Google+

Aug 29, 2016

Zeta Gohrlay

A whimsical depiction of some Gohrlay clones (source).
Image credits.
The copyrighted "Mortal Instruments"
photographs provided courtesy of Gretchen Byers.
Three month's ago, I finally realized that I had been interacting with several clones of Gohrlay. These ladies had always been quite careful to only visit with me one at a time, until today.

Alpha Gohrlay told me that she had read my recent blog post about distractions and decided that she agreed with me. Alpha found it impossible to refute the proposition that she was distracting me from my task. She said sadly, "As long as I'm available to you as an almost limitless source of information about the past, you will keep finding excuses to delay your work."

Secret History of Humanity
Gohrlay believes that my assigned task is to tell the Secret History of Humanity, the story of how humans were created and given a chance to spread among the stars. Gohrlay has her own fish to fry, so she has never had much interest in the details of my work. I believe she resents my greedy desire to steal her time and endlessly question her about Deep Time.

In the Ekcolir Reality.
Original cover art by Lloyd Rognan
Ignoring the thrust of her words, I began questioning Alpha Gohrlay about the First Contact event that occurred in the Asimov Reality. She shook her head in dismay and said, "You really are hopeless. I must say farewell and go about my own business. You will never see me again."

Zeta Gohrlay
My mind was fixed on the hope that Alpha was joking, but right then another Gohrlay clone walked into the room. I felt a chill and gave a shudder as I watched the two twins. With a sly grin, Alpha Gohrlay assured me, "Zeta will be good for you."

Alpha Gohrlay
Zeta approached me with confidence and shook my hand. "I'm pleased to finally meet you." Zeta glanced at Alpha Gohrlay and said, "I'll take things from here." Alpha Gohrlay nodded, took a step backwards and disappeared through some sort of teleportation portal.

I was shocked by Alpha Gohrlay's sudden and dramatic departure. I began cursing myself for having driven her out of my life with my endless questions about the past. However, Zeta Gohrlay had no intention of letting me mope.

Zeta wore a shimmering synthetic cloak that generated its own light. Her dark hair floated in a cloud around her head, each strand moving under its own power, their movements synchronized like a flock of birds.

Zeta's outline
Zeta pulled up a chair, sat down beside me and directed my attention to the ultra-thin and flexible display screen that seemed to grow out of her hand. "Here is my proposed structure for the saga. I recommend that the events be told in five sequential volumes..."

I was not really listening to Zeta. At first, I was staring at her and trying to detect any physical features, no matter how small, that might distinguish her from Alpha Gohrlay. Zeta had a slight twang in her speech, as if she has spent many years living someplace exotic. Then my attention was grabbed by her morphing display screen. I reached out and touched it and felt its structure quickly solidify into the shape of a standard tablet computer. I asked, "You have access to nanites?"

the Trysta-Grean Pact
Special thanks to Miranda Hedman
(www.mirish.deviantart.com) for the
DeviantArt stock photograph "Black Cat 9 - stock"
that I used to create the blue "sedronite"
who is in this image.
She shook her head and replied, "No, I'm now trapped on this world with you. Under the terms of the Trysta-Grean Pact, I had to give up all the conveniences of life. Ug! I'm even going to have to start brushing my teeth every day. I really don't know how Earthlings put up with their grungy and dreary lives."

I laughed and asked, "So this is your first time on Earth? Where are you from?"

"I grew up on Tar'tron. I've previously had just a few brief orientation visits to Earth. I even met you once previously, before you had reason to suspect that there are multiple Gohrlay clones."

I could discern no physical differences between Zeta and the other Gohrlay clones. While I watched and examined her, the material of her clothing stopped glowing and became indistinguishable from standard Earthly garments. Her hair settled into an unruly mop of curls and stopped writhing.

Zeta waited patiently while I inspected her. She seemed to be examining me just as carefully. Dozens of questions came to mind, but I was amused by the idea that she felt annoyance and anxiety about the prospect of living on Earth. I had to ask, "So why now? Did Alpha Gohrlay order you to move here to Earth?"

Zeta giggled. "My, my. Egrosū̆ did not exaggerate." Zeta shook her head slowly, "She warned me that it is impossible to keep you on task."

"I've been told that my entire life. If you plan to keep me on task, you better be prepared for frustration and disappointments. Egrosū̆? That is an odd name." When spoken, "Egrosu" ended in a strange warbling sound.

