Friday, February 27, 2009

Terilynn's Trek: Opinions (and RANT) about Over a Torrent Sea

This Blog is rife with spoilers on ST: Titan – Over a Torrent Sea. It's also filled with another of my rants – so be warned.

They say that a good book causes debate.

Well – they also say that a good mediation is when both sides walk away from a settlement angry.

Does that mean that ST: Titan – Over a Torrent Sea is good?

Frankly – I don't think so.

OaTS ended up being one of the most transparent attempts by a Trek author to weave what appear to be his personal beliefs about abortion and women's place in society that I think I have ever seen. And frankly, I'm furious about it.

I'll admit it – the Titan books were always better in my mind and they (Pocketbooks and their team of authors) found a way to get the Titan back to exploring now that the Borg have decimated the UFP and have vanished themselves. I was pleased to find out that the Titan wouldn't be subjected to the droll political landscape that they've turned the Trek universe into – that at least SOMEONE from Starfleet was actually exploring…you know – the foundation of the show to begin with?

Christopher Bennett was pegged to pen this book and while I rather enjoyed Orion's Hounds (his first Titan novel) I can't say the same for Over a Torrent Sea.

If you have read any of my previous blog entries – you will understand that I've been a TAD sensitive about how women are portrayed in Trek.

In the Destiny Trilogy, Deanna Troi has been told that her fetus was unviable. For all intent and purposes she was carrying a dead child and that carrying that child was placing her in an unquestionable life-threatening position. (And you have to understand – she was still on active duty, so by refusing to submit to terminating the HOPELESS pregnancy, she placed her mission in jeopardy as well – and when you place a mission in jeopardy – you place your teammates in jeopardy.)

Don't get me wrong. When I thought Deanna and Will were going to lose their second child, I was heartbroken. Now, I know that the Caeliar were going to "save the baby" because I don't believe for the life of me that Deanna would have jeopardized her team by carrying a dead fetus at the risk of her own life – but that's exactly what she did in those books. However – it was a plot device in order to get Deanna and fetus to the Caeliar so they could "fix her" and the baby. Voila! Done.

Yet in Over a Torrent Sea, we have Deanna and her physician, Ree, beefing over the fact that Deanna felt pressured into having an abortion. Well guess what? FAIL. Ree did the right thing in the Destiny Trilogy. It was clinical for him – it may not have been for her – but Deanna has been written as someone who no longer takes the crew or the ship as her first consideration – she's all about herself and the baby now…no matter what position that places her crew.

Thanks for that Bennett. Thanks for reaffirming that Deanna Troi doesn't really care about any oath nor have a sense of duty to her crew, but let's make sure that Ree is called out on the carpet for trying to do the right thing in the Destiny Trilogy – oh and while we're at it, let's make sure he really pays penance and have him knowingly break the Prime Directive to save the child once more.

This baby has become the most incredible source of anti-Trek I have ever seen!

(Message here is: Mothers should die for dead fetuses and wait for God (Caeliar) to save them. Once that's done – make doctor feel guilty for trying to save her life with real science.)

Now for my thoughts on Aili Lavena:

I've been chewing on this for two days now. When I first read the scenes between her and Riker as they were separated from the Titan I admit – I was fascinated. Because we all knew these two had "a history" from the very beginning of the Titan novels I was curious as to how such scenes would be handled.

And I'm sorry to say – once again – male Trek writers just don't seem to get how insidiously insulting the messages they put out about women are.

You see, Aili may have had a former relationship - oh hell, let's call it what it really was: a one night stand – with Riker before he met Deanna. So what? Riker had plenty of them. So did Aili. But apparently this is something she's supposed to feel guilty about. So Bennett decided he needed to make her feel REALLY guilty by writing Aili's character as having 8 children that she didn't care enough about. So much so, that she ran away to the circus of Starfleet to avoid caring for them.

(Message here is: Women shouldn't join the military because it leaves children motherless. Women shouldn't sleep around before they're married because they'll feel unfulfilled as women.)

But let's take it one step further shall we Mr. Bennett? Aili is spectacularly placed in the position of having to care for a severely injured and naked Riker. Riker – her current BOSS. He's so sick as a matter of fact that he ends up defecating all over himself and his leafy diapers. Now – Aili having to care for Riker is one thing. If I were in her position, you bet your ass I would have wiped his rear, cleaned him up and cared for him.

