Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Orville to the Rescue!

I should’ve waited a few days before making the previous post to the ol’ blog. Mainly because, The Orville (Fox TV/ City-TV in Canada) has come to my rescue with a tightly-plotted and ultimately rewarding alternate universe tale.

The Orville has rapidly become my go-to show.  The reasons aren’t hard to find: well into its second season, where it has matured, the show has grown beyond its roots as an affectionate homage to Star Trek. With its emphasis on character development and episodic storytelling with positive messages within larger arcs, executive producer, and star Seth MacFarlane has created a series that stands on its own two feet.

Now with the season (and possible series) finale, The Road Not Taken, MacFarlane (who plays the Orville’s skipper Ed Mercer) takes us out on a high note to a universe that would not exist save for a decision made by Kelly Grayson (Ed’s first officer on the Orville) not do go out with him on a second date seven years ago due to a time travel accident in the previous episode.

I won’t try to recap the whole season or even the last two episodes, except to say the new reality created by Kelly’s decision is a dark place. In the last nine months, The Kaylon, a race of AI beings with a genocidal bent, have in the last nine months,  exterminated half the sentient biological life in the galaxy. In order to save the universe and reset the timeline to where it should be, a crew member must go back in time to get past Kelly to go out with past Ed. Now, it's safe to say alternate universe stories are favourites of mine. In The Road Not Taken, we do exactly that - go down a different road where people  –  and the whole universe they inhabit  –  is different. This is storytelling at its best.

I won’t say any more, except the episode ends on a hopeful, if not positive note, which is true to the series. If you don't know the show, I recommend you give it a try. As for Fox, I can only urge them to please renew The Orville.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


Well, this will be a short one. It was One of Those Months: between my continuing job search, a family emergency, and a client who I have a hard deadline to finish a major project for, there wasn't time for a regular posting. Ouch.

But the least I can do is tell you what I’m currently reading and what I hope to be looking at in the next few months:

The first book I’m currently reading the latest entry in Charles Stross’ the Laundry Files Series, The Delirium Brief, which finds Bob Howard and his colleagues not only going toe-to-toe with the Many-Angled Ones but with also with the prospect of something far more sinister: privatization. I’m about a good third way into the book and can report that I’m liking it. More on this to come.

The second book I'm reading is Clemhorn:  Nightfall, by Andrew J. Harvey. I’m well into this one book, as well. It’s an epic piece with a large cast of characters set across a paratemporal empire. It reminds of me of Game of Thrones with shades of H. Beam Piper.  I'll have more to say on this one. 

After that, I'll look at Afterwar, by Lilith Saintcrow. It’s the story of a second American civil war, but when and where it exactly occurs is hard to pin down.  Is does it occur in a parallel universe or does it take place in a time a few years from now? Nonetheless, the book and the author’s style has intrigued me enough that it’s earned itself a place on the review list. 

Finally, as I mentioned previously, I'm also looking forward to the fourth and final season of Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle. While the show struggled at points in the third season without the original content material from the Philip K. Dick novel to base itself on, I still have hopes for a strong conclusion. 

In the meantime, you can help out a poor unemployed writer by purchasing Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.  Thanks.