Monday, August 1, 2022

Nichelle Nichols Passed Away

Nichelle Nichols, who was the original Uhura in Star Trek, passed away. You can read all about her at various sites, but I’ll try to put a unique spin on my comments. The Uhura who was played by Nichelle Nichols was African, not African-American. This could be seen from her easy facility with Swahili and the d├ęcor of her quarters. It could be argued that she might have been an aficionado of African culture, but the original series was obviously trying to impress on us that she was from Africa.

The Uhura in the new movies, played by Zoe Saldana, is obviously African-American. She acts like a typical young woman raised in America. Except for her name, she could have been a Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, etc. character, and there would have been no difference.

The Uhura in the new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, played by Celia Rose Gooding, is definitely African, not African-American. How do I know? Watch the series.

public domain

And just to put my own self-serving spin on things, I had a short story published in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Vol. 5 some years ago. How could this be? Was it time travel?


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Book Review—Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

Enola is the younger sister of Sherlock, and though the book does not give her exact age, she seems to be an older teenager. Being unusually tall, she can carefully choose dresses or frocks and exude enough of an air of confidence that she can pass as an adult. Mostly.

When Sherlock is too moody to listen to a woman who begs for his help, Enola takes her on as a client. The young woman shows her a rather terse letter she received the day before that announced the death of her twin sister. She had been married to an Earl for only two years. Now the young woman only has the letter and an urn of the cremated remains.

The earl has a nice reputation, but Enola has her own suspicions based on the letter. The young woman says that twins share a special bond, so she knows her sister is not dead. And when Sherlock stirs himself from his gloomy mood to examine the ashes, he declares …

Let us just say the game is afoot.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer is the seventh book in the Enola Holmes series. How “real” is Enola? Let’s just say she is as real as her older brother Sherlock and their older brother Mycroft.

Did I like the plot? Well, not so much. Since this is not a negative blog, why am I reviewing it? First, as to the plot, Enola does not use incredible deductive reasoning the way Sherlock does. She mainly relies on social connections and blind luck. But the story zips along, especially the part where she is in an out-of-control gig pulled by a wild mare. More importantly to me, it is rich in Victorian vocabulary. Don’t know what a barouche is? Do not bother to look it up; it will become clear with the context. The same with reticule and so many other words. And there are many, many details on how Enola and other women dress, which female readers tend to be fascinated with.

A serious drawback for me is that Enola views Dr. Watson as “dense.” For shame. That is not how Watson is described in the original Sherlock Holmes stories. Still, this book is a keeper.

P.S. The prologue is written from Sherlock’s viewpoint. I skipped it and understood the story quite well.

Monday, July 4, 2022

4th of July—Bellevue Park

As usual, I went to the Bellevue Downtown Park, on the south side of Bellevue Square (a suburb of Seattle). It was very subdued this year: not many food trucks, not much music playing, no portable climbing wall so young people could show their astonishing skills.

The ducks were still there.

Where are they going?

Very skillful. They perch on the edge of the waterfall.

For context, this is what the waterfall looks like. (The white railing at top is waist high.)

As a nice touch, the trees were festooned with Japanese lanterns.

I didn't stay to see the fireworks or hear the music afterwards, since it's a school night, as the saying goes. 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Star Trek: Voyager—Animated!

What do you mean, you don’t remember the animated version of Star Trek: Voyager? Here is a snippet.

Doesn’t that bring back memories?

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Norwescon IV – Supplemental

Here are my last cosplay pics from Norwescon.













This girl won a ribbon for her costume. She is quite young. I only took the picture because her father was okay with it.


Torrey Stenmark fooled me again! When I took her picture earlier, I didn’t realize it was her as Padme.

Here she is with her winning ribbon.


So that’s it for Norwescon. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Norwescon III – Supplemental

I’ve been delayed in doing this supplemental post because I was sick for a while, but here is the penultimate post, which is mostly cosplay.

Before we get to the costumes, I appreciate how Norwescon had the front rows of each panel session marked off for handicapped/disabled/differently abled people. Here is one of the typical signs for the seats:

If you don’t get it, ask someone who is devoted to comic books.

Okay, here we go. First we have these two friends. The sign reads: “Will debate Star Wars v. Star Trek for alcohol.”

Here are a few more costumes. Just to let you know ahead of time, a number of women protested that they had no makeup on because they had been wearing masks.  



Not to bias anyone, but this fellow was greatly praised for his Witcher costume.




Here is a young woman dressed as Padme. 





I had to choose from a number of poses. I just couldn’t choose between these two. 


My next post should have the last of the cosplay pics I took.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Norwescon II – Supplemental

I attended an interesting panel on how AI is portrayed in fiction. One of the panelists was Eva L. Elasigue, who wrote about AI and has a scientific background in botany.



In a panel on the biology of monsters, I spoke up, saying Star Trek once portrayed a silicon-based lifeform—the Horta—as opposed to carbon-based. I recounted how as a child I snuck out to the living room past my bedtime and saw the Horta incinerate a man. I ran out of the room screaming.

As I recounted this, the speakers simply stared at me without changing expression. I thought I was coming off as weird, but they were just concentrating. They went on to comment on the possibility of silicon-based life.

I had a nice conversation after the panel with Charlotte Lewis Brown, a paleontologist. I knew that either Allosaurus or Tyrannosaurs was considered barrel-chested, while the other was not. She confirmed that Allosaurus had been the one considered barrel-chested (my term, not hers). But more recently with the discovery of Tyrannosaurus collarbones, they are both considered barrel-chested.


Charlotte Lewis Brown has a series of books for children


People enjoy walking around in their costumes. Here is Victoria Schaeffer.


Her dress was rich in detail.

Here is another lovely dress.



Notice the masks can be chosen to match the rest of the material. 

On the theory that if a person stays in one place long enough, the whole world will pass by: I was standing on the second floor of the convention hotel lobby when I heard a woman’s voice floating up from the first floor saying she had once dressed as Captain Marvel. I went down and found Torrey Stenmark in her floor costume. (Some people have one costume for walking around on the floor, and another to show off for judging.)


She definitely did appear as Captain Marvel one year.


To make sure, I asked her if she had once been Power Girl. She had to think a moment before saying yes.


So I’ll see what she comes up with this year. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Norwescon 1 – Supplemental

Norwescon is the largest science fiction and fantasy convention in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on writing. They capped their in-person membership at one thousand this year, less than half their usual. This was much better than last year, when it was all virtual—obviously. And it was much better for me, since I could find parking spaces at the hotel and pay the convention rate instead of the sky-high prices in the parking garages.

As usual, a Dalek was hanging around.

I assume it could exterminate its way into the parking lot.

And Iron Man could always jet in.

Cat Rambo was the Writer Guest of Honor. She has given me helpful advice in the past on writing. She actually remembered me, which was surprising.

They also started the Norwescon Speculative Film Fest, which they hope to make an annual event. They showed short films from around the globe. I stayed long enough to see one from Japan about virtual reality and one from France about something mysterious killing sheep—is it human or something else? 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Star Trek: The Next Generation—Animated!

What do you mean, you don’t remember the animated version of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Here is a snippet.


Doesn’t that bring back memories?


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