Thing is?

It was used as the virtual "healing" process not for Riker – but for Aili. Now that she uses her experience in cleaning and caring for the helpless Riker, she resolves that she's a better woman for the ordeal because she cares for him like the babies she "should have" cared for.

She busted her fins saving that damn planet but the only thing that REALLY heals her heart is changing Riker's diapers?

Are you kidding me?

Do you comprehend what I'm saying here?

Why couldn't Aili just get a sense of self-worth an accomplishment and the SECOND PIP without having to wipe her boss' ass?


Mr. Bennett – would you have dared written the same scene if it were a MALE in Aili's position?

What if it was RIKER in Aili's position and instead of Aili being injured and naked – it was a male admiral? Would Riker, knowing he (using your own metaphors) should feel guilty for being such a whore in his life before Deanna and feeling like he wasn't ready for fatherhood take the same bizarre sense of self-fulfillment from washing, cleaning and changing his admiral's diapers?

Do you get it?

I found this whole scene to be so utterly insulting to women and those who are trying every day to find equality in the work force and this book did nothing but cement the frustrating stereotypes that women are only good enough when they're caregivers.

While Riker may have given Lavena the second pip after this – I never got the sense that she felt she earned it for her spectacular professionalism – I got the impression she felt she earned it because she did something "womanly."

Next time you sit down and write a female character Mr. Bennett…do you mind?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2-24-09 Fat Tuesday and LeWar!

All right. I have broken down into hysterics lately over Michael Ian Black's attempts to gain as many Twitter followers as LeVar Burton. By joining Twitter and finding out that LeVar had over 33,000 followers, MIB has declared "LeWar" on LeVar and is trying every trick in the book (or is that every Twick in the book?) to get his numbers to increase.

And I've split a side over the results. LeVar is too cool for words while in true MIB fashion, Black has resorted to letting his masses choose their own titles. (I actually shuddered when I thought someone would choose "concubine.") And to date there's been no comment from Brent Spiner or Wil Wheaton, the latter of which Black has been trying to sway to "his side." In any event - it's been hilarious. If you're not on Twitter - join up to follow this amazing war of nothingness.

They're talking about t-shirts now. I want one. Badly. To go with my new bootz.

Oooh - LeVar has said he's making new Reading Rainbow t-shirts. Okay - I want one of those too.

To access these guys... (Wil Wheaton) (LeVar Burton) (MIB) and (Brent Spiner) of course.

You're also welcome to follow me - although I'm nowhere near as funny.

And yes - TU also is on there...

You can also read more on Dennis Rayburn's column on!

Happy Fat Tuesday everyone. Hope you get the baby in your slice of King Cake. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2-19-09 Terilynn's Trek: And now for Something Completely Different: A FAN FIC UPDATE

I'm happily in the midst of reading one excellent example of fanfiction - and a total oasis of Trek goodness compared to the tediousness of the recent "official" books that have come out.

I've only done one fan fiction post before and while I will get to pitching a site here in short order, I wanted to give my immediate happy support to Star Trek: Gibraltar.

ST: Gibraltar, written by Sam Redfeather is a damn fine example of a Trek fan's attention to detail and creativity within canon. Admittedly, it's a post Dominion War tale so canon is pretty much wide open for him, but so far, I've been impressed.

He wisely surmises that Cardassia would be in post-war hell and the UFP/Starfleet along with the Klingons are in full-force humanitarian relief efforts. Build on top of that the assumed political barriers and throw in a "dusted off" 80 year old Constellation-class starship filled with a mediocre crew (some reservists no less!) and you've got yourself a fun tale.

So fun in fact - I put down "A Singular Destiny" and began to read this book in earnest. I highly recommend it.

You can find it here: - where Gibraltar is being posted chapter by chapter...or you can find it here: - in its entirety - along with United Trek's affiliated works! (United Trek just sounds similar to this site - but is an amalgam of related works, a universe unto itself and I'm looking forward to reading more about some of these characters and places!)

The second thing I had to push was Ad Astra - a completely new Trek-based fan fiction archive that rose up from the unfortunate loss of the HopeStation archive (where Gibraltar once called home.) This site is looking for readers, writers and reviewers! So if you're looking for another source of quality fanfiction...give it a try! It seems to be pulling in some great material from TU, United Trek, OSBBS, and TrekBBS already!

