(1) ASK LOVECRAFT OUT AT YOUTUBE. Ask Lovecraft has been taken down by YouTube for reasons that are unclear. The channel itself is unsearchable, and peoples’ playlists of the episodes now read “This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.”
The Ask Lovecraft outpost on Facebook is no more enlightening about the reasons:
We apologize for the inconvenience but in the midst of our travels, we discovered that our YouTube channel has been temporarily suspended and are working to restore it.
Thank you for your patience.
(2) FUSSIN’ AND FEUDIN’. Entertainment Weekly reveals the new series will make a change in Trek’s culture: “Star Trek: Discovery to ditch a long frustrating Trek rule”.
in “Star Trek: Discovery Throws Out Long-Standing Trek Rule” on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, James Hibberd says that the showrunners for Star Trek: Discovery have thrown out the rule that crew members can’t fight each other or be portrayed negatively.
As part of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s utopian vision of the future (and one that Trek franchise executive producer Rick Berman carried on after Roddenberry’s death in 1991), writers on Trek shows were urged to avoid having Starfleet crew members in significant conflict with one another (unless a crew member is, say, possessed by an alien force), or from being shown in any seriously negative way.
This guideline wasn’t strictly followed across all 700 previous franchise episodes, of course (there are especially some notable exceptions in The Original Series). But in an aspirational effort to make the future more idyllic, Starfleet crew members typically weren’t supposed to demonstrate baser human flaws. For writers on Trek shows, the restriction has been a point of behind-the-scenes contention (one TNG and Voyager writer, Michael Piller, famously dubbed it “Roddenberry’s Box”). Drama is conflict, after all, and if all the conflict stems from non-Starfleet members on a show whose regular cast consists almost entirely of Starfleet officers, it hugely limits the types of stories that can be told.
So for the CBS All Access series coming Sept. 24, that restriction has been lifted and the writers are allowed to tell types of stories that were discouraged for decades….
(3) TECHNICAL CORRECTION. When I checked NerdConHQ’s poll “Con of the Year 2016 – FAN Votes”, leading the voting was Cyprus Comic Con in Nicosia on the island of Cyprus. Either that’s one hell of a con, or somebody is doing to this poll what the Plokta cabal did to a Scifi Channel poll back in the dawn of the internet.
(4) WISE CRACKS. In Episode 41 of Eating the Fantastic, Scott Edelman invites listeners to “Crack open fortune cookies with Dennis Etchison”.
Dennis is a writer and editor who’s a three-time World Fantasy Award winner and a three-time British Fantasy Award winner. His 1982 debut short story collection, The Dark Country, is one of the best horror short story collections ever. And you don’t have to take my word for how good he is—some guy named Stephen King has called him “one hell of a fiction writer.”
We discussed how Philip K. Dick staged scenes as he wrote his stories, Ray Bradbury’s baffling advice which helped Etchison make his first fiction sale, whether he’d still have become a writer had he not been an only child, why most writing workshops don’t work, how he came to write his best-selling Halloween novel for John Carpenter in six weeks, the speech he really wanted to give when he received his Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, and more.
(5) FROM THE TOP OF THE STACK. In “Recent Reading”, Ann Leckie shares her thoughts about The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, and Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns.
(6) SO SUMO. Who doesn’t love fighting robots, right? The Verge has video: “These autonomous sumo wrestling bots are freakishly fast”.
If you haven’t seen robot sumo wrestling before, then you’re in for a treat. Trust me. Most robot versions of human sports are underwhelming, but as this video compilation shows, the mechanical take on Japan’s national sport is very fast and very furious. And why? Because engineers aren’t trying to copy human performance. Instead, they concentrate on the qualities that robots excel at: namely lightning-fast decision-making and insane turns of speed.
(7) TODAY’S DAY
- Typewriter Day
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
There’s a sound we all know, even if we don’t quite recall it. It’s the mechanical clatter of a typewriter in action. It is reminiscent in the soulless tapping of keys on modern keyboards and recalled in the sounds of the elite of the keyboard world, the mechanical keyboard. But none of them quite reach the splendor and grandeur of a typewriter in action. Typewriter Day celebrates this humble device and the amazing pieces of literature it’s brought to us over the decades.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY
- June 23, 1956 — Abbott & Costello met the Mummy
- June 23, 1976 — Dystopic sci-fi classic Logan’s Run races into theaters
- June 23, 1989 — Tim Burton’s blockbuster Batman opens to huge crowds
(9) COMIC SECTION
We commend to C.S. Lewis fans’ attention Rhymes With Orange for June 21.
