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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
"We hold these truths to be self-evident," they said, "that all men are created equal." Strange as it may seem, that was the first time in history that anyone had ever bothered to write that down.
---President Bartlet,
The West Wing

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

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Current Music: "Fourth Day of July" by the Washington Squares

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All good things must come to an end. Or something. After a decade, we reach the final season of the first TV series, as the Stargate Rewatch does SG-1 season 10.

An excerpt:
Nobody else has a personal stake in the battle, and that’s a problem. With the Goa’uld, everyone had something. For O’Neill and Jackson, it was Skarra and Sha’re being taken by Apophis. For Carter, it was her unwilling bonding with Jolinar and her father becoming a Tok’ra. For Teal’c, it was a fight for his people’s freedom. Even Mitchell had his personal desire to bring SG-1 together and learn from them, but at this point that’s played out and he’s settled in. The closest we come to a personal stake for a non-Vala character is Jackson’s (completely justified) frustration with how little interest most of the ascended Ancients have in actually getting involved in the fight against the Ori.

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Current Music: "He Was My Brother" by Simon & Garfunkel

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Back in 2007, Bruce Springsteen -- who had only recently become exposed to the music of Pete Seeger -- put together an album of folk songs popularized by Seeger called We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The album was done backed by a thrown-together band called the Seeger Sessions Band (later shortened to the Sessions Band), which only included two E Street Band members, Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell, as well as members of the Miami Horns, who toured with the E Street Band in the 1980s. (Since then, Springsteen has added several of the backup singers and Sessions piano player Charlie Giordano to the E Street Band, the latter replacing the late Danny Federici.)

Anyhow, after the release of We Shall Overcome, Bruce did a tour with the Sessions Band, which included stuff from the CD as well as some entertaining reworkings of Bruce's own songs. This is one of my favorites, a doo-woppy jazzy version of the Nebraska tune "Open All Night," which includes some magnificent piano work by Giordano, superb brass, and an entertaining doo-wop-off between the male and female backup singers.

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Current Music: "The Heart of the Matter" by Don Henley

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Back in November 2006, me and all eight of my cousins -- the nine grandchildren of my grandmother -- got together for a raucous dinner at an Italian restaurant in the Bronx. Here's a picture:

The other eight of them are getting together this weekend in Georgia. I, sadly, can't make it, as finances don't permit a trip down south. However, in honor of the occasion, this graphic was created, which has all nine of us as wee tots:

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Current Music: "Jesus Gonna Be Here" by Tom Waits

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One of my favorite songs is "St. James Infirmary." I've got more than two dozen versions of it on iTunes, but I think the most hauntingly amazing one is this one by the great Dave Van Ronk:

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Current Music: "St. James Infirmary" by Trombone Shorty

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Yesterday, Wrenn and I went down to Central Park to try to get tickets to see the first of this year's two Shakespeare-in-the-Park productions: The Tempest, with Sam Waterston (of Law and Order and The Newsroom fame) in the role of Prospero.

This is kind of coming full circle for me, as the first ever time I went to Shakespeare-in-the-Park, I was six, and it was a production of Hamlet starring, yes, Sam Waterston. I have very little memory of that 1975 performance, though I do recall being scared to death by the ghost of Hamlet's Dad.

Anyhow, we followed the same template we did last year for Much Ado About Nothing and got on the standby line. This worked magnificently, as we got there at a bit before 2pm and we were third on line. I liked our odds...

We actually stopped at Alice's Teacup on 73rd Street to get some tea and pastries, then I dropped Wrenn off at the 81st Street entrance to Central Park while I looked for a place to park the car. I figured that would take a while, but we had time, so I figured I would drive around the Upper West Side in the vicinity of that entrance and see what turned up.

Imagine my surprise when I go all of a block and a half up Central Park West and see a spot across the street. I make a rapid U-turn, look around to make sure the spot is legal (I thought for sure there'd be a fire hydrant I just didn't see at first, but no), and then pull in. I was thrilled. I reached Wrenn before she'd gotten more than fifty feet into the park and declared, "King of the Motherfucking Parking Gods!"

