Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Parallax”

Written by Jim Trombetta and Brannon Braga
Directed by Kim Friedman
Season 1, Episode 2
Production episode 103
Original air date: January 23, 1995
Stardate: 48439.7

Captain’s log. Deputy Chief Engineer Joe Carey is in sickbay with a broken nose, having been punched in same by Torres. Carey is livid. Tuvok wishes to confine Torres to the brig, while Chakotay just has her confined to quarters for now. He wants to make Torres chief engineer, a notion that Tuvok is dubious about, but Chakotay orders Tuvok to let him handle it. Tuvok agrees, but will make a note in his security log.

[Sometimes you just have to punch your way through…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Pedal Into the World of C.L. Polk’s Witchmark and Stormsong

C. L. Polk’s fantasy series The Kingston Cycle—including Witchmark and the forthcoming Stormsong—is set in an original world that loosely resembles our own around the turn of the 20th century. Kingston, the capital city in which the story unfurls, is an old town on the brink of transformation by recent inventions, bright lights and modern applications electrified by the new national Aether network. Below, Polk describes the fictional history of this booming era’s favorite method of commuting: the bicycle.

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All the New Fantasy Books Arriving in February!

Your sword has been sharpened, your armor mended and polished. You do not know what the outcome of this fight will be. You only know that you’re prepared, and you’re strong. This month’s fantasy titles feature masters of swords, deadly assassins, and savvy queens: follow the Diviner’s new adventure in King of Crows by Libba Bray; change your fate in the epic The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood; and head out on your bicycle with the continuation of Witchmark, C.L. Polk’s Stormsong.

Head below for the full list of fantasy titles heading your way in February!

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Do Balrogs Have Wings? Artist Justin Gerard on Tolkien and Golden Age Illustration

Do Balrogs have wings? Does Carcharoth, the personal watchdog of the Dark Lord, have a big leonine mane? Are Gandalf’s eyebrows really longer than the brim of his hat? (That’s crazy!) Sometimes the answer is yes, but usually the answer is…only if an illustrator wants it so.

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How to Brew Beer in the Confines of a Generation Ship

Beer is the oldest human-made alcoholic beverage that we know about. People living in the Yellow River Valley (now in China) were brewing some sort of fermented grain alcohol around 9,000 B.C.E., and the first barley beer was probably made in the Zagros Mountains of Iran around 3,400 B.C.E. We’ve been drinking it, in all its ethanol-and-carbonation-filled glory, for pretty much as long as we’ve been people. Some of our earliest writing is even about beer: the Hymn to Ninkasi, the Mesopotamian goddess of beer, was not only a praise song but also a way of remembering the standard beer recipe. It stands to reason that, if humans manage to get off of earth and head for the vast reaches of the galaxy, we’d want to have some beer to drink along the way.

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Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized Has Been Shortlisted for the Canada Reads Prize!

Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, is excited to announce that Radicalized, by bestselling and critically acclaimed author Cory Doctorow, has been shortlisted for the Canada Reads prize.

Often referred to as “literary Survivor,” Canada Reads nominates five books each year to be represented by one of five celebrity champions. Each day, panelists vote to eliminate one book. The single remaining title is chosen as the one the whole country should read that year. Canada Reads is broadcast on CBC Radio, CBC-TV, and CBC Books.

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And Now for an All-Too-Brief Tribute to Terry Jones

What I found about Terry was difficult is he cared passionately about everything. We all care about some things, but we don’t care so much about others, so we can compromise on them. Terry cared about everything. It didn’t matter how tiny the detail. –John Cleese

When I saw the news about Terry Jones I felt an odd sense of urgency: I should write something, but I was so afraid I’d mess it up that I froze. This doesn’t happen to me often and it’s taken me an entire day to figure out why: Terry Jones is not my personal favorite Python (that’s Palin) but I think he was the most important Python.

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History and SFF: Big Data and The Centenal Cycle by Malka Older

My family’s first computer had a 41 MB hard drive. I saved my carefully crafted teenage observations of life on 1.5 MB floppy discs that never seemed to be filled to capacity. Two years later, I moved away to go to college. I brought with me a laptop computer with a 240 MB hard drive. I was a very proud owner of this technological marvel, even though I had no idea what to do with all that storage space. Since 2005, we have been living in the age of Web 2.0 and Big Data. Now, I download 240 MB of data every time I update the apps on my smartphone.

The exact origins of the term “Big Data” might be in dispute, but its meaning is clear. Big Data gets its name from the enormous amounts of digital information generated, collected, and stored every second.

[What might a future dominated by Big Data look like?]

Back to the Future — Star Trek: Picard’s “Remembrance”

The opening of Picard’s premiere episode is pure fan service: we’ve got the Enterprise-D flying through space just like it was on The Next Generation, we’ve got Data back in his old uniform, we’ve got Ten-Forward, we’ve got a poker game (a running gag that got its start in the episode “The Measure of a Man,” far from the last callback to that episode we’ll see in this first hour), and we’ve got Bing Crosby singing “Blue Sky,” which Data sang at the Riker-Troi wedding in Star Trek: Nemesis.

It’s all a dream, of course. But the fan service doesn’t end there….

[I don’t want the game to end….]

Five SF Works Involving Epic Space Journeys

Some readers may be familiar with the mission of the Down Under Fan Fund; for those who are not, allow me to quote from the official site:

DUFF, the Down Under Fan Fund, was created by John Foyster in 1970 as a means of increasing the face-to-face communication between science fiction fans in Australia and New Zealand, and North America. It was based on an earlier fan fund called TAFF which did the same for fans in Europe and North America. Other fan funds have spun off from these two, all in the name of promoting a better understanding of worldwide fandom.

As it happens, this year I am one of four candidates for DUFF. More details can be found via previous DUFF winner Paul Weimer’s tweet.

Of course, the tradition of sending people very far away for various laudable reasons is an old one. Unsurprisingly, this is reflected through the lens of science fiction. Various SF protagonists have been sent quite astonishing distances; sometimes they are even permitted to return home. Here are five examples.

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