(10) BRILLIANT CASTING. David Thayer picked up what he likes to call his Retro-Hugo Nominee pin — a little, Flash Gordon-esque rocket — at Jim Clift’s lapel pin site. Clift has created quite a few interesting items, for example, his collection of science lapel pins.
(11) ELECTRICAL CONDUCTOR. The orchestra that recorded Star Wars used modern tech for advertising: processed motion capture of Simon Rattle as poster backgrounds. “Watch Conductor Simon Rattle Turn Into A High-Tech Tangle Of Spaghetti” advertises London Symphony Orchestra.
Now here’s a creative way to promote your upcoming symphony season and up your brand: Strap your conductor in a motion capture suit, switch on a dozen high-tech cameras, and get an artist to translate the data into kaleidoscopic shapes and colors.
Then sit back and watch as Simon Rattle, who takes over the storied London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) this fall, morphs into an oozing blob, a twisting tower of metallic rods and, rather deliciously, a tangle of angel hair pasta. (Well, that’s what it looks like to me.)
Chip Hitchcock adds, “And Disney would plotz if he could see some of the web advertising from the same tech: web advertising from the same tech.”
(12) WHAT WOULD SCOTTY THINK? Entertainment Weekly teases more images from Star Trek: Discovery.
Here’s a first look one of the transporter rooms (yes, there are more than one) featured in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. Above we see Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) preparing to beam down to … somewhere.
You’ll notice they’re wearing body armor (another interesting addition) and have old school The Original Series phasers at the ready. In the foreground on the left is the back of Lt. Saru (Doug Jones) a new form of alien in the Trek universe who plays a key role.
This particular transporter bay is aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou and it’s unlike any that Trek fans have ever seen before. So if you love this new design, great, it’s in the show. If you don’t, hold that thought, because the transporter bay in the U.S.S. Discovery is very different from this one (and has not yet been seen).
Star: Trek Discovery is a prequel set 10 years before the events in The Original Series and focuses on two Starships, the Discovery and the Shenzhou. The Discovery is a newer vessel while the Shenzhou is an older model. The bridge scenes in the trailer are also aboard the Shenzhou rather than the Discovery.
(13) RELIC OF WAR. My benighted boast about my site traffic is destined to live on in the annals of humor unto the second fifth generation. Someone screencapped this hack of File 770’s Wikipedia entry. The punchline at the end of the second paragraph made me laugh.
(14) PLANETARY AWARD. Your 2016 Planetary Award winners are:
- Best Short Story: “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom (Thune’s Vision)
- Best Novel: Swan Knight’s Son by John C. Wright
Any book blogger, podcaster, or “booktuber” is eligible to nominate for the award. This year’s nominators included Jeffro Johnson, Jon del Arroz, Brian Niemeier and The Injustice Gamer.
(15) APPROACHING THE FINNISH LINE. SFWA broadcasts Sylvia Spruck Wrigley’s “Ten Tips For First-Time Travelers to Helsinki”.
WorldCon in Helsinki is THE social event of the year, and we’re all really looking forward to it. However, for many people, it might be the first time traveling to a country where English is not the native language. This can be nerve-wracking because it is impossible to know what to expect. In a vague attempt to help, I’ve created this ten-point list of how to cope.
1) Research before you go. Read articles. Pick up a travel book. If you are comfortable with Reddit, browse through https://www.reddit.com/r/helsinki/ or even take part in https://www.reddit.com/r/Worldcon75/ and get to know people before you even arrive. Use Google Street View to explore your neighborhood. Look up the address and phone number of the American consulate. Install Duolingo and practice five minutes of Finnish a day for four weeks.
[Thanks to JJ, James Davis Nicoll, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belong to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
I wish I could remember what I voted for in 1974. Besides Clarke, the nominees included books by two active members of LASFS, my favorite sf writer at the time (Anderson), and an epic Heinlein that showed he had pulled out of a terrible career tailspin. I liked the Clarke book, it’s just unlikely I voted for it.
Are the Locus Winners based on the results of the poll, or are they decided by the editors from the top 10 finalists?
@Mike Glyer – I liked the Clarke book, it’s just unlikely I voted for it.
