Once upon a time there were two science fiction fan blogs: Star Trek: Sentinel and Space 2049.  One proved popular for it’s aggregated news, the other was more popular for it’s developing fan-script that envisioned what a faithful remake of Space: 1999 might look like today.

Both blogs attracted the odd question from readers over their various histories, and now that both have been merged into one site (this one), those questions have been answered, here, on this FAQ page.

To shake things up a little, and make these FAQs a little different, I had a friend interview me for the answers, and it’s all transcribed below for your amusement and information.

Thanks for asking me to do this

Thank you for agreeing to it!

Ready for the first question?

Probably not, but hit me with it.

It’s a simple one.  We’re going to ease you into it.  What font are you using for your Star Trek posts?  It looks really familiar.

The font?  I’m actually glad someone asked that. It’s called Montalban.  I’m only guessing here, but I’m thinking it was probably named for the awesome Ricardo Montalban who played Khan in the TOS episode ‘Space Seed,’ and played that character again in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  The reason it looks familiar is because it’s the font used in that movie’s opening titles.

Hold on, I need my notes here, I want to promote the guy who made it. The artist who created the font is known as Pixel Saga, real name Neale Davidson.  Neale offers the font for free, but you can donate to him if you’d like.  I’ll make sure I provide the link in the write up (its here – all you need to do is click the ‘donate to author’ box under the download option for the font).  I’ll stick up a link to his website too (here).  I recommend readers visit the site.  He’s a talented guy.

Star Trek II TWOK

That was thorough!  Here’s the second question.  Why did you use the Ambassador Class starship design for the ship in your Star Trek: Sentinel story?

There are a few reasons.  Some of them I talk about in the Star Trek section of the site, so I won’t repeat them here, but the ultimate reason was because the Ambassador Class is my favourite Trek ship design. That and the Enterprise-J from Star Trek: Enterprise. You only see the J for a few seconds, but I loved it.

To be totally honest, I love every version of the Enterprise, except for the E. Just don’t like that ship at all (laughs). The C, though, is my number one.  That ship says “I get shit done and I do it in style.”  It looks like it’s there for the long haul.

Ambassador Class Starship

I guess the other reason is, as I was plotting the story out it made sense to me that Starfleet would revisit older designs rather than invest a ridiculous amount of time in redesigning something new.

In the time frame I’m interested in, the Federation has been through a lot – the Dominion War, the Borg, and the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire.  If I were the President of the Federation, or the head of Starfleet, I would want to conserve resources by using designs that had proved faithful in the past.  Update their tech, and get ’em out there to do the work that needs doing.

You’ve given a lot of thought to this, haven’t you?

It might be a little sad to admit, but yes, I have.  If you read Kirsten Beyer’s amazing Star Trek: Voyager relaunch novels, you’ll get it.  The Federation has been more or less decimated.  They have bigger issues than trying to design new starships.

Makes sense to me too.  There do seem to be a lot of different starship designs in Starfleet!  Okay.  Next question.  Why did you make one of your characters a search and rescue person?

That’s a really good one.  Initially, that character, J’yne (pronounced Jane) was a MACO.  I’d brought them back from Star Trek: Enterprise.  After a lot of thought, I changed it to a SAR because that made more sense to the story. It’s also something I know about. I’m not a marine, but I’ve been involved in emergency management and disaster recovery for a while. I was in the SES (State Emergency Services, in Australia) and was trained in search and rescue. Write what you know!

Also, I wanted to explore other parts of Starfleet.

One of my favourite episodes of all time is “All Good Things” parts one and two.  In that, we see Captain Beverly Picard in command of the USS Pasteur, a medical ship.  It made me think about all of the different sorts of missions Starfleet engages in.  I didn’t want the crew of the Sentinel to be boldly exploring strange new worlds, because there’s been a lot of that.  I wanted to create a story where we could get to know more about the various existing species in the Federation, and how they respond to extreme situations. I wanted a story that highlighted emergency services personnel. I’ve been a first responder, and what we call a second responder (the recovery aspect after a disaster), and both are hard. Both are fucking heroic but in different ways. A first responder runs into a burning building and carries people out, a second responder stays with that person through their recovery and weathers all of the ups and downs and the emotional turmoil that follows. That journey can take years.

To me, that stuff is meaty and interesting and inspirational.

USS Pasteur

Personally, I love it.  And I love J’yne.  He’s something a little different, which is hard to do with a property that has over 50-years’ of history!


Okay… next question.  Why are you focusing on Saavik in your Star Trek novel?

The way they ended her arc in the original series movies was pretty poor.

They introduce this vital, exciting character in the second movie, they change actors on us in the third film, which was fine, and then they dump her at the beginning of the fourth movie.

We eventually learned from leaked information and interviews, that the character was supposed to be pregnant with Spock’s child, and that she stayed on Vulcan to give birth, but then nothing.  Instead of throwing never before heard of siblings at Spock, why didn’t we deal with him becoming a father in the fifth film?  Boy, girl, non-binary, whatever!  What a fascinating character that kid would have been!  One quarter Romulan, one quarter human, and half-Vulcan.

