Sunday, 30 December 2012

First look at mini-phaser book

Things From Another World have added a cover to their listing of the forthcoming Star Trek: Phaser; a mini-model and book set from Running Press. It looks like this:

For more than forty years, Star Trek has made a phenomenal cultural impact. Now with the new movie well on its way, trekkies everywhere will want to get their hands on this kit. The kit includes a light-up phaser (to get all the bad guys!) and a 32-page book on the history of phasers, and lots of fun quotes and images from the classic show.

This 32 page book is part of Running Press' diverse range of small booklets and models and/or games, which includes such novelty gifts as a mini TARDIS, a Bat-signal projector, mini Stonehenge, and magnetic kama sutra!

Due out in April, I guess retailer interest in this has been reasonably good, because Amazon UK now also have a listing for Star Trek: Enterprise, another miniature kit due in December. I would imagine this will come with a miniature model of the Enterprise (TOS as well?).

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Fall update

TrekMovie have posted a summary of next year's Star Trek novel releases, which includes new details of the TNG-era crossover series, The Fall. Una McCormack joins the four previously identified authors for the series, with her novel, according to the most recent edition of TrekFM's Literary Treks podcast, set to feature Picard and Garak. TrekMovie also revealed titles for all the books in the series:
UPDATE: Dayton Ward has let me know the title for his book is currently considered a placeholder, until he finishes the outline for the book and decides what to go with perminently.

The initial DS9 book is the only one with any sort of listing from the publisher or retailers so far, if you missed the initial blurb for that book it gives us a brief overview of the entire series:
The Federation is rocked to its core as the Typhon Pact is suspected of being behind a barbarous act that shatters the fragile peace of the Alpha Quadrant. An original Star Trek novel, this is part of a five-book story arc that takes place over a sixty-day period, but it is not necessary to read each novel in order to follow the storyline, which involves all aspects of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine universes.
UPDATE 2: Dayton Ward has now also blogged about the series, in which he revealed his book in the series will focus primarily on Picard and the Enterprise-E crew. He also noted however that this series will have more direct crossovers than the initial Typhon Pact series:
...unlike the previous Star Trek: Typhon Pact mini-series which utilized this basic notion of multiple authors and casts, the books this time around won’t be so locked in to a single crew. Expect more in the way of team-ups/collaborative action from across the various groups of characters.

Borg comic catch-up

Last week saw the last of the Borg double bills from IDW, with their TNG/Doctor Who crossover, Assimilation2 coming to end, and the penultimate issue of Hive, leaving just the final issue of the latter series to finish off the Borg run next month.

Previews for both issues follow after the jump, with oddles of Borg, Cybermen, and even the USS Titan and crew. But first, check out David Messina's awesome Borg in history cover for Hive #3, featuring Borg on Mount Rushmore:

Enterprise bluray details

TrekCore has revealed the first detailed of the forthcoming bluray release of Star Trek: Enterprise. They expect the first season set to be release in March, and will feature lots of new extra features put together by the same team that have been working on the TNG bluray sets. These will include:
  • A new three-part documentary series looking behind the scenes of season one.
  • Five new audio commentaries, including Brannon Braga, Connor Trinneer, and Dominic Keating talking about Shuttlepod One.
  • A "discussion piece" between Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, called "In Conversation, talking candidly about the series.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Chronicle Books teach us How to Speak Klingon

The latest edition to the Star Trek "non-fiction" line-up for 2013 will be latest in a long line of Klingon language guides, with Chronicles books (who previously brought us the Star Trek book/audio-game Obsessed with Star Trek) following on from the likes of the Klingon Dictionary, Klingon for the Galactic Traveler, and Learn Klingon, with their new, How to Speak Klingon.

