I'll be sending the book off to the editor in the next few days. But I just wanted to show everyone the tentative print cover for The Chronicles of Jegra: Gladiatrix of the Galaxy (Book 1).
Although the e-book release won't be until April, I'll have the paperback ready to go sometime in mid February. This is because by having the paperback out first, the Amazon product page allows for reviews of the book.
Stacking reviews before an e-book launch really helps boost the book on a launch day because people can already get a sense of what the book is like and how it's being received.
As for the cover image, I did the typography myself. The art is by the talented Jackson Tjota.
More news coming soon. Stay tuned, same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel.
Mr. Klett gave my book Valandra: The Winds of Time Cycle a one-star review because he felt my main character was the very essence of a Mary Sue. And that's fine. It's his opinion. But, technically speaking, he's wrong.
Not only because he contradicts himself in the same sentence by making the exception that she keeps forgetting she's all powerful, but he also contradicts himself in the one following it, claiming she's emotionally immature (yes, I know, that's how I wrote her). So, clearly, not a Mary Sue.
And that's what I want to talk about today. Not the one-star review, but rather, the fact that I frequently see the term Mary Sue get thrown around as a pejorative for any book or story containing a strong female lead, woman heroine. And that's a trend that does bother me.
A Mary Sue by definition is all perfect, so my character, Arianna, wouldn't be forgetting so much if she were the essence of a Mary Sue. She'd be emotionally stable. And that'd be the end of it. But I deliberately wrote flaws into my character because they bring an emotional depth and realism to what is essentially a fantasy character in a fantasy novel.
I know, I know, I'm biased, seeing as I'm the author. But I don't think you can't say I wrote a Mary Sue when I deliberately wrote Arianna in my Valandra series as a hesitant, insecure, warrioress who is at the end of her twelve year training.
She's skilled yes. She has powers yes. But she lacks confidence. She also happens to drink too much because she doesn't want to face her fears and insecurities.
It's not that she's forgetful, it's that she's insecure about committing to decisions that will impact countless lives. As the story progresses, however, she grows more confident with her choices. Over the course of all three books she stops hesitating as much and begins to act as the hero she was destined to be. Right up until the end when she must face off with a Fire Demon released by an ancient sorceress hellbent on destroying her world.
The question becomes, is she a true representation of a Mary Sue? No. I don't think anyone who has read all of Valandra would claim that Arianna is a genuine Mary Sue.
She's a kick-ass heroine though, and this seems to confuse many readers.
Just a refresher for what a Mary Sue actually looks like, here's a good example using Star Wars. Both Rey and Luke are the protagonists of their own Star Wars films, but they are very different characters. It could be argued Rey is an actual Mary Sue. But Luke is, clearly, flawed. So Luke isn't a Mary Sue, or rather "Gary Stu" which is the male equivalent of a Mary Sue.
But I want to address another thing that Klett raises in his damning one-star review.
It seems he's disgusted by my book because he feels it stars a Mary Sue type character. This brings up the interesting question, is a book any less enjoyable because it stars a Mary Sue?
I suppose it depends on what else is going on in the story. As with Star Wars, I find both Rey and Luke's stories entertaining, fun, and both characters are enjoyable. Rey and Kylo Ren's dynamic was the best part of The Last Jedi, and even if she is a Mary Sue character, she's a fun one that is immensely likeable, partly due to the fact that Daisy Ridley is so dang charismatic.
In my latest novel, The Chronicles of Jegra: Gladiatrix of the Galaxy, it could be argued that Jegra is a Mary Sue character. She's strong. Confident. Wins all her fights.
But this is deliberate, because her back story is anything but.
We actually come into Jegra's story at the height of her power. That is, the story is in media res, several years into an already ongoing epic.
And this raises another interesting aspect of Mary Sue characters. Does it count if the character wasn't always a Mary Sue but then develops into one later?
