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Star Trek Tech #1: The Transporter

August 13, 2014

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What is it? The Transporter

What does it do? Transports, beams, breaks down a lot

How does it work?

Far as I can tell, the Transporter takes all your molecules/atoms, puts them into a holding pattern, chooses a new place to put you…either the nearest planet or starship…or Q’onos if you find yourself in that universe…and then puts all your molecules back together again. In the exact same order. With no interruption to the routine operation of your body, and no need to look at someone’s fingers and say a number. It seems to be based on the principle that humans are merely biological machines, not spiritual beings [I think]. I mean, I don’t think your soul can be taken apart and re-assembled…can it?

Which episodes is it used in?

Pretty much all of them, except ‘Enterprise’ because it’s only just been invented in that series.

Benefits?

Most of them are fairly obvious…

1] You can get somewhere faster [without needing to fly over Ukraine].

2] You can escape from awkward situations before they become impossible to survive e.g. talking shit to Klingons, being lectured by Picard, waking up next to Neelix

3] You can eliminate diseases from people.

Actually, I don’t know if this one is viable or not. For example, would cancer be excisable using this method? Theoretically, it must be as you could just beam out the cancerous cells, but would there be side effects if a chunk of you is missing when you rematerialize?

I really don’t know for sure how cancer works. Maybe someone else could answer this?

4] You can rescue that Chinese Nobel Prize winner from prison. And, to be completely objective, all those poor bastards having their balls whipped in Guantanamo Bay. Read more…

Horror Fiction [kind of]: Leopard People

August 6, 2014

leopard_people

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This was first published on Martian Lit about a year and a half ago…

I think enough time has passed to put it up here too.

It’s one of my favourite stories because it’s close to horror without actually being horror…you never see the leopard actually kill anyone.

And it has a beautiful cover image down by Soren Melville

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Lermontov got on the plane back to Russia and put the jacket over his face, trying to picture an airport without people for his return.
He tried not to think of the people he’d let down.
David Warner and his gifts.
The imagination that was no good for him.
How hard it would be…

Me: What?
David Warner: Do you like being here?
Me: No.
David Warner: How many lights do you see?
Me: What?
David Warner: Over there. How many lights?
Me: I don’t…
David Warner: You can leave any time. All you have to do is tell me…how many lights?
Me: How many… Read more…

The Limits of The EMH & Data Reveal The Writers are Only Human

July 30, 2014

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Another one by Two Takes Frakes, this time breaking his trend of writing about sex [except for the part about Data, Spot and Ensign Kellogg]

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The problem I have with Living Holodeck Characters, from a viewer perspective – and writer’s perspective, frankly – is that there’s really no point to them. Until the EMH got his mobile emitter, those rare few characters were sort of tragic, in all that they had was fantasy. Even Vina from The Cage had known all of reality before her accident. And once The Doctor did get his emitter, outside of his innocent fascination with the real world and his invulnerability, he was just learning about The Human Condition. He didn’t even have to be a hologram for that.

But all of these characters are at the mercy of the limitations of a writer’s imagination. They can’t evolve to a perspective that’s truly alien to us, otherwise no one could write for it. So, they ALL plateau at the realization and acquisition of Human sentiments and they never evolve, uniquely. They end up being portrayed just as ordinary people who haven’t lost their sense of wonder. In that sense, the Holodeck is very evil, because it’s not a better or even different song to sing. It just acts as a redress for standard television tropes.

