Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep5, “Amok Spock”

Spocks

Scene from Star Trek Strange New Worlds “Spock Amok”

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Just finished watching Star Trek: Strange Worlds E5 Spock Amok. I’m fairly certain that Theodore Sturgeon, who wrote both Amok Time and Shore Leave, is spinning in his grave.

Oh, they did use the same “combat” music in the dream sequence as we heard when Kirk and Spock were fighting in “Amok Time.” It was kind of cool.

This was supposed to be the “comedy” episode of the season. The original Star Trek had several including I, Mudd and The Trouble with Tribbles, but in the case of “Spock Amok,” it wasn’t funny.

I mean I can see how Goldsman and Kurtzman tried to make it funny. I think they believed it was funny. But the best they got was “awkward.”

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Get “The Fallen Shall Rise” for Free Starting Tomorrow!

@james.pyles

Free #scifi #ebook offered on #Amazon July 16 – 20, 2022 by James Pyles and Starry Eyed Press . https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Shall-Rise-224-Verse-ebook/dp/B09SP7VK38

♬ Science – TimTaj

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Free five-day giveaway from Amazon to your kindle starting tomorrow! Please feel free to write an honest review.

Excerpt:

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Free Promo for “The Fallen Shall Rise”

fallen promo

Promotional image for my 224-verse SciFi Novelette “The Fallen Shall Rise”

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My 224 Verse novelette The Fallen Shall Rise is being promoted on Amazon.

For July 16 – 20, you can download a copy to your kindle device absolutely FREE!

The backmatter of the book has been updated to include a reading sample of another of my 224-verse novelettes The Haunting of the Ginger’s Regret.

From “Fallen:”

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Review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Ep2, “Children of the Comet”

uhura

Scene from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds “Children of the Comet”

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I just finished watching Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season 1, Episode 2, Children of the Comet.

The show starts on the surface of a desolate planet with a sparse and impoverished population of humanoids barely surviving. One of them looks up and sees what appears to be a comet in the sky.

Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise, Uhura has been invited to join the senior staff in the Captain’s quarters for dinner. Ortega advised her to show up in dress uniform, but when she arrives, Uhura discovers that everyone is dressed very casually, including the Captain. In fact, dress is so casual, that Ortega looks like the 23rd century version of a “homie in the hood” complete with belly button reveal. On an actual Naval vessel, even if dress for an event were casual, it wouldn’t be that casual.

Ortega is shaping up to be a class A jerk which she continues to display as the episode progresses. In fact, both she and La’an seem grumpy most of the time, but the former because she’s arrogant and the latter because she’s depressed.

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Book Review of Andy Weir’s “Project Hail Mary”

hail mary

Cover art for Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

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Finally got to dig into Andy Weir’s 2021 novel Project Hail Mary. It’s a relatively new book in my local public library system, so I only get to keep it a max of fourteen days with no renewals. As of this writing, I have five days left.

My main reason for bumping it up on my reading list is also the reason I wrote my May 22nd blog post Does Every Single SciFi Story Absolutely Have to Have a Social Justice Theme?.

Some people I follow on twitter (and like) mutually complained that Weir’s book:

feels like the Hugo Award nod for Project Hail Mary fell out of a time travel portal from the year 1986 (Like many of the best-selling science fiction novels of that time, the book largely ignores pesky questions of race, class and gender).

My answer is that not every single story in the universe published after 2001 HAS to be about “pesky” race, class, and gender (my Oxford comma included).

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Review of Leo Flynn’s Revised “Mara’s Awakening”

mara

Promotional art for Leo Flynn’s “Mara’s Awakening

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Last year, indie author Leo Flynn asked me to review his SciFi story Mara’s Awakening, part 1 in the 3 part saga. I did review it and as much as I wanted to be nice about it, I didn’t think much of the story. It was too short and there was almost no story or character development.

Then last April, Leo contacted me again. Apparently, a number of people provided him with similar comments, so much so in fact, that he reworked the tale completely. He asked me to review the updated version.

I love it.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it was. Mara, Ishali, Mallory, feel more like real people. Leo takes much more time to flesh out his protagonist and her circumstances. Prison feels a lot more substantial, and the reader experiences Mara’s anguish and frustration at being unjustly incarcerated for life.

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More Social Media Dabbling: Video Reviews and Commentary

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Okay, fine. I’ve made another two TikTok videos. The first is a three-minute whimsical review of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s 2018 science fiction novel Children of Time. My written review of the book is more straightforward and detailed. TikTok videos are brief by design, so I had to compress everything into a max of three minutes. As I wrote my script, I realized there was no way I could deliver anything serious in such a short time period, so I punted and this is the result.

@james.pyles

I’m doing a series of three-minute SciFi book reviews. Today, it’s Adrian Tchaikovsky’s 2018 novel “Children of Time.” These are fast and whimsical reviews. To tead longer versions. Go to https://poweredbyrobots.com/book-and-film-teviews/ #bookreview #sciencefiction

♬ original sound – James

This morning…

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Book Review of “Dream Park” (1981)

dreampark

Cover art for “Dream Park” by Niven and Barnes

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I had originally read Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes in the early 1980s, not long after it was first published.

I decided to re-read it because I was looking for material from which to construct my one-on-one role playing games I play with my thirteen-year-old grandson.

Long story short, the novel was too involved for me to mine anything useful for what I had in mind. But having only a vague recollection of the book, the re-read was thoroughly enjoyable.

Imagine a future where role playing games have evolved with such sophistication, they can be played out live in a huge, high-tech amusement park. Games are big business because Dream Park, which puts a bunch of money into them to begin with, recoups its dough with movie, book, and other game deals based on the live-action game. The players must be in relatively good shape since, although lives are never lost and most of the danger is simulated, they must still withstand the stresses of “camping out” in a (simulated) wild environment for several days amounting to hard labor. There are also personal and professional reputations on the line.

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Does Every Single SciFi Story Absolutely Have to Have a Social Justice Theme?

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Addendum: May 26, 2022 The Bounding Into Comics story Batwoman Writers Room Gets Savaged After They Claim The CW’s Batwoman Should Only Receive Positive Feedback Because Of “Strides For Representation For Queer Black Women” (yes, it’s a terribly long title) maps pretty well with the expectation in certain corners that representation and social justice completely override any responsibility to write a good story.

I asked that question in the above referenced twitter conversation. I actually expected an answer since the people involved usually interact with me, but this time… “crickets.”

The topic is addressed more specifically in the blog post The enduring appeal of the last ditch attempt.

I’m going to assume that from the perspective of the people referenced (who I like) and the progressive element reading science fiction that all SciFi MUST have a social justice element and that it is totally expected.

But why?

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Book Review of “OceanSpace”

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It wasn’t until I started reading Allen Steele’s 2000 novel OceanSpace that I realized I’d read it before, and probably not too long after it was originally published.

As I was reading certain scenes, I recalled having read them before. The saving grace was that I didn’t remember what came next, so it was usually a surprise until I got there.

Two-time Hugo winner Steele put a great amount of research into his writing as evidenced by extensive list of sources at the back of the book. I’m also a sucker for diagrams and Steele’s invention of the sea platform Tethys 1 and 2 were great.

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