RIP, science fiction pioneer Dorothy "DC" Fontana

DC Fontana was a pioneering writer and editor for Star Trek who worked on shows like Babylon Five, the Six Million Dollar Man, He Man, and Buck Rogers, one of the most prominent women in the field. She died yesterday, aged 80, after a short illness. Science fiction mailing lists and websites have been flooded with remembrances for Fontana, but I'm especially fond of Diane Duane's. (Thanks, Kathy Padilla!) (Image: Larry Nemecek, CC BY-SA) Read the rest

Thanks to an article about why science fiction great John M Ford's books are out of print, they're coming back

John M Ford -- AKA Mike Ford -- (previously) was a spectacular and varied science fiction writer who performed brilliantly across a wide range of genres and formats, from RPGs (GURPS, Paranoia) to licensed Star Trek fiction (his "How Much for Just the Planet" effectively created Klingon fandom) to fantasy novels like The Dragon Waiting, which grip and delight the reader in ways to rival George RR Martin or Ursula K LeGuin. Read the rest

Frozen's "Let it go" sung in Klingon

Ever wonder what the song "Let it go" from Disney's hit movie Frozen would sound like in Klingon? Me neither but then again, something like that would never even occur to me. But it did occur to Jen Usellis, who performs as the Klingon Pop Warrior.

Listen as she belts out her Klingonese version, called "yIbuSQo'":

Nerdist:

After Reddit user staq16 posted the song to Reddit’s Star Trek subreddit earlier this month, the track quickly earned mad parmaq from the forum’s community. However, while most users thought the song was on point, some took issue with the fact that Klingons are known for not enjoying the cold—nor letting things go. They also apparently don’t do a lot of other things.

(Geekologie) Read the rest

New 'Star Trek: Picard' trailer

He calls his cat Number One.

I also dig Riker's 'Stringfellow Hawk' dock on the lake. Read the rest

"To Boldly Go With The Force", Mindy Clegg's essay on the politics of popular sci-fi

Mindy Clegg has posted a wonderful essay covering the "social and political conflicts over fandom", and how even though such discussions are appearing in the modern communities surrounding recent films such as Captain Marvel and The Joker (previously), the reality is that such political and social issues have surrounded both the discussion of, and indeed the very core beliefs of some of our most well-known Sci-Fi franchises for decades:

Roddenberry consciously created a multiracial crew on the Starship Enterprise. The show sought to promote the concept of racial tolerance among its viewers by showing a peaceful and egalitarian multiracial crew of humans. Many saw it as doing just that. Actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhuru, the accomplished and talented communications officer, was told by Dr. Martin Luther King at an NAACP meeting that her depiction of Uhuru was making a difference in the lives of young black women. This was a time when black women rarely had prominent roles on TV, much less in such powerful positions. When she told him that she was planning on leaving the show due to ingrained racism and sexism on the set, he told her that she couldn’t do that, given the positive role model she was for young black women. She even inspired the first black woman to go into space, Mae Jemison. Jemison would later go full circle, and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. George Takai, who portrayed Lt. Hikaru Sulu, eventually also parlayed his acting work into activism.
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Brent Spiner on how Patrick Stewart's pronunciation of 'Data' changed how Americans say the word

Americans mostly used to say "daa-ta", as Brent Spiner relates in an appearance at Big Apple Comic Con earlier this year. Now they mostly say "day-ta". It's all because Patrick Stewart won an argument at the first reading of the first episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation.

Brent Spiner tells a funny story about the Data name from "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and how Patrick Stewart is responsible for the way the word is now pronounced. This panel was moderated by Larry Nemecek. For more information on Big Apple Comic Con, head to www.BigAppleCC.com

But I have prior art: 1985's The Goonies. Jump to 50s in for the daa-ta v. day-ta moment.

Also, has anyone written about out how much ... weirder? creepier? offbeat? ... early TNG was? The first season has little of the cosy, formulaic rythyms and Flanderized characters we associate with late-century Star Trek stuff, but I feel we've forgotten how interesting it sometimes was because it was so rough (and mostly bad). I'm thinking a supercut of "weird early TNG" is needed. I'm certain I saw someone riffing on this on Twitter a while ago--who was it?

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Realistic Starfleet meetings

Dan Hon (previously at BB) noticed that Star Trek's meetings and conferences always involve military officers, usually occur with ample time for preparation, yet invariably has them just talking to one another. If there are any graphics involved, they are simple, concise and expressive.

