Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cataline Does Not Recommend...The Dragon Prince

If SJW critics likes something, it's garbage and they love this.

Avatar the Last Airbender showed up on Nickelodeon twelve years ago.  It was America's first serious attempt at anime and it has to be said, it was damn good.  It was a very tight story and completely engrossing saga.

I started watching it with my kids just to keep an eye on what they were viewing on the lobotomy box but then I became engrossed in the story myself.

It's an interesting fact that studies have been conducted showing that people thinking of fictional characters they like, have the exact same brain activity as those who are thinking of real people that they know personally.  It's curious but it's true, so far as your brain and is concerned good fictional characters are the same thing as real people.

I found myself caring about Ang and his team.  I found myself pulling for the Fire-Prince to become a better person.  I was eventually hoping that the age difference between Ang and Kitara wouldn't prove to be too big of an obstacle (apparently it wasn't).

It was great little saga.

Then came Korra. My kids gave up on that suck fest before I did. I hadn't even known that she turned into lesbian in the end until I heard it from John C. Wright.

The creative talent that produced Avatar the Last Airbender went down the SJW convergence path and then congratulated themselves for having the courage to brand-rape themselves.

So it was with some some trepidation that I fired up their new show, The Dragon Prince on Netflix.  I wasn't disappointed, pity about that.

We will start with the biggest problem and the first thing that kept jarring me right out the story.  The animation is terrible.  I mean it is truly awful.  The design is good but the animation itself is incredibly herky-jerky.

At one point, I stopped the video and checked my internet speed.  Nope that was fine so I compared it with something else on Netflix and that was fine too.  It must have been money saving issue because the FPS rate looked like it was in the basement. It was hideously choppy. The animation was meant to look like it was hand drawn and it failed epically.

Don't take my word for it.  Be sure to mash full screen to get the full effect.

It is all like this.

The next thing was the kumbaya casting of the characters. Every SJW checkbox had to marked when they were making this thing.  I suppose at this point having a White king in a what is basically a European medieval setting is not going to happen in 2018.  After all critics have to be pandered to and if you don't hit those check boxes they will remind everyone that you weren't being Representative.  And I'm sure the creators are telling each other how brave and fierce they were to do it despite the face that everyone else is doing it too.  In truth I've gotten so used to it myself, I can't really care much anymore but when we were introduced to the kickass deaf woman who is the commanding General of the frontier I started laughing. She communicates by signing.  How the hell is she supposed to command an army in battle when she has to use an interpreter? What if her interpreter is killed? Do all of her field commanders keep an eye on her with telescopes? What happens if she loses a hand?

Then there is the story structure which is profoundly weak.

Plot summary:  We are informed there were six primal sources of magic.  Earth, Air, Water... and hey do you remember the Last Airbender?  Anyway nasty old humans discovered a seventh source, Dark Magic.  The elves and magical what-not shit themselves and drove all the dirty humans from their lands divided the continent in two and set the Dragon King to guarding the border.

A thousand years later the Dragon King is killed by nasty humanziz using the Dark Magicsszz. They destoyseszzd the precious Dragon Prince Eggsss. WE HATESSS THEM FOREVER!

So a ninja strike team of Moon Elves with horns on their heads and Scottish accents are sworn to assassinate the king and his son prince Ezra.  The court mage has a way to save the king.  Swap souls with one of his men at arms and then only the king's body will die.  Although that is likely to cause one or two issues with everyone suddenly yelling, "what do you mean he's the king.  That's just a guard."  Anyway, the plot contrivance that was going to do this was the Soul Fang Serpent.  King and the Mage have an argument and then have  a second argument. And the this matter is resolved somehow off screen.

Setup your payoff but it's almost more important to payoff your setups.  In this case Checkov's Gun appears to have gone unfired and it's jarring from the story structure perceptive.  It doesn't matter if  Serpent was actually used (although they only hinted that it was once,) the audience didn't see this payoff.  It was clumsy, jarring and I thought they knew better.

Next.  The elf girl that was sent to assassinate the Prince Ezra changes her mind when Ezra shows her the Dragon Prince, undestroyed after all.  The three of them vow then and there to take the Dragon Prince Egg back to Xadia, which will somehow automatically end the war.

Again, weak but we have now reached the second inciting incident and the adventure can now begin in earnest.

The three of them.  The Princes and the Elf girl are heading off to the Winter Lodge.  Okay, I thought to myself.  They are on the road now and they will have many adventures there while they try to get to the Winter Lodge. It will allow us to get to know the world they are in, like in the Last Airbender... And then they are there.  A very, very short Road of Trials indeed.

Which brings us to the last problem.  When Avatar: the Last Airbender was made each season was around twenty episodes.  This was a large canvass upon which to paint their characters.  This first season was eight episodes of twenty three minutes each.  Basically three hours.  You can make a great characters in that time period but clearly these guys are used to having more time to layer in their character shading.

If all felt very rushed and possibly they had to cut a lot of stuff out of it.  If the horrible animation is anything to go by their budget got slashed to the bone somewhere along the line. Bottomline: It had the most fundamental failure it could. I didn't care about the characters.  The show was more worried about hitting SJW check boxes than real character development.

