Thursday, February 16, 2017

Blast from the Past Movie Review: Hellboy (2004)

Although Hellboy is not as well-known as, say, Batman or Spider-Man (no great surprise since he's from Dark Horse, as opposed to the Marvel-DC duopoly), he still got a comic-book movie made about him. Two in fact. I watched the first film for Myopia Defend Your Childhood. Here's the podcast. And now my review...

The Plot

In 1944, a group of Nazis led by the Russian sorcerer Rasputin have occupied an island off the coast of Scotland in order to summon the Lovecraftian Ogdru Jahad to help them win WWII. They're interrupted by a platoon of American soldiers, but not before they summon a demonic ape-like baby. The American soldiers feed him Baby Ruth candy bars and adopt him as their mascot "Hellboy." Fast-forward to the modern era and Hellboy (Ron Perlman) has grown up to fight paranormal threats for the FBI while pining after the pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). New FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans) is assigned to the team just in time for Rasputin to rise again and try to summon the Ogdru Jahad, with Hellboy playing a surprising role...

The Good

*An impressive amount of research into mythology, folklore, and the occult went into the film. Hellboy's anti-demon bullets are filled with holy water, silver, shavings of white oak, etc., which he refers to as "the works." All of those are reputed to have supernatural properties--holy water for exorcising demons and repelling vampires, silver to kill werewolves, etc. The Nazis attempt their ceremony in Scotland, despite the fact it's on the territory of one of their enemies and they're losing the war, because two ley lines intersect there.

*Although a movie with an outright demon as the lead doesn't seem like a major candidate for a Christian film, this is actually a pretty strongly Christian movie. Many characters are depicted as being faithful (Catholic specifically), Christian icons are depicted as having supernatural power against Evil, etc.

*There's a whole lot of Rule of Cool going on here, including a clockwork cyborg Nazi assassin, Rasputin using Magitek to summon demons, etc. It's a lot of fun.

*That Dr. Broom (John Hurt), Hellboy's adoptive father, is terminally ill is shown, not told. And this leads to a rather surprising end for the character.

*There are some really impressive visuals, like the temple in the mountains of Moldova where human blood is put to religious use.

*I liked the Lovecraftian influences in the film. The Ogdru Jahad are extra-dimensional tentacle monsters served by black magicians much like Cthulhu, while the opening of the film cites De Vermis Mysteriis, an occult book that's part of the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft was unappreciated in his own time and is a pretty niche topic today, so that's pretty cool.

*The movie has got a fair number of amusing one-liners, including various sex jokes associated with the hellhound Samael. Sex jokes associated with a tentacled demon-dog--I promise you, they're a lot more clever than they sound. Toward the end of the film, there's a resurrected half corpse of a Russian that gets a lot of really good lines, all in subtitles.

*Hellboy has a character arc. He starts out rather immature despite being over sixty years old (the movie explains this in "reverse dog years") and acts like a somewhat stalkerish high schooler where Liz and romantic rival Myers are concerned. However, this is something he grows out of by the end of the film. The bureaucratic and prejudiced FBI agent Thomas Manning has an arc too--at the beginning of the movie he refers to the paranormal team as a bunch of freaks, but by later on he's teaching Hellboy how best to light a cigar.

The Bad

*The film's single biggest flaw is how slow it is. It's over two hours long and there were many times I was looking at my watch. The special-effects failures (I'll get to that later) were pretty minor in comparison to just how un-entertaining this movie was in many places. I'd suggested on the podcast that some of the Samael fight-scenes could have been cut (just ditch the whole "if you die two will take your place" bit) to speed the movie along, even if it meant "killing your darling" and eliminating the scene where Hellboy stops a fight to save some kittens.

*The special effects have not held up very well. Maybe it's because I was watching an ordinary DVD on a Blu-Ray player on a high-definition TV, but there was a lot of stuff that was obviously computer-generated imagery. When I saw this on the big screen in college it might not have been this obvious, but it certainly is now. Many of the close-ups of Samael look real because they clearly used a model or a puppet and Hellboy himself is an excellent prosthetic/makeup work, but there are far too many scenes that are "invasion of the video game."

(Still not as bad as Spawn though.)

