The Quest For Space Princesses

This past Thursday, over at my main blog, I mentioned how I saw a trend in people making their own Star Wars riffs emphasizing the underworld and Mil-SF elements over the traditional Space Opera ones- and that I want to go the other way.

This led to follow-ups from Brian Niemeier (splicing in a similar thread by Alfred Genesson) and Jeffro Johnson and just about all of us figured that the Space Opera audience just isn’t getting enough Space Princes, Princesses, etc. (unless you go to Japan; they’re rarely lacking in such Romantic figures).

We cannot allow a Space Princess gap!

While we have the efforts of a handful of faithful inheritors of Burroughs and E.E. Smith out there, since 1980 at the latest (There’s that date again!) we have (outside of Star Wars) a distinct lacking of Space Princesses and the other key signifiers of the grand Romantic roots of Space Opera in Western media.

Why does this matter? Because you don’t reliably get Superversive without some Romantic elements; they’re roots for a reason. (Hark! I see you romance novelists over there! Shoo, you uncultured barbarians! These are not the ships you’re looking for!) Like it or not, the way a culture embraces the Superversive can be found in the Operatic mythologies it generates and passes on generation after generation- and we in the West are terrible about this outside of Star Wars.

If we are to regenerate our cultures, then we must embrace once more the heroism that our predecessors did and make it our own. Space Opera–made iconic by Princes & Princesses that are commonplace–is how we do this best now, something even superheroes don’t quite handle, and until we do we’re going to be at a disadvantage.

That means that there is an opportunity, for those bold enough to seize it. Go for it, folks. Take up that quest, and bring us the best Space Opera–laying on the myth and fantastic thick–that you can. Once the West had them in abundance. Now only Japan remembers them so. Make Space Opera Great Again! Bring back our Space Princesses!

Why all the hate for Star Trek: Discovery?

As one of the people who really isn’t a fan of Star Trek: Discovery I thought I might articulate why I dislike the show so much. It has come up in a number of different forums so it seems like it is worth saying.

So lets start with something positive. I think Discovery looks gorgeous, the effects are top notch, the costuming and the makeup is likewise very well done. Everything just looks beautiful. I get why people may not like the Klingons and the changes that were made, but in terms of makeup and costuming for them, it really is well done. I cannot fault them for going the distance on making it look gorgeous.

The problem is that they took this and then wasted it on bad writing and poor direction. I would really like to know which person thought long stilted sections of subtitled Klingon was a good idea. Every scene in the show with long sections of subtitled Klingon just drives me up the wall. Why they didn’t just subtitle first couple of lines and then do the usual “Klingon English” they have always done (Normal English with “Qapla!” and the like thrown in every so often) is a mystery to me. The Klingon scenes would be much more enjoyable if they had done this and they wouldn’t drag like they do.

The other major complaint I have is with the writing. The show is slow, and I like old school B&W Twilight zone and Outer Limits, so my tolerance for slow is fairly high, but this show is paced like treacle. On top of that, the characters are inconsistent and badly so. There are two examples from the two part pilot that illustrate the problem.
In the pilot Captain Georgiou, and First Officer Burnham come to blows over how to deal with the Klingons and this sets off a series of events that hilight just how awful the writing is. At first Burnham has credible evidence that attacking the Klingons is the right course of action, a punch in the nose to demonstrate Starfleet is not a push over. Georgiou reacts with horror at the suggestion of shooting first, going so far as to say that Starfleet would never do that. Even though there is good evidence to suggest that the Klingons will treat this as an act of weakness and start hostilities as a result. She puts her principles and commitment to nonaggression above the safety of her crew. This is a principle she thinks it is worth sacrificing her life to uphold. Whether you agree with the choice or not, the Captain has been setup as a character who values her honour and integrity above even her own life.

Next we have First Officer Burnham who tries to stage a mutiny in an effort to stop the Captain making a tragic mistake. She is literally trying to prevent a war and is willing to risk everything, her career, her life and her friendship with the Captain to do it. She likewise has been setup as a character who is willing to sacrifice everything she holds dear in an effort to prevent a preventable war.

I can respect both characters commitment to doing what they believe is right even to the point of sacrificing everything they hold dear. Then the writers have these two characters engage in wildly out of character behaviour. The Capitan, the women who would risk her like and the lives of her crew to uphold a principle of non-aggression engages in something that when done on earth is regarded as a particularly dishonourable and heinous war crime. She booby-traps a dead Klingon to gain a tactical advantage. First Officer Burnham likewise says it is absolutely imperative they not kill the Klingon leader but capture him, or else they will turn him into a martyr and make the war worse. Then Burnham, after stressing the need not to harm him, goes and deliberately switches her phaser to kill and shoots him.

