Adventures in Star Trek Fiction – Part 1

Star Wars publishing is known as the Expanded Universe/Legends. What do you call all the copious novels and anthologies that tie into the Star Trek TV franchise? Memory Beta? Voyages of the Imagination? Continuing Missions? I think that last one has a good ring to it…

Anyway, with all the mixed reactions to Star Trek Discovery, I think it’s time to look back on some good Trek stories that continued the missions of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Again, if your upset that your favorite books aren’t listed here, I apologize and you can always direct me to your site/twitter/whatever to show me your favorite tie-in novels.


Note: with some exceptions, summaries are taken from the reference book Voyages of the Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion by Jeff Ayers.

The Tears of the Singers (1984)

Melinda Snodgrass

The inhabitants of the planet Taygeta are seal-like creatures known for their beautiful song. In addition, they produce a jewel-like tear when they die. Hunters are commonplace and the killing needs to stop. A spatial rift near the planet has the Enterprise investigating along with the Klingons. Captain Kirk has recruited a famous musician to attempt communication with the creatures and Uhura falls in love with him. Can Kirk’s shipmates get along with the Klingons, stop the slaughter of the animals, and seal up the rift?

I love this book because it’s an Uhura-centric story revolving around her gift for music. When she uses that gift to help her crewmates, it makes for a memorable story. It also has a sympathetic female Klingon who befriends her and I like Klingons.

Uhura’s Song (1985)

Janet Kagan

On the planet Eeiauo, a decimating plague ravages its population of catlike beings. Uhura had visited the planet years before and befriended one of the inhabitants. The songs the two of them shared actually hold a secret that the Eeiauoans are willing to die upholding. When the plague crosses over to humans and Dr. McCoy becomes infected, the Enterprise crew must solve the mystery of the songs and cure the plague before everyone succumbs.

Interesting how one Uhura novel comes out a year after another, revolving around music once again. And it has two species of alien cats!

Federation (1994)

Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

While Kirk and his crew struggle to free scientist Zefram Cochrane from captors, ninety-nine years in the future Jean-Luc Picard must rescue a mysterious individual who holds the key to the Federation’s ultimate survival.

A novel that intertwines the crew of The Original Series and The Next Generation into one epic story as they race to protect a fleeing scientist from an obsessed despot. The 1st Trek book I ever read – before I ever saw any of the shows. Good thing it was a really good book that kept me interested in the franchise. The two Enterprises even encounter each other at one point. *Sniff*. So beautiful.

The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh (2001 & 2002)

Greg Cox

In the twentieth century, an international cabal of scientists launches the Chrysalis Project, the development of an artificially enhanced breed of humans, while Gary Seven, an undercover operative for an advanced alien species struggles to neutralize the threat while watching the children of Chrysalis, including the brilliant Khan Noonien Singh, grow to adulthood.

Q-In-Law (1991)

Peter David

The Enterprise is chosen to host a wedding between two rival civilizations. One of the delegates attending the wedding happens to be Deanna’s mother, much to the chagrin of everyone else. When she meets Q and everyone warns her about him, that only attracts her to him more. Can Q, the most annoying being in the galaxy, find true love with the most annoying woman in the galaxy?

After reading this book, you’ll wish there were a TNG episode where the two meet. Or at least a production of Alien Voices

Spartacus (1992)

T.L. Mancour

Helping a damaged ship brings pain and grief to the crew of the Enterprise-D. The inhabitants of the Freedom call themselves Vemlans and they are fleeing a war-torn home, looking for a new place to live. A foggy picture gets even more blurry when an entire fleet from the planet arrives and claims that the Freedom crew are nothing more than escaped slaves. Picard must use all his cunning to fiddle with the Prime Directive if the Enterprise is to survive.

A good novel that delves into the ongoing question: what measure is a human. I won’t tell you what species the crew of the Freedom are.

Nightshade (1992)

Laurell K. Hamilton

Captain Picard, Worf and Deanna are negotiating for peace. The two factions are living on a dying planet. The Enterprise is sent away on another mission. The three of them are left alone to resolve the dispute. A murder occurs and Picard is accused of the crime. Now he resides in prison. Worf and Troi must discover the identity of the true killer. In the process, Worf learns to be a diplomat.

I don’t remember much of the plot but what stood out the most was seeing Troi and Worf’s working relationship evolve from slight mistrust to the beginnings of friendship as they work to solve the mystery.

Here There Be Dragons (1993)

John Peel

Investigating massive stellar phenomena, the crew rescues a man claiming to be a Federation Special Agent. He also has a strange story. Inside the cloud where nothing should be able to survive, hides an entire planet. With some advanced technology, the ship arrives to find a world of knights and serfs from Earth’s Middle Ages. While investigating, some of the crew are taken as slaves. Unknown to them all, the “gate” that got the ship there safely is starting to close…

Dragons and The Enterprise. What more could you want?

Death In Winter (2005)

Michael Jan Friedman

While Captain Picard supervises the retrofit and repair of the Enterprise after Shinzon’s attack, he also contemplates the departure of his friends, including Beverly, who is now the head of Starfleet Medical again. Beverly receives orders to conduct a clandestine mission to the planet Kevratas to help stop a plague with similarities to a disease she tackled years ago. Unfortunately, the Romulans control the populace and don’t want help. With Beverly captured and possibly dead, Picard realizes his true feelings for her and leads a covert mission of his own to not only stop the plague but rescue his true love.

This book is a must-read for all the fans who want the Crusher/Picard relationship to finally, finally get resolved.

The Captain’s Table: Where Sea Meets Sky (1998)

Jerry Oltion

Captain Pike tells the aliens at his table of an assignment to the Aronnia System. Upon arrival, the crew of the Enterprise finds giant whale-like creatures in space called Titans. Pike must make a horrific decision, since the creatures are vital to the survival of one culture, but are destroying another.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Captain Pike because of Jeffrey Hunter’s short, tragic life. It’s one of the biggest “if only’s” of sci-fi history. Despite only appearing in two episodes (if you count the two-parter “The Cage” as one episode), that character has lived on in lots of written works chronicling the early days of the Enterprise. Plus, SPACE WHALES! THAT EAT HYDROGEN! AND LAY EGGS! AND DROP THEM LIKE BOMBS!

Guises of the Mind (1993)

Rebecca Neason

The Enterprise receives an invitation to the coronation of the ruler of Capulon IV. In addition, the planet will sign a charter joining the Federation at the ceremony. Shuttling the religious order of Little Mothers to the event, one of the members, Mother Veronica, has telepathic powers she can’t control and begs for Troi’s help. On the planet, the future king’s evil twin brother kidnaps him and locks him in a dungeon. Can Picard bring the rightful heir to the throne?

Star Trek depicted a future where people (of Earth at least) were freed from the influence of religion. And we were all the better for it. This book on the other hand, deftly balances the positive aspects of religion without straying outside the boundaries of Roddenberry’s wishes. And still manages to be entertaining.

Grounded (1993)

David Bischoff

The rescue of a scientists in a remote station proves to be the end of the Enterprise. Infected with a mysterious substance on the surface of the ship, the stuff begins to gradually disintegrate the hull. Forced to evacuate, Picard’s crew must watch in horror as Starfleet orders the Enterprise’s destruction to prevent the infection of other vessels. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the situation obviously warrants a bold plan for Picard to defy Starfleet and save his beloved ship.

This novel makes us realize that the Enterprise is more than just a starship, it’s home to the people that work on it.

Strange New Worlds I (1998)

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith, John J. Ordover and Paula M. Block

For 10 years Pocket Books held a contest where nonprofessional writers could submit stories that furthered the adventures of the characters of Star Trek (which at the time consisted of TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY). The grand prize was a published piece in the Strange New Worlds anthology and a bonus advance of $1,000.00.

It appears I owe fan fiction an apology. I’ve always thought it to be way below authorized fiction. But after reading this anthology of published fan fiction, I will have to change my tune. These are some stellar stories. The ones I enjoyed reading are “A Private Anecdote”, “The Last Tribble”, “The Lights In the Sky”, “Reflections”, “The First”, “See Spot Run”, “Together Again, for the First Time” and “The Man Who Sold the Sky”.

Enterprise Logs (2000)

Edited by Carol Greenburg

Six centuries, ten captains. One proud tradition…

This anthology focuses on the many captains that led the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Of course they include Captains Kirk and Picard but they also feature stories about Captains April, Pike, Decker, Spock, Harriman and Garrett. Surprisingly the anthology also features two stories about captains of Earth-bound Enterprise (sea) ships. One during the American Revolution, the other during World War 2. Contributing to the anthology are talents like the late A.C. Crispin, Diane Duane, Greg Cox, Diane Carey and Michael Jan Friedman. My favorite stories are: “Though Hell Should Bar the Way”, “Conflicting Natures”, “The Avenger”, “Just Another Little Training Cruise” and “The Captain and the King”.

