Star Trek Trivia and Mysteries Revealed

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Things about Star Trek you probably missed. “11 nifty little visual details you never noticed in ‘Star Trek'” from MeTV.

Star Trek: The Original Series presented an entirely unique world to dazzled audiences in the 1960s. Each week, we discovered new aliens, distant green planets, future technology and the complex workings of the Federation.

Naturally, this meant a ton of props and sets had to be built, for not very much money. The production crew did a brilliant job, led by creative whizzes like set designer and art director Walter M. Jefferies. The production could turn garbage into gold — literally, they would sometimes dig through the trash at Desilu Studios for discarded materials to repurpose.

You can spot lots of clever little details if you know where to look. The crew even hid some little in-jokes to amuse themselves. Here are some of our favorites.

(2) Minor Star Trek set goofs. “10 minor goofs you never noticed in ‘Star Trek'”

Still, some errors inevitably made it onto the screen. There was no hiding the stunt doubles with computer technology, and the shadow of the boom microphone appears in too many shots to list here. Here are 10 of our favorite minor mistakes. In a way, they somehow make the entire series more impressive, once you realize the materials they were working with.

(3) Star Trek color quiz. “How well do you remember the colors of ‘Star Trek’?”

Let’s start off easy. What color is Spock’s uniform?

(4) Khan trivia. “11 things you never knew about Khan, the greatest ‘Star Trek’ villain”.

The character was originally meant for ‘Captain Video and His Video Rangers.’

“Space Seed” co-writer and story creator Carey Wilber dreamt up the plot years earlier for Captain Video, a pioneering, low-budget sci-fi show from the early 1950s. There were some major differences, however, as the original narrative involved Ancient Greeks with mythological powers awakening from cryogenic suspension in outer space.

(5) The Next Generation. ScreenRant is ready to reveal “15 Things You Never Knew About Data”.

  1. Data Has Beaten Wolverine In A Fight

There have been several comic books and novels released over the years that have crossed the X-Men over with the cast of Star Trek

In the comic series Second Contactthe crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation are sent back in time by Kang the Conqueror and arrive on Earth during the time when the X-Men are active. Data and Geordi are sent to infiltrate the X-Men’s mansion, where they run afoul of Wolverine. Data grabs Wolverine by the shoulder and throws him across the room like it’s no big thing. Colossus enters the room, only to have one of his punches stopped in its tracks by Data.

This wasn’t the first time that Wolverine jobbed out to a Starfleet officer. In Star Trek/X-Men, Mr. Spock would take out an angry Wolverine with the Vulcan nerve pinch. It seems that a healing factor and an adamantium-coated skeleton weren’t enough to stop Mr. Spock.

(6) When Sulu blew a gasket. “6 Times Sulu Lost It…Or Almost Did”.

While stoic in his own way, Sulu has his fair share of craziness in Star Trek: The Original Series. Traditionally, Hikaru Sulu is the unflappably cool guy with a good head on his shoulders, a close second to the logic-driven Spock. However, Sulu is human like all of us. And like all of us, he has his breakdowns, has strayed off the beaten path, and has gotten downright angry. These incidences are usually under the guise of alien mind control, but still.

Here are six moments where Sulu’s cool-guy veneer shattered.

(7) Kirk, the smooching starship captain. “Watch all of Captain Kirk’s captivating kisses on ‘Star Trek'”.

James T. Kirk certainly had more than a few romantic interests over the course of Star Treks three seasons. His title may be captain, but he was the Casanova aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. The captain kisses almost every woman he comes in contact with, regardless of whether they were from a different planet or even a fellow commander.

(8) Star Trek opinion survey. “How popular are your ‘Star Trek’ opinions?”

Star Trek, like all science fiction franchises with a rabid fan base, is the cause of many friendly debates. What is the greatest episode? Who the greatest captain? Klingons or Romulans?

Well, we’re here to tally your opinions on Star Trek: The Original Series. Answer these questions and see how your responses stack up against other Trekkies.

(9) Star Trek fan incomes. “More people prefer Star Wars, but Star Trek fans make more money”.