If any character deserves follow-up it’s Saavik, and with the passing now of both Mark Lenard and Leonard Nimoy, it would be nice to carry on the Sarek line rather than keep recasting the existing characters ad infinitum.  I honestly wish they’d done that.

The promo image you created for Star Trek: Sentinel has Robin Curtis’s Saavik on it.  Didn’t you like the original Saavik?

I loved the original Saavik.  Kirstie Alley was brilliant in that role.  But so was Robin.  She just doesn’t get a lot of acknowledgement for that, which sucks.

I chose Robin for two reasons. She was the last actor to play the character and I really enjoyed her take on it, and Kirstie, tragically, left us not so long ago.

That’s fair enough.  On to a different track now.  Knowing you as well as I do, it might irk you a bit. So… the question is: Why Space: 1999?  I don’t even know if anyone saw it?

I have to add to that, Jay.  What’s so special about that old show?  I remember it, but only because I had a crush on the shapeshifting character.

(Laughs) I don’t take any offence at the “did anyone ever see it,” thing. It was never as big as Star Wars or Star Trek, or even the original Battlestar Galactica that came out two or three years later. It was pretty cerebral, and very philosophical. You had to be a real geek to know and love the show, I guess. And as you know, Mick, I came out of the womb a geek. 

Why focus on it all all? I loved the show as a kid.  I was five when it came out in Australia, I think?  Something like that.  However young I was, it stuck with me.  When I came across the VHS tapes while I was at Uni, I fell in love with the show all over again.  That was in the first half of the 1990s.  Back then, it was still possible to wonder “what if the moon did get blasted out of orbit?”  Over the years, the show stayed with me.  It had a huge impression on me as a child because it was so realistic.  Moonbase Alpha looked like what I imagined a real moon base would look like.

About a decade after I graduated from Uni, the show came out on DVD and I bought the box set, watched every episode, watched them again, and was still in love.  I think that was about 2005? The moon was still up there, we hadn’t built a base on it, but none of that mattered to me.  The show was so unique.  I love the characters – Helena, John, Sandra, Victor.  I loved the esoteric nature of the show.  I love that it tackled big questions and didn’t always provide answers – or answers that were comfortable.  I’d never seen anything like it, and I still haven’t. I think it also gave birth to my love of horror movies. Space: 1999 and Doctor Who scared the pants off me as a kid, and I loved the mix of science fiction, mystery and horror.

I think the story of Moonbase Alpha deserves to be told again, it just needs some tweaking.

Does that answer both questions?

It does.

Space 1999 Season 2 Poster

Okay, this must be from an American.  The reader asks what’s with your spelling?  Why “s’s” instead of “z’s” in some words?

(Laughs) Definitely has to be from an American.  I love the United States, and I really love Americans in general.  I’ve spent a bit of time in the States over the years.

For our American friends, in Australia, and most English speaking countries, we don’t write “organisation” as “organization.”  We use an “s.”  So, me using an “s” instead of a “z” is just about what I was taught in school.  It’s not meant as an affront to Americans or anything like that.

Next one. Similar to the last one. Why Buck Rogers in the 25th Century?

Well, because I think Buck’s story is relevant to right now.  He was a man out of time, thrown into a new world he didn’t understand. In a lot of ways, we’re all Buck. COVID-19 threw us all out of the world we knew, and into some border-line dystopic reality that was similar but totally different to anything we’ve ever know. If you’d told me, back in the early twenty-tens, that there would be a time in the near future where I would be locked down and unable to leave my home because my government told me I had to stay put, I would have laughed hysterically.

Also, I’m middle-aged now. I feel a little out of place myself, most of the time. A little anachronistic at times. I can relate a bit to Buck! I look at some of my younger colleagues and their complete fixation on social media, and crap like Tik Tok, and I just shake my head. I hate social media, I think it’s the worst thing to happen to humanity since war, but it seems like I’m one of the few who feels that way. I don’t know if that’s age, or not. Honestly, it’s probably my career. As a mental health professional I’ve seen social media do some horrible things to adults and children alike. Thousands of adults and children across my career. Its dangerous, and no one seems interested in making it safer – because making it safer will not generate the same levels of income the current models generate. It’s a cruel thing. I do think it could be safer, and that it could be a great thing, but it’s just not right now – and doesn’t look like it’s going to be any time soon. Plus, it’s created some pretty disgusting stuff, the selfie culture and social influencers… really, just why? Yeah, maybe it is an age thing (laughs)!

Okay, that answers that!  No more questions for now, so thanks.  We’ll sign off.

As more questions are asked, we’ll include them here if they’re relevant, so if you’re bored, check back with our FAQ page every couple of months.

Thanks for being interested in SciFi Mojo and visiting our FAQ page.

Live long, and prosper.

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