Have Towel, Will Travel: Star Trek Mission NY

STARDATE 2016.8.26.09
In just one week New York City will be the epicenter of Star Trek fandom with the major 50th Anniversary celebration event: Star Trek Mission New York.  It has been sometime since I have written here, due to varied health issues and publishing obligations over the summer, and wish to offer some info on the event my wife and I are attending.
As you may recall on the 4th of July I re-published my article, from the last incarnation of this website, For the Love of Star Trek, which unfortunately was my last article for GH. However, just around the same time I wrote For the Love of Star Trek my wife and I attended a screening of For the Love of Spock, from which my article title was inspired, a documentary by Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam. I shall be writing of that film very soon. In addition my colleagues Zaxley and Jared here at GH, interviewed Star Trek Author Keith DeCandido, which can be found here:

So there has not been an entire lack in Trek material here at GH from me, but I am very excited to attend my first Star Trek convention in many years. On September 2nd, through the 4th, at the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, Star Trek Mission New York star-trek-mission-new-york-logo-hiis the ultimate destination for Star Trek fans, filled with interactive exhibits, exclusive merchandise, celebrity guests, panels, screenings and will be an immersive experience featuring props and replicas from the TV shows and films, exclusive screenings, celebrity guests, panels featuring creators and film stars and much more.
My wife and I purchased our 3 Day Pass earlier this year and have been very excited about three days of Star Trek right here in our hometown.
ASB_LLAPWith an event as large as this every attendee has their own focus as to how they wish to enjoy the Con. My wife and I want to meet the television and film celebrities, but also are aiming to attend the literary oriented panels, such as the One on One with David Gerrald (writer of the TOS episode The Trouble with Tribbles), and the History and Future of Trek Novels with David Mack, Michael Jan Friedman and more.  The literary panels are not limited to just the two but are simply examples. There are of course the DS9, TNG and Enterprise cast reunion programs that are a must see, and anything with cast from TOS.
Click here to visit the full program list
As a collector of autographed photos I would love to get as many as possible, but with a limited budget I am only seeking ultimately one, and that is from William Shatner. If I can financially swing a few more then I would love to get a one from each Trek series. Unfortunately the last two events I attended and was in the same room as William Shatner he was whisked away and was not able to “meet” him.
Star-Trek-BridgeOutside of programs,panels and meeting Trek alum, I want to visit the TOS Enterprise Bridge created by Star Trek New Voyages/Phase 2 Creator James Cawley.  This replica of the bridge set is a labor of love for Cawley and has been painstakingly created from exact notes, documents, blueprints and other media related to the construction of the actual set used in the show. This recreation has been a part of the New Voyages filming in Ticonderoga NY and more recently open to tours as part of the Trekonderoga events.
A few friends here at GH may recall in recent years my wife and I were accepted to write for the Trek fan series, Star Trek Anthology, which was supposed to film originally in Ticonderoga, then switched to another TOS era studio, Starbase Studios in Oklahoma. However with the recent CBS fan film guidelines Anthology, and a number of other fan productions switched from being a Trek based show to a unique and whole new creation.  Unfortunately due to other writing commitments and health issues my wife and I left the Anthology team to focus on our projects.
With that said, I have always wanted to visit the sets built by Cawley and now is my chance. Click here to read more from the Star Trek Mission NY Site
On one of the 3 events days I shall be wearing my official Galactic Hitchhiker gear obtained from Zaxley Nash’s redbubble store and taking notes for an entry in the Guide. I posted in our facebook group a few times about meeting up with other GH members but did not see many comments, so either we do not have many NY GH members, or the event conflicts with your schedule or another reason entirely.  If you wish to meet up then comment upon this article, or find me in the group, message me, email etc. I shall post updates of pictures and notes via the group each day of the event.
Live Long and Prosper

Underrated SF/F: The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem

Hello all, and welcome to what’s hopefully going to be a new series for y’all: Underrated SF/F Novels. It’s a bit of an interest of mine, seeing what was written that maybe doesn’t get the same attention as the Fahrenheit 451s and Hunger Games and Left Hand of DarknessesLeft Hands of Darkness? I’m not entirely sure how you would pluralize that.