Following in the same vein from Chronicle's similar books How to Speak Wookie, and How to Speak Zombie, this twelve page book will feature comical illustrations along side a built in audio device, to help readers learn some Klingon phrases. Here are the cover and blurb:

Master the harsh, guttural language of Klingon with this indispensable audio phrasebook. This amusing and enlightening primer on ill-tempered and proud Klingon culture uses a built-in sound module to teach readers an array of crucial compliments ("You bludgeon divinely."), toasts ("Today is a good day to die"), and insults ("Your mother has a smooth forehead") as well as phrases used commonly in intergalactic travel ("Passport? My fist is my passport!"), theatergoing ("Two for Romulan and Juliet"), and more. Illustrated scenarios set the scene and offer additional useful phrases, making How to Speak Klingon an essential guide for any Star Trek® fan.

The book is written by Ben Grossblatt, who has authored several other light hearted books for Chronicle and others, and who's previous linguistic exploits include creating the Sith language for the Book of the Sith (in the same line of deluxe books that has recently spawned Federation: The First 150 Years).

Illustrations come from Alex Fine, who's artwork can normally be found illustrating articles in a wide range of magazines. You can see some on his website and blog. There's also an example of his work from How to Speak Klingon, from the Chronicle Books catalogue, coupled with some examples of Klingon phrases:

How to Speak Klingon is due out in April, just in time for you to brush up on your Klingon before they return to the screen in Star Trek Into Darkness!

First Into Darkness promo pictures

The latest issue of Empire magazine, out tomorrow, features a behind the scenes preview of Star Trek Into Darkness. To celebrate their scoop they feature the first promo photos from the film on their covers. Here is Harrison, in (Klingon?) shackles, and Kirk, posed like a western gun slinger, on the subscriber versions of the covers (which have a little less headline clutter than the standard versions):

The magazine features more stills and behind the scenes images, plus interviews with the film makers.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Cover and details for the Star Trek video game

Namco Bandi have released cover art for the forthcoming Star Trek video game. They have also announced a release dates, with North America getting it from the 23rd of April, while Europe and Australia have to wait a few more days, until the 26th. Here are the curiously monochromatic covers:

Also revealed are pre-order bonuses. Participating retailers will offer the "Elite Officer Pack", a collection of five different uniform and equipment variants for Kirk and Spock, including:
  • Stealth Pack – Kirk and Spock stealth uniforms, plus Starfleet Type IV Stealth Sniper Rifle and extra ammo
  • Brawler Pack – Kirk leather jacket costume and Spock Vulcan Science Academy costume
  • Kelvin Pack – Kirk and Spock  U.S.S. Kelvin uniforms, plus  U.S.S. Kelvin Hand Phaser
  • Academy Pack – Kirk Academy Uniform, Spock Officer Dress Uniform, plus Academy Phaser
  • Kobayashi Maru Pack – Kirk and Spock  Kobayashi Maru uniforms

I think it's safe to say I will end up playing post of them game Kelvin style...

Namco Bandi have also issued a new blurb for the game, giving an overview of the story and game features:

The award-winning Star Trek game casts players for the first time ever as Kirk and Spock in a totally original co-op experience worthy of gamers and fans. Set in the new canon of director and producer J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009) reboot, players will be immersed in the game’s rich story and action-packed combat.

Under development by acclaimed Ontario-based developers Digital Extremes (Bioshock 2, Dark Sector, The Darkness 2), Star Trek features an original story by BAFTA award winner and God of War writer, Marianne Krawczyk, in collaboration with the writer/producers of the new Star Trek films, Bob Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof.



MEET THE CREW - The 2009 Star Trek film cast will be contributing their voices for the game, including Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock.

ORIGINAL STANDALONE STORY - Set after the events of the Star Trek (2009) reboot, continue the sweeping journey through the new universe with a completely original story.

EXPLORE - Uncover new areas on the Enterprise and other ships, explore never-before-seen sectors throughout the galaxy including exotic planets, treacherous jungles, remote space stations and other locales.


ULTIMATE CO-OP – Built from the ground up as a co-op experience, Star Trek packs two vastly different gameplay styles and unique character abilities into one game. The result: the most fully realized and varied co-op experience of this console generation.