In terms of storytelling, I'd argue no. If the character has evolved, that's a a clear evolution of a character. Do you, as the viewer or reader, absolutely need to see this evolution? No. But that's what makes the label Mary Sue such a bad one. It's not always entirely accurate and is only explaining the perception of the reader / viewer, not the actual elements that go into developing a character. As such, it's a limited term with a limited scope.
If a character wasn't always perfect, then they weren't always a Mary Sue. That's basic common sense.
So judging them as a Mary Sue character simply means you're ignoring that characters past just to throw out a pejorative for a character or story you didn't like.
That, in my opinion, says more about the reader's tastes than the actual content of the book.
Recently, I was in a reader's group discussion where the point was raised that if a strong female lead rivals strong male leads in terms of prowess, power, smarts, etc., that male reviewers tend to label her a Mary Sue.
It's actually so common that it appears to be a form of masked sexism.
Herein lies the true danger of the term Mary Sue.
In the forum people listed example after example of a male reader not liking a strong female character, but then turned around and raved about a strong male character. The funny thing was when the two characters were compared side-by-side they were virtually the same with respect to their abilities and accomplishments in the stories.
Naturally, I feel this is why we must be careful when casually tossing around the term Mary Sue. Not because any given story may or may not contain such a character, but because the term is often used as a pejorative against women in stories about women or by women.
As an author who writes predominantly strong, heroic women, it saddens me when a reviewer automatically lobs the accusation that she's a Mary Sue.
I mean, have you ever seen a Tom Cruise movie? His Ethan Hunt character is a Gary Stu if there ever was one. What about Jason Bourne? People absolutely love these movies. Because, hey, such characters are fun and captivating. But turn it into a woman, and bam, the complaints come rolling in. Just look at how the new all-female Ghost Busters movie was panned. Or the new Oceans 11 starring women is getting early complaints without people actually having seen it. Or, even the petty outrage that followed after the new Doctor Who became a woman.
This is a double standard that needs to go.
Even women Mary Sues can be fun and captivating. Especially for young girls who don't always necessarily respond to hyper-realistic, uber flawed, portraits of women figures. Wonder Woman conquered the box-office summer in her debut film because audiences were thirsty for a strong, heroine, equal to that of all the male hero archetypes. There's nothing wrong with that.
And that's why I have a problem with people crying, "She's a Mary Sue!"
Until people complain as vigorously that all the Mission Impossible movies are tripe, and that Sherlock Holmes isn't worth reading, and that Conan the Barbarian is brain-numbingly bad simply because they star Gary Stu type characters, then I don't want to hear about your Mary Sue objections. They simply are irrelevant given what we know about popular genres and their love of perfect, charismatic, heroes.
Of course, this is just my opinion. As an author. Who has penned over 12 novels. Both with a traditional publisher and as an Indy author.
Understand, my intent isn't to say those who label something a Mary Sue shouldn't decry bad writing or bad character development. If the Mary Sue is so undeniably obvious as to ruin the story, then, yes. Feel free to complain. Because that's a badly written character. But if the character isn't actually hurting the story, then there's no reason to label every powerful heroine you come across a Mary Sue.
Just my two cents.
If you want to read my fantasy series Valandra, you can find it here:
Valandra: The Winds of Time Cycle (Book 1)
Happy New Year to you all!
This year I have big plans. I'm not only aiming to write 12 full novels in the course of the year, but I'm starting three new sci-fi series wherein each one is set in the same comprehensive universe. I've already plotted out the first story are for the first three books of each series and am currently working toward getting them made.
At the same time, I'm going to write Valandra books 5, 6, and 7. That totals 4 trilogies, ergo 12 books in all! And if that wasn't enough, I'm going to publish original short stories as FREE reader magnets for all of these series. It's going to be a productive year.
On December 31st I began writing my next book in the start of my The Chronicles of Jegra: Gladiatrix of the Galaxy science fiction series.
It's now five days later, January 4th (as I type this), and I just pasted the 50K mark at the halfway point. It's looking as though this book will be a solid 100K novel. BIG AND JUICY!