Strike Zone (1989)

Peter David

The Kreel have stumbled onto a planet with a storage facility full of extremely powerful weapons that could easily destroy the Enterprise-D. They begin using the weapons on the Klingons and now Picard has been asked to facilitate the dispute. Having both races on board the Enterprise calls for tact, something the Klingons and the Kreel are severly lacking.

The Klingons have mortal enemies? How interesting.

The Starship Trap (1993)

Mel Gilden

The Klingons attack the Enterprise in response to Federation assaults on Klingon vessels. Escaping with a promise of discovering the truth, Kirk and crew head to a secret rendezvous with a respected scientist. At the meeting with Federation personnel, the truth reveals itself. It seems that the Klingons are not the only race to have ships vanish, and it’s up to the Enterprise to uncover the truth.

The scientist in this story has shades of Captain Nemo.

Strange New Worlds IV (2001)

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith, John J. Ordover and Paula M. Block

Highlights include “A Little More Action”, “Prodigal Father”, “Missed”, “Tears for Eternity”, “First Star I See Tonight”, “Scotty’s Song”, “Flight 19” and “Prodigal Son”.

A Rock and a Hard Place (1990)

Peter David

The terraforming project on the planet Paradise has taken a turn for the worse. Commander Riker receives a temporary transfer to investigate this program. The person in charge of the project happens to be a childhood friend. Riker’s replacement on the Enterprise-D is Commander Stone, a man with a troubled past whose questionable methods have plagued his every posting.

I included this title here because the book has one of the most interesting – and frustrating – characters. Commander Stone is the guy that makes you say: “what’s his problem?” It keeps you guessing what his motives is until the end of the book: is he a villain who wants to destroy our heroes or is he a jaded anti-hero gone mad?

War Drums (1992)

John Vornholt

A small colony struggles to survive on the planet Selva. On their new home, a band of renegade Klingons fights for survival in the woods beyond the encampment. With aggression escalating between the two parties, the Enterprise arrives to render assistance and negotiate peace. Where did the Klingons come from and why did the colonists not notify Starfleet Command sooner regarding their situation? Prejudice and treachery intensifies.

As you can see I love any TNG story involving Klingons. I find them to be so fascinating because they’re so contradictory. Yet the more you find out about the feral Klingons in this story, the more you’ll pity them.

Strange New Worlds V (2002)

Edited by Dean Wesley Smith with John J. Ordover and Paula M. Block

I enjoyed “Disappearance on 21st Street”, “The Trouble With Borg Tribbles”, “Legal Action”, “The Peacemakers”, “Efflorescence”, “Kristin’s Conundrum”, “The Monkey Puzzle Box” and “The Farewell Gift”.

So there you have it, the first 20 Star Trek books worth reading. Let’s see if I can make it to the next 20. Or more.




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Women Against “The Last Jedi”

J.J. Abrams is the latest Lucasfilm employee to assume that fan backlash against The Last Jedi all boils down to good old-fashioned misogyny. This is pretty rich considering that the most successful movie of 2017 was Wonder Woman.

Three years ago I posted a list of negative fan responses to The Force Awakens. It’s my most viewed post to date. Someone suggested I do a follow up with The Last Jedi but I was at a loss for ideas.

Until now.

While on Twitter I came across a tweet (that’s been deleted) with the hashtag #WomenAgainstTheLastJedi. The woman who tweeted wanted to let everyone know that she was a woman who didn’t like TLJ. I loved it so much that whenever I came across a tweet of a woman’s (or girl’s) negative review of TLJ, I decided to retweet with that hashtag. The following are links and videos of women who saw – and detested – The Last Jedi. Some of them are feminists, some not so much, but all agree that this movie betrayed everything that made Star Wars special.


Here are two articles that question the “feminism” of The Force Awakens:

“Rey From Star Wars is Overpowered and it’s Terrible for Feminism”

“Dear Lawrence Kasdan, So, You Say You Love Han Solo” (sadly this one has since been deleted, so here’s some excerpts)

Here’s a little something courtesy of Tumblr:

“‘Feminism’ in The Last Jedi (Or In Other Words, How Racism Has Been Cloaked in a Way to Appeal to the ‘Woke’ Millennial Demographic)”

Stormy Daniels had this to say about Rian Johnson and his “masterpiece”.

Fix yourself some snacks, sit back and watch these lengthy videos:

This lovely lady below has other videos critiquing The Last Jedi. View them all.

Here’s a little girl who gives an in-depth look into what went wrong: 

This insightful woman suggests that – gasp! – Star Wars was feminist before Disney came along.

A woman who grew up with The Original Trilogy gives her two cents:

You tell ’em, Anna!

Here’s three more videos:

And now for some tweets!

So as you can see the people at Disney/Lucasfilm (and the media) are WRONG and for them to hide behind the female sex as an excuse for their lousy films is cowardly and insulting to women, particularly female fans. If you are a woman reading this and you possess any tweets, videos, Facebook posts, Tumblr posts, or blog articles that slam The Last Jedi (or any of the other Disney Wars films) feel free to let me know in the comments and I will add your work to the list. Every voice counts.

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A Reply To “For the Sake of Fandom, Sanity and Star Wars”

On Monday, Coffee With Kenobi published a an article written by Lisa Dullard titled “For the Sake of Fandom, Sanity and Star Wars.” It is yet another plea for civility and kindness in the fandom post- Lucas. On Twitter, it has 18 retweets and 39 likes.

Yes, I agree civility is very important. Rest assured I would never berate, bully or hurt another fan’s feelings for liking The Force Awakens, Rogue One or The Last Jedi (heck, I helped a grandmother look for Rey and Phasma toys at Toys R US once). I do not blame the actors working on those films for the awfulness of those films. They were just doing their jobs.

But this article made me angry in so many ways I had to write this post immediately in response.Here’s what Ms. Dullard says in the first paragraph:

What I don’t understand is the constant drumbeat of negativity in fandom. It’s been there to some extent for a number of years, bubbling away. Most recently it’s become unglued, in my observation.


From 1999 to 2015 I couldn’t pick up a magazine, be it Entertainment Weekly or Starlog, and not see some SW article bashing Lucas and the Prequels. I couldn’t look at any internet video or article referencing SW without the usual swipe at the Prequels (and to a lesser extent, the Special Editions). To this day the fake media continues the lie that all Star Warriors hate the Prequels. Even when Christopher Lee passed away, an obituary on had to call the prequels “dire” despite the fact that Lee admitted himself that he enjoyed working on them. And let’s not forget (as much as we want to) that horrendous “documentary” The People Vs. George Lucas.

I can’t believe that a certain subset of the Star Wars community – particularly those who run sites and podcasts – are now stepping up to the plate to defend some fans’ right to enjoy the current crop of Disney-made Star Wars films. But for nearly 21 years these same people were nowhere to be found when Star Warriors like me had to put up continuously with SE hate, prequel hate, EU hate, even Clone Wars hate from “unglued” fans who dared, DARED to equate the ’90s/’00s era of SW to rape. Where was the call for civility then?

Where were you when I needed you?

That’s why I find people’s recent attitudes so distressing. The attacks, not only on the films and the creatives behind them, but also on fellow fans who might feel differently, are just wrong.

Really? Were you distressed about Simon Pegg’s long running attitude about George Lucas and the PT (F.Y.I. Full of Sith came to his defense at one time)? Did you cringe when Wil Wheaton took an opportunity to publicly trash the PT at the premier of Rogue One? Did you see this man’s tweet?

And is it really the TLJ haters who are the bullies here? Look at how the media is smearing anyone who hated their precious Disney movie:

3 Ways Crybaby Star Wars Fans Are Trying To Ruin The Last Jedi For Everyone Else

Let’s Face It, You Hate The Last Jedi Because You Hate Women

Other’s are writing silly little “think pieces” analyzing TLJ hate because they just can’t wrap their minds around the fact that audiences disagree with critics:

The Backlash Against Star Wars: The Last Jedi Explained

Just How Seriously Should We Take This Star Wars: The Last Jedi Backlash?

Remember, these are the same people who sided with OT purists and never called them crybabies, bigots or losers.

And these “attacks” on the new films aren’t just a matter of taste, they’re a matter of principle. This trilogy has to be the most cynical trilogy in all of Star Wars history. It’s telling audiences – particularly children – that everything your heroes achieved in the first trilogy was a waste of time. The people you looked up to – Han, Luke and Leia – are failures that have to be killed off for a new generation of characters whose only personality traits are their skin color and sex. First The Force Awakens turns Han into a deadbeat dad – only to kill him off. Then The Last Jedi turns Luke into a snarky, apathetic coward – only to kill him off. A far cry from the men of Eps 4-6 who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the ones they loved. What lessons are these films teaching our kids?

What lesson will the upcoming Han Solo movie teach our children?

Now with Solo: A Star Wars Story, it’s all about how Alden Ehrenreich doesn’t look like Harrison Ford. How dare he! Seriously? He’s not meant to be Harrison, he’s meant to be Han Solo. As great as he was in the role, Harrison isn’t really Han, and he’d be the first to tell you that. Why not give Alden the room and support to put his stamp on the character? After all, he is playing a version of Han Harrison never did. It’s okay if it’s different.

