FAQs

HMS_Bounty_leaves_Vulcan

Once upon a time there were two science fiction fan blogs: Star Trek: Sentinel and Space 2049.  One proved popular for it’s aggregated news, the other was more popular for it’s developing fan-script that envisioned what a faithful remake of Space: 1999 might look like today.

Both blogs attracted the odd question from readers over their various histories, and now that both have been merged into one site (this one), those questions have been answered here, on this FAQ page.

To shake things up a little, and make these FAQs a little different, I had a friend interview me for the answers, and it’s all transcribed below for your amusement and information.

Michael
Thanks for asking me to do this, but you could have dressed for the occasion?

Jay
What’s wrong with track pants and UGG boots?

Michael
Just the fact I didn’t think of it.  It’s okay.  I’ll deal.  Let’s start.  (Clears throat)  Welcome to your frequently asked questions page.

Jay
Thank you.  It’s nice to be here.

Michael
First one.  What font are you using for your Star Trek posts?  It looks really familiar.

Jay
The font?  I’m actually glad someone asked that… it’s called Montalban.  I’m only guessing here, but I’m thinking it was probably named for the awesome Ricardo Montalban who played Khan in the TOS episode ‘Space Seed,’ and played that character again in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  The reason it looks familiar is because it’s the font used in that movie’s opening titles.

Hold on, I need my notes here, I want to promote the guy who made it… the artist who created the font is known as Pixel Saga, real name Neale Davidson.  Neale offers the font for free, but you can donate to him if you’d like.  I’ll make sure I provide the link in the write up (its here – all you need to do is click the ‘donate to author’ box under the download option for the font).  I’ll stick up a link to his website too (here).  I recommend readers visit the site.  He’s a talented guy.

Star Trek II TWOK

Michael
That was very thorough!  Here’s the second question.  Why did you use the Ambassador Class starship design for the ship in your Star Trek: Sentinel story?

Jay
There are a few reasons.  Some of them I talk about in the Star Trek section of the site, so I won’t repeat them here, but the ultimate reason was because the Ambassador Class is my favourite Trek ship design.

I love every version of the Enterprise, though the E is my least favourite, and I’m a fan of the Voyager, Defiant, Shenzhou and Discovery designs, but the C stands head and shoulders above the rest to me.  It looks like it’s built to explore space and defend the Federation.  To me, that ship says “I get shit done.”  It looks like it’s there for the long haul.

Ambassador Class Starship

I guess the other reason is, as I was plotting the story out it made sense to me that Starfleet would recommission older designs – especially for patrol and protection efforts, or search and rescue missions.

In the time frame I’m interested in, the Federation has been through a lot – the Dominion War, the Borg, and the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire.  If I were the President of the Federation, or the head of Starfleet, I would want to conserve resources by using designs that had proved faithful in the past.  You’d need to update some of the systems and software, but that would be far less resource intensive.

Because my story takes into account the Star Trek: Voyager relaunch novels by Kirsten Beyer, the damage done to the Federation by the Borg is more extensive than anything we ever saw on TV or in the movies.  I just couldn’t imagine the head of Starfleet saying “we need a sexy new starship design to make everyone happy,” when there were literally dozens of viable options from the past.

Michael
You’ve given a lot of thought to this, haven’t you?

Jay
It probably seems nuts, but yes, I have.  If you read Kirsten’s amazing Star Trek: Voyager relaunch novels, you’ll get it.  The Federation has been more or less decimated.  They have bigger issues than trying to design new starships.

Michael
Makes sense to me too.  There do seem to be a lot of different starship designs in Starfleet!  Okay.  Next question.  Why did you make one of your characters a search and rescue person?

Jay
That’s a really good one.  Hmmm.  Look, initially that character, J’yne (pronounced Jane) was a MACO.  I’d brought them back from Star Trek: Enterprise.  After a lot of thought, I changed it to a SAR because that made more sense to the story.

Basically, I wanted to explore other parts of Starfleet.

One of my favourite episodes of all time is “All Good Things” parts one and two.  In that, we see Captain Beverly Picard in command of the USS Pasteur, a medical ship.  It made me think about all of the different sorts of missions Starfleet engages in.  I didn’t want the crew of the Sentinel to be boldly exploring strange new worlds, because there’s been a lot of that.  I wanted to create a story where we could get to know more about the various existing races in the Federation… where we visited worlds and learned about cultures, and dealt with the aftermath of war.  I wanted to write a story about a society that has had the rug ripped out from under it because there’s immense drama in that.  What’s it like for the telepaths of Betazed as they rebuild?  Are there cells of Andorians running around half pissed off, looking for revenge?  How does your every day member of the Federation deal with once feeling safe, and then realising they’re not?  How does the crew of a starship charged with protecting Federation space while conducting search and rescue missions on worlds that were hit the hardest, deal with all of that?

