About Author: Eugene Myers

E(ugene).C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts. He has published four novels and short stories in various magazines and anthologies, most recently 1985: Stori3s from SOS. His first novel, Fair Coin, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SF and Fantasy. He currently writes for the science fiction serial ReMade from Serial Box Publishing.

Posts by Eugene Myers


Star Trek: The Animated Series Re-Watch: Introductory Post

Though I knew of the existence of an animated Star Trek series almost since I began following the original series as a kid, I didn’t get a chance to watch it until college.

That might have been too late.

Don’t get me wrong. I love cartoons even more than I love Star Trek, so an animated series should have been the perfect thing for me, especially since it features the voices of most of the original cast. Several writers returned, and even Gene Roddenberry was back at the helm! But just as the live-action show was a product of its time, its animated incarnation is a product of the early 70s, budget constraints, and the Saturday morning wasteland for which it was designed. Sadly, the weakest aspect of the animated series is… its animation. If the first feature film can be called Star Trek: The Motionless Picture, this show could best be described as Star Trek: The Barely-Animated Series.

And yet, the animated series was a rare second chance for the franchise on network television. The moniker “Star Trek: The Animated Series” (or the slightly clunkier “The Animated Adventures of Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek“) is merely used for convenience; the show’s title is simply Star Trek, and it is very much a continuation of the original series. Despite attempts by the creators and studios to exclude the show from canon over the years, most people view it as the continuing voyages of the Enterprise’s first five-year mission. It even used the same writers’ bible, and many plot elements and aliens are referenced in the films and later series, including J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film.

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“Surely the best of times.”

This news is only tangentially related to Star Trek, but I’m thrilled to announce that I have just sold my first novel, Fair Coin, to Lou Anders at Pyr! Lou has some history with Trek, and it’s very likely that one of my favorite episodes of the original series may have influenced some elements of the book. It’s young adult speculative fiction, but I don’t want to divulge too much about the plot right now; however, I think I can safely say that some of our re-watch community here will get a kick out of it when it’s published. And who knows, perhaps one day a careless starship crew will leave a copy of my novel behind on an impressionable planet and inspire a whole new way of life. What an awesome responsibility. I accept it gladly.

There’s a little more information over at my author website.

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METAtropolis: Cascadia Launch Day!

Fans of good science fiction and Star Trek will be interested in this new audiobook, METAtropolis: Cascadia, an anthology of linked stories set in a futuristic version of the Pacific Northwest. This collection is the sequel to the Hugo Award-nominated METAtropolis (which included narration by actors from Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica) and features new fiction by four of its authors: Elizabeth Bear, Tobias S. Buckell, Jay Lake (who introduced the Cascadia setting in his METAtropolis story, “In the Forests of the Night” | free download), and Karl Schroeder, now joined by Mary Robinette Kowal and Ken Scholes. Their stories are brought to life by the voice talents of familiar Trek actors:

“The Bull Dancers” by Jay Lake, read by René Auberjonois
“Water to Wine” by Mary Robinette Kowal, read by Kate Mulgrew
“Byways” by Tobias S. Buckell, read by Wil Wheaton
“Confessor” by Elizabeth Bear, read by Gates McFadden
“Deodand” by Karl Schroeder, read by Jonathan Frakes
“A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves” by Ken Scholes, read by LeVar Burton

Audio samples of each story are available at the METAtropolis site, along with information about the authors and video interviews with the narrators, and you can download the audiobook at Audible.com or iTunes. This is the perfect combination of two of my favorite things, speculative fiction short stories and Star Trek; as soon as I can get a copy of it, I may review the anthology on this site as a whole or one story at a time in weekly installments.

Do you listen to audiobooks or any fiction podcasts? Does a celebrity narrator or voice talent you like influence your decision to download a story, or do you only care about the author?


Star Trek 2 Villain Rumors: It’s Probably Not General Zod

As development ramps up on the untitled sequel to the 2009 Star Trek reboot film, plot and casting rumors are as inevitable as Vulcan ponn farr. J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Damon Lindelof are still working on the script, but people are already conjecturing about the possible storylines and characters we’ll see as early as June 2012.

The latest revelations, according to Trekmovie.com and Badass News, dangle the possibility of a classic Trek antagonist challenging the crew of the Enterprise. It seems many fans would happily go where we’ve gone before with a modern take on “Space Seed” and the return of a pre-wrathful Khan Noonien Singh. I think that would be a mistake given the iconic nature of Ricardo Montalban’s performance and the fact that the original Star Trek II has pretty big boots to fill. Come to think of it, “Space Seed” itself is a tough act to follow.

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Eugene’s (unspoiled!) Review of Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

I have a long history with Star Trek. Not as long as some people can claim, and certainly not as long as the franchise’s own history, but I’ve spent roughly half of my relatively brief life on Earth as a con-going, trivia-quoting fan. I’ve seen the good and the bad, and while the series at its best can be mind-blowingly amazing, one can argue that after five television series and ten movies, there are more bad hours of Trek than good.