Everyone is so willing, without hesitation, to embrace Donald Glover — who will be amazing as Lando, no doubt about it — but Alden is met with seemingly nothing but skepticism. I know, were I in Alden’s shoes, I’d be feeling a bit deflated right about now. I’m sure he busted his posterior to get his performance just right, and this should be an exciting time for him. Instead, fans gripe about how he looks or sounds and how he isn’t good enough. Is that really how we want to be?

Gee, I haven’t embraced Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Why have Lando in this movie when he still hasn’t shown up in Eps. 7-9? What happened to him after the Battle of Endor? I don’t think I want to know because they’ll just get Darth Aardvark to kill him off anyway.

Harrison Ford originated the role of Han Solo. He’s who we think of when we picture Han Solo. When we’re reading any printed SW story about Han Solo we read his lines in Harrison’s voice. If Burt Reynolds had been cast as Han, we’d feel the same way. It’s OK to cast different actors to play James Bond, Superman or Philip Marlowe because those characters began in literature. But guess what, there’s a physical requirement for those characters too. No one will accept a black James Bond (not even Idris Elba), an ugly Superman (*cough* Nicholas Cage *cough*) or a female Philip Marlowe because that’s not how the authors wrote them. 

But Star Wars didn’t start off as a book. It’s a visual medium.

George Lucas cast Harrison Ford because he read the script with a mix of mercenary swagger and world weariness. Sure, I could picture someone else voicing Han in a radio program or an animated featureBut that’s because Han is drawn/ designed to resemble…Harrison Ford! The actors voicing the character mimic Ford’s voice.

Now you may be wondering how I can accept Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan or Sean Patrick Flanery as young Indiana Jones but not Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo? Because there’s a bigger age gap between the first two characters. The Phantom Menace takes place 32 years before A New Hope. There’s a 28 year gap between The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and Raiders of the Lost Ark. But Solo: A Star Wars Story looks like another lead up to A New Hope. There isn’t enough of an age gap. Harrison Ford was 33 when he was cast in ANH, Alden Ehrenreich is 28. That’s only 5 years apart. Not very convincing.

Another thing to keep in mind as we head toward Solo: Reserve judgment. We’ve seen around two minutes of footage and a few photos. That’s a far cry from seeing the finished product. Give Ron Howard, the cast, and crew a chance to deliver on their promise of a fun, exciting movie experience!

Well I saw the Super Bowl trailer and frankly, it looks like another forgettable Disney Star Wars project like the last three. Ron Howard’s last film (Heart of the Sea) was a massive flop. And why waste money on a film about Han’s early adventures when you could honor A.C. Crispin’s memory and pick up a copy (or copies) of The Han Solo Trilogy?

Anyway, I don’t know if anyone will read this, but if you did, I hope you’ll get comfort in knowing that it’s OK to publicly criticize The Last Jedi and Solo. I hope you’ll get comfort in knowing that it’s OK to pretend the Disney buyout never happened. The one bright spot in all this is that the days of prequel-bashing are coming to an end as more and more fans realize that Star Wars isn’t Star Wars without George Lucas.

For the sake of our fandom and our sanity, let’s uphold the Star Wars that truly matters.

May the Force Be With You.






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Great Whale Moments In SF History

Today is World Whale Day! As we use this day to think about how we can help out and appreciate our cetacean friends, I will take this opportunity to list all the whales that swam into our hearts via science fiction. So pour a glass of water, get out your copy of Songs of the Humpback Whale, and have a whale of a time perusing this list.

Image result for the godwhale

Rorqual Maru, The Godwhale (1974)

Somewhat of a sequel to T.J. Bass’ Half Past Human, this novel is one of the earliest examples of “biopunk” a subgenre related to cyberpunk and steampunk but with biotechnology. Rorqual Maru (is that a cool name or what?) is the titular Godwhale, a cyborg/blue whale hybrid that helps the novel’s protagonist in his search for answers.

Image result for leviathan scott westerfeld

The Leviathan, The Leviathan Trilogy (2009)

What if Britain & it’s allies used genetically modified animals to fight World War 1? Scott Westerfeld answers that question with the Leviathan, a giant airship made (literally) of a whale that can fly through the air (airwhale) thanks to a combination of animal genetics (because Darwin was able to crack the DNA code a century ahead of schedule). Whether you think this is ethical or not is up for debate.

Image result for orca dc comics

Orca, Batman

Introduced in Batman Issue #579 (2000)

Experiments with killer whale tissue turns marine biologist Dr. Grace Balin into Orca, one of Batman’s lesser known antagonists. More info on her here and here.

Image result for orka marvel

Orka, Marvel Comics

First introduced in Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner #23 (1970). With the help of his psionic amplifier belt, fallen Atlantean soldier Orka has the powers of a killer whale and uses those powers to fight various heroes in the Marvel universe (so why is he blue?) Read more about him here and here.

The Whaladon, Star Wars: The Jedi Prince Series (1992-1993)

First introduced in The Glove of Darth Vader, Whaladons are a species of intelligent creatures in the Star Wars galaxy that our heroes fight to protect from poaching. Detractors of the kids-centered books will summarize the series as “The Rebel Alliance Saves the Whales”. But hey, they can’t be worse than Aftermath, right?


(The one under Kenix Kil’s foot is a Herglic.)

Herglic, Star Wars Legends

These sentient, bipedal, water-based aliens are native to the planet Giju and have appeared in various SW comics and role playing games throughout the years. They made their first appearance in Dark Force Rising, the 2nd book in Timothy Zahn’s beloved Thrawn Trilogy. Because of their large size, it’s difficult for them to enter buildings and ships causing much embarrassment. Nevertheless they are peaceful, easygoing creatures. You can read more about them here.

Image result for star trek the voyage home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

For all of Star Trek’s optimism, it seems illogical (no pun intended) that in the 23rd century humpback whales would be an extinct species. But they are and that’s bad for the crew of the Enterprise when they discover that a deadly probe is orbiting Earth. Spock comes to the conclusion that the “call” the probe sends matches the “songs” of humpback whales and will continue to wreak havoc until its call is answered. So the only solution is to go back in time to the 20th Century, capture some humpback whales, bring them forward in time to the 23rd Century and use them to respond to the probe’s signal. Not an easy task.

Didn’t they have a copy of Songs of the Humpback Whale on the Enterprise?

Image result for star trek where sea meets sky

Star Trek: Where Sea Meets Sky (1998)

Written by Jerry Oltion and part of The Captain’s Table Series. This is Captain Christopher Pike’s story. He and his crew encounter airwhales known as “titans” who, in Oltion’s words: “scooped hydrogen from the atmospheres of gas giants for food and laid their eggs on terrestrial planets.” Unfortunately this causes a lot of collateral damage to the inhabitants of the terrestrial planets so of course it’s up to the Enterprise to find a solution.


Aiwha, Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones

Non-sentient cetacean creatures native to Kamino and Naboo, they can launch into the air from the sea. Their names are taken from the word “airwhale”. They were designed by Terryl Whitlatch though an early concept was made by Ralph McQuarrie for The Empire Strikes Back. You can learn more about them on Wookiepedia.

And now to conclude this list, here’s some pictures of space whales:

Image result for space whale Image result for space whale

Image result for space whale

And an air whale:

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10 Short Stories Worth Reading From “By Any Other Fame”

 51mkhmLqMcL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_  Several leading lights among SF writers ask, What if some of the world’s greatest celebrities had taken different paths in life? We get such wacky, creative ideas as Toscanini as manager of the Yankees. Also notable are Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s similar story of Lillian Hellman as a senator; Michelle Sagara’s four versions of the same letter from Golda Meir to her sister in 1948, when she is acting prime minister of Israel; and Barry Maltzberg’s speculation on what would have happened had Hitler lived to stand trial at Nuremberg. Few of the stories, though, reach beyond the initial cleverness. Generally, however, this anthology ends up promising far more than it delivers.

