So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When Foster was at Farpoint a few years ago, he talked a little bit about that experience. In general, Fox's licensing department was difficult to work with in the 90s.

    Ann Crispin once talked about working on an Alien project where they apparently read from the beginning of the manuscript until they hit something they didn't like, and then they would stop there, say that one thing needed to be fixed, and repeat. It was tedious and time-consuming.

    And they were positively draconian on The X-Files.

    Not all IP owners are easy to work with.
     
  2. Cyfa

    Cyfa Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Final Frontier, by Diane Carey
     
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  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Conan: The Hour of the Dragon. REH's only full-length Conan novel, which I haven't read in ages.

    Stumbled onto a cheap paperback copy in a used bookstore.
     
  4. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  5. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
     
  6. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commodore Commodore

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    Finished Terminator Salvation: cold war, a good novel.

    Greg Cox I wouldn't mind if you write another Terminator novel set in the futures war :)
     
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  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Just finished Living Memory on Sunday, watched DSC: "That Hope is You, Part 1," last night, and read the prologue to Wonderlands this morning.

    Does Wonderlands spoil anything beyond "That Hope is You, Part 1" (and of course, the general state of DSC at the beginning of the season)?
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I haven't read it yet, but from the descriptions, it presumably spoils the ending of episode 3x2 in one respect, with regard to the passage of time between episodes.
     
  9. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Thanks!
     
  10. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Last night I finished reading Honky in the House: Writing & Producing The Jeffersons by Jay Moriarty (2019).

    Now, I read a lot of books about the making of classic television series. It’s one of my go-go subjects as I love reading all of the behind the scenes stuff like the development of a series, the writing, the casting, the shooting of the episodes, etc.

    That said, I have to say that Honky in the House is one of the best of these types of books that I’ve read. The best of these bring up warm memories of when you first watched an old tv series (“I remember that episode!”) and make you want to watch that series again. Moriarty’s book very much does this for “The Jeffersons”.

    For those unfamiliar with “The Jeffersons” (1975-1985), it was a spin-off of another classic series, “All in the Family” (1971-1979), both overseen by Norman Lear.

    Starting with the second season, Moriarty and his writing partner, Mike Milligan, joined the writing staff on “The Jeffersons”. Prior to that, they had written episodes of “Good Times” and “Maude” (two other Norman Lear series), “That’s My Mama”, “Joe and Sons”, and “Chico and the Man”.

    Moriarty spends the opening chapters of Honky in the House quickly getting you through his early years (how he ended up wanting to be a television writer), getting married and moving to California to pursue that dream, submitting a story pitch to “All in the Family” for an episode called “The Draft Dodger” (which went unanswered at the time but which would be made into one of the all time most memorable episodes of that series many years later after Moriarty and Milligan were on “The Jeffersons”), meeting and forming his partnership with Milligan, and their experiences writing the episodes for the series I mentioned above.

    However, all of that is covered in just a small number of chapters, after which pretty much the entire rest of the book is either about their time working on “The Jeffersons” or a few side projects they worked on at the same time.

    Moriarty and Milligan quickly rose through the ranks at “The Jeffersons”, starting out as “Program Consultants”/“Assistant Story Editors”) for season two (their first season on the series), “Story Editors” for seasons three and four, “Producers” for season five, and “Executive Producers” for seasons six and seven.

    Not bad for a couple white television comedy writers on what became a number one hit “black” television situation comedy series. Moriarty addresses this several times, what it was like being asked over and over how a white man can write for black characters. He goes into his philosophy about this and also how his goal was always for his scripts (and the ones he oversaw the development of) to #1, “be funny”, and #2, to have something significant to say about life, society, race, serious issues, family, etc. But he would shelve an “issue” story idea until he and his partner could come up with a sound story to go with it. (“How do we make this funny? How do we explain how this would naturally work within the confines of our series and the lives of characters that we’ve already established?”)

    Moriarty goes pretty much chronologically through his years on “The Jeffersons”, season by season, and intersperses where appropriate his working relationships with Norman Lear, the other producers, and the cast (Sherman “George Jefferson” Hemsley, Isabel “Louise ‘Weezie’ Jefferson” Sanford, Marla “Florence” Gibbs, etc.).

    He doesn’t try to go into every single episode (this isn’t an “episode guide”). He brings up the ones that meant the most to him personally and also gives his thoughts on a handful of others for each season. (I won’t try to go into any specific ones here but, again, I was constantly going, “Oh yeah, I remember that one!” over and over again.)

    The book ends after Moriarty and Milligan completed their six year run on “The Jeffersons” (and also their overseeing the very short lived “Jeffersons” spin-off series, “Checking In”, starring Marla Gibbs’ Florence character which was shot after the completion of “The Jeffersons” season seven in 1981; four episodes of “Checking In” were written and shot very quickly, much faster than Moriarty and Milligan liked, due to an impending writer’s strike; the four episodes were aired, the series was cancelled, and Marla Gibbs returned to “The Jeffersons”, as she had wisely had put in her contract for the spin-off series).

    Moriarty and Milligan had already decided to leave “The Jeffersons” at the end of season seven, which they did, to accept an offer to develop new series ideas at another network. Honky in the House, being a book primarily about their time on “The Jeffersons”, ends here though and does not follow their careers beyond that. Perhaps Moriarty has a second book in mind.