*A character dies because Hellboy left his home go to stalk Liz and Myers on their possible-date. I would expect that to be a much bigger deal for both Hellboy and Liz. Hellboy's maturation and willingness to back off where Liz is concerned could have been driven by the quite-justifiable guilt he would feel over the situation, but other than seeing him holding the character's rosary at the funeral, it's never touched on. Given how both Liz and Hellboy are depicted as Catholics, they could even explore stereotypical Catholic guilt some.

*At this character's rainy funeral, they've got a "sea of umbrellas" shot. That seems to be a bit of a cliche in film--according to this link here, Hellboy is actually paying homage to the film Foreign Correspondent, but I've seen it so many times that my first thought was "cliche." This isn't totally fair--I've complained about how the John Carter stories were ripped off so many times that by the time the movie came out ideas the Carter mythos originated had become cliched--but I still felt it.

*The Nazi soldiers in the prologue are so focused on the occult ritual they're protecting they are completely oblivious to the American soldiers creeping up on them. Given how the Nazis are losing the war at this point and they've snuck onto the territory of an Allied power, I figured they'd be a lot more alert. Prolonging the battle between the Americans and the Germans could be a means of building suspense--the longer the fight goes on, the more likely something gnarly is going to come through that portal.

The Verdict

See it once if you can get it off Netflix or something. It's not really worth buying. 6.0 out of 10.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What If Eisenhower (First) Fights the Japanese in the Pacific?

Awhile back I wrote a blog post about the alternate-history timeline "The Battle At Dawn," in which Pearl Harbor is better defended and the bloodied U.S. Pacific Fleet sails forth to duel the Japanese Combined near Midway Island. The user whose handle is Galveston Bay is writing a second story set in this same world entitled "The Shoestring Warriors of Luzon."

The point of divergence from our timeline is that Douglas MacArthur dies in a car accident when visiting the United States in 1937. MacArthur when he was good was very good (he was recommended for the Medal of Honor during the 1914 occupation of Veracruz, earned a lot of awards during World War I, and oversaw the Inch'on landings and subsequent campaign that would have destroyed North Korea were it not for China intervening), but when he was bad he was very, very bad.

The most relevant badness to this story is his failure to properly prepare the Philippines to face the Japanese during the lead-up to the Pacific War and his psychological paralysis that led to most of the U.S. aircraft in the Far East getting destroyed on the ground eight hours after Pearl Harbor when they had the opportunity to return the favor and attack Japanese airbases on Taiwan when weather had their aircraft grounded.

(Holy crap, how could someone who'd demonstrated that much talent on other occasions drop the bomb this absolutely badly? He should have gotten the Medal for some of the stuff he did when he was a lot younger--the Filipino farble should have ended his career, or at the very least not been rewarded.)

So with MacArthur out of the way, Eisenhower, who'd served under MacArthur, takes his position in the Philippines. His plans for the Filipino military are much less grandiose than MacArthur's, but they're implemented a lot more competently. Consequently, although the Filipino forces are smaller than those that faced the Japanese in our history, they're much better-trained, better-equipped, and better-organized. The Japanese, especially since they've taken worse lumps fighting a major naval battle soon after Pearl Harbor, are going to face a much tougher fight.

Right now we're almost to the Japanese attack on the Philippines, with the Japanese having already attacked Pearl Harbor. Galveston Bay has promised this is the first of three parts and there will be other stories detailing the various campaigns of this alternate Pacific War. I still intend to remain self-banned from the site to focus on other obligations, but I will definitely keep you all posted about his projects.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Audio "I am the Wendigo" Is Here...

Like horror? Like audio-books? In that case, you should check out the audio version of my short horror story "I am the Wendigo" on Amazon, Audible, and on iTunes.

Awhile back, I posted about how I might Kickstart an audio-book, specifically "Wendigo" since it was my best-selling story at the time. Not a lot came of it for awhile, until I decided to just shell out the cash myself and put together an audio version. After all, according to science-fiction legend John Scalzi, a significant chunk of his income comes from audio books and according to some of the writing podcasts I listen to, not having audio versions of one's books is "leaving money on the table." In addition to being my top seller it's fairly short, so it'd make a good test project for audio books.

My friend Loren narrated, while Dudeletter Podcasting handled the production over Christmas. After some tinkering so it matches Amazon's quality standards, it's available today.