Cataline Does Not Recommend.

Okay, yeah.  I did like the grumpy psychedelic hypno-toad. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

What is Wrong With These People? Sex in Star Trek

The first picture I put up here got me in trouble with Blogger India
If they knew the content of this Roddenberry movie...shudder

I know I don't usually start these things by roasting Scalzi but in this case...
Chapter Two

Kiva Lagos was busily fucking the brains out of the assistant purser she’d been after for the last six weeks of the Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby’s trip from Lankaran to End when Second Officer Waylov Brennir entered her stateroom, unannounced. “You’re needed,” he said.

Editors are supposed to stop stuff like this from happening. And credit where it's due, PNH is a half way decent editor. This means one of two things. Either there was so much garbage that it was just too much work to throw all of it out or (and this is so much worse) Scalzi actually fought to keep this scene in.

This Kiva Lagos is supposed to be one of Scalzi's favorite creations of all time.   And she is clearly by any measure a truly horrible little person. 

“I’m a little busy at the moment,” Kiva said. She’d just finally gotten herself into a groove, so fuck Waylov (not literally, he was awful)
(*Were you behind on your word count when you wrote this John?*) if she was going to get out of the groove just because he walked into it. Grooves were hard to come by. (*Yep, behind on his word count*) People have sex, and he was unannounced. If this was what he walked into, it was his fault, not hers. (*Waaay behind.  This is three in the morning crap that most writers would be hideously embarrassed about having written the next day.*)  The assistant purser seemed a little concerned, but Kiva applied a little pressure to make it clear festivities were to continue.
Seventy percent of the current bricks and mortar bookstore market is female.  Scalzi like any traditionally published author is aware of this and tries to write stuff that will appeal to that segment of market.   Which means he honestly thought women would like this.

For a typical woman this is a, put down the book and walk away, "Dude, I can't even," moment.  This paragraph is deeply and profoundly unaware of what women want from sex .  

Now weird ideas (fantasies really) about sex are one of the unfortunate hallmarks of science fiction. But this paragraph speaks to a view point of a straight man who  sexually idealizes himself as a woman.   Except normal women don't have sex like this and they never will.

I'm not joking about this fetish either.  This whole passage is about projection. Women do not pursue men for six weeks.  They just don't. For that matter most normal men can't be bothered after getting shot down a time or two.  They just move on after that.  But Gamma  and Omega Males will stalk one woman for months.  

The fact that this Kiva Lagos is rich and can ruin this lowly assistant purser with a word, seems to be give Scalzi the giggles.   If the sexes had been reversed Scalzi would have been the first one to scream, rape!

“It’s important.”

“Trust me, so is this.”

This is typical of Scalzi's attempts at locker room banter. As you can tell it is a passing strange and unnatural thing for him. 

This is John Scalzi with his brakes starting to slip.   Even in Old Man's War we first saw the weirdness of his ideas about sex creeping into his work.  The orgy that broke out among the rejuvenated soldiers was weird but expected.  The reason it was expected was because Forever War had had one.  And while Scalzi was claiming that this book was a paint by numbers tribute band to Heinlein, if you have ever read Haldeman and Heinlein you would have little doubt as to where the source of this pastiche was. 

Joe Haldeman's Forever War was a pastiche of Starship Troopers that the proto-SJWs of the 1970s were absolutely giddy about because of the Anti-Vietnam flavor of the book which was being provided by an actual Vietnam veteran.  They were goofy about this tripe for years.  It also had numerous orgies between the boy and girl soldiers.

What it didn't feature was a coherent or believable explanation for the pile of writhing bodies that would suddenly turn up for no reason.  These porn triggers were about as believable as the house wife who throws herself at the Pizza Delivery Boy with Extra Italian Sausage because he walked in the door.  Something vaguely related to sex got mentioned and that was enough.

It's hardly a secret that Science Fiction fans lean heavily to Gamma socio-sexual status.  The same can often be said for the writers themselves.  Although this isn't always the case.  Robert Heinlein's earlier works clearly indicated that he had a functioning knowledge of Game.  Yet he was also one of the worst offenders.  His later works frequently featured borderline pedophilia and a grotesque fascination with incest.

Gene Roddenberry was also a player.  Which is unsurprising, he was bomber pilot, turned airline pilot, turned cop, turned producer (he was the Police advisor on Dragnet).  Fine the personality archetype of player was clearly and obviously present. And in the best of aviator and Hollywood traditions he fucked around on his wife constantly.  He was given to keeping long term mistresses on call and providing them with whatever employment he could send their way.

Yet he too was very weird about sex. 

(H)e made a deal with Sir John Whitmore, an eccentric former race-car driver who wanted him to write a screenplay about a group of extraterrestrials, the “Council of Nine,” who Whitmore believed were bound to return to Earth any day now. Roddenberry set to work. He shared his draft with friends. “I read this script and the hair began to rise on the back of my neck,” says writer Harold Livingston, “because that’s his, Gene’s, story. He was totally unaware of what he was writing. He was also writing his various sexual perversions, which I certainly don’t hold a grudge against, because I’ve got my own problems. But there’s something very, very amiss there.”

