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​                                                                                  JOURNAL ENTRY #210

                                                                                           June 1, 2016

 

            One of the most compelling ways to draw a reader into a narrative is to set up a mystery. If it's a novel, do it in the prologue. If it's short fiction, do it in the opening paragraph.

 

The Harlan J. Smith Telescope near Fort Davis, Texas, has discovered an exoplanet orbiting a star in the constellation Taurus, which is roughly 450 light-years away. The planet's designator is CI Tau b. So what's the mystery? "For decades," according to Christopher Johns-Krull, the lead author of a study about CI Tau b in The Astrophysical Journal, "conventional wisdom held that large Jupiter-mass planets take a minimum of 10 million years to form." CI Tau b is at least eight times more massive than Jupiter but the star it orbits is only two million years old.

 

            Details are available from Astronomy Now: https://astronomynow.com/2016/05/27/astronomers-find-giant-planet-around-very-young-star-ci-tauri/

 

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            Star Trek Continues is a group of talented enthusiasts operating out of Kingsland, GA, who have been producing Star Trek episodes now for several years. I've taken advantage of the opportunity to visit the set and watch some of the action. Their newest episode is "Come Not Between the Dragons."

 

            I saw the finished product a few days ago. It is like a time travel experience back to the sixties and the original show. The filming and the special effects are exquisite. The story line is gripping. And the actors look and sound remarkably like the original cast. Six shows are now available online.   http://www.startrekcontinues.com/episodes.html

     

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            My son Chris got married a few days ago to the lovely Robbi Jo Jones. They've bought a house a few doors down from where we live. Welcome to the neighborhood, guys. Maureen and I are delighted to have them close by.

 

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            I got hooked on the Sherlock Holmes movies when I was about five years old. The characters were played by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. During the summer of 1955, I picked up a copy of the complete canon, four novels and 56 short stories. When I finished "Shoscombe Old Place," the final Holmes narrative by Arthur Conan Doyle, I was seriously dismayed. It was over, Holmes and Watson were gone never to return, and Doyle had gone off to write "more serious work" of which I'd never before heard. And haven't really gotten near since.

 

            Why he would walk away from that incredible creation to attempt routine historical novels I have no idea. We know that he thought Holmes was strictly something he did to make money. But that he wanted to produce something of serious quality. It honestly felt like a betrayal. And 1955 was an era in which the copyright was still in effect and, as far as I knew, would remain so forever. I would never again read an original Holmes story.

 

            As best I can recall, they'd stopped making the movies. And there was no TV series. Fortunately, after a long struggle, Sherlock made it into the public domain, a condition I hadn't heard of before. Suddenly book stores were filled with Holmes and Watson. The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes, by Donald Thomas. Sherlock Holmes and the Mysterious Friend of Oscar Wilde, by Russell A. Browne. Sherlock Holmes: Repeat Business by Lyn McConchie. Sherlock Holmes and the American Literati, by Daniel Victor. To name just a few. For me, and for any other fan of the great detective, it meant endless sources and good times. It turns out the world is a kind place after all.

 

            And then something else happened, that I would never have thought possible in 1955: One of the anthologies, Derrick Belanger's Beyond Watson, has a story by me.