The Treehouse Blog


Ender in Exile

by on Feb.18, 2010, under SciFi

Last night I finished reading Ender in Exile (ad), the “mid-quel” that is essentially the hub in the wheel of the Enderverse, despite it being the most recently published.  As is apt to happen in any prolific series, it does suffer from some continuity issues the author describes, but since I more recently read the shadow series and least recently Ender’s Game, I really didn’t notice them.

It was good to read more of Ender following the war before his transition to the much older character found in Speaker for the Dead.  The journey to Shakespeare Colony and Ender’s work there was a great story line, and one that I think could have been expounded upon further.  The book also gives a much more complete picture of Colonel Graff that was welcome.  The story line surrounding Ganges Colony and the Bean-offspring-raised-to-be-Achilles seemed more forced and interested me less.

What stories are yet to be told in the Enderverse?  Well, apparently one is in the works.  My hope is that it will continue Bean’s story.  If I remember right, we last see him departing Earth on his own relativistic voyage.

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The Plan

by on Nov.10, 2009, under SciFi

After having watched The Plan, I’ve become convinced that the Cylons were actually just following the leadership of one Bender Bending Rodriguez: “Kill all humans” followed by the occasional “I love you, meatbag.”

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Star Trek 2009

by on May.17, 2009, under SciFi

I’ve seen Star Trek twice now, and might see it yet again in the theater.  It was certainly a lot better than Nemesis.

When I first heard the general plot outline – something to the effect of “Kirk fights Romulans on Pike’s Enterprise” I was sortof astounded that those few words contained two cannon inconsistencies that me, someone who has not really watched every TOS episode more than once, could immediately pick out.  Kirk explicitly states that he met Pike when Pike was promoted to Fleet Captain and Kirk took command of the Enterprise, “The Menagerie, Part I” (TOS 1×15, about 90 seconds from the start).  And in “Balance of Terror” (TOS 1×08, 5 minutes in) it is stated that “no Human, Romulan, or ally has seen the other.”  The several ENT episodes dealing with Romulans were very careful that this stayed consistent.  How would they have a movie in which the enemy Romulan wasn’t seen by the Enterprise crew?

How does JJ fix this?  Well, they create a divergent timeline at approximately the moment of Kirk’s birth with the appearance of a Romulan ship from the Trek universe that we know and love.  They’re pretty explicit about explaining this in the movie, and the amount of confusion this and the appearance of old Spock from the established universe must have been deemed a necessary pandering to the fans at the expense of the general audience the movie intended to capture.  Personally, I think it’s not a bad idea.  A lot of fans hated the idea of a “reboot” and yet JJ rebooted without really destroying what came before (in fact, he added some to it).  There could still be a continuation of the original universe, while this one continues in parallel.  In a way, it’s totally consistent with Trek precedent.  The Mirror Universe spanned three of the five Star Trek TV series.  Honestly, I skipped watching the DS9 mirror universe episodes  – since they mattered little to the highly serial DS9 storylines.  I’m looking forward to the next installment of Star Trek 2009’s Universe (which Memory Alpha is currently terming the Alternate Reality).  One interesting fact about the point of divergence is that, in theory, ST:ENT is canonical for both realities, as reinforced by Scotty’s comment about Admiral Archer’s beagle.

The movie’s soundtrack was good, but very repetitive, and used the TOS theme directly at points instead of the much more impressive (and modern) theme developed by Jerry Goldsmith for ST:TMP.

I found the heavy quoting of Starfleet Regulations to be offputting during my first viewing, but more tolerable on the second.  Not that regulations aren’t quoted in Star Trek, it just seemed that more than usual were in this movie.

There seemed to be a conscious effort to avoid general use of technobabble which though noticeable, wasn’t really missing because the movie spent much more screentime showing things rather than talking about them, as is more typical of Trek.  One counterexample is Scotty’s Transwarp Beaming, which almost has to be a cannon violation as old Spock is providing it from the original universe, and there’s no indication of this existing in the original universe.

Anyway.  Overall very pleased and looking forward to the DVD/Blu-Ray release, and sequels!

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Star Trek will never be the same

by on Dec.18, 2008, under News, SciFi

As you may have heard from other sources, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry passed away today.  She was the  “computer voice” for the majority of the franchise (and also on Family Guy), and appeared one way or another in each Star Trek series, and also in the upcoming movie.

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A Political Link

by on Oct.22, 2008, under Politics, SciFi

If you can put aside your predispositions for a second, give this article a chance. It agrees with my view of a portion of the “mortgage crisis” – the view that news coverage is apt to preface with “the McCain campaign says” while it reports Obama’s talking points as “news.”

And the “editors note” doesn’t do justice to the uniqueness of Orson Scott Card. This guy is a prolific SciFi writer – I’m reading the third book in his Ender series right now. He holds many positions that don’t fit comfortably at all into our two party system.

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