Sunday, December 19, 2010

Star Bringing Yorbel - Part 1

A Claymation Werewolf Digital Digest Exclusive!

          Lately everyone has been all a twitter about the new Toy Story film, and Disney has done everything short of carpet bombing all of us with promotional merchandise. While all of this advertising sends most people to the local movie house, it sends me back in time, to a happier and simpler place, the world of Mira Nova. But wait, before I begin to reminisce I feel duty bound to remind you of something from long ago. Something that has since become hated, and then forgotten by our culture. They called books. In short books were something that people “read” in the days before anybody had anything that was at all fulfilling to do. The hours wasted on this meaningless hobby represent a painful time in our countries history, and almost single-handedly brought down western civilization.

          Now that I have the unpleasantness out of the way I would like to highlight something that was, although briefly, a bright spot in the world of books…The “Stars Command” series from Karol H. Laminton and her character Mira Nova, who together took the world by storm.

          In the early nineties the “house of mouse” had just come away from some major box office hits, and had re asserted itself as the dominate force in animated films. However, the creative well that had produced such hits as The Little Mermaid, The Lion king and Aladdin had begun to run dry. Like many movie studios, the folks at Disney decided that rather than simply trying harder or being more creative…they would buy other people‘s ideas. Disney had major success bringing the Roger Rabbit books to life even though the original book “Who Censored Roger Rabbit” had a distinctly “adult” focus. Hoping for a box office repeat they focused there sights on The Mira Nova book series by Karol H. Laminton. In an effort to develop a vehicle for the two dimensional character Buzz Lightyear they set their writers with the task of adapting the Violent and sexually charged supernatural series.

          The story began simply enough, a slightly cheesy but action packed first novel called, of course, “Stars Command.” It contained all of the elements of a good space, action, romance, supernatural cop drama that anyone could ever want. Some of the plot points happen, by coincidence (and nothing more!) to appear in many other famous books and movies. In an even stranger coincidense most (all) of them were actually written before Carol Laminton even began writing.

          Her first book gave us what looked to be a very promising foundation for a long running series A galactic federation with a large bustling headquarters on the brink of a major peace treaty, and a new senate leader, elected but shadowed in controversy. Governor Zurg of the C-Crit Lheavily star system, rose to power through the mysterious disappearance of everyone who opposed him. The rise of Zurg as an Evil Emperor was so obviously telegraphed by the author, he might as well have ran under the slogan “Vote for Zurg: Fools! I will Destroy You All!”

          We are also finally introduced to Mira Nova, whose family is killed in a coup during an official visit to the federation headquarters. She is rescued by a young captain of the guard named Ty Parsec and his cyborg pilot who were leaving on a transport mission to a prison planet. The ship is shot down and falls back into the heart of the war, and the four soon find themselves working together in a fight to escape the madness of the civil war.

          It turned out that Mira was a princess from the planet Tangea and trained in the ancient ways of the tangea nobles. She has lived a life of luxury but also seclusion, and now all of that has come to an end. Without a family or a home planet to return to Mira stays with her new found allies and begins to train night and day in the ways of combat. Soon Ty Parsec and the surviving members of the federation that were not among the traitors, form an alliance of there own. Mira is named an official officer in the new Stars Command and we get to know a little more about her unique team. Mira who possesses the power to not only phase through objects or, “ghost,” but also to read minds by “Phasing” her fingers into her victims’ skull. Her second in command and closest comrade is former guard captain Ty Parsec, a brooding and pale student of the dark arts. Bustre Sinclair a stone “elemental” of enormous size and strength who had been court-martialed and was actually the prisoner on Ty’s ship at the time of the coup. Bustre is a loyal soldier but also possesses an almost uncontrollable rage which led to the death of two of his training officers. And finally X-R, a monstrous creation of Stars command, a part alien part machine cyborg, who in addition to high tech weaponry possesses nearly unlimited flight tech knowledge.

          Stars Command soon joined with the remaining planets to form a strong resistance against the Zurg and his empire. Some normality of life began to return to the people of Stars Command allowing more character development. While Mira Nova formed a strong team bond with her squad, the life that she lived and the loss that she suffered had made her a very distance person. She lives with the single minded purpose of bring down Zurg and all who stand with him.

