Tag Archive: Star Trek

Building Your World: Scale

When figuring out where to set your story, one of the simplest things to do is pick how far your story extends. Does it take place entirely in one town? Does it span an entire galaxy?

There has been an increasing trend toward larger and larger settings in the last few decades, though that trend may be reversing now. It seems as if, as our perception of our own world increases and our ability to get from place to place becomes easier, we seem to think that the same should be true even in a medieval fantasy setting. Lately, though, I’ve been coming across more and more stories that detail smaller areas, as if authors are realizing that — like with the real world — “flyover country” actually contains some interesting stuff. You can set a lot of stories in one small area.  Continue reading

He is, and Will Always Be, My Friend


Today, we say goodbye to an icon of not just geek culture, but that of America and the whole world.

Godspeed, Mr. Spock. Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning.

Edit: I now have the chance to sit down and write more.

The Internet is filling up with tributes, and they’re nice to see. They’re filled with joy for what Nimoy had given us, rather than sorrow for what we’ve lost. And I rather like that. I’ve always preferred the Irish wake to the Roman funeral.  Continue reading

EDIT: Since posting this yesterday, several people have privately told me of more issues with Tuscany Press. Some of it has been anecdotal, but others have been verifiable; and it all adds up to an unpleasant picture. The editor-in-chief at Tuscany has told me that the essay I fisked in the following post is opinion and should not be construed as Tuscany’s stance, but he did not address the issue that it was approved by Tuscany despite being obviously wrong. I may do an update on this issue soon.

ANOTHER EDIT: I’ve posted an update on this situation here.

Tuscany Press has been my go-to publishing house to recommend to fellow Catholic authors. I’m associated with Chesterton Press, a smaller indie Catholic Press (my Novel Ninja business is separate and not exclusive to Catholic fiction), but Tuscany is a larger operation and can handle more submissions at a time. However, I’m no longer recommending them, due to a recent post on their subsidiary, CatholicFiction.Net, on why science fiction is evil.  Continue reading

Science fiction authors have a tough job.

There have been a bunch of breakthroughs lately in different tech sectors. These range from coding improvements to new technology that interfaces with the human body, to stuff that many people thought outright impossible. Sometimes it’s mind-boggling. Other times it’s happening so slowly that you have to really step back and realize how different things have become.

My friend Lori took some time to introduce me to some of her favorite westerns the other night. In a scene in Shane when the characters (several homesteaders, plus the titular Shane who is helping them out) stop at a general store, the female lead (Marion Starett) pauses to examine a Mason jar in wonder. “My, my, my,” she says. “What will they think of next?”

Well, contemporary audiences no doubt got a kick out of that one, separated from Marion by almost a hundred years of technological development. The telephone, the phonograph, the automobile, the airplane, the rocket, the computer, cinema and television — all these were in her future, and in their past, in their present. The answer to her question was long, complicated, and unbelievable to her contemporaries.  Continue reading

Don’t Dump

One of the most common mistakes, even with professional storytellers, is to deliver a lot of exposition in a small space, or otherwise give “idiot lectures” where you have one character being a bit more dumb than usual simply so that a second character will have to explain something to him (and therefore to the audience). This is often called infodumping, and it’s often hard to avoid — but the best authors watch out for it and work around it.

Continue reading

Fifty Years of Doctor Who

Well, dear readers, it’s the weekend to talk about Doctor Who. I thought I’d share a little bit about my own personal experiences with the show.

Once upon a time in the United States, a man could walk down the street in a brown coat, floppy hat, and a ridiculously long multicolored scarf, and fully expect that no one would recognize who he was supposed to be. Today . . . well, most people wouldn’t recognize him, but that’s only because he’s not wearing a bowtie.

I’m an old-school fan. I started in the 90s, during the sixteen-year hiatus, when getting Doctor Who back on the air seemed less likely than getting new episodes of Firefly today. Yes, dear readers, there was such a dark age of television. Back then, Doctor Who was nearly unheard-of in the United States, and even today plenty of people here will refer to Christopher Eccleston as “the first Doctor.” They certainly wouldn’t get the Doctor Who reference slipped into the finale of the first season of Star Trek: The Next GenerationContinue reading

Highs and Lows

You may have heard of the phrases “high fantasy” and “low fantasy.” Or perhaps you haven’t; while they’re used very commonly in an academic sense, they aren’t as common outside those circles. As is so often the case, this leads to some confusion in the definitions. And so I decided to give you a quick overview of the topic. That’s what this blog is for, after all! Continue reading

Farewell, Ann Crispin

There are great, well-known, household-name authors that we credit with shaping our ideas of fiction. And for every one of those, there are many more that even our friends haven’t heard us talk about. For me, one of those was A. C. Crispin.

Mind you, many of my friends and authors have heard me quote some of her advice, but I rarely go around talking about her actual fiction. It feels like a disservice, even though I know there are so many books and authors out there that we can’t get to every one of them. And yet, Ann Crispin was one of my favorite authors in my teen years, and she had a deep and abiding influence on my writing style and how I approach editing.

Plus, her StarBridge series had one book that featured a deaf heroine. Very rare in fiction, much less SF&F. My hearing problems weren’t as frustrating back then, but it was a nice thing to have. And I should reread it, because it’s been years.

Today, September 6th, Ann Crispin lost her battle with cancer. I never got to meet her, and I wish I did.

An author’s estate always experiences a posthumous bump in sales. It’s not ghoulish. She’s most famous for her Star Trek and Star Wars installments, but she’s got a hefty bibliography to her credit. Check out her books and buy some. If nothing else, you’ll be providing a little extra income for her husband, who just lost the woman he loved and really shouldn’t have to worry about money right now.

And for everyone, prayers don’t cost a thing. I bet they could both use some right now.

It’s been a while. Again. If you haven’t been looking at my Facebook page, you might have wondered what was going on. I’m supposed to review books, movies, talk about public appearances . . . yep. Stuff is coming.

I figure, though, I should give a quick no-spoiler review of Star Trek Into Darkness. It’ll be quick because I basically cannot say much without giving spoilers at all.  Continue reading

In a bit of irony, one of the first things I did this morning was explain the “fair use” element of US copyright law to an author friend of mine. The same explanation got forwarded to another author friend who wanted more information on the same subject. That will probably get put into a future blog post as well.

For now, though, the irony: in the same day, we’ve had a sudden trend in people posting about “space marines.” It’s trending on Twitter, splashed on Facebook, and circled on Google Plus. But what’s going on? Continue reading

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