If this is a success, I'm considering an audio version of my short Viking horror story "Nicor," which you can read online for free here. I've got the audio rights to "Nicor" and "Melon Heads," since the former was published three years ago and "Melon Heads" exists solely in independent Kindle form. My other short stories I'll be able to put in audio format when their exclusivity period with (Digital Fiction) ends.

So watch this space. I'll keep you all posted about future audio projects here.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Three-Day Battle At Pearl Harbor? Check Out "The Battle at Dawn"

I'm still self-banned from the alternate-history forum, but logged out I can still view the public sections. In the Post-1900 forum there's a new thread entitled "The Battle At Dawn: The First Battle Between The United States and Japan Dec. 7-10, 1941."

The divergence from our history is that Admiral James O. Richardson, who vocally opposed moving the U.S. Pacific Fleet from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor and was relieved of his position as commander in chief of the U.S. fleet as a result, is summoned to Washington by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, who persuades Richardson to keep his mouth shut. Knox, Richardson, and Roosevelt meet and agree that although the Pacific Fleet must remain at Pearl Harbor, the base's defenses will be strengthened.

(Richardson thought the fleet too vulnerable to air-sea attack where it was, a position that was ultimately vindicated.)

Richardson is given a partial demotion that ends up being better for everybody--he's placed in direct command of the Pacific Fleet in preparation to face the Japanese threat. Admiral Husband Kimmel, who was relieved of command of the Pacific Fleet in actual history due to Pearl Harbor, is sent to command the Atlantic Fleet in the undeclared naval war against Germany.

As a result of Richardson--who helped create War Plan Orange to deal with a possible war with Japan--commanding the defense of Hawaii, the U.S. is much more prepared for the Japanese attack when it comes. This might not be an unmitigated blessing, however--if the U.S. fleet left Pearl Harbor to face the Japanese in deep water, every sunk ship would have been lost for good (many ships sunk at Pearl were raised afterward) and many more lives would have been lost. The situation could have gotten so bad that Admiral Chester Nimitz said the fleet not sortieing was "God's blessing."

At this point in the timeline the bloodied but angry Pacific Fleet is about to face the Japanese Combined Fleet near Midway Island (the Battle of Midway is coming early this time, but there's no guarantee who'll win), so we'll have to see how that goes...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Movie Review: Rogue One (2016)

The other night I saw the new Star Wars movie Rogue One, the first of the "Anthology" films set in the Star Wars universe now that it's owned by Disney.

How was it? Here goes...

The Plot

The opening crawl of Star Wars: A New Hope describes how the Rebel Alliance has won its first victory over the evil Empire and how the plans for the new Imperial weapon--the Death Star--have been stolen.

How did that happen, you ask? Well, the movie begins with the sinister Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) coming to take into custody runaway scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), in the process killing wife Lyra Erso. Their young daughter Jyn (played by Felicity Jones as an adult) flees the scene and when we next see her, she's an adult in an Imperial prison. A group of Rebels spring her--without much enthusiasm on her part--and Rebel leader Mon Mothma assigns her and Rebel spy Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to retrieve information on the Death Star sent by her father, who sufficient to say is not pleased with what the Imperials are making him do.

Although we all know that the Rebels will get their hands on the Death Star plans, just how that happens is where the fun is...

The Good

*I really like the concept of anthology films in general. The Star Wars universe is so gigantic that you can tell lots of different stories that don't ever touch on the main characters like the Skywalkers, Han and Chewbacca, etc. In the case of Rogue One, only Darth Vader, Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and a couple others are established characters. The rest are new.

*This is basically a war movie in a science fiction universe. The last third or so of it is a gigantic battle sequence that's very well done and makes it far clearer just what this movie is about than, well, "Star Wars."

*Vader only appears in two scenes, but in the second of the two, well, hot damn. It's more like Star Wars Rebels than the original trilogy in terms of Vader's combat ability. Heck, some reviewers describe that scene as being more like a horror movie.

*The movie gets more into the moral ambiguity that fighting a galaxy-wide war will necessitate. We have Rebel groups excommunicated by the Alliance for excessive violence, we have assassinations, etc. Waging war against a ruthless opponent is pretty much impossible to do with clean hands and this is made clear.