Harold Livingston wrote the first draft. As usual, Roddenberry rewrote it. “Then he brought it in,” Livingston says, “gave it to us in a bright orange cover, and there it is: In Thy Image, screenplay by Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingston. 

He took first position. We all read it and I was appalled, and so was everyone else. We sat around looking at each other and somebody said, ‘Who’s going to tell him it’s a piece of s—t?’” 

The draft was marked November 7, 1977. Roddenberry’s opening scene: Kirk and a lady friend skinny-dipping. Starfleet hails. But Kirk is distracted when his girlfriend pulls him underwater. After a beat he surfaces, responds to the hail, and says, “I was attacked by an underwater creature.” There is more. The crew of the Enterprise is sent to investigate a mysterious probe heading towards Earth. In one scene, “shapely female yeomans check out the young and inexperienced Xon, straight out of the Academy and the new science officer, and ask him about pon farr,”. 

Admiral Kirk tells another new member of the crew, the empathic Ilia from the planet Delta, “I know that Deltan females are not wanton, hairless whores.” At this Ilia laughs and says, “On my world, existence is loving, pleasuring, sharing, caring.” Kirk asks, “Have you ever sexed with a human?”

One theme that become clear throughout any of these works is a driving desire to have twenty year old women behave like middle aged gay men. That sex should be as uncomplicated as a girl walking up to you and saying, "lets fuck, now."

Part of this was pure projection on the part of men who couldn't fathom what women wanted so they just assumed it was the same thing they did and would thus go about getting it in the same way that they would.  Hence Scalzi's heroine taking six weeks to seduce a boy.

Part of this was liberal men adopting a tenant of Second Wave Feminism that they really, really liked. That sex should be uncomplicated and freely available to women. They were super cool with this idea for the rather selfish reason that if there was tons and tons of hot Playboy sex going on everywhere they were bound to get some.

And as we all know it didn't even come close to working out that way.

The top fifteen percent of men who had been getting laid in Don Draper's day were now getting flooded as women began throwing themselves at them without the slightest loss of social status from being a slut.  As for the rest a great sexual starvation moved in as women found that thanks to government programs they no longer really needed (and I mean life and death needed) a husband.

Yet even in the face of this horrifying reality this cruelest of illusions lives on.  

If women could just become a little bit looser, then I wouldn't be lonely anymore.

It doesn't work like that Sad One. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Star Trek and Communism

It's always instructive to look at the lies the SJWs are telling themselves and others.  This was part of an opinion article in the NY Times and was written by an open Communist so I don't know if he really qualifies as an SJW.  I mean given that he isn't lying about it.

For some reason it was posted as an article about Star Trek and Communism (sorry) Socialism.  Star Trek itself got one mention.  Call it a bait and switch.

Feeding on this tension, science fiction and futurism entered their “golden age” by the 1950s and ’60s, both predicting the bright future that would replace the Cold War. 

My mistake. He is an SJW. He's lying. The Golden age of Science Fiction of the 1950s was presided over by John W. Campbell, who sure as fuck was no Communist.

Technological advances would automate society; the necessity of work would fade away. Industrial wealth would be distributed as a universal basic income, and an age of leisure and vitality would follow. Humans would continue to voyage into space, creating off-Earth colonies and perhaps making new, extraterrestrial friends in the process. 

This is actually 1930s science fiction. Probably best exemplified by Laurence Manning's The Man Who Awoke. This also remains the official Utopian vision of Communism.

It has no basis in human reality what-so-ever. Leisure and vitality do not go hand in hand. Ninety-nine percent of people who get "everything they want," fall apart.   Also, people won't work if they don't have to, consequently this entire fever dream is completely unfeasible.

There were a few Communists who realized this and thus was the ideal of the "New Soviet Man" born. Despite killing 100,000,000 people Communists were unable to induce enough selective pressure to create a single one.

In a rare 1966 collaboration across the Iron Curtain, the astronomer Carl Sagan co-wrote “Intelligent Life in the Universe” with Iosif Shklovosky. This work of astrobiological optimism proposed that humans attempt to contact their galactic neighbors.

I remember it. The basis for Sagan's belief in the existence of the intelligent life in the universe was based on a very sciency looking math formula that looked impressive unless you remembered that there was absolutely no data whatsoever to back up any of it.

The Communists chose to officially believe in the existence of more advanced aliens who were just like us and had already achieved Communism because Communism is inevitable, just ask a any Communist. So getting in touch with them to find out how they did it was considered a good idea because the Reds were having real problems getting anywhere near that goal line here on Earth.

Interest in alien life was not just the domain of scientists and fiction writers. U.F.O. flaps worldwide captured pop cultural attention, and many believed that flying saucers were here to warn us, or even save us, from the danger of nuclear weapons. 

Oh horse shit! 

People were scared to death of them. It was called the Flying Saucer Panic for a reason. Back in the 1950s if something was the product of super-science the general belief was that it probably wanted to kill all mankind.

