Contest Giveaway: Guess the Actress


Since no one guessed this, I’m going to call time on it.

This actress is Barbara Luna, who starred as the captain’s woman in the Star Trek fan favorite (and mine!), “Mirror, Mirror!”  I had to crop the photo to not give it away–there’s a picture of her and the mirror Spock sitting on the table.

Photo of actress at her table at a con

I’m doing a contest!  First person to guess who this actress is gets a coupon code for the 2018 Military SF Bundle!

Hint: She was on Star Trek.

 

Check out the Bundle:

12 book covers in the military SF bundle

 

Photo: Michael Ansara of Star Trek


Michael Ansara on stage with his wife

 

One of my favorite characters of all time on Star Trek was Kang, played by Michael Ansara.  He brought nobility and pride to the Klingons, which clearly influenced later development of the aliens.  So when he was on the guest list for Farpoint in 1997, I jumped at the chance.

The photo is of him and his wife.  This was the first appearance he ever made at a con, and I believe he only did two.  (Sorry the photo is blurry.  The lighting was really bad, and these were the best I was able to get).

He was astounded at the crowds, at the number of people who came to see him.  If we hadn’t run out of time, we would have kept him on stage with questions!

But there was one that I still remember….

George Takei and James Doohan were both blasting William Shatner at the time.  So, naturally, “What was it like to work with William Shatner?” came up.  I imagine some expected him to dish up dirt.

And Michael Ansara stayed professional.  He said William Shatner was great to work with.

Contrast that to another guest at the same con, Mark Goddard.  He worked on Lost in Space for producer Irwin Allen.  Because he was in a TV series, he was horribly typecast and landed in soaps so he could work.  But then, soaps were the thing you took because you couldn’t get work and looked down on.  So he was very bitter and ranted on stage about Irwin Allen, though it wasn’t the producer’s fault.  Mark Goddard had accepted the role, and the culture that comes with popular series is that it can be hard to get roles afterwards.

I was shocked when I heard Mark Goddard, because that is going to turn some fans off.  Some come from a long ways to see actors.  That’s what they’re getting?

Anyway, after Michael Ansara got off stage, he went out to the lobby to sign autographs.  I got in line, which was quite long.  I was looking forward to actually meeting him.  But the crowds had worn him out, and the con shut down the line before I got there.

Sometimes the stories are best about photos!

 

Photo: John Crawford and Cat


John Crawford sits on sofa and plays with his cat.

Another blast from the past.  This was taken in the 1980s.  This is John Crawford, who was in both Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

This photo was taken at his house in Studio City, California.  Some fans of “The Big Four” (all four of Irwin Allen’s TV shows) came to L.A. and were visiting the actors.  They were getting interviews for fan magazines about their rules.

We all sat down to chat in his living room.  This was the first time I had been in an actor’s house (and actually the only time), so I was terrified I was going to screw up and say something stupid.  The cat jumped up on the sofa and climbed all over him.  Clearly a case of “Pay attention to me!  These other humans aren’t important!”).

No veteran experience that I could find online, but he was at the right age to be a World War II vet.  He passed away in 2010.

Harlan Ellison RIP


Science Fiction writer Harlan Ellison passed away earlier this week.

I’ve never met him personally.  I know him more through the stories I read growing up.  One of his books, a fat one of short stories was in my library.  When I first got hooked on Star Trek as the fandom snowballed, I started picking up books from the science fiction section.  Harlan’s, Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein (it was the children’s section, so I got his juveniles).

And there were stories about Harlan Ellison:

  1. The most famous is the disagreement with Gene Roddenberry over the Star Trek episode The City on the Edge of Forever.  He didn’t agree with the changes Gene made to the script…but it’s still one of the most memorable episodes of all time.
  2. And one of those disagreements showed up on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.  He did do a script for the show; it was under the pen name of Cordwainer Bird.  As it goes, an executive suggested a change to the script, and Harlan pushed him.  Executive fell back and was injured.
  3. The final one was a con that I was attending.  Harlan Ellison was scheduled to attend the con.  But he demanded 1st class seating on the flight–for both him and his wife.  The con said they would do it for him, but they couldn’t afford to pay for his wife.  He refused, so they cancelled his appearance.

You know people are going to die off, but it’s still hard seeing it.  Writers, at least, can live on through their works.

Photo: Grace Lee Whitney from Star Trek


Medium Shot of Grace Lee Whitney

My novel Crying Planet is coming out in Story Bundle tomorrow. The story is everything I liked about Star Trek–space, adventures, aliens, and maybe a little bit to think about.  Plus military thrown in well, because.  So I thought it would be fun to put up photos I took of actors from shows like Star Trek.