I can believe a character would not fire first on principle and I can believe a character would bobby trap the dead as an action of desperation when their back is to the wall in an effort to survive. I can believe a character would throw away everything dear to her in an effort to prevent a war and save lives, and I can believe a character would kill an enemy who murdered her friend even knowing it would start a war. But in both cases, I cannot believe the same character would do such wildly different things in each case though. If Captain Georgiou was willing to risk everybody’s lives in an effort to do the honourable thing and not fire first, she wouldn’t do one of the most dishonourable things, desecrating war dead. If First Officer Burnham would throw away everything to prevent a war, she would not then throw that away in a moment of anger.

At this point in the conversation I’m usually told, “Well just don’t watch it then” but it isn’t that simple. I grew up on Star Trek The Next Generation, I’ve watched all 28 Seasons of live action Star Trek plus all 13 movies and enjoyed it all (Mostly, nothing is perfect but overall the experience was positive). I’ve also watched a lot of the fan made continuing material and have found that to often be excellent. So I really wanted Star Trek Discovery to be good. I keep watching it hoping they will turn it around and in the end I will look back and go “Wow … this is the best series of Star Trek ever!” even just, “Hey that was fun, I would watch it again.” I keep wanting the writing to justify the effects budget.

But more than that, I don’t want it to descend into a morass of heavy-handed social justice nonsense like Marvel comics have. Marvel has degenerated into pushing the fashionable nonsense of the week and this is done at the expense of story telling. Star Trek has often been preachy in the past, and rarely in a direction I liked, but I still enjoyed the show because good storytelling can over come that. I dont want it to become tainted with such nonsense because it will ruin all of it. All of it will become infected as a result and that will be tragic. The legacy of Star Trek will be damaged and it will all become less enjoyable because you know where it ended and how it was ruined.

So I keep watching hoping I will be proved wrong, that my fears will not be realised, because the day I turn it off and say “i’m done with this, its garbage” will be the day Star Trek as a whole will be dimished for me and all of it will be made less enjoyable knowing how it ended. I really wanted it to be amazing and hope it will turn around and that disappointment is what drives the hate for what has been produced, because it should have been amazing.

Signal Boost: Monster Hunter Files

Monster Hunter Files

For well over a century, Monster Hunter International has kept the world safe from supernatural threats small and large—and in some cases very, very large. Now, join us as MHI opens their archives for the first time. From experienced Hunters on their toughest cases, to total newbies’ initial encounters with the supernatural, The Monster Hunter Files reveals the secret history of the world’s most elite monster fighting force.

Discover what happened when Agent Franks took on the Nazis in World War Two. Uncover how the Vatican’s Combat Exorcists deal with Old Ones in Mexico. And find out exactly what takes place in a turf war between trailer park elves and gnomes. From the most powerful of mystical beings to MHI’s humble janitor, see the world of professional monster hunting like never before.

Featuring seventeen all new tales based on Larry Correia’s bestselling series, from New York Times best-selling authors Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Jessica Day George, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, and many more.

Contributors:

Larry Correia
Jim Butcher
Mike Kupari
Jessica Day George
John C. Wright
Maurice Broaddus
Brad R. Torgersen
Faith Hunter
Jody Lynn Nye
Quincy J. Allen
Alex Shvartsman
Kim May
Steve Diamond
John Ringo
Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie C. Frost
Sarah A. Hoyt
Jonathan Maberry

At the publisher’s request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

About Larry Correia and the Monster Hunter International series:

“[E]verything I like in fantasy: intense action scenes, evil in horrifying array, good struggling against the darkness, and most of all people—gorgeously flawed human beings faced with horrible moral choices that force them to question and change and grow.”—Jim Butcher

“[A] no-holds-barred all-out page turner that is part science fiction, part horror, and an absolute blast to read.”—Bookreporter.com

“If you love monsters and action, you’ll love this book. If you love guns, you’ll love this book. If you love fantasy, and especially horror fantasy, you’ll love this book.”—Knotclan.com

“A gun person who likes science fiction—or, heck, anyone who likes science fiction—will enjoy [these books] . . . The plotting is excellent, and Correia makes you care about the characters . . . I read both books without putting them down except for work . . . so whaddaya waitin’ for? Go and buy some . . . for yourself and for stocking stuffers.”—Massad Ayoob