Zeta shrugged and shut off her tablet. "I'm in no hurry. I've waited for decades, often wondering if I would ever be given a chance to work directly with you." She seemed to reflect quietly on her past for a moment, then she continued, "My sisters and I all have real names. Egrosū̆ is a traditional name from an ancient and now dead language of Tar'tron."

"What is your real name?"

"Another word that would mean nothing to you. It is best if you simply call me Zeta."

I complained, "Fine, Zeta, but it bothers me that you have been watching me for decades. I suppose you know me so well that you expect to be able to trick me and bend me to doing your will."

Zeta laughed rather loudly. "Your psychological profile indicates that you despise being told what to do. That's okay, I don't mind continuing to indirectly manipulate your path through life."

Irked, I warned her, "If you've been watching me for years then you should know better than to admit that you've been trying to manipulate my behavior."

The Final Reality Change
Zeta took me by the hand. "Let's walk."

Five minutes later we were outside and in a calm and peaceful place. I was content to walk and listen to the noisy insects in the trees. My own speculations about Zeta and her mission on Earth buzzed in my thoughts.

Finally she spoke again. "Sure, I know you resent being controlled, but what I've done is nothing less that build and shape your life. Knowing the depths of your resentments, I'd hoped never to be forced into direct contact with you, although I had been warned that there was a high probability that I'd be forced to live out the end of my life on this primitive planet. However, I do agree with Egrosū̆." She corrected herself, "I really should call her 'Alpha'. Anyhow, you left us no choice but to move me onto the playing field of Earth. We might have tried to make do with one of my clone sisters, but that would have simply frustrated you. Since you and I have shared interests, we can work together, so this is for the best."

We walked for more than an hour and Zeta told me about her childhood on Tar'tron. She'd grown up enjoying stories and from among all of her clone sisters she had become the obvious choice to guide my development as a science fiction fan.

By the time she had completed the story of her life on Tar'tron, we'd returned home and settled back down at my writing desk. Zeta pointed to the screen of my computer and my recent blog post mentioning the possibility of a Final Collaborator.

With Zeta's eyes fixed on mine, a strong feeling of déjà vu came over me. I wondered, "Did you put the idea of finding a Final Collaborator into my head?"

She nodded, "I've spent decades preparing you for your task and frequently used the Bimanoid Interface to insert thoughts into your mind. During the past few years, I've been moving you along from one collaborator to the next, allowing you to learn about Deep Time. You now have all the knowledge that you need about the past. We will be able to work together and finally tell the Secret History of Humanity in the way that has been planned."

I had to ask, "Planned by you?"

"No." She giggled. "No, I'm only playing my assigned role, just like you. As you know, Trysta and Grean long ago anticipated and planned out the shape of the Final Reality as a universe in which you would tell the History of Humanity as a science fiction story."

Zeta sounded so confident and self-assured that I wondered if she had been shown the future. Was it possible that she knew how our lives would turn out? I asked her, "Why do you need me? Can't you write the Hidden History of Earth yourself?"

The Bimanoid Interface
Zeta seemed shocked by my suggestion. "Of course not! It is you who carries the memories of Parthney and Izhiun as well as Ivory and Thomas. And you still have your access to the Bimanoid Interface. Besides, it was specified by the Trysta-Grean Pact that the Secret History of Humanity must be told by a tryp'At."

"You know, nobody has ever explained to me why the Secret History of Humanity must be told at all."

Zeta shrugged, "Don't expect me to provide any deep insights into our predicament. I think we both understand and accept that telling the Secret History of Humanity will be beneficial for Earth. If nothing else, we can provide descriptions of past Realities in which things did not turn out well for Earthlings. I have to believe that when Trysta and Grean peered into the future they could see that by providing information about past Realities, you would help Humanity towards a better future here in the Final Reality."

I nodded, "Yes, that is what I tell myself, but I am haunted by doubts. There is a danger that I might tell people something that will alter the historical timeline, change Earth's future for the worse and lead to a new sort of catastrophe, maybe even an early extinction of the human species."

Planet of the Gods
Zeta gave a tiny nod of her head, but tried to dismiss my fears. "Well, I must trust that you and I would not be here today unless we could do some good."

"I don't think you share my background and training in science. Still, I suspect that you can appreciate the fact of my training in skepticism and the existence of my ingrained habits of thought that prevent me from trusting my hopes and wishes. I prefer to have my actions guided by evidence and reason."