I plan to write the first three books in this series before publishing. I'll do the same for all the Cosmic Alliance novels. The next series will be The Knights of Caelum, which will be a three part arc in a larger overall story that ties into The Chronicles of Jegra.
This, in turn, will be followed by a third series, The Skywend, which follows a group of mercenaries bounty-hunters and ties into The Chronicles of Jegra.
All the books will be interwoven together yet remain their own separate stories focusing on different characters.
Each series will also feature a different flavor and style.
Jegra is, of course, going to be a fun, pulp-fiction / space adventure with romping good action and tons of erotic moments strewn throughout. It's going to be John Carter of Mars starring Red Sonja set in a vast Star Wars esque universe where people actually have sex and will be aimed for adults. We're talking hard R rating here.
The Knights of Caelum actually focuses on the enemy characters, developing them in detail, and going in depth into their holy crusade and why they want dominion over the galaxy. It's going to be clean sci-fi, meaning no sex, but lots of futuristic space battles with Knights, elite soldiers in powersuits of armor resembling medieval knights. This series is like Arthurian legend meets the Chronicles of Riddick and could be classified as grim-dark melded with techno-gothic. This series will be aimed at a broader readership, so PG-13 basically.
The Skywend will focus on the elite soldier turned mercenary Raven Nightguard and her eccentric and fully capable crew aboard their sleek frigate the Skywend. This series is Firefly meets Killjoys meets Cowboy Bebop. It will also be aimed at the PG-13 demographic.
The wonderful thing about the way I plotted these interconnecting series is that you don't need to read any of the other series to understand the one you're in. If a character appears in one series from another, it will be written into the story organically, so that they are introduced as they would be any novel. That way readers don't have to follow all three series to understand what's going on. But if you do choose to follow all three series, the universe will open wide up and give you a much grander sense of things.
Well, I'd better stop dinking around online and get back to the writing. So, I'll leave you all with a sneak peek at an interior page I designed for The Chronicles of Jegra and a cover reveal for The Knights of Caelum.
It seems everyone has been doing reviews, non-spoiler or spoiler, of the Last Jedi. I was going to give a full review, but then decided maybe instead of a full breakdown of the film and a critique, I thought it would be fun to just focus on a couple aspects of what I found interesting about The Last Jedi and where I think the franchise can go from here.
I should preface this that there are minor (very minor) spoilers.
The things I found most interesting about The Last Jedi nobody seems to be talking about. Like the Mirror scene with Rey multiplying herself, where she breaks through the glass wall to be stopped by herself.
It echoes the Luke training scene on Dagobah when he enters the cave to confront his fears only to discover Vader. Then, slicing Vader's head off with his laser sword, the mask explodes to reveal Luke's own face. Excellent foreshadowing for later in the movie.
But with Rey, her revelation has a different meaning. Whereas Luke couldn't understand the message the Dark Side was showing him, Rey knows that the Dark Side has deliberately withheld the answer she wanted.
Later she has to ask Kylo Ren for the answer. He ends up telling her without any resistance whatsoever.
And that brings me to the most interesting thing about these films. Kylo Ren treats Rey like she's the embodiment of the Goddess. All the way back in Episode 7, right after torturing Poe till he's bleeding out of his eyes and ears, Kylo Ren refuses to harm Rey.
During their fight in the forest at the end of Force Awakens, he offers to train her, even as they're mid-duel (a grudge match of wills, if you please).
Then, in this film, they share a bond through the Force that allows them not only to see one another but to feel one another.
Although Rey Refused Kylo's Offer to rule the galaxy as his equal, he looks genuinely hurt by her unwillingness to take him up on his offer. He even yells at her to let it all go. To let the past die, so they can rebuild something new.
She is saddened by the fact he still only desires power rather than peace, which is true balance.