*I'm not overly familiar with the cartoons like Clone Wars and Rebels, especially the former, but I know that Saw Gerrera, the rebel too extreme for the Rebellion, was originally from Clone Wars. And I'm told the Ghost, the ship from Rebels, appears during the fleet-action scene. It's good to see Disney integrating all the different Star Wars properties.

*Speaking of the fleet-action scene, my favorite scene from Return of the Jedi was the Battle of Endor. The Battle of Scarif that serves as the climax of the film is a lot smaller-scale, but it's still well-done.

*The ground-combat portion of the Battle of Scarif is well-done as well. We see combined-arms and a much more effective demonstration of the importance of air support than the hovership-looking things used to trip up AT-ATs in The Empire Strikes Back.

*The reprogrammed Imperial enforcer robot K2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, is pretty fun. He gets some good lines.

*The movie is really dark. That might not be to everybody's taste, but given how the Emperor is building a superweapon and is on the verge of dissolving the Senate and cementing himself firmly as uber-dictator, these were not good days. Obi-Wan calls them "the dark times" for a reason.

The Bad

*The movie is extremely long and the first parts of it are rather slow. That was my single biggest problem with the movie.

*Owing to the importance of the Death Star, they needed Grand Moff Tarkin, but Peter Cushing (who played him in the original) is dead. They briefly had him at the end of Revenge of the Sith, seen from a distance, but that wouldn't work this time. However, rather than recasting him with a new actor made up to look like Tarkin, they used CGI to paste Cushing's face onto actor Guy Henry's body. It kind of looks funny and I wish they hadn't done that.

*No title crawl. This is petty, but it might provide some good context.

The Verdict

Better than The Force Awakens by far. Hopefully the first of many to come. 9.0 out of 10.

Monday, November 28, 2016

LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG GUNS, My Third Original Novel, Is Done

This is a little late, but here's some good news. My third original novel Little People, Big Guns is now finished.

It's actually been finished for a couple weeks now, but I wanted to run the last three chapters through the writing group, go through a backlog of older critiques I'd set aside due to real-life obligations, review the comments from a friend who'd read the whole thing in a couple days (it's around 28,000 words, which technically makes it a novella), and then finally give the whole thing a once-over before I sent it out. I've got a contact at a small bizarro press whom I'd pitched an earlier version of the story to at the World Horror Conference 2015, so I sent it his way and hoped for the best.

Okay, maybe I should actually describe the plot. A few years ago I read a news story claiming TV chef Gordon Ramsay's dwarf porn star double was found dead in a badger den. It turns out the story might not actually be true, but at that point the earliest version of the story, entitled "Badgers vs. Midgets," was born. Basically a little person (a whole lot people with the condition actually consider "midget" a slur) is killed by a predatory badger, the local law enforcement declines to investigate, and so the local little persons take matters into their own hands.

Unfortunately, as I learned from the gentleman at the pitch session, that would only work as the first act. What happens next? Fortunately I was quick-thinking and spun out a plot involving militant animal-rights activists and a bear-sized super-badger. As my writing-group cohort Katherine Mankiller would put it, "peak silliness" has been achieved. I spent the last year and a half banging it out and now it's in someone else's hands.

And although the story seems tasteless and exploitative, it's actually much more thoughtful. LPBG touches on issues like the abortion of fetuses with dwarfism, mobility issues little people face, people rubbing little persons' heads for good luck (Tyrion Lannister has something to say about that), etc.

And that might make it an awkward fit. It's too farcical for a book seriously exploring the issues people with this condition face, but it might be too thoughtful for straight-up exploitation. I might well have to independently publish it like I did with a bunch of my short stories. There aren't very many publishers of bizarro fiction (which is the literary equivalent of a cult movie--think Bigfoot Crank Stomp or Shatnerquest), so I might exhaust those fairly quickly. I'm going to pitch it Thursday through #Pitmad, but that hasn't gotten me a lot of luck with more mainstream fare.

And if it does get published, either from a small press or as an Amazon original, it'll probably be under a pseudonym. I want the "Matthew W. Quinn brand" associated with more highbrow content like The Thing in the Woods (a teen horror novel that ultimately becomes a tale of interstellar war--think Down The Bright Way with monsters), Bloody Talons (an oral history of an alien invasion a la World War Z), and Battle for the Wastelands (post-apocalyptic steampunk Western--think Dark Tower meets Game of Thrones). A lowbrow exploitation farce, even one with a heart, doesn't really fit.