          The story ends as Ty and Mira are sitting on the hood of a starship looking into the vastness of space. Mira actually begins to talk about her life, telling stories about her childhood and the pressures of growing up as royalty but withdrawls before revealing to much. For his part, Ty discovers a purpose of his own, to break down the walls that surroud Mira and to truly get to know the mysterious woman that has come into his life.

          While panned by some critics, “Stars Command” Became an almost instant cult favorite and a hardcore fan base soon started demanding a sequal. Luckily one was following very close behind. In april of 1997 “Stars Obey” hit the shelves. The story follows a couple of years after the close of the first book ended, and Mira and Ty have become romantically involved. Mira has developed more of a personality and the team has grown into an amazing military unit. Ty’s magic training has continued and he has become increasingly focused on developing more power. As the love between the two grows, they are constantly trying to save each other from there obsessions.

          Zurg has been kept isolated by the rest of the galaxy and there has been an erie absence of communication. Little activity has taken place for over a year aside from small border skirmishes. It soon becomes clear that the empire is planning something terrible. The Ranger Squad led by Mira Nova is sent into the heart of the Empire to find out why. Using there specialized skill they infiltrate the inner circle of Zurg who now in book two has completed his transformation from evil intimidating cruel murderer to evil helmet and cape wearing weirdo. The focus of the rest of the novel revolves around what the team discovers. Through magic and science Zurg had awoken an evil far greater than himself, the character NOS 4-A2 was to become one of the most chilling characters in science fiction history. At once a emotionless robot and a ruthless vampiric killing machine needing not only blood but constant sources of electricity and computer information to survive NOS 4-A2 destroys everything in it’s path. Upon it’s “birth” the vampire violently kills several of Zurg’s own guards including the scientists that brought the creature to life. Zurg himself is barely able to seal off the room before being attacked, unfortunately the rangers were still trapped inside. The combined power of the team was not nearly enough to defeat the incredible evil that Zurg unleashed and the Rangers barely escape. X-R is left a bloody and mangled mess by the creature and is kept alive just long enough to get back to a Stars Command Hospital. As the story comes to a close, all of Stars Command is reeling with the most recent developments and are scrambling to decide what to do about the monster. X-R is pulled back from deaths door at the last minute and has began to recover though it soon becomes apparent that everything is not allright with the cyborg warrior.

          Before the book ends Mira and Ty take there relationship to the next level and “Phase” by putting her fingertips into the mind of Ty they are able to share ever memory and experience they have ever had with each other, because of the nature of the tangean people and the power that Ty has been able to amass this “Phasing” does not go according to tradition and both of them experience an incredible “power up” and are bathed in a blue light and swirling winds. Just what the fan-girl ordered.

 ...Continued in the Next Exiting Issue!

Stars Bringing Purple! - Part 2

 A Claymation Werewolf Digital Digest Exclusive!

          By now Karol H. Laminton had started to feel the effects of her own popularity. She fell more and more in love with the mythology that she had created. The book signings and speaking engagements she participated in, exposed her directly to her rabid fan base and they all wanted more. Not just more books but more of what they love in the books. More magic, more fantasy violence and more sex. Book Three “Stars fall” Picked up immediately from the second book and gave the people what they wanted. X-R had completed his metymorphosis into a vampire and throughout the book is constantly torn between the loyalty to his team and obedience to his dark master NOS4 A2. Unable to deal with the constant temptation to feed that his team mates represent he is forced to leave star command, and soon travels to the side of his dark creator.

          Ty and Mira seem to develop a new power in every chapter of this book. Mira can now fly and communicate with any alien species, and Ty can kill with just a touch. Because of the incredibly power that the phasing has allotted her, Mira begins to phase, and phase a lot! She phases with Ty, she phases with the team leader of a rival squadron, she phases with an entire team of new recruits. The more people she phases with the more power she gets and the more explicit Laminton writes the phasing scenes. Near the climax of the book she phases with two men and a woman at the same time in a very very detailed chapter. By the end of the book she has phased with dozens of people. She also had sex with several of them. No longer the reclusive royal being she began her written life as, Mira has blossomed into a willfull, powerfull and commanding character. She is also written with larger breasts and much tighter clothes.