Oh Publisher’s Weekly, I beg to differ. I  enjoyed 10 stories from the Mike Resnick & Martin H. Greenberg anthology, something I don’t always experience with alternate history. Some of these stories – unlike other works of alternate history – made me wish history had turned out differently (those titles will be in bold). Here are the 10 stories I enjoyed the most:

  • What if Humprey Bogart really was a private eye and Raymond Chandler was a famous actor playing private eyes? Fates collide in “Farewell, My Buddy” by Barbara Delapace.
  • How would’ve Gone With the Wind turned out if Groucho Marx had been given the role of Rhett Butler? You’d get “A Night On the Plantation” by Brian M. Thomsen.
  • When it comes to solving mysteries, everything’s coming up roses for detective Gypsy Rose Lee in “The Fifteen Minute Falcon” by George Alec Effinger.
  • Isadora Duncan gives up dancing to become a full-time race-car driver in “Dance Track” by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon. Try to guess the identities of the two young actors Duncan takes under her wing. Go, on try.
  • One morning, as Franz Kafka heard the rattle of the red roach phone, he prepared himself to change into a monstrous verminous bug to face off against the evil Sigmund Freud, once and for all in “Franz Kafka, Superhero!” by David Gerrold.
  • What would you do if you were an art instructor and your favorite student insisted on wasting his time drawing little sketches of antropomorphic mice and ducks? As multiple Nebula-winner Nancy Kress demonstrates, it’s not all that simple a question when the student is a kid named Disney. The story is called “Ars Longa”.
  • What if Marilyn Monroe survived her drug overdose (let’s set aside those conspiracy theories for now), had a feminist awakening, became Governor of California and then President of the United States? Beth Meacham chronicles her political career in the memorable “A Dream Can Make A Difference“. Very timely in the #MeToo era.
  • What if Helen Keller was not born deaf, mute and blind but her sister was? Janni Lee Simner answers that question in “Out of Sight”.
  • Do have a question about a certain tapestry? Mother Mae West has the answer. Come up and see her sometime in “Mother Mae I?” by Lawrence Schimel.
  • Does Wallis Simpson have the ability to change history? Any history? One young man will find out the hard way in Dean Wesley Smith’s “A Bubble For A Minute.”

So if you’ve read By Any Other Fame, tell me which stories you enjoyed reading. If you’re not familiar with this book, pick up a copy today.




Filed under Alternate History, Short Stories Worth Reading, speculative fiction

The Best-Dressed Ladies of Genre Fiction

Syfy Wire wrote a piece listing who they think are the best-dressed ladies of sci-fi and fantasy. While I appreciate the (fangirl) writers of this article for making Padme Amidala #1 in the fantastic fashion department, the other choices were, meh, to say the least. So to remedy that, I put together my list of the best dressed ladies of genre fiction. The only criteria is this: they must make at least two costume changes over the course of their story.

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1. Padme Amidala, Star Wars

When we first met Padme in The Phantom Menace, she was the 14-year-old Queen of Naboo and went by her middle name Amidala. She wore huge robes that covered her entire body, elaborate headdresses and white face paint. Why? Protection! Thanks to this queenly facade, whenever Amidala was in danger she could switch places with her low-key but equally fabulous handmaidens and no one would be the wiser. When I was a high school freshman, my female classmates and I would gab enthusiastically about which Amidala dress was our favorite. Then came Attack of the Clones and Amidala was now a senator. No more heavy dresses, no more elaborate hairstyles, now her wardrobe was more flowing and romantic. But the fashion sense was still there. If anything, being senator of Naboo meant…more dresses! Then in Revenge of the Sith Padme had to fall back on her queenly roots again as she used full bodied gowns to cover her pregnancy. But hey, the movies weren’t the only ones to showcase Padme’s unique style. Who can forget that fur-lined “snow bunny” outfit she wore when she went to Illum with Yoda in Clone Wars?

Number of Costume Changes (counting films and television only): 50


2. The Ladies of The Avengers

No I’m not talking about the 2012 film or the Marvel comic. I’m talking about the hipper British TV show that ran from 1961 to 1969. For nine years John Steed – played by the sophisticated Patrick Macnee – would fight diabolical, dastardly villains with wit, a smile, a derby and an umbrella. Along side him was always an equally competent lady partner. From 1962-1964 it was Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman). From 1965-1968, when the series switched from black and white to color, it was Emma Peel (That’s Dame Diana Rigg to you). Then in the final season (1968/1969) it was Tara King (Linda Thorson). Each woman had her own personal style and if there was one thing The Avengers had in abundance, it was style! Whether it was Cathy’s black leather catsuits (and “kinky boots”), Emma’s Mod ensembles or Tara’s youthful miniskirt’s, these ladies brought new meaning to the phrase: “dressed to kill”. Watch all 161 episodes to see them all.

3. Altaira Morbius, Forbidden Planet (1956)

The first big budget science fiction film ever made, this 1956 smash hit influenced every sf creator, from Gene Roddenberry and Irwin Allen to George R. R. Martin. So it shouldn’t surprise us that costumes were a part of the budget, the most memorable being Altaira’s (Anne Francis) self-designed dresses and jewelry. When we first meet Altaira, she’s wearing no shoes, amber/ruby jewelry and – gasp! – a minidress. This was before Mary Quant made waves with her mini skirt design. In fact Altaira’s hemline was so ahead of its time, the film wasn’t shown in Spain until 1967. To impress Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen. Yes, that Leslie Nielsen), she switches to longer dresses with emeralds around her neck. But by the end of the movie she’s back to her short skirts. Good thing she has Robby the Robot to provide the materials.

Number of Costume Changes: 4

4. Wonder Woman

Throughout her 76 years as The First Lady of Comics, Wonder Woman has gone through many wardrobe changes, from culottes to skirts, and eagle to W breastplates. What’s never changed is the color scheme of her armor: red, blue and gold. But let’s not forget her other wardrobe choices: on Themyscira she wears a loose, short athletic tunic for freedom of movement. When going about her daily business in Man’s World as Diana Prince, she chooses an elegant, classy style (mostly pantsuits). When acting as Ambassador for the Amazons, she wears a classical toga. If we were to discuss every outfit Diana has worn – from comics to cartoons to live action – we’d be here all day.

5. Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, Batman (1966)

Former Addams Family matriarch, Carolyn Jones, committed her first crime in Gotham City as the glamorous Marsha, Queen of Diamonds. This diva loves diamonds. She loves diamonds so much that she’ll cast a spell (using her Aunt Hilda’s love potion) on any man to make him steal a diamond for her. But the one diamond she wants more than anything is the Bat Diamond, which generates power for the Batcave. Marsha appeared in five episodes of Batman wearing – what else – diamond jewelry but also some memorable outfits to go with that ice. What other woman would make giraffe print look so good?

Number of Costume Changes: 9


6. Dale Arden, Flash Gordon (1980)

From one comic book wardrobe to another: Both ’60s Batman and ’80s Flash Gordon were scripted by the same writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr. so it makes sense that the projects were full of camp, colors and great costumes. It’s no surprise that the beautiful Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) would catch the eye of wholesome quarterback Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) while wearing a coral colored dress with a white jacket. As she (unwillingly) becomes Ming’s prisoner/bride to be, she’s dressed in glittery orientalist-inspired gowns (pointed shoulder pads!) and intricate diadems. But no flashy (no pun intended) apparel can stop her from helping Flash save the universe!

Number of costume changes: 6

7. Peggy Carter, Agent Carter (2015-2016)

Agent Carter, we hardly knew ye. If your show had stayed on the air, who knows how many more fashions we’d see on this secret agent as the world moved on from World War 2 to the early stages of The Cold War (screw you, Disney). One thing’s for sure, we saw a lot of memorable outfits in the two seasons of this beloved show. Peggy proved that you can kick butt in heels and a skirt without smudging your lipstick. Who didn’t want to wear a red hat at a jaunty angle after the first episode? Or go to bed with your hair curled in bobby pins to get that wavy look the next morning? Or work at the office in a pinstripe pattern? Heck, raise your hand if you wished you had a time machine that could take you back to 1946 for a shopping spree and a makeover? View them all in 18 swingin’ episodes.

Agree with my list? Who are your favorite fashion divas of science fiction and fantasy?



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Filed under female characters, science fiction

10 Things Every Woke Geek Girl Should Ask On a First Date

Disclaimer: this is a parody. It was inspired by this article at Feminist Current which in turn is a parody of this ridiculous article at Everyday Feminism. After reading both, I decided to have a little fun and write one of my own. Don’t worry readers. I’m not drunk, I haven’t been abducted by aliens and I’m not turning into a Social Justice Armchair Warrior.


As a woke geek girl, I keep close relationships with geeks and nerds of all sizes. They’re true accomplices in the fight against the average jock, stoner and hipster. If you’re not going to support science fiction, then we can’t be friends, let alone date. The fantastical is political.

Beyond the words, happiness and support that we receive from imaginary characters (which are, in all honesty, soul-feeding and essential), geek girls also date! But there are questions we have to ask before we get close to someone.

The following list of questions is applicable to all relationships – and certainly not just between Trekkies and Whovians.

1. Do You Believe Jedi Lives Matter?

Yes? Wonderful. Let’s start here. There are three categories that are non-negotiable to me: Jedi, Padawans and Masters. Not everyone understands how you can sit on the council and not be given the rank of Master, but anyone who doesn’t take the time to learn how the Jedi Order works isn’t going to care about how the Force affects me or people who have a higher midi-chlorean count than I do.

I don’t want to have to have laborious discussions where I have to prove to someone that Force sensitivity or Force immunity exists. If they are willing to learn and listen and make the space to decenter their Force immunity (if they have a low midi-chlorean count) that’s a good place to start.