I didn’t read it the year it came out (I was a library-only reader in the 70s), but I just checked what it had been up against and I’m even more baffled that it won. Rendezvous with Rama went a long way towards convincing me that I didn’t really have to finish a book I actively disliked. Also, that I needed to make enough money so that when I wanted to throw a book against the wall, I could. Clearly, I didn’t anticipate e-readers.
@JJ by the poll
Once upon a time, they just announced the winners of the poll. In the last few years, they added this wrinkle of announcing the finalists in advance (while knowing even as they do it exactly who has already won).
I disliked 3BP enough that I have no intention of ever reading either of the sequels.
Paul Weimer: by the poll
Well, there you go, that explains the win. I think that Cixin Liu and Thomas Olde Heuvelt have something in common.
They’re doing a good job of marketing. For a few weeks I get to be a Locus Award finalist, rather than just that immediately forgotten guy who came in eighth (or whatever place). And presumably there are more than a hundred others who are enjoying the same feeling.
You’ve suddenly re-piqued my interest. Pedantry is an old family tradition I began.
I don’t get enough of the fascinating ideas anywhere but SF, so I’m pretty tolerant of the books that provide it. Your description is dead on and I enjoyed that book a lot anyway.
@JJ: I think Liu has Heuveldt beat in the ideas department at least though – although I still haven’t started Death’s End (I keep finding reasons to read other things – once i finish Raven Stratagem I should read some more Korean fiction before leaving Korea for a few months, for instance)
@Mike: It’s good for the audience too, to build tension and excitement about the winners.
I just checked and the Ask Lovecraft page is back up on YouTube.
My issue with 3BP is that the ideas just weren’t that interesting; it seemed a mix of half-witted mysticism and rehashed old ideas. Not having to read any of the sequel — even enough to quit with good conscience — is a reason to be happy not voting this year. Oh well, EMMV
@Lenora: “Not every book with a lot of sex is about sex for the sake of getting the reader off.”
Plus, not every book that does want to get the reader off has a paper-thin “pizza delivery guy” plot. There’s absolutely no reason that explicit sex scenes cannot coexist with complex characters and a layered plot.
@Mike It does make it feel more in line with the process (and joy of being a finalist) that other awards have by having an intermediate step, yes.
My Hugo reading has stalled because Hot, and I’d like to remember everything this year, unlike last year where the entire novella category is a blank space. I read them, I know I did, and yet I couldn’t tell you a single solitary thing about them. I’m noodling around with Temeraire while I get my blood pressure back up to scratch so I have a functioning brain. I don’t have to worry about forgetting books that I’ve already read *mumblety* times.
@JJ: It’s a poll, but (because they were unhappy with the results some years back) Locus subscribers’ votes count double. That’s fine (though implementing it in the middle of the process, the year they started doing this, IMHO wasn’t cool).
@Rev. Bob: I was thinking that, too.
@Meredith: Sending waves of Cool in your direction. 🙂
Kendall: It’s a poll, but Locus subscribers’ votes count double.
Yes, and with that structure, 2,000 votes from a dedicated fanbase will still outweigh 1,000 votes from subscribers with a long tail. 😐
ULTRAGOTHA on June 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm said:
I think that unlikely, given that Friday is only the second night of Worldcon 76. 75 in Helsinki is Wednesday, August 9 through Sunday, August 13, 2017, but 76 in San Jose is Thursday, August 16 through Monday, August 20, 2018.
If you mean “hold the Hugo Award ceremony on the third night of the convention,” that’s more plausible, but I can’t remember if we’ve decided yet which night we’ll do which major event. We are, however, pretty sure of the space where it will be.
Because Worldcons are on different days of the week, I’ve been thinking of it in terms of which day of the convention (1-5) things happen. The Preliminary Business Meeting is on Day 2, the first Main Meeting on Day 3, Site Selection voting ends on Day 3, and the results are announced at the Site Selection meeting on Day 4, after which you keep doing more business and if necessary hold a Third Main Meeting on Day 5. You would prefer the Hugo Awards to be on Night 3 instead of the more-common Night 4. Having run WSFS & Events, there are good arguments for doing it on either Night 3 or Night 4.
WSFS Division Manager, Worldcon 76
(but not Events, which is under Jill Eastlake)
I always find the consignment of DS9 to the memory hole significant. It had long serial arcs and character development. It was a hell of a lot better than Voyager and Enterprise, and I understand why many people prefer it to Next Generation as a whole. And it had characters who were friends, or at least didn’t have the vaguely cult-like all smiles friendships a la TNG.
