Monthly Archives: March 2023

Comic Book Friday: Star Trek: Classics — The Next Generation: Beginnings by Mike Carlin

Beginnings (Star Trek Classics #4)

Close to forty years past the premiere of The Next Generation, it’s hard to remember just a gamble The Next Generation was back in 1987. After years of struggling to get a weekly series back on our airwaves, Gene Roddenberry finally had his wish and was returning to television and the day-to-day running of a Trek series.

And while Paramount had little control over whether or not the quality of a new Star Trek would be up to snuff, they could certainly make sure the public was aware of the series. This brings us to this collection of the six-issue DC limited series comic books based on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Reading them thirty-plus years later, they stand out as a bit of anachronistic.

It feels like writer Mark Carlin was given an early writer’s bible to the show and based his stories and characterization on that. Data is a bit more emotional than we see in the series (at one point when Geordi is apparently killed, Data is ready to kill the person he considers responsible), Troi’s abilities seem to include predicting the future (to the point that Picard defers to her on the make-up of a landing party) and Picard seems a bit sterner. In many ways, the first couple of issues feel like they were inspired by the same writer’s guide that Diane Carey did for the first Pocket novel, “Ghost Ship.”

The characters feel almost like the ones we will come to know, but there’s something slightly off-kilter about them. Given that TNG is relatively new when the first issues were produced, having the characters stop to reflect on their backstory isn’t necessarily worth taking points off. It’s just one of those things that happen in comic books from time to time. (Well, at least comics of this era.)

The comics do provide an interesting “what if” glimpse into how Tasha Yar could have been developed. Denise Crosby left after the first season due to the feeling her character wasn’t getting any decent scripts or character development. These comics make me wonder if the writing team for the TV series had taken a page from what we see here if Crosby might have stayed around a bit.

There’s also an interest in bringing Q back and stripping him of his powers –something TNG would do in season three with great effect. It’s interesting to see another writer get to there first and what he makes of the situation and its impact on Q.

Alas, these nuggets are the only gems of this otherwise disappointing collection of six issues. Carlin doubles down on the families on the Enterprise aspect of the series by giving us a bickering couple who work together at the ops station when the regular crew is off having adventures. Think the Bickersons but piloting the flag ship of the fleet. Then there is the second issue in which the crew visits a planet just in time for Christmas and pursues the spirit of Christmas — who only Geordi can see with his visor and looks like just Santa Claus. Subtle, this ain’t.

Given how good the DC run of original series tie-in comics could be, it’s a shame that this limited series misses the mark so badly.

And yet, I read the entire collection through to the end. I’m not sure if this says something more about this collection or me. I leave that up to your discretion.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

This week’s Top Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to look at which books will bloom on our spring to-be-read list. Here are the books I hope to read this spring:

  1. Storm Watch by C.J. Box
  2. Babel by R.F. Kuang
  3. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The High Country by John Jackson Miller
  4. The Curator by Owen King
  5. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  6. Doctor Who: The Time Monster by Terrance Dicks (audiobook)
  7. Episode 13 by Craig DiLouie
  8. Alone With You In the Ether by Olivie Blake
  9. Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini
  10. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson


Filed under meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Meeting

Time again for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s literary writing prompt is the people associated with books you’d like to meet.

I’ve decided to break this down into authors I’d like to meet and writers I’ve met.

Authors/Literary People I’d Like to Meet:

  1. Terrance Dicks — He wrote a plethora of Doctor Who novels and script-edited one of the most consistent eras in the show’s history. He’s no longer with us, but I wish I’d met him to thank him for all enjoyment he’s brought to my world and to pick his brain a bit about his association with my favorite pop culture item.
  2. Robert Holmes — Another writer associated with Doctor Who who had a huge impact on the classic show. He only adapted one of his scripts for print, but whenever his name appears on-screen as a writer, you know it could be something special. I’d love to talk to him about some of his other scripts including the ones he wrote for Blake’s Seven.
  3. Stephen King — I’ve read just about everything he’s written and would love the chance to just hang out with him and talk about whatever crosses our minds.
  4. Elizabeth George — One of the authors that I will read just about anything she publishes. I’d love to hear more about the research process she undertakes for every new Lynley novel.
  5. Mark Twain — He’s still studied in literature classes and seems like he’d be an engaging conversationalist. I’d love to see what he’s like behind the public persona he crafted for himself.
  6. Kevin Smith — His scripts just connect with me. I think it’d be fun to hang out with him and shoot the breeze about pop culture.
  7. J.T. Ellison – She writes mysteries set in Nashville. I’d love to grab some hot chicken and hear about how she crafts her books.