2. What Are Your Thoughts on Hard Sci-Fi and Soft Sci-Fi?

The Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness is a tiny box and I wish it didn’t exist but it does. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone who is hard on soft sci-fi. One of the many elements to dismantling the Mohs scale is to abolish the limited understanding that we have about hard and soft science fiction. As a woke geek girl, it would be a betrayal of what I stand for.

3. How Do You Work to Dismantle the Rivalry Between Marvel and DC?

I’ve met Marvel fans (Marvfa) who hate DC fans. They say they love DC fans, but that love is conditional on not having their cinematic universe threatened in any way. And they love us as an Infinity Gauntlet, they love what DC fans have to offer, whether it is sex, food, love, free comics or money to spend on collectibles: they love us for what we can do for them, not because of who we are for ourselves. It is crucial for Marvfa men to learn how to decenter their love of Marvel in order for them to understand the DC Multiverse.

Beyond the New 52, does the person you are with understand Earths 1, 2 or 23? Are they willing to learn if they don’t? Walk away from anyone who thinks that Barry Allen is the only Flash.

4. What Are Your Thoughts on Cosplay?

You may scratch your head at this one but being pro-cosplayer is a necessary pillar of sticking it to the cool kids. I don’t mean pro-cosplayer in the sense where non-cosplayers reblog pictures of cosplayers on Tumblr or Instagram.

I mean the kind where we pass the mic to cosplayers because they know their experiences better than anyone who hasn’t ever engaged in cosplay, where you understand the labor of cosplayers, especially cosplayers who dress as Steampunks because their experience and knowledge is crucial to understanding geek fashion sense.

5. Are You a Supporter of the Metric System?

The metric system stands for meters of all sorts: centimeters, milimeters, kilometers and so on. I grew up with the standard (non-metric) system in the U.S. Before even understanding how to measure by inches and pounds, I understood that the U.S. was way behind the rest of the world in its approach to measuring things.

Eventually, I began to understand the terror, trauma and stress of having to convert inches to centimeters, simply because one nation refuses to step in line with the rest of the world. Being pro-metric system is not the same as being anti-standard system. I shouldn’t even have to express that, but being pro-metric and standard is one step closer to world peace and understanding.

6. What is Your Understanding of Cryptozoology?

Your date thinks Mothman is a hoax or a relic of the past? NO THANKS. A key part of X-Files fandom is having a complete understanding of how historical and current sightings of Mothman effected the lives of thousands of people, regardless of skeptics and naysayers refusing to believe.

7. Do You Think We Should Clone Dinosaurs?

Should we clone only the plant eaters to be safe? Should we also clone meat-eaters because they look cool? If we exclude one class of dinosaurs will that make us carn-exclusionary? How would that make other extinct/prehistoric animals feel if we only clone dinosaurs? These are important questions to ask yourself if you want to continue to date a woke geek girl.

8. Can Any Alien Be Illegal?

We live on a tiny planet, with land and water within a galaxy surrounded by a universe with an inconceivable number of other galaxies and planets. Yet here we dictate where we are and who is allowed to be where we are. It’s mind-boggling that planets are even a thing, so to call visitors from other planets “aliens” or “UFOs” is so inhumane and despicable.

Earthlings stole this planet, populated this planet, polluted this planet, pushed out, killed and domesticated animals and somehow they have the audacity to claim this planet is theirs and that green and grey non-Earthlings are the abductors? Miss me with that baloney.

9. Do You Support Klingons?

I can’t think of any other race of humanoids which has been vilified and lied about more than Klingons. I am not a Klingon, so I will stay in my space-lane, but I cannot imagine for a second claiming to be a woke geek girl if I didn’t stand in solidarity with my Klingon friends and family – especially after Star Trek Discovery.

Don’t waste your time and energy on dating someone who thinks Klingons are crafty and violent. Instead read the works of Kahless the Unforgettable, you baktag!

10. Does Your Allyship Include the Fair Folk?

As a human woman, again, I will stay on my garden path, but geek/nerd culture has to include a solid platform for the Fair Folk – and not just the ones with wings. If you have fairy/faery family or friends, please make the effort to listen and learn about their lives and experiences. Fairy folk are subject to traps and disbelief because humans lack empathy and just plain suck. Be mindful of others who mock fairies; that kind of cruelty is inexcusable.

On a date with someone who doesn’t believe in fairies? Walk away clapping your hands vigorously.




Filed under dinosaurs, Marvel

Adventures in Star Wars EU Reading – Part 1

Although I’m part of the mad-at-Disney-for-discontinuing-the-Expanded-Universe fandom, one advantage I’ve had in recent years is that I finally have the chance to read every novel/short story collection/series in the 1978-2014 Star Wars Novel timeline. I even photocopied the timeline so that I could check off each book as I go along. It also helps that I have a copy of The Essential Reader’s Companion by Pablo Hidalgo for EU reference. So far I’ve enjoyed some titles. Others….eh….not so much. As I go through each book, I type down which ones I liked so this list is not your typical “best of EU” list. I also have to split my list at 20 per post because there are *takes deep breath* over 145 full length novels, more than 100 YA novels and over 170 short stories. *Phew!* Today we’ll look at novels that take place before the events of Heir to the Empire. If your mad that your favorite title isn’t listed – well, write your own list. Different strokes for different folks, right?

Here I go.

Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories (2012)

John Jackson Miller

Five thousand years ago. After a Jedi ambush, the Sith mining ship Omen lies wrecked on a remote, unknown planet. Its commander, Yaru Korsin, battles the bloodshed of a mutinous faction led by his own brother. Marooned and facing death, the Sith crew have no choice but to venture into their desolate surroundings. They face any number of brutal challenges—vicious predators, lethal plagues, tribal people who worship vengeful gods—and like true Sith warriors, counter them with the dark side of the Force.

The struggles are just beginning for the proud, uncompromising Sith, driven as they are to rule at all costs. They will vanquish the primitive natives, and they will find their way back to their true destiny as rulers of the galaxy. But as their legacy grows over thousands of years, the Sith ultimately find themselves tested by the most dangerous threat of all: the enemy within.

Originally an e-book series that chronicles the arrival of the so-called “Lost Tribe of the Sith” to the planet Kesh 5000 years before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) and the power struggles within the tribe. You may even find some of the sith characters – *gasp* – likeable!

Knight Errant (2011)

John Jackson Miller

A thousand years before Luke Skywalker, a generation before Darth Bane, in a galaxy far, far away . . .

The Republic is in crisis. The Sith roam unchecked, vying with one another to dominate the galaxy. But one lone Jedi, Kerra Holt, is determined to take down the Dark Lords. Her enemies are strange and many: Lord Daiman, who imagines himself the creator of the universe; Lord Odion, who intends to be its destroyer; the curious siblings Quillan and Dromika; the enigmatic Arkadia. So many warring Sith weaving a patchwork of brutality—with only Kerra Holt to defend the innocents caught underfoot.

Sensing a sinister pattern in the chaos, Kerra embarks on a journey that will take her into fierce battles against even fiercer enemies. With one against so many, her only chance of success lies with forging alliances among those who serve her enemies—including a mysterious Sith spy and a clever mercenary general. But will they be her adversaries or her salvation?

Maybe this is why I didn’t get all the adulation over Rey. You want to see a butt-kicking female lead in Star Wars? Kerra Holt did it first and did it better. A lone Jedi up against a squabbling Sith dynasty with no master and no fellow Jedi to help her. Kerra uses cunning, stealth and the Force to defend those who can’t defend themselves. Miller also reveals to us a galaxy split in half between Sith and Republic rule. That explains why the Jedi were so intent on participating in the Clone Wars.

Darth Plagueis (2012)

James Luceno

Darth Plagueis: Like all Sith Lords before him, he craves absolute power. But like no Sith Lord ever, he possesses the ultimate power—over life and death.
Darth Sidious: In secret he masters the power of the dark side, while publicly climbing to the highest government office.
One desires to rule supreme; the other dreams of living forever. Together, they will destroy the Jedi and rule the galaxy. Unless merciless Sith tradition becomes their undoing. . . .

A must-read novel for anyone who loves the prequel trilogyIt gives a backstory to the mysterious Darth Plagueis mentioned in ROTS. It explains why Naboo was chosen by the Trade Federation for the Blockade. It reveals how Sidious met Darth Maul. It gives us an early glimpse of Padme Amidala before she entered politics and much, much more.

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter (2001)

Michael Reaves

After years of waiting in the shadows, Darth Sidious is taking the first step in his master plan to bring the Republic to its knees. Key to his scheme are the Neimoidians of the Trade Federation. Then one of his Neimoidian contacts disappears, and Sidious does not need his Force-honed instincts to suspect betrayal. He orders his apprentice, Darth Maul, to hunt the traitor down. 

But he is too late. The secret has already passed into the hands of information broker Lorn Pavan, which places him right at the top of Darth Maul’s hit list. Then, in the labyrinthine alleyways and sewers of Coruscant, Lorn crosses paths with Darsha Assant, a Jedi Padawan on a mission to earn her Knighthood. Now the future of the Republic depends on Darsha and Lorn. But how can an untried Jedi and an ordinary man, stranger to the powerful ways of the Force, hope to triumph over one of the deadliest killers in the galaxy?

