As You Look Back Over the Year, Over Your Life, What Do You Ponder? Star Trek TOS! #StarTrek #lists #TOS #scifi #space

A display version of the Gate from Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever

It’s hard to find free-use images of this episode. This shows fans viewing the Gate, taken by Konrad Summers at a Star Trek Exhibit at Queen Mary Spruce Goose Dome, Long Beach Ca, Feb 2008

The end of the year is a time for lists, and I found this 10 Best and 10 Worst Episodes of Star Trek – referring to the broadcast shows, even Deep Space Nine which I haven’t seen in ages. Any such list is fodder for endless conversations, but I want to discuss The City on the Edge of Forever from The Original Series.

If you haven’t seen it, stop now and go find the episode. Spoiler Alert: Links below lead to plot summaries and I discuss the episode’s pivotal event.

Refresh your memory of the plot here. You may not be surprised to learn that a “Best Of” episode came from a famous scifi writer, Harlan Ellison, or that it’s production ran over budget and over schedule, but did you know that Harlan Ellison hated the episode?

Various rewrites reduced production costs, and if some characters and scenes had not been cut, it would have been a movie instead of a TV episode. (Oh, the loss to humanity!) But the basic moral dilemma remained: if the death of a single, innocent, noble person would save millions, should that person die? Does your answer change if you love that person? It’s a Kobayashi Maru scenario where Kirk can’t cheat to win.

The biggest change was this: Roddenberry had Kirk make the heartbreaking decision. Ellison had Spock make it.

The question of which feels truer to Kirk, and to Trek, serves as a litmus test for fans of the show.

Is it believable that Kirk acted and allowed his lover to die? I can accept that. Kirk was a rather wild blend of traits.

What about the original story? My inner-Spock says, yes, Spock would have acted. So both versions could have been made.

Could Kirk and Spock have developed the relationship they had throughout TOS if Spock had acted instead of Kirk? Could Spock’s shadow have fallen across the Star Trek universe?

I think – No. TOS was made before season-long and series-long character arcs became popular, but even in that environment, characters grew and developed. I don’t believe friendship would have grown or that we would have seen more of Spock’s inner life if Ellison’s version had prevailed.

Star Trek TOS originally came to me as a pre-teen, science-loving, somewhat-awkward geek. Even back then, I could be critical. I cringed at some episodes, like Spocks’ Brain, but it’s all part of me today. So I haven’t read Ellison’s published version of his original script, but you can if you want. I understand the book includes a lot of Ellison’s rants over being badly treated and his negative opinions about nearly everyone involved.

In 1995, four years after Roddenberry’s death, Ellison published “The City on the Edge of Forever” again, this time as a standalone book titled The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay.

3.4 stars on Amazon – not overly impressive, but how could it be ranked higher when “this book insults Gene Roddenberry and the entire Star Trek franchise with no mercy. It also sometimes insults the fans.” While some reviewers were annoyed at half the book being an airing of grievances, at least one person thought Ellison’s famous temper was worth the price of the book.

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What Books to Add on that New Kindle? Or on any eReader? #giftideas #amreading #books #scifi

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

Titan, a #1 New Release on Amazon 😉

Reindeer over 5 Colony on Mars book covers

Christmas isn’t over yet – not till New Years 🙂 Click the image to start with Book 1. Here’s a tip: get all five Mars stories at one bargain price.

The perfect last minute gifts – ebooks. Colonize Saturn’s moon Titan from Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited. Or take a one-way journey to Mars from Amazon and all your favorite stores, in all your favorite formats.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Best Wishes.

Never Turn Down a Holiday that Brings Gifts and Parties #happy #holiday #holidayseason #gift #scienceficiton

Happy Saturnalia with Colony on Mars book coversGifts and parties, and role-reversals. Welcome to the Roman week of Saturnalia. If you throw a Saturnalian party, gambling should be included. But I was never much interested in gambling.

I recall, as a kid, going to my father’s volunteer fire department’s fund-raising carnival where there was an oversized version of roulette. I put my penny on a number, the ball rolled down, and the man took my penny away. Why would I do that again?

Kate Rauner with her Colony on Mars books

Me at a recent book signing for my Colony on Mars series.

Instead, how about little white elephant gifts, wrapped and numbered. Pick a number from a hat.

As to gifts, well, you know I recommend books. At Amazon and all the favorite stores. And this year you can read my new book about a cult colonizing Saturn’s moon Titan. #1 New Release in it’s Amazon category!

Titan book cover, scifi, colonization

#1 New Release on Amazon

Okay, just between you and me, Amazon categories are weird and sometimes inexplicable. Amazon keeps their algorithms a deep dark secret and rankings don’t last long. But “#1 New Release” is fun to say! And true! Besides, readers have said such nice things. You should read the book. On Kindle Unlimited too.

What Happens When a Cult Colonizes Saturn’s Moon? Looks Like a Crazy Plan #scifi #sciencefiction #solarsystem #Saturn #giftidea

It’s here at last! A year in the writing and editing. I’m going to curl up in a corner with a mug of eggnog, but please… Join other fans today!