Unable to persuade the other, they struggle for the lightsaber and it explodes sending them both flying backward. Ren is rendered unconscious and Rey escapes. The interesting thing, however, is that they fought over the saber at all. Ren still had his red lightsaber. He could have easily struck Rey down. He’s trained. She’s not. And this time he not wounded, yet she is. Instead, he tries to stop her from leaving rather than kill her outright.
Also note that each time they mind-link, they catch each other at their most vulnerable. When he’s getting mended up by the medical droid. When she's sitting in bed. When he's getting undressed. When she’s alone watching the ocean.
At the very end, when he's reaching out to find her...you can’t help but wonder. Does he search his feelings for her because he wants to locate the Rebels whereabouts, or because he's worried about her because he has feelings for her?
If the filmmakers are developing a romance for these unlikely star-crossed lovers, they’re taking the long way around. Rey still resents Kylo Ren for killing Han Solo, who Ren rightly noted she viewed as a father figure. "He'll only disappoint you," Kylo said to her in TFA.
But it's Ren who has disappointed Rey this time around, by choosing the Dark Side over her.
As The Last Jedi really doesn't have any cliffhanger, and the story is largely about individual failures, the story could go anywhere from here, really. But I personally would love to see Kylo Ren redeemed in the eyes of Rey. And, yes, I want them to rule the Galaxy together. Maybe not as lovers. But as two parts of one whole--the balanced Force--they would provide an equilibrium for what may come.
Now that the Jedi are gone and only one Sith Lord remains, it seems that Kylo Ren could reshape the very foundations of what it means to be a Sith at the same time as putting an end to the military reign of the First Order and bringing back the political world that, although problematic under Palpentine's rule, actually worked to bring lasting peace to the galaxy--just as Padme had always dreamt.
The Rebels could then integrate back into society without a fight. They'd basically have won the cause. But not because of their terrorist antics. But because Ren became what both Vader and Luke couldn't--perfectly balanced in the ways of the Force.
That would bring the series full circle. And that would be a fitting end. Rey could then rebuild the Jedi temple and Kylo Ren could ride off into the sunset, so to speak, as a kind of Ronin warrior.
I have the sneaking suspicion, however, that we're probably not going to get that. Even though the set up is certainly there. I think we're going to get another massive giant Death Ball, and another giant space battle.
And Rey will likely take front and center in leading the new wave rebellion against Ren, and the two will face off at the end when it is Rey, whose friends step in to save her, who survives. Because she had love on her side, she had people who cared for her, and Ren has nothing because he destroyed everything and everyone who ever cared about him.
Which is also good drama, albeit less interesting of a direction to take the franchise because nothing is learned from it. It's just a repeat of what's been done. But bringing the character arcs as well as the events full circle and having the characters learn from their mistakes--mainly in The Last Jedi--would be really great storytelling.
I just don't have confidence in J.J. Abrams to tell that kind of story. Although a brilliant filmmaker, his stories are typically cookie-cutter, paint by the numbers, granny’s apple pie—same ole formulaic thing. That is, he follows very standard plot devices and doesn't color outside of the lines.
And that seems to be what Disney wants for Star Wars. But true Star Wars fans will know that George Lucas was always bold with his storytelling choices. He dared to color outside of the box. Heck, he dared to think outside of the box. And I think we have too many in-the-box sort of thinking going on behind these new Star Wars films. They're not bad films. But they don't take any risks either. And so there are no moments of genuine brilliance because it's always culled back in the name of playing it safe.
I guess in time we shall see what we shall see.
The exciting fourth instalment to the Valandra series is here!
Instead of a direct continuation of the series, this is a stand alone novella (roughly 20K) which focuses on the events of book 2 when our titular heroine, Arianna De Amato, is transported away in the middle of a battle with the fierce wraith knight, Ashram.
And although it's technically an en media res story involving alread established characters, the novella can be red as a stand alone. As it's an entirely self contained story, you needn't have read Valandra 1, 2, or 3 to understand it. But if you have read the prior books, it adds that much more depth to the events of book 4.
