Recent Ramblings

Pocket’s Strange New Worlds contest for this year closes on Tuesday, and I made four submissions this year. I liked this year’s batch of stories. One I’ve mentioned before, about Wesley Crusher and the man he replaced at the Enterprise-D’s conn. Another was about Robin Lefler and her nightmares. The third story was about Ezri Dax and a mental patient. The last was an homage to the baseball stories of Ring Lardner. The moment of truth comes in January when the winners are announced. I’ve begun toying with ideas for next year’s possible entries, including an Enterprise story with the Borg.


Salon.com posted an article today about how the Star Trek captains would each deal with Saddam Hussein. As usual in articles about Trek the non-televised series, such as New Frontier and SCE, were ignored. Given that less than one percent of the television audience reads the Star Trek novels, which means that far less than one percent of the general audience for Trek is even aware that New Frontier exists at all, I’m not surprised that Salon didn’t write about how Mackenzie Calhoun, captain of the USS Excalibur would treat with Saddam Hussein.

However, I did, in a brief piece entitled “Swords of the Iraqi.”

I should say something at this juncture about my thoughts on Dubya’s warmongering. Frankly, I don’t feel that the President has made any case for a war with Iraq. I don’t see his justification, and he has given no evidence beyond rhetoric. I think it’s fair for anyone to criticize and question the President on the lack of just cause for a preemptive war with Iraq. Make the case, and kill any thought that the President’s only reasons are to divert public attention from his own inadequacies as President and to secure the Iraqi oil fields for American exploration and exploitation.

In other words, don’t read into “Swords of the Iraqi” that I support the President’s desire for war. Because I don’t.


Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring came out yesterday for the XBox. For Lord of the Rings games there are two competing licenses–a book license and a film license (which is based on the book). Fellowship is the former, The Two Towers coming out this fall is based on the latter. Fellowship is essentially a role-playing game, though after two hours of gameplay I would liken it as something closer to The Legend of Zelda. The Two Towers looks to be more of an action game akin to Diablo.

At this point in Fellowship I’ve reached the Old Forest, rescued Merry and Pippen from Old Man Willow, and met Tom Bombadil. I cannot tell you how truly frustrating it was to get lost in the Old Forest, then get killed by a spider at the gate out of the level. Or to run around collecting waterlilies for Goldberry, only to get thrashed by a tree when I’d collected all twelve and needed only to give them to Tom Bombadil to leave the level. I know the books, so I know where the story goes, and I want to get there, but Frodo takes so much damage at points that getting to the next level veers perilously close to being more trouble than its worth.

People who hated Merry and Pippen in the film (and you know who you are) might want to steer clear of the Fellowship game; they’re even more annoying here. One significant dialogue change from the book (or film) to this game is that Samwise doesn’t call Frodo “Master Frodo.” Mostly, Sam calls him “Frodo” which strikes me as being wrong on so many levels. The flirtatious conversation between Frodo and Rosie (who Sam marries at the end of Return of the King) at the Inn in Bywater is amusing knowing where these two characters end up as the final pages turn. And getting out of the Shire with a Black Rider running around Hobbiton was downright harrowing.

I didn’t think I’d like this game. I saw myself being overly critical of it. But thus far, it’s been quite enjoyable, albeit difficult.

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