G & T Show 229 – James Swallow Returns
G & T Show 229 – James Swallow Returns is now available to download. Check it out here. Janet is away on spring break, but Terry and Mike are here with special guest James Swallow. Nick joins a little later after resolving some technical issues. This week, they interview James Swallow, discussing his latest books, games, and more. They also cover Star Trek News from across the Multi-verse, including General News, Games, and Unofficial Productions.
With Nick MIA, and James suddenly joining them, they begin the show and jump straight to the interview, bypassing their usual Coffee Klatch segment. It has been a while since they had last spoken with James. He begins by telling them about his time at Star Trek Destination: London with Una McCormack. He hopes they will ask them back for the next one, because they had a great time. He wasn’t sure if they had discussed Sight Unseen (his latest Titan novel) with them, but he has a new book out Star Trek TOS: The Latter Fire. These two books came out in quick succession, compared to his usual one per year.
The last time they spoke with him was in October for 24 Hours of G & T. James starts by discussing The Latter Fire. It’s the first TOS book released in 2016 for the 50th Anniversary. He has never written a TOS novel before this one, but he has written a movie era story with Cast No Shadow. In researching for the book, he revisited some of his favorite TOS episodes. It was published about a month ago and it is on both Terry and Mike’s reading list.
Terry brings up Sight Unseen and his Titan novels. This book takes place after The Fall series and could be considered as Titan’s second Five Year Mission. It also features a scary race that had only been seen once in TNG: The Solanae. Terry praises him for this book. He shares a story of an email he received from Kirsten Beyer who had read the book and got nightmares from it. They try not to provide spoilers, but Terry mentioned that it terrified her and if it was a film, she wouldn’t be able to watch it. Mike compares visually to the Phantasm movies. James usually writes SciFi and Action / Adventure stories, but took inspiration from Aliens and other similar films. He talks a little about the story and how he tried to split the focus between the family and the crew in dealing with the horror elements. It made the story scary in away that a guy in a hockey mask never could do.
To frame the discussion of Sight Unseen, Terry talks about how The Fall series shook up the universe and how it took Riker out of his comfort zone. James is having fun putting Riker in this situation and having him deal with the issues of husband, father, Captain, and now Admiral. The role of Admiral in Star Trek is portrayed and how Riker has been thrust into that position and has to worry about the big picture rather than focusing on his family and crew. His relationship with Christine Vale has also changed because of those events. They even discuss Christine’s first officer and the journey she took getting her into that position. Some spoilers are mentioned for The Fall and for Sight Unseen are given.
Nick joins them, but is still experiencing some issues. He eventually resolves them. The conversation shifts to the new television series. James was pleased to hear about it. When he was pitching for Star Trek: Voyager, he worked with Brian Fuller. He shares some of the memories of working with Fuller. He believes the show is going to be good, even before Nick Meyer, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth were added. He’s heard some rumors and seeing some of them come true has made them happier and happier. This new series will be a companion show to all of the others. It’s going to be part of that continuum. He doesn’t know where the show will fit into the timeline of the greater Trek Universe, but he’s excited to see where it is going to go. He speaks to the marketing and contractual decisions that went into setting the show’s debut to January 2017, specifically dealing with Star Trek Beyond, in order to avoid confusion.
He can’t remember the last time he was this excited about something. After some thought, he thought it was in regards to the first announcement for The Force Awakens. They hint about what they don’t want to see. James hopes to see a novel for television, which is the format currently used by many of the original television series produced by streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Star Trek is not a movie franchise. It does its best work as a serial narrative on television. Nick hopes that they will be able to match the quality and will be allowed to go places where other streaming shows have been doing. They talk about Marvel’s Netflix offerings and how it compares to their movies and other television series. They can touch upon subject matter that they were unable to do with networks looming over their shoulders. The new show can take some risks. It’s a new opportunity for Star Trek because they are able to create an entire season’s worth of story all at once without having to worry about the schedule of a weekly television show. The quality of the story telling could also end up being significantly better because the need to push bad scripts in order to get an episode out is eliminated. They don’t think Trek can afford to go back to strictly an episodic narrative. The audience wants more of a serial narrative with character that grow and that can even be killed off. This is the death of the reset button.
