I’m so close to letting Memories of the Future Volume One leave the nest, I’m already starting to miss the taste of partially-digested bugs in my throat.
So far, I’ve shared parts that are from the recaps, but the other half of each entry is more analysis and reflection on each episode, and that’s what I think makes this book special. Anyone can tell jokes about the show, but there are only nine of us in the world who can talk about what it was like to be regular cast members. This is from Datalore, which I loved when I was a kid, but is just riddled with plot holes I couldn’t see twenty years ago:
The pitch was awesome: “We find Data’s evil twin brother, who he never knew he had, and hilarity ensues.” Sure, there’s nothing original about the evil twin story, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be told again in an interesting way, especially with a cool character like Data, played by a great character actor like Brent Spiner, supported by a brilliant dramatic actor like Patrick Stewart. How could they screw up this story this badly?
I think it comes down to lazy writing that has things happen because they’re supposed to happen, rather than having them happen organically. The characters are credulous when they should be skeptical, the audience isn’t surprised by anything after the second act, and there are story problems that should have never gotten past the first draft.
Personally, I hated the way they handled Wesley in this episode. He’s already on his way to becoming a hated character, and the writers cranked it up to Warp 11. It was stupid of them to have Picard give him an adult responsibility and then dismissively treat him like a child when he carried it out. It undermines both of the characters—how is the audience supposed to take either of them seriously? Maybe the idea was that Wesley would prove Picard wrong, with a big payoff at the end when Picard apologies or something and their relationship grows as a result. But all we get is one line in the cargo bay when Picard says, “Can you return to duty?” Really? That’s it? How about, “Hey, can you kiss my ass, Captain? How does that work for you? I was right about everything, bitch!”
It’s not all bad, of course. The art direction in this episode is some of the best we’ve seen so far. When Dr. Crusher works with Argyle to put Lore together, it’s one of the first times we got to see some really awesome technology on the Enterprise. Sure, we’d seen some spiffy visual effects in other episodes, but this was the first time we got to see just how advanced the Enterprise-D was.
I went to the Nebula Awards dinner on Saturday night, where I got to present the award for best script.
I wanted some kind of introduction, so a few minutes before I walked up to the podium, I came up with this:
“Everyone I know who is successful reads books. Everyone I know who is successful and interesting reads science fiction and fantasy. As a parent, you can imagine how important it is to me that my kids read science fiction and fantasy, so I’ve used television and movies as a gateway drug.
“The nominees for Best Script are…”
I’m not going to lie: I felt pretty good about that, especially considering that I came up with it pretty much on the fly.
The whole evening was really cool. Because it wasn’t awesome enough to be in the same room as Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, Joe Haldeman, and other authors who I felt unworthy to even look at, much less speak to, Anne and I got to sit with David Gerrold.
Fun fact: David wrote and sold The Trouble with Tribbles when he was 19. Anne asked him how he had the courage to do that, and David told her, “Because nobody told me I couldn’t.” That’s so awesome, and everyone who is creative should commit that to memory.
We were talking about all kinds of writerly stuff, and I mentioned to David that I was working on this book. As I started to describe it to him, I could see that he wasn’t into it, but was too polite to tell me why.
After a minute, he said, “You have to be careful with your tell-all book, because –”
“Ah, that’s why he wasn’t into it.” I thought.
“It’s not a tell-all book. I hate those things,” I said. “It’s more like you’re flipping through your high school yearbook with your friends.”
I called on all my improv skills and held an imaginary book in my hands.
“It’s like, ‘Hey! I remember this, and I remember that, and did you know that this funny thing happened there, and … oh god … I can’t believe I thought that was cool…'”
His face lit up. “That sounds like a book I’d like to read.”
I’ve talked to a few of my friends from the show about their memories from season one, and they’ve shared amusing and insightful memories with me that I think readers are going to really enjoy. It may push the release back a little bit, but I’m going to try to talk with David, too, because he was there from the very beginning. Did you know that he suggested me for the role of Wesley? If he hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I’d have ever worn a pumpkin-colored sweater.
Despite that, though, I’m extremely grateful to David for convincing Bob Justman and Gene Roddenberry to take a chance on me.