Thursday, March 30, 2006

LOST Cartography 

Ah, yes, another non-thrilling LOST episode in which the writers further hint that previously neon-lit clues (Locke's dad = Sawyer) are probably, most likely, almost certainly true while other mysteries (how was Locke paralyzed?) go completely unaddressed. Just to make us forget about all that, they throw us a bone. Behold, the Map of Leg Crushage:

The Blacklit original

In black and white

Overlay with some text filled in

Nearly all text filled in (great job, whoever did this!)

Apparently the producer's key, for a magazine (way to suck the fun out of the chase, writers)

More translations from story-hungry fans will no doubt turn up throughout the day (is it not sad that one has to look in the subtext for new action?), but here's what we know so far:

Four station symbols are clear: Swan, Arrow, Staff (cadeucas), Flame (not previously seen)
Center station is labeled "?" which is the title of a future episode

LatinPhrases translated:
Cogito ergo doleo = I think therefore I suffer
Malum consilium quod mutari non potest = It is a bad plan which cannot be changed
Sursum Corda = Lift up your hearts
credo nos, in fluctu eodem esse = I think we're on the same wavelength/wave/sea
un sit magna, tamen certe lenta ira deorum es = The wrath of the gods may be great, but it certainly is slow
Aegrescit medendo = the disease worsens with the treatment/the remedy is worse than the disease
hic sunt dracones = here there be dragons
ursus maritimus = polar bear
liberte te ex inferno = free yourself (?) from the underworld
nil actum reputa si quid superest agendum = consider nothing done if anything remains to be done
malum non fidit atra = evil does not trust the dark/evil has split the dark/black things

Dates listed:

December 7th 1981 - The Swan Station was the sight of a H.G. (Hanzo Group) Delegation Inspection
October 28th 1984 – suspected shutdown
1985 – Caduceus Station believe abandoned due to A.H. / MDG incident
April 8th 2000 - Dharmatel intranet Complete shutdown in effect
August 15th 2001 - Dharmatel intranet Complete shutdown in effect
Revision on April 4th 2002 – possible Zoological Site identified
January 6th 2006 - Dharmatel intranet Complete shutdown in effect

MDG = M. DeGroot (conceived of the Dharma Initiative)
AH = Alvar Hanso (the 'star' of the Orientation video)
The equations relate to gravitational pull and magnetic field strength

Finally, if Helen isn't in on the Long Con of Locke, I will eat my hat.

ETA: Visit Wikipedia for latest developments on the Blast Door (I still like my name for it better, and, yes, I did contribute to the information.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The New Frontier 

It's long been my opinion that if you're a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation and missing the good old days, you should pick up a TNG novel by Peter David. Dozens of authors have taken the leap, but he understands the characters and stays true to their sketches, building books around who they are, not forcing them into a story he wants to tell. Since the TNG's debut, Star Trek fans have counted on him to fill in the blanks that overachieving script writers couldn't be bothered to tie up: He wrote Imzadi to tell the story of Riker and Troi's first meeting and their eternal ties, a plot point regularly visited but never explained, and Imzadi 2 on the Troi/Worf relationship fallout, a storyline developed over TNG's last 2 seasons but abandoned unceremoniously when Worf joined DS9. Most of his stories were written with Gene Roddenberry's blessing, and how he received it is obvious--he writes like a true fan. The drama, humanity, and humor that made TNG a fantastic show are there and I was always sorry he hadn't been tapped for the heinous crimes that were the TNG movies.

The History
Besides TNG, Peter David is known for comic books like Spiderman, Justice League, The Punisher, and the Hulk, TV shows like Babylon 5, and just about every other ComicCon-variety thing you could come up with. He's a fountain of creative energy. And that, my friends, was how a new creature was born in 1997...Star Trek: The New Frontier. The day I stumbled across it, I was taking refuge from college stress in the local B&N, and in a little paperback buried in the scifi section he announced he was going to do something experimental and would we mind just sticking with him for a while? Or at least that's how I interpreted it.

Inspired with his new creation, he churned out 4 books in the first 2 months with a 6 month break and over a dozen in the series' first 4 years, attracting a throng of TNF addicts spoiled with new stories. Suddenly in 2001, it stopped. He was burnt out and invented another series called Sir Apropos of Nothing, general scifi, but for 2 years, nothing TNF but a few dribbles. Then with no fanfare, October 2003 produced 3 new TNF books (I missed this whole group) followed by yet another break, except for a chapter or two. And now it's baaaack--his newest addition debuted February 28 in hardback--a format he hadn't used in the series yet.

The Plot
ST: TNF is set in the TNG universe using entirely new characters of his own invention, save for Elizabeth Shelby (spunky blonde of The Best of Both Worlds fame), Robin Lefler (a fanboy favorite originally played by Ashley Judd in The Game), and Soleta (Dr. Crusher's Vulcan assistant); the benefit of this being that the scriptwriters could never Bermangle them in their own special way. The crew of the Excalibur is bizarre and decidedly mixed: the security officer is literally a rock; the science officer is a Hermat; and the engineer is, we eventually learn, a Q (of the Continuum, not the alphabet). Captain Mackenzie is brash in a Kirk-on-a-suicidal-day kind of way and in love with First Officer Shelby with the delicious angst of Riker and Troi. Without budget constraints for special fx, the books contain epic, spectacular battles with the Tholians (an TOS villain) and new villains intent on converting/destroying the galaxy, not unlike the Cylons on BSG or the Ori on SG1.

The Plug
If you're looking for a distraction, The New Frontier fits the bill. It isn't too deep, but not so casual as to insult your intelligence, and it's like visiting an old friend. Most of the books aren't in the bookstore anymore, but they're all in digital format on Amazon or available for a dollar or less in the used section, minus the newest ones. One more thing... he was so successful in establishing its mythology that his characters are spread across several other book series by different authors and nobody really seems to have the entire list. But here it is, in order of events contained therein, as best I could figure:

Star Trek: The New Frontier series
1. House of Cards July 1997
2. Into the Void July 1997
3. The Two Front War August 1997
4. Endgame August 1997 (these first 4 are now under one hardback cover)
5. Martyr March 1998
6. Fire on High April 1998
Once Burned: Captain's Table #5 October 1998
Double Time October 2001 (DC Comics graphic novel, now found in "Star Trek: Other Realities")
Double or Nothing: Double Helix #5 August 1999
7. The Quiet Place November 1999
8. Dark Allies November 1999
9. Requiem: Excalibur September 2000
10. Renaissance: Excalibur February 2001
11. Restoration: Excalibur November 2001
Cold Wars: Gateways #6 October 2001
What Lay Beyond: Gateways #7 June 2002
12. Being Human November 2001
13. Gods Above October 2003
14. Stone and Anvil October 2003
15. No Limits October 2003
16. Missing in Action February 2006

Prequels and minor appearances:
Starfleet Academy books #1-3, first published in 1993, introducing Zak Kebron, Soleta, and McHenry
Imzadi 2, with a few characters dropping in
Tales from the Captain's Table, one chapter on Shelby June 2005
Tales from the Dominion War, one chapter on Zak Kebron August 2004



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