Praetorium Honoris

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Channeling My Inner Geek

(Back to our regularly scheduled blogging, this was originally scheduled for Thursday last...)

When I was nobbut a wee lad of thirteen, Star Trek was aired for the very first time. Did I watch it? In all honesty I don't actually remember whether or not I saw the first episode. I can say that once I started watching the show sometime during that first season, so long ago, that I was pretty much hooked.

As you might (or might not) know, the show lasted three seasons, 79 episodes in total, not counting the pilot, I think. (Sensor readings are somewhat confused Captain...) When it was cancelled, well that just sucked. I didn't care that very few people (according to those Nielsen people) actually watched the show, other than some hard core sci-fi fans.

When it ended in 1969, there were other things on a young fellow's mind. Vietnam loomed out there. The media made it sound like those of my generation would be off to war and that many of us wouldn't come back. That did tend to make us want to do other things than sit around and watch television. Live fast we thought, odds are we would die young.

But that didn't happen to me, or to anyone else that I knew. For far too many young American men, that war was the end of the line. The country seemed to be going to Hell in a hand basket. I'm sure the kids in Aristotle's time felt the same way.

Time rolled on, Star Trek became a memory. For me it did spark an interest in science fiction that hadn't existed before. I read Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land was a favorite, can you grok that?), Asimov (think the Foundation series - The Mule was scary) and Herbert (Dune was a particular favorite, the books by Herbert, not the later books, not saying they're not good, just never got to them. Call me Muad'Dib, I dig the spice).

Then in 1979 the first Star Trek film came out, I was in Korea, I didn't get to see it until I got back to the States but I liked it. I still like the original characters in particular, though to tell the truth Picard, Worf and Data kind of grow on you. I do like the new Star Trek movies, the actor who plays Dr McCoy (Karl Urban) is perfect, even though I thought it would be tough to match DeForest Kelley, Mr Urban does quite well thank you.

But I guess I out grew the genre in many ways. I have read some Orson Scott Card recently, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead I found very entertaining, A colleague of mine at work (former enlisted nuke FWIW) loaned me the former, eventually I got my own copy and found the latter for free. Can't beat that.

What about Star Wars you ask? Well, I confess to liking the first three movies. I guess that would be parts IV, V and VI. Though I watched the latest ones I didn't like them as much. Along with many other folks from what I hear. (I really didn't care for the Gungans, nor did many others from what I understand. Go figure, meesa thinka not so funny.)

Luke, Leia, Han and that lot were great characters. As for Yoda, like him, I do.

Do I read much science fiction now? Not really, I tend towards military history and books of that ilk. While I have an inner geek, the real me prefers things that go fast, cause things to go boom and blow things up. Yup, I'm an aircraft geek mostly.

But is that truly geeky?

I confess to having a Pukin' Dogs t-shirt, one of my proudest possessions (The Nuke got it for me when she was on the Ike). Ditto t-shirts and/or polo shirts for VFA-103, VFA-2, VFA-106, VFA-32, VFA-136 and the odd ball cap here and there.

Oh yeah, The WSO got me a Tailhook polo shirt as well.

Okay, so I'm a Naval Aviation fan-boy.

Guilty as charged and don't care who knows it. Just fill up my Bounty Hunter beer mug and move along. Dan Hampton's book, Viper Pilot, ain't gonna read itself!



  1. Try some good military sci fi--Pournelle, Weber and their ilk. I suspect we have similar tastes, and I really enjoy those. "The Mote in God's Eye" is a great one to start with.

    1. Oh my word, how could I forget Niven and Pournelle? I recently read The Gripping Hand having been overjoyed to find it in the free back rack at work. I read The Mote in God's Eye some years ago. Loved both of those!

      How could I forget Footfall as well? One of my favorite books!

      Geez, I need to shake off the cobwebs here, get back in the archives, I know there are more!

      Thanks for sparking that memory, Cap'n!

    2. Now I have to track down my old paperback copy of "The Mote in God's Eye". Absolutely one of the best. Thanks for reminding me.

    3. If you liked Footfall, try Lucifer's Hammer. Niven and Pournelle were a great team. You would probably
      like anything by David Weber or John Ringo.

    4. I did read Footfall , excellent book. Now I need to track down Weber and Ringo.

  2. Always liked Star Trek. "Won" the then complete Star Wars on VHS at some sales brouhaha and brought it home where my two youngest wore out the tapes. Think the Carrie Fisher character and hormones may have been a factor.

  3. I have to say I was one of the few (according to Nielsen) who watched the original series while on NBC. Amazing what they did on so low a budget. And the scantilly clad females - especially the green one ;-)

    Interesting bit of trivia - many think it was the "other Gene" - screenwriter Gene Coon - who really gave Star Trek TOS its direction - from imdb:

    Often referred to as 'the forgotten Gene' (a reference to Gene Roddenberry), Gene Lee Coon was one of the most important creative minds behind Star Trek (1966). He is credited with inventing the Klingons and the 'Prime Directive', and with developing the interpersonal dynamics between Spock and McCoy (in particular, the invariably humorous verbal banter). He established the enlightened image of the Federation and often ended episodes with an anti-war allegory. A robust-looking, heavy-set man possessed of seemingly boundless creative energy, Coon was a prodigious reader and an immensely focused writer of prolific output. It was said, that he authored his novels and teleplays by assuming a state of near self-hypnosis, which he himself called 'automatic writing'. In one instance, he managed to produce the script for the Star Trek episode "The Devil in the Dark" in the course of a single weekend. Either as writer, or line producer, Coon had extensive, often critical input into some of the show's best-loved episodes, including "Arena", "Space Seed", "A Taste of Armageddon" , "The City of the Edge of Forever" (generally regarded as the best of the series), "Mirror, Mirror" and "The Doomsday Machine". He left Star Trek in March 1968, likely the result of personality clashes with members of the cast (in fact, Coon had a reputation for not getting along with actors in general), but continued to write several more episodes under the pseudonym 'Lee Cronin' in order to fulfill his contract with Paramount.

    The Nebraskan-born Coon had served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years from 1942. He had seen action in the Pacific and was later stationed in Japan as part of the occupying forces. He was subsequently posted for eight months to northern China, where he published a small English language newspaper. As a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, he returned to active duty during the Korean War, from 1950 to 1952. Upon his demobilisation, Coon found work first as a radio newscaster before turning to free-lance writing. From 1956, he was primarily involved in scripting teleplays for popular western and action shows like Dragnet (1951),Wagon Train (1957), Maverick (1957) and Bonanza (1959). At Universal in the early 60's, he turned McHale's Navy (1962) from a one-hour drama into a successful 30-minute sitcom. Together with the writer Les Colodny, Coon floated the idea for The Munsters (1964) as a satirical spin-off from The Donna Reed Show (1958) to MCA chairman Lew Wasserman. The result was yet another hit show. After Star Trek, Coon worked as writer/producer on It Takes a Thief (1968), while at the same time founding one of the first 'cartridge TV' video companies, UniTel Associates, with Colodny as executive vice president.

    A chain smoker for most of his life, the man whom fellow writer/producer Glen A. Larson referred to as 'the spirit and soul of Star Trek', died of lung and throat cancer one week after being diagnosed, in July 1973, aged just 49.
    - IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

    1. Now that is an interesting bit of trivia. Thanks for sharing that!

  4. Never a big fan of ST but watched the show. I still haven't seen the last 3 SW movies and probably never will. I concur with Captain Steve.

    1. Don't bother with those last 3 SW movies. Not worth it. Not even if someone pays you to watch them.

      Then again, I suppose it would depend on how much they were paying you...


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