Titan opened as a #1 New Release on Amazon! A fleeting honor since there are so many new books on Amazon, but I’m still thrilled.

Fynn learns his father’s secret when he’s shoved into a stasis pod. He’s not going back to college, he’s joining his family’s cult to colonize Saturn’s moon. Get the book on Amazon, Kindle or paperback, or read on Kindle Unlimited and KOLL.

Real readers love it:

This is an amazing sci-fi that I could not put down. Read it all up in one sitting over a weekend – lost a lot of sleep but worth it. Patricia Eroh

I devoured this book in less than two days. cany58

Feel like you were there experiencing some of the accomplishments, frustrations and trials of building their first colony. There is mystery, secrets, and murder; there are characters you will wonder about their agenda. There is a major tragedy. PC

Science Fiction Story with Real Science and Wonderful Young Woman Hero #scifi #sciencefiction #physics #reading

Two races of humans, several alien species, multiple starships and planets – this story ranges across a galaxy in Marcha Fox’s Beyond Hidden Skies.

The Brightstar family is moving from a safe but restrictive planet to a dangerous outpost world. Creena is a young teenager, a hybrid of the two human races, angry at her brother, in constant trouble for breaking rules, and also my favorite character.

As her family travels via starship to their new world, she seems to be accidentally trapped in an escape pod that launches to the wrong planet. But it may not have been an accident – a powerful man is trying to manipulate her father.

Creena’s reactions are realistic without being annoying (well, only appropriately annoying for a young teen) and her problem-solving feels plausible. Her longing to be back with her family is something I can relate to.

Fox infuses her story with the physics of space-time. The ships are traveling near the speed of light, using Time Dilation Modules. Three main subplots spin out in the book, involving Creena and various members of her family and some interesting comrades they find along the way.

As the characters navigate relations with alien species and space-time, they ponder the role of logic versus feelings, and debate taking action themselves versus trusting the Universeto provide. Growing up for Creena and her brothers requires confronting and overcoming “a serious challenge, [to] learn the meaning of courage.”

This is the first volume in a series, so all those ships, worlds, and species continue over the course of three more books, all available now. Cool.

What others are saying
“I really got involved in the story. I found it quite imaginative and entertaining. I felt that the author did a wonderful job of portraying a young teenage girl, full of fire and yet torn in so many directions.” Jay B. Cutts

I’m a sci-fi space fan and this story ticked all my boxes.” Wendy Scott

“The authors background with NASA plays a big role in the development of these books. I read the entire series.” Dawn Ireland

Personally, I like real science in my science fiction, but one reviewer said “too much techno-babble.” sterling r walker

Peace Force, a Harriet Walsh novel #scifi #sciencefiction #ebook #amazon #giveaway #read #review #bookreview

Peace Force book coverScience fiction with humor, that’s Peace Force. On a planet colonized long ago by humans, Harriet is unemployed and newly homeless. She’s recruited by a crazy robot (funniest robot since Hitchhiker’s Guide’s Marvin) to become the sole member of the police force on a planet that’s so peaceful, it doesn’t need a police force.

Or so it seems.

As new-hire training turns real, Harriet picks up an orphan pickpocket partner, an artificial intelligence car that can’t wait to get out of the garage, and a retired police officer who isn’t ready to leave it all behind.

The story is good entertainment and there are two more books in the series. Comments on Amazon call it a fun romp. Though there is a darker twist at the end I wasn’t expecting, I think the description is spot-on: “It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor.” And the day I’m posting this, it’s free on Amazon.

Blogging note: this is new. When I pasted my post into WordPress, it grabbed the Amazon link and inserted a really-big picture of the book cover with a “buy it now” and “free preview” button. Hmm. Is this convenient or annoying? I wonder who’s paying whom for the link? I took the big buttoned image out this time… but it is slick. Do you like slick?

Women of Scifi – Writing Beneath a Glass Ceiling #author #scifi #sciencefiction #amwriting

I’m lucky enough to have several scifi authors guest posting on my blog. If you think women don’t write science fiction, you’re in for a surprise. If you wonder how women become scifi authors, you’ll find out from the first author in this series, Anela Deen, whose scifi book Insurrection is available now. Welcome Anela!

Every author will tell you critique groups are essential to the writing process. We need other writers to go over those passionate scribbles and point out the spots that need work. I tend to use online groups because you get a variety of readers and people seem to lean more towards honesty if they aren’t sitting face-to-face with each other. I’ve found them to be full of well-meaning writers looking to support, encourage, and improve each other’s art…that is until I asked for feedback on a Sci-Fi story I wrote.

No Girls Allowed

Let me back up a bit here before I tell you what happened. Last year the Twittersphere lit up with the hashtag  #ThingsOnlyWomenWritersHear. Women tweeted about the gender assumptions they face when it comes to their writing. What stood out to me, having experienced it myself, is the condescension and oftentimes outright belligerence doled out to women who dare to publish in genres viewed as “belonging to men”. Like Science-Fiction.

Anela Deen Guest Post

This is not a new issue, Continue reading