And one last plug - Kirok of L'Stok (and others!) worked TIRELESSLY to produce this year's Twelve Trek Days of Christmas - a 12 piece celebration of ALL SORTS of fan productions from Fanzines to paper models to computer wall papers! Just because it's February doesn't mean these works are expired! Please support this effort and take a look for yourself! (It just so happens you can find Star Trek Gibraltar in ebook format (downloadable to .pdf) along with several other great ebooks as well!)

One thing's for sure lately, as opposed to Pocketbooks' material, when I read fanfiction my blood pressure drops. (HEY SAM! Ramirez? SHE ROCKS!!!! You should teach others how to write strong, interesting yet fallible females!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

2-13-09 Terilynn's Trek; And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'!

SPOILER ALERT for those of you who read Pocketbooks. I hate the red lines and frankly - I'm so sad I don't care if I tick a few people off by giving away plot lines....because IMHO the plot lines SUCK.

Okay - this is to add onto my most recent rant about how women are treated in Trek.

Apparently if you're a strong female character and never wore the catsuit in canon - you're no good for Pocketbooks. They can't work with your character because they don't know how to write you. You don't have a LOT of stereotypical traits they can pigeonhole you into so what do they do? They kill you off.

So - now that Janeway AND Torres are dead (along with her baby) the troop of mostly male writers are now left with:

Annika (because the 7 of 9 moniker died with the Destiny Trilogy) - The catsuit Queen herself.

Troi: Pregnant (all of her sequences in the Destiny Trilogy really revolved around her own stupid self-centered worry over the failing pregnancy and although she was the first contact officer and went on the away mission against medical advice I was freaking thrilled when Ree bit her. She didn't learn anything from it, but damn it made me happy. The dues ex machina miracle of the Caeliar saved her pregnancy and she's now free to return to Titan...where I'm curious as to how she will be portrayed in Over a Torrrent Sea. Knowing PB - they'll make sure that she places her ship in jeopardy over the pregnancy once more.

Crusher: Is now officially the dumbest Trek character ever. Her whole life revolves around JLP and their unborn son (she's 58! He's 77!) and her HOVERING is so insanely annoying that I'm surprised JLP hasn't offed her himself. OMG how did these two supposedly marry each other? Over croissants and scones? AAAAAAHHHHH!

Dax, Ezri: I liked her in the Destiny Trilogy. She starts to grate on me in A Singular Destiny. I'm going to hold off more opinions on her. She has the potential to be redeemable.

Who else from canon is there now?

No one.

No female character from canon is left.

Why does Pocketbooks think that women don't read their books or worse - think that women want to read about babies and whiny-assed women?

Friday, February 6, 2009

2-6-09 Are Women Getting the Shaft in the New Trek?

Over the course of the last few weeks I have come across some of the most jaw-droppingly corrosive minds and they’re all trying to defend their own sexist/racist attitudes by saying that I’m being oversensitive.

Well, I’m here to clarify a few things.

I don’t consider myself to be a prude. As long as men’s and women’s sexuality is treated respectfully, sex in movies, literature and television has its place. If it’s genre appropriate, then fine. It’s when I perceive a line being crossed that I get a little miffed. Okay – A LOT miffed.

Case in point – I have said and I will continue to say that there is absolutely NO reason a shot of Kirk grabbing Uhura’s breasts in the bar fight scene is necessary for the development of either of their characters in the film. Uhura can be a strong female role without having to defend her breasts and Kirk can be just as big an asshole without showing what a letch he is.

Once again – a Trek female role is being defined by her place among the men – instead of being just another member of the crew. The shot was placed in the movie as a joke – a way to get the target audience (14-24 yr old boys) to giggle at the expense of the ONLY female bridge crewmember this film cast. (Remember – Number One is conspicuously missing.)

I’ve been bitching about how poorly Trek female characters had been written in TOS, TNG, and to some degree ENT. (I’m holding out on DS9 because so far I like what I see from Kira and Jadzia – and I haven’t seen enough of Voyager to render an opinion) but I guess I never realized the complete disregard for women a lot of the male fans have.