Last month, PayScale Human Capital polled 4,308 people. The survey asked a simple question: “Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?” PayScale being a business concerned with income, it also gathered data on the salaries of those who participated. Tapping its database of more than 50 million individual salary profiles, PayScale released its findings on Star Wars Day yesterday, May the Fourth. The results are pretty fascinating.

46% of those surveyed prefered Star Wars.

14% percent prefered Star Trek.

Okay, Trekkies, you’re losing that battle like the Bajorans in the Kendra Valley Massacre. 14% also asked, “What’s the difference?” An equal percentage said, “I love them both,” while 12% declared, “I hate them both.” Well then.

However, Trek lovers do have one major bragging right — Trekkies make more money.

(10) Survey Says. “Star Wars Or Star Trek, The Fans Have Spoken [Infographic]”

Ray Harryhausen’s Praise for Film Composers

By Steven J. Vertlieb: Special effects and stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen candidly discusses his affection, respect, admiration, and love for three-time Oscar-winning composer Miklos Rozsa in this deeply personal correspondence, commenting on their very special working relationship, and ever evolving mutual friendship.

A lovely note from Ray Harryhausen concerning Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and the art of Music For The Movies:

SFWA VP M.C.A. Hogarth Steps Down; Hartshorn Fills In

After three years of service as Vice President, M.C.A. Hogarth has stepped down. Director at Large Erin Hartshorn has agreed to fill in as interim Vice President until a formal election in May of 2018.

SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “I’m sorry to see Maggie go; her efforts have been vital in moving SFWA along in recent years, and I will deeply miss her input on the weekly calls. One of my maxims will remain, ‘What would Maggie say?’”

Among the projects Hogarth worked on during the past three years are: the Partnerships Program, which builds relationship between SFWA and organizations like Amazon, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Audible; the SFWA Guidebook, a work-in-progress designed to acquaint members with the wealth of services SFWA offers; the Self-Publishing Committee; the SFWA Star Project Initiative; and SFWA Ed, an educational initiative which will eventually benefit writers both within and outside of SFWA.

Erin Hartshorn’s Director at Large position will be filled by an interim Director appointed by the President and approved by the board; an announcement will be forthcoming. Rambo adds, “It’s been heartening to find so many people willing to step up and run for SFWA office recently; I hope to see this trend continue in the next election cycle.”

Mohanraj Wins Seat As Library Trustee

Mary Anne Mohanraj has been elected a Library Trustee for The Village of Oak Park, IL. When voters went to the polls on April 4th four seats were open, and she received the second-highest number of votes out of the 10 candidates for the board.

Author, academic, journal editor, and founder and director of the Speculative Literature Foundation, Mohanraj responded to Trump’s election by becoming more active in local politics. She attended an Oak Park Progressive Women meeting and was approached about running for office, eventually deciding to enter the Library Trustee race.

Here is video of a candidates’ forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on March 14. Mohanraj first speaks at 6:15.

Eric Lindsay Reported Safe After Tropical Cyclone Debbie

Longtime fanzine fan Eric Lindsay lives in one of the buildings most damaged by Tropical Cyclone Debbie when it struck Airlie Beach in Queensland, Australia last week. The Category 4 storm reached peak gusts of 163 mph just offshore.

After Eric regained internet access, he sent an update to let his friends know he’s still in one piece.

Please pass this along to any fans you can.

The reason no one has heard from me is that I was in Airlie Beach when Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck. Went through the whole eye of the cyclone event in my apartment at the Whitsunday Terraces. Luckily Jean [Weber] was 270 kilometres further north.

Optus Mobile was lost on Monday, the evening before the cyclone. Electricity went out at 10:18 p.m. the evening before the cyclone. That took out landline internet via WiFi. Water went out on Wednesday, the day after the cyclone, because there was no electric pumping available for the water feed system.

Ergon Energy are saying today they hope to have electricity back by 13 April. Meanwhile a lot of big portable generators have appeared around town. For example, at sewerage pumping sub-sites.

The road up North from Townsville down to here is open again, but basically only for emergency vehicles and supplies. The road to the South of the state is cut multiple places.

Woolworths at Airlie Beach had at least 5 big truck loads in the day before the cyclone. On Thursday two trucks (out of an original convoy of four) made it through town with supplies for Hamilton Island. Friday at least five trucks brought supplies to Woolworths, which had installed a big generator. They opened on Friday, only place in town to open. The larger Coles and Woolworths at Cannonvale both had roof damage that took out their electrical systems. They both had generators, but could not use them.