Nick and James compare Voyager to Enterprise, which was more similar to DS9. James thinks Enterprise was one of the biggest missed opportunities. Many Coto’s attempt to create a more serialized series was a good but it was too late. Braga and Berman were feeling a little burned out by Enterprise. Nick has changed his opinion of both of them. James mentions that Braga was the one that ultimately purchased his episodes of Voyager. Braga also wrote some of James’ favorite episodes. Frame of Mind is one of James’ all time favorite episodes of Trek and it was written by Braga. They discuss the episode briefly. They shift gears to discuss things they would not like to see in the new incarnation of Star Trek. Nick doesn’t want Holodeck stories, James would doesn’t want time travel. He goes on to talk about wanting to see something new and ground breaking. Mike mentions the Large Hadron Collider and some of the evidence they have seen pointing to alternate universes. Mike would like to see more of those universes explored, not the Mirror Universe but perhaps others and different universes. James adds that it would have to be something for the second or third season perhaps, since they would have to spend the first season establishing the universe and the characters.
James confirms that he’s not part of the writing staff on the new show. They talk about the writing team. James reveals that Dave Mack also reached out to get on the show. They are putting the team together now and apparently Fuller is putting together his team from people he knows and has worked for. Nick imagines the writers room if it consisted of some of the current Star Trek authors. James just wants to hang out with them. Terry wants to be a fly on the wall. The alcohol bill for that group would probably bankrupt the studio. Terry makes the mistake of mentioning Total Wine. They end up discussing it and other alcohol warehouses and bars.
Nick shares a story of his journey to join the army and the paperwork with his retirement date, which is set for next month. They eventually talk about their favorite Enterprises. The Refit is James’ favorite. Nick and Terry appreciation the E. Mike gains a laugh when he states that his favorite Enterprise is the HMS Bounty. They shift to STO. James was the happiest when he got the refit in STO.
They decide to move forward with the show and invite James to hang out with them. He has an interview later to talk about the game The Division. He agrees to stay on for a short while and ends up talking about The Division. It reminds Mike of the first MMO he has ever played: Conquer Online which has some of the same PK (Player Kill) PVP mechanics that are world wide rather than isolated to a specific zone. The upcoming interview will be for Game On for BBC 5 Live Radio.
They officially start the show with General News. They start off with Nicholas Meyer has confirmed an upcoming 4k UHD release of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. Mike adds that the Animated Series will also becoming to the Animated series. James is a fan of the Animated series and his current novel: The Latter Fire has a lot of animated series nods within its pages. There’s some sad news. Actor Larry Drake, who played Benny in LA Law and was a guest star in Star Trek Voyager passed away at the age of 66. They send their condolences to his friends and family. They talk about his talent and career. Mike mentions that Kate Mulgrew will be reprising her role as Red for the fourth season of Orange Is the New Black which will debut on June 14th. Mike reminds everyone that this was one of the first successful original series produced by a streaming service.
They move onto Gaming News next. This weekend is the Upgrade Event Weekend. It doubles your tech points, which reduces the amount of dilithium required to upgrade your equipment during the event. Mike used up over 400k dilithium and ended up with seven pieces of Ultra-Rare equipment, and 2 or 3 pieces of Epic gear just from this weekend. Also, this weekend, there is an R & D pack sale going on right now as well. It appears everything will end on Monday, so you better act fast. Mike mentions briefly the new fiction piece STO released, entitled Aftermath. This story hints at the relationship between the Nakul and the Sphere Builders.
Terry asks James about Sight Unseen and his take on the Solanae, which differs from the take STO has taken on them. The name Solanae wasn’t the name he would have used for them, but CBS wanted the names to remain consistent. He didn’t want their respective takes to differ dramatically from them, but he wanted to take them in his own direction. James wanted to name the race the Ciari named after the gentleman who played the race on screen in TNG. Instead, he used the name for the Solanae dissident group. The two factions allowed him to disspell Trek’s mono-cultural trope for enemies (such as all Klingons are warriors, ect…) for a more authentically deep culture.
Continuing with Star Trek Online, a new secondary specialization will be released with Season 11.5. Strategist will work very similarly to the Commando specialization. Terry has been playing the new trait system on Tribble and discusses it. Mike adds that 11.5 will also include a new Admiralty for the Romulans that will provide bonuses for upgrades.
They move onto Timelines. Mike starts with the newest Captain’s guide which are their version of a how-to guide. The mobile is very complex with a lot to do, and this is just one way they are able to help inform people of how the game play works.