Because I chose to tell the first three novels in first-person present tense, however, many readers thought this meant my story was intended for young adult rather than epic fantasy readers. Naturally, this created a couple of complications. First, it seemed that some readers were put off by the first-person present tense narrative. Secondly, others voiced their opinions that it seemed that I skimped out on developing the other characters more fully.
Although I personally enjoy first-person narratives myself, I could see how this is a valid complaint. As for the second criticism, I fully agree. First-person writing limits you to one characters perspective; or at least one character at a time's perspective.
As such, I opted to go with the good old, tested and true, third person past tense narrative for this novella. It allows me to develop multiple characters without having to devote a chapter to each one. I can jump around to different povs within the narrative without having to use chapter breaks or start new sections. As such, I basically told a 60K first-person narrative in a condence 20K third-person narrative.
Okay, enough of the technical talk. You're probably wondering what this book is about?
The events of The Black Knight & the Golden Arm follow my main cast of characters in the absence of Arianna. I mainly focus on two people though, Queen Sabine De Atano of Bellera, and Sir Gromelin, the red bearded dwarf and machinist (e.g. Juggernaut mechanic). We also get glimpes into what Lisette, Lief, and the elf Alegra were up to during Arianna's three day absence.
Of course, as the title suggests, we learn how Queen Sabine gets a mechanical golden arm and we learn what happens during the dead army's siege of the holy city of Sabolin before the big climactic battle the kicks of part 2 of book 2, The Dragon Blade Cycle.
With book 4 you get action, a dash of romance (this time Gromelin hooks up with an mysterious ex from his past), and a lot of back story that occurs off page in book 2 is followed in detail.
I'm also planning on writing a novella that covers the 3 year time gap between books 2 and 3 from when Arianna enters the underworld, i.e. The Nether, and from when she returns and everything is different. That novella (book 5), however, won't be available till next year (2018). After that, I will launch Valandra books 6, 8, and 8 in which I kick off an entirely new story arc.
If you're interested in reading this exciting stand alone novella, you can get it on Amazon.com.
VALANDRA: THE BLACK KNIGHT & THE GOLDEN ARM (BOOK 4)
Also, look for the rest of the exciting Valandra series by getting books 1-3:
VALANDRA: THE WINDS OF TIME CYCLE (BOOK 1)
VALANDRA: THE DRAGON BLADE CYCLE (BOOK 2)
VALANDRA: THE GODDESS OF WAR CYCLE (BOOK 3)
I took my kids to Thor Ragnarok a couple weeks ago and we fell in love with the film. My daughter's favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film is the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Although she hasn't seen Spider-man Homecoming yet, and she's a huge Spider-man fan, so the jury is still out. But like me, she thought Thor Ragnarok was the best Marvel film to date.
I could go on and on about everything I liked about it and how it was superior to the first two Thor films and how ditching the dark tone was probably a good thing since all the recent MCU films have been embracing their bright and colorful comic book origins. But that would be a bore fest for everyone. So, instead, I'm just going to the MCU films according to my favorite to least favorite.
1. Thor Ragnarok
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Spiderman Homecoming
4. Iron Man
5. Captain America The Winder Soldier
6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
7. Doctor Strange
8. Ant Man
9. Avengers: Age of Ultron
11. Captain America
12. Thor: Dark World
13. Iron Man 3
15. The Incredible Hulk
16. Iron Man 2
17. Captain America: Civil War
Now, I'm fairly certain Black Panther will make the top ten, but only time will tell.
As for why I rank Civil War at the very bottom it's because it is the weakest of the films narrative-wise. It also has the deficiency of being reliant on all the previous films in order to understand what's going on. Whereas, if you watch Avengers or Age of Ultron, you needn't have watched the entire MCU to know what's happening in the film. If you came into Civil War blind, however, the film simply makes no sense. And that bothered me to no end.