As well as slabs of bottled water, I had about 50 litres of water in buckets. Refilled one bucket overnight in the rain the Wednesday after TC Debbie.

Luckily the sewerage system survived. Just had to walk down seven flights of stairs to get a bucket of water from the swimming pool to refill the cisterns for flushing. That got real tiring real quick. While I could, I used water I mopped up in my apartment (about 2 cm of water on the floor) for the cisterns.

Despite water pipes being badly exposed in the rainstorm on Wednesday, the pipes feeding here did not break. Wednesday Airlie Beach basically flooded to about 1 metre in the low areas on the Main Street. That flood probably did as much damage to some places, like the Chemist shop, as the cyclone. We got water back technically Friday evening, and with more than a dribble by Saturday evening. I plan to start a decent inside cleanup today, Sunday, now I have water.

The Whitsunday Terraces on-site rental managers Katie and Tony have been running a BBQ morning, noon and evening, for guests and residents. Lots of shop staff rent apartments here, so we had frozen food donations from the Anchor Bar and Restaurant on site, Subway, Whitey at the Master Butchers, and many other places. I have never eaten so much BBQ meat. Tony managed to buy a small generator on Friday, so the big fridge in Reception is working.

Hamilton Island airport got back into operation around Friday. Empty flights have been coming it to evacuate the 3000 guests. Ferries are shuttling people there from other islands as evacuations continue.

Lots of military helicopters have been dropping in, and there is now a large Navy vessel offshore. Military have been supplying water to people who bring containers.

Whitsunday Terraces Resort where I live is said to be the worst hit building, by the roofing specialist I helped show around late yesterday. He is returning today with tarps, if he can buy some locally. Otherwise his supplies arrive Monday.

As for me, I am pretty comfortable here in the tropics. I have folding solar panels and power banks for charging my mobile phone and iPads. When it is sunny I get plenty for that. I also have USB desk lamps that run off power banks. I have a couple of large battery camping fans that recharge from 12 volts. I have some big folding solar panels that will charge them.

On Saturday I managed to get a large folding solar panel, GEL battery and inverter all together. Had half an afternoon of traditional internet connection via WiFi, until the sun was gone. I will bring that system up again today.

I am in 63. Here is a photograph of next door at 64:

Here is a photo of 60, at the parking level:

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Rich Lynch for the story.]

Ruined, Ruined by Mike Resnick’s Columns

By Carl Slaughter: Every issue of Asimov’s, I try to read Sheila Williams’ or Robert Silverberg’s column.  Every issue of Galaxy’s Edge, I try to read Barry Malzberg’s column.  I can’t do it.  Same for any other columnist, no matter what the topic.  Not since discovering Mike Resnick’s columns.

Mike doesn’t ponder and wonder, he doesn’t extrapolate and pontificate, he regales with tales.  His columns are as insightful as they are delightful.  And since he’s a walking encyclopedia of speculative fiction, he never runs out of material.  Having sampled enough of Mike’s columns, I can’t get past 4 paragraphs of anyone else’s column without my eyes glazing over.  I am ruined, ruined.

I have warned Mike more than once that if he ever tries to give up writing columns, he might as well give up the convention circuit too. Because at every convention, his fans would chain him to a computer until he wrote at least one more column. Those of you who have not indulged, you need to go ahead and get yourself addicted.

Ackerman, Bradbury & Harryhausen at Bookfellows in 2008

Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury and Forry Ackerman at the Three Legends event in 2008.

Those were the days, my friends. Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury and Forrest J Ackerman made a joint appearance at Bookfellows in Glendale in 2008. Not only are they all gone now, but so is the bookstore. Fortunately, the video lingers on!