But anyway, I’d like to take a closer look at the books that never quite made it into the eye of the general public. Whether they’re just a little bit too old to still be in the public eye, they’re new but haven’t made it, or were just a little bit too bizarre to make big public waves no matter when they came out, I want to share them… or at least the ones I know. We are talking about underrated books, and with so many out there, I probably haven’t even read one percent.

And, just in case anyone is being extra wary, there be spoilers in this and pretty much any of these posts. I’ll try to mark them off so you can skip through them, but I’m only human and might miss something. You’ve been forewarned.

So, today I want to take a swing through one of my favorite books. Now, a lot of people know Stanislaw Lem from his novel Solaris. It’s far and away his most popular work, and there was even a movie made of it. But I’m not here to talk about that.

cyberiad cover 75

I’m here to talk about The Cyberiad.

If you know the book, you’re probably very excited to find someone else who’s actually read it. I always am. If you don’t know it… well, here’s the basic rundown: The Cyberiad is a collection of short stories written by Stanislaw Lem about the “illustrious constructors” Trurl and Klapaucius. It’s a universe where the majority of intelligent life is robotic or mechanical in nature, the squishy “Paleface” having died off long ago. It’s a universe where gleaming robo-knights ride mechanical steeds to save princesses made of steel and wire and resistors.

And it’s a world with a new profession: the constructors. Essentially, with enough time and resources, they’re very nearly god-like. But through these tales of electronic men and women, we’re offered the chance explore ourselves as humans. Aging, dying, dementia, injury. We get to look at the entirety of the human condition through these stories.

A bit of brief history: the collection was originally published in Lem’s native language (Polish) as Cyberiada in 1965. In 1974, the first English translation (The Cyberiad – Fables for the Cybernetic Age) was published. And major kudos have to go to Michael Kandel, the translator. I don’t know how he managed to do what he did. Lem wrote in rhyming verse (In Polish), and relied on puns and humor and pseudo-technical jargon, and Kandel managed to translate all of that without losing the unique spirit that made The Cyberiad its own special entity, separate from almost all of Lem’s other works (Although a bit of that whimsy can be found in Imaginary Magnitude, as well.).

Spoilers Start Here

So, without going through each and every story individually (There are a lot of them.), I’m just going to give a bit of a personal highlight reel. There’s not a bad story in the book, but some of them are always going to stand out more for a particular reader than others.

The first story I think of when The Cyberiad comes to mind is The Third Sally, or The Dragons of Probability. For me, this is quintessentially what the book is about. Why yes, of course dragons exist. Well no, of course you can’t see them. They’re highly improbable. The only reliable way to encounter one is to artificially raise the probability of one existing to a near certainty. It’s full of a lot of mumbo-jumbo about dracometers and such, and includes a wonderful sequence where Klapaucius is raising the probability in the area so high that rocks are floating and passing moths are beating out entire books in Morse code with their wings. It’s inanity on the page.

After that? The Second Sally, or The Offer of King Krool. This one is about the epitome of the fake technical jargon Lem has throughout the book, with an entire chase scene between the beast they intend to create and the titular King Krool… but all done through mathematical equations in order to program the creature. King Krool is a great hunter, and if the beast doesn’t meet his needs, well… that would be the last of our illustrious constructors.

I think the human angle is shown most in The Seventh Sally, or How Trurl’s Perception Led to No Good. And it brings up a very fundamental question, one that’s explored often by various science fiction greats: when does consciousness begin? If you craft something, and the programming is so advanced that they feel pain and anguish and joy and sorrow and every other human emotion, who’s to say that they aren’t themselves conscious, sentient beings? And this story best shows off the differences between two otherwise fairly similar characters. Trurl is egotistical and rash, whereas Klapaucius is calmer and thinks less of himself. True, they’re both incredibly intelligent, and think highly of their own intelligence, but it’s subtle differences that keep these two friends/colleagues/rivals from coming too close to each other.