(A lot of writers have different pseudonyms for different brands. Delilah S. Dawson's fantasy-western Shadow novels Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens go out under Lila Bowen, while James R. Tuck's Lovecraftian Red Right Hand is published under Levi Black and Bryan Cohen's Cinderella Dreams of Fire is published under Casey Lane.)

And the planned sequel, should this one take off, gets even more farcical. It involves a hidden community of little people called the Shire under threat from a master criminal code-named Santa Claus who kidnaps members of the community to force them to work in a mine. And his muscle is a blue-eyed white-furred Bigfoot. Nope, not classy at all.

I'll keep you all posted once I get more information.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

FREE Supervillain-Protagonist Story on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

For Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2016, I've made my short story "Ubermensch" FREE. Those of you interested in superheroes, supervillains, villain-protagonist stories, and diversity in speculative fiction (lead character Andrew Patel is Indian-American) should take a look.

(Alex Claw has illustrated many of my Amazon stories, which can be found here. I think "Ubermensch" is the best cover. Here's his DeviantArt account if you're looking for an artist.)

And now for some background you might find interesting. I first started writing "Ubermensch" sometime in 2011. I published it independently on Amazon in early August 2013, with the sequel "Needs Must" appearing just under two weeks later. I've got a lot of potential stories to tell with this character, as the fact I've made it a series on Amazon indicates.

If you read the story, please leave an honest review, good or bad. I've got a cover made and a fourth (but not a third) story written for a four-story Andrew Patel collection. If and when it goes up, it will tie Andrew Patel and his world in with my Lovecraftian novel The Thing in the Woods. But I'd like to know if there's sufficient interest first.

Here's the cover for the planned collection for those who'd like to know more:

Alex did this one too.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Free Stories! Happy Halloween!

I know it's not Halloween yet, but I get up really early in the morning for work and so I figured I'd put this out there now, lest I forget. As a Halloween gift for all my fans out there, I am setting TWO of my Kindle stories FREE on for that day only.

The first one is "I am the Wendigo," my first professionally-published story. I sold it in 2006 to a webzine called Chimaera Serials that no longer exists. Like many authors whose work has gone out of print, I found it quite nice to have an easy republishing route and I've made about as much if not more as an indie that I was paid for the first rights.

The second one is "Melon Heads." I wrote that one when I was in college after reading about the Melon Heads, an urban legend centered in rural Ohio, on the Internet. I tinkered with it over the years and ultimately revised the story to be a dark comedy based on suggestions from Katherine Mankiller.

Both of these stories bear the Sean C.W. Korsgaard stamp of approval.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin Ought To Collaborate

In order to make sure the 2016 U.S. presidential election goes into the House of Representatives and consequently somebody better than Donald Trump (a lecherous authoritarian oaf who isn't the great businessman his supporters think) or Hillary Clinton (who will tilt the Supreme Court leftward, is opposed to gun rights, will empower the "illiberal left", and may get the US into more confrontations abroad) becomes president, the two most significant third-party candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and #NeverTrump Republicans' unofficial nominee Evan McMullin, should enter into a vote-sharing arrangement.

This idea is not my own. Casey Cho, an online pen-pal whom you can follow on Twitter here, suggested that Johnson and McMullin enter into an arrangement to maximize each others' chances of winning electoral votes and pushing the election into the House. 

To that end, Gary Johnson voters should support McMullin in Utah and other states in the "Mormon cultural sphere" (Casey said Idaho and Wyoming) and McMullin supporters should vote for Johnson everywhere else. This would be especially crucial in New Mexico, where Johnson was a popular governor and where people are predicting he could get an upset victory. I'm not basing my position on one news story--here's another source citing Republicans defecting to Johnson in the aftermath of Trump's "Grope-Gate."

Why, do you ask? According to the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, if no candidate gets a certain number of electoral votes (270 in this election), the contest goes to the House of Representatives. Congress will then pick from the top three electoral vote earners. This has not happened since 1824's infamous "Corrupt Bargain" election. No third-party candidate has won any states since 1968, so this has never been a realistic possibility, even though Ross Perot pulled nearly 20% in 1992.