Oh Captain, My Captain – Jim Kirk, Flash Gordon, Buzz Corey

By Steve Vertlieb: William Shatner, the iconic actor who first sailed the Star Ship Enterprise through three intergalactic seasons on NBC Television beginning September 8th, 1966, and starred in six Star Trek feature-length motion pictures, turned eighty-six years young recently. He was the valiant inspiration for millions of young boys and men for decades of thrilling cinematic heroism. I conducted, perhaps, the very first “fan” interview with William Shatner ever published during July, 1969, whilst the series was still being aired over NBC in its final re-runs, for the British magazine, L’Incroyable Cinema. He was both delightfully witty, and warm, sharing a memorable hour of his valuable time with us. Here are Erwin and I together with Captain James Tiberius Kirk outside his dressing room at The Playhouse In The Park where he was starring in a local Philadelphia Summer Stock production of “There’s A Girl In My Soup,” with Exodus star Jill Hayworth.

Together with boyhood hero and cherished friend, Buster Crabbe, here in Philadelphia in 1979. On this particular occasion, Buster and I had dinner together in “Chinatown.” Although Jack Nicholson was nowhere to be found, Buster playfully emptied the remains of some his dinner into my plate, insisting that I “Eat, Eat, Eat.” My Jewish mother would have been proud. Buster, along with Ed Kemmer and William Boyd, was among my earliest childhood heroes. Buster and I were good friends over the last two decades of his life, and I remain honored to think of myself as one of Flash Gordon’s pals. Knowing him personally was a thrill beyond imagining. My affectionate remembrance of Larry “Buster” Crabbe, and “Fantastic” children’s television during the 1950’s, has been nominated as “Best Blog of the Year” under the heading of Better Days, Benner Nights in the annual Rondo Awards.

Steve Vertlieb and Buster Crabbe.

Together with one of my earliest boyhood heroes and role models, Ed Kemmer, who starred as Commander Buzz Corey of the “Space Patrol”, broadcast every Saturday morning on ABC Television in the mid 1950’s. He also co-starred with William Shatner in “Nightmare At 20,000 Feet,” the original classic episode of The Twilight Zone written by Richard Matheson. Shatner’s own Star Trek series was heavily influenced by Ed’s Space Patrol, as well as MGM’s Forbidden Planet. After this initial meeting, Ed and I remained friends through correspondence until his passing. He loved Sinatra, and so I’d periodically record tapes of Francis Albert for him, and send them to his apartment in New York. Ed remained conspicuously among the few stars refusing to accept compensation for posing for pictures or signing autographs. He felt that charging money for his image would be a betrayal of the millions of children who made him so popular during the nineteen fifties. He was not only a tv hero, but a real hero, as well. During the second world war, Ed was a pilot who had been shot down behind enemy lines and imprisoned as a POW. He was quite a remarkable human being, both on screen and off.

Steve Vertlieb with Ed Kemmer, who played Cmdr. Buzz Corey in Space Patrol.

New Stage Play Focuses on Murderer Gerhartsreiter

Christian Gerhartsreiter, who used many assumed names – the most notorious being “Clark Rockefeller” — is the subject of the new play “True Crimes” that will be performed in Toronto at Crow’s Theatre from April. 4-15.

Rockefeller was a self-aggrandizing liar who ended up being prosecuted for kidnapping his own daughter. But before that Gerhartsreiter was living in LA County under the name of Chichester and just a few years ago, after a long investigation, he was convicted of the 1985 murder of sf fan and LASFS member John Sohus. He also is suspected in the disappearance of Sohus’ wife, Linda, another LASFSian.

When someone is a successful criminal, the “successful” part inevitably outweighs the “criminal” part. There’s a long tradition of romanticizing criminals – think of all those shows about the Mafia. Woven between the crimes is a thread of populism and approval for getting over on The Man.

I never expected to have the experience of seeing this fictional polish applied to somebody who killed people I’d met. It makes me sick. When people write that something makes them feel sick, I always believe them, whether or not I have the same visceral reaction. I’ll understand if you don’t feel the same, but I assure you when I say it here, I mean it literally.

There were so many absurd pretensions and highly embroidered lies involved in the “Clark Rockefeller” part of the story they can upstage the darker part of his story. Even journalist Frank Girardot, who followed Gerhartsreiter’s LA prosecution for years and wrote a book about him, said on File 770 in 2013 right after the murder conviction was announced, “It’s a tragic story that would be a comedy if it wasn’t for the deaths of John and Linda.”