The one thing I really like about Uhura, was that for the most part – she avoided being defined by the men around her. She had a job which she performed well and was never unduly molested by her fellow crewmembers. Sure she kissed the Captain – but they were BOTH forced to. But she was treated respectfully and sure she was sexy as hell – but she didn’t have to sleep with or pine for a coworker.

Troi: She was totally defined from first moment we see her as being “Riker’s ex” and from that point on until season 5 she could be defined as the “whiny love interest for Riker.” After Face of the Enemy – when she actually started to really contribute something other than “Pain, pain, pain” and holding Barclay’s hand – did she start to really become a more meaningful character. The moment Jellico put her ass in the uniform she started to grow a little respect…I loved post season 5 Troi…she really evolved.

Same problem with Crusher! She was “Wesley’s mom.” Yes, she was a doctor – but she was the moralist whose morals twisted with every episode at the writer’s whims. Worse yet – she was also defined from “the Naked Now” as PINING for Picard – a stereotypically female trait that the writers just couldn’t resist giving her. So the two women who survived season one were defined by their unrequited love for the Captain and First Officer. Bleh. (I’m sorry – if my husband died under my boss’ command, I don’t think I would be wanting to jump into bed with him. And if I did – that tells you something about the quality of my marriage…dumbest character trait ever.)

Skipping DS9 and Voyager for now…

I end up in Enterprise. I loved both Hoshi and T’Pol. Loved them. T’Pol was an awesome Vulcan and her position on the ship was more than earned. Catsuit? Oh yeah – dumb as hell. She should have been in a uniform from day one. Personally, I thought she looked better in it. Hoshi? Talk about a well-written character….Hoshi’s fear about space-travel, the shudders on the ship, the EVA suits, everything was a perfect example of reality. Her fears WEREN’T stereotypically female – they were stereotypically HUMAN. If Hoshi’s character was a man who spent his life studying languages on Earth and got recruited to travel in a space-ship – I’m sure he would have suffered the same uneasiness of the new situation. The beauty was Hoshi grew from it – her character evolved. She was treated respectfully by those around her and not once ended up being defined as pining for love or being a mother or being a caretaker. She simply was a valued member of the crew…just like Travis, Reed, T’Pol and Trip…

Okay – so what am I off about?

Well – here on the TU threads I’ve had to explain why just the one shot of the new movie is insulting. To the point where somehow opinions about how women should just “get over it” and “deal with it” and that “they’re only just boobs” has become the mantra of a few of the guys.

Then this morning I read this:

A discussion about who was a better character – Crusher or Pulaski…

And the discussion turned into well - who would you rather see naked.


It is precisely this attitude that I opine that Mr. Abrams is pandering to. There are more female Trek fans than I think people give credit for. I venture to say at least half of the people on this board and at The Omega Sector BBS are women.

Then to add to it – I was recently involved in a conversation wherein someone said that racism was worse than sexism because it just was. This person must have held the opinion that there are varying severities of discrimination and that it was more okay to discriminate based on sex than it would be for skin color or heritage. This person thought that I should just get over my sensitivity about treatment of women because they “didn’t suffer” like blacks did through slavery and that no woman should be offended because guys find breasts hot.

No. I’m NOT kidding. This person actually said that to me on the eve of the inauguration when they IMd to tell me that all white people were racist. I’m still waiting for the apology.

Another person told me that race was no longer a “taboo” subject – that EVERYBODY knows that racism is wrong.

Trek is supposed to be moving forward here folks. There are quite a few women who were drawn to into the male dominated work force by the mere presence of a black woman on the bridge of fictional starship.

Trek had these lessons at its heart and yeah – they learned to be better about them as time went on – Crusher and Troi evolved a little and Hoshi and T’Pol were leaps better…but I can’t help but feel that somewhere those lessons are not only being lost – but that the stereotypes of women are being reinforced by 24 frames and that somehow I am being oversensitive because I see a whole new generation treating women disrespectfully.

So – here’s the imdb link to Star Trek 2009 .

Peruse the cast list for a bit. See if you can find a female character that isn’t stereotypical. Keep in mind Uhura “gets to” have her breasts in Kirk’s hands AND “gets to” take her top off in the movie too! I don’t know about you…the rest appear to be:

Mothers (Amanda Grayson and Winona Kirk)
Wives (Nero’s wife – Grayson and Kirk again)
Caretakers (A Doctor and a nurse)
Sex Objects (Orion Slave girl and Flirty Cadet)
Or what appear to be toss-offs - a Lt. and a Transporter Chief….ooooh. Exciting
And get this: The ONLY females in command positions….Are Romulan. The enemy.