To me, that’s meaty and interesting.

Plus, I have a lot of respect for the emergency services (police, ambulance and fire brigade) and was in the SES (State Emergency Services) for a while.  I wanted to take that knowledge and respect and wrap it around a character and add something new to Star Trek.

USS Pasteur

Michael
Personally, I love it.  And I love J’yne.  He’s something a little different, which is hard to do with a property that has over 50-years’ of history!

Jay
Thanks.

Michael
Okay… next question.  Why are you focusing on Saavik in your Star Trek novel?

Jay
The way they ended her arc in the original series movies was pretty poor.

They introduce this vital, exciting character in the second movie, they change actors on us in the third film, which was fine, and then they dump her at the beginning of the fourth movie.

We eventually learned from leaked information and interviews, that the character was supposed to be pregnant with Spock’s child, and that she stayed on Vulcan to give birth, but then nothing.  Instead of throwing never before heard of siblings at Spock, why didn’t we deal with him becoming a father in the fifth film?  Boy, girl, non-binary, whatever!  What a fascinating character that kid would have been!  One quarter Romulan, one quarter human, and half-Vulcan.

If any character deserves follow-up it’s Saavik, and with the passing now of both Mark Lenard and Leonard Nimoy, it would be nice to carry on the Sarek line rather than keep recasting the existing characters ad infinitum.  I honestly wish they’d done that.

Michael
It does seem like a waste of an awesome character.  Speaking of that character, the next question is about her.

The cover of your fan fiction novel has Robin Curtis’s Saavik on it.  Didn’t you like the original Saavik?

Jay
I loved the original Saavik.  Kirstie Alley was brilliant in that role.  But so was Robin.  They were very different, with some similarities, but to me they’re both Saavik.  I know some fans don’t feel that way, which is their right.

I chose Robin for two reasons, one logical, and one purely emotional.

The logical reason was because she was the last actor to play the character.

The emotional reason is because fans have picked her performance apart and been a bit cruel about it, which is unfair.  Robin did an excellent job.  Yeah, her take was different to Kirsties, but it was just as good and to me, Robin deserves a lot of respect.  How hard would it have been to take on an existing role in a juggernaut like Star Trek?

Michael
That’s fair enough.  On to a different track now.  Why Space: 1999?  I don’t even know if anyone saw it?

I have to add to that Jay.  What’s so special about that old show?  I remember it, but only because there was a really hot chick in it who used to shape-shift into a cat or something?

Jay
Um… (laughs).  Yeah… I guess it’s an unusual choice.

I loved the show as a kid.  I was five when it came out in Australia, I think?  Something like that.  However young I was, it stuck with me.  When I came across the VHS tapes while I was at Uni, I fell in love with the show all over again.  That was in the first half of the 1990s.  Back then, it was still possible to wonder “what if the moon did get blasted out of orbit?”  Over the years, the show stayed with me.  It had a huge impression on me as a child because it was so realistic.  Moonbase Alpha looked like what I imagined a real moon base would look like.  About a decade after I graduated, the show came out on DVD and I bought the box set, watched every episode, watched them again, and was still in love.  I think it was about 2005, the moon was still up there, we hadn’t built a base on it, but none of that mattered.  The show was so unique.  I love the characters – Helena, John, Sandra, Victor.  I loved the esoteric nature of the show.  It was trying to tackle big questions like the meaning of life and that really appealed to me and still does.  I’d never seen anything like it, and I still haven’t.

Yes, the costumes are incredibly dated, and the effects aren’t fantastic anymore, but everything else works.

I think their story deserves to be told again, it just needs some tweaking.

To me, the show is about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, trying to do their best.  They lose everything, and the persevere and try and make a life for themselves.  I love that story of resilience, and I love how they kept subtly hinting at something bigger than them working behind the scenes.

Does that answer both questions?

Oh, and that character you’re talking about?  Her name is Maya and she shape-changed into all sorts of stuff.

Michael
It does.  And thanks for the clarification on Maya.

Space 1999 Season 2 Poster

Michael
Okay, this must be from an American.  The reader asks what’s with your spelling?  Why “s’s” instead of “z’s” in some words?

