What the hell we’re talking about when we talk about (space) Westerns

And by we, I mean me. But you’re more than welcome to join in!

So, here we are, the day after Star Trek‘s 50th birthday, talking about The Man Trap. Just like the olds did back in 1966!

(Hi, by the way. I promise there’s more Nimoy-in-a-tub pictures to be had as this rolls on, if that’s the reason you came back.)

Well, talking about the first televised episode is what we’re supposed to be doing. But you’re probably still wondering what the hell I was talking about yesterday with all that Westerns stuff. Firefly is scifi space cowboys, not Star Trek! Mal, et al, had six-shooters, and cows, and a deliberate Wild West-in-the-future aesthetic! Kirk’s crew is space velour, and phasers, and glitter-water special effects!

Ah, but, my friend, you are forgetting that the Western isn’t just those circa 1855-1890 western Missouri-to-California aesthetic trappings. Not entirely, anyway. Continue reading What the hell we’re talking about when we talk about (space) Westerns

Star Trek: Go west, young nerds

Surely you already know this is the actual-factual 50th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek on NBC. Fifty years! And we’re still obsessed. You know what else was on that night? F Troop. Yeah. And in theaters, the movie Waco had just premiered the week before. DeForest Kelley was in it! Westerns, and western-adjacent entertainment, were still inexplicably huge. Gunsmoke would still be on for almost 10 years. Elvis hadn’t even made his final Western yet. (It’s okay that you don’t know that, honestly. That’s why I’m here. It was called Charro! but did not star Charo. He has a beard and leather bracelets and it’s terrible and I love it.)

No wonder Roddenberry wanted to call it Wagon Train to the Stars.

Two things, one quick, one not so much: Continue reading Star Trek: Go west, young nerds

Hamilton, Necessity, and hidden truths

It’s National Parks Week, and this summer will mark the 100th anniversary of the congressional act that created them. Admission to most parks is free through this weekend! Maybe there’s one near you? Short trips and mini-breaks are a priority for me this year, and for the first time in a long time there’s a tangible list of places I feel compelled to see and could actually afford.

We took a road trip to western Pennsylvania last weekend to visit Fallingwater (more than you probably want on that in a bit). It’s about a five hour drive from home with gas and food stops, which is an excellent road trip distance. You may already know this: that’s a perfect length of time to make your unwilling passenger listen to all of Hamilton. (Twice, if you’re lucky.) Not only that, but they can listen to you get real nerdy about the sublimity of a show that loves hip hop and history as much as it hates the original Cranky Old Fingerwagging Fusspot John Adams. Everybody wins! If everybody is into showtunes, Leslie Odom, Jr, and lyrical jokes at the expense of Thomas Jefferson’s staggering hypocrisy, that is.

Continue reading Hamilton, Necessity, and hidden truths

Hugo Awards eligibility & endorsements

I think I’m technically eligible for the following Hugo Awards, though I have zero illusions about winding up on a ballot. There are so many great people out here doing killer work while I flail away on the sidelines.

Best Fan Writer for Twitter/Tumblr/this haphazard blog (especially the Galavant reviews) and the recaps/reviews I do for The Televixen (Into the Badlands & Fear the Walking Dead) (I think?)

Best Fancast for Bossy Britches

Best Related Work for this overinvested and extremely swear-y defense of Jupiter Ascending. (Haha, “best” related work; I just want people to see me get defensive about space opera.)

More importantly! Here are a few of the things I’m endorsing for Hugos this year, most of which are on my nomination form: Continue reading Hugo Awards eligibility & endorsements

Phone anxiety but you want to be heard? Try this.

With Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for SCOTUS today, I think it’s important to call the Senate Judiciary Committee to remind them, as Twitter puts it, to #DoYourJob. To let the vacancy remain open until after next February would be an egregious breach of their duty to their constituents and the nation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write out what I wanted to say before a staffer answered the phone. Something resembling words came out of my mouth, but they weren’t all that coherent.

If you think that might happen to you, feel free to use this, which resembles what I wanted to say:

Hi, I’m calling to ask the committee to do its job and work with President Obama to confirm his Supreme Court nominee.

For what it’s worth, the staffer who answered my call said three things (“Good afternoon, Senate Judiciary Committee,” “thank you, I will pass the message on,” and “have a good afternoon.”) and no more. They did not ask for my name or number or constituency, and the whole call took 32 seconds according to my phone log.