Female characters! In non-helpmate roles! Who are the driving force in their relationships! I always do wonder why it gets denigrated as a betrayal of Roddenberry; if it is, then let’s betray him. What really amuses me is how the writers room of DS9 was composed of a lot of TNG vets, and a lot of people who loved TOS and the setting. They took this and wrote DS9. Voyager’s writers were often better than they get credit for, but for them it was a job. It’s ironic that it’s the first group who are the betrayer.
But all of this is why I smile whenever people talk about Star Trek and its fandom as bold people with their eyes fixed on the future. Next Gen was the founding document for a lot modern Trek. Understandably, they wanted to do something different on DS9.
The reward for this was never-ending nerd rage, crowning TNG the one True Trek, and all else heresy. Caving to the fans and making the next two spinoffs try to replicate TNG exactly crippled Voyager and Enterprise right out of the gate. Next Gen worked in its time, with its actors and writers. Attempts to copy it failed.
TNG was a good show and good Star Trek. I just don’t see why it has to be the only Trek.
@7: not a unique source for that quote, but possibly the oldest and certainly appropriate;
No one has found it attributed to Hemingway before 1973 (Hemingway died in 1961). Walter Winchell quoted sportswriter Red Smith as saying it (in almost those exact words) in 1949, and sportswriter/novelist (The Poseidon Adventure) Paul Gallico said something kinda like it in 1946.
@TYP: Yes to what you said about DS9. All of it.
@Kendall: Let’s hear it for smart smut! 😀
@Ken RIchards, thanks; I’d scolled to the end of the book, and when I hit the Translator’s Notes, Copyright Page and Publisher Advertisement, it never occurred to me that the endnotes would be AFTER that. And on my Kobo, they didn’t show up as links (or, if they were links, the area to hit was so tiny that I missed it. Several times.) Looking at it in Calibre View, I see that they ARE clickable links.
@lurkertype and @TYP
Yeah, that was more or less my point too, but I’ve fought that flamewar so often I didn’t want to rehash it.
Thanks TYP for taking on the dirty work this time 🙂
DS9: The reason why DS9 is so superior to everything that came after it is Ronald D Moore who was responsible for a lot of the best episodes- he also wrote some of the better TNG stuff, but IIRC didnt write for Voyager or Enterprise. Of course credit should also goes to showeunner Ira Behr.
Rendezvous with Rama: I liked the story. Why? Because it was a somewhat realistic playthrough what actually would happen if something like this would pass throught the solar system. I wouldnt compare it to Death End, since the scope is much smaller (and I dont recall the ending to be a disaster). But in hindsight “The man who folded himself” should have won that year. But awards aint perfect.
@TYP, lurkertype and Mart
I don’t think that DS9 has been consigned to a memory hole, since I frequently hear people praising how good it was. If any Star Trek show has been relegated to the memory hole, it’s Voyager and Enterprise. To be fair, both weren’t very good, though Voyager was better than it’s remembered and even Enterprise had its moments.
The writers of DS9 tried to do something different, true, but it didn’t work. I don’t know what other people’s problems with DS9 were, but mine were that I disliked most of the characters intensely (including Captain Sisko, whose name I always have to look up) and just didn’t care what happened to them. Even characters I’d liked on TNG like Worf or O’Brien, I didn’t like in DS9. I’m not sure why I reacted so strongly to the characters on DS9 (okay, I know why I dislike Sisko, because he does something that’s an instant dealbreaker for me in an early episode), since I didn’t find Picard particularly likeable either. But then, the TNG cheracters were memorable, even the ones I didn’t like. The characters of DS9 weren’t to the point that I can’t remember most of their names (and Enterprise was even worse in that regard). It didn’t help that DS9 focussed overly on the Bajorans, whom I’d never liked even in their guest appearance on TNG. And while DS9 had plot and character arcs, I wasn’t interested in them.
I bailed on DS9 after two or three seasons (the only time I bailed out of a Star Trek show before Enterprise and by that time I was completely over Trek). My Mom held out to the end, because it was on in an afternoon slot that was easy for her to watch, but she didn’t much like it either.
I’m always surprised to find so many DS9 defenders, cause at the time it was on, no one I knew (both Trekkies and casual fans) liked it. I suspect DS9 appealed to a different audience than the other Trek shows.
But I think DS9’s biggest problem was that it was on at the same time as Babylon 5, which tried to do something similar and did it so much better for the time.
