Did you know, that on May 13, 2015, Star Trek will have boldly gone nowhere [on television] for the past 10 years; as that was the last time an episode of Enterprise aired, in 2005. That’s a decade, folks, without a single new Star Trek on the small screen!  That’s remarkable, if-not, depressing, considering the popularity of JJ Abrams ‘new’ Star Trek films. Oh, sure – the diehard fans are the first to bitch and moan about them; but, they are also the first ones in the seats, and like them, or – not, they will be the first one’s there, again, in 2016, when Star Trek 3 hits the theaters for the 50th anniversary. 

Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve been noticing a trend (especially, amongst these young ‘next generation’ Trekkies) as they’re giving the ‘old’ Trek a new infusion of interest, as they’re streaming everything onto their computers and devices, then, blogging and commenting on what they’re watching with gusto. And, their daddy’s, too, are likewise giving shows (they previously hated), new respect, as well. Deep Space Nine and Enterprise are two series that I see discussed on a daily-basis. There’s even a group of folks who are trying to bring Enterprise back, and – it has been getting traction. Indeed, I just read an article by Will Nguyen, at TrekNews (shared on Facebook by Star Trek gurus Michael and Denise Okuda, no less), about why you should give Enterprise a chance, and the arguments were compelling. 

The interest for this fifth (albeit, short-lived) Star Trek series must still be out there…right? I mean, Pocket Books just released Christopher L. Bennett’s third novel in ‘The Rise of the Federation’ series, last Tuesday (March 24th), thus continuing the Enterprise series’s run. Sadly, ‘Uncertain Logic’ is only the ninth novel to be published, since the show went off the air. That’s less than one book a year, in the 10 years it’s been gone. 

(Note: You could conceivably include David Mack’s ‘Destiny’ trilogy, too; Mack utilizes Enterprise’s Captain Erika Hernandez and her ship, Columbia, and their fates are at its core.) 

Yes, there’s renewed interest in the show, and it can be argued that the producers screwed the pooch with the direction they took the series in (don’t even get me started on the whole Xindi thing); but Pocket seems to be trying to do the right thing. No, the books aren’t ‘canon’, however the novels are trying to fix the damage that Enterprise left us with (Tripp’s death and that whole ‘These Are The Voyages’ farce-of-a-series-finale). They’re telling us stories we wanted to see, to begin with, about the Romulan War and how the Federation rose up to be the great and noble entity that we know it to be, today. Despite its flaws (and, that horrible theme song), Enterprise is a good series, and it’s well-worth watching. 

Here’s my beef, though: If viewership is on the rise, and the books are still trickling in, why - then, can’t we get an Enterprise comic-book series?

Last year, Joseph F. Berenato released his fascinating, in-depth anthology New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, from Sequart; but it was missing a crucial piece – ENTERPRISE! There hasn’t been a single comic-book release for this series, in Enterprise’s nearly 15-year history! 

I have dozens of Star Trek comics adorning my walls; from Pike’s era to Janeway’s, spanning seven publishers; including crossovers from Doctor Who, to the current TOS/The Planet of the Apes, to the Mirror Universe, and – everything in between! Hell, I’ve even got six New Frontier issues, and – it wasn’t even a television series, for crying out loud!!! 

Right now, is the time to correct this intolerable omission and give ENTERPRISE the respect it deserves!

Under the brillliant leadership at IDW Publishing, Star Trek comics are HOT! I’ll give you three recent examples: Harlan Ellison’s ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’, Mike Johnson’s ‘The Q Gambit’ and ‘The Primate Directive’ by Scott and David Tipton. With the likes of JK Woodward (City), Tony Shasteen (Q Gambit) and Rachael Stott (TOS/Apes) doing exceptional art, these comics are flying off of the shelves! 

IDW… Now, is the time to step-up. Put together a blockbuster writing and editing team, sit your best artists down at their drawing-boards and easels, then – put out one the best comic-book series you’ve produced, thus-far: ENTERPRISE! Let’s rectify this shameful oversight and give this series it’s day in a full-blown extravaganza! 

Here’s a tidbit for ya to gnaw on while you contemplate this proposal: Enterprise is the only series that hasn’t been affected by the JJ reboots, so there’s no chance of mucking-up any time paradoxes or alternate universe realities his movies have created. You’re free and clear to navigate, so…

ENTERPRISE the hell out of us!