Our first glimpse into the mind of Darth Maul, how he operates and executes his assignments. We are also introduced to the uber-intelligent droid I-Five, who’ll later make an appearance in the Coruscant Nights duology.

Maul: Lockdown (2014)

Joe Schreiber

It’s kill or be killed in the space penitentiary that houses the galaxy’s worst criminals, where convicts face off in gladiatorial combat while an underworld gambling empire reaps the profits of the illicit blood sport. But the newest contender in this savage arena, as demonic to behold as he is deadly to challenge, is fighting for more than just survival. His do-or-die mission, for the dark masters he serves, is to capture the ultimate weapon: an object that will enable the Sith to conquer the galaxy.

Sith lords Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious are determined to possess the prize. And one of the power-hungry duo has his own treacherous plans for it. But first, their fearsome apprentice must take on a bloodthirsty prison warden, a cannibal gang, cutthroat crime lord Jabba the Hutt, and an unspeakable alien horror. No one else could brave such a gauntlet of death and live. But no one else is the dreaded dark-side disciple known as Darth Maul.

Forget those zombie books Schreiber wrote. This is his best SW work and its every bit as dark and eerie as his previous books. Darth Maul goes to prison. Need I say more?

The Approaching Storm (2002)

Alan Dean Foster

The Republic is decaying, even under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, who was elected to save the galaxy from collapsing under the forces of discontent. On the tiny but strategic planet of Ansion, a powerful faction is on the verge of joining the growing secessionist movement. At the Chancellor’s request, the Jedi Council sends two Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luminara Unduli, along with their Padawans Anakin Skywalker and Barriss Offee, to stabilize the planet’s population. To succeed, the Jedi will have to fulfill near-impossible tasks, befriend wary strangers, and influence two great armies, stalked all the while by an enemy sworn to see the negotiations collapse and the mission fail. . . .

Foster’s 1st SW novel since Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Just at the beginning of AOTC, Mace Windu quips that Anakin and Obi-Wan had just returned from a border dispute from Ansion. This book goes into more detail about what happened on Ansion. It’s also fun to see the different personalities that bounce off each other when Obi-Wan and Anakin are joined by Luminara Unduli and her apprentice Bariss Offee. Look forward to an exciting chapter when each jedi performs a specific talent for the natives.

The Clone Wars: Wild Space (2008)

Karen Miller

The Clone Wars have exploded across the galaxy as Republic forces and Separatists struggle to gain the upper hand. But while the Jedi generals work tirelessly to defeat Count Dooku and his rebels, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is hatching his own dark plans.

The Separatists have launched a sneak attack on Coruscant. Obi-Wan Kenobi, wounded in battle, insists that Anakin Skywalker and his rookie Padawan Ahsoka leave on a risky mission against General Grievous. But when Senator Bail Organa reveals explosive intelligence that could turn the tide of war in the Republic’s favor, the Jedi Master agrees to accompany him to an obscure planet on the Outer Rim to verify the facts. What Obi-Wan and Bail don’t realize is that they’re walking into a deadly trap concocted by Palpatine . . . and that escape may not be an option.

Senator Bail Organa’s opportunity to be a hero. Now we know where Leia gets her courage from.

The Cestus Deception (2005)

Steven Barnes

Ord Cestus, a planet mostly barren and inhospitable to life, was first colonized as a prison world—until a handful of hardy pioneers discovered its rich ore deposits and managed to build up a successful droid-manufacturing industry. But when the Clone Wars erupted, bringing a Republic ban on the production of battle droids, Ord Cestus was threatened with imminent economic collapse.

Enter the Confederacy of Independent Systems—the Separatists—with a life-saving offer to purchase a generous quantity of the planet’s most lucrative export: bio-droids. Possessed of tactical capabilities that rival the fighting abilities of even the most advanced Jedi, these sophisticated, techno-organic hybrid units would prove a most formidable weapon if ever deployed for military use. And now the Confederacy’s intention to invest in what amounts to an army of bio-droids has sent ripples of alarm through the highest echelons of the Republic government.

Determined to halt the bio-droid sale—but fearing a show of force will result in a political backlash—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine dispatches a team of envoys, led by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. Their mission: persuade Ord Cestus’s government to abandon its dealings with the Confederacy . . . while secretly stirring up revolution among the planet’s struggling underclass. Diplomacy is paramount. But if all else fails, the Republic will not hesitate to launch a full-scale attack—and wipe out not only the means of bio-droid production, but countless lives as well, to demonstrate the consequences of disloyalty.

For Obi-Wan, the prospect of such wholesale slaughter only serves to fuel his growing suspicions about the sinister path the Republic seems to be taking. But the brash Jedi Master Kit Fisto and the detachment of clone soldiers assigned to the mission are ready and willing to do the Supreme Chancellor’s bidding. As the leaders of Ord Cestus refuse to capitulate and Palpatine rapidly loses patience, Obi-Wan’s hopes of a peaceful resolution are dwindling. Now, facing a crisis of conscience, Obi-Wan must find the wisdom and strength to prevent a bloodbath and safeguard the Republic— while abiding by the ancient code to which he has pledged his life.

The 1st SW novel to be written by a black author. Who never tweeted accusations of racism against Lucas. He also created an insectile character who – per biology – slowly changes from male to female – without confusing the reader.

The Medstar Duology  (2004)

Michael Reaves & Steve Perry

It’s M*A*S*H* meets Star Wars – but without the comedy of course. Aspiring healer Bariss Offee joins a medical unit on the planet Drongar to heal wounded soldiers during the Clone Wars. Comes in two volumes.

Yoda: Dark Rendezvous (2004)

Sean Stewart

The savage Clone Wars have forced the Republic to the edge of collapse. During the height of the battle, one Jedi Knight escapes the carnage to deliver a message to Yoda on Coruscant. It appears that Dooku wants peace and demands a rendezvous. Chances are slim that the treacherous Count is sincere but, with a million lives at stake, Yoda has no choice.

The meeting will take place on Djun, a planet steeped in evil. The challenge could not be more difficult. Can Yoda win back his once promising pupil from the dark side or will Count Dooku unleash his sinister forces against his former mentor? Either way, Yoda is sure of one thing: This battle will be one of the fiercest he’ll ever face.

Want to know more about Yoda’s life in the Jedi Temple when he’s not sitting on the Council? Want to hear a philosophical debate between Yoda and his former apprentice? Read this book.

Kenobi (2013)

John Jackson Miller

Tatooine—a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.

One of the few SW books that chronicles day-to-day life on Tatooine. Despite Luke’s protestations about the “backwater” planet, Tatooine sure has some interesting inhabitants.

Coruscant Nights Trilogy  (2008, 2009)

Michael Reaves

If you’ve read Darth Maul-Shadow Hunter, you’re already familiar with Lorn Pavan and if your familiar with Lorn Pavan, you know that his son Jax was taken to the Jedi Temple as a baby. Now Jax Pavan is all grown up – but he’s one of the few jedi to survive Order 66 and now he’s working as a private eye in the slums of Coruscant. Too bad he has to constantly stay one step ahead of Darth Vader – who’ll stop at nothing to destroy one of “the last jedi”. The GFFA’s homage to hardboiled detective fiction.

The Han Solo Trilogy (1997, 1998)

A.C. Crispin

Who needs a Han Solo movie when you can save your money and buy A.C. Crispin’s tales of the early adventures of Star Wars‘ most beloved scoundrel from his days as a space pirate to his early involvement with the Rebel Alliance (before A New Hope, mind you).

The Force Unleashed (2009)

Sean Williams

The second non-movie, multi-media project Lucasfilm released to the public to bridge ROTS & ANH (eat your heart out Rogue One): it consisted of a video game, a comic book, a novel and lots of toys. I didn’t play the game but I read (and enjoyed) the book which is what I told a flea market vendor when I purchased a Maris Brood action figure from him.

Dark Disciple (2016)

Christie Golden

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to pair brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.

OK so this one isn’t a “Legends” book. It’s “canon” according to Disney. But let’s face it: like the EU, Disney gave The Clone Wars the short end of the stick. This novel is based on some episodes that never made it to the airwaves. That’s why I’m including it here. This is the only “new canon” book that’s worth a look. Plus there’s a touching forward by Katie Lucas about the positive impact Star Wars has played in her family’s life.

Honor Among Thieves (2014)

James S.A. Corey

When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on.

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.

But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s x-wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.

The last Expanded Universe novel to be published with yet another memorable female character to add to a long list of awesome SW ladies.

Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine (2004)

Voronica Whitney-Robinson & Haden Blackman

Hidden in the Jedi ruins of Dantooine is a Holocron containing a list of high-level Rebel sympathizers. If that list were to fall into the hands of Darth Vader, the Rebel Alliance would lose its most valued support—and possibly the war itself.

