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[BRIEF NOTE] “So Near the Touch”, a #StarTrek story about #socialdistancing (@GeorgeTakei)

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The current coronavirus pandemic in Canada and the wider world has made me think of a few things. One of these is the apparently overlooked story “So Near the Touch”, the story in the first annual of the second DC Comics run of Star Trek comics published in July 1990.

Co-written by George Takei and Peter David (different sources suggest that Takei provided the story), “So Near the Touch” is centered on the world of Datugan, a Federation trading partner that was so eager to export an energy-generating ore that it irremediably polluted its environment. The very people of Datugan have been so contaminated by pollution that two individuals cannot risk bodily contact, else they self-combust. They are doomed.

The Federation, feeling some responsibility for this catastrophe, has initiated a grand project of rebirth, to use in vitro techniques to let the Datugan species continue on a clean new world. The Enterprise-A is assigned to escort a medical team lead by one Corazon Kohwangko to Datugan to help start off this project. Sulu, who has a romantic history with Kohwangko, is pleased to be reunited with her. On arrival at Datugan, the mission encounters unexpected trouble from Datugans opposed to this program.

“So Near the Touch” is an effective short story, setting a credible romance for Sulu with an interesting partner against the backdrop of a dying world with people desperate for help. (Reading this now gives me some insight into Takei’s upset with the movies’ portrayal of Sulu as gay; here, Takei literally wrote Sulu as straight.) I find that it resonates particularly with me now, living under conditions of COVID-19 quarantine, deprived of direct contact with anyone for fear of infection. Takei and David got the corrosive impacts of isolation quite nicely.

The physical issue is available on eBay, while electronic copies can be acquired from the usual places.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 25, 2020 at 3:45 pm

[PHOTO] This brings me joy. #startrek #startrekpicard #jeriryan #sevenofnine #screenshot

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This brings me joy. #startrek #startrekpicard #jeriryan #sevenofnine #screenshot

My original comment was here, at Michael Chabon’s Instagram account.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Seven city links: Mississauga, Oshawa, Hamilton, London, Kingston, Montréal, Québec