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone 

The Matthew Shardlake Mysteries by C.J. Sansom

Back in 2003, on a gloomy Sunday morning, I was casually scouring the shelves at Barnes and Noble, in search of something – anything - to read, when I came across Dissolution, by CJ Sansom. There wasn’t anything special about the cover – a half-shadowed monk, hands clasped in front of him, kneeling in prayer, set against a dark (albeit-gloomy) background – but, the words ‘International Bestseller’ and ‘a novel of Tudor England’ caught my eye.

As is my habit (before purchasing a new book), I sat down in one of B&N’s comfortable chairs and I cracked it open, to read a few paragraphs and get a feel for it; (I had a few-others in my hands, as well). First-off, there was a great illustrated map of an old monastery (St. Donatus); next, was a list of the book’s guest-players (in this case, all of the monks/suspects at the monastery); then, Chapter 1 began – in first-person, mind! Matthew Shardlake, himself, began to tell this captivating tale, and before I knew it, the gloomy day (and the stack of hopefuls) were forgotten. I couldn’t put it down… 

Thus-began my (now) 12-year obsession with the Matthew Shardlake Mystery series, and with its award-winning writer, C.J. Sansom. God’s wounds! Has it really been that long?! I know it has, because I’ve been drooling at the mouth like a rabid dog for the past six months, awaiting his sixth book in the series, Lamentation. It’s been five lonnnnnnnng years, since Heartstone came out. 

Mr. Sansom did not disappoint his loyal fans, either; indeed – Sansom has surpassed all expectations with Lamentation, leaving me spellbound by his mastery and in-awe of this lastest triumph in literary perfection! Not to mention, leaving me (yet, again) to avidly await the next installment in Shardlake’s oft-precarious and adventurous life.

If you’ve never read a Shardlake Mystery, I describe it to folks, like this: think of it as C.S.I.: London; only – with a hunchback lawyer/detective, set in King Henry VIII’s court, where a misstep could result in his being sent to the stake or with his neck under the axe.

As I said, there have been six books in this series, thus-far; throughout, I have been face-to-face (through Shardlake/Sansom’s narrative) with the likes of Thomas Cromwell, Archbishop Cranmer, Richard Rich, not to mention, ol’ ‘off with their head!’ Henry, himself. Two of the books bring Shardlake into the inner-court of Queen Catherine Parr; in another, Sovereign, that of Catherine Howard, as King Henry sets out on a vast progress from London to York!

I’ve been in the dark-storied Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, Whitehall Palace, on the Mary Rose (Henry’s prized warship) as it was sinking, taking a wherry on the Thames, to bear baitings, I’ve been in sword fights and have been in battles (both on the field of war, and in the courtroom), I’ve seen the beheadings of Henry’s wives and the executions of alleged heretics – the list goes on and on. Sansom accounts for everything, down to the smallest detail.

Needless-to-say, C.J. Sansom delivers solid, impeccably-researched history, rich, (sometimes magnificent, sometimes gruesome) details,  thoroughly enjoyable entertainment, and – of course, mystery; placing Matthew Shardlake – and his loyal sidekick, Jack Barak, (he joins Matthew in the second book, Dark Fire), into dangerous court politics and intrigues, that could leave them without their heads at every turn of the page.

I cannot recommend these books highly-enough. You’ll just have to pick one up and see for yourself, why I love them so. Here’s a list of the Matthew Shardlake Mysteries (in their order of publication) and how I rate them…

1) Dissolution – 2003 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2) Dark Fire – 2004 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3) Sovereign - 2006 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

4) Revelation – 2008 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

5) Heartstone - 2010 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

6) Lamentation – 2015 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Well – what’re you waitin’ on? By Jesu’ move your bloody arse and get your copies, today!

Star Trek: Shadow of the Machine

Star Trek: Shadow of the Machine

Published by: Pocket Star Books (Simon and Schuster) This is only found in Star Trek’s continuing eBook (eNovella) format. 

Written by: Scott Harrison

OVERVIEW: Taking place four days after their encounter with V’Ger, the Enterprise returns to Earth to complete its refit and resupply, overseen by Commander Scott. The crew is given a two-week shore leave, before they embark on their next five-year mission. Kirk, Spock and Sulu take this time to return to their homes; each looking deep within themselves, while preparing for futures that have been irrevocably changed.

THE STORY: First off: Scott Harrison knows his characters! I was drawn-in from the first page and couldn’t stop myself – I read it straight through. The narrative was so convincing and the dialogue, so true, that I felt as if I was an unseen witness, observing these legends as they went on with trying to sort out where they were going, and more-importantly, how they, themselves, would move ahead with each other, as well as, in their careers within Starfleet. 

