Tag Archives: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek Self-Help Books: A Thing?

The first time I came across a Star Trek-themed self-help book, I thought it was an interesting novelty. Perhaps something to review! Then I found a second one… then a third… and an honorable mention. So I read them all. For you, so you don’t have to do it yourself. Definitely not for my own enjoyment… Ahem.

Boldly LiveBoldly Live as You’ve Never Lived Before: Unauthorized and Unexpected Life Lessons from Star Trek by Richard Raben (1995)

This book bills itself as a lesson on patterning yourself after heroic traits, as represented by Star Trek characters. It’s pretty generic, but if you want a pep talk with a Trek theme, here you go. It’s often simplistic, and while the four heroic types (Analysts, Leaders, Warriors, and Relaters) may line up with Trek to some extent, they don’t really match the full range of possible personalities in the real world. But I appreciated the lack of gender essentialism, and the open advocacy of taking fictional characters as mentors, not even just role models. Plus it spans the first four series, not just TOS or TNG.

Make It SoMake It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek: The Next Generation by Wess Roberts and Bill Ross (1995)

Two from 1995? Apparently the Nineties thought Trek was really inspiring? I have no idea. Anyway, this book is written entirely as Captain Picard’s retellings of episodes as he reminisces on his life and the leadership skills he’s learned as a starship captain. It’s an… interesting choice. Put another way: Who thought this was a good idea? They make Picard sound like someone’s grandmother in a cozy mystery, for one thing, but also, who’s going to sit and read all this just to get some leadership lessons you could find basically anywhere? The funniest part of the whole book is the authors thinking they might have readers who’ve never seen Star Trek.

Quotable Star TrekQuotable Star Trek by Jill Sherwin (1999, republished 2010)

This one is the honorable mention, because it’s not really a self-help book, but ironically it’s the best book on this list. Sherwin went through the four Trek series and eight movies to collect the best quotes ever, sorting them into 32 categories (such as “The Human Condition,” “Humor,” “Technology,” and so on). I must’ve gotten my copy when the book had just been re-issued, and I actually picked it up on a regular basis to browse through and get a little inspired. I packed it in a box somewhere when I moved a couple of years ago, thinking I wouldn’t need it for a while, and I miss it ALL THE TIME, enough that I may just repurchase it if I don’t find it soon. Star Trek IS inspirational and motivational and philosophical, what better way to learn from it than in its own words?

What Would Captain Kirk DoWhat Would Captain Kirk Do? by Brandon T. Snider (2016)

I’m not actually super sure whether this is meant to be self-help, humor, or both. It’s nicely designed, full-page photographs with punchy typography on top, a different tip on each page. It’s mostly tongue-in-cheek, especially if you know some Trek background or you recognize the image Snider’s chosen as accompaniment to the advice. Some tips are very specific — “Have patience when a hostile Kelvan transforms your colleagues into porous cuboctahedron solids.” — and others are more general, as in “Boldly go, or don’t go at all.” Some things are more TOS tips than Kirk tips. But on the whole it’s oddly kind of inspiring? Not expensive, and a fun little book. The Picard version comes out in May!


So, it looks like Star Trek self-help books used to be kind of a thing, but not a very good one? Even so, if you know another title in this subgenre, let me know in the comments so I can read it! Um, for you…

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Star Trek: A Singular Destiny – A Review

Good day, everyone! Today, I will return to the world of Star Trek novels and talk about the epilogue to the epic Star Trek: Destiny crossover, A Singular Destiny by Keith R. A. DeCandido. Though he has written many Star Trek novels at this point, this is the first by DeCandido that I have read, and I must say that I enjoy his subdued, even casual writing style when compared with other capable Star Trek authors. That said, this post will include some mild spoilers for the novel and storylines that follow it.

a_singular_destiny_cover

Cover to the American edition of Star Trek: A Singular Destiny

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Pocket Books Keeps the Dream of Star Trek Alive

Good day, everyone. Thanks for stopping by! I’d like to thank David and everyone else at Comparative Geeks for inviting me to take part in this.