As an Imperial bio-engineer who frequently visits other worlds, Dusque Mistflier is the perfect cover for a Rebel who needs to travel far and wide without arousing suspicion. And so she agrees to help Rebel spy Finn Darktrin in his quest to recover the crucial Holocron. Despite help from Han, Luke, and Leia, the mission is fraught with peril. And as their journey takes them into the fiery belly of the beast that is galactic civil war, Dusque and Finn will learn that the hardest part of all is figuring out whose side you’re on—and how far you’re willing to go to win. . . .

A SW novel with another awesome female character who knows a lot about animals. And a character named Finn… who isn’t what he seems.

Shadows of the Empire (1996)

Steve Perry

A story set between TESB & ROTJ.

OMG, this one is FAMOUS for being the first non-movie, multi-media project Lucasfilm released to the public: it had a novel for adults, a novel for kids, a video game, a trading card collection, an toy line, a comic series and a flippin‘ soundtrack composed by Joel McNeely – which is really good by the way. It also introduced three new interesting characters: cynical pilot Dash Rendar, assassin assistant Guri and so evil he’s sexy Prince Xizor, a Falleen who wins the respect of the non-human hating Emperor and draws the ire of Vader – no easy feat.

The Courtship of Princess Leia (1995)

Dave Wolverton

Seeking rich, powerful allies to bring into the  Rebel Alliance and a new home planet for the  refugees of her native Alderaan, Princess Leia  considers a proposal that could tip the balance of power against the evil Empire. The Hapes Consortium of  63 worlds is ruled by the Queen Mother, who wants  Leia to marry her son, the dashing and wealthy Prince Isolder. Han Solo has always dreamed of  marrying Leia himself, and now he makes a desperate last gamble to win her back. Soon he, Isolder, Luke Skywalker and Artoo will be at the center of an  adventure leading to an awesome treasure, a group of Force-trained “witches,” and a showdown with an invincible foe.

The most female-centric SW novel: besides our titular princess and the aforementioned witches, we have a planet full of Force-sensitive “Amazons”. This is the second time we meet the Nightsisters in the GFFA (the 1st time was the 1985 made-for-TV movie Ewoks: The Battle for Endor) while the Singing Mountain Clan will produce future beloved EU character Tenel Ka.

Does it make me a bad fan to secretly wish Leia had ended up with Prince Isolder instead of Han?

Tatooine Ghost (2003)

Troy Denning

The deaths of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine by no means spelled the end of the Empire. In the aftermath, the New Republic has faced a constant struggle to survive. Now a new threat looms: a masterpiece of Alderaanian art—lost after the planet’s destruction—has resurfaced on the black market. It conceals a vital secret—the code used to communicate with New Republic agents undercover within the Empire. Discovery by Imperial forces would spell disaster. The only option is recovery—and Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO have been dispatched to Tatooine to infiltrate the auction.

When a dispute at the auction erupts into violence, the painting vanishes in the chaos. Han and Leia are thrust into a desperate race to reclaim it. As they battle against marauding TIE fighters, encroaching stormtroopers, and Tatooine’s savage Tusken Raiders, Leia’s emotional struggle over the specter of her infamous father culminates in the discovery of an extraordinary link to the past. And as long-buried secrets at last emerge, she faces a moment of reckoning that will forever alter her destiny . . . and that of the New Republic.

Shmi Skywalker and Kitster fans should love this one as it delves deeper into their lives after Anakin leaves Tatooine with Qui-Gonn, how Leia learns about her family history and how, once again, there’s never a dull moment on Tatooine.

Stay tuned for part 2.


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Relevant Reads: “The Screwfly Solution”

Call me a Gilead-loving Martha, but I couldn’t get into The Handmaid’s Tale. Compared to books like Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, the Persepolis duology, Infidel, I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced and Not Without My Daughter, Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian story about a theocratic U.S. that oppresses women feels more like a Disney movie than a cautionary tale.

Which is why I’m glad I discovered James Tiptree’s (note: Alice Sheldon wrote this story under the name Racoona Sheldon but it’s always recognized as a Tiptree story) 1977 Nebula-award winning short story “The Screwfly Solution”, a spine-tingling yarn that’s one-part alien invasion, two-parts femicide, with a heaping helping of religious fervor.

Now why am I comparing “The Screwfly Solution” to The Handmaid’s Tale? Well, one speculates on a future that may or may not happen. The other can happen anywhere and anytime to any woman regardless of her age, size, class, color or beliefs. It can happen in the home, the office, the school and even on the street. Not all women can relate to The Handmaid’s Tale but every woman can relate to “The Screwfly Solution”.

It’s unknown what inspired Tiptree to write “The Screwfly Solution”. Was it the many serial killer cases (of whom the majority of victims were women) that occured in the ’60s and ’70s – among them the 1977 Hillside Strangler case? We may never know because Tiptree died in 1987.

The story is framed in the form of letters between a husband and wife named Alan and Anne. Alan is in Columbia studying insects and Anne is telling him about some disturbing news reports back home:

The Red Cross has set up a refugee camp in Ashton, Georgia. Imagine, refugees in the U.S.A. I heard two little girls were carried out all slashed up.

All I could see about the clippings was that they were fairly horrible accounts of murders or massacres of women. The worst was the New Delhi one, about ‘rafts of female corpses’ in the river. The funniest (!) was the Texas Army officer who shot his wife, three daughters, and his aunt, because God told him to clean the place up.

In case you haven’t guessed, men are spontaneously murdering women in droves. From New Delhi to Cape Hatteras, bodies of slain women have been piling up in rivers and gulfs and everywhere else. It’s gotten so bad that an advertisement catches Alan’s eye:


Go ahead, shudder. Then pause for a moment because it’s all too familiar. Just look at these current events in our world:

A man in Turku, Finland attacks six women with a knife, resulting in two deaths.

In Marseille, France two cousins are stabbed to death while waiting at a train station.

Journalist Kim Wall’s body was found floating in a bag decapitated, dismembered, full of stab wounds and stitches sown into her torso. 

A man who identifies as a woman, murders a lesbian couple and their son in Oakland, CA.

A female torso is found floating in the Oshawa Harbor.

Here’s an in-depth article about violence against women.

WomenCountUSA is a website devoted to the number of girls and women murdered by men.

And let’s not forget India’s “missing girls”.

Yet what do all these cases have in common? They’ve gotten minimal news coverage or have been dismissed out of hand. Just as the murder of women is taken for granted in the story, misogynistic violence in real life isn’t taken as seriously as, say, racial violence or homophobic violence (the murder of the Oakland lesbian couple was barely mentioned in LGBT news media).

But systematic femicide isn’t the only problem affecting society in “The Screwfly Solution”Anne reveals another disturbing trend: a new religion has been gaining acceptance in society:

They’re calling it the Sons of Adam cult now.

What does this cult believe? Alan pulls out a flimsy sent by his friend Barney who explains via a book titled Man Listens to God:

Man must purify himself and show God a clean world…as long as man depends on the old, filthy animal way, God won’t help him. When man gets rid of his animal part which is woman, this is the signal God is awaiting. Then God will reveal the new true clean way, maybe angels will come bringing new souls, or maybe we will live forever, but it is not our place to speculate, only to obey.

And when they say “man gets rid of his animal part which is woman”, Barney means it in a literal way. In the same flimsy he relates a meeting with the Mayor (a devoted member of the new religion) of Peedsville to investigate this new cult – which ends in the casual murder of a female colleague:

Mayor Blount drove up in a police cruiser, and our chief…explained our mission from the Surgeon General. Dr. Premack was very careful not to make any remarks insulting to the mayor’s religion. Mayor Blount agreed to let the party go on into Peedsville to take samples of the soil and water and so on and talk to the doctor who lives there.

The mayor was about 6’2″, weight maybe 230 or 240, tanned, with grayish hair. He was smiling and chuckling in a friendly manner.

Then he looked in the car and saw Dr. Elaine Fay and he blew up. He started yelling we had to all get the hell back. But Dr. Premack talked to him and cooled him down, and finally the mayor said Dr. Fay should go into the warehouse office and stay there with the door closed.

Then Mayor Blount…came in…he smiled at me sort of fatherly, but he looked tense. He asked me where Dr. Fay was, and I told him she was lying down in back. Then he kind of sighed and went back down the hall, closing the door behind him.

After a while the door opened and Mayor Blount came back in. He looked terrible, his clothes were messed up, and he had bloody scrape marks on his face. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me hard and fierce, like he might have been disoriented. I saw his zipper was open and there was blood on his clothing and also on his (private parts).

I didn’t feel frightened, I felt something important had happened. I tried to get him to sit down. But he motioned me to follow him back down the hall to where Dr. Fay was. “You must see”, he said. He went into the toilet and I went into a kind of little room there, where the cot was. I saw Dr. Fay lying on the cot in a peaceful appearance. She was lying straight, her clothing was to some extent different but her legs were together… Her blouse was pulled up, and I saw there was a cut or incision on her abdomen. The blood was coming out of there…Also her throat was cut open.