Anyhow, we sat on the line, chatting with the two nifty couples (one in their early 20s, one past retirement age) behind us, Wrenn got some editing done, I got some writing done, we were joined by my father and Helga (who kindly brought sandwiches from Little Italy in the Bronx), and all four of us got tickets easily when the no-show tickets were released at 7.20.

As for the play itself -- it was fun. It's the second time I've seen the Public Theatre do what is generally considered to be Shakespeare's final play, the first being the one starring Sir Patrick Stewart in 1995 (also the only time I've failed to get tickets for the Delacorte -- we saw the subsequent Broadway run of the show). The Stewart version was stronger, I think, partly because of a better Miranda, partly because the version 20 years ago gave us a Prospero who was tempered and strengthened by his exile. Waterston's Prospero was more traditional, playing him as a tired, crazy old man. He was mostly strong in the role, particularly for the great speech at the very end (they put the house lights up for that, which was a nice touch), but he labored through the second scene of Act 1, which, to be fair, is a very challenging lump of exposition, and stumbled over his lines a few times.

Still, he had excellent presence and he conveyed Prospero's frustration and weariness quite well.

I wish I could speak better of Francesa Carpanini's Miranda, but she was a little too shrieky to work right. Rodney Richardson's Ferdinand was far stronger, enthusiastic and earnest in his love for Miranda. (He also did a great backflip from his knees after Miranda declared her love for him.)

The biggest challenges in The Tempest are Ariel and Caliban, and this production absolutely nailed both roles. Chris Perfetti was ethereal and wondrous as Ariel, hovering over the action constantly, drifting in and out and shadowing various characters perfectly. And Louis Cancelmi was a superb Caliban, with labored speaking patterns that bespoke someone who had only comparatively recently learned to use language, and the body language of a person who has repeatedly been physically abused. Just a bravura performance -- unsurprisingly, Perfetti and Cancelmi got the biggest applause at the end.

Though a close second in loudness of applause went to Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Danny Mastrogiorgio as Trinculo and Stephano. Ferguson's getting more press by virtue of his being in the ensemble of Modern Family, but in truth it's the pair of them that make it work with their superb Abbott-and-Costello dynamic. In particular both do an excellent job of delivering Shakespeare's dialogue conversationally, something others in the cast struggled with.

The production was a visual feast, with the titular storm in the first scene being fantastically realized, an excellent job by a bunch of dancers playing the spirits (particularly in Act IV, scene 1, the sorta-kinda wedding scene with Iris, Juno, and Ceres), and generally was a worthy production of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.

The run ends Sunday, so if you want to go, you'd better hurry....

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Current Music: "The Obvious Child" by Paul Simon

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Check out this Kickstarter preview (it will go live next week) for a fun new flip-book superhero anthology called The Side of Good/The Side of Evil. Edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail​ (Bad-Ass Faeries) & Greg Schauer​ (With Great Power), with a spiffy couple of covers by the mighty Angela McKendrick (who also did the cover for my Without a License collection), it'll have a new SCPD story by me, as well as stories by Aaron Rosenberg​, Robert Greenberger​, Kathleen David​, James Chambers​, John L. French, Gail Z. Martin​, Janine K. Spendlove​, James M. Ward, and Bryan J.L. Glass, plus (if stretch goals are reached) Peter David​ and Neal Levin​.

Please check out the preview, feel free to leave feedback, and make sure you get alerted when the project goes live!
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G. Kendall of the Not Blog X blog, which reviews comics and related materials published in the 1990s, has done a nifty set of reviews of the stories in the X-Men Legends anthology from 2000, including one that covers both Brian K. Vaughan's Angel story in the anthology and my own Changeling story, "Diary of a False Man."

Money quote:
As ridiculous as the Xavier/Changeling swap premise is, DeCandido does evoke a hint of tragedy with the story. When Jean reflects that even after the Changeling died doing the right thing, someone else’s name will be on his tombstone, I could almost forget how absurd this concept actually is. DeCandido does try his best to work through some of the continuity issues and logic problems present in the original comics, but there’s only so much anyone could do. The best moments of the story are the ones that transform the Changeling from a plot device into a believable character; the rest is an attempt to justify a lame comic from the late Silver Age that I would rather forget.