Mike, then, moves on to talk about the latest Disruptor Stream that previewed some of the upcoming features in Timeline’s next build: 1.0.6, which is coming soon. There will be changes made to the store purchases that will include information about your own crew roster, so players can make more informed decisions. Crew slot purchasing for energy credits and dilithium will be coming. 250k of energy credits will get the first 5 slots, with more coming after that. These slots are above and beyond the slots received for VIP. The Character sheets for crew will now include additional information about their performance in space. The Sort and filter feature will be added to the crew roster, where character sheets are viewed and equipment added. Also, replay missions will remember mission difficulty so players don’t waste chronitons by accidentally forgetting to set the difficulty for each play through. Finally, the first Event will be released shortly after the new update’s release, called Holodeck and will feature Captain Proton and Arachnia as the big rewards coming for the event. With the event will be event packs that will be purchasable for dilithium and they will guarantee at least one Captain Proton with each pack. There will also be bonuses for using specific characters during the event.
They talk about Timelines. Terry is still having issues with her older iOS device and mentions her last crash during a Yesterday’s Enterprise Tasha Yar pack purchase. She ended up getting an O’Brien. Mike got a Relics Scotty from a pack he opened yesterday. James has not had a chance to play it yet, not that he needs another distraction to keep him from writing, but he has seen it while he was at Destination London. The last Star Trek game he’s played on mobile is Wrath of Gems. Mike mentions that the game is very heavy story-driven and finds it interesting. James likes the idea of the select your dream team crew and compares it to fantasy football.
Terry mentions Eddie McClintock will be appearing in Supergirl as Colonel James Harper. It spurs them to talk about superheroes and comics. They wonder how many actors have appeared in both Marvel and DC shows and films. Nick mentions several actors that have appeared in both. They talk about The Flash, Supergirl, and more. James loves how they reference the source material but present it in a very different way. The UK is a few weeks behind when it comes to most of these shows. Some of the episodes that James is looking forward to seeing, Nick and Mike already saw it a few weeks earlier. James also mentions that there are rumors of a Krypton television show in the works. Nick doesn’t like Superman, but Mike does. They end up comparing and contrasting Marvel and DC characters and Universes. James prefers Marvel over DC. Terry points out that Jeremy Renner was asked at SJCC whether he’d be interested in a Hawkeye Netflix show. He was, which sends them speculating on what that could be like. They agree that Black Widow deserves her own movie. James suggests watching most of Lucy, which could be a Black Widow movie except for the ending.
They thank James for joining them and wish him well before he leaves. They praise James. They move onto Unofficial Productions. They start with Starship Farragut: The Crossing. They discussed it briefly last week, but Mike has finally had a chance to see it. He references the interview they had not long ago with John. This story was supposed to be the finale, but they decided to do one more story before moving into the Wrath of Khan era stories.
They get to Axanar next. Alec revealed a secret group of investors was going to come in and buy the liability of the future rent of the warehouse/studio as well as pay back Axanar for the materials used to create the sets. Terry is confused about this, especially considering that they do not yet know where the other $500k+ from Indiegogo has gone. Terry points to Janet’s blogs including the recent one on the Amended Complaint. As for this latest news, she thinks it sounds like Axanar is going to sublet the space from this secret group of investors. An assumption is that Alec may be a part of this group. Axanar still has time to respond to the Amended complaint. Terry has also released a new Fan Dance with her opinions about it this week. Terry doesn’t care about anything that’s going on except for how the donors are being treated.
