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Monday, 31 March 2014

Bye Bye Robot's Next Generation

Last year Bye Bye Robot released six posters by Matt Ferguson, one for each of the TOS movies. Now they are continuing the series with four TNG designs. Each poster is 12x24 inches, and you can pick out your individual favourites, or get a set of all four. I think the Insurrection design is especially stunning:



Bye Bye Robot have also recently released a new TOS print. This art nouveau portrait of the 1701-A is by Alicia Andrew and is available as 13x24 inch print.


Book bits: New covers and blurbs!

New covers and blurbs to enjoy today. Starting with Una McCormack's DS9 novel, The Missing, which is due out in January. Star Trek visual effects master, and regular Pocket Books cover artist, Doug Drexler, has posted his artwork for this one on Facebook, which also features a spacey background from his regular collaborator, Ali Ries UPDATE: Seems that cover got out a little ahead of schedule! Meanwhile Simon and Schuster have released the blurb:
An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—a direct sequel to the New York Times bestselling story arc, The Fall!

Deep Space 9 is once again becoming an important way station in the Alpha Quadrant for many different people with many different agendas. Uniquely crewed by representatives of different species from both the Khitomer Powers and the Typhon Pact, the Federation science and exploration vessel Athene Donald stops at the station as its final port of call before heading into uncharted territories. The whole project is the brainchild of Dr. Katherine Pulaski, who hopes that science will do what diplomacy alone cannot, and help various powers put aside the tensions of recent years, returning to scientific research and the exploration of space. On DS9, base commander Ro Laren has her hands full with the sudden arrival of a ragtag flotilla of small ships crewed by a group calling themselves the People of the Open Sky. Ro is not keen on handling this first-contact duty, but becomes increasingly intrigued by the People, who are made up of several hitherto unknown species. Describing themselves as explorers, they are interested in everything about the station. Ro begins to enjoy her assignment, particularly as she takes counsel from the logs of Jean-Luc Picard. Blackmer, however, is more suspicious about these apparently friendly arrivals and monitors their movements around DS9…

With no less than twenty-eight ships on the front of the book, this is surely a candidate for the most ships on a cover ever? The only book I can think of that even comes close is the Ships of the Line book, with a mere nineteen on the front (although it does have another seventeen on the back).

Simon and Schuster have also released the blurb for Greg Cox's next TOS book, Foul Deeds Will Rise, which should be with us in December.
An all-new Star Trek novel, set in the popular and blockbuster Original Series movie era!

In the year 2288, not long after the events of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: Captain James T. Kirk, in command of the Enterprise-A, is on a peacekeeping mission to an independent star system, where two rival planets, Oyolo and Pavak, are attempting to negotiate a settlement after years of bitter conflict. Oyolo has fought violently against Pavak’s past attempts to exploit and colonize it, with atrocities and bloodshed on both sides. Neither world is aligned with the Federation, which has been aware of the situation in this sector for some time, but stayed out of the conflict until requested to act as a mediator. Beyond the obvious humanitarian motives, Starfleet has a vested interest in promoting peace in this troubled region. Interplanetary wars are in no one’s best interests—especially for Kirk, when assassination committed to disrupt the peace process is involved!

Finally, Doug Drexler also posted his artwork for David R. George III's new The Lost Era novel, One Constant Star. This Enterprise-B story is due out in June. Ali Ries again provided the spacey backdrop. Here's the artwork alongside the previously released finalised cover with all the Lost Era flourishes:


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Book bits: DRG3, Light Fantastic, and Foul Deeds

Books news! Starting with confirmation from David R. George III that he is under-way on his next Star Trek novel (the next one after June's The Lost Era: One Constant Star that is). David didn't reveal any more information beyond the fact he is a writing a book, when he announced the news on Facebook.

In contrast, Jeffrey Lang has been spilling many a bean about his forthcoming post-Cold Equations Data novel, Light Fantastic. Lang has recently started a new blog. In his second ever post he recounted the tale of how Margaret Clark talked him into returning to Trek to write the book, and in the following post he discussed what he has in store for us in that book. A few highlights below, but get the full story on Lang's new blog. Lang describes his concept for the book as "an Ocean’s Eleven-type caper story, with Data in the Danny Ocean role", and highlighted the following in his summary of what to expect:
1.) This is not a shipped-based story. The Enterprise-E puts in a brief experience, but the majority of the zipping around the aether is aboard Noonien Soong’s Archeus, frequently piloted by the incorporeal Shakti (who quickly became one of my favorite characters).