This a book that makes you feel, as well; Kirk’s melancholy and the conflicting emotions he has towards his crew and the responsibilties of commanding the flagship of the fleet; Spock’s awkwardness with his captain, and-friend, as he comes to terms with his personal human feelings and his Vulcan heritage; Sulu’s trepidation and guilt at leaving his new family behind, but ultimately, making the best decision he can. We’re given new insights to these characters that make them more real, while filling-in gaps about this period in their lives, that we only had glimpses of before.

The death of Ilia and the sacrifice of Commander Decker weighs heavily on all the crews’ minds, but none so much as Captain Kirk; having accepted these most-recent casualties so readily, he ponders why it’s become so easy to do so. 

Also, we’re reintroduced to Kirk’s remaining family, in Iowa – namely, Peter, (his seldom-mentioned nephew) – as Jim returns home to his roots; confronting, not only his past, but himself, as well.

Spock, too, goes home, and he must face his own lingering doubts and ghosts; about his recent experience with V’Ger and his abandoning the Kolinahr, his estrangement with his father, and other Vulcan ties from his past. Logically, it’s a journey he has take, in order to become the character we grow to know and love, going forward.

OVERALL: Fascinating, and fantastic! This was a terrific Star Trek debut from Scott Harrison. He gives rich detail and great character-play, keeping the reader thoroughly engrossed and entertained. There are lessons within these pages, (that we face in our day-to-day lives); courage and fear, acceptance, destiny, loyalty – friendship and family, no matter who they are in our lives. These are the core values that make Star Trek such an enduring, and beloved franchise. It’s these lessons, that make us look at ourselves and the impacts we have on those around us; that we can live in the now, but still have hope for a better tomorrow. It’s about the journey… It’s what I call #GreatStarTrek.

As our dear friend Spock would remind us, “There are always possibilities.”

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone 

Star Trek: #43 Eurydice (Part 1 of 3)

Star Trek: Eurydice (Part 1)

Published by: IDW Publishing

Written by: Mike Johnson

Art by: Tony Shasteen

Colored by: Davide Mastrolonardo

Lettered by: Neil Uyetake

Cover by: Joe Corroney and Brian Miller

Story Consultant: Robert Orci

Edited by: Sarah Gaydos

OVERVIEW: After their encounter with the star eater in Behemoth, the Enterprise finds itself stranded far from home. With only impulse power, the crew begins the long journey to Jemson-575, where they hope to restore their dilithium crystals and regain warp power.

When a ship approaches and offers aid, Captain Kirk must decide whether to trust this space samaritan, and consider the costs that aid might have for all of them.

THE STORY: Mike Johnson picks up right where issue 42 [Behemoth] leaves off and delivers a great opening for this three-part series. This issue left me with echoes of Voyager, as the crew finds itself a long way from home, with very few options in how to get back. They know it won’t be an easy journey, but they’re resolved to make the best of the situation.

Enter Eurydice. A spirited, if not enigmatic good samaritan, Eurydice arrives well into their slow trek to Jemson-575 and offers Kirk much needed assistance and technology. Against his better judgement, Kirk agrees to let her help them. Again, I am left thinking of the many Voyager episodes, when Janeway was offered safe passage home, only to suffer the consequences for letting her guard down. 

I liked seeing this scenario with Kirk and his crew, though. I believe Mike Johnson has set up a good opening and I’m intrigued to see how this will play out. The excitement I had with The Q Gambit is back – that wasn’t the case with Behemoth.

THE ART: Also returning, is Tony Shasteen, with Davide Mastrolonardo, who do a terrific job of kicking this series off. As with The Q Gambit, the art is sensational; the likenesses are well-done, the coloring is vibrant and there are loads of details in every panel. I am especially impressed with the interiors of the Enterprise (there’s a great scene in the arboretum); as well as the artwork for Eurydice’s ship – there’s some spectacular technology there!

I like Eurydice, as well. She reminds me a bit of the Caitian, M’ress (from TAS); but, she’s unique in her own right, and her likeness is consistant throughout the issue.

It’s never a disappointment when Tony’s doing the art, and he’s backed-up with the tremendous talents of Davide and Neil Uyetake, who does a fantastic job in the lettering department. Their attention to detail is just staggering!

THE COVER: Once again, Joe Corroney (with Brian Miller on colors) knocks it out of the park! Absolutely sensational work for this regular cover! (There’s alsoo, a second, photo-cover available, which features Sulu.)