The trailer emphasizes that he was a con man – which he was, but fictionalized con men are usually thieves or impostors pretending to a title or expertise they don’t really have, not kidnappers and violent murderers. Think of movies like The Great Impostor with Tony Curtis, or Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo Di Caprio – two of Hollywood’s most attractive actors. I feel doubtful about the direction this play will be taking.

True Crime trailer:

[Thanks to Murray Moore for the story.]

Anonymous Group Challenges Statistical Validity of Fireside Report

In a report dropped just after the close of the Hugo nomination deadline last night, the timing chosen purposefully (I’m told by a source) though the reasons are not obvious, “a group of writers and editors” has challenged the statistical basis of the Fireside Report which said last July,” We don’t need the numbers to know that racism is a problem in our field. But we have them.”

Published at Medium under the pseudonym “Lev Bronstein” (Leon Trotsky’s real name), “Bias in Speculative Fiction” counters the Fireside Report by applying additional statistical study methods to the data, or enlarging the field from which relevant data can be drawn.

Fireside Fiction’s July 2016 report “Antiblack Racism in Speculative Fiction” [FR] purports to have found pervasive racism in speculative fiction publishing. With 38 out of 2,039 (1.9%) published works authored by black-identifying authors, there is unquestionable underrepresentation. FR ascribes this disparity to widespread anti-black editorial bias. We share Fireside’s concerns about underrepresentation and commend its authors for raising awareness. At the same time we find the report to be fraught with error.

The article’s many examples include:

The misuse of the binomial distribution in FR is a significant cause for concern. Under the binomial distribution, we treat each publication as an independent random event with some fixed probability of occurrence. FR assumes that each submitted submission should have a 13.2% chance of black authorship. The probability of observing their data subject to this assumption is 3.207×10^–76. They provide no rationale for using population rather than occupational rates. Suppose instead that science fiction slush is submitted from a pool of professional writers uniformly at random. Under these assumptions we assume that there’s a a 4% probability that a story is written by a black author. The data becomes 68 orders of magnitude more likely. Still unlikely, yes, but this demonstrate the impact of our assumptions.

The article can be presumed to serve as a defense of editors in the speculative fiction field. It argues there is bias, but that it is exerted in the culture in ways not directly related to the fate of slushpile manuscripts, such as in the educational system where PoC may or may not take degrees in literature, and other things that discourage black people from becoming authors at all.

The authors of the article defended their choice to remain anonymous in these terms —

Who are you?

We’re a group of writers and editors. We have chosen to publish under a collective pseudonym. Our identities would only serve as a distraction.

It’s puzzling why a group that agrees in their preamble that “There is a race problem in speculative fiction and we need to make an effort to understand its causes” is unwilling to engage under their own names, essentially reducing this to a drive-by correction of somebody else’s homework.

Justina Ireland, an executive editor at FIYAH magazine, has responded at length on Twitter. Here are several of her tweets:

Another comment:

Brandon O’Brien, a poet and writer in Trinidad and Tobago, also has made some observations:

O’Brien has many other comments, though one in particular about “nebulous maths” begs the question:

Bear in mind this quote from the Fireside Report —

To adjust for the methodological flaws, as well as the fact that we don’t have access to submission-rate data concerning race and ethnicity either overall or by individual magazine, we used binomial distributions. The purpose of this was to find the probability that such numbers could be random?—?the chances that numbers like that could exist without biases in play (which could extend to biases that are literary in nature, such as story structure), systemic problems, and/or structural gaps. In the first binomial distribution we ran the data assuming that submission rates of black authors are equal to the proportion of the black population in the United States, which was 13.2% in 2015 (according to Census projections).

The Fireside Report picked U.S. population statistics as the battleground, treated them as a valid tool for analyzing racism, and made arguments based on their own analysis of them. It’s not fair in that context to say the Fireside Report is above criticism because there are PoC writing SFF throughout the world, or that we all know racism is a problem in the publishing industry (as it is elsewhere).

Troy L. Wiggins, the other FIYAH executive editor, questioned the motive behind the new article:

Update: Hours later the authors of the article took it down and left in place the statement, “We’ve been receiving threats. Forget we were ever here.”  

For as long as it lasts, the original post can be read in the Google cache file.