This is of course nothing whatsoever like any military on earth or off it. So Hon decided to photoshop what such meetings would actually entail: PowerPoint, and lots of it. Read the rest

Picard trailer

Here's the trailer for CBS's forthcoming series focusing on the further adventures of Starfleet Captain Jean Luc Picard, starring Patrick Stewart. I'd hoped for a sci-fi mix of Murder She Wrote and Le Carre's George Smiley novels (Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, etc), posing a well-retired and wryly dysphoric Picard getting reembroiled in things. That's the first impression the trailer offers, but it also lets the "quickly back in the saddle" cat out the bag, too. Even so, who isn't looking forward to a dozen more hours of Stewart-Picard? Read the rest

Watch this fantastic 1994 Pizza Hut TV commercial that's entirely in Klingon

In 1994, Pizza Hut aired this TV commercial in the UK that was reportedly the first completely non-English advertisement on British television. The entire thing is in Klingon.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Star Trek's Nichelle "Uhura" Nichols checks out the Space Shuttle Enterprise (1977)

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle Nichols, aka Lieutenant Uhura, volunteered her time to help NASA recruit women and minorities to join the space agency. The 1977 reel above is from that era. In the clip, astronaut Alan Bean and Nichols check out NASA's shiny new Space Shuttle Enterprise. From The Space Archive:

In 1975 Nichols established Women in Motion, Inc., an astronaut recruitment project that helped to find over 1000 minority and 1600 women applicants, and this video reflects her significant efforts in that field. The Space Shuttle program did indeed expand the ranks of astronauts, including Sally Ride, the first woman in space, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, and Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American in space, who flew over 190 hours in space and attributed her interest in the field to seeing Nichols on television as a child. The Space Shuttles were the first spacecraft designed for reuse, and the Enterprise (originally named the Constitution until president Gerald Ford was inundated with a letter-writing campaign to change the name), was the first shuttle, performing tests to ensure the spacecraft would be able to function as gliders and land on conventional runways after missions in space.

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Star Trek Starfleet insignia found on Mars

The high resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image in the Red Planet's Hellas Planitia region. According to the University of Arizona researchers who operate the HiRISE camera for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, shapes like this "are the result of a complex story of dunes, lava, and wind." But they also note that "enterprising viewers will make the discovery that these features look conspicuously like a famous logo."

They add that it's a coincidence, but we know better.

"Dune Footprints in Hellas" (University of Arizona)

Full image below depicts area 5 km across:

Read the rest

Circling the USS Enterprise in 'Star Trek The Motion Picture'

Who needs V'ger? This scene of Kirk and Scotty made the entire movie for me. Read the rest

Watch this strange laundry detergent commercial parodying Star Trek (1969)

To boldly go where no pitchman has gone before.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

First trailer for 'Star Trek: Picard'

Enjoy. Read the rest

Watch: Lieutenant Uhura's NASA recruitment film from 1977

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle Nichols, aka Lieutenant Uhura, volunteered her time to help NASA recruit women and minorities to join the space agency. The 1977 video above is from that era. Nichols' impact can't be overstated. From Wikipedia:

Among those recruited (by Nichols' NASA special project) were Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the former NASA administrator and veteran of four shuttle missions, Frederick D. Gregory, former deputy administrator and a veteran of three shuttle missions and Lori Garver, former deputy administrator.

Read the rest

Jonathan Frakes telling you you're wrong for 47 seconds

Jonathan Frakes, the actor and director associated most strongly with his Star Trek role as bearded lothario William Riker but with many other feathers in his cap, here informs you that you are wrong for a solid 47 seconds. Read the rest

On Adam Savage's Tested: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and the Voyager Golden Record

In 1979, the USS Enterprise flew onto the big screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Without giving away too much of the plot, NASA's Voyager program that began in 1977 featured prominently in the film. Of course, the real twin Voyager probes carry the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials that my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released on vinyl for the first time as a lavish box set.

While the Voyager Record isn't mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I was still delighted when my old pal Ariel Waldman invited me on to her wonderful talk show Offworld, on Adam Savage's Tested channel, to talk about Voyager, the Golden Record, and the heady, awkward, and pretty great Star Trek: The Motion Picture! Even more exciting is that the other guest was Frank Drake, father of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the technical director of the original Voyager Golden Record! Far out.

The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition is available from Ozma Records.

Below: Frank and I scrying with his original copy of the Voyager Record cover.

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