OVERALL: A great improvement over the mediocre Behemoth, as Mike and Sarah bring us a great new story, a new alien first-contact and new excitement all the way around. The art is wonderful, with plenty of good characters thrown in and lots of awesome ship interiors. Plus, that cover is out of sight! I can’t wait to see next month’s issue! 

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone 

Screw You, Benjamin!

Here we go, again… Tonight, at 2 am (Whyyyy?!) most of the United States will ‘spring forward’ and lose that precious hour of sleep. The conditions will be ripe for mood changes, car accidents, more heart attacks (oh yes), more idleness at the work place, etc. We have our beloved forefather Benjamin Franklin (in part) to thank for this.

The reasons for changing the time at two o’clock in the morning are pretty sound; there’s less traffic (be it cars, trains, buses, etc.), also, most everyone is at home, most of the continental US will have changed time before daybreak, and it doesn’t have a major impact on jobs and schedules. That said, Hawaii, Arizona and the Virgin Islands, et al, do not observe Daylight Saving Time – lucky bastards! 

You notice I said ‘saving’ – as that is its proper designation. For most of us, savings just seems to roll off of the tongue easier; even if rolling out of bed the next morning isn’t. In the modern-age, I just wish they would leave the time alone. I’m not alone, in that thinking, either. In this day and age, it just seems preposterous to keep changing it back and forth.

Did you know, there are fewer pedestrian deaths on Halloween (due to more sunlight), that crime rates drop by 10-20% (depending on what area you live in – muggers don’t like to mug, in the daylight); plus – (for all of us lushes) bars that stay open ’til 2 am, lose an hour of drinking time, and-thus, business, which creates all sorts of troubles for law enforcement, when the time switches back. Daylight Saving Time causes riots, affects election turnouts, creates havoc with births of twins (if say, one is born before the time change, then the other is born after – but now, it makes the second seem to be born before the first. Chaos!) Those are just a few items that the time change makes a muck of.

DST has even been used in a trial argument, in regards to a man’s draft status (during the Vietnam War); citing that he was born before the time change and that it put his birth on a day with a higher lottery number, resulting in his selection!  The man won his case, thus-avoiding the draft. Who in the hell would’ve even thought of that?! Brilliant!

Of course, there has been, at-least, one benefit to all of this time changing; a bomb threat was thwarted in Sept. 1999. The West Bank (who observed DST) was planning to blow up two busloads of people. They had made time bombs and had smuggled them into Israel (who did not observe DST); but the terrorists were confused and while implementing their vile act, the bombs exploded – an hour too soon! Goodbye, bad guys… 

The main reason we observe DST is to have more daylight in the evenings. People have more time to spend with family and friends, attending functions, and what-not; driving is made easier for folks who have trouble driving at night, as well. And, again – pedestrian injuries drop significantly as a result of DST. It’s also argued that electricity usage goes down, as people don’t need to light their homes with more daylight in place. Which brings us back to Ben Franklin who wrote an essay on the subject, (while he was a delegate in Paris), called ‘An Economical Project’

There are arguments for both sides. People hate changing their many clocks and adjusting their sleep routines. I, myself, haven’t had an issue with it, as I’ve always been a night owl; indeed – an insomniac, really. My sleep patterns have been wonked, from the time of my birth. But, I’ve never suffered the effects of hangovers, as others do, either. However, I can sympathize with those who do get thrown for a loop, as a result of this constant shifting of the sands in the proverbial hourglass. 

I tend to agree with this writer…

“I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.” (Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)

Let’s just make up our damned minds, shall we, and set the clocks once and for all; never to flip-flop on this ridiculous madness we have with the time, again. 

By the way – don’t forget to change the batteries in your flashlights and smoke alarms! It is, after all, that time of year, again, eh…

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics Update

It’s been just (a few days) over a year, since I submitted my first article on Sequart Organization’s New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Comics, by Joseph F. Berenato. It’s been a busy year for everyone involved, too; since the book’s launch at Shore Leave in Aug 2014, Joe and ‘the gang’ have made the rounds at various comic cons, doing interviews, panels and signings. New Life and New Civilizations has become a hit amongst Star Trek fans around the globe. Joe has even put this incredible, must-have anthology of critical essays up for consideration, to be recognized and nominated by the World Science Fiction Society for the prestigious Hugo Award in the ‘Best Related Work’ category. 