This is foul.

I want this to begin a real adult discussion. If you think I’m wrong – let me know the reasons why! I promise to be adult and listen to your point of view. I promise to really try to hear you. I may not agree with you, but if I really am wrong about asking for something better for women in Trek – I need to know why.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2-5-09 She's Off Again - Target - Pocketbooks

This is going to be a chore. SPOILER ALERT!!!

I can’t seem to bring myself to pick up “A Singular Destiny” to finish it. My gut is telling me to take it, along with the Destiny Trilogy and every single TNG featured book all the way back to Death in Winter (Exception – Q&A) and mail them back to Pocketbooks to say:


They’re getting more and more desperate and it shows. Ever since Picard jumped in bed with Crusher – TNG Pocketbooks have jumped the shark.

They’re just appalling. And now to make another “point” they’ve killed off another Voyager character…

What. The. Hell?

If I were a Voyager fan I’d be spitting nails. Hell, I’m spitting nails now and I’ve only seen a dozen Voyager episodes!

Pocketbooks is wasting the talents of people like K.R.A. DeCandido and David Mack by asking them to tear down the very fabric of the Starfleet and the UFP just so they can make it into the image of…


Battlestar Gallactica.

Well how-de-frickin-do!

I bet Moore is just filled with supreme ego-puffing joy now that he’s got Star Trek businesses trying to make their franchise more like his.

I’m disgusted. I’m angry and I’m not sure what it will take for me to pick this book back up and finish it to review.

At least with the Mirror Universe books, there’s a reason to see your favorite characters get offed BEGIN SPOILER Riker’s death in MU: Shards and Shadows was especially funny and intensely gratifying for me END SPOILER but I’m beside myself with fury over what Pocketbooks has done to the once beautiful and hopeful place universe that Star Trek used to be.

Somebody buy me a bottle of wine when they come out with the book where the Borg return and they start raping people or disemboweling them as they search for their “Earth.” Because at this rate – that book will be out by next year.

So – yeah, the formal review of this book might take awhile. I’ll have to have an empty stomach to pick it up again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

2-2-09 30 Seconds and KRAD

Well - $3 million and 30 seconds later, the second Star Trek trailer has been released. So far the response is pretty positive. The Trekkies seems to be pleased. The non-Trekkies that I’ve heard from also seem to be excited about the film. And apart from a couple of emails that made me think twice – I’m also pretty happy with the new trailer.

I’m glad to see that somebody got to use the skydiving idea that wasn’t able to be used from Generations. I’m also glad that they played up the excitement as opposed to the sex.

I’m still a little worried about the script. One of my favorite Trek threads has heavily harped on Kirk’s “Why are you even talking to me, maaan” line and I have to admit, at first it didn’t bug me, but after reading pages of people ragging on it, I’m more amused than anything. I lost it entirely when someone compared the line to Zoots from the Muppets.

We’re getting close to the three-month mark now. The advertising blitz is just beginning to roll, so I’m sure there will be plenty of fodder for us to chew on shortly.

In the meantime, I’m going to delve back into the world of Star Trek literature and see if I can force myself to finish Star Trek: A Singular Destiny by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Don’t get me wrong. KRAD remains my favorite ST author…but damn – since the end of the Destiny Trilogy I’m finding the actual story-lines to be more and more painful to get through. Not because I can’t handle the power of the story-lines, no, because I’m really beginning to think that the people who have been fired by the dwindling soap opera markets have flocked to Simon and Schuster and have invaded PocketBooks with an incredibly whacked sense of story-telling that completely obliterates Trek idealism.

Well – I will finish the book and will review it for TrekUnited. Unless things turn around in the plot of this book, don’t expect me to be happy with it – but I will be happy with KRAD’s style. I always am. He can get me to love a character in one paragraph. (I never fall in love in the first sentence.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jumpin In

Just thought I'd pop in this evening to say I'm glad Arizona made a show of it and also to forward on to all my Trek-fan-friends this wonderful new BLOG by LeVar Burton...