KIRK AND SPOCK REBORN – Play for the first time as two of the most well-known characters in science fiction, as only this new Star Trek game could allow. With the fate of the galaxy on the line, players must rely on each other to create a kick-ass team.


THE GORN RETURN - Determined to conquer the galaxy, the Gorn returns as re-imagined versions of the classic Trek villains, infecting their foes with venom that can poison, cause hallucinations, and even kill. Ranging in size and abilities, the Gorn seed mayhem and destruction as they destroy populations and deplete planets of their resources.

SCOPE AND VARIETY –Authentic set pieces and ever-changing gameplay underscore the adventure in Star Trek. Hijack enemy battleships, jump precariously through zero G onto moving spaceships and Swim through subterranean waterways.

23rd CENTURY WEAPONS – Star Trek employs a wide variety of weapons and gear, putting you in complete control of a huge load out of 23rd Century tech, including unique signature weapons for Kirk and Spock. Combined with your character’s special skills, every encounter, every no-win situation will turn out differently based on who, what and how you play.

They have also released a new screencap, here's the Enterprise swooping towards a planet:


Friday, 21 December 2012

Countdown to Darkness covers

Amazon have updated their listing for the Countdown to Darkness omnibus, with a cover featuring the artwork from the first issue:

I imagine that this will not be the final cover, as the covers for the series so far all show a quarter of a Starfleet insignia, so I imagine the actual final cover will present all four covers, giving us the full insignia image (much like the covers for Countdown, Nero, and the movie adaptation did). Something like my mock-up here, which optimistic guesses the fourth cover will feature John Harrison (and thus that the series will shed some light on who he is):

Unless IDW and Bad Robot are very mean, we only have a month until the next solicitations reveals who is actually on the final cover.

Meanwhile, David Messina has released the artwork for the recently revealed third issue, featuring Spock. Here is the cover without titles:

You can also see it pre-colouring, on David Messina's blog.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thoughts on the IMAX preview, plus new Into Darkness blurb

Living just about within reasonable range of an IMAX cinema I went to see The Hobbit yesterday, mainly so I could enjoy the nine-minute preview from Star Trek Into Darkness. And enjoy it I most certainly did!

It kicks of with a short sequence in London, where a family wake up and travel out to a country hospital to see their sick daughter. There John Harrison suggests to the father that he can save the ailing child.

There's lots to see and get excited about just in these brief few scenes. I shall start with London, which has been very coolly brought into the future, with familiar present day landmarks sitting aside masses of towering skyscrapers. Very similar (maybe the same matte "painting") as the poster's view of London:

Future London, from the poster.
Then out in the countryside the lush green hills and fields of England are supplemented with new mega-structures, much like those previously seen in the distance in Iowa. I like this subtle futurisng, making a familiar scene just a little unfamiliar. Star Trek: The Art of the Film suggest the Iowa structures are some sort of "mega-farm factories", although personally I imagine them as self contained verticle cities in the countryside.

Distant mega-structures first seen in future Iowa, also tower over the countryside of future England.
Much like the first film, the 23rd century of the new timeline feels familiar, if it weren't for the stardate flashing up at the start you'd think you were watching a contemporary drama opening, at least until the reveal of future London.

Aside from enjoying the designs this sequence also raises a lot of questions: Who are this family, and what is wrong with their daughter; something the miraculous medical technology of the 23rd century cannot fix. And of course, what is John Harrison offering to cure her? With one's mind full of the ideas of something at the very least Khan derived, one ponders the possibility of illegal genetic modification. We'll soon see I'm sure.

The father from the opening sequence not looking to happy, or satisfied with Starfleet, in another shot from the trailer.
Moving on, the bulk of the preview shows us the Enterprise crew meddling in the affairs of a pre-warp civilization on a planet threatened by a volcano. While Kirk and Bones draw the locals away from danger, Spock is busy trying to turn the volcano off!