“This lighthearted, testosterone-soaked sequel to 2009’s Monster Hunter International will delight fans of action horror with elaborate weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, disgusting monsters, and an endless stream of blood and body parts.”—Publishers Weekly on Monster Hunter Vendetta

About Mission: Tomorrow, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“This themed anthology . . . will appeal to a wide range of readers, who will appreciate the diversity of stories . . . a solid introduction to a classic genre.”—Kirkus

“Editor Schmidt adds grandmasters to a mix of newer established names and balances the tragic with the humorous.”—Publishers Weekly

About Shattered Shields, edited by Jennifer Brozek and Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“In this well-built anthology, seventeen original stories cut to the heart of military fantasy, diving directly into the most exciting moments of dramatic bravery, grand battles, and life-changing heroism. . . . Readers who prefer to cut straight to the action, but want more depth than pure hack-and-slash, will find these offerings appealing.”—Publishers Weekly

“An inventive and thought-provoking set of tales that capture the bravery and terrors of battle. Carries the banner of military fantasy proudly.”—John Marco, author of The Bronze Knight Series

About The Raygun Chronicles, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“Fans of sf should enjoy this stylistically varied homage to a genre as old as the fiction . . . ”—Library Journal

See on Amazon

Signal Boost: Book #4 of the Silent Order series!

Announcing Book Four of Jonathan Moeller’s Silent Order series

In this epic science fiction adventure, when Jack March stumbles across a space battle, he rescues a naive young scientist. But her accidental breakthrough has uncovered a dangerous secret, a secret the Final Consciousness will destroy worlds and kill trillions to protect.

Starting with Jack March…

See Eclipse Hand on Amazon

Or check out the first book in the Silent Order series, Iron Hand

Hacker Releases Secret NSA Documents

International black hat hacker, Drop Bear, released this transcript from the Secret NSA Files, dated circa October 2017

 

“Mr. President.” The young marine in dress blues handed the plainly wrapped package stamped TOP SECRET in red to the man sitting on the other side of the Resolute desk.

President trump weighed it with his hands. “Hmm. It’s gotta be a book. I know it is. It’s the size and shape of one. It’s got to be a book.” President Trump looked from the package to the man standing on the other side of his desk. “Thank you. You may go.”

The marine pivoted to leave.

“Wait. Do you smoke cigars?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Have Madeline get you one of those cigars that Castro sent. You’ve gotta try one. They are great.”

The door closed, leaving Trump alone with the nondescript package. He set it down and stared at it for several long minutes before opening it.

“I knew it.” He picked up the folded piece of paper tucked into the front cover of the paperback.

Mr. President,

One of my agents discovered this hiding in an off shore computer in Australia. We are certain that it has to do with that incident back in the 1980s. Those two were right about a lot of things. My agents suspect that this book holds the key to the future.”

M. Rogers

“Preston and Logan. Great guys. Really great guys. Excellent guys. A bit strange, though.” Trump set the letter down and picked up the book.

He buzzed his secretary. “Hold all of my calls, please.” Then, spent the rest of the afternoon engrossed in the mysterious book he’d received.

“Mr. President, Vice President Pence is on the line.” Madeline’s voice came across the speaker.

Trump picked up the handset. “Mike, I had a vision yesterday that came in the form of book.” He held up the book, MAGA 2020 & Beyond, staring at it while he talked. “We’re going into space. You have to go out and announce it. It’s gotta be you. Madeline has me in meetings all day. It’s gotta be you. You’ll do great. You will. It’ll be great.”

Find out what the NSA and Trump know, pre-order your copy today.

PRE-ORDER

Astounding Frontiers Issue #4 is out now!

In Astounding Frontiers Issue 4 we bring you more of the pulpy goodness with stories from Julie Frost and Brian Niemeier as well as continuing serials from Ben Wheeler and Corey McCleery. We also have a new pulp serial, Hard Moon from David Hallquist as well as an article by Pulp expert Jeffro Johnson.

Please join us in travelling to Astounding Frontiers!

One Page Podcast: War Demons by Russell Newquist

It is through suffering that the soul is purified.

Every soldier brings demons home from war. But when Sergeant Michael Alexander came home to Athens, Georgia from Afghanistan, his war demons started kidnapping local college girls. Things got crazy when Michael tried to stop him.

Then the dragon arrived.

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