Also, the villain technically wins. It ends on three open ended notes with none of the conflict of the plot's premises resolved (and not likely to be). Although it has cool action scenes and stand alone moments with characters, it's all over the place in terms of story and plot and is actually a headache to watch. As a writer--those things are so glaring that I can't easily forgive the film. Also, for those that say Civil War is the best of the "Avengers" films, I strongly disagree. It's the best at being nonsensical and overstuffed with a story that fizzles out before it ends. It's just a bad film, no matter how pretty the fights are.
Thor Ragnarok, however, hit all the beats. It's story was tight. It had excellent character development of everyone involved, even supporting cast members and new characters like Valkyrie and Korg. It had three villains but it never felt overstuffed. The Hulk was amazing. Thor showed real emotional development. Loki grew as a character as well. The jokes were nonstop without ever feeling out of place. The films joins the cosmic universe to the real world stuff. A lot is happening in this film and still...even with all of this...it never feels weighted down or confusing. It's a fun action romp with great character arcs and brimming with jokes. I highly recommend Thor Ragnarok if you haven't already seen it.
If you are a fan of classic sci-fi with a touch of cosmic horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury, be sure to check out my brand new collection of short stories.
Dark Forces of Nature Book 1:
Dark Forces of Nature Book 2:
#DarkSciFi #Cthulu #Lovecraft #CosmicHorror #HardSciFi #sciencefictionhorror #dystopian #sciencefiction #Aliens #Space #BlackFriday #Sale #KindleUnlimited
LET'S GET GEEKY!
The entire reason I subscribed to Netflix just a little over a year ago was because of my overwhelming desire to watch a little show called Stranger Things.
As a massive H.P. Lovecraft fan, something about the weirdness and the elements of cosmic horror greatly attracted me to the series. Needless to say, it was the best money I've ever spent. Stranger Things season 1 was everything I wanted out of a show of this sort and more!
Now, with season 2 having dropped, I can safely say this is now going onto my list of my all time favorite television series. It's dark, but funny. The cast of young actors is phenomenal, as are the adults. But who are we kidding? These kids are the real stars of the show.
It's kind of hard to talk about this series if you haven't seen it. It's not like anything that's ever been seen on television before. That's what makes it so enticing. The fact that it's phenomenally done (to use the word twice already) just shows how much love the Duffer Bros. have for their story and characters.
Season 2 kicks off approximately a year after the first series events. This time the Upsidedown, the mysterious alternate dimension of twisted monsters and evil is encroaching upon the small town of Hawkins Indiana, and infesting it with a new kind of evil.
Unlike the first season which mainly involved the search for Mike, the discover of Eleven, and a group of kids trying to figure out what was happening, season two seems well established in its set up. The back story of the Upsidedown is already established, and we get a more cerebral threat this time around. Something you might even call a villain, even if it's kind of vague and nebulous.
That's what I really liked about this season. It had an overarching threat that could threaten the safety of the world. Not just a stand-alone monster running loose in the town. But, like the first season, the weirdness and the horror is perfectly balanced between excellent drama and comedic moments--most of them coming from the superb case of young child actors--who have grown considerably but are still, most definitely, children.
And that's another reason I love this series. The children, and their personal stories are handled with such authenticity and love. The Duffer Bros. and their writing team really do understand children. As someone who has taught English to children of all ages for the past 14 years, I can honestly say that this is one of the best and most realistic portrayals of young people I've seen in television. And it gives Stranger Things a dynamic most other shows don't have--without ever skimping on the adult drama or horrific scares.
If I had to pick which season I liked better, I honestly couldn't tell you. They are equal in terms of storytelling and quality. In terms of imagination and fun. In terms of epicness and rewatchability. They also seamlessly mesh together whereas--although time has passed--it doesn't seem like anyone has missed a beat. Even the writers addressed the much lobbed criticism of the first season in that every character constantly lied. This time, however, they went through great pains to show how the lies ruined lives and much of season 2's storytelling revolves around the characters addressing the lies and trying to find the truth in the middle of all the chaos.
