As you can imagine, the success of this mission is especially important to everyone on Starbase 420.

Well, the most creatively demanding part is over. About an hour ago, I finished the first round of de-blogging, cutting and rewriting on Memories of the Future.

The next step is to take all the individual reviews (which are in their own files) and combine them into one big document so I can see how it all works together. Based on my first round of rewrites, I'll be watching for a few things:

* Duplicated jokes that need to be cut. The original
reviews were written months apart, so I used a few things – like "Bat
Country" – more than once without realizing it. That's forgivable
online, but it doesn't really work in a book.

* Places where I can examine something from Behind the Scenes a little bit more, or places where it's just not that interesting and can be cut out.

* How The Bottom Lines all interact with each other. They should reflect how the series and we who made it evolved and developed over the course of the first season, and I'm not entirely sure I accomplished that in the first draft. I have to make sure it's not repetitive, and that each one truly reflects something unique to the episode and when it first aired. (Yes, this is a very public NOTE TO SELF. Please enjoy it.)

Just to keep with the tradition of posting something from the book with each post, here's a little bit from The Big Goodbye. This is one of those episodes that's actually quite good, so the humor in the recap is entirely different from the humor in, say, The Naked Now's recap:

Picard decides that playtime is over, and it’s time to get back to work, but Dr. Crusher wants to check out his office. Any chance of that being a euphemism is reduced when Data and Whalen tag along. When they get to his office, the euphemism possibility is eliminated completely: Felix Leech, a Peter Lorre-esque hired goon, is waiting for them. With a gun. And he’s pissed.

There’s another great moment here where the gun comes out, and Picard and company all look at each other with this wide-eyed grin, like it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen. It’s one of the rare times on TNG when we in the audience feel genuine suspense, too, because we know that gun’s going to go off and someone is going to get hurt. Those of us who are longtime fans also know that, for the purposes of this holodeck program, the part of Ensign Ricky Redshirt will be played by the ship’s 20th-century literature expert Mr. Whalen, who dutifully takes a bullet in the gut from Leech. This leads to another great moment, when everyone realizes that, holy shit, Leech just shot Whalen. Like, for reals.

Dr. Crusher tells them that they have to get Whalen to Sickbay, Picard smacks around Leech, and they can’t get the computer to give them an exit. This is sort of a problem because Whalen is dying, and back in the real world the Jarada will be expecting the Captain to speak to them pretty soon. Just to make things a little more tense, tough guy Cyrus Redblock shows up with Leech and another hired goon. It turns out that Redblock hired Hill to find an “item,” which Hill hasn’t produced. Redblock and his goons intend to help Hill find it, using their guns. After Leech pistol-whips Picard, McNary arrives, and we’ve got ourselves what you could call “a situation.”

Picard tries to talk them out of the situation, using the old “Hey, man, we’re from another world” routine, but Redblock and company ain’t buying. Data tries the well-known, “Hey, man, these characters aren’t even real” line, which all of us actors perfected during years of Star Trek convention appearances. Unfortunately, Data’s effort meets with similar results.

This is so close to being finished, I'm almost ready to go pick out a bottle of Scotch to open when I'm done.