Joe used part of my review (as well as others) in his blog, asking for the society’s consideration:

“In a word, New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics is Awesome! It’s everything I was hoping for, and – more. This amazingly-researched, lovingly-written anthology takes us on a journey into every aspect of Star Trek comics.” — Lt. Eric Cone, VisionaryTrek.comI stand by that review! New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics delves-deep into the nearly 49 year history of Star Trek comics, with a series of 18 essays which range from the first Gold Key issues, all the way to the present IDW Publishing line. Also included are comic strips, Happy Meals, coloring books and more. 

Within that terrific Pat Carbajal cover, you’ll find a foreward by Star Trek legend David Gerrold, as well as an in introduction by Joe, himself; (I, and my Visionary Trek colleagues, were honored to be mentioned for our support and participation in this book’s reach).

The contributors are an eclectic group of Star Trek alumni who are giants in the genre. You get the likes of Robert ‘Bob’ Greenberger, Scott Tipton, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, Ian Dawe, Martín A. Pérez, Rich Handley (with two essays), Jim Beard, Julian Darius (also, with two essays), Mark, Martinez, Alan J. Porter, Colin Smith, Cody Walker, Joseph F. Berenato, David McIntee and Tom Mason.

Not only do we get a history of the comics, themselves, but you’re given valuable insights into the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the different publishers, including interviews with writers, artists and editors, as well. Mixed-in is a selection of artwork from the many covers, interiors, sketches and the like. This book is loaded with information! 

But, don’t just take my word for it; here’s what others had to say:

New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics examines the long history of Star Trek in the four-colour realm, featuring insightful essays from popular Star Trek comic scribes and novelists, as well as other experts.” — John Freeman, DownTheTubes.Net.

“But - New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics did one thing, it finally interested me in what was out there when it came to Trek comics. The book was not a gushing tribute to the wonderful comics over the years as one might have expected, but a realistic assessment of them, pointing out the flaws as well as the positive things about them.” —

Joe (standing) with (L-R) Dayton Ward, Bob Greenberger and Kevin Dilmore, launching New Life and New Civilizations at Shore Leave in August.

Still not satisfied? Take Joseph F. Berenato’s word for it (above), and buy this amazing book. You will not be sorry. Trust me… 

‘Til, next time, see ya ‘out there…’

Lt. Eric Cone 

Harve Bennett…Producer. A man who’s credits thrived.

Harve Bennett has left this world. He joins another Star Trek icon, Leonard Nimoy (who passed away on Feb. 27), having passed-on today, at the age of 84. Two in the same week. We’ve barely had time to grieve for our friend, Leonard; now – we must endure the heartache of Harve’s death.

Harve brought me a lifetime of things to love. One of the first shows I recall is The Mod Squad; then moving on, he helped shape a generation of young men with The Six Million Dollar Man (and – later, it’s highly popular spinoff The Bionic Woman); Harve voiced the opening credits of the former. You all know the words: “Steve Austin…Astronaut. A man barely alive.”

With his hands on the wheel, Harve changed my life – forever. Today, I have truly lost a friend; an icon that will sorely be missed. I was Steve Austin! How many kids ran around in slow-motion, making those bionic sounds, jumping off rooftops, squinting their eyes to see far-off bad guys in the distance? And, girls, too; as Jaime Sommers entered our lives. For many of the boys, Lindsay Wagner would become our first crush.

But, Harve brought other well-known figures to us, as well; some real, others not. Jesse Owens and Golda Meir are two of the real ones. Harve is most-noted for the fictional characters, though; he brought back Khan, and Kirk’s Klingon nemesis Kruge, as well as a couple of humpback whales named George and Gracie. And, yes – regardless of your opinions of Star Trek V, he brought us Sybok. I’m talking about the Star Trek movie franchise, which – Harve took over and literally saved. Not only did Harve take credit for producing those mega-hits, but he took-on writing and cameo-appearance credits, also. His other television credits include Time Trax and Gemini Man, just to name a couple.

For me, though, I’ll always thank Harve Bennett for Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers; the characters on the shows and those Kenner action figures (which I still play with). It’s been a lifelong love affair, and those television series brought me some of the happiest moments of my childhood. Indeed – even some in my adulthood, too, as I re- watch them on my DVD sets.

Harve Bennett has left us… He’s left this world to join some of our dearest friends; but he’s left behind a legacy of stellar achievements, as well. At 84, I’d say he’s left us with a pretty good run, eh… RIP Mr. Bennett.