  • A historic bridge over the Credit River in Mississauga, happily, will not be demolished but instead will be repaired. CBC reports.
  • Now that automobile production has stopped at the Oshawa General Motors plant, what will become of that city? CBC reports.
  • The auditor-general of Ontario will investigate the claimed costs that led to the cancellation of the Hamilton LRT. Global News reports.
  • A new bus route now connects London, Ontario, to Sarnia. Global News reports.
  • Kingstonist reports that filming for the season finale of Star Trek: Discovery has just finished up in Kingston, at the pen.
  • Joe Buongiorno writes at CBC Montreal at his, specifically Italian Canadian, experiences with the Jean Talon Market in Montréal.
  • Le Devoir notes that many radio stations in Québec City are leading opposition to the proposed streetcar system.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Charlie Stross at Antipope shares an essay he recently presented on artificial intelligence and its challenges for us.
  • P. Kerim Friedman writes at {anthro}dendum about the birth of the tea ceremony in the Taiwan of the 1970s.
  • Anthropology net reports on a cave painting nearly 44 thousand years old in Indonesia depicting a hunting story.
  • Architectuul looks at some temporary community gardens in London.
  • Bad Astronomy reports on the weird history of asteroid Ryugu.
  • The Buzz talks about the most popular titles borrowed from the Toronto Public Library in 2019.
  • Caitlin Kelly talks at the Broadside Blog about her particular love of radio.
  • Centauri Dreams talks about the role of amateur astronomers in searching for exoplanets, starting with LHS 1140 b.
  • John Quiggin at Crooked Timber looks at what is behind the rhetoric of “virtue signalling”.
  • Dangerous Minds shares concert performance from Nirvana filmed the night before the release of Nevermind.
  • Bruce Dorminey notes new evidence that, even before the Chixculub impact, the late Cretaceous Earth was staggering under environmental pressures.
  • Myron Strong at the Everyday Sociology Blog writes about how people of African descent in the US deal with the legacies of slavery in higher education.
  • Far Outliers reports on the plans in 1945 for an invasion of Japan by the US.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing gathers together a collection of the author’s best writings there.
  • Gizmodo notes the immensity of the supermassive black hole, some 40 billion solar masses, at the heart of galaxy Holm 15A 700 million light-years away.
  • Russell Arben Fox at In Media Res writes about the issue of how Wichita is to organize its civic politics.
  • io9 argues that the 2010s were a decade where the culture of the spoiler became key.
  • The Island Review points readers to the podcast Mother’s Blood, Sister’s Songs, an exploration of the links between Ireland and Iceland.
  • Joe. My. God. reports on the claim of the lawyer of the killer of a mob boss that the QAnon conspiracy inspired his actions. This strikes me as terribly dangerous.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at a study examining scholarly retractions.
  • Language Hat shares an amusing cartoon illustrating the relationships of the dialects of Arabic.
  • Language Log lists ten top new words in the Japanese language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the dissipation of American diplomacy by Trump.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the many problems in Sparta, Greece, with accommodating refugees, for everyone concerned.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting the decline of the one-child policy in China has diminished child trafficking, among other crimes.
  • Sean Marshall, looking at transit in Brampton, argues that transit users need more protection from road traffic.
  • Russell Darnley shares excerpts from essays he wrote about the involvement of Australia in the Vietnam War.
  • Peter Watts talks about his recent visit to a con in Sofia, Bulgaria, and about the apocalypse, here.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the corporatization of the funeral industry, here.
  • Diane Duane writes, from her own personal history with Star Trek, about how one can be a writer who ends up writing for a media franchise.
  • Jim Belshaw at Personal Reflections considers the job of tasting, and rating, different cuts of lamb.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at a nondescript observatory in the Mojave desert of California that maps the asteroids of the solar system.
  • Roads and Kingdoms interviews Eduardo Chavarin about, among other things, Tijuana.
  • Drew Rowsome loves the SpongeBob musical.
  • Peter Rukavina announces that Charlottetown has its first public fast charger for electric vehicles.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog considers the impact of space medicine, here.
  • The Signal reports on how the Library of Congress is making its internet archives more readily available, here.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel considers how the incredibly isolated galaxy MCG+01-02-015 will decay almost to nothing over almost uncountable eons.
  • Strange Company reports on the trial and execution of Christopher Slaughterford for murder. Was there even a crime?
  • Strange Maps shares a Coudenhove-Kalergi map imagining the division of the world into five superstates.
  • Understanding Society considers entertainment as a valuable thing, here.
  • Denis Colombi at Une heure de peine announces his new book, Où va l’argent des pauvres?
  • John Scalzi at Whatever looks at how some mailed bread triggered a security alert, here.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the massive amount of remittances sent to Tajikistan by migrant workers, here.
  • Arnold Zwicky notes a bizarre no-penguins sign for sale on Amazon.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Architectuul looks at the Portuguese architectural cooperative Ateliermob, here.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at how white dwarf WD J091405.30+191412.25 is literally vapourizing a planet in close orbit.
  • Caitlin Kelly at the Broadside Blog explains</a< to readers why you really do not want to have to look for parking in New York City.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the slowing of the solar wind far from the Sun.
  • John Holbo at Crooked Timber considers the gap between ideals and actuals in the context of conspiracies and politics.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on how the ESA is trying to solve a problem with the parachutes of the ExoMars probe.
  • Far Outliers reports on what Harry Truman thought about politicians.
  • Gizmodo reports on a new method for identifying potential Earth-like worlds.
  • io9 pays tribute to legendary writer, of Star Trek and much else, D.C. Fontana.
  • The Island Review reports on the football team of the Chagos Islands.
  • Joe. My. God. reports that gay Olympian Gus Kenworthy will compete for the United Kingdom in 2020.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at how early English imperialists saw America and empire through the lens of Ireland.
  • Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns and Money does not like Pete Buttigieg.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the London Bridge terrorist attack.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of Prince William Sound, in Alaska, that is already out of date because of global warming.
  • Marginal Revolution questions if Cebu, in the Philippines, is the most typical city in the world.
  • The NYR Daily looks at gun violence among Arab Israelis.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers what needs to be researched next on Mars.
  • Roads and Kingdoms tells the story of Sister Gracy, a Salesian nun at work in South Sudan.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a paper noting continued population growth expected in much of Europe, and the impact of this growth on the environment.
  • Strange Maps shares a map of fried chicken restaurants in London.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel explains why a 70 solar mass black hole is not unexpected.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever gives</a his further thoughts on the Pixel 4.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that, last year, 37 thousand Russians died of HIV/AIDS.
  • Arnold Zwicky starts from a consideration of the 1948 film Kind Hearts and Coronets.

[PHOTO] Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 40th Anniversary Edition

The novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is available on bookshelves again, this time as a handsome trade paperback.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 49th Anniversary Edition #toronto #books #sciencefiction #startrek #sttmp #startreki #generoddenberry #alandeanfoster

Written by Randy McDonald

October 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Citizen Science Salon highlights Australian Michelle Neil, here.
  • Ingrid Robeyns argues at Crooked Timber that the idea of punitive taxation of the superrich is hardly blasphemous.
  • The Crux looks at the ongoing debate over the age of the rings of Saturn.
  • io9 notes the sad death of Aron Eisenberg, the actor who brought the character of Nog to life on DS9.
  • JSTOR Daily shares a debate on the ego and the id, eighty years later.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Mitch McConnell may have started the movement of Elizabeth Warren towards the US presidency.
  • The Map Room Blog takes a look at the credible and consistent mapping of Star Wars’ galaxy.
  • The NYR Daily looks at Springsteen at 70 as a performer.
  • Peter Rukavina shares a photo of a New England forest in fall.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes a sticker that straddles the line between anti-Muslim sentiment and misogyny, trying to force people to choose.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the strong anti-Russian sentiment prevailing in once-independent Tuva.