Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thrilling Wonder Stories

Haven't actually read all of this yet, but on the off chance that anyone reading this missed the news over at TrekBBS...

The second volume of the revived Thrilling Wonder Stories (a classic SF pulp magazine long ago, now a trade paperback series) is a Star Trek special. There's a bunch of short stories (SF, not Trek) by writers who've written for Star Trek, some reprints (by Harlan Ellison and Theodore Sturgeon, among others), some new, and several Trek-related nonfiction articles. Here's the back cover copy:
They imagined new worlds... new life... new civilizations

They're the writers of Star Trek and we've got them here!

All-new stories from writers of TV Trek:
David Gerrold ("The Trouble With Tribbles")
Norman Spinrad ("The Doomsday Machine")
Larry Niven (the animated series' "The Slaver Weapon")
Michael Reaves (TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before") and Steve Perry
Diane Duane (TNG's "Where No One Has Gone Before")
Melinda M. Snodgrass (TNG's "The Measure of a Man")
David R. George III (Voyager's "Prime Factors")

and classic stories from
Jerry Sohl ("The Corbomite Maneuver")
Richard Matheson ("The Enemy Within")
Harlan Ellison ("The City on the Edge of Forever")
Theodore Sturgeon ("Amok Time")
Plus "Arena" by Fredric Brown, the basis of the TV episode, and an unproduced original series storyline by George Clayton Johnson ("The Man Trap")

Marc Scott Zicree, novelist and writer of DS9's "Far Beyond the Stars," celebrates the literary writers who worked on big and small-screen Trek

Crystal Ann Taylor tells the behind-the-scenes story of "World Enough and Time," award-winning episode of Internet series Star Trek: Phase II with George Takei as Sulu

Adam Weiner says "I Canna Change the Laws of Physics!"... but the writers of Star Trek don't have any such qualms!

We take you inside Columbus of the Stars, a 1964 television series proposed by writer-director Ib Melchior (Robinson Crusoe on Mars) about a multinational starship crew visiting unexplored worlds... and show how the pitch crossed paths with a writer-producer named Gene Roddenberry
So it's not technically a Star Trek book, certainly not an official one... but it's a book that should be of interest to anyone who's a fan of Star Trek in particular and science fiction in general. For more information, or to order a copy, visit the Thrilling Wonder Stories website.

Over a Torrent Sea

I meant to do a proper, lengthy review of Over a Torrent Sea, but the last month or so has been a bit chaotic. Getting back from a week and a half housesitting with Laura at her dad's place (keeping an eye on two cats and two dogs, one of the latter old and ill), getting back in time to prepare for my first job interview in too long and then dealing with the disappointment of not getting it, only to get another interview elsewhere for a job I'd've been a really good fit for, and then not getting that either... well, it hasn't been conducive to concentrating on long novels and writing a lot about them.

All that said, here's a quick comment.

Over a Torrent Sea is what I've come to expect from both a Titan novel and a Christopher Bennett novel. It's the kind of science fiction storytelling that Star Trek books don't often do, being about exploration and worldbuilding. In other words, not unlike Bennett's last Titan novel, Orion's Hounds. This time around it's planet-based exploration, but it's no ordinary planet. The Titan crew explore a water world and its mysterious life forms. There's a lot of exploration of the science of this kind of planet and its inhabitants, but I didn't find it excessive or difficult to follow (apparently some readers on the TrekBBS did). Meanwhile, there's a lot of character exploration as well, with Riker, Troi, Ree, Lavena, Pazlar, and Ra-Havreii getting a lot of attention this time around.

The book's B-story is a bit of an odd fit in some respects; at first it feels more like it's about building on events from the Destiny trilogy relating to Troi's pregnancy than being a part of this story, but it does explore Ree's character. Also, being about Troi's pregnancy, it ties in to the other story threads that relate to families and relationships. As I recall, Bennett was somewhat surprised by the extent to which people found family to be a strong theme throughout his last Next Generation novel, Greater Than the Sum, but it's really prominent here.

I found the last Titan novel, Geoffrey Thorne's Sword of Damocles, a frustrating read; it seemed like a new author trying too hard to do something different stylistically and not quite pulling it off. So I'm happy that (in my opinion, of course) Over a Torrent Sea is a solid return to form for the Titan series.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Chronic Rift presents Canon Fodder

The latest episode of the Chronic Rift podcast is available, and it features yours truly as the fan perspective in a discussion of media tie-in books. The host is John S. Drew and the pros are Keith R.A. DeCandido and Jeff Mariotte. It was fun, and may sound like it, too, so why not check it out? You can get it from iTunes, the Rift web site, or podOmatic's Rift page (links swiped from KRAD's LJ).

Back around 1992 or so I ended up in a science fiction fan roundtable on the local CBC radio station's afternoon drive time show, because a co-worker knew I was a fan and his wife was a producer at the station who was looking for people to participate. I have a tape of it around here somewhere, but haven't listened to it. Probably just as well. In the podcast discussion, I was dealing with a couple of people I've interacted with online, and one whose blog I used to read regularly, all of whom I've read fiction by. I was a lot more comfortable this time around.

Thanks for inviting me, John!