In the midst of the worldwide worker and student uprisings in 1968, the Argentine Trotskyist leader known as J. Posadas wrote an essay proposing solidarity between the working class and the alien visitors. 

For my younger readers, Trotsky was the great might have been for old Bolsheviks. An alternate history leader who would have lead the Soviet Union to a glorious Communist future instead of the inconvenient and difficult to hide, holocaust that was Stalinism.

He argued that their technological advancement indicated they would be socialists and could deliver us the technology to free Earth from the grip of Yankee imperialism and the bureaucratic workers’ states.

Like I already said.  It was becoming obvious by the 1960s that Communism didn't work at all, so being good atheists they were reduced to praying to Space Jesus for deliverance. 

Such views were less fringe and more influential than you might think. Beginning in 1966, the plot of “Star Trek” closely followed Posadas’s propositions. After a nuclear third world war (which Posadas also believed would lead to socialist revolution), Vulcan aliens visit Earth, welcoming them into a galactic federation and delivering replicator technology that would abolish scarcity. Humans soon unify as a species, formally abolishing money and all hierarchies of race, gender and class.

This paragraph vaults all over the place so much, it's kind of hard to keep up.

 WWIII was sort of a given in all science fiction future histories during this period. Right wing as well as Left and no Posada (*no shelter?*), didn't invent it.

Now, I have to put on my nerd hat. The Vulcans didn't do much other than say, "hi, we exist," at First Contact. There was no Federation for a long time after that. The replicator technology wasn't invented for sometime as well.

But I will grant that the author got the last part right.

“A lot has changed in the past 300 years,” Captain Picard explains to a cryogenically unfrozen businessman from the 20th century in an episode of a later “Star Trek” franchise, “The Next Generation.” “People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.”

This silly bullshit sprang from the head of Hollywood Communist, Gene Roddenberry


One of my earliest memories is the landing of Apollo 11.  My parents woke me up for it and dragged me downstairs so that I could wobble bleary eyed on my father's lap as Eagle came down to rest at Tranquility Base.  I couldn't make out what Armstrong said.  The interference was bad that morning. But even at that age I knew what I had just watched something that was supposed to be important.

Everyone else thought so too.

Apollo 11 was the new Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria all rolled into one.  Armstrong was the new Columbus (For the benefit of Millennials; fifty years ago Columbus was generally admired  in this country.  No, really he was.)  A new world was opening up and I as an extremely young child was told constantly that I was going to be a part of it.

The Moon was clearly just a stepping stone.  After that would come Mars.  Then Jupiter, Saturn, the outer planets and...well that would probably have to be it for my life time.  FTL travel was as elusive then as it is now.  But an entire Solar System was likely to be the work of a lifetime regardless.  There was zero doubt at that moment that we would soon be headed out to the rest of the Solar System.

Star Trek had already been canceled for a month.

My first memories of Star Trek are a lot clearer than Neil Armstrong's walk-about.  They mostly involve my father saying, "Hell no!  This is my house and  I paid for this damn TV set.  We are watching Laugh-in!"  There was of course only one TV in the house.  My memories of Laugh-in are resentfully blurry.

Regardless, I was promised that I could watch Star Trek during reruns, since Dad didn't care to laugh at the same joke twice.

And boy-howdy was Dad right.  I certainly did get to watch Star Trek in reruns.  Star Trek the original series was in syndication pretty much continuously until Next Generation came along.

Despite it's short run of 72 episodes it became the most influential science fiction series of all time.  No, I'm not exaggerating. Everything that followed it, either had to implicitly accept or reject what it had brought to the table.

This is not to say that it was good.

A thing does NOT have to be good in order to be influential it just has to have a big footprint.  In the days of three networks and not much in the way of other science fiction show on the air or most especially in reruns, Star Trek couldn't help but have a big foot print.  For ten years there was pretty much nothing else out there.  UFO came and went in one year.  Space 1999 lasted two seasons and then vanished from the air.  There were several one season wonders and a bunch of pilots that never got picked up, I'll get to that shortly.  But nothing challenged the impact of Star Trek because nothing could.

The reason was that  nothing lasted long enough to be picked up for syndication.

In the days before cable, syndication was everything.  That was the market that made money for the production companies.  When a show was on the air for the networks it was more or less being made at cost.  But when a show got picked up for the rerun market the money could come raining down for years.

But and this is the important part... you needed a minimum of seventy five episodes.  At seventy-two, Star Trek was just close enough.

That odd little rule kept Star Trek the Original Series on the air in every market for better than twenty years.  That gave Star Trek time to not just move the needle but to set the standard because there was no other show that had that kind of legs.*

In truth it has not stood the test of time as whole.  Watching it today tends to be a something of disappointment.  You remember it as being better than it was.

The sets look cheap, the lighting looks awful.  Shatner's typical performance was hamtastic but he was hardly alone there.  The entire cast was either completely wooden or absolutely over the top.  A lot of the stories were silly as hell.  Although a few of them weren't.

The shows that weren't terrible all had one thing in common.  They had been either written or produced by Gene L. Coon.