Nick talks about Alec’s salary. $38k is a lot of money to some people. He compares it to the wage an E4 receives in the military, which is still less than what Alec pays himself. No one hired Alec to make this film. He volunteered to create it and then decided to pay himself to create it. Nick asks why he didn’t shop the ‘greatest Star Trek script ever’ to the studios? Nick questions some of the expenditures reported by Axanar. Mike points out that $38k is a lot of money for some people. He has to work for more than a couple of years in order to earn that much. Nick resumes his rage and continues talking about more deserving people that don’t get paid nearly as much as Alec pays himself. Mike clarifies that the money he earns that he mentioned earlier was from his day job and has nothing to do with what they do here on the show. Nick mentions that receipts can be provided to show to everyone where donations made to the show are spent in the support of the website and the various servers required to produce the show. Terry calmly points out that the show does not infringe on Trek. We comment and talk about it. The show would not exist without Star Trek and we use our own money to market the show. We buy our microphones, the booths, and convention appearances. Nick rages about Axanar asking donors to provide money for him and other Axanar people to fly to the UK during the big Destination event so they can party at a pub, since Axanar will not be allowed to get a booth at the convention. People didn’t donate to Axanar for Alec to go from convention to convention. They donated to create a fan film. Every other fan production has been able to produce something that Axanar has yet to do with over a million dollars raised. Fans donated to the movie, not to pay for the creation of all of these ancillary companies that are to support a potential movie. It’s not clear whether or not they actually intended to actually create a film. Terry wonders how much money went into these other corporations, such as Propworx and any others.
Nick points out Kickstarter Rules, Section 4. He goes over it. It suggests that the Axanar must deliver on the promises they made. Terry’s concern is where did the donor money go? She talks about her concern and previous experience with FedCon USA. The crowdsourcing is her biggest issues. She thinks Kickstarter and Indiegogo will put an end to any all Fan Production attempting to use their platform to crowdfund it. She thinks Axanar’s case will bring an end to it. The chat room points out that they are also infringing on the Mythbusters and Minions’ IP as well. Nick wants to know why Axanar fans are so willing to assign blame to everyone but where it deserves to be, squarely on the shoulders of Alec Peters. Where does this kind of faith come from? What has he done to deserve this kind of reverence? There is no transparency when all dissenting remarks and questions are shunned, kicked, banned, blocked, and ridiculed.
Mike takes a moment to talk about the big deal that has emerged over CBS/Paramount claiming copyright over the Klingon language. Mike points out that there was a court case that almost made it to the Supreme Court dealing with constructed languages that directly affects the Klingon language that states that they can and are covered by copyright. Terry mentions a post about it that she had seen stating that the Klingon Language is owned by Simon & Schuster and not CBS. They explain that Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS, thereby, making it a property of CBS. They talk about licensing. Bye Bye Robot is the official art maker. S&S is the official book publisher. Paramount is the official movie maker. All Access is the official streaming services. And CBS is the official Television series maker. Everything else that is unlicensed runs the risk of getting into trouble. Even Bad Robot is creating Trek movies under Paramount’s license.
Terry returns to talk about the Super Secret Investors group. She asks donors to think hard and critically about where the money is going. Nick points out that there would be fewer “haters” if Alec and the rest of the team were more civil to people, especially the donors. The biggest losers on all of this are the donors.
Nick congratulates Star Trek Continues for being granted 501(c)(3) status. He holds STC as the epitome of how a fan production should be run. They appreciate their donors. Terry points out that G & T Show does not just support STC, but rather all fan productions. She mentions the 1701 News article that covers what James Cawley from Star Trek New Voyages had to say about his production and Axanar from the TrekBBS boards. Nick asks about whether the IRS has to go over the books before 501(c)(3) status is awarded? Terry says that it begins with the state. She goes on to say that as a non-profit, they still do not have permission to infringe on an IP. It is still possible for them to be sued for IP infringement but CBS/P has not done so. She goes on to say that the Red Cross cannot create Minion t-shirts without a license from the copyright holder. There’s no indication that STC will be sued, but she wants everyone to be aware that it could happen, especially if Alec and Axanar continue to “shit in the sandbox”. No one really knows what is going on with Axanar’s books especially in light of the new secret investors group.
Nick thinks that if they tried to do this with an original film and story, they never would have raised this much money. Star Trek is what drew in the money. Producing anything less than Star Trek will only piss off the people who donated. Although it’s possible, they doubt that they would have been able to raise nearly as much money as they had with their own unknown sci-fi franchise. They used what they knew would draw in money and it was because of Star Trek. The money had a lot to do with what Axanar has done and planned to do beyond this one film.
Terry is excited for STC’s, Horizon’s, New Voyages’, and Farragut’s fans, but doesn’t think that they will be seeing any more big budget fan films produced because of Axanar.
Mike reminds everyone that STC is currently holding their To Boldly Indiegogo fundraiser. They are trying to raise 300k to produce three and a half episodes. They have already released five episodes, the sixth is due to be released in May, are in post-production on episode seven. This fundraiser will get them through to episode 10. And beyond that, they hope to complete the series with episodes 11, 12, and 13.