Oh, I could go on and on about this amazing series. If you haven't seen it, you may want to give that trial subscription to Netflix a try just to watch Stranger Things 1 & 2. I can promise you, it will be well worth your time.
And speaking of things well worth your time, my new collection of short stories Dark Forces of Nature is out now!
The first volume will be on SALE for $0.99 up through October 31st. After Halloween, it will go back up to its regular price. You can check it out here (although I will talk more about it below):
DARK FORCES OF NATURE: VOL. 1
Also, note, if you enjoy the short stories in Vol. 1, you may wish to pre-order Vol 2. The pre-order is live.
DARK FORCES OF NATURE: VOL. 2
I shouldn't forget to mention that Vol. 2's pre-order price will remain $0.99 all the way till November 16th, when it will be released.
10/9/2017 0 Comments
Star Trek Discovery Eps. 4: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry
I loved the Michelle Yeoh cameo, even though her character is dead (minor spoiler). She's such an elegant woman, and very Obi Wan-esque in this series (in more ways than one). I don't think the Star War's aesthetics necessarily hurt the show. J.J. Abrams proved it could work with the Star Trek reboot (lens flairs not withstanding). There was even an R2D2 cameo in the Abram's Star Trek movie.
That said, the Discovery episodes are getting better and better. Although, the writing really could have used a science advisor as they are dealing with highly theoretical concepts and trying to blend them with quantum mechanics but not having the "science know how" to pull it off well.
That said, the sci-fi here reminds me more of the original series sci-fi, where the writers just wanted to tell imaginative stories--and the technicalities of the science really didn't matter that much.
That's harder to do in an age of instant information technology, but as a prequel series that takes place 10 years before the original Trek, it seems to be about right in terms of imaginative storytelling.
***Now onto Spoilers***
I love how they integrated the monster from episode 3 into the storyline overall. It made it so episode 3 wasn't just a horror on an abandoned spaceship ripoff. They found something and then they took it home with them. And then things begin to get interesting.
A lot happens in episode 4: The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry.
The title has to do with the Klingon side story, which is almost a throwaway story because, in my personal opinion, the stuff is so bizarre aboard the Discovery that you can't help but feel engrossed by it all. The characters are diverse and interesting. And there's lots going on. The Klingons are just over there being Klingons. But we did get to see the awesome Klingon EV suits again. This time in a lot more detail. Which was fun.
But I'm already tired of the Klingon storyline. All they do is stand around and talk. And that's opposite everything Klingons stand for. But I get it, they need to develop a storyline with the Klingons so they're not just one-dimensional characters.
But, somehow I don't think they need to be fleshed out all that much. Just make them evil baddies. The Discovery itself is interesting enough to carry the series. The war can be an incursion onto them every episode, just to remind us it's there. Spending half the episode with a boring Klingon discussion about who will lead the Klingons to victory seems moot at this point. This is where the writers will need to dazzle us, otherwise, they're wasting precious pages on a non-story.
That said, I enjoyed the latest episode immensely. I love how Michael discovers the creature is a space tardigrade. I thought it looked an awful lot like a real-life tardigrade when we first glimpsed it in the dark corridors of the sister ship. Although, it was too dark to really be sure it wasn't just some sort of monster creature. Nope. Definitely a tardigrade, as Michael explains to everyone.
I also thought it was fitting that new research on the firmament linking galaxies came out this week when the show uses this concept as the means by which the Discovery traverses the galaxy via quantum entanglement.
The spore drive thing isn't exactly explained well enough at this point to understand how it exactly works, and that bothers some of the geeky fans who get the science and expect more from Trek than just fantasy, but I think the premise makes sense. The spores act as a catalyst to signal jumps, the tardigrade navigates the jumps, and quantum entanglement takes them there. But how the spore work with quantum entanglement isn't explained well enough to comprehend--and the writers seems to be doing this deliberately. And this, seems to me, is because they never hired a science advisor to advise them on inventive theorectical ideas that could bridge their concept and make it a working theory (at least for a fictional sci-fi show).