Zeta gave my hand a reassuring pat. "We are now in possession of all the evidence that has been made available to us. Between us, we have plenty of reasoning power. Now, let's get busy." She turned on her tablet and we began discussing her plan for how to organize the story of how humans were created and then sent to the stars.

Next: Yōd, another Gohrlay clone.
visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers

Aug 28, 2016

Origins of Jack Vance

Jack Vance was born on August 28th, 1916. During 2016 I have been celebrating the first century of the Vance Era.

Anney's tribute to Vance
At the very start of 2016, I was engaged in writing some Jack Vance fan-fiction. I was also scheming to find a way to insert an image of Vance into the banner for this blog. It took me until August to complete the banner update, but now every page of this blog has at the top a (tiny) image of Vance and also the Vance-inspired code words "IPX" and "ZODIAC".

Wible's Resort
Although Vance has been honored as a writer of mystery, fantasy and science fiction stories, he chafed at being indiscriminately lumped in with all other writers of science fiction. His Demon Princes, Alastor Cluster and Cadwal sagas are set in the future where travel between the stars using spaceships has a degree of difficulty similar to that of travel between sea-side ports by ocean liners in the 20th century. Otherwise, the level of technology in these stories is not much advanced beyond what is familiar to us.

Vance crafted tales about people who we readers like to spend time with. For me, there is an endless temptation to imagine additional new adventures for some of the characters who were created by Vance. A good example is Sessily, who was murdered at a young age and taken away from us.

The Asimov Reality
The Oikumene
Vance set many of his stories out among the stars of the Oikumene and the Gaean Reach. Occasionally there is mention of robots and other technological gizmos, but for the most part the people in Vance's imagined future live much as we do today.

in the Asimov Reality
I like to imagine that Vance's tales of life in the Oikumene reflect actual events that took place in the Asimov Reality. In that Reality, Earthlings were supplied with access to faster-than-light space travel technology in order to distribute populations of humans to thousands of distant worlds where various special genetics experiments could be performed.

The Scutinary Vitalists
The far future of the Asimov Reality became a period of truce during which both R. Gohrlay and Grean could work to develop human variants that would have greater capacity to use the Bimanoid Interface. Also, I imagine that the analogues of Jack Vance who lived in the Ekcolir Reality were allowed to write stories about events that actually took place in the Asimov Reality.

The Escapist Clan
Recently, I learned that Jack Vance had an analogue who lived all the way back in the First Reality. That original "version" of Jack Vance was a friend of Gohrlay and so when Gohrlay was inserted into the historical timeline of Earth in the Asimov Reality, her "old friends" such as Vance were already there and "waiting" for her. It was because his First Reality analogue had known Gohrlay that the positronic robots of Earth made sure to provide Vance with high temporal momentum, assuring that he would have an analogue in every Reality.

Blue Forest Camp by Sam Jaqy
When the Writers Block was formed as the means to shape the science fiction genre in the Ekcolir Reality, it was inevitable that a "copy of Vance" would be included among the "staff" of the Writers Block. It was through such meddling and using replicoids to slip memories between successive Realities that accounts of events in the Asimov Reality reached us here in the Final Reality where we are "forced" to view them as science fiction stories. The analogues of Jack Vance who lived in the Ekcolir Reality used many pen names including "Sam Jaqy".

Agent of Zodiac by Joan Brunner.
According to Gohrlay (who was a science fiction fan in the Ekcolir Reality) several different science fiction writers published stories in that Reality about events that took place in the Asimov Reality. One of these was Joan Brunner. Many of the Ekcolir Reality analogues of famous science fiction authors were women in that Reality. Apparently "the" analogue of Jack Vance in the Ekcolir Reality was born as twins, one of whom was female.

Songs of Lake Mar
Here in the Final Reality, one of the "copies of Vance" remained on Earth after the death of Jack Vance in 2013. That "copy of Vance" was a member of the Dead Widowers. For a time, I had hopes that I might continue to have contacts with the Dead Widowers, but apparently the tryp'At Overseers cracked down and either drove the remaining members of the Dead Widowers into hiding or removed them all from Earth.

Just in case there is still a "copy of Vance" on Earth: Happy Birthday, Jack! Related reading: 100 year of Jack Vance

Next: Zeta Gohrlay
Jack Vance (left) and cover art by Nicolas Fructus. Visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers.