J.J. Abrams’ new movie definitively tips the balance back to the good side.

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Touring the Future: Star Trek: The Exhibition

Star Trek: The Exhibition is a traveling exhibit of ship models, props, set recreations, and costumes from the 43-year history of the franchise, from all five series and eleven movies. Its website claims this to be the largest such collection of “authentic Star Trek artifacts and information ever put on public display,” but it’s unknown if that indicates the combined features of its various installations. The Exhibition is produced by Premier Exhibitions Inc, and is currently in the second year of its “five-year mission” of touring the United States, appropriately enough visiting space centers and museums around the country. Having completed stints at San Diego Air & Space and the Arizona Science Center, it is currently open at the Detroit Science Center in Detroit, Michigan (through September 13) and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (through September 20).

Because the Exhibition is split up across two venues, each features different collections and may consequently result in a different experience. The Detroit Science Center includes a detailed recreation of the Bridge of the Enterprise NCC-1701 (As Scotty says in the TNG episode “Relics”: “No bloody A, B, C, or D.”), recreations of Captain Picard’s quarters (TNG), Picard’s command chair, and a full-scale replica of the 1701-D transporter room. In comparison, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia highlights Kirk’s command chair (TOS), the Bridge of the Enterprise NCC-1701-D, and recreations of Sickbay and Engineering. Both attractions offer a Star Trek ride in a full-motion flight simulator (for an extra fee). I gather that many of these installations are similar to those at the Las Vegas Star Trek: The Experience themed attraction, which closed in September 2008 and is slated to reopen sometime next year in the Neonopolis Mall.

Sadly, photography is not allowed anywhere in the Exhibit, but you can have your picture taken in the captain’s chair, on the Bridge, or on the transporter (there’s a green screen set at the Franklin Institute) for an exorbitant fee. They aren’t asking for gold-pressed latinum, but they may as well; though the photographers are cagey about admitting their prices while taking your photo, on checkout you’ll discover packages include two digital prints for about $27, or one for $22. On a totally unrelated note, staff does not confiscate cell phones or digital cameras, and security officers are only slightly more attentive than those on the Enterprise—at least at the Franklin Institute, which I had the opportunity to visit last month.

From the slideshow on the official website, things you won’t see in Philadelphia include a Klingon command chair; Nichelle Nichols’s TOS uniform; 1701-D corridors; Picard’s first season uniform and dress uniform; uniforms and costumes from Deep Space Nine (Sisko’s fifth season uniform and a Kai’s outfit); uniforms from Voyager (Neelix and Seven of Nine); Harlan Ellison’sTM Guardian of Forever; Borg prosthetics; ship models including Klingon birds-of-prey and shuttles, 1701-D, the refit 1701-A, and a freaking Borg cube. Okay, I feel cheated. Go to Detroit!

But if your transporter is offline and you can’t make it to Detroit in time, the Franklin Institute is still worthwhile, though your mileage may vary depending on your relationship with the assorted series. Some highlights for me were the Borg Queen’s costume from Star Trek: First Contact; Klingon weaponry; a Dabo table from Quark’s bar (DS9); uniforms and costumes from the shows and movies; various face masks, including Odo and Neelix; and a collection of combadges. The exhibit is heavily focused on costumes, and there’s a good assortment of them. Ruk’s muumuu from “What Are Little Girl’s Made Of?” was there, along with Deanna Troi’s dresses (which are even more hideous in person), Khan’s chest-baring outfit, the Grand Nagus Zek’s clothing, and even uniforms from the new Star Trek movie. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of props from Star Trek: Nemesis, including the disassembled B-4, though happily Enterprise was downplayed a bit.

The Exhibit is billed as a “History of the Future,” perhaps taking a page from the Star Trek Chronology by Michael and Denise Okuda, Star Trek experts who defined much of the look of the TNG-era series. (Don’t miss some “Okudagrams,” easter eggs hidden in the display panels in the exhibit!) As such, it provides a mixed experience for hardcore and casual fans, though it should appeal to both. Some background information on the series is provided, mainly in videos running throughout the exhibit hall, but most of the placards identifying the props treat them as historical artifacts and describe the series events as though they happened (or will happen?). They’re also peppered with typos. In addition, the Exhibition features information about real world science and technology that both inspired and was inspired by Star Trek, such as the US and Russian space programs and cell phones. A teaching guide is available on the website for grades 4-12 for those who would like to justify a class trip to the Exhibition. Hopefully the students will be less bored by the factual material than I was.

In the end, I felt there wasn’t quite enough new information for dedicated fans (who admittedly know everything already) and the wrong kinds of information for casual visitors—including “spoilers” for some of the series. But the exhibit was also much larger than I had expected, so it has something for everyone; just when you think you’ve reached the end, you turn a corner and suddenly you’re on the Bridge. Then when you exit through where Picard’s ready room should be, you’re in another vast room that has more stuff crammed into it.

