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November 5, 1958 |
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
|Occupation||Novelist, Non-fiction writer|
|Genre||Science fiction, Children's literature, Non-fiction|
Phil Farrand (born November 5, 1958) is an American computer programmer and consultant, webmaster and author. He is known for his Nitpicker's Guides, in which he nitpicks plot holes and continuity errors in the various Star Trek television programs and movies, and for the creation of Nitcentral, a website devoted to the same activity. Subsequent to his Nitpicker's Guides, he has ventured into fiction as a novelist.
Farrand was born in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to missionary parents, and grew up in the Philippines. After returning to the United States, he earned bachelor's degrees in piano performance and in composing music. He worked as a music editor, but became frustrated with working with music printed on paper, and worked for two years on a notation package for the Apple II series of computers, which later became Polywriter. Later, working with Coda Music Technology, Farrand created an award-winning, high-end desktop publishing software package for music notation called Finale. Now owned by MakeMusic, Finale was the industry standard for many years and is still one of the leading music notation software packages today. Farrand lives with his wife Lynette and his daughter Elizabeth in Springfield, Missouri.As a nitpicker
In 1990, Farrand decided to try writing fiction, but could not find anyone to read his work. Because the only agent willing to represent him dealt only with nonfiction works, Farrand decided to attempt writing nonfiction in order to develop a reputation on which a career writing fiction could be based. In 1993, Farrand, an ardent Star Trek fan, began publishing his Nitpicker's Guides through Dell Publishing, beginning with The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers, a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the plot holes, continuity errors and other trivia found in the television program Star Trek: The Next Generation. From 1994 to 1997, similar guides followed annually, including Guides for Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The X-Files, along with a second Next Generation volume. Watching the episodes and movies of each series in order to compile each Guide took about seven months, leaving Farrand five months out of the year to learn how to write fiction. Although exhaustive in their attention to detail, the Guides were not intended as critiques of the series' episodes or movies, but lighthearted musings that Farrand explained with the philosophy, "All nitpickers shall perform their duties with lightheartedness and good cheer," explaining that nitpicking should be about having fun with one's favorite television shows, not pointing fingers and assigning blame.
Farrand solicited submissions from readers, who then became members of the "Nitpicker's Guild." He began sending out newsletters in 1994 in order to keep in touch with the Guild, beginning with the April 1994 edition. The Guild numbered 7,450 members from 32 countries as of May 28, 1999. Farrand decided to create an online version of the newsletter called Nitpicker Central, or Nitcentral; this took the form of an HTML feature called "This Week at Nitcentral", and debuted in November 1997. The hardcopy version of the newsletter also continued, with a total of 17 issues published intermittently, ceasing with issue dated October 1998, which coincided with the creation of Nitcentral's message boards, using free Discus software. Farrand was Nitcentral's first and sole moderator at first, with the site covering only four topics, the live action Star Trek television programs that had been produced up to then: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. By June 2009, the topics listed on the main Topics page numbered 89.
Farrand planned to release a Nitpicker's Guide for Star Wars in April 1999, one month before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but publishers became wary of publishing media tie-in products as a result copyright infringement lawsuits brought against similar products. Although the lawsuits did not name Farrand's Guides as an example — and in fact, even cited the Guides used as an example of what was legal — Del Rey ceased publishing Farrand's Guides, leaving Nitcentral as the sole ongoing outlet for the Guild. As the site expanded, Farrand assigned dozens of moderators to oversee the site's various topics. Although Farrand has since stepped down as a moderator of day-to-day activities, he remains the ultimate authority on the site and will step in occasionally to resolve matters of severe conflict among visitors and moderators, who refer to him as "The Chief."Church work
Following the cancellation of the Guides, Farrand returned to the computer consulting industry, hoping to begin writing his first novel in his free time. Those plans changed when his wife Lynette, who had served as music minister at their church for 16 years, decided to take a two-year break. Farrand, a devout Christian who mentions Jesus Christ in the acknowledgments of all his books, agreed to serve as interim music minister; combined with his consultation job, this consumed all of his time, and he worked seven days a week. He eventually stepped down as music minister on September 28, 2003.As a novelist
Farrand's initial attempts to publish through a small publisher in August 2003 were not fruitful, and he ultimately decided to self-publish through on-demand publisher Xlibris. His novel The Son, the Wind and the Reign was published in 2004. It depicts a world in which Jesus Christ and his followers have returned to Earth to rule with an iron rod for a thousand years. Twenty years into the new rule, a resistance fighter named Avery Foster decides to confront the new rulers, including Judge Thomas Stone, whose brutal interpretations of the new law have oppressed anyone daring to rebel. Farrand wrote the novel in part to explore the question of how one can distinguish between the divine and extraterrestrials, and added a topic to Nitcentral for discussion of the novel.
In 2007, Farrand published Grumpy Old Prophets: A Christmas Fable for Adults. He also began a new Internet provider venture called Zarks, providing high-speed Internet access to the rural areas in and around Greene County, Missouri.Books Nitpicker's Guides