Improvising ‘Star Trek’

Chicago’s Otherworld Theater Company is America’s only non-profit theatre dedicated exclusively to exploring the genres of science-fiction and fantasy (and occasionally horror). Otherworld’s Dylan Schaefer talks about Starship Edsel, the fortnightly improvised Star Trek parody (created by Brandon Brylawski) that combines improv, satire, LARPing, and classic nerdery. Dylan reveals how Star Trek led to his life in the theatre; how Otherworld creates an ecosystem for multiple universes; how Star Trek is in its second golden (or possibly silver) age; how theatre as an art form doesn’t lean into sci-fi/fantasy as much as it should; a special guest appearance by a genuine starship captain; where you can watch Starship Edsel online; and how the Edsel preceded the USS Cerritos as the worst ship in the fleet. (Length 19:12)

Episode 596. Nicole Galland’s D.O.D.O.

Friend of the podcast, novelist Nicole Galland (I, Iago), has co-authored (with Neal Stephenson) a wonderful sci-fi time-travel thriller-comedy called The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., which the San Francisco Chronicle calls “a high-stakes techno-farce with brains and heart!” D.O.D.O. is now out in paperback so Nicole returns to talk about the book’s creation, the difficulties of describing your characters, how she met Neal Stephenson, the burden of having too many interests in too many places, the rarity of authorial rebranding, rewriting during the editing stage, how the authors’ writing partnership informed the relationship between the two main characters, some tantalizing clues about the sequel, and how one transitions from an historical to a sci-fi novelist. (Length 18:53)

Episode 439. May The Fourth

On this Star Wars Day 2015, arts advocate Howard Sherman and writer/podcaster David J. Loehr help us celebrate the Force and Stars both Wars and Trek (and even a nod to Cupcake). Featuring important distinctions, common pop cultural languages, shout-outs to Alan Ayckbourn and Caryl Churchill, the power of sagas and epics, and encouraging thoughts about the future of science-fiction theatre. (Length 24:22)

Episode 295. Star Trek Conventions

Elizabeth Dennehy, who played Lt. Commander Shelby on Star Trek: The Next Generation, describes what it’s like attending sci-fi/fantasy cons around the world. Featuring behind-the-scenes details from the pivotal episodes The Best of Both Worlds (Parts 1 & 2), convention-goer categorization, questions about Charmed one is better off not asking, impertinent observations Read more…

Episode 270. Time Travel Tales

In honor of Groundhog Day last week, we swap favorite time travel stories with fellow nerd AJ Mass that run the gamut from Ray Bradbury, Jack Finney, and Stephen Fry to Eliza Dushku and Ashton Kucher. Featuring nods to precision, romance, 12 monkeys, gateway drugs, literary detectives, time-traveling Irish playwrights, open and closed Read more…

Episode 232. Quantum Enterprise Man

You never forget your first starship captain. Scott Bakula, star of Quantum Leap, Enterprise, and Men of a Certain Age, talks about his varied career and reveals where he falls on both the nerd spectrum and the ladder of celebrity. Featuring outrageous camera angles, Scott’s brushes with fellow Starfleet captains, possible Read more…

Episode 220. Genuine Shakespeare Nerds

”What happens when real Shakespeare actors have to perform the (abridged) and Complete Works? Tiger Reel and Jeff Marlow explain the difficulties as they prepare for our tour of Belgium and Holland, and reveal the connection between Shakespeare and science-fiction, how this tour is a special homecoming, and preview a Read more…

Episode 66. Kirk or Picard

This age-old philosophical question is analyzed in irredeemably geeky and undeniably nerdy depth by the RSC’s resident Trekkies. Featuring startling insights why Star Trek is like Shakespeare, an excerpt from our Paul Harris interview at KMOX, and special guest appearances from actual Star Trek story editors and Borg fighters. Embrace the cheese! (MP3. Length 19:29)