A major disappointment for me was the fact that so many of the props were replicas based on the originals; I suppose they sold off all the actual props used in the series at the Christie’s auction in 2006. They also call this an “interactive exhibit,” but for the most part this means walking around and touching things, though the site mentions interactive kiosks. It would have been fun to play with a touchscreen panel giving access to the LCARS database, but I guess those are all in Detroit.

There’s a scene in First Contact where Picard and Data visit the Phoenix, the first warp-capable ship, in their own past (but still our future). Picard can’t help touching it:

Picard: It’s a boyhood fantasy… I must have seen this ship hundreds of times in the Smithsonian but I was never able to touch it.
Data: Sir, does tactile contact alter your perception of the Phoenix?
Picard: Oh, yes! For humans, touch can connect you to an object in a very personal way, make it seem more real.
Data: I am detecting imperfections in the titanium casing… temperature variations in the fuel manifold… it is no more “real” to me now than it was a moment ago.
Troi (spotting them): Would you three like to be alone?

For most of us, exhibits like this are the closest we can get to being a part of Star Trek. The Exhibition urges you to “reconnect with your own spirit of adventure,” and I have to say it succeeds at least in that; browsing their collection of props and allowing all that useless trivia to resurface in my mind, I began to remember the things I loved best about Star Trek. And so I left the Franklin Institute, expensive souvenir photos in hand, already looking forward to revisiting the future on my viewscreen at home.

This post originally appeared on Tor.com.


The Star Trek Re-Watch: Introductory Post

3 seasons. 79 episodes. 1,771,561 tribbles.

Torie Atkinson and I will be covering one episode per post, in air date order, from “The Man Trap” to “Turnabout Intruder.” (No use arguing about the “proper” episode order, but if you must, fire away in the comments.) As fascinating as those new HD CGI effects are, we’re watching this series in its original format, cheesy special effects and all, the way the Great Bird of the Galaxy intended. We won’t even skip the bad episodes, because those are the most fun to talk about.

Each post will have a brief summary of the episode, followed by commentary and often interesting bits of trivia. And since Star Trek fans are nothing if not vocal and opinionated, we’ll ask some questions and raise points of debate for everyone to discuss. We also hope you’ll watch along with us, since all the episodes are freely available online at CBS.com, and let’s face it, you probably still have all those VHS tapes, laserdiscs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, and soon Blu-Ray discs that Paramount has issued and re-issued at exorbitant prices.

Torie and I will be alternating episodes and commenting on each other’s posts. Since I’m a card-carrying Trekkie (really, my credit card is sanctioned by the United Federation of Planets), and Torie’s watching many of these episodes for the first time, we think this will provide an interesting look at the series from a Star Trek veteran and someone with a fresh perspective—making our reviews suitable for existing fans and people new to this whole phenomenon.

In case you’re wondering what makes me qualified to talk about Star Trek (as if my credit card weren’t proof enough): I’ve been a huge fan of the show for 18 years (I’m 30 now, but not living in my mother’s basement). I came to the franchise late, beginning with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on HBO. I had previously not only ignored the show but went out of my way to avoid it, until that film showed me just how smart and complex it could be. (Thank goodness I sampled one of the even numbered movies first.) That set me off and I soon went after everything I could get my hands on: Collector’s Edition VHS tapes from my Latin teacher, media tie-in novels, The Next Generation reruns (still my favorite series) and pretty soon thereafter, Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

I gave up on Enterprise. Didn’t you?

Perhaps my strongest qualification is the fact that my name is Eugene, just like Gene Roddenberry! That’s like, fate.

Basically, I love Star Trek, but it’s been a long time since I’ve re-watched it; my tapes were in storage, one of the compromises of living in NYC. I recently panicked when the non-Lucased (can that be a word?) DVDs went out of print, so I bought them all and have just been waiting for an excuse to watch the show again. So far I’m really enjoying this project, and I hope all of you do, too. It should be an interesting voyage.

Torie Atkinson: I’m not even going to try to compete with the Federation credit card, but I assure our readers that I’m well-qualified for such a mission. I’m a long-time Star Trek fan—my first movie was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which I caught on TV as a kid (in my whale biologist phase, no less). I’m pretty sure my parents only watched because it took place near our home town. (Extra credit! Where was ST:IV actually filmed? No Googling, people!) It was kind of history from there: the first series I caught on-air was Voyager, and I worked my way backward. My re-watch of choice tends to be TNG, so I’m a little ashamed to admit that while I’m familiar with a good many of these episodes, this will be my first real sit-down watch-through of the whole shebang.

We’ll start next week with our first episode: “The Man Trap.” Play along at home by watching it free at CBS.com.

I hope I won’t be the only one new to this series, and that you will have fun watching these with us!

A version of this post originally appeared on Tor.com.