This one is of Grace Lee Whitney.  It’s not dated, but I probably would have taken it in the 1990s at one of those cons.  I was going to quite a few then and getting a lot of photos.

She was on the original Star Trek, of course.  Not in that many episodes,  but she was pretty memorable to all the fans.  She passed away in 2015.

Pintrest has some nice shots of her. Mostly from Star Trek, but there’s a few bathing suit shots and some photos from her other roles.  Someone even Photoshopped one of her in a mirror universe uniform!

Science Fiction Becomes Military Fact


Side view of the shuttle Endeavor
I took this in 2014 when I went to California.

There’s been rumors for a while that the White House was talking about creating a sixth military branch, called “Space Force.”  Now there’s an official announcement.

It’s happening!

I remember when the first shuttle was announced.  The Star Trek fans got together and wrote NASA to name it after the starship Enterprise.  And NASA did!

The Enterprise shuttle was a test shuttle and never went into space.  It probably got more play on all the Star Trek series that followed, and actually was in the opening credits of Enterprise.

But the invention of the shuttle was a major milestone.  They were intended to be reused.  The earlier rocket ships of the 1960s could only be used once.

But I was disappointed when the shuttle program was abandoned.  It just felt like everyone gave up and decided it wasn’t possible to do more than go out to a space station.  Some of the things we use on a daily basis are because we had to be inventive for zero G.

In the hands of the military, this is going to be very interesting  It looks like Air Force is going to have the command. I’m just hoping Army gets some space travel.  When I was writing Crying Planet, I put an Army colonel in charge of the space cruiser because all I’d ever seen was Navy on spaceships.  I wanted Army to have some adventures!   But when I was telling someone about the book, she told me, “Oh, no!  You can’t have Army in command.  They don’t have the skills.”  Immediate panic set in.  It was my book!  I wasn’t going to change something that I’d intended.  So I came up with a reason for this person to get command, and it reshaped the story in some interesting ways.

This is all very exciting though.  Where do you think they will travel to?  Hoo-ah!

Losing Track and Finding it Again


It’s hard to believe that when I grew up, I typed a novel on my mother’s manual typewriter.  It was one of those Royal typewriters that you see commonly associated with writers.  I went from that to an electric, to a Heathkit H-89 to a Commodore 64.

This week I’ve been tackling a big project: the paper copies of the stories and non-fiction I wrote.

It’s part of that black hole of my closet that I’m cleaning up.  They’ve been long stuffed into plastic boxes, out of sight in the box, but the box itself always in view.  So it’s a form of clutter.

I pulled everything out and started going through it.  What did I already have in digital form…yeah, somehow I had printed versions of the stories and digital versions.  In some cases, I had multiple copies of revisions printed and stored.  And for some stories, they were either before Microsoft Word or, for whatever, reason, I only have the paper version.

It was just easy to lose track of what I had because it was in a file folder.   There’s a long history of everyone struggling with forms of the data, for as long as we’ve had data.

My grandmother was in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.  The film was shot out where she lived in Northern California.  Assuming her memory is correct for the title, this is likely the film.  She would have been two at the time.  She tried to find the film in later years, but it no longer exists.  A lot of those films were done on nitrate, and then put into storage once the studio went onto the next release.  By the time places like UCLA got in there to transfer to safety film, the reels had disintegrated.  Or caught fire, since nitrate film was pretty flammable.

Then there’s Motown.  When I was doing temp work in Los Angeles—my Google-fu tells me it was probably 1983 or 1984—I got a job documenting inventory for Motown. They were being sold, so we had to inventory all their music.  They gave us stacks of music reels, which were about the size of pizzas.  We would open the boxes up see what was written on the reels, and then type that on the inventory.  Massive inventory, and they had no idea what they had.

But what I’m doing now is kind of fun and nostalgic to look it.  It’s my life at the time, and where I was at as writer.  It’s also some of the things I liked. There’s an article I write—might post it here if anyone is interested—on meeting William Windom in 1997.  It was for an anthology call that never happened.  But I enjoyed writing it, and I enjoyed meeting him.  I have photos, but those are in another box I haven’t cracked open yet.

It was at Starcon, which was the big gathering of actors at that time. I believe it was over 100.  Most notably, it was the only gathering of most of the actors from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (Allan Hunt, Del Monroe, and Terry Becker.  Bob Dowdell turned it down, and David Hedison was unavailable.  Richard Basehart had passed away).

It was early in the day, and I was just roaming the aisles to see who was there.  He flagged me over, and guess what we chatted about?

We were both veterans!

Very cool.