Thursday, September 08, 2016

50 years of Star Trek

It's 1991, and I'm sitting in the crowded Shrine Auditorium in LA. My parents scheduled a trip to visit my aunt and uncle so that we'd be there for the 25th Anniversary Creation Star Trek Celebration. The only part of the con I attended was the main event -- a showing of the teaser trailer for ST VI: The Undiscovered Country, followed by the Original Series main cast members and Gene Roddenberry on stage together. It would be the last time they would all appear together in one place.

The Undiscovered Country was billed as the farewell to the original cast, one last send-off before turning the future of the franchise over to The Next Generation. If you haven't seen it or don't remember, the teaser was a series of scenes from the Original Series as if they were projected on the surface of the Enterprise. It was a powerful and special moment seeing those scenes together in the loud appreciative audience of fellow Trekkies.

Star Trek had an enormous impact on me. I literally grew up watching these characters every week, and traveled the galaxy on adventures along with them. I watched the movies, collected starship blueprints, read articles in Starlog, and made up my own fan theories. Seeing that teaser was the highlight of the trip. I thought maybe someday it might be available on VHS to watch again. I couldn't have guessed then that "in the future" it would be available anytime on YouTube on a networked pocket computer more powerful than a Starfleet communicator.

What I find most compelling about the Original Series besides the great storytelling and action, even more so than the later series, is a vision that the future can be better. We can work together to make it so, like the crew of the Enterprise -- not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

Happy 50th to Star Trek, and to all of us who kept it alive. Live Long and Prosper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A mid-year update

I was reminded over the weekend that I haven't posted since the beginning of the year. What is happening right now:

Getting ready for Gen Con: As always, the time before the con gets shorter and shorter, even if I try to prepare earlier to avoid the crunch time. Although in the past I tried to keep my schedule fairly light, making it easier to wander the halls and play in whatever pops up, in recent years it's become busier. This year my schedule is packed.

I'm running three demo games for Pelgrane Press, two sessions of Night's Black Agents ("Four Days of the Bat" in the morning and "The Van Helsing Letter" in the afternoon) and one session of Trail of Cthulhu on Saturday morning ("The Innsmouth Investigation").

Friday night I'm running Trail of Cthulhu off-the-books for a group of friends, then playing with the same group in our annual Pathfinder game on Saturday night. I hope to pop into various other panels along the way.

Mrs. Kaiju will be hosting a writing workshop on therapeutic expressive freewriting, and co-hosting a presentation on using women's medieval history as flavor for fantasy fiction writing and gaming.

Game writing: I have been watching 80s/90s sci-fi and cyberpunk movies to get inspiration for a cyberpunk RPG project, and then I had the idea flash into my head for yet another hack of a popular rules-light hack game which would be faster to develop and finish first.

Secret Santicore 2015: Compiling and editing entries took much longer than expected, and therefore missed the window of availability for our layout folks. I'm learning Scribus with the goal of completing layout and pushing the project out the door next month before we begin planning for this year's Santicore.

Today is Gary Gygax Day and (coincidentally) Awesome Gamer Day. Celebrate appropriately! Meanwhile I'll try to get back to a normal posting schedule.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Robert E. Howard

Today marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of pulp writer Robert E. Howard. It has become a tradition on this date for Howard fans to read a favorite story and raise a toast.

Howard wrote something for every interest: sword and sorcery, hard-boiled detectives, weird horror, historical fiction, boxing, westerns, pirates, and poetry.

This will be a big year for Howard fans who are also tabletop gamers, with the adventure board game being released soon and the Kickstarter for the new RPG from Modiphius scheduled for next month.

I'm going with my wife to an open-mike poetry night at a local coffeehouse so I might not have a chance to read a story this evening. Maybe I should bring the first Del Rey Conan volume along and recite "Cimmeria" for the crowd.

For more information on his life and career, start with the following sites:
I highly recommend Mark Finn's Howard biography, the Locus and World Fantasy Award-nominated Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard available as an expanded edition from the REH Foundation.