Aug 27, 2016

Distraction

In the Ekcolir Reality
original cover art by Joseph Bergeron
and Oscar Chichoni
"Many people will be disturbed and distracted!"

cover art by Gino D'Achille
In Part III of The Face, Jack Vance told us about the origins of the Methlen, the apparent owners of planet Methel, third planet of the Corrane star system. The Methlen originated on the distant planet Stanislas as members in an exclusive club: Aretioi.

We never learn much about the Aretioi, but when they settled on Methel, they left most of the planet as a wilderness reserve.

In the Ekcolir Reality
I like to imagine that Vance once visited some delightful location along the Stanislaus river that inspired him to invent the nature-loving Aretioi of Zangelberg.

The most built-up part of Methel is near to the spaceport of Twanish. Not far out of town, twenty thousand Methlen reside in the wooded upland of Llalarkno where they have built their comfortable homes, each on a large garden-like plot of land.

source
Llalarkno and its residents, particularly the charming Jerdian Chanseth, greatly distract Kirth Gersen from his work. Gersen came to the Coranne star system in an attempt to hunt down and murder the Demon Prince Lens Larque, born Husse Bugold, a Darsh of the Bugold Clan on Dar Sai.

source
Part II of The Face takes place on Dar Sai, second planet of the Corrane system, a miserably hot and sandy world that only attracts human residents because of the presence of rare chemical elements. The residents of Dar Sai have evolved into the Darsh, whose main vocation is mining. The Methlen have grown wealthy by exploiting the Darsh laborers.

While on Dar Sai, Gersen meets Jerdian and they fall in love. Jerdian must watch in horrified fascination while Gersen kills Lens Larque's assistant, Bel Ruk. This hand-to-hand combat scene was depicted by Gino D'Achille for the cover illustration of The Face, shown above.

source
Gersen discovers that Lens Larque is on Methel, so he travels from Dar Sai to Twanish. Gersen tells himself that he should forget about Jerdian and devote his full attention to finding and killing Lens Larque, but he soon crosses paths with her on Methel.

Jerdian is still infatuated with Kirth, but she also knows that it makes no sense for her to try to sustain a romance with Gersen. The Methlen are a breed apart who seldom, if ever, welcome new members into their exclusive society.

source
Gersen discovers the odd connection that exists between Lens Larque and the Chanseth family. Lens Larque, previously denied permission to live in Llalarkno, has been devoting vast effort and substantial amounts of cash to a complex prank that will allow him to take revenge for his thwarted effort in social climbing. By the end of The Face, Gersen comes to share Lens Larque's motivation for the prank. Gersen manages to survive the powerful distraction provided by Jerdian and then, after killing Lens Larque, Gersen completes the last step in the elaborate prank.

Distractions
by Ivory Fersoni
This summer I have been trying to deal successfully with my own distractions. During the past few years I've been tugged in several different directions by my collaborators Ivory, Trysta and Gohrlay. I was probably most distracted by my collaborators within the Dead Widowers when I allowed myself to believe that they would be allowed to share with me actual physical evidence of alien visitors on Earth.

The most annoying influence of my collaborators has been the way they have repeatedly changed my thinking about how best to tell the Exode story. I've finally come to the realization that their manipulation of my attitudes and beliefs is an integral part of that story.

source
There are at least two different versions of the Secret History of Humanity. Those competing versions have been revealed to me by the factions that I think of as the Interventionists and the Overseers. At some deeper level, further removed from my personal experience, these two competing factions can be traced to two political wings of the Huaoshy: the pek and bumpha.

Lately I've been asking myself if there is a good reason for me to favor one or the other of these two factions. Also, I must wonder if there are more than just these two different directions I might go while telling the Exode saga. In particular, is there a uniquely human perspective on human history that is more important than the views of either the pek or the bumpha?

Who Are We?
the planet Tar'tron
Exactly who are we Earthlings and how did we get here? According to Gohrlay, we humans have an interesting evolutionary history. Our species apparently evolved on both Earth and the planet Tar'tron in the Galactic Core.

source
By maintaining a constant high rate of gene flow between Earth and Tar'tron, the Grendels were able to make sure that their little science project at Observer Base was technically within the allowable bounds imposed by the Rules of Intervention.