          Before the end of the book it is revealed that the forces of NOS 4 A2 have formed an uneasy alliance with the Empire of Zurg and decided to take of Stars Command once and for all and they planned to turn Commander Nebula into one of his undead slave. Nebula is a hardened military leader who was first introduced into the book during this story arc but Laminton wrote as if we were supposed to know who he was the entire time. At the last second X-R comes to his senses and turns against his master barely stoping the attack in time. Nebula loses his leg in the battle that ensues but keeps his soul. X-Rs i brought back into the fold of stars command. The ever present connection he has to NOS 4 A-2 still haunts him and many in stars command question his presence among the ranks. This would be a common theme throught the rest of the series.

          “Stars like to Watch” the next in the series takes a huge departure from the tone of the other books. Taking place during a stakeout at a remote Empire Base it seems to serve entirely to develop the characters and create dramatic situations. Apparently the immediate doom represented by the strengthening of Zurg and the rise of NOS 4A2 can wait Bustre’s character is finally given development and Mira develops a special bond with him. Connecting with his rage from the pain and revenge in her own heart in a scene that reaches a depth never seen in a Stars Command book before, and rarely even in literature in general Bustre and Mira have hot hot space sex.

          The Darkside Rangers as they call themselves all of a sudden, are now a larger team. New to the series are the characters Petra Hamerhold who can make any scene hot through the magma that constantly runs through her veins. She is described as a “lover of women” and has arguably the most impressive and hardest to control power of the team. Also joing the crew is Warp Darkmatter, an adrenaline junky who had his arm replaced following a reckless training accident and took to the liberty of having the doctors add a few other “improvements.” Sometimes he presents as much of a danger to his own team as he does to the enemy. While there was some action and about two dozen more powers given to Mira (She now has the ability to create temporary clones of herself and “zip” from one place to another in the blink of an eye,) this book is mainly about sex. In fact there is one pretty jaw dropping scene involving Ty, Petra, Mira and about 4 of her clones. The entire book borders on the pornographic and is more campy than any of it’s predesesors. The powers and the characters become increasingly exaggerated and the plot situations are so contrived that at times they become laugh at loud funny. By the end of it the book gets so weird that you halfway expect Ty to get turned into a werewolf.

          In the following book “Stars by moonlight” Ty is bitten by NOS 4 A-2 during a battle on a radioactive moon and is turned into a werewolf. From there the book gets really weird. Mira’s skin turns blue as the result of a power-up, Warp Darkmatter becomes a bad guy and XR’s brother is recruited by Zurg and turned into an evil cyborg replicate. There really isn’t much more to further the plot, just a lot of wacky character hijinks. You have to keep in mind that at this point in her career Karol H. Laminton had become one of her own uberfans she was appearing with her skin “Mira blue” and wearing a dark side ranger uniform to book signings and conventions. She had started to make journalists and even friends and family refer to her as Commander Laminton.

          Her fan-base has stayed fiercly loyal throughout all of the books since. There was “Stars Scream” in which X-R is dramatically altered by Stars Command scientists and given the ability to transform into a jet. And of course “Stars Dust” when the team has to travel back in time to the 1970’s to protect the glam rock star who’s decendant will eventually found Stars Command. And on it goes, The 11th book in the Stars Command Series is due out this fall and you can bet that somewhere “Comander Laminton” is sitting on her basement floor playing with her Stars Command dolls and getting inspiration for her next underground hit. Who knows what adventures await our heroes, will they be transported to the “Real World?” Will characters switch bodies? Will they get a talking dog? No one can know for sure.

          To try to avoid any embarassment for its watered down “Buzz Lightyear” franshise, Disney has done its best to keep the public in the dark about these literary treasures. Therefore, unless you have a really good local bookstore or happen to attend a Stars Command Convention these books can be pretty scarce. Despite all of that, I have to recommend to all of the Coo Coo Cola Cult members out there that you go find yourself a copy of one of the earlier Mira novels. While I enjoy gratuitous sex and violence as much as the next guy (or much much more) the later books arent for everyone. The plots are nothing short of wacky and the characters become so goofy and embarrassing that they might as well be in some childrens show. Oh wait. They are.