Authors/Literary People I’ve Met:

  1. Peter David – It’s been a while, but he signed copies of some of my favorite Trek books at a convention. He was fascinating to speak with and I kind of wish I’d had time to talk to him longer and not be an annoying fanboy.
  2. Garrison Keillor – He signed my copy of Lake Wobegon Days, which is a favorite. I’ve encountered him twice and both times, he took the time to speak to myself and everyone meeting him beyond just pleasantries and small talk.
  3. Sally Kilpatrick — Probably cheating here, but I knew her way back before she was a published writer person. But I’ve met her.
  4. Rick Burgess and Bill “Bubba” Bussey — I love the Rick and Bubba show for so many reasons. They published a series of books a decade or so ago and went on book tours. I went to all the Nashville stops and enjoyed meeting them. I’ve also heard Rick’s testimony online and in person.


Filed under meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Audiobook Review: Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca

Well Traveled (Well Met, #4)

I’m at the point where I no longer classify romance novels I listen to while working out as guilty pleasure — I’ve decided that for this year, I will enjoy them without the guilt.

So, when Jen DeLuca published another entry in her rom-com set at Renaissance Fairs, I put it on reserve on Libby and was pleasantly surprised when it quickly arrived. It was then I realized that I’d had last year’s installment in my to-be-read/listened-to list for a while — and that I’d have to skip it (for now) to enjoy Well Traveled. And while my inner continuity self balked at this decision, it did not make a huge difference in the overall scheme of things. DeLuca’s novels are self-contained and while they may feature characters from previous novels, not knowing every nuance of the previous three stories won’t necessarily hurt here.

After the first three novels in the series were set in Maryland, the fourth installment casts a wider net for it setting. Louisa Malone (better known as Lulu) is a driven, high-powered attorney who has been chasing the partner ring for years now. Watching as lesser qualified candidates get her shot at partner and frustrated by the long hours for what feels like little reward, Lulu quits her job while visiting a North Carolina Ren Faire, memorably drowning her cell phone in the wash tub of one of the acts.

But instead of immediately jumping into the job-search mode, Lulu decides to take some time off to decompress and figure out her next steps — and that’s where The Dueling Kilts enters the picture. Lulu (through her cousin from previous novels) arranges to be part of the traveling singing group for a few months and embraces living off the grid for the summer. While Lulu attempts to gain some clarity and perspective, she begins to notice Dex, the guitar player for the group who is a bit of a lady’s man on the Ren Fair circuit. (Dex was featured in the second novel in the series).

But is there more to Dex than just the guy with a girl in every Ren Fair?

As with previous installments in the series, DeLuca’s characters are on-point in Well Traveled. It’s a nice change of pace to see DeLuca expand the world of her Ren Faire romcoms a bit with this installment. And while I was rooting for a happy ending for Dex and Lulu, I can’t help but feel that perhaps romcoms at the Ren Fair are starting to lose a bit of their steam (pun kind of intended here). Yes, the growing attraction is well-handled and there are plenty of legitimate obstacles for our couple to overcome (thankfully, both parties act like adults for the most part, discussing things and not just ignoring them until they become seemingly insurmountable speed bumps), but there were moments where the setting felt a bit too familiar.

Obviously, I have enjoyed DeLuca’s work (I’ve read three of her four novels at this point), but there was part of me that wondered if it might not be time for DeLuca to take a page from Lulu and get out of her comfort zone. I’m hoping her next novel might see her find a different setting or set of circumstances for her characters to meet and fall in love. I think stretching her wings a bit for her next novel would be a welcome change for this reader/listener.

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