The whole sequence is delightfully reminiscent of classic Trek, with the Enterprise bunch getting involved with primitive peoples. Of course it looks far more impressive than any such TOS encounter. The aliens themselves are not extravagant in their alienness - They are basically humans painted white, but they still look very impressive; as if they've just come out of the interstellar version of the National Geographic. Likewise their planet looks great, with lush red forests, presented to us with a sense of scale and realness those classic alien planets couldn't hope to achieve.

Kirk and McCoy on the red planet, Nibiru.
This section was really fun, both on the planet and the Enterprise there was an enjoyable smattering of jokes which further helped make this feel like a proper TOS adventure.

This section was also a good test of the 3D, with the spears the natives were throwing at Kirk and McCoy zipping right out of the screen, and the Enterprise getting a particularly pleasing 3D reveal. I am pretty sceptical about seeing this film in 3D, because it's post-converted; I'm a big 3D fan, and I hate to see it done half-heartedly - I will begrudgingly admit this first sequence was a pretty flawless conversion though; there were only one or two shots in the London sequence where the 3D looked a little less than amazing, and by the time we got to the Enterprise section I was enjoying the whole affair too much to get distracted by any flaws their might have been (it surely helps that this effects heavy section is probably mostly proper native 3D, with it being relatively easy to add the second perspective virtual camera into the CGI bits).

Spock's volcano mission.
Spock trying to deactivate a volcano with a little box seems silly, but enjoyably so, again making me feel like this is pure classic Star Trek. Spock ending up in peril also afforded him the chance to use the "needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" line - An interesting early use in the film which makes me wonder if this is more than a neat reference back, but possibly a notion that will be called upon again later in the film (also, coincidence that this line joins Carol Marcus in things drawn from Wrath of Khan?). Similarly they go out of their way to explain what the prime directive is, another set up for more significant events later maybe?

The other major element of this section is the fact the Enterprise is underwater! This makes a pretty cool reveal, gives Scotty some great lines complaining about it, and gets our crew in new wetsuit uniforms. I really hope there's a good story reason for them deciding to hide the Enterprise in this fashion though, rather than say, in orbit, as they would around any other planet. It looks cool, it's funny, but does it make sense?

We are left with a cliffhanger, Spock is stranded inside the volcano; will Kirk risk revealing the Enterprise to the natives, breaking the prime directive, to save him? Well, obviously yes, because we know Spock is alive later on thanks to the trailers. The same trailers that have shown us the Enterprise rising out of the water! Maybe this section is what leads to Pike dressing down Kirk for his lack of humility (also in the trailer)?

Not seen in the preview, the Enterprise rising from her hiding place under the sea.
My overall impression of the preview was overwhelmingly positive, it was a very exciting, rich, and funny experience, and set up several dangling threads that make you just wish it was May already! I was also pleased to here, waiting for a tram after the screening (and two and half hours of The Hobbit later), people talking enthusiastically about Star Trek, saying how awesome it looked and that they'd be pre-booking tickets. Who knows if these were enthusiastic Trekkies already, but lets hope maybe not, so this preview has helped welcome more followers into the church of Trek. Amen.

In other Into Darkness news, TrekMovie report that Paramount have released a new blurb for the film. The middle section has been changed from the first blurb, giving us some new ideas of story:
In Summer 2013, director J.J. Abrams will deliver an explosive action thriller that takes Star Trek Into Darkness.

In the wake of a shocking act of terror from within their own organization, the crew of The Enterprise is called back home to Earth. In defiance of regulations and with a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads his crew on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Covers for the new ebook novel omnibuses

Simon and Schuster have updated their listings for their forthcoming ebook omnibuses of Star Trek novels. Not surprisingly, but maybe a little disappointingly, they have reused cover art from one of novels contained in each collection:

The Original Series: The Continuing Missions, Volume I
Contains The Rings of Time, by Greg Cox, That Which Divides, by Dayton Ward, and  Forgotten History, by Christopher L Bennett's. Reusing the latter book's cover:

Typhon Pact: The Khitomer Accords Saga
The three most recent Typhon Pact branded books: David R George III's Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn, and Una McCormack's Brinkmanship. This time the first book in the collection contributes the cover art:

Destiny: The Complete Saga
All three books of David Mack's Destiny trilogy, which like the recent trade paperback omnibus of the trilogy uses the Mere Mortals cover art.