That said, I’d like to begin my run here with a little piece about Star Trek. I’m going to be honest with all of you—I’m concerned with where the franchise is headed. The latest batch of movies is largely a special effects-laden explosion-fest with little of meaningful interest. CBS has effectively squashed attempts by fans to outdo them at their own game. The new TV series teaser (though admittedly only a tiny glimpse of something likely much greater) fails to thrill. For an old-school Trekkie like me whose favorite series are Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation, there’s not much left with my favorite characters outside of the ongoing book series still being released by Pocket Books.

I know; these books aren’t considered official canon by any means. But, then again, neither is Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Sometimes the errant thought experiment can outdo and replace the classics.

There are LOTS of places you can start reading, depending on your preferred when or where, and which characters you wish to follow. I’ll detail a few jumping-on points that I’ve enjoyed below.

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Science Fiction Today – Terrorism

Well, today’s another awful day. I’ve seen plenty of people posting their support of the people of Brussels and Belgium and who were there, and our hearts and  prayers go out as well.

Pray for Brussels

But as Holly mentioned yesterday, we take the awful stuff in the world today, and step back. Step forward. We look at them through the lens of Science Fiction stories.

And I’m sad to say, Science Fiction stories still see a lot of terrorism in the future. It seems it will remain a way for a smaller force to deal with a larger one, for an occupied force to deal with an occupier. For one dissatisfied person to take out all their frustration and send a message.

For instance, I think that Science Fiction was probably the original home of cyber terrorism. Sure, it became more mainstream, but it was originally near-future nerd stuff. And it still shows up in TV shows and such as far more interesting and useful and powerful than it is in real life… far more Science Fiction.

And if you count some of superhero fiction as Science Fiction, then we certainly see it there too, often in a world somewhat like our own today. Really, a lot of what happens in those stories – especially when you step away from the incredibly super-powered folks – is a story of organized crime and domestic terrorists versus vigilantes. Maybe wider terror groups, working on recruiting, like the League of Assassins or the Hand. We’ve been watching Daredevil season 2 – lots of things you could call terrorism there.

In Science Fiction, you see Utopias. One of the best is Star Trek. And even there, we definitely see terrorism. Khan is the perfect example. However, the Bajorans – fighting a Cardassian occupation – absolutely also are an example, and that’s pretty much the setting for Deep Space Nine. So it’s not like it’s something that’s just a one-shot in an episode, it comes up many times. From re-watching Next Generation, I remember Ro Laren having to infiltrate a terrorist resistance group. It wasn’t easy for her, because you get close to them, and you find out they might be human…

And Science Fiction also tells us a lot about Dystopias… generally the result of a cataclysmic event that leads to a response towards security, and terrorism seems a part. Sometimes before, sometimes after. Like V for Vendetta, where one man’s terrorism exposes a dictatorship and pulls it down.

But the dictatorship, the Dystopia, can form because of terrorism too, it’s not solely an answer. After these sorts of things, we want vengeance. We want justice. We want it to stop. And things happen that, in hindsight or over time, we see to be a bridge too far. And often, this is what Science Fiction writers are warning us about, when they write about Dystopias. Beware those impulses to sacrifice our liberties, to strike out too broadly or too blindly.

In many ways, I hope they’re all wrong. I hope that we find ourselves in a future with peace.

Q is for Quark

QQ was definitely a more difficult letter to come up with a character for. There were a couple options, some seemed too obvious, but then I stumbled across Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Quark is the owner of the bar by the same name on the space station. He is a Ferengi, so his ideas of how to do business, and live life in general fall under that mindset. At the same time by being on the space station he spends a lot of time around a lot of other races, which makes him a little more open to other ideas. It has been a while since I have watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but I remember really liking Quark. He was such an interesting character partly due to the customs of the Ferengi and dealing with a lot of other cultures. Continue reading