A Short Break, Star Trek, and Space Sirens

A Short Break

I had a shorter than normal break from work during the week of April 26. In some ways, it felt more like a pit stop than a real rest. I went to the doctor to have a persistent cough checked out. With swine flu in the news, this led to some extra testing, but after a day at the doctor’s office, the diagnosis proved to be allergies as I originally suspected.

I spent the next day at the dentist. The balance of my week was spent mailing out the spring issue of Tales of the Talisman and catching up with correspondence.

I returned to Kitt Peak on Monday, May 4 to instruct a new set of observers in the use of the 2.1-meter telescope. The next days, I moved on to some training sessions at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope, learning about the upgraded bench spectrograph and the WIYN tip-tilt module that’s used to improve images with WIYN’s infrared camera. As we head into the weekend, I’m now supporting an infrared observing project at WIYN and will continue to do so into next week.

Star Trek

Those who know me know that I have been a Star Trek fan for a long time. The original series sparked a lot of my interest in both space science and science fiction. Admittedly the science in the original Star Trek series was often dubious, but the writers showed enough respect for and optimism about science, that it was infectious and succeeded in getting me to ask questions and seriously investigate what science was all about. Not only that, but I paid attention to the names of Star Trek’s writers. The show introduced me to such folks as Harlan Ellison, Norman Spinrad, Jerome Bixby, and David Gerrold — writers I enjoy to this day. It’s probably no surprise then that I’ve been looking forward to J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek movie. However, because of my current work schedule at Kitt Peak, I won’t be able to see the new Star Trek movie until it’s been in theaters for about a week. So please, anyone who does see it, don’t spoil it for me by telling me the story.

My interest in the new Star Trek goes beyond my love of the original series, though. Early reviews suggest the movie is a fun action/adventure film that captures the optimism of the original series and has some thoughtful elements. Some people would have you believe that serious and thoughtful can’t go together with action and adventure. However, that’s very much the kind of spirit I try to capture in much of my writing. I’m looking forward to seeing how well the new movie pulls it off.

I have also heard that J.J. Abrams redressed some real industrial locations and used them for such areas as the engine room on the Starship Enterprise. I gather a lot of people don’t think this is effective, but I look forward to forming my own opinion. I work in a place that, in many ways, exists on the cutting edge of technology. However much of Kitt Peak really has a very industrial feel. There are oil pumps and pipes carrying water and glycol to various parts of buildings. There are cranes for heavy lifting and some very large motors and fans. All of this is right next to cutting-edge, precision electronics. To me, the engine rooms in the various Star Trek movies and series have just looked like sets. They haven’t looked the way I imagine the heart of a “real” starship would look.

Anyway, I’ll post my thoughts once I get a chance to see the movie next week.

Space Sirens

Earlier this year, Flying Pen Press released the anthology Space Sirens edited by Carol Hightshoe. The anthology features my story, “Hijacking the Legacy” set in the same universe as my novel The Pirates of Sufiro.

Space Sirens

The anthology was briefly reviewed in the May 3 issue of The Denver Post. Fred Cleaver notes that, “The second volume of local publisher Flying Pen Press’ Full-Throttle Space Tales has the theme of women in space.” He goes on to mention his three favorite stories in the anthology: “‘Outpost 6,’ by Julia Philips about the new doctor on a backwater planet (and a mining accident); ‘Real Hero,’ by W. A. Hoffman, about a kidnapped singer and her captor; and ‘Ruler,’ by David B. Riley, about a princess appointed a planet’s governor.”

You should definitely check out Space Sirens by clicking on the cover above. You can also find great stories by David B. Riley and W.A. Hoffman in Full-Throttle Space Tales #1: Space Pirates. You can learn more about the first anthology at: http://www.amazon.com/Space-Pirates-Full-Throttle-Tales-1/dp/0981895700/

Tales of the Talisman

As mentioned above, the spring issue of Tales of the Talisman has been mailed out to subscribers and contributors. If you haven’t subscribed or ordered a copy, it’s not too late. Just visit: http://www.talesofthetalisman.com where you can learn more about the issue and place an order. While you’re at the site, you can also check out our new weekly web comic: “Tales From Behind the Wall” by Adonis Emir.

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