2.) Following on point #1, Data is no longer a Starfleet officer. David Mack was already pointing him in that direction at the end of Cold Equations and I heartily endorse the idea. Data out of a uniform is much more interesting than Data in a uniform (except you can’t find any damned pictures of him! More about that later). I also decided to return Data (at least temporarily) to the world that his father, Noonien Soong, left him when he expired. Data as a casino owner: Just let that idea roll over you for a bit. If you do, you’ll understand why I had trouble following through on the Ocean’s Eleven plot structure.

3.) Lal is a major character. The Offspring was one of my favorite episodes of Next Generation when it was first broadcast and, I’m happy to say, really stands up today. It was a sad, smart tale and Lal was played beautifully by Hallie Todd. Probably the most impressive thing about the episode is that they didn’t go for cheap sentimentality at the conclusion and have Data express grief. He couldn’t express grief — that’s the point — or (as I’ll argue in the book) not in a manner that humans would understand or easily identify.

I was very happy to bring Lal back and work out some of the mechanisms (you’ll pardon the expression) of her persona. She’s a complex character because she’s simultaneously very adult, very childlike, and very adolescent. Probably the closest thing any of us could imagine to living with Lal would be raising a genius-level intellect who also has some moderately serious emotional difficulties. Don’t get me wrong: Lal isn’t a basket case, but she’s fragile and needs to be managed carefully. So, pity poor Data who not only has to learn to handle his own newly-restored emotions, but also the extremely complex emotional landscape of a simultaneously pre- and post-adolescent young woman. That’ll turn your hair white… Or skin golden…

4.) Moriarty is back. Now, honestly, if I’d had my druthers, I wouldn’t have mentioned this in the cover copy, as Pocket’s marketing department did, but I can’t deny it has had the desired effect. Apparently, a lot of TNG fans have wondered whatever happened to the holographic professor and his erstwhile companion, the Countess Regina Bartholomew. Well, now you’ll find out. And, I’m sorry to say, it’s not a happy story. The professor goes a little bit cray-cray (as my son would say), but once you learn some of the details, you’ll understand why and maybe even sympathize. A little. At first.

5.) And, because I couldn’t resist it and because it was sort of one of the hallmarks of Immortal Coil: guest stars, guest stars, guest stars! In IC, I tried to explore some of the history and ramifications of artificial intelligences in the Trek universe; in LF, I spend a little time with the beings lighter than air. No, not fairies (or faeries, if you’re Nancy), but holographic individuals. There’s more than a few out there, and, boy, some of them have reasons to be pissed off. I also find a way to insert a couple cameos for TOS characters because, why not? As previously asserted, you couldn’t swing a dead cat back in the old days without connecting with some form of A.I. who wanted to learn to love.
Also coming later this year is Greg Cox's next novel, Foul Deeds Will Rise, which he talked about recently on Trek FM's Literary Treks podcast. As has previously been established, the book will be set aboard the Enterprise-A, a little while after The Final Frontier, and will be focused on Kirk and Chekov. Cox also noted Doctor McCoy is reasonably prominent in the story. He gave this guess-the-episode summary of what the book is about:
This book, much life The Wrath of Khan, has Kirk dealing with some repercussions of stuff that happened back during the original five year mission. And for purposes of the plot, it was important that there be a passage of time. Twenty years have passed, and he runs into some people he has not run into in twenty years or so. And I needed for the plot, there to be a substantial time. And I also needed a somewhat older, wiser, somewhat more woeful, Kirk, such as we see in the movies. Perhaps more mature Kirk, who is going to have to deal with old issues, some very long buried old issues coming back to haunt him again...
Cox also revealed he is already in discussions for his next book, which will mostly likely be TOS as well. The rest of the interview was mainly talking about his recently published TOS/Voyager crossover, No Time Like the Past. One thing he revealed in that discussion was that the book almost became a lot more complex, with a plot involving more time travellers, and an appearance from the timeship Relativity. Ultimately he felt this was getting a bit too tricky and pulled it back to the still very time twisty adventure it became. The rest of the interview discusses the book in detail, so as ever I'd recommend reading the book first, before jumping into the spoiler-filled DVD-extra feature style discussion.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a cufflink!