The EMH character in STAR TREK: VOYAGER lost something by handing him so much autonomy, with the mobile emitter. When writers take away the limitations of these special characters, like Data, or The Doctor, these characters turn out not being much different than any ordinary crew member. Apparently realizing this, TNG writers eventually had Data CHOOSE to be limited in the movies after his emotion chip was activated. To keep him interesting, in other words, Data had to revert to acting how he did BEFORE the chip. Otherwise, he just acted like everyone else and only looked different because of his make-up and contacts. Characters like the android Data of TNG and the Hologram Doctor of VOYAGER have incredible story-telling potential. And yet, these inhuman characters are reduced to being overly concerned with the Human Condition. Clumsily, they “explore” such ill-studied phenomenon such as the value of friendship, and dead-end “relationships,” with wide-eyed wonder and innocent fascination. Read more…

Big Ass Shark: an interview with Briar Lee Mitchell [SPOILERS]

July 25, 2014

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Book: Big Ass Shark

Author: Briar Lee Mitchell

Publisher: Permuted Press

Plot: There’s a shark. It’s big.

Details: This isn’t a review, but I have mixed my thoughts on the book into the questions, and Briar was kind enough to answer them without getting pissed off.

In short: the book is good.

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Oli: The tone seemed to be somewhere between jaws and piranha(not the pervy remake). Was that intentional?
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Briar Lee Mitchell: No, just started with the story and let the characters take me where they wanted to go.
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Oli: I’ve often heard that line…’the characters took me where they wanted to go’. How exactly does that happen? Which parts did the characters not follow your plot outline?
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Briar: When I write, I know the beginning and most of the ending. As the characters come to life in my head, sometimes things they do or say can lead to interesting side stories to develop or help explain major plot points. Letting characters do that is one of my favorite things about writing. Rigid outlines make me crazy.
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Oli: The main character was a wannabe actress called misty. One scientist was a grumpy Scot(at first). The biggest prick was a Japanese guy who harpoons a whale. Did you know you were skating so close to parody?
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Briar: There was intentional humor…however no, I wasn’t picking on any groups when I selected good guys/bad guys. If it looks like parody, that is unintentional.

Read more…

Best of Trek: Star Trek VI // The Undiscovered Country

July 19, 2014

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Plot: The Klingons have over-mined their moon, Praxis, making half of it blow up and endanger their home planet somehow. According to the UN, they have 50 years before it becomes uninhabitable [judging by how smoggy it looks in TNG episodes, I'd say Klingons can tolerate quite a bit]. Spock volunteers Kirk to escort the Klingon Chancellor to peace talks on Earth, and Kirk invites everyone to dinner so he can insult the eye-patch commander with a Hitler reference. Before long, the Chancellor is dead, the Klingons are angry and Kirk is arrested for assassination. McCoy is also arrested due to gross incompetence. Chekov is Russian.

Subplot: Spock is training Samantha from ‘Sex and the City’ to be the new Spock. Scotty, Uhura and Chekov do their jobs, the same jobs they’ve always done. Sulu is captain of a ship he’s willing to fly apart to get more screen time.

What’s so good about it?

After Star Trek 5, Kirk meets Howard the Duck would’ve been regarded as a step up, but this one goes way beyond that. I don’t like to do comparisons because most of the Trek films are shit, but this one is definitely in the top three, probably behind ‘Wrath of Khan’ and ‘Insurrection’.

Insurrection?

Yes. The one in my head where there’s an actual insurrection, preferably involving Romulans or Klingons, and not just Picard and other old people running away from flying robots trying to transport boring people onto a ship neither deadly nor particularly dirty and…it wasn’t even their home planet, why couldn’t they just…

The Klingons

If you’ve read ‘The Final Reflection’, which was the first book to flesh out Klingon Culture, you’ll know how interesting they are. They’re not as one-dimensional as the Original Series often paints them to be…yes, they like to fight, but they also like to strategise, drink, fuck, laugh etc., and some of them even like to do these things with other aliens.

In this movie, you get one guy [the Chancellor] who is quite charming and respectful, and you get another guy [Chang] who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing. I really don’t know why Kirk doesn’t suspect him as one of the traitors as soon as he steps off the transporter pad. He looks like a killer, and every line he says is laced with threat. Not sure about the Shakespeare quotes though… Read more…

Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One

July 13, 2014

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Be warned, this is not really an analysis of the character, more a look at why she was wearing that skin-tight uniform and why it was such a problem with some people.