And this just suggests sloppy writing.
It's nice to see that Michael has been given a direction. It's need to see that she befriends the monster with compassion when everyone only views it as a potential weapon.
There could definitely be a spinoff of this series called: The Adventures of Michael and Her Amazing Space Tardigrade!!!
They could steal one of those kickass shuttle crafts and go on many adventures as space bounty hunters! It would be worth watching.
I for one can't wait to see where they go with the Discovery in episode 5. I for one an still hooked. It's feeling more and more like Star Trek each and every episode. And I still don't get what all the hate is about. It seems people really don't get the concept of Trek. It's not hard sci-fi. It never has been. It's soft sci-fi with fantasy elements. The science is just the tool of Starfleet and the science reeks of scientism--aka magic science--as it can be used to solve anything. And this has always been the way of Star Trek. It's strange people seemed to be shocked by it all of a sudden. Oh, well. Their loss.
Those throwing shade at the new Star Trek probably never understood the old Star Trek.
It wasn't about the length of the mini skirts or having a womanizing captain...it was about telling original sci-fi stories.
And the LSD hyped free-hippy-love optimism of the late 60s early 70s doesn't translate well on-screen in today's world without coming off as impolite, sexist, and a bit out of touch with reality.
Yes, the series is dark (due to its naturally lit sets, obviously). Yes, it's serialised rather than episodic. Yes, it follows an outcast rather than a captain and his sidekick. And, yes, the Klingons look different, yet again (hey, they have in every incarnation of the series, go figure).
But these are all things that make it different from the rest. And, sure, they could have gone with the standard template of the bright, optimistic, artificially lit Star Trek that has endured for so long. But it would have crashed and burned like so many of Kirk's Enterprises.
Doing the same old, same old, would have utterly failed. You know how I know this? Because they made Enterprise. It was the most derivative of all the Star Trek series, trying to be like TNG, but also TOS, but also tipping its hat to VGR, while doing more serialised segments like DS9. It wanted to be everything all at once and so ultimately became a bland, derivative, piece of space junk. Enterprise has not only one of the worst pilots I've ever seen in television history, it has absolutely the worst finale of any TV series I've ever seen. And I have seen more than my fair share.
So anything that was going to be like the Star Trek of the past was doomed to failure. It needed a fresh perspective by storytellers who weren't afraid to push the limits of the franchise and boldly go where no Star Trek series has gone before.
Star Trek Discovery is THAT series.
So hate on it all you want. It has probably the strongest pilot of any of the Treks--including STNG. Its cast is superb. It's touching on very interesting sci-fi concepts. Its visual effects are cinematic quality. Its production design is equal to that of a major Hollywood blockbuster. But it still contains stories about people at its core.
And if you don't like STD, that's fine. But just realise you're on the losing side of Star Trek history. People complained about STNG. The cast was unfamiliar, the series was different, it wasn't Kirk! It was about to fail. Right?
People hated DS9 when it came out. It was just copying Next Gen but it was on a stupid ole space station. Couldn't tell a good story there, right?
Voyager got a lot of hate too. And not because it has a woman captain, but because--if you recall--it was just trying to be like the original Star Trek with lots of new aliens. Major bore, right?
Yet, everyone one of these series became canon and became beloved of sci-fi fans everywhere. Even non-Trekkies.
Enterprise is also canon, and has some strong episodes, but was overall too derivative to be its own thing. It was always winking at all the other Trek's, and although great fan service for die-hard Trekkies, nobody else cared. The series was promptly cancelled. And rightly so.
Now we have Star Trek Discovery. And it is hitting all the right notes. It is doing what Enterprise so utterly failed to do--be its own thing. And be original. And still be Star Trek.
Feel free to disagree, but history will prove you wrong. Just as it did with all the above incarnations of the series.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.