank goodness.

The other aspect for Star Trek fans is simply whether it "fits" into the spirit of the original series and with what has gone before. They are able to do a prequel without doing a prequel. And without revealing too much spoiler, I'll just say they've set this up where the future for more such movies or even another TV series with this crew won't conflict with the older series.

But, keeping the spirit is still important even if you find a way to give yourself more plot freedom. One of my fears is that this would be another modern retooling of the Star Trek world into something more darker, dreerer, and depressing. While the trend nowdays appears to be for the gritter, darker, almost soap opera style shows, those don't fit the Star Trek universe. Yes, you have an evil villian, the prospects look bleak, and Kirk manages to nearly escape death...even as a kid, several times. Yet, running through that is Kirk's "never give up" attitude, his refusal to avoid a no-win situation even in the face of certain defeat. And somehow, he does come out on top. Who'da thunk it?

They succeed at creating the feel of the original series even while modernizing the movie experience itself. Even the humor fits to keep the movie from getting too heavy. You get a sense of the energy and unexpectedness of Kirk especially as you did in the original series. Maybe even more so. Simply put, it felt like the spark of the original series was there, it felt like a swashbuckling adventure. They get a 10 out of 10 on that score. Thank goodness.

One other aspect they have managed to maintain from not only the original series, but the francise as a whole, and that is plot holes. I do have to say, in some aspects, they make a more realistic film. Like, how a ship would go into warp from an objective observer is more realistic than how it is done in STNG. Space noises not being heard, for the most part, is another. But there were questions in my mind on some points (none of this gives away anything critical).

For instance, this drill the enemy uses to drill to the planet's core...dangled from the ship in space? One, why would they want to dangle it down like that, just shoot it from the ship. Then your critical drilling platform isn't exposed to anyone with a handy ray gun or armed ship.

And then, why didn't Star Fleet send up ships to just shoot thing thing out of the sky, as exposed as it was? That would have been a simpler solution.

And then there is the black hole thing. Getting caught in one, and the stress of running the engines against the gravitational pull of one causes cracks to form in the ceiling, and explosion strong enough to break them from its pull causes nar a dent! Hum.

And why is Star Fleet so blind to the obvious? If ejecting the ship's core can create such a huge explosion, why don't they equip their photon torpedoes with those things instead? One direct hit would destroy the Borg and this enemy to. Boom! Game over. Yet in my memory, they've never decided to equip their weapons with warp-core explosives. Hum.

So, yes, it keeps the spirit of the series! And in a good way. What you have is fun for Trek fans and non-Trek fans alike. Strangely enough, this is like your daddy's Star Trek, and yet, it's so much more as well. For what it's worth, it's a must see movie for not only space opera fans, but anyone who likes engaging characters, a keep-you-on-your-toes plot, and great special effects. The new Star Trek movie delivers.