Discover more from WAMTNG
Captain's Log: Where No Question Has Gone Before
Encounter at FAQpoint
Why are you writing WAM TNG?
One simple reason: I'm watching the show with my kids. This gives me an excuse to take my interests in aesthetics and apply it to a subject that means a great deal to me: a TV show that built upon my prior love of Star Trek and that would flow forward into adoration for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I also believe that the sci-fi stories in this show and its immediate successor provide a unique space for moral reflection and discussion, because they were made during the human rights era (1948-2011).
When does the newsletter run?
Every WAM Wednesday at 1701-D hours, UK time.
Where does WAM come from?
It’s a particular way of performing prop theory, a method from aesthetics for understanding how we engage with fiction. I discussed this at length in my book Imaginary Games, mostly in the context of games and other artworks. But you don't need to know anything about prop theory to enjoy these WAMs. They're not quite 'behind-the-scenes', but they certainly peek behind the scenery!
What will I learn from reading?
Quite a bit about how artworks like Star Trek episodes create their fictional worlds, which will be helpful for writers working in any medium, as well as to game designers or anyone else whose job entails channelling imagination. If your interests turn to the philosophical, you might also encounter an unfamiliar perspective on contemporary politics that I hope will encourage you to think around problems, rather than just erecting walls to exclude those who don’t share your beliefs. The Federation offers a principled fantasy for how this can work… we can still learn from it.
Should I comment…?
I invite anyone and everyone reading to join in! I absolutely love getting comments (especially polite ones!) and anyone can leave a comment on the WAMs. Members of the Away Team (paid subscribers) will also get to comment on Personal Logs, which I will always respond to, and can also email me using the WAM TNG email address.
Should I lock on to WAM TNG’s co-ordinates (Subscribe)?
If you want WAM TNG beamed directly to your inbox, you should certainly subscribe! But don’t feel like you have to pay - just pick ‘None’ in the pricing options and you’ll be beamed aboard without charge and given the rank of Crewman.
Should I join the Away Team (Paid Subscribers)?
Don’t join the Away Team unless your name is in the opening credits! You’re sure to get killed. Besides, I promise all 178 episode WAMs will always be free, so please don’t feel obligated to join the Away Team. Still, I want to offer a ‘tips jar’, so there’s a paid tier for anyone who is enjoying themselves. As a thank you for your support, members of the Away Team get an automatic promotion to the rank of Lieutenant, as well as gaining access to Personal Logs - they can even email me by replying to newsletters, which otherwise you won’t be able to do.
Why is the Q Continuum so *&?"^% expensive?!
Largely because it amuses me to charge people 1701-D(ollars) on a Star Trek: The Next Generation newsletter! Besides, members of the Q Continuum (who overpay for their subscription) will get to decide whether I watch Picard when this adventure is completed. So I’m selling power over my future(!), albeit in an utterly ludicrous fashion.
Why all the hate for Wesley…?
I really don’t hate Wesley, much less Wil Wheaton, but they made his character so annoying in the early seasons that it was something of a tradition to wail on him in 80s and 90s geekdom. I am old enough to remember the Usenet group alt.ensign.wesley.die.die.die. I think for me it’s all for much the same reason I couldn’t watch early episodes of The Big Bang Theory: basically, PTSD from my university years where I was gleefully cavorting with ultra-nerdom with utter abandon. Still, the TNG episode I quote from most often, The First Duty, is in fact a Wesley episode.
You never mention the Kelvin timeline or Picard. Why not?
The same reason I didn’t go to see any of the Disney Star Wars movies: I’m not really into fan fiction, even when its made on a big budget, although I’m happy for it all to exist. I personally don’t believe that corporate ownership and hiring the same actors is enough to make something canonical to previously existing media. Every artwork stands alone, and it is only the viewer who collects them into fictional worlds - although all sci-fi franchises invite us to do this, of course. Anyway, you are welcome to draw your canon and fanon however you wish! I won’t judge you either way.
What do you mean by ‘supra-fanonical’?
This one is complex, but I’ve put an explanation of ‘supra-fanonical’ over at my philosophy blog, Only a Game, for the interested reader.
You said such-and-such and that is clearly wrong! Will you correct it?
Everyone makes mistakes! Feel free to point out mine in the comments, but I won’t necessarily edit what I have already said. I don’t mind having made mistakes and, after all, if the newsletter was already sent, it’s a bit late to make changes. (But never say never!)
You said such-and-such and I am offended! What are you going to do about it?
I apologise unreservedly for any offense caused - I never write with the intention to offend. But I adhere to Federation standards of free speech, and I cannot change what was already said. Besides, an endless programme of revisionism doesn’t help anyone half as much as practicing forgiveness will.
What’s the difference between a Captain’s Log and a Personal Log?
A Captain’s Log is an editorial anyone can read and comment on. A Personal Log is an editorial that only members of the Away Team (i.e. paid subscribers) can read or comment on. Also, as a mark of respect to paid subscribers, I’ll endeavour to engage in all discussion on Personal Logs - a captain has to listen to their officers, after all!
What happens when all 178 WAMs have been completed?
I cannot see the future! But it’s a safe bet that if people are enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll write more but on another topic. There’s four movies and 176 episodes of Deep Space Nine I’d be glad to WAM, and I’d also gladly WAM classic Trek, Doctor Who, sci-fi movies, and much more besides! And the Q Continuum might decide that I will watch Picard… but don’t bet on that happening!
Raise Legal Shields!
WAM TNG is a critical commentary on the narrative construction of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Any images that appear along with the text are being used under the ‘fair use doctrine’, and thus remain the copyright of their legal owners, whomever that might be.