Tag Archives: Star Trek

A Tradition of Books for Christmas

Christmas with bookIn my family, we have a long tradition of giving each other books as gifts. I can’t remember a single Christmas where no-one has gotten or given a book.

Some years I’ve ended up with a big, delicious stack; other years, one or two volumes, or even none, as I’ve been a giver instead of a receiver of books. They’ve ranged from secondhand paperbacks to quality editions, from literary classics to Star Trek tie-in novels to the latest in whatever SF or fantasy or historical series I was obsessed with that year.

My family first discovered Harry Potter through a holiday catalogue put out by a local bookstore, the dearly departed and sorely missed Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe. That year, I read the description of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — I’d never heard of it, nobody had back then — and decided to buy it for my brother, who was just the right age. He loved it. I might have loved it even more than he did.

Speaking of Star Trek tie-ins, I discovered Star Trek in 1992, just at the beginning of my teens. At that time Star Trek: The Next Generation was on its first run, so that’s what I watched, and initially what I read, borrowing all the tie-in books from my Trekkie aunt. But she was also an avid fan of the original series (TOS). For Christmas that year she gave me a copy of her favourite TOS novel, Uhura’s Song — getting me hooked on a whole new series.

More recently, my mom started giving my siblings and me books she hoped would serve us well as new adults heading off on our own — books of recipes, books on decorating your first apartment.

My immediate family doesn’t have any young children in it right now, but you can bet that if and when it does, I’ll be buying kids’ books for Christmas, and I’ll do it with glee.

Your turn! Do you buy books as holiday gifts? Have you noticed a theme or themes to your buying over the years?

If you liked this post, you might also like The Best Christmas Stories Ever, featuring my favourite seasonal books, movies, TV specials, and even a radio show.


Top 5 Imaginary Worlds

Girl Genius Color Omnibus Vol. 1

The cover of one of the Girl Genius books. The thumbnail doesn’t do it justice — click through to see it bigger.

Following on last Friday’s post about your favourite place on Earth, here’s a related question for you all:

If you could live in any made-up story world, from books or movies or TV, which would you choose?

Here are my top 5…

(On a writerly note, you’ll notice all of these are series. Of course, this gives an author the room to really explore a new world and make it rich with details and layers – it’s hard to do the same in a standalone book or movie. But it didn’t take more than one book, and often much less, for me to fall in love…)

5. The world of Girl Genius

This series by Kaja and Phil Foglio is a webcomic and a graphic novel series (aimed at both adults and teens), so it’s not surprising that their world is chock-full of visual delights – enormous airships, quirky circuses, mad scientists, and lots and lots of clockwork machinery. Every place our heroine goes is more fantastic than the last. If I had my own airship, I’d be happily occupied for years.

4. Middle Earth

I admit to being influenced by the art that’s been made about Tolkien’s world, from paintings to the Peter Jackson films (famously shot in New Zealand). They all make the landscape look so gorgeous, and I’m a sucker for the beauty of nature. Plus there are elves and dwarves and hobbits. As long as I stay away from Mordor, it’s all good. (If Middle Earth isn’t available, Terry Pratchett’s satirical version, Discworld, would also do.)

3. Hogwarts

A school full of magic-users appeals to my fantasy-loving side and my old-fashioned-English-literature-loving side, not to mention the part of me that felt pretty lonely at school in my early teens. Sure, Voldemort is lurking around and there’s something wrong with the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but still, getting to learn spells, wield a magic wand, and fly, all while living in the niftiest boarding school ever? Yes, please!

2. Pern

Aside from the danger of Thread, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern is a pretty sweet world – cozy stone halls, tall ships, and dragons – and for a (sort-of) pre-industrial planet, the larger centres are pretty modern-thinking. The only tough part would be deciding whether to Impress a dragon or go into training at Harper Hall (and maybe adopt some fire lizards).

1. The universe of Star Trek

I discovered Star Trek when I was 12, fell in love, and never really fell out of love. It offered a hopeful and essentially optimistic vision of the future, one that was missing from dystopian stories (yep, the ’80s had a round of dystopian novels too). Sure, there are wars and dissension, but the Federation is a pretty good entity overall. The chance to live on a spaceship, work with aliens, explore new planets with every mission, do science, and fly among the stars? Well, let’s just say that if I were given that choice, even today, I’d be gone faster than Jean-Luc Picard can say “Engage”. (Barring that, the TARDIS or the Firefly ‘verse would do in a pinch…)

Honourable Mention: Earth’s own history, at least as filtered through historical fiction. When I was growing up, some of my favourite books were historicals. I devoured any and every time period, from Ancient Egypt to the pioneer days to WWII. My favourite time periods were the medieval era, with its castles and romance, and the Victorian era, with its quaint manners and beautiful dresses. Of course, there are plenty of reasons I’m glad I don’t live in the past (women’s rights and modern medicine being just two!), but a girl can dream.