Spoilers End Here

Mix those stories with others, such as Altruizine, A Good Shellacking, Prince Ferrix and the Princess Crystal, and Trurl’s Electronic Bard, and you have a collection that seems like it should have gone places, at least to me. Perhaps it was a bit too strange for its own good. Perhaps the humor wasn’t all-encompassing enough. Perhaps the moon and stars were out of alignment or the editors sacrificed one too few goats to the Gods of Publishing. Whatever the reason, this book has always languished in the dreaded midlist, even at the height of its popularity. It retains a loyal following, but never enough to skyrocket him to the fame of other SF/F short story writers like Bradury or Pohl.

If you’re looking for something a little bit odd, a little bit funny (Or at times, a lot.), and entirely unique to itself, I can’t recommend The Cyberiad enough. It’s, for me, the book I turn to when I’m feeling a little down and out. It makes me smile, it’s never too heavy or too childish. Like a cybernetic Goldilocks, The Cyberiad is just right.

Now, I don’t know when I’ll see you all again. I’m hoping to do relatively regular posting on here, but how often that is will all depend on how this fits into my own schedule. I have books that need writing, books that need reading, dogs that need tending, and websites that need maintaining. But I promise not to leave for too long.


The world around you is not what it seems…

There is a war for our very minds, and it isn’t coming….it’s already here. Around the globe wear_resistance_portal_bgthere are anomalies, portals that exude a substance called Exotic Matter, or XM, into our world. Exotic Matter is both matter and energy at the same time, and seems to manifest around places where human endeavors have been wrought. Statues and monuments, places of importance or man-man aesthetic beauty open these portals. Investigating scientists and researchers at Niantic Labs developed software to tap into the portals.

There were some who saw this software as a means to control, and weaponized the technology. Persuaded by inter-dimensional aliens called Shapers, they saw XM as the next step in human evolution. The Enlightened, as they call themselves, seek to help the Shapers enter our world, it has already happened at least once. They would fill the Earth and enslave our minds, covering the planet in control fields built by linking portals that they have conquered. Linking3

This planet’s last hope for freedom lies in the Resistance. We are everywhere the Shapers send their denizens against humanity. We fight to liberate the portals they control, armed with our scanners….cell phones transformed by Niantic’s software, we battle these so called Enlightened and the Shaper masters for the sake of all those who call Earth their home.

tumblr_mt55nv8WSr1qknyxlo1_400While I am not originally from this world, I live here now. (At least until I can get a ride someplace cooler.) People of Earth let me tell you this: Inter or cross dimensional types are typically assholes. I mean come on, you have a whole dimension of your own, why bother us? Like a stray Targ, feed them and they will keep coming back; and probably eat your neighbors. Inter-dimensional beings always seem to need something from you, fluid from your pineal gland, 9/16” sockets, or control of your mind….it’s like they never learned manners. A guy from the 10th Dimension borrowed my lawnmower once, they don’t even have grass in the 10th Dimension, and he hasn’t brought it back in 8 years. What is he even doing with it? Come to think of it, I don’t have a lawn either what was I doing with it? Anyways, those sorts are never a good idea to bump elbows with. Do I even need to remind you of that Guide Mark II business?

Blue Towels for the Resistance! We need YOU to join us, and fight against the alien invasion upon us. Even if the machines we built are slowing themselves enslaving us….at least WE built those machines!


Happy Birthday to the Dynamic Duo! – Sylvester and Sophie

As Many of You know, I am very much into Doctor Who. I’ve started with the Modern Era a while ago and since I got hooked I’ve tried to get into the Classic Series as well. Now, I had a taster session from Every Doctor and Companion in Existence, but none of them left such a great Impression on me as Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred’s duo.tumblr_nakkv37jCQ1tcb8jqo8_400

Ace was an unexpected character to turn up in the show. Before She accidentally become a companion, Sophie was into Musical Theatre and Shows aimed towards Children. I say accidentally as She did not apply. Her agent did. She went onto the Audition and later for a Recall but She did not expect to receive the role. She did. It was quickly offered up to her as a permanent one as the Actress playing Mel announced her wish to depart from the Series soon after She got the part of Ace.

Theatre was a common thing between her and McCoy as He used to be a part of a Roadshow before He became the Doctor. He was famous for his comical stunts and his portrayals of Buster Keaton and Stan Laurel. He also played a character Sylveste McCoy. Eventually, He became known as Sylvester McCoy, after adapting the name as a Stage Name.