Gold Key Comics artwork seems to be inspiring more and more Star Trek stuff lately. You'll find numerous examples looking back through my Gold Key label. The latest things to get a touch of Gold key are the most recent additions to Cufflinks.com's range of Star Trek cufflinks. They have added four new designs: Two featuring single comic panels, with McCoy or Spock uttering their catchphrases, and two featuring either Kirk or Spock in action:


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Starships stuff: Merian class, Stargazer, and the Enterprise

A bit of starship stuff, starting with a sneak peak at a potential Ships of the Line image. Master starship designer Mark Rademaker posted the following image on Facebook, featuring the Full Circle fleet's Merian class ships USS Planck and USS Curie. This was an alternate idea he's been working on for his contribution to the 2015 Ships of the Line calendar, but he couldn't get it done in time. He might work on it for 2016 though!


Mark also posted several images of another configuration of the Merian class, a Constellation class-like quad-nacelle version. Here's one view, you'll find a couple more in Mark's Star Trek gallery on Facebook.


Speaking of the famous four-nacelled ship, The Official Starships Collection website has been updated with a new image of the forthcoming USS Stargazer issue:


Finally, going a bit further back in the timeline, Star Trek effects artist Daren Dochterman posted a new video featuring the refit USS Enterprise, apparently facing an invasion of alternate timeline lens flares! Continue after the jump to watch that:

An honorable drink

Official Star Trek brewer, Federation of Beer, has announced the launch of their second Star Trek beverage, the Klingon Warnog. Here's how they describe the new beer (via IGN):
This singular beer incorporates rye malt into a modern Dunkelweizen grain bill, creating a flavor profile that is both familiar and unique. Warnog's aroma is predominantly mild banana and clove produced by the German wheat yeast, supported by subtle sweet malt character from the use of Munich malt. The flavor draws heavily from the blending of the rye malt and traditional clove character, creating a very rich and unique flavor. The inclusion of wheat and caramel malts help to round out the mouthfeel of this beer, making this Dunkelweizen hearty enough to be called a Klingon Warnog.
The beer will be premiered on March 25th, at the Nightclub and Bar Show in Las Vegas, and will available in the US and Canada later in the year.

Here's the full can design:


Continue after the jump for a look at poster designs promoting the beer, and details of Federation of Beer's first concoction, Vulcan Ale:

Star Trek Online's new Species 8472

Star Trek Online recently announced Species 8472, known as the Undine in the Online universe, will be playing a prominent role in the forthcoming update, Season 9: A New Accord. Ahead of the launch of that new chapter in STO, coming in April, Online has now previewed their updated Undine. While Species 8472 have appeared in the game before, they saw the new story focused on them as a good opportunity to revise the designs, including an improved basic character model, new armour designs, and abilities.

The different ranks of Undine are distinguished by increasing pieces of armour; ranging from nothing at all on the lowly ensigns, up to full body armour, including optical connections from equipment right into the Undine's brain, for the captains. Intermediate ranks have the same armour components as the captains, just not the whole set.


Here's how character artist Joe Jing, Sr. described the final look in Online's development blog:
The final concept carried over many of the attributes seen in the reference. The plates look almost grown, yet high tech. They also look light, but strong. Their gauntlets include control panels very reminiscent of the monitor seen used by an Undine in the show. And, finally, we wanted to promote the idea of the Undine’s psychic abilities, so the design includes optic cables attached directly to their temples as if to enhance and/or tap into utilizing their natural abilities.
And here are some of the alternate concepts that lead to the new look Undine:


The Undine ships have also been spruced up, and now feature weapons and regenerative abilities more closely modelled on those seen on screen. Some of the ships also have new abilities intended to reflect their origins in Fluidic Space:
We also wanted to focus the Undine’s niche as masters of Fluidic Space, which we’ve tried to characterize as being ocean-like. The Cruiser can now Subspace Dive – it can open a rift into subspace, and a few seconds later it will randomly come out of another rift. The Battleship can open a Fluidic Space rift; this rift slowly pulls you in due to its pressure gradient and leaks fluidic space into normal space. The leaked fluid slows you, debuffs your accuracy, and deals damage over time if your ship collides with it. The rift itself eventually destabilizes and explodes.
You can read more about the Species 8472 redesign on Star Trek Online's development blog.

In other STO news, the game has recently launched a Mac client, so Apple users can now play the game too!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Books bits: Section 31, covers, and the shape of Voyager to come?

Books news! David Mack has updated his website with the blurb for his post-The Fall novel, Section 31: Disavowed, which is due out in November:
SECTION 31
NO LAW.
NO CONSCIENCE.
NO MERCY.

Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, and answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost.

Doctor Julian Bashir sacrificed his career for a chance to infiltrate Section 31 and destroy it from within. Now it's asking him to help it stop the Breen from stealing a dangerous new technology from the Mirror Universe — one that could give the Breen control over the galaxy.

It's a mission Bashir can't refuse, but is it really the shot he's been waiting for? Or is it a trap from which even his genetically enhanced intellect can't escape?

A BOLD NEW THRILLER BY
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR
DAVID MACK

The cover above is just a promo image, but a couple of real covers have been recently revealed. Simon and Schuster have released the cover for Michael A Martin's TOS ebook novella, Seasons of Light and Darkness:


There's still no blurb for this one, but previous information from the author has suggested it will be a McCoy story, set amongst events early in The Wrath of Khan. It's due out in April.

Meanwhile IDW editor Chris Ryall has posted what appears to be another cover for the forthcoming comic book adaptation of Harlan Ellison's original screenplay for The City on the Edge of Forever. The post was actually to celebrate William Shatner's birthday, and didn't detail when this artwork will be used, but it looks like one of Juan Ortiz' covers to me:


Finally, German publisher Cross Cult posted a new image too, not a whole cover, but an image of the quantum slipstream enable refit USS Voyager. As Full Circle is set for German release in October, I would speculate this might be something they are readying for use on that cover; as Mark Rademaker's refit design isn't ready for cover duty yet.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

IDW's June Star Trek comics

IDW have released their June solicitations, which include two new Star Trek comics: The second part of the latest nuTrek ongoing story, which this month's solicitations reveal is intriguingly titled Lost Apollo, and the first issue of the comic book adaptation of Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever (which you can find out much more about in my previous article). To celebrate the launch of IDW's new Angry Birds comics, the nuTrek issue is one of several IDW titles in June to feature variant Angry Birds covers.

Star Trek (ongoing) #34: Lost Apollo, part 2
Written by Mike Johnson. Art by Joe Corroney. Cover by Corroney, or Angry Birds subscription variant by Craig Rousseau.
"Lost Apollo" concludes here! Stranded on an alien world and cut off from the Enterprise, Spock and Bones must work together to save Captain Kirk from a fate worse than death... a fate tied to the earliest days of humanity's journey to the stars! Overseen by STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci, this all-new adventure continues the Five Year Mission between the new movies!

Joe Corroney also posted a little sneak peak at his interior art from (presumably) this story, on his Facebook page:


Solicitation for The City on the Edge of Forever continues after the jump:

New Starships Collection previews, plus Australian launch

Good news Australian readers, Eaglemoss' Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection is heading to the Southern Hemisphere. They now have a website ready to take on Australian subscribers, which in other markets has indicated the series will be launching within weeks. Australia will be following the European subscription model, which delivers the subscription extras with each of the first five monthly deliveries. The Australian prices will be $19.99 per issue, after the first two issues at introductory prices of $3.99 and $12.99 respectively.

Meanwhile the series is ever expanding in other parts of the world, Entertainment Earth now have listings for issue twenty-three, the Nebula class, and issue twenty-four, the Xindi Insectoid ship, which are out first in the UK in June and July. They have images of both covers, but have only previewed the Nebula class model:


StarTrek.com also recently previewed the next two issues out in the UK, issue sixteen, the Ferengi Marauder, and issue seventeen, the "USS Dauntless", which are already in the hands of UK subscribers, and will get to the US in May. Continue after the jump for video previews of both models:

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Trek-wear: Picard jacket, combadges, belts, and high fashion

Here's the latest news from the assorted Star Trek clothiers. Starting with Anovos' latest uniform replica, the Captain Picard jacket. Here's what they have to say about this piece:
Designed by Robert Blackman with direct input from Sir Patrick Stewart himself, Captain Picard’s Jacket was intended to make the Captain stand out from the rest of the crew -- just as Captain Kirk’s wraparound tunics had a generation before. We all wanted it the first time we saw it on El-Adrel, and by the time Jean-Luc plays the first notes of “Kamin’s Song” we had to have it.

Having examined a screen-used jacket, we duplicated the patterning and precise color of the original down to a tee.