One of the big difference between the Original series and those that followed it was the mindset of the men who produced, wrote and indeed watched it.  All of them had been in uniform at some point in their lives.  The post World War II paradigm predominates throughout the show.

The Cold War Draft had shaped American society in a way that no one can comprehend today.  Between 1940 and 1973, when a young man reached eighteen years of age he was presented with a choice.

1. Pick the service of your choice and volunteer.  Volunteers received preferential treatment,  MOSs and assignments.  Volunteers are always preferable because their moral is fundamentally better.  You can always throw it in a Volunteer's face.  "Hey, you volunteered shitbird.  Nobody asked you to be here.  You wanted this."

2a.  Request deferment for college and then go in as an officer.  If you have to be in the band, you are better off being the guy waving the stick.  This was how Bill Clinton skipped the draft.

2b. Become something that the US government did not want to be drafted at all.  Scientists,  engineers and the like.  Also farmers past a certain point.

2c. Get married in college and a have a kid.  That usually got you out of the running.  Particularly if your new father-in-law was somebody who could go cry for the local draft board on your behalf.

3.  Last choice for anyone. Take your chances with the Draft Lottery.  If you were a high school drop out you were definitely getting drafted.(*If you are a high school drop out can not enlist. Ha-Ha!*)

In short the Draft had been used as a very effective club to motivate the young men of America.  The Draft had become a societal engineering tool.  The exemptions to it strongly influenced the choices of young men to proceed along paths that American Society most approved of for them.  Regardless of how they felt about it personally.

Star Trek the Original series is a product of that America.

A lot of hardcore Lefties who would never have considered such a thing, did time in the Service.

And Star Trek was Lefty as fuck.  When it started production written Science Fiction leaned to the right.  No, I'm not joking here, it actually did.  Heinlein, Herbert, Zelazney, Niven, Pournelle.  All of them were some species of rightwinger.

Gene Roddenberry on the other hand was a Mercedes Marxist who usually couldn't afford the Mercedes.

He started out as an LA cop. Then flew B-17s during the war.  He became a commercial pilot after the war and following a nasty crash in North Africa went back to being a cop.  While being a cop he became an adviser to Dragnet.  I have a suspicion that he was the inspiration for "Hollywood Jack" in LA Confidential.

Dragnet was Roddenberry's entry portal to TV.  He worked as a script writer on cop shows, westerns and military dramas.  He combined all three when he pitched a Sci-Fi show as "Wagon Train to the Stars."

The first pilot is quite interesting as it is Roddenberry's closest iteration of what he wanted Star Trek to be.  And The Cage has almost no resemblance to the beloved original series. Stark, dark and gritty come to mind when describing it.  Starfleet was an actual military organization.  It reflected Roddenberry's own experiences in the Army Air Corps.  The captain of the ship was more fighter jock than Horatio Hornblower. There was a ship's doctor who acted as older man councilor to the captain.  The Enterprise had an actual CPO and that never happened again.  Proto-Spock was on hand but he was just some guy with pointy ears.

Roddenberry's sexual interests were very much on display as well.  Captain Pike's Number One was a woman.  Which in a more Game aware/military aware world could have worked well.  The XO is inherently a more maternal figure in the military hierarchy.  The sympathetic agency that can be appealed to, and one that is inwardly focused on the running of the organization.  In short, the XO is the Mom who wears the pants in the family.  But this Number One

Felt more like this

The Yeoman pictured on the left came across as the innocent lost farm girl in the big city.

And then there was Vina

The woman that could change to fulfill any male fantasy.  All three were presented by the alien overminds for Pike's sexual pleasure.

Roddenberry was the proto WorldCon goer in this regard.

The first pilot was scrapped but a second was ordered.  This new one was less militaristic in nature but still didn't feel like Star Trek.  Roddenberry stayed true to his horrible vision for the first 13 episodes.

His vision of the future, by the way,  didn't include the likes of us.  We were pretty much expected to conveniently die off in WWIII.  This event that was hinted at very strongly through out the series but was never fleshed out in much detail.  Which was typical for the sixties.  Everyone expected to the Cold War to one day turn hot.  This expectation also colored the show through out.

After this cleansing by fire, all primitive thinking nationalists would be extinguished.  And the only thing left would be noble, scientific globalism.  Ready to head to the stars.  Even here Roddenberry was an unoriginal hack.

Advance to 1:02:00 if you are curious about what I mean.**

Roddenberry’s insecurities were apparent from the start. He fought with the studios, the network, the writers, anyone who crossed his path. “During the first year,” he says, “I wrote or rewrote everybody, even my best friends, because I had this idea in my mind of something that hadn’t been done and I wanted to be really there. Once we had enough episodes, then the writers could see where we were going, but it was really building people to write the way I wanted them to write.” But no one could do that. Roddenberry never stopped rewriting. “The problem,” says his biographer Joel Engel, “was that he basically couldn’t write well enough to carry it off.” For 25 years, a script never left Roddenberry’s hands without becoming worse.

Then along came the unsung hero, who is unsung because Roddenberry tried to write him out the picture in completely and in a world before the internet you could totally do that.

