As we reach the last chapter of THE OUTER LIGHT, I’m just returning from my final Trek outing for 2012 – the Creation Entertainment San Francisco Trek con. Looking back over the last year, I’ve learned some things about how THE INNER LIGHT fits into the Star Trek universe.
One of the questions I often ask as part of my talk on“Inner Light” is, “How many of you have thought at some point that this life could all be a dream from which you will one day wake up?” A surprising 50% or so raise their hands.
The premise of “Inner Light” is that we simply would not be able to distinguish between reality and an experience implanted in the brain – and I think you can make a case for the notion that they are, in fact, not at all different. It’s a variation on the question, “Do I see the same color when I look at a banana that someone else does?” Might someone else’s “yellow” be what I see as “red”? But it’s a specious question. If a person and his or her neighbor look at an object radiating electromagnetic waves at a frequency of 510 trillion Hertz and consistently recognize that as a distinct color and (more…)
I’m thinking a lot about “Game of Thrones” these days – all those scenes with guys getting their noggins lobbed off. (Sorry I don’t know the details; I watch it only sporadically. After a so-called work-day I often have to choose between reading and TV, and reading usually wins out. Currently on my Kindle app: “Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – the Definitive Life” by Tim Riley [interviewed on these very pages] and “Redshirts” by John Scalzi.)
But back to Nog-Sep, as Trekkies might refer to de-heading.
I’m thinking about this because being a writer – if you’re doing it right – feels very much like putting one’s head on the block.
As a TV writer you do this all the time – and the person with the satisfied grin sharpening the large scythe is the showrunner.
In the blogosphere, it’s more like you’ve handed out thousands of nasty little razors. (The double-edge kind men used back in TOS days, before they conned us into paying for, then throwing out, an entire chunk of plastic every three shaves. But I digress…) (more…)
“The Outer Light” is technically a work of “fanfic” – fan-created fiction. That’s primarily a legal term, but for me it has significance way beyond licensing technicalities.
“OL” is my first graphic novel, created in collaboration with writer Andre Duza and illustrator Don Ellis Aguillo, and it’s morphing before our eyes due to fan input. That wasn’t our reason for launching “Outer Light” online before it was completed, but it’s worked in our favor.
Here’s a rundown of questions I’ve heard from fans that will now influence future episodes:
Question: Is Picard really this angsty?
Answer: Mos def. You saw the end of “The Inner Light,” right? He’s sitting there alone (more…)
If I were giving this chapter in my life a Beatles-tune title, as I did with the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Inner Light,” it would have to be “The Long and Winding Road.”
Twenty years ago I pitched what I thought was a clever little idea to the NextGen team. The episode came and went. The series came and went. I wrote/produced a lot of cop shows, like Law & Order and Nash Bridges and sent three kids off to college.
And here I am promo-ing the sequel.
It’s in digital graphic novel form; it’s an unofficial fan-based project, but it still hopefully fills a hole in the TNG canon.
In the real world, there were probably political decisions as to why not produce a dedicated follow-up to Capt. Picard’s life-changing brush with family life. But in the Trek world, it seems as though Picard somehow, miraculously, recovered from the experience of losing his wife, friends, kids and grandkids. (more…)
Today I escorted a lithe sexy model wearing only a length of string and a bell tassel to Roddenberry Productions for a product photo shoot.
The model in question is the new version of the Ressikan Flute. And yes, sorry as it sounds, I now know the difference between a bell tassel and a chain tassel. Also, how many minutes you have to work with Bondo before it sets and how to glue eyelets to drilled-out finger holes in a rolled tin pennywhistle.
It’s New Ressikan Flute Prototype time here in the basement workshop at the Gendel seaside manse. That means I spent the weekend experimenting with paint treatments to achieve an “aged brass” look as opposed to the earlier version’s “metallic bronze.”
Seems like only yesterday I was cutting purple velvet to fit in gold-painted boxes. That was for Flute 1.0 – still a valued Star Trek: The Next Generation artifact since it looks the way it did in “The Inner Light” before the prop guys gave it a beauty makeover. (The Blu-Ray sampler gives viewers an especially good look.) (more…)
For my spec pilot TV drama ‘2052,’ about a futuristic crime-solver, I had to envision a world not too far off yet as different from today as today is from the pre-PC age of the 1970s. I posited that the next big change will be in civic, not personal, lifestyle advances. An early piece of the crime puzzle leads to a vertical farm with floor after floor of crops that receive sunlight via a central mirrored light tube. Getting the crops to consumers is highly energy-efficient because this farm sits side-by-side with office towers right in the inner city.
I’m a big believer in public transportation so travel within my near-future city is done mostly by windmill-powered pneumatic tubes that connect rings of skyscrapers at roof level.
Within any given “ring,” travel is at ground level but again via public conveyance – in this case people movers sort of like Segways on tracks. Street traffic is restricted and expensive, so cars are only for the very rich or the very poor, who can’t afford to live in one of the rings. Not exactly utopian, but that wasn’t the idea. There are still plenty of murder mysteries in 2052. (more…)
One of the many joys of the recent StarBase Indy in Indianapolis was getting to sit with a group of Trek-savvy aspiring TV writers and figure out a hypothetical new Star Trek series.
As anyone who has heard me speak about “THE INNER LIGHT” knows, I myself am not a Trekkie, Trekker or Treknophile of any kind. I grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein and the like and watched TOS (The Original Series) when it first aired but truth be told, in the Battle of the “Stars,” to me Star Wars wins hands down. (Don’t hate me.) I credit my outsider status in the Trek realm with making me sort of like a good sperm donor – I sired a very attractive kid by providing some good genes and then getting out of the way.
So you can imagine the pure pleasure of learning from the attendees at my Writers Workshop – Jeff Ross, Dede Bonelli, Jeff Zweig, Robert Zarrillo, Matt Barron, Kenneth Hackler, Donna Christenberry, Shannen Smith and the indyspensable Emily Rodgers – what might make a new Trek tick. (more…)