In the Asimov Reality, two human variants were carefully crafted. One, devised by Interventionist forces, was a "proof of concept" for the type of "new human" that Trysta and Ekcolir could bring into existence by traveling into Earth's past. Gohrlay suspects that it was also in the Asimov Reality that Grean helped to bring into existence the tryp'At, a human variant that would be "loyal" to the Huaoshy.

Final Politics
I put "loyal" in quotes because I suspect that whatever loyalty the tryp'At have shown in support the goals of he Huoashy arises from some sort of unavoidable compulsion that is forced upon the tryp'At via the Bimanoid Interface.

Ever since I learned that I am tryp'At, I have feared that I have no real control over my own participation in the telling of the Secret History of Humanity.

The Final Collaborator
I've struggled to move past my guilt over the death of Ivory Fersoni. In some sense, Ivory sacrificed herself so that I could begin to understand who I am and why I was given the task of telling the Exode saga. I now feel guilt because I was happy to use Ivory and her sisters as a means to an end.

source
When Jack Vance wrote stories, he crafted them around particular "moods" that he strove to convey with his words. In The Face, Gersen was changing from a narrow-minded monomaniac into a man who could rationally contemplate the shape of his life as it would be in future times after he had destroyed the five Demon Princes. When he was younger and not very experienced with women, Kirth had effortlessly moved on with his life after meeting and romancing other women, but the seductive "mood" of Llalarkno penetrated to his soul and could never be shrugged off by Gersen.

in the Ekcolir Reality
In my own case, I've never allowed myself to believe that the end of my investigations of Earth's hidden past was within sight. Gersen eventually found a collaborator (Alice Wroke) who, like him, had a personal reason for destroying the final Demon Prince, but by the time he attained that goal, Gersen had discovered a deeper meaning and significance to his life.

Alice Wroke at Blue Forest Camp
I like to imagine that Gersen had begun to understand that there was a mysterious effort underway to shape and modify human nature. The Demon Princes were little more than pawns in a much larger game, a game that continued far into the future ages when folks like Ghyl and Glinnes lived.

I must wonder if all of my collaborators so far have really only been "distractions". Maybe I have not yet met my Final Collaborator, my "Alice".

Next: Celebrating the birthday of Jack Vance.
visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers

Aug 23, 2016

Star Trek Phase IV

The Animated Series
This is the final blog post in a series (start here) celebrating 50 years of Star Trek. Previously, I've commented on about 40 episodes from the original 1960s Star Trek. Here I will provide comments on 10 episodes from post-1960s Star Trek shows.

I never saw any of Star Trek: The Animated Series. The only Star Trek movie that tickled my fancy was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. When Star Trek: The Next Generation came along I made sure to watch the pilot episode.
The Next Generation
Trek 41. I can understand that due to network meddling, 'Encounter at Farpoint' had to be padded and bloated to fill a two hour time slot. However, didn't they learn anything from previous movies where people fell asleep during endless views of star ship exteriors? If so, why the drawn out saucer separation?

Deja Q
And I was horrified by the battle of bombast and self-righteousness between Q and Picard. Was their mission to boldly go where no Star Trek fan wants to go? I was so distracted by the idiotic trial that I never made it to the end of the pilot episode. In fact, it was not until the show was eventually in re-runs that I gave ST:NG's 'Encounter at Farpoint' a second chance and I finally got to see the ending and the glowing alien space creatures.

Borg
Eventually, I came to appreciate some of the fun that could be had with the Q. Still, my preference would have been that they find a way to better account for the Q Continuum rather than the cobbled together bits of nonsense that accumulated during all the Q episodes of the series.

Trek 42. When I heard that Stephen Hawking was going to make an appearance on Star Trek, I ended my self-imposed embargo on watching ST:NG. When I watched 'Descent' I was appalled by Lore and the Borg.

Data's positronic brain
After many years of despising endless Klingon and Romulan squabbles, ST:NG went out and made things worse with the Borg. I have almost no interest in fictional politics inside a science fiction story and I out-grew military science fiction by the time I was 13 years old.

For a television show that includes a character with a positronic brain, my expectation was that ST:NG could have shown more respect for the legacy of Isaac Asimov. Asimov grew up wanting to write stories with a thoughtful approach to robots.

Guinan must position Yar in order to save the Federation
Of course, "thoughtful" is not a word that we associate with Hollywood which is an alternate universe that seems destined to just give us more and more of the murderous, clanking robots like those populating the stories that poor Asimov had read as a child and that he grew to dislike for their bland sameness.