UPDATE: David Mack has been able to confirm this ebook omnibus will include the slightly revised version of his trilogy from the trade paperback omnibus (rather than the untweaked original versions)

All three will be available to download onto your ebook reader of choice in Janaury.

Second Star Trek Into Darkness trailer

Paramount has released the second trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness. Have a watch:

This time Admiral Pike gives us a voice over (with a short bit from John Harrison later). While not as chilling and mesmerising as Cumberbatch's voice, it does perhaps give us an idea of the ground that will be explored with Kirk:
There is greatness in you. But there is not an ounce of humility. You think you can’t make mistakes. But there is going to come a moment when you realize you are wrong about that. And you are going to get yourself, and everyone under your command killed.
Screencaps, shall we begin? There's a fair amount of stuff from the first trailer in this new one, but also lots of new things (and indeed lots of clips haven't reappeared). Most exciting for me, is new ships! There's this small one, which Kirk seems to be shooting at earlier in the trailer (note the Motion Picture style Starfleet insignia on his uniform, neat):


There's also this fighter sort of thing, that doesn't look very Starfleet, chasing a saucer or ring shaped ship that looks more Federation, through, somewhere:

And of course the Enterprise is back, though she doesn't look to healthy; look at her poor deflector dish!:

Beyond ships, the most intriguing shot in the trailer has to be this room full of pods. Cryogenic pods maybe? That would certainly play into any sort of tie with Khan and his followers in suspended animation, or even a new take on Eugenics Wars leftovers, like the story arc in Enterprise. Or it could be totally different, we know there's some sort of medical plot introduced early in the film from the IMAX preview. Or it might not be cryogenics at all of course. Also, maybe my mind is playing tricks, but is there a slight sepia tint to this shot? Maybe indicating a flashback?

Another interesting new scene shows us Spock jumping from the top of a building. Maybe part of the urban chase sequence seen in the first trailer:


Also in a city, we have what looks like John Harrison watching an explosion below him. Maybe up to his terroristy tricks?

We also see a Federation flag being folded, perhaps part of the gathering (memorial?) seen in the first trailer:

Back in space, Kirk is zipping around in a spacesuit, in a shot very much like one seen in the first trailer for the forthcoming Star Trek video game. His suit looks badly damaged in another shot:

Meanwhile inside the Enterprise we see the bridge and corridors empty, and the same sort of slow roaming camera shot later on when we see John Harrison in the brig. Has he been left alone on the abandoned Enterprise?


We are also introduced to a new character, dropping a Starfleet Academy ring into a glass of water:

And just so we know all our favourites are back, there are various shots of the regular crew, looking concerned, running, falling into massive spaces and, well, mostly looking concerned; I guess because Kirk is due to get them all killed if Pike is accurate...:

In other Into Darkness news, Cinema Blend has an article looking behind the scenes at the design, special effects and music of the film; here's prop master Andy Siegel talking about tweaks to the designs of some of the props in the film:
They already reinvented a lot of the stuff for the first movie, so you don’t want to go too far afield of that because they did a great job. The reinvention of the phaser was really terrific – we just tried to do what I would do if I had a second chance at anything. ‘Oh, what kind of refinements can you make?’ You get a new iPhone every year, you get a new tape recorder every year, so we kind of did that... With communicators I put the mesh back on because that’s sort of a nod to the old communicator.
The article also reveals the Starfleet delta badges have been tweaked a little, and now incorporate rank insignia somehow. It also discusses the design of the new Klingons, 23rd century London, and the films soundtrack. Have a read.