Your turn! Which fictional world or story-verse would you choose to live in if you could?

Star Trek Into Darkness Analysis

Star Trek Into Darkness posterSo. Have you all seen Star Trek Into Darkness, the new Star Trek movie?

Then let’s talk about it. Please note: this is not a review, it’s an analysis. There will be spoilers (I’ll post a warning where they start)! And, er, it got a bit long. Apparently I have many thoughts….

Star Trek: The First Reboot

I had very mixed feelings about the first reboot film. I understand that the producers wanted to make Star Trek more appealing to a younger crowd, less bogged down in its own history. Having recently rewatched several of the older films, much as I love them, I can see why they felt it was necessary. If you weren’t already a fan, you’d be lost.

But they ended up making a film that, to me, felt like a generic science fiction flick. There was none of the “sense of wonder”, the delight in science, the “infinite diversity in infinite combination”, that was such a central part of the TV versions of Star Trek. The films were always more action-y than the episodes, but the best of them always had something science-y to make you feel awe – the Genesis project, the whales, saving humanity’s first contact with the Vulcans. The movie didn’t have any of that (Red Matter notwithstanding).

As well, I couldn’t get over seeing the new actors in the familiar parts. It felt like a tribute band. No matter how well they performed (and they did a good job, especially Spock), I couldn’t suspend my disbelief – I never forgot that I was watching actors. Funny, since I was perfectly happy to accept Red Matter and exploding planets and even time travel and universe rebooting, but there you have it.

So I approached the sequel with trepidation. But I went, because it was still Star Trek.

Star Trek Into Darkness: A Quick Review

In general, I was pleasantly surprised. The sequel felt more like a Star Trek movie to me than the first one did. I’m not sure exactly why, because “sense of wonder” was still pretty much absent. Maybe the actors were getting more comfortable in the roles; the character arcs were moving a little closer to the older versions we know so well (more about that later!); we didn’t have to spend half the movie getting all the crew members into place.

But. Most of the things I didn’t like about the first one cropped up again in the sequel, and that’s what I’m going to talk about next…

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Movie Nostalgia: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV coverYep, it’s time to talk about the one with the whales. Welcome to our latest installment of the Nostalgia series.

I was a big Star Trek fan throughout my teens, and I saw all the movies, but Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was the only one I watched over and over. Knowing this, I picked it up for a recent re-watch with some hesitation. Would Leonard Nimoy’s clunky directing from Star Trek III carry over? Would the comedy hold up? Would the mid-1980s just be too dated as a time-travel destination?

(Spoilers ahoy!)

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Movie Nostalgia: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for SpockIn this installment of our Nostalgia series, we’re looking at Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Klingons, the return of the Genesis Project, some poignant moments for the Enterprise, and Spock, oh my…

When I first saw this film, in my early teens and at the height of my Trek-mania, I thought it was the best thing ever. After all, it all revolved around Spock! I read the novel adaptation, too, which fleshed out character relationships and motivations more than the film version allowed. But I never went back and watched it again until just recently…and now I remember why.

(Spoilers follow, of course.)

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Link: Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions

I’m under deadline at the moment, finishing up edits on the new anthology we’re putting out at Turtleduck Press (release date December 1!). So today’s post is just a quick one to point you to my blog post over there. Here’s a teaser:

Back in high school, I was a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, so I would dress up in uniform (gold, like Data) and go to get autographs from Star Trek actors and buy memorabilia. I have Wil Wheaton’s autograph from back when he was (in)famous for being Wesley Crusher and not for being an internet personality. (Side note: It’s very strange to see these actors becoming famous again for something completely different. Case in point: George Takei.)

Read the rest!

(Yes, I’m talking about books and media and fandom on a Wednesday. So sue me. 😉 )


One Lovely Blog Award: Seven Facts About Me

One Lovely Blog AwardToday’s post comes to you courtesy of Ellen Gregory, who tagged me for a blog badge, the One Lovely Blog Award. The rules of the game require giving seven facts about yourself. So here, in no particular order, are seven things I haven’t shared here before (but will probably talk more about later!).

1. I’m 100% Norwegian. I was born in Canada, as were my parents, but three of my grandparents were born in Norway. The fourth was born in North Dakota to Norwegian immigrant parents.

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