ETA: Ron D. Moore is probably responsible for my dislike, since I’ve never liked anything he’s done except – amazingly enough – Outlander (and I was highly sceptical about that). I hated the new Battlestar Galactica as well.
@Cassy B: I read Death’s End on the Kindle app, and in that when there was a footnote the entire word that was footnoted was a tappable link to the endnotes section. That’s a much better approach than others I’ve seen, where there’s just a number that’s a link, because I find that the number is too small a target to hit easily.
Of course, the very best way of doing footnotes is found on fivethirtyeight.com, and I can only assume that it’s very difficult to do, because it’s so obviously best that if it were not incredibly difficult, everyone would be doing it.
@Bill: fascinating — both in the way the quote may have gotten attached after the fact (there have been many such cases uncovered) and for the connection to Paul Gallico, for whom it would be a statement of almost Spockian detachment — I’ve never read tPA, but much of his fiction (including fantasies such as Thomasina tended to be hyperemotional.
But that’s a legitimate difference in taste. It’s not the old “but Roddenberry would have hated it” chestnut.
For all the reasons you dislike it, I like it. I find the characters more interesting, more well-rounded, even if that means that the writers get the freedom to put their weak spots on display.
And I liked the Bajoran arcs. I liked the world-building, and the fact that for once religion was taken seriously as an aspect of a culture. Without the writers taking a stance of ‘religion is good’, another strawman often levelled at DS9.
I realise it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, a friend of mine is only getting into it now on a second watch, and I really don’t hold it against her that she didn’t give it more of a try the first time around.
It’s the canonsation of the other Trek series and the ungrounded disdain that is ladled onto DS9 that bugs me.
I think part of what happened with Rendezvous with Rama is a common thing with an innovative SF story–it has a big influence on later stories, and, within about a generation or so, what once seemed like bold new ideas starts to look old hat. I’m not entirely sure–I was pretty young at the time–but I remember being pretty excited by the whole premise, and the way Clarke handled it. And I know that I’ve read many many works since where I find myself saying “Oh, like Rama.”
As for DS9–I was a Trek fan, and I liked it. I really liked the amount of aliens in the regular cast. TOS had one as second-in-command, while TNG’s started as a junior officer, and only ever got promoted as far as head of security. And both really only had one regular alien. Also, TNG was pretty white–arguably whiter than TOS. DS9 fixed all that–there were a bunch of aliens in the regular cast, and the captain was non-white.
Also, DS9 started exploring the use of story arcs, but didn’t go as fatally far as B5–which I found unwatchable, because I’d missed the beginning, and so had no idea what was going on. (With B5, I ended up in “eight deadly words” territory.)
All-in-all, while it was flawed, like all the Treks, I think there’s a strong argument to be made for calling it the best of them.
@Cora, DS9, Matt, lurkertype, etc.
I completely it understand it not being your cup of tea; my objection is the more holy writ status that TNG got and gets from people where it was there first Trek/sci-fi show. I do think that what really hurt Voyager especially was the show-runners listening to the fans and trying to present them with another version of TNG.
Voyager frustrates me, because again and again I see where it could have been Galactica, only Star Trek and hopefully less in love with this own grim-dark (I like Ron Moore’s writing more than his show-running), only to have the re-set button mashed with reckless abandon.
I also dislike how Janeway, played by a good actor, continually seemed to have “woman” as her character class. Janeway has flashes of being authoritarian and unlivable. And given Voyager’s situation, I can understand why. But it just gets throttled, again and again. Tensions between the Marquis and Federation crews… get throttled, again and again, to make an ersatz Next Gen.
Also, the lack of a grasp the writers of Voyager had on Trek really showed as Janeway tap danced on the Prime Directive, again and again and again. Which might be why a lot of DS9 fans have a real bone to pick with people who hold up Voyager as being true to Roddenberry, when compared to the depth DS9 goes to whenever the limits of the Federation become apparent.
I can go on and on about Star Trek; my apologies. I do think that Next Gen unfortunately ends up as the avatar of Watch Nerds Hate Change because it was so many people’s entry way. I can find nice things to say about most Trek; I just tire of the Nerd wars.
Personally, I loved the Bajoran arc because it felt like the week after Picard has used simple words and small phrases to end age old hatreds (or societal hangups that go back hundreds of years) and then left the system at warp. They are rebuilding a society and coming to terms with their place in a larger universe and I liked that seeing the mess and complexity and that everything doesn’t get tied up in a neat bow.