They decide to hold off on the 50 for 50 until next week. If you have not watched them recently, you have another week to watch episodes #22 DS9’s s03e21 The Die Is Cast and #21 TNG’s s06e04 Relics. They wind down this week’s show with some shout out to PoisonFox, and Sun and the rest of Club 602, among others. They also thank James Swallow for joining us for this episode. They do decide that they will be doing a show next week for Easter. They will also be doing a LIVE Supplemental Log with Dayton and Kevin on April 1st.
G & T Show Links
- Axanar: Plaintiffs File an Amended Complaint – http://www.gandtshow.com/axanar-plaintiffs-file-amended-complaint/
- Fan Dance Commentary: A Lousy Axanar t-shirt – http://www.gandtshow.com/fan-dance-commentary-lousy-t-shirt/
- Nicholas Meyer Confirms Upcoming 4K UHD Release of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan – http://trekcore.com/blog/2016/03/nicholas-meyer-confirms-star-trek-wrath-of-khan-4k-uhd-plans/
- Star Trek: The Animated Series is coming to Blu-Ray in 2016 – http://trekcore.com/blog/2016/03/star-trek-the-animated-series-is-coming-to-blu-ray-in-2016/
- Remembering Voyager Guest Star Larry Drake – http://www.startrek.com/article/remembering-voyager-guest-star-larry-drake-1950-2016
- Mulgrew Back As Red in Orange Is the New Black – http://www.startrek.com/article/mulgrew-back-as-red-in-orange-is-the-new-black
- Farrell, Dorn Set for Star Trek: Mission New York – http://www.startrek.com/article/farrell-dorn-set-for-star-trek-mission-new-york
- STLV 2016 Guests – http://www.creationent.com/cal/st_lasvegas_guests.html
- Paramount Claims Crowdfunded Star Trek Infringes Copyright to Klingon Language – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/paramount-claims-crowdfunded-star-trek-874985
- Justin Lin supports the Fans. Trek belongs to all of us – https://twitter.com/trailingjohnson/status/709285689095917568
- Kickstarter Term of Use Section 4 – https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use#section4
- Starship Farragut: The Crossing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZpVMDJrT20
- Star Trek: Continues has been approved for non-profit 501(c)(3) status retroactive to Dec. 31 2014 – https://www.facebook.com/StarTrekContinues/photos/a.368013926565463.92376.333296680037188/1141266495906865/?type=3&theater
- Star Trek: Continues: To Boldly Indiegogo Campaign – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/star-trek-continues/x/3523114#/
- A Skyboat Audiobook of Harlan Ellison’s Star Trek Teleplay Kickstarter – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/342254102/a-skyboat-audiobook-of-harlan-ellisons-star-trek-t
- Gary Hutzel Memorial Fund – Their goal of $20k has been reached in 7 days – https://www.gofundme.com/pytwseuc
- Cawley says some people shouldn’t do fan films – http://1701news.com/node/1083/node/1059/axanar-script-leak-reveals-early-concept-trek-story.html
- Star Trek 2017 Pre-production Promo Shoot – http://trekcore.com/blog/2016/03/first-photos-from-star-trek-2017-pre-production/
- New Cover and Preview Pages From Redshirt’s Little Book of Doom – http://www.thetrekcollective.com/2016/03/new-cover-and-preview-pages-from.html
- Star Trek Online: The Aftermath – https://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online/news/detail/9854903
- Star Trek Online: Upgrade Weekend Event – http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online/news/detail/9858073-star-trek-online%3A-upgrade-weekend
- Star Trek Online: R & D Pack Sale – 20% Off – http://www.arcgames.com/en/games/star-trek-online/news/detail/9858373-star-trek-online%3A-r%26d-packs-20%25-off
- Star Trek Online: Strategist Secondary Specialization – http://www.startrek.com/article/strategist-secondary-specialization
- Timelines: Captain’s Guide: Away Team Mission In Star Trek Timelines – https://www.disruptorbeam.com/blog/entry/captains-guide-away-team-missions-in-star-trek-timelines
- Timelines: Disruptor Stream Previewing the Next Build – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBNgpFcsZoE
- The Division – http://tomclancy-thedivision.ubi.com/game/en-us/home/
But, wait. There’s more.
He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.