Yoji presenting the Heinlein Medal at Balticon 47, with Michael Flynn.
Yoji Kondo, scientist, science fiction author, mentor and friend to me for the past 36 years, has died. Like my father, who died in May, Yoji’s last years were spent amidst diminishing brain function as dementia claimed one of the greatest intellects I’ve ever known.
Yoji introduced me (indirectly) to the works of Robert Heinlein. I say indirectly because, in the beginning, I was just a punk kid who wanted to date his daughter Beatrice, and he was a respected scientist, an Aikido master, if I’m not mistaken the one of the two or three highest ranked practitioners of Aikido in the United States, and a friend to people like Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, the grandmasters of a field I desperately wanted to pursue. I didn’t speak much in his presence. I was intimidated.
The boys are in my corner, at any rate.
Really. I’ve been hiding in a corner for all of 2017. You’ve barely heard from me at all, unless we had specific business to transact, or a family event to attend together.
Well, I’m coming out of my corner. Some. A little ways, maybe.
I want to tell you why I’ve been in hiding, but I don’t want to say too much.
I don’t really consider this vague-booking. Vague-booking is making a statement on Facebook (or, I guess, other social media) that grabs people’s attention, but doesn’t tell them what the hell you’re actually talking about. “I’m really upset with you. You know who you are. I think you suck.” That’s vague-booking.
Well, first, this is my blog, so I think that disqualifies my somewhat cryptic content. Second, I’m not hiding information from anyone because I want to taunt them, or because I’m trying to be mysterious. It’s just that I’ve gone through a hell of a lot in the past few months. A lot of it was painful. I’m not ready to talk about it in public. I may never be ready to talk about it in public.
I recently watched a fun little documentary called “The Trek Not Taken,” about Star Trek spinoffs that were discussed, developed, in some cases written and even taken to the point where sets and costumes were built, but not released to an audience.I really enjoyed it, and thought it was nicely done. There was a point I took exception to, however. I bring it up here, not to criticize the producer of this video in any way, but more to examine how I, as an aging fan, tend to see things a little differently.
The makers of this video posited that, in fifty years of existence, Star Trek has gone through several “dark ages” and one “golden age.” These ages aligned with the times that a Trek TV series was or was not in production, so the first two dark ages were 1969-1973 and 1975-1987.
Interestingly, although four Trek films were released during that second interval, it’s the opinion of the documentarian that only televised Trek saves fans from a dark age.