Written by 2 Takes Frakes

SOME BACKGROUND ON 7 OF 9, FIRST:
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Jeri Ryan has aged pretty well, but in The Nineties, she was a blonde
bombshell with bulging eyes and puffy lips like some anime character
and a really nice rack. But more, even than this, she was – and is -
fairly talented. In a lot of ways, having landed the role of an
unassimilated Borg in STAR TREK: VOYAGER, around this time, she proved
herself to be the precursor to Cylon #6 of Battlestar Galactica.

The Seven of Nine character would first appear in the two-part episode
“Scorpion” and after a massive publicity campaign, VOYAGER’s sagging
ratings jumped sky-high. Her form-fitting catsuits and Ice Queen
demeaner proved a huge hit with fanboys. She was born into a Human
family which had been assimilated by The Borg. Her birthname was
Annika Hansen, and even though Seven’s connection with The Borg had
been severed, once she became part of VOYAGER, she never reverted
back to her original name. But she did have lots of flashbacks, over
several seasons, regarding her Human childhood. Still, Human emotions
remained difficult for her to contend with as she found herself
becoming VOYAGER’s Science Officer – echoing Mister Spock, in some
ways.

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In every other way, however, Seven of Nine – with plenty of help from
Jeri Ryan’s hot body – was raw sex-appeal. She started out wearing a
silver catsuit that was kind of ribbed, in an interesting way. And her
ASSets were enhanced to the Nth degree with this “uniform,” but the
raised collar had caused her some problems. Eventually, we would see
Seven of Nine in the standard, form-hugging catsuits worn by Deanna
Troi (Marina Siritis) of STAR TREK: The Next Generation. And like
Marina, Jeri had more curves than a bowl of oranges. Read more…

Message for Richard Kelly [The Sucking - script notes]

July 6, 2014

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FAO: Richard Kelly

Subject: Notes on ‘The Sucking’/scene ideas

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Hey man, as requested, here are some notes I’ve made on ‘ The Sucking’. I know it’s taken a while, but you said you’d be busy on that Box sequel for a few months, so I thought it’d be better if I stretched out and took my time. The script is only 20 pages old so far, but will defo be done by the end of the month. I think it’s looking pretty good…could even be your golden ticket back inside the factory, if JabbaWonka’s in a forgiving mood…

Btw, these are just notes I’m making as I write. Let me know what you think/what you hate etc.

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Film title: The Sucking [TBC]

Setting: Hong Kong [Kowloon side, away from the bankers/spoilt rich kids]

Budget: Whatever you can scam out of leftover D.D. fans…

Genre: Bizarro

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Plot: Not sure if you remember all the details, but here’s a recap anyhow.A guy discovers that in order to gain access to unknown knowledge of the Universe and how it works, he has to suck the talent out of local artists. But there’s a catch. The artists must have genuine talent, or he will feel sick and possibly even die. Like Russian Roulette, only with quantifiable talent instead of bullets. So, the bulk of the film consists of him going around different art galleries and communes of Hong Kong [Fo Tan, Kwun Tong, Cattle Depot etc], trying to understand what is and what isn’t good art. And if he finds some good stuff, he starts killing and sucking. Also, his sidekick is an 18 year old girl he met on the internet, who worships every move he makes but understands little about art. Obviously, he dominates her, but to make him a little more sympathetic, he is aware he is dominating her and tries to guide her into standing up for herself more. Of course, when she does, he knocks her back down. He’s a complicated dude, and a real human being. Or human being witch. The emotions are the same anyway. It’ll work.

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Scene ideas [various, no real order or design behind them yet...]

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1] The main guy has sex with the 18 year old in dominant positions. He’s always in control. Intercut this with scenes of him trying to tell her to disagree with him or stand up for herself.

[The 18 year old could become a 14 year old to give us more edge/sleaze] Read more…

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