Gene L. Coon is the real creator of Star Trek. He was brought on board to be the show runner after Gene Roddenberry lost interest in the project.

Coon is the one who created every hallmark of Star Trek.  The United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire.  Starfleet Academy, Starfleet Command and of course KHAAAAAANN!  He oversaw the second and truthfully only good season of the show.

Roddenberry couldn't forgive him for being more talented than he was.  He eventually forced Coon off of the show and took credit for everything he did.

That didn't play well in certain quarters.

"Shatner actually took it up a notch while the "Great Bird of the Galaxy" was still alive. Even though he had not nearly as large a bone to pick with Roddenberry as, for example, his co-star Leonard Nimoy had, Shatner apparently felt damned if he would let Roddenberry get away with the perceived injustice. On 6 June 1991 shortly before celebrating the 100th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Producers Building at the former Desilu studio lot was renamed "Gene Roddenberry Building", and Shatner was one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony. During his speech, Shatner purposely dropped Coon's name a few times, in an effort to embarrass Roddenberry. Very shortly after Roddenberry's death five months later, Shatner, not in the slightest rueful, explained himself, "In my opinion, Gene Coon had more to do with the infusion of life into STAR TREK than any other single person. Gene Roddenberry's instincts for creating the original package are unparalleled. He put it together, hired the people and the concept was his and set in motion by him, but after 13 shows other people took over. Gene Coon spent a year and set the tenor of the show and there were several other producers who were writer/producers who defined its character. Gene [Roddenberry] was more in the background as other people actively took over." (Cinefantastique, Vol 22 #5, p. 39) Shatner in particular, has not let the issue slide, nor did he mellow over time, when he, as late as 2008, wrote in even harsher tone in his autobiography, Up Till Now: The Autobiography, "After the first thirteen episodes writer/producer Gene Coon was brought in and Roddenberry became the executive producer, meaning he was more of a supervisor than working on the show day -to-day. After that his primary job seemed to be exploiting Star Trek in every possible way."

Coon died long before the Star Trek's rise to dominance in the 1970s.

It was during that period that Roddenberry showed his true a marketer.  And what he was marketing was a product called Gene Roddenberry, Genius.  He didn't actually produce anything to back this up I'm afraid. 

Of his failed pilots there was Questor Tapes about a sentient android that was part of  conspiracy to save the world through globalism.  There was Genesis II, which was some Buck Rogers scenario about a scientist trying to bring about globalism in a post WWIII world.  Roddenberry kind of went back to this roots with Haven/Future Cop about an android cop. A second version of Genesis II, this time starring John Saxon as a male sex slave.  And finally Spectre, which was basically a supernatural Sherlock Holmes and isn't anywhere near as good as it sounds.  

There were other projects as well. 

(H)e made a deal with Sir John Whitmore, an eccentric former race-car driver who wanted him to write a screenplay about a group of extraterrestrials, the “Council of Nine,” who Whitmore believed were bound to return to Earth any day now. Roddenberry set to work. He shared his draft with friends. “I read this script and the hair began to rise on the back of my neck,” says writer Harold Livingston, “because that’s his, Gene’s, story. He was totally unaware of what he was writing. He was also writing his various sexual perversions, which I certainly don’t hold a grudge against, because I’ve got my own problems. But there’s something very, very amiss there.”

There had been an earlier attempt at a Star Trek film that Roddenberry took from Green Light to Red Light with his constant demands for incompetent artistic control.

However, after Star Wars came out, interest at Paramount drastically accelerated.  A second live action series was planned and then scrapped in favor of  a Motion Picture.

Harold Livingston wrote the first draft. As usual, Roddenberry rewrote it. “Then he brought it in,” Livingston says, “gave it to us in a bright orange cover, and there it is: In Thy Image, screenplay by Gene Roddenberry and Harold Livingston. 

He took first position. We all read it and I was appalled, and so was everyone else. We sat around looking at each other and somebody said, ‘Who’s going to tell him it’s a piece of s—t?’” 

The draft was marked November 7, 1977. Roddenberry’s opening scene: Kirk and a lady friend skinny-dipping. Starfleet hails. But Kirk is distracted when his girlfriend pulls him underwater. After a beat he surfaces, responds to the hail, and says, “I was attacked by an underwater creature.” There is more. The crew of the Enterprise is sent to investigate a mysterious probe heading towards Earth. In one scene, “shapely female yeomans check out the young and inexperienced Xon, straight out of the Academy and the new science officer, and ask him about pon farr,”. 

Admiral Kirk tells another new member of the crew, the empathic Ilia from the planet Delta, “I know that Deltan females are not wanton, hairless whores.” At this Ilia laughs and says, “On my world, existence is loving, pleasuring, sharing, caring.” Kirk asks, “Have you ever sexed with a human?”

Star Trek the Motion Picture was supposed to have a budget of 10 million.  Under Roddenberry's guiding hand, the budget ballooned to a studio busting 35 million.  In those days that was big enough to kill a studio, if it bombed. It raked in 85 million but it was a hair raising few months at Paramount before that happened.