Ira Behr doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his work on DS9. He was great.
Even at the time they were airing, a lot of people (myself included) thought it was the much superior show as far as complexity of overarching plot and of characters. Fewer high-falutin’ speeches and ‘splosions, more what it’s really like rebuilding after a war. We watched TNG, but if we were a day late, eh, well. Whereas when I was out of town, I’d find out when DS9 was on and tune in on the hotel TV. And the first season of TNG was widely derided and not well-thought of. It got terrible reviews; if it had been on a network instead of syndication it would have been canceled.
So it wasn’t on a ship 24/7 and a new planet each week and everyone didn’t get along. It wasn’t humans uber alles, with one token alien here and there. Lots of aliens! Black man with a child (non-annoying) as captain. Alien woman as second in command, alien guy in security, Ferengi and Cardassians everywhere. People who were sincerely religious. It felt like a more expansive galaxy, even though the setting was sometimes restricted. And you know Quark’s didn’t serve synthehol, only the real stuff.
Voyager was just awful. They tried SO HARD to make it TNG. I skipped the last N years, checked in occasionally, tuned in for the last few, and went “Nope, still terrible”. Annoying characters behaving nonsensically.
Enterprise didn’t stand a chance, they were forced to be TNG only a couple centuries older. I don’t even remember most of the characters, they were so dull. It picked up a lot in the last season till the stupid actual-TNG finale was stuck on it. That was a slap in the face for sure.
DS9 was the only Trek where I cried at the end.
Maybe not having a Vulcan or a robot hurt DS9 with the nerds who fancy themselves completely logical? You know the type.
I dastn’t say which was the best Trek series, but TNG was my favorite. The original series (I’m 60) possibly suffered from being seen so many times, but the ideas they laid down were pretty darn good for the period. There were third act (okay, season) problems, imposed from outside interference. Whatever. I can rewatch TNG more than the others (lack of eternal arcs helps), and I stayed interested in the series to the end, unlike the later ones. (I agree with lurkertype about the first season of the show, which tried so hard. I kept expecting Ensign Streetmime to show up. The show got better, fortunately.)
I lost interest in DS9 after watching it for a couple of seasons. V’ger saddled itself with Neelix the Cat, who I could never take any more seriously than, say, Alfred the Butler before he slimmed down. I did like the Doctor, and found the arc with Ensign Suder to be very watchable. When Suder was gone, I left as well.
As to later TV incarnations: I didn’t watch them. Must have been busy. I did like the recent movies, non-canonical and illogical though they be. I felt entertained.
I know some people don’t share my tastes. I have no theory why that is.
I watched DS9 to the end but only because it was Star Trek. For the most part DS9 had two big problems in my opinion. One was that it had a lot of characters that were hard to like for many people and the second was that everything good it did was done better by Babylon 5.
For example I somewhat disliked Kira at the start of the show but I figured she would grow on me however by the end of the show I outright loathed her. Actually the Bajorans in general were rather unpleasant. After the twentieth mind numbingly stupid stunt they pulled if I ran the Federation I would of walked out and let them happily send themselves to hell in a hand-basket.
There were a numbers of episodes that I liked,mostly from the first few seasons, but they were usually standalones that had nothing to do with the Bajorans.
But I did not care for the new Battlestar Galactica either so maybe I was just not their target audience.
Xtifr: I don’t think Rendezvous with Rama has been made boring by advances in SF. I don’t remember being excited by it even when I read it in first publication; the plot can be summarized as “people visit object, discover things, leave”, which is pretty thin for a novel. (Compare this with Titan a few years later, or with many other Clarke novels.)
Well, I’m not going to sit here and defend R. w/Rama as a neglected classic of SF or anything. As I said, I was young when I read it (not quite in high school) and I haven’t bothered to re-read it since. So I’m pretty fuzzy on the details. I just remember that I did rather enjoy it at the time–but not enough to re-read it, even though I re-read a lot of stuff. (Wordaholic, don’cha know.) 🙂
Honestly, though, “giant alien ship appears and turns out not to be a threat” was kind of an innovative plot at the time. 😀
And discovering nifty stuff in space was rather a big deal in those days, only a few years after the first moon landing.
Looking back, it would not be my choice for best novel of the year, but at the time, the choice didn’t seem too unreasonable to me. *shrug*