I returned to the office. Mayor Blount was sitting down, looking very tired. He had cleaned himself off. He said, “I did it for you. Do you understand?”

He went on to explain how Dr. Fay was very dangerous, she was what they call a cripto-female (crypto?) the most dangerous kind. He had exposed her and purified the situation.

Judging from what I’ve highlighted in bold you can guess why the mayor got away with murder. That’s right, “religious tolerance”. Early on in the story Anne raises the question:

Why can’t they do something, even if it is a religion?

Sound familiar? Here’s some more examples from our world:

At the Women’s March this year a woman holding an “Islam is Misogynistic” sign was attacked by protesters for “spreading hate”.

The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled feminist, FGM survivor and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “extremist”.

I myself was subjected to this. When I was a high school junior, I told my class about the way women were treated in Saudi Arabia (thanks to the previously mentioned book Princess) in the name of religion and a Muslim boy (who was a real thorn in my side) interrupted me and accused me of Islamophobia. Guess who the teacher (who hoped that one day the US would have a woman president) sided with?


As the story reaches its conclusion, Alan kills himself after murdering his and Anne’s teenage daughter, and Anne – possibly the only woman left alive on Earth – is living in seclusion in the woods of Canada (at this rate the men are now murdering little boys in rapid numbers). Disguised as a man, she only comes to the local general store in her area for whatever she needs and hears talk from the men about angel sightings (proof to the men that they’re doing God’s Will). Then one day Anne sees the “angel” for herself and she realizes that it’s not an angel but an alien:

Let me repeat – it was there. And I think they’ve done whatever it is to us. Made us kill ourselves off.


Well, it’s a nice place, if it wasn’t for the people.

So it turns out that the aliens are spreading a mental delusion/disease among men, influencing them to murder the female half of the population, then boys and eventually each other. Once humanity goes extinct, the earth is ripe for the taking.

Are you interested in reading “The Screwfly Solution”? It’s available as a selection  of the only Tiptree anthology in print (bummer) Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. If you have read “The Screwfly Solution” or seen the Masters of Horror adaptation, what impressed you most about the story? Let me know in the comments.





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Vietnam War Fantastic

I got the idea to write this post from watching Ken Burn’s latest documentary The Vietnam War. In the past, for reasons unknown, I never had any interest in the Vietnam War even though I have some vague memories of its aftereffects (the war ended in 1975, I was born in 1984) thanks to the pop culture of the ’80s and early ’90s. I also remember as a child seeing legless Vietnamese/Cambodian men in wheelchairs due to left over land mines from that war.

Maybe because it was too long (it lasted from 1955-1975, 20 years total), too bloody, too divisive, so divisive in the US (and Vietnam of course) that you could say the ’60s was the second Civil War. To this very day, the war is still a sensitive subject – just ask any baby boomer.

And maybe its controversial nature is why authors tend to shy away from the Vietnam War as a setting for works of SF, fantasy and horror. But there are exceptions. Twelve of them to be exact, and they range from short stories to an award-winning classic novel. So pop in your favorite ’60s/’70s rock album (I suggest The Best of the Guess Who because of course I do) and peruse this list of fantastical works set during a war that changed America (and Vietnam) forever.

Short Stories

“Fellow Americans” by Eileen Gunn (From the anthology Alternate Presidents)

Lyndon B. Johnson – commonly known as LBJ – loses the 1964 election to Barry Goldwater, who, as president, drops nuclear weapons on Vietnam, thus winning the war. Goldwater wins a second term in 1968 and serves as POTUS until 1973. Oh and Richard Nixon quit politics and became a talk show host.

“Suppose They Gave a Peace” by Susan Shwartz (also from Alternate Presidents and The Way It Wasn’t)

George McGovern is elected in 1972 and attempts an immediate withdrawal from the war, but that doesn’t stop the North Vietnamese from advancing towards Saigon.

“Murdering Uncle Ho” by Chris Bunch (from the anthology Alternate Generals III)

JFK survived his assassination, and draws the US deeper into the Vietnam conflict after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which leads to a North Vietnamese invasion in 1965.


Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)

This graphic novel needs no introduction. Ask any comic book nerd about it and they’ll speak in reverential tones about how this series changed the comic book industry for better and for worse. Thanks to the intervention of superheroes – the living weapon Dr. Manhattan in particular (and the Comedian – though he was more of a combatant) – the US won the Vietnam War. But for every action, there’s a reaction…


This is more of a case of What Could Have Been. James Stokoe wrote and drew a couple of (unpublished) pages imagining Spider-Man as a combatant in the Vietnam War. He learns that the catch-phrase “with great power, comes great responsibility” takes on a whole new meaning during wartime. It appears that this comic wont be published any time soon but if it is, it’ll be the first Spider-Man comic I’d be interested in reading. You can look at the pages here.

Video Games

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails

A 2009 first-person shooter that tells the story of G.I. Private Nate Walker, who is sent to Vietnam in 1969 and learns, to his horror, that a scientist has unleashed a contagion that turns humans into zombie creatures (because zombies and war go together like peanut butter and jelly) which includes his older brother Cal. Your mission is to find Cal in the jungles of Southeast Asia, fight zombies and the Viet Cong, who’d like to get their hands on that virus.

(you will not love the smell of naplam in the morning)

Role-Playing Games

Weird Wars: Tour of Darkness

I’m not good at describing RPGs because I’ve never played them, but I think TV Tropes does a better job summarizing the Weird Wars franchise:

Pinnacle Games published a Weird Wars line of d20 games taking place in Real Life past and future wars with supernatural additions. For example, Weird War II had the PCs playing Allied soldiers during World War II, but the Nazis had mutant soldiers, characters could use haunted vehicles and cast spells, and there were monsters. Lots of monsters. The updated re-release of the game line for Savage Worlds so far includes World War I (“Weird War I”), World War II (“Weird War II”), The Vietnam War (“Tour Of Darkness”), and the Roman Empire and its campaigns of conquest (“Weird Wars Rome”).

And Amazon provides more details:

Our first follow-up to our smash hit Weird Wars in the new Savage Worlds system takes us to the jungles of Vietnam. Your grunt has 365 days and a wake-up to learn what really lurks in the jungle. Surviving is tough enough, but if your GI is really on the ball, he just might get drafted into the super-secret Phoenix Program and discover far more than he ever wanted about the Plain of Jars and the secret cults of the high mountains. Tour of Darkness features new Sanity rules and how to deal with mind-numbing horror, a ton of Edges & Hindrances, new horrors, and an awesome Adventure Generator and Plot Points to tell the most savage of tales!


The Forever War Joe Haldeman (1975)

Joe Haldeman served in Vietnam as a combat engineer. He expressed his experiences (the terror of combat, the indifference of government bureaucracy, the futility of the war and the sense of coming back to an unrecognizable world) in the military sci-fi award-winning novel The Forever War which tells the story of William Mandella, a UNEF soldier who is drafted into the war between Earth and the Taurans. Fighting an endless war is tough enough but for Mandella and his fellow soldiers, the tougher part is going home…


“In Praise of Pip” – The Twilight Zone, Season 5, Episode 1 (Broadcast date: 9/27/63)

This episode is noted for addressing the Vietnam War long before the anti-war movement came to prominence. A corrupt bookie (Jack Klugman) is shot by one of his clients. He learns before hand that his son was wounded in South Vietnam and prays that God would take his life in exchange for his son’s. But before he dies, he gets one last chance to be a good father…


A later season 5 episode makes an eerie side reference to Vietnam. “I Am the Night – Color Me Black” tells the story of an innocent man who will be hanged for murder at sunrise. But the sun never rises and the sky stays dark. After the execution, a reverend tells the public that the sky will get blacker and blacker as long as hate persists. But the little town isn’t the only place covered in darkness. Just see for yourself:


Apocalypse Meow by Motofumi Kobayashi

In Japan this manga goes by a very different title that can’t be repeated here. So in the US it’s retitled Apocalypse Meow as a play on the famous film Apocalypse Now.

All soldiers are represented as animals – Americans are rabbits, Vietnamese are cats, etc. Three American soldiers – Bota, Perky and Rats – go about their daily activities as members of a reconnaissance group in Vietnam. Click here for more details.


“I Want You” – Across the Universe (2007)

Julie Taymor’s ambitious tribute to The Beatles takes their famous songs and crafts a story around them centered on a group of youths navigating their way through the ’60s. One of the biggest issues, of course, is the Vietnam War. Max Carrigan (Joe Anderson) has been drafted and must go to his health exam to see whether he qualifies as a soldier. The first trippy scene in the film (a trademark of Taymor’s) has Max hallucinating to scary Uncle Sams, uncanny valley soldiers and a “heavy” Lady Liberty.

So what do you think, readers? Did I miss something? Should there be more works set during the Vietnam War or should we let sleeping dogs lie? Say your thing, man.



Filed under Alternate History, fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction