Friday, March 25, 2016

Gay sera, sera*


 I've done it! I've managed to read a non-fiction book this month. However, it's somewhat cancelled out by the four Star Trek books. Sorry. Three of the four are from the Deep Space Nine relaunch that I'm in the process of re-reading. The last one is an e-book I was curious about, mainly because Saavik features in it (she's one of my favourite Star Trek characters - the Robin Curtis version, not the Kirsty Alley one).
 Again, I've stuck with the publisher's synopsis/blurb rather than writing my own, but I have added a little something to book twelve's entry...

11. Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume One - Cardassia: The Lotus Flower, by Una McCormack, and Andor: Paradigm, by Heather Jarman

CARDASSIA: The last world ravaged by the Dominion War is also the last on which Miles O'Brien ever imagined building a life. As he joins in the reconstruction of Cardassia's infrastructure, his wife Keiko spearheads the planet's difficult agricultural renewal. But Cardassia's struggle to remake itself -- from the fledgling democracy backed by Elim Garak to the people's rediscovery of their own spiritual past -- is not without opposition, as the outside efforts to help rebuild its civilization come under attack by those who reject any alien influence.
ANDOR: On the eve of a great celebration of their ancient past, the unusual and mysterious Andorians, a species with four sexes, must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to ensure their survival. Biological necessity clashes with personal ethics; cultural obligation vies with love -- and Ensign Thirishar ch'Thane returns home to the planet he forswore, to face not only the consequences of his choices, but a clandestine plan to alter the very nature of his kind.



12. There Must Be Fifty Ways To Tell Your Mother, by Lynn Sutcliffe

Coming out is a continual process, and one that is unique to every lesbian and gay man. Each day we have to keep taking the decision anew. Should I tell this person? How? What will their reaction be? This book cannot provide all the answers, but it offers the experiences, inspiration and ideas of others.
Men and women from all over the world are deciding to come out to thier parents, their children, their employers and their partners. Here are some of their stories...
BOLD: 'I just got stronger and stronger as a gay person. Even if I went to the ice-cream man I managed to drop it in: "One strawberry cornetto for a homosexual, please."'
BRAVE: 'Seconds later my dad had me pushed up against the wall, knife at my throat. His exact words were: "I would rather see you dead than queer. Make your choice."'
BIZARRE: 'When I finally revealed that I was a lesbian she just said: "No, you're not actually. I've alreasy thought about this. You've got a hormone disorder." And she just carried on eating.'
BLATANT: 'I knew I was gay from the age of seven: my treehouse had a breakfast bar.'

 For the curious, I tried coming out to The Parents by leaving this book conspicuously lying around the house when I was in my late-teens. It didn't work though, as they claimed never to have noticed it.
 I ended up being outed by my youngest sister, Inexcuseable, when she answered the phone one day. She screeched up the stairs to me: "It's your gay friend!" while The Parents were sat in the living room only a few feet away. Anyway, after I'd finished on the phone. Dad came upstairs and asked me if I was gay. Thinking I'd never have a better chance to tell him, I said yes. He nearly fainted, or had a heart attack or something. When he'd recovered, he told me not to tell mum as it would kill her. I told her anyway and she didn't spontaneously combust, or anything, so that was ok, although The Parents and I didn't speak properly for ages afterwards. After a little while, everything went back to normal. 
* Post title from page 75   


13. Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Two - Trill: Unjoined, by Andy Mangels & Michael J. Martin, and Bajor: Fragments and Omens, by J. Noah Kym

TRILL: They are a people with secrets. For centuries they kept their true nature hidden, even taking disturbing steps to protect the small population of near-immortal symbionts with whom a privileged few Trill are joined, body, mind, and soul. They are a people who hold memory to be sacred, yet deny their own past. Now amid a a whirlwind of scandal, accusations, and growing civil unrest, Ezri Dax must penetrate millennia of lies and deceptions, and rediscover what should never have been forgotten, before her civilization rips itself apart.
BAJOR: The honeymoon is over. Following the euphoria of Bajor's marriage to the Federation, the real work of making that union work has begun. But even on a world where politics and religion are intertwined, conflicting visions of Bajor's role in the interstellar arena divide the planet's leadership. As newly minted Captain Kira Nerys sets the tone for the kind of Starfleet officer she will be, First Minister Asarem makes a bold move to define Bajor's voice in the Federation, while the returned Benjamin Sisko prepares for a future that only he, as yet, can see.



14. Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Three - Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed, by Keith R. A. DeCandido, and The Dominion: Olympus Descending, by David R. George III

FERENGINAR: Quark's profit-driven homeworld is rocked with scandal as shocking allegations involving his brother's first wife, the mother of Nog, threaten to overthrow Rom as Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance. Making matters worse, Quark has been recruited by Rom's political adversaries to join their coup d'etat, with guarantees of all Quark ever dreamed if the succeed in taking his brother down. While Ferenginar's future teeters on the edge, the pregnancy of Rom's current wife, Leeta, takes a difficult turn for both mother and child.
THE DOMINION: Since its defeat in the war for the Alpha Quadrant, the Great Link -- the living totality of the shape-shifting Founders -- has struggled with questions. At its moment of greatest doubt, its fate, and that of the Dominion itself, is tied to Odo's investigation of his kind's true motives for sending a hundred infant changelings out into the galaxy. As Odo searches for answers and takes a hard look at his past choices, Taran'atar reaches a turning point in his own quest for clarity... one from which there may be no going back.



15. Miasma (Star Trek: The Original Series), by Greg Cox

The Enterprise-A is transporting a party of diplomats when it picks up a mysterious alien signal emanating from a nearby world. The planet’s dense, impenetrable atmosphere makes it unclear if the beacon is a distress signal, an invitation — or a warning to stay away. Spock, Doctor McCoy, and Chekov are part of a team sent to investigate, but an unexpected catastrophe forces a crash-landing. Now the landing party is stranded on a hostile world, unable to communicate with the Enterprise. While Captain Kirk and Saavik race to locate the lost crew, a badly wounded Spock struggles to keep McCoy and the others alive until they can be rescued, even if that means making an unthinkable sacrifice...
 


23 comments:

  1. "I would rather see you dead than queer. Make your choice."
    Dead or queer ? Then queer of course !

    This Dad really was a bit befuddled, seems it did not come out as intended.

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    1. Yes, the old brain circuits can get a bit fried when shocked.

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  2. "my treehouse had a breakfast bar"

    HA! That's very good. I hope there are more anecdotes of that nature in the book.

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    1. There are some most amusing coming out stories. Here are a couple of excerpts that I like:
      1. Zoe: (in between sobs) Mum, I'm a lesbian.
      Mum: Oh good! I thought you were pregnant.
      Zoe: You're pleased?
      Mum: Ooh yes. Men are such bastards. I think my ideal would be a woman with a dick...

      2. Peter: When I was eleven, I heard my parents talking about a toilet in the park where awful and disgusting things happened. So I got on my bike and went straight down there.

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  3. It saddens me to think your sexual orientation created a rift between you and parents. Thankfully, it's been resolved.

    Unfortunately, parents, and many people in general, aren't always well-informed about homosexuality and may not understand or accept it, especially in their own family.

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    1. That's true. When I came out to mum & dad, I dealt with their shock, disbelief then silence by reminding myself that I had a couple of years or so to get used to being gay, so they're just taking some time, too. I don't think they knew any gay people, and there wasn't much gay publicity around at the time, either, so it wasn't something they'd ever really thought about before. Luckily, they didn't chuck me out of the house, and we got back to relative normality in a few months or so.

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  4. Some of my friends had terribly sad stories of family severance.One girl was told by her mother that "girls can't be queers."
    But most of those I know have great family relationships.

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    1. A girl in the book was told the same thing by her parents. She was informed that it was "just a hormone imbalence" and that she'd "get over it". Needless to say, she didn't!

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  5. It ain't easy being honest with parents and they're not always prepared for your revelation... the empress and i hardly spoke for 10 years after my "coming out" but now look at us!

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    1. Good point. Preparation is key to many things, but preparing someone for a shock just isn't something one can normally do. "Dinner's in the oven and, by the way, I'll be coming out as a poofter in two years time, so just start to prepare yourself."

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  6. Surely Bold, Brave, Bizarre and Blatant can only be siblings showing their parents' bizarre taste in names?
    I have a theory that homophobes are genetically predisposed to parenting gay children. And of course I did love it when one of my less pleasant colleagues announced that she would die if a daughter of hers was a lesbian. It only took a week...

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    1. Ha! I expect your colleague managed to survive her harrowing ordeal?

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  7. we've made great progress in the last 50 years. now that
    we're inside the palace, the rest of them are screwed!

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    1. Yes. World domination will soon be ours! Mwah hah hah hah haa!

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  8. I think my own parents would have been in denial about it, ignored it, or considered it a phase... I reckon it would have been awkward had I been gay. And as they've gotten older they've been less and less open minded about many things. From Guardian readers to Daily Mail readers within the last 15 years.
    Sx

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    1. That's the thing, you never know which way someone's going to go, but the Daily Mail? Isn't there a cure for that by now?
      Seriously though, I think sometimes it is best not to tell. I didn't come out to my grandparents while they were alive as I don't think they would have taken it very well (although, they read the Express...).

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    2. Forgot to mention that they had a brief dalliance with The Telegraph before The Mail. It's a slippery slope.
      I had the same reaction when I told my Mum that I'd started smoking - she was relieved that I wasn't pregnant. Getting pregnant was the worse thing ever back in the day.
      Sx

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  9. I say Cheers to all the brave people who survived the coming out experience. The more visible & connected a community is to the real world, the more power it has to change minds & make the world a better place.

    The DS9 stories seem fascinating. Cardassian post war reconstruction & the conflict between those wanting progress vs those wanting the old ways makes me think of Cardassians like old American South gentry, with hoop skirts & canes, sipping mint juleps & fanning themselves on the veranda as they debate the future of the South after the war. Now I'm imagining filling out an Andorian driver's license application & having to figure out with of the four choices of sex I ought to mark that applies to me. Also, I may need assistance filling out the parents name section. Family reunions & family trees must be quite elaborate & super complex, & it must be a production just to fill out the nametag & the relationship to the family portion.

    I would be thrilled to learn more about the Trill, & I'm excited about Sisko's return. Hopefully his vision of Bajor's future involves getting rid of those street performing monkey hats so popular in Bajor fashion.

    Ah, Quark, one of the most developed characters & most changed in some ways, of the DS9 characters. It's pretty neat to watch his transition from greedy, shady con artist to less greedy, but still shady con artist with heroic & noble traits. And I love learning about Odo & the fate of the 100 & what happens to the Founders now.

    You would think that after all the shuttle malfunctions & crashes that the Federation would at least upgrade or create newer models. Or they could start using drones & robots to start exploring those dangerous places first before sending out a crew. Surely in the future they still have cameras & have invented really, really long selfie sticks to take fotos of those hard to reach, miasma covered places.

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    1. The Worlds of Deep Space Nine books really are wonderful. Fascinating, as you (and Mr Spock) say! They really do show the world behind the character. I thoroughly recommend them, but you'll need to ensure you make enough time to read them.

      I've just read an Original Series novel (The Latter Fire, by James Swallow), and one of the shuttles is attacked and has, amongst other things, a nacelle blown off. However, unlike pretty much every other shuttlecraft in other stories, this one is still functional, and gets the crew back to the Enterprise!

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  10. What's Miasma like? I'm intrigued but I've found the novellas somewhat unsatisfying in the past.

    I'm reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet based on your recommendation.

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    1. I haven't found the novellas very satisfying either (except for Christopher L. Bennett's DTI novella The Collectors) and, unfortunately, this one was no exception. Spock's and McCoy's characterisations were spot on, but I bought this for Saavik and, quite honestly, she could have been anyone. Plus, my common sense kept kicking in when something even vaguely preposterous happened, or a eye-rolling choice was made seemingly without any thought. I'd give this a miss if I were you.

      I hope you're enjoying (or enjoyed, if you've already read it) TLWTASAP? Will I be getting a commission for the sale?

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    2. I generally have a problem with the movie era books. I don't feel anyone has ever really nailed that part of trek lore.

      Yeah, really enjoying that book with the really long name. It reminds me a lot of the animated film Titan AE, actually. That's a good think, before you have to ask.

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    3. I'm re-reading "that book with the really long name" right now! (Your comments inspired me). And I watched Titan AE last week - I love that film! There are so many notable things about it, but one I can particularly remember is the intelligent security guard. Clearly he didn't go to the Red Shirt Academy!

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