We then sourced the correct synthetic fiber for the body, microsuede for the shoulders, satin interior lining for comfort, and finished it with a zipper closure so you can recreate the different adventures in which Captain Picard wore this stunning jacket.
As ever Anovos are offering a discount for earl pre-orders, with the first twenty-five customers getting their jackets for $225, rising to eventual full price of $300 for those who nab the final few of the edition of one-hundred.


Of course you'll need a combadge to go with this, and while QMx provide a very shiny replica, maybe you'll be interested in something more interactive? Well, you're in luck, Forbidden Planet have recently added listings for TNG and Voyager combadges on the way from Bif Bang Pow. The new plastic props feature a chirp sound effect when you tap them, and are expected to open hailing frequencies in December.


Continue after the jump for more Star Trek stuff you can wear, with a look at the latest Star Trek belts, and details of a new design competition:

Books bits: SCE, TOS, and Rise of the Federation

The latest books news, starting with some good news for German readers. Cross Cult have decided to start translating the Corps of Engineers series. They've so far scheduled the first four novellas (of seventy-four in the series), with the first ebook coming in April. The German titles are:
They have so far released new covers for the first two UPDATE: four (via Facebook):



Something these wont have, as ebooks, is spines. Which is a shame, as Cross Cult do a really good job with their spine design. My regular German correspondent, Jens Deffner, pointed me towards the following photo, posted on Facebook by Bernd Perplies, one of Cross Cult's translators, showing the glorious uniformity of their Star Trek library. Oh how I wish the English books looked this neat:


Back in the English-reading world, one of my readers, nisus8, pointed me towards comments made by Greg Cox on the TrekBBS, about his forthcoming TOS movie-era novel, Foul Deeds Will Rise. Apparently the book is to be set between The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country, and will focus on Kirk and Chekov.

Finally Simon and Schuster have updated their listing for Christopher L. Bennett's next Enterprise novel, Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel, with an excerpt. You'll find chapter one on their website, while the book itself should be showing up any day now.

They also have an excerpt up for this month's Greg Cox TOS/Voyager novel, No Time Like the Past. Again, chapter one is what you'll find on Simon and Schuster.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Latest Star Trek comic previews

A few teases for you from forthcoming Star Trek comics. IDW editor Chris Ryall posted a couple of panels of J.K. Woodward's painted interior artwork from the first issue of the recently announced comic book adaptation of Harlan Ellison's original screenplay for The City on the Edge of Forever.


In a completely different area of comic book art, John Byrne has posted a couple of samples from his forthcoming New Visions photocomics on his forums. These two samples show both extremes of Byrne's manipulating of stills from the show, with a new special effects shot, and a page which is almost entirely constructed from unaltered screencaps:



Amazon have recently added samples page for both of the throw-back omnibuses coming next month. That includes the start of a new series of reprints of the Gold Key Comics. Most of the Star Trek Gold Key Comics have already been collected in omnibus books thanks to Checker's The Key Collection about a decade ago. IDW have claimed the new Gold Key Archives are "fully remastered", and thanks to Amazon we can get a look at those cleaned up pages, which are a pretty huge improvement on the previous books:



The other book coming in April is The Star Date Collection Volume 2: Under the Command of Christopher Pike, and the look inside feature for this book includes the contents page, revealing which issues, and extra content, are to be included. The book continues from the first in the series, released last year, which includes the start of the Early Voyages series, and other Pike-era stories.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Acts on Contrition blurb

Amazon has updated its listing for Kirsten Beyer's next Voyager novel, Acts on Contrition, the second book in a trilogy, continuing from the recently released Protectors; the blurb is a little spoilery if you haven't read that book yet:
Admiral Kathryn Janeway has now taken command of the Full Circle Fleet. Her first mission: return to the Delta Quadrant and open diplomatic relations with the Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant, a civilization whose power equals that of the Federation. While awaiting the admiral's arrival, Captain Chakotay knows that he has made certain decisions that could derail the potential alliance. While grateful to the Confederacy Interstellar Fleet for rescuing the Federation starships from an alien armada, the Voyager captain cannot forget the horrors upon which the Confederacy was founded. More troubling, it appears that several of Voyager's old adversaries have formed a separate and unlikely pact that is determined to bring down the Confederacy at all costs. Sins of the past haunt the crew members of the Full Circle Fleet as they attempt to chart a course for the future. Will they learn much too late that some sins can never be forgiven ...or forgotten?
Acts of Contrition is due out in October, with the final book in the trilogy, which Beyer recently revealed has a working title of Atonement, expected in 2015.