Let’s have a look at the time this two became official companions:

Ace was known for calling the Doctor “Professor” many times during the show’s running. It’s unclear how that came into being, but it has stuck with their characters and gave a unique vibe to their relationship.


The best thing that I like about
Ace is that She wasn’t just there to be eye-candy. She was special. She was cool, tough and strong-willed. Finally, We got a Strong Female Character, not just a Damsel in Distress. She could save the day on her own, She didn’t need others to do the job for her. And that was great.

The Doctor: I don’t suppose you’ve completely ignored my instructions and secretly prepared any Nitro-9, have you?
Ace: What if I had?
The Doctor: And naturally, you wouldn’t do anything so insanely dangerous as to carry it around with you, would you?
Ace: Of course not. I’m a good girl and do what I’m told.
The Doctor: Excellent. Blow up that vehicle.”

Beside their on-screen Chemistry, They also seem to be getting on well off-screen too. They still hang out with each other at Cons and never seem to have anything bad to say about the other. Now, Any other fan knows that sometimes actors don’t get on well with each other off-screen and that could leak into their acting too.

Not for this two! Just today, Sylvester McCoy’s Facebook page made a mention of both of their birthdays, as they were born on the same day! What a coincidence, Eh?  Personally, I adore the fact that He loves her so much to post a picture of the two of them together:


They are truly real life Friendship goals. To commemorate their Birthdays, I would like to share a few pictures with you about Sophie and Sylvester goofing around each other. Hope you enjoy them!

And a Bonus Material :

With this, I wish a Happy Birthday to My Favourite Actor to ever portray the Doctor and the Most Badass Companion Ever! HAPPY SHARED BIRTHDAY, GUYS! May You have many more!

And thank you dearly for all your devoted work to Doctor Who, On and Off Screen. 

We Love You. 

Thoughts on Arrival and Déjà Vu

Demetria Blacksmith

So, some of you have probably seen the New Trailer for an upcoming movie called Arrival. If not, here’s a peek:

So, watched it? Great. I adore Amy Adams in basically anything She starred in. Truly. Like, She is my favourite ever Redhead. Closely followed by a few  more very important ladies, many of them who have been in Science Fiction movies before.

Now, Arrival looks great to me. Intriguing. Alien Space Craft, One Special Person who Understands things others might not. Many emotions passed through me as I was watching the trailer, but the main emotion that I couldn’t shake off was Deja Vu.

Why, You ask? Well, let’s dig into it:

8FKaMUSH3xlnqwgoBpQSqJfasK0At first, I started getting “Contact” vibes from Amy Adams. It might have been just the beautiful pair of big blue eyes, but then again, many others things seem to be resonating with Carl Sagan’s story. Female, possibly…

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All Hail the King, Elvis Presley


As some of you may know, there are many connections between Elvis Presley and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I thought I share these bits with you accompanied with some nostalgia on the anniversary of the King’s Death.

The First fact that most of you are probably familiar with is the fact that Elvis Presley appears in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy stories briefly.

In “Mostly Harmless”, He is the singer in the bar named “Domain of the King”. He is not  named intentionally, but the name of the bar and the large “EP” sign on his pink spaceship is a dead giveaway, given that the Real Elvis Presley owned a pink cadillac during his life.

There is also a small wink at the Elvis Presley fans regarding the shoes Ford is wearing at the beginning of this novel.Yeah, you guessed it right. Blue Suede Shoes.


elvis-aliens-heroNow, it has been long speculated that Elvis Presley didn’t really die, in fact He was just abducted by Aliens. Now, according to story, the Truth is: He really just decided to take the opportunity and hitch that ride from home.

Unfortunately, in our reality, He did leave too soon. He died at the age of 42, at home. Coincidence? I think not. Maybe He has something to do with the Meaning of Life. Maybe ELVIS PRESLEY IS THE MEANING OF LIFE. One can only speculate.

It’s hard2560 to tell what is fiction and what is reality, but if I could pick one, I’d hope Elvis left this planet on his own terms and now He is probably working on a Mega Galactic Hyper Super Tour with the Ziggy Stardust himself. After all, These Two Hoopy Froods were born on the same day, 12 years apart! Fingers crossed!


And now,music from Elvis Presley to you, Hitchhikers!