Trek 43. I'm a huge fan of time travel stories, so 'Yesterday's Enterprise' might seem a good match for  my interests.

I really like the idea that Guinan has a connection to the "Nexus" that provides her with awareness that the timeline has been changed upon the arrival of the Enterprise C.

Scotty on the Enterprise D
I still don't know what to make of the "rifts in space-time" that magically pop up in so many stories set in the Star Trek fictional universe. When the deadline is fast approaching for completion of the next episode, I guess you need to be able to whip out some lame plot device such as a rift in space-time.

Trek 44. As a fan of the original Star Trek, I was excited to see 'Relics' and the return of Montgomery Scott. Despite the annoying on again-off again behavior of the abandoned Dyson sphere and all the mopping around by Scotty, this episode was tolerable.

The idea of having Scotty "preserved" in a transporter device makes sense. What does not make sense is why this "trick" was not routinely used to store humans or even make multiple copies of humans.

The return of the flute.
Trek 45. 'The Inner Light' is great science fiction, a fine story that seemed a perfect fit for Patrick Stewart. 'The Inner Light' is usually compared to "The City on the Edge of Forever", but I think a better match is the original tribbles episode.

Sometimes everything comes together in a magical way for an episode of a television series. And then attempts are made to re-capture that magic in subsequent episodes.


visiting Deep Space Station K7
Trek 46. That's Star TREK. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is an oxymoronic distortion of the Star Trek concept. They should have called it 'No Trek'. 'Trials and Tribble-ations' was a masterful visitation to the original series by some of the DS9 characters.

First Contact
Trek 47. 'Carbon Creek' had fun with a science fiction plot device: the idea that alien visitors to Earth in the past have provided Earth with certain technological advances.

In this case, the idea is that Vulcan visitors to Earth in the 1950s provided velcro to Earthlings.


Trans-dimensional photonic lifeforms
battle Captain Proton!
Trek 48. 'Bride of Chaotica!' makes the point that holodeck programs are more interesting than the "lives of adventure" led by characters in Star Trek.

However, many of the holodeck episodes that tried to blur the boundary between reality and virtual reality failed to work as science fiction. In the case of "Bride of Chaotica', the silly premise was played out at the expense of having a coherent "future science" back story. Don't ask questions, just go along for the ride... and be thankful that you are not being forced to endure yet another hour of some excruciatingly slow ride across the galaxy.

Wesley creates nanorobotic life
Trek 49. The  ST:NG episode 'Evolution' should have been called 'Wesley Hears a Who'. As part of a science project, Wesley has managed to give nanites the ability to evolve. Soon these experimental nanites escape and begin disrupting the function of the Enterprise.

Lucky for all, during a one hour episode, the nanites evolve into civilized beings who can transmigrate into Data and negotiate their release from the Enterprise onto a suitable planet.

Odo
Trek 50. 'What You Leave Behind' I suppose there are probably better episodes that could be selected to represent the Founders.

Female Changeling
"Changelings were at least partially composed of morphogenic enzymes, the molecules responsible for their shapeshifting ability."

It would be silly to imagine that Rick Berman, Michael Piller or anyone associated with Deep Space Nine ever gave any thought to what it means to be a liquid organism. Life is completely about structure, and no liquid retains a structure.

Wagon Train to the stars
source
The Changelings could have been given a meaningful nanotechnology backstory, but Deep Space Nine was only marginally science fiction. From the very start, writers of Star Trek episodes were told to use a futuristic setting, but the stories were to be character-driven, not technology-driven.  Stories had to fit the conventional television "action-adventure" rules that applied to other settings such as the Western or a police detective drama.

Ferengi rule of acquisition 217: once you have
some tribbles, you can never give them back.
Given these constraints, it was probably inevitable that Star Trek would become mired in endless imaginary wars and fantasy politics.

Was there ever anything more futile than the "Dominion War" and all the imaginary religion mumbo jumbo of Deep Space Nine? How Gene Roddenberry would have hated to see Star Trek dragged down by dreary tales of religious fanaticism.

'Bones' by Andy C. White
Lucky for viewers, the tedium of Deep Space Nine could be temporarily forgotten by slipping into Quark's bar.

Next: the Final Collaborator
visit the Gallery of Book and Magazine Covers