Until now.

Before McMullin entered, I assumed that #NeverTrump Republicans would support Johnson by default. In one poll, in one district in Utah, Johnson was tied with Clinton and Trump, so the possibility he could get electoral votes in Utah (historically Republican, but owing to conservative Mormons not likely to support the libertine Donald Trump) and push a close election into the House was a very real possibility. 

However, McMullin, a Mormon himself and more palatable than the pro-choice pro-legalization-of-drugs Johnson to Utah's Mormon majority, came in. Now McMullin is polling 22% in Utah, just 4% behind the tied Trump and Clinton, while Johnson is polling at 14%. This article claims McMullin is in a statistical tie with the Big Two. If even half of Johnson's supporters in Utah vote McMullin, that could be enough to push him over the top and secure Utah's six electoral votes. Trump may yet collapse further to McMullin's benefit, but given the reality's of America's electoral system, this is the easiest way.

McMullin doesn't appear to be a significant factor in New Mexico and Johnson, depending on the polls, is as few as four points behind Trump and Clinton and as many as 14, in order for Johnson to push ahead of the Big Two, all hands will need to be on deck for him and every little bit will help.

Depending on how the states break down November 8, a McMullin victory in Utah and a Johnson victory in New Mexico alone might push the election into the House. In that case, McMullin will be the third candidate, not Johnson (Utah has six electoral votes, New Mexico five), but depending on how badly Trump implodes and how much damage Wikileaks does to Clinton, there might be more states in play.

Still, Johnson can't win Utah at this point and McMullin sure as heck can't win New Mexico. Working together is the only way I can think of that they can win electoral votes and (potentially) stop Trump and Clinton.

So make this go viral. Make Mr. Johnson and Mr. McMullin take notice of it. We can still save the Republic.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Geekly Oddcast Star Wars vs. Star Trek

On September 23rd, the fifth episode of The Geekly Oddcast premiered. I listened to the whole thing while at the gym and it turns out I'm actually in it--it's one of the episodes I contributed to via Skype because I couldn't actually get to Grand Master Thomas Herman's house on time.

(Yes, I actually forgot I was in a podcast. Sue me.)

The topic: Star Wars vs Star Trek. This has apparently been the subject of many a playground fight, although one of the podcast crew wonders what kind of playgrounds Thomas has been hanging out at. Based on my own childhood, it seems like playground fights had more to do with kids making fun of each other's parents or similar silliness--Star Wars vs. Star Trek seems to be the stuff of never-ending squabbles on Internet message boards.

Stuff I contributed a lot to in the episode:

*How the two franchises appeal to different groups of people. Star Wars is an epic fantasy story in space--although there are spaceships, laser weapons, etc., the science behind them is rather vague, you also have fantasy archetypes like the commoner-turned-hero (Luke Skywalker), the abducted princess (Princess Leia), the dark knight (Darth Vader), and both good and evil wizards (Obi-Wan Kenobi and Emperor Palpatine), and the Force is a kind of pseudo-magic. Star Trek is more realistic and the science is harder--based on its logo the Federation seems to be a successor state to the United Nations, the warp drive is theoretically possible, and members of the crew are from still-extant Earth nations (Kirk is American, Sulu is Japanese, Chekov is Russian).

*Comparing the Star Wars prequels with J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek films. I like Star Wars better in general, but I think the new Trek films are better than the new Star Wars films (and that includes The Force Awakens). Spears were shaken. Comparisons of Into Darkness and Wrath of Khan occurred. 9/11 Trutherism and the "the real enemy is your own military" tropes were denounced.

*The quality of Star Trek: The Next Generation, whether or not it was preachy, and the influence of Gene Roddenberry. I found Captain Picard extremely sanctimonious at times, but I think the point of Star Trek First Contact was that he was a giant hypocrite--he disdained 21st Century people as savages but when pressed (the Borg) he could be just as violent ("THIS FAR AND NO FARTHER!").

*In which I sing Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" and mimic Jar Jar Binks, much to Daniel's irritation.

Want more details on those topics or want to know what else we discussed? You can listen to it via Podbean here.