Jay
(Laughs) Definitely has to be from an American.  I love the United States, and I really love Americans in general.  I’ve spent a bit of time in the States over the years.

For our American friends, in Australia, and most English speaking countries, we don’t write “organisation” as “organization.”  We use an “s.”  So, me using an “s” instead of a “z” is just about what I was taught in school.  It’s not meant as an afront to Americans or anything like that.

Michael
Here’s a couple of new ones.  First question, why Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and seaQuest DSV?

Jay
Well, because I think they’re vitally important right now.  I actually think they could become the most important shows on television if someone picked them up and remade them.

Because I’ve been writing the Buck Rogers bible (as of September 2019), I’ve been doing a lot of research on the environment and Climate Change.  In my version, instead of nuclear war screwing up the Earth, it’s Climate Change.  We, our generation, doesn’t act fast enough and the resulting long term effects are catastrophic as a result.

I work with an entire team of environmental scientists at the moment, so as well as my own reading I’ve been picking their brains about what is happening right now and where we’re heading and in all honesty, it fills me with a pervasive dread.  It stops me in my tracks.

The people I work with are incredibly smart, and they’re linked with leaders in the field of environmental science, ecology, water, and so on.  I’ve never doubted the science, but now I’ve seen it up close and it really scares me.  We’re losing so many species, and every moment we delay puts another nail in the coffin for future generations.  Both of those stories, Buck’s and the seaQuest DSV story, tell the tale of our environment.  Buck’s looks back from the year 2421, after the world has been rocked by drought, escalating storms and rising seas.  seaQuest DSV looks at the world right now, and what we’re doing and what we need to do.

Both are stories of hope, but from different ends of the spectrum.  One is the hope of rebuilding, the other the hope of getting in there and stopping shit right now, before we slip over the precipice.  And trust me, we’re on the very edge of that precipice right now.

Michael
I’m glad I asked that question separately, instead of joining these two together, because in a separate question a reader asks “why Andromeda?  It only finished up in 2005.”

Jay
It is a bit left of centre, isn’t it? Three classics from the 70s and 80s, then this more recent one.

I didn’t come across Andromeda until it had finished.  I think it was 2008, maybe 2009.  It didn’t grab me.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I had to watch.

Now that’s its streaming, I’ve gone back to the beginning and have only just realised I’d never actually seen the first season.  I’d seen bits of two and all of three, and all of four and five and five killed it for me.

Now that I’ve dived into the whole story I can see where it’s gone wrong.  Season one is really iffy.  It’s a roller coaster of good and shocking, but the framework of an excellent show is right there, trying its guts out, to be amazing.  Season two it gets really good… and then it settles on being average.  Toward the end of season two it just goes in a different direction.

In researching the show I’ve learned that Robert Hewitt Wolfe left Andromeda due to creative differences in the second season, and it shows.

It’s another example of a show that a network or production company screwed with.

Every time I watch an episode of Andromeda I think… “what if…”  It really inspires me.  Outstanding, really interesting and different characters, great idea, so much promise.

It’s a show that makes me angry, in a good way.  (Laughs)  I know!  How many conflicting emotions?  Inspires me.  Makes me angry.  Far out!  But honestly, it messes with me.  Now, more than when I first came across it, I love it, but it messes with me.

While it’s true I’m a Gene Roddenberry fan, and I obviously want to see a Roddenberry property treated respectfully, I’m also obviously a science fiction fan, and there’s no excuse for a show this potentially good to be that average.

I’d just love a crack at doing another version.

Michael
Okay, this ones mine.  There aren’t any more questions for now, so humour me.  If, by some incredible miracle, your script for Andromeda was picked up, and you were given an Executive Producer role or something like that, whatever the terms are, showrunner, whatever.  Would you want that Robert guy involved?

Jay
Abso-frakkin-lutely.  The guy is super talented.  He helped with the 4400, which was a great show.  He worked on The Dead Zone TV show, which I loved.  He’s also one of the execs on Elementary.  I don’t like Elementary, because it’s not my thing.  I have an allergic reaction to hospital shows and police procedurals, but it’s smart and it’s well crafted, and the guy pretty much created the Andromeda universe from a bunch of notes Gene made in the 1960s or early 1970s.

Michael
That answers that!  Well, no more questions for now, so thanks.  We’ll sign off.

 

As more questions are asked, we’ll include them here if they’re relevant, so if you’re bored, check back with our FAQ page every couple of months.

Thanks for being interested in SciFi Regen and visiting our FAQ page.  Live long, and prosper.

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