They were done with Roddenberry.

His job title was changed to Creative Consultant and he was quietly kicked off the movies.  So we never got to see the one where the Enterprise travels back in time, Kirk becomes besties with John F. Kennedy and Spock is the shooter on the Grassy Knoll.  I'm not joking about any of that, Roddenberry tried to sell that script for years.

Star Trek the Next Generation suffered through it's first couple of seasons for the same reasons that everything else touched by Roddenberry turned to shit.  Although in that show's case they were rescued Roddenberry's health issues brought on by booze and coke.

He had to step aside and let the show be taken over by younger men who had been inspired by Gene L. Coon... Even if they thought they were being inspired by Gene Roddenberry.


The production budget of Star Trek Beyond was 185 million.  It's final boxoffice take was 343 million.  The general rule of thumb is that after you factor in marketing costs and junk bond interest, a flick has to make double it's budget before it can turn a profit.  Which means the last film was a marginal loser for them.

While it's likely that Star Trek will be back in theaters soon, it will have a slashed budget when it arrives.

In the meantime they have decided to go with a less risky option of another TV series.  It looks like it's going to be garbage for SJW babies and I won't be watching it.

*The Whovians are cordially invited to shut the fuck up.  Yes, the Doctor has been on the air a little bit longer but he has always been a much smaller market.

Lost in Space was science fiction for the first six episodes and pretty good Sci Fi at that.  But after those first six it quickly turned into high camp comedy.  Hell, Guy Williams could barely say his lines without laughing.

**Yes, this ecological nightmare has been brought to you by the Left Wing.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Attention, Beloved Readers!

In the comments below jot down as many Star Trek: NG and Star Trek: OS tropes that you can think of.

If you are wondering why, look at the comments in the last post.

Example of tropes for something else entirely:

Major Tropes:

An old battle starship called out of retirement.

A crew of misfits.

An incompetent military leadership.

A smart skipper that has had his career cut short due to Fleet politics.

Minor Tropes:

His judgement is clouded when it comes to his son and surrogate daughter but he always rises to the occasion when the heat is on.

Other trope examples.  The Cozy Mystery:

Major Tropes:

Female amateur sleuth caught in mystery by accident

Hot sheriff or FBI agent who is investigating the case

Mystery solved in a happy ending (nocliffhangers, ever)

Almost no violence, and if it occurs it isn’t described on the page

Minor Tropes:

 Protagonist owns a yarn shop, cupcake business, etc
Victim is usually unpopular, and everyone had a reason to murder them

Wisecracking, match-making granny

Set in small town.

Like I said, put your observations in the comments section below.  Together we will make Star Trek Great Again.


UPDATE: off topic tropes will be immediately deleted.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Text Book Story Movie #2: The Black Panther...Or I Haven't Slept In Three Days

This is the second part of the Dark Herald's series; Textbook Story Movies. Wherein beloved readers, we will examine movies...from the perspective of a writer.

I had had no real plans to watch it but it came up on Netflix and it did win the Dragon Award for Best SFF movie.  So, why not give it a look? I decided.

Given that it has crossed the billion dollar mark I see no point in doing Cataline Recommends on it, so dissection it is.

Opening scene is a prolouge.  Little African Boy (presumably T'Challa) asks his father to tell him the story of Wakanda again.  Boy's Father (presumably T'Chaka)  tells him The Tale.  Good start.  It's  a decent way to lay out a setting.

Ten thousand years ago a meteor made of Vibranium crashed into their remote ancestors backyard.  Vibranium appears to have some serious WTF properties, (stick a pin in that one, we're coming back to it).  The Five Tribes of the area fought over it.  Then T'Challa's remotest known ancestor ate the SOMETHING flower and gained Captain America powers from it.  He subdued four of the Five Tribes and they united around him, he was the first Black Panther and he created Wakanda.  The Fifth Tribe which has a gorilla fetish for some reason retreated to the mountains.  Then to protect the Vibranium, Wakanda closed itself off from the rest of world.  

Thanks to the Vibranium Wakanda became the most technologically advanced civilization in the world.  


Okay, when you are dealing with a superhero movie there is a lot of telling yourself, "its good.  Its all good.  Don't worry about it." 

Fine, I can make myself buy, superstrong metals with weird properties.  There, I did it.  But frankly I wanted a better explanation as to why Wakanda was secretly great.  I mean who ever wrote this never read Guns, Germs and Steel.  Honestly, I would have been a lot cooler with the first Black Panther being an alien whose gigantic ship was made entirely of Vibranium and he was the one that raised the local tribes technology level. 

Then again, maybe I'm wrong.

Consider, as homosapiens we've been around for about eighty to one hundred thousand years give or take.  

Question: Why did it take us seventy thousand years to come up with civilizations? 

Answer: Maybe it didn't.  Maybe somebody managed it and we just don't know about it.

Don't worry I'm not about to get all Atlantean up in your faces.  We're not going Rosicrucian at the Dark Herald. I freely admit that is entirely speculative.  

However, take a look at this Mayan Ruin. 

