Origins of The N.O.C.: Year One

Believe it or not, today marks the one year anniversary of the official launch of this blog. (While we reposted Bao’s article that inspired the website on August 1, we didn’t officially kick off the site until this post on the 12th.)

A year later, we’ve grown exponentially across our various social media platforms thanks to all of you loyal readers, followers, subscribers, and likers. To mark the occasion, we’re going to look back at the secret origins of all of the NOCs who contributed this past year. Fortunately, our roster continues to grow, so you can keep track of future origin stories by following this tag.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: R.I.P. Almost Human

So the inevitable finally happened. After a season of steadily declining ratings and even more weeks of speculation. Fox finally pulled the plug on the J.J. Abrams-produced sci-fi series Almost Human. The show, which starred Karl Urban and Michael Ealy, was a popular one — around NOC HQ, at least — and will definitely be missed.

To bid the show a fond farewell, the Nerds once again took to the Roundtable to pay their respects.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: The Darkest Timelines

I guess Bryan Singer has a complex about Marvel movie announcements that aren’t about the X-Men. Back in October, on the same day Disney/Marvel released the long-awaited trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Singer and Fox Instagrammed a teaser vid of their own X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer. So last week, when Sony debuted their trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Singer took to twitter to divert the attention of those fans who might have been willing to give Marc Webb’s sequel a chance:

https://twitter.com/BryanSinger/status/408707930116980736

Also because the internet has a short attention span. If the X-Men eighth-quel is indeed about the classic “Age of Apocalypse” storyline from the 90s — in which a mutant time-travels to the past and accidentally kills Xavier, thus setting off an alternate timeline in which Magneto assembles the X-Men, only to have Apocalypse choose that moment to launch a war that places mutants at the top of the food chain because he slaughters humans by the millions (holy run-ons, Batman!) — then that would mean back-to-back alternate timeline movies for the X-Men. But it got the Nerds to reflect on other media that took advantage of the alternate timeline/evil twin conceit. So we took to the Roundtable once again.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Head Over Heels for Sleepy Hollow

Before the season started, we did an episode of “Hard N.O.C. Life” in which we talked about the shows we were excited for. Sleepy Hollow made the cut, but we speculated that the show would probably be terrible. That said, we were all intrigued by the premise. Several episodes in, and it’s become one of the buzziest shows on television. It’s also one of the most diverse, with article after article pointing to its importance as a bellwether for diversifying TV’s primetime landscape.

Shows what we know for shitting on it back in August. Well, not all of us did. Jason sang the show’s praises as soon as the pilot premiered.

To look back at the first half of Sleepy Hollow‘s debut season, some of the Nerds assembled around the Roundtable once again. Here’s what they think of the show:

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#DiversityinSFF

Recently, a perennial discussion about diversity, or lack thereof, amongst writers of speculative fiction, and their characters, storylines, settings, and perspectives, blew up on the Internet, resulting in the hashtag #DiversityinSFF

To investigate the fall out of that discussion, Jason Sperber (@dad_strangeland) fills in as guest host and welcomes a trio of speculative fiction writers (and fellow Nerds) of Color: Walidah Imarisha (@walidahimarisha), Claire Light (@seelight), and Daniel Jose Older (@djolder) on “Hard N.O.C. Life.”

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All My Role Models Have Pointy Ears

It was probably not a coincidence that my adolescent Trekkiehood (and no, I’m not uptight over the whole -ie vs. -er thing) coincided with the beginnings of the interrogation and articulation of the politics of multiracial identity that has preoccupied my academic and extracurricular life since then (and I’m 39 now).

I’d already spent a good number of my childhood Saturday afternoons watching Classic Trek reruns on Channel 13 when Star Trek: The Next Generation started airing at the same time that I started junior high. I don’t think I was quite sure why, exactly, I was so into it, but I was. My friends and I would spend science class talking about the previous night’s episode or passing around the latest NextGen comic book. I filled my bookshelf with TOS and TNG novels from Pocket Books, plus all the oversized manuals and behind-the-scenes-looks and field guides filled with art and graphic design. I hung a framed poster from Star Trek IV: The Voyage HomeStar-Trek-IV-The-Voyage-Home-poster-star-trek-movies-8475632-500-762 (a.k.a. The One With The Whales) over my bed and taped a pair of those shades they give you after the eye doctor dilates your eyes to slide into your glasses over Spock’s eyes.

I wore an original series command uniform made by my mom of soft gold velour to school on Halloween at least once if not twice (and somehow avoided getting beaten up). I received TNG action figures as gifts and pinned them to my cork board, keeping them mint-in-box. I went with friends from school to the monthly LA comic-con, first at the Ambassador, then at the Shrine, to browse the dealers’ room and see special guests (the “Save Max Headroom” flyer I got signed by Matt Frewer, Jeffrey Tambor, and George Coe hung on my bedroom wall for a long time after that show’s demise). We graduated to Creation cons devoted to our beloved Trek, and took the bus to the Westin Bonaventure downtown or got my dad to drop us off at the LAX Hilton, where I won a mug in a Pocket Books trivia contest and we saw a surprise preview screening of “The Best of Both Worlds, Part I” introduced by The Great Bird of the Galaxy himself in what was to be one of his last con appearances. I was a teenaged Trekkie, and I was not ashamed.

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