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Free books!

Some of you may know that I inherited a fairly large science fiction library from my college sci-fi club. The rare and historically significant books are preserved in a rare book library, but I’m left with a bajillion “common,” or not valuable, popular books, which I am sorting through for donation.

Among them I found quite a few Star Trek novels. If anyone on The Viewscreen is interested in these, please let me know. I’ll be happy to post them (even internationally) to a fan rather than donate them, where they will likely to be tossed for lack of interest.

Some are very well read and have many creases (the TNG books mostly); others are in fine shape for 30-year-old books. Here’s the list. Leave me a note in the comments and e-mail me at torie@theviewscreen.com. If you can chip in a buck or two for postage that’s great, but if not, I’ll send them anyway.

List is below the fold.

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Ten Forward Now Open For Business!

Some of you have stumbled upon it already, but I’d like to announce officially that Ten Forward–our previously discussed forums area–is up and running in beta.*

We’ve started an introduction thread, so drop in and say hello!

* I’m still working out some kinks, so if you have any issues let me know.


Deck 10, Section 1: A Room With A View

From the get-go, our goal with this project was to create a fun space where people could have intelligent, interesting conversations (mostly about Star Trek). I like to think of us more as party hosts than exhibitors, and to that end we had always contemplated creating some way for you to chat easily with or without us, on- or off-topic.

We’ve been blessed with a group of ridiculously smart and entertaining folks that I’d be happy to talk to any time of day. To that end, I’m thinking of creating a mailing list or forum space for people to talk Star Trek and beyond: from sharing info on upcoming Star Trek events to crowdsourcing the worthiness of the latest Tintin movie.  It could also be a good way for those not interested in TNG to stay in touch while we continue the re-watch. Mostly I imagine it as a chance to just be friendly and chat about life, the universe, and everything, like the usenet days of yore when the internet didn’t have any 2.0s after it.

I don’t want to talk to myself so I figured I’d toss the idea out to the general crowd. Any interest in this whatsoever? And do people prefer a mailing list (pro: more private and convenient to check; con: potentially voluminous e-mail, possibly unwelcoming to newbies) to a web-based forum (pro: you can easily ignore uninteresting threads; con: publicly available* and requires checking an obviously non-work-related website).

* In the interest of privacy I could, however, make it a registered users/members-only forum.


Thank you

One year ago today, Torie and I posted our first Star Trek Re-Watch post on this site, “Spock’s Brain.” (Sorry about that.) When we launched The Viewscreen, we weren’t sure if we would even have an audience over here, but we were surprised and pleased that so many readers followed us and faithfully participated in weekly discussions of one of our favorite television series.

We are thrilled that this site has developed such a terrific community of amazing, intelligent people from all over the world and widely different backgrounds, united only by an interest in Star Trek–even if we don’t always agree. (Especially if we don’t always agree.) We appreciate every one of you. As we conclude “season one” of The Viewscreen, Torie and I thank you for your support, for making this site what it is today, and for giving it a future that we can hopefully all explore together.

Live long and prosper.


Happy 45th Birthday, Star Trek!

On September 8, 1966, the United Nations first promoted International Literacy Day; Elizabeth II opened the Severn Bridge in the UK; and some TV show about people in space seeking out new life and new civilizations premiered.

Star Trek, I hope 45 years is just the beginning. Happy birthday!


And because it’s not a party without cake, here are some of the best Star Trek cakes I could find.

[Made by DecadentDiva]

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Open Thread: Galaxy Quest

Since there won’t be a substantial post for a little while longer…

Gwen DeMarco: What is this thing? I mean, it serves no useful purpose for there to be a bunch of chompy, crushy things in the middle of a hallway! No, I mean we shouldn’t have to do this, it makes no logical sense, why is it here?!
Jason Nesmith: ‘Cause it’s on the television show.
Gwen DeMarco: Well forget it! I’m not doing it! This episode was badly written!

Open thread, by virtue of being open, is not actually restricted to discussing Galaxy Quest. But who can resist? I missed this movie entirely in theaters and only saw it years later, as part of an Alan Rickman: Beneath His Dignity marathon at my college SF club.  (Just an excuse to watch Prince of Thieves, really. Though I also vaguely remember watching a terrible romantic comedy.) At least half the jokes were lost on me at the time.

What I find so striking now, being a much more hardened Trekkie than I was then, is how well Galaxy Quest (as a parody!) captures the sincerity of the original show and honors it. What destroys the Thermians is the idea that these people who embody virtue and all that is noble and good are lying. Star Trek has always been unapologetic in its idealism. It’s nice to see that aspect of it not ridiculed in the least but held up as a virtue–and as more than that, something sort of sacred.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite line. “That was a hell of a thing!” No, wait. “By Grabthar’s hammer… what a savings.” Or maybe it’s the one about Gilligan’s Island


“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?


Stellar Cartography, from NASA & Caltech to your Mac or PC

As reported by Subspace Communique, NASA has made the best part of Star Trek Generationsstellar cartography–real. It’s called “Eyes on the Solar System” and it’s a browser-based 3-D environment that uses actual NASA mission data.

Explore the cosmos from your computer. Hop on an asteroid. Fly with NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft. See the entire solar system moving in real time. It’s up to you. You control space and time.

You’re welcome.


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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