This was from earlier this year before preservation efforts were enacted.  This was from the height of their civilization about 900 AD.  How long before the jungle erased all traces of it?

Honestly not more than 3000 years is my best guess.

Here's the thing, in a stoneage civilization the most valuable thing you can a stone.  Now some are going to be more highly prized than others.  Some are going to be more useful than others.  But all of them will be made of stone.  And lets face it, your buildings will have to be made of stone that is pretty soft and therefore easy to disintegrate.

Everyone asks the question why didn't the Mayan's invent the wheel.  The answer is simple enough to anyone who has ever done any wood working.  You need metal tools for that.  I've never tried but I am one hundred percent certain that you can't build a pair of matched useful wheels with stone tools.

It is possible that a few pre-Pharoahonic stoneage civilizations like the Mayans cropped up and like the Mayans petered out without surviving trace.  We are talking 80,000 years after all.  And most early civilizations have historically speaking, been coastal.  The last major glaciation period ended about 11,000 years ago.

Any evidence of coastal civilization would have been swamped when the glaciers melted.  Consider the picture of the Mayan temple above.  So lets say that temple has three thousand years to molder and then gets deluged when the oceans rise.  A few centuries of tidal currents and what would be left?

Like I said this is speculative and there is not so much as pot shard or arrowhead to turn this supposition into a theory.  But we are only talking about what is possible here.

Now if the Wakandans had metal that was stronger than steel yet easy to forge with stoneage technology, they could be said to have a cart.  If they they had a succession of superhuman god-kings, forcing the neighboring tribes into submission, they would also have the horse.  After that you'd just need one of the Black Panthers to be an organizer.

Scorpion II of Nekhen and is presumably the first true king of Upper Egypt. To him belongs the U-j tomb found in the royal cemetery of Abydos where Thinite kings were buried. That tomb was plundered in antiquity, but in it were found many small ivory plaques, each with a hole for tying it to something, and each marked with one or more hieroglyph-type scratched images which are thought to be names of towns, perhaps to tie the offerings and tributes to keep track of which came from which town.

Okay, so keeping track of the loot creates a need for writing and the rest pretty much boot straps itself.  And with metal the Wakandans got up to an Egyptian level.

Then stasis would have set in, it always does.

From my piece on the Black Death and the Birth of the West.

Until 1350 that was pretty much the history of the entire world.

A civilization would start up somewhere. Populations would expand because of the higher standard of living but then the population would grow a little too big. Lifestyle standards would drop. Grain agriculture would just barely keep everyone fed. Sons would slavishly follow fathers into whatever profession the father himself had been born into because at least that provided security and security was everything. It kept you from slipping down the ladder and no one ever climbed back up the ladder.

Everyone worked themselves to the bone all their life because there was no need for a labor saving device when there was that much labor just lying around ready to be whipped (*literally*) into action.

Society inevitably became hierarchical and then caste divided. Improvements weren't really possible because there was no resources to be spared for innovation. The people on top spent their lives busting their humps to make sure everyone below them remembered that their place was below them.

So maybe a plague whips through Wakanda at just the right moment in its history or something else kills eighty percent of the population at the right time. Now they start innovating technologically again at about the same time that Narmer's Ooh-Rah Grunts march north into Lower Egypt.

Okay, I suppose it fits...

Now where the fuck was I?

Oh, yeah.

So, Act I.  Nope strike that, we have a second prologue now.  That takes place in the early 1990s and has a guy in it who is supposed to be young Forrest Whitaker, except he doesn't look a thing like old Forrest Whitaker which is odd because Forrest Whitaker was a working actor in the early 1990s and he looked just like Forrest Whitaker.  Don't believe me? Rent Jason's Lyric.  Anyway, the old Black Panther King T'Chaka shows up and arrests his brother who...

You know what? I don't care anymore.  I don't give a shit.  Just watch this it will cover the whole thing.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Future is Ours

We had met on Tinder. I was nearly 30 and he was 24, but our age gap somehow seemed a lot larger than five years. Not because he acted especially young. It was more that when it came to sex and foreplay, he acted so differently from guys my age, asking for my consent about nearly everything.

“Is it O.K. if we go to the bedroom?” he said.

I smiled and led him there.

He tugged at the hem of my sweater and said, “Is it O.K. if I take this off?”

I nodded. Underneath I was wearing a thin tank top.

“Can I take this off, too?” he said.

I laughed. “Of course!”

Off it went.

He kissed my collarbone. I breathed into his neck and pulled off his shirt. He fingered the clasp of my bra.

“Is it O.K. if I take this off?” he said.

I think I snorted. “When you asked about the sweater, that was my yes from the waist up.”

He looked scared. Somewhere in our five-year age gap, a dramatic shift must have taken place in sexual training. I sensed this would be a different kind of hookup than I was used to, but I couldn’t predict how.

I lay down on my bed, and he lay beside me.

“Is this O.K.?” he said.

“I invited a guy from Tinder to my empty apartment on a snow day,” I said. “Let’s just assume you have blanket consent.”

“I’m not comfortable with that.”

They are breeding themselves into extinction. This is a good thing.