    I highly highly highly recommend Honky in the House: Writing & Producing The Jeffersons to anyone who have ever enjoyed watching that classic television series (which at the time was the longest running American television situation comedy series: eleven seasons, 253 episodes). I also recommend it for people who just like to read in general about television shows were made in the 1970s and early 80s. (I gave this five out of five stars on GoodReads.)
     
  11. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks! I’ll have to add that one to my reading list!
     
  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    CASTLE SHADE by Laurie King. A murder mystery set in Transylvania in the 1920s, involving Marie of Rumania, which, I confess, I know of only as a punchline to a classic poem by Dorothy Parker: "And I am Marie of Rumania!"
     
  13. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Star Trek Sce book 7 Break down
     
  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I finished STVOY: Architects of Infinity this morning, and I really enjoyed it. I'll share my thoughts over the review thread.
    Next up I'll go back and finish up The Amazing Spider-Man: The Gauntlet The Complete Collection Vol. 2.
     
  15. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm getting through my backlog of recent TOS novels. I'm currently on The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox. After that one, I have The Higher Frontier, Agents of Influence and a Contest of Principles to get to.
     
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  16. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    THE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick DeWitt

    A long drag to get through this. It starts slowly, becomes fascinating partway through, and kind of just tails off at the end. A lot of it is interesting and there’s an occasional hint of a mystical element and even alchemy, but this is soon forgotten. The biggest problem is the dialogue, which is mind-bogglingly stilted, as if DeWitt is trying to do a pastiche of how a 19th Century cowboy diarist might try to be Shakespearean, but it just kills engagement, and interrupts the interest. The narration is in a similar vein, but that works as narration, so really it’s the dialogue that’s the problem, and which took me about two and a half months to get through.

    Apparently it was Booker nominated, and the back cover is replete with lyrical praise from a number of “[writer I’ve never heard of], author of [book I’ve never heard of]” – which leaves me wondering if they’re real people or just names made up by the marketing department. Either way they seem to have read a different book than I did.

    (“Well, that’s why you’re not in Award-winning high literati circles, Dave” I hear you cry. Maybe so, but the odds on me not having HEARD of any of them are pretty damn slim.)
     
  17. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It’s not just you, David. Also, the listing has two excerpts from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, that noted bastion of great literary criticism.

    I am reading about Saavik’s life in Unspoken Truth.
     
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  18. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    I'm told the writers quoted on the UK blurb might all be specifically Canadian writers with books about Canada. I could google them I suppose, but can't be arsed. I'm having much quicker fun with Agatha Christie's 1933 supernatural anthology The Hound Of Death now, which contains the story that Witness For The Prosecution is based on. Which I'm curious about in terms of "what supernatural element?" as there isn't one in the play or movie...
     
  19. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I assume you're being tongue-in-cheek, but, speaking as somebody who's been writing jacket copy for more than thirty years now, for any number of publishers, I assure you we don't make up quotes or reviews. :)
     
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  20. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    For several months now, I've been reading the screenplays of Star Trek films (and then watching the resulting film.) What I would love would be the screenplay as it stood the day principal photography began, to get an idea what the producers/writer(s)/director though the movie was going to be on day 1. But as I bought the screenplays off eBay over multiple years, I take what I can get.

    So, over the weekend I read Star Trek: Insurrection, and watched the movie twice. I probably haven't watched the movie in a couple decades, and my reactions today are considerably more positive as a man a little past 60 than they were when the movie came out, when I was still a couple years shy of 40. In short, I like this movie a lot. It's tight, and pretty much everything in the movie is there for a purpose, right up until the re-shot "blowed up real good" ending added upon the orders of the studio. I think the original ending was better, because it paid off the movie's theme of attempting to recapture lost youth, but the final ending isn't bad by any means.

    But unlike some other Star Trek movies I could name, it's about something meaningful, but it doesn't bludgeon the viewer with "MESSAGE!" There's some subtlety in the approach, a lot of humor, and a lot of heart.

    I share Piller's confusion about why the movie was a relative failure -- I can't even remember what I disliked about it 23 years ago, and am baffled by the mixed reactions from critics and audiences. I mean, yeah, Insurrection feels a little like a 2-hour episode, but so what? Maybe it resonates more strongly now than it did then because of the political moment we find ourselves in, when forces are waging an all-out effort to demolish the ideals our society is based on.

    I also finally got around to reading Fade In, screenwriter Michael Piller's book about writing (and endlessly rewriting) the screenplay. (I have the PDF copy that TrekCore used to host, before the book was officially published in 2016.) This book zoomed straight to the "top 10" on my list of all-time favorite Star Trek nonfiction books, so now I've ordered the dead tree version for my bookshelf. I'd love to have a book like this for each Trek film. It's exactly what I'd like to know about how a screenplay gets pitched, written, refined, shot, edited, reshot, and finally released. It includes multiple rejected early treatments, and explanations why each failed to make the cut.

    The book also presents a more positive view of Rick Berman than we usually get. Piller praises Berman as a collaborative partner. The screenplay they concocted (with input from director Jonathan Frakes, and stars Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner) is really quite good. I've been forced to seriously rethink my opinion of Berman.

    If you can afford the price, this book is well worth reading. Highly recommended!
     
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