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Current Music: "Wind Up" by Jethro Tull

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I'm going to be at two conventions in 2015 that I've never attended before: Myths and Legends Con (a.k.a. MALcon) in Denver in mid-August and EnigmaCon in Daytona Beach, Florida in late October.

I mention this mainly because Examiner.com's Colleen Bement (billed as the "Denver Geek Culture Examiner") has written a piece on MALcon, one which very generously name-checks me as one of the special guests, and also because EnigmaCon has released their promotional poster:

(I'm in the lower right....)

Here's the money quote from Bement's Examiner.com article:
The schedule is still in the works, but if it is anything like the past few years, there will be too much goodness to squeeze in one weekend. Special Guest Keith R.A. DeCandido will be joining Myths and Legends Con this year. Among many other things, Keith wrote the ‘Serenity’ novelization, several ‘Supernatural’ novels, and multiple ‘Doctor Who’ short stories.

(It's rare for me not to be identified by my Star Trek work. Not complaining, just mentioning it as a curiosity....)

Very much looking forward to both shows!

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Current Music: "Weathercock" by Jethro Tull

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At the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the victims of the Charleston shooting, President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy, and ended it with an impromptu, rousing rendition of "Amazing Grace." I can't think of a better way to end this roller-coaster of a week.

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Current Music: still the Yankees-Astros game

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Contact with Earth! Ford's out, and Caldwell, Ronon, Lorne, and the Daedalus are in! McKay blows up 5/6 of a star system! Michael! And other stuff as the Stargate Rewatch does Atlantis season two.

An excerpt:
Best episode: “Trinity.” My favorite episode of Atlantis in general, one of the best stories in the entire franchise, and a fantastic story on every level. The entire episode is about the theme of mistakes and their consequences, starting simply with Ronon messing up Teyla’s negotiation, and continuing to Kell paying for his mistake in sacrificing the Satedan people for his own survival with his life, and Ronon damaging his friendship with Teyla, all the way to the huge mistake of the Ancients not being able to make the power source work and McKay’s even huger mistake in not only thinking he could fix what they screwed up, but refusing to listen to Zelenka’s (wholly accurate) warning and blowing up most of a solar system as a result. So many great moments: Caldwell’s refreshingly unapologetic assurance that he is indeed eager to use this energy source for a variety of reasons (including as a weapon, but not limited to that), McKay’s citing of Harry K. Daghlian Jr. of the Manhattan Project as a reason to keep working after Collins’s death, Zelenka’s warning to McKay (a speech completely filled with real physics rather than technobabble), McKay’s snotty response, and Sheppard’s impassioned plea to McKay, citing pilots who refused to eject from a damaged plane until it was too late.

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Current Music: the Yankees-Astros game on YES

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The Supreme Court is 2 for 2 this week. In the ruling on the Affordable Care Act, they kept the tax credits -- which is the main reason why that first word in the act's name applies -- and then today they ruled 5-4 in favor of making all marriages legal regardless of the sexes of the two people involved.

Part of me is disgusted that a Supreme Court decision was needed for what should be fucking self-evident (from the Fourteenth Amendment, if nothing else, which was the cornerstone of the majority opinion), and another part of me is disgusted that it was such a close vote.

But ultimately, that doesn't matter, because the decision is made, as it really kinda had to be. The toothpaste was out of the tube the moment the first state allowed same-sex couples to marry.

And, to be blunt, all the arguments against this boil down to bigotry. The religious argument is total horseshit, and remains horseshit unless the person making the argument also thinks laws should be passed to make stoning the punishment for adultery, to forbid the mixing of wools and linens, to outlaw tattoos, and to force men to cover their heads at all times. As I've said many times, you don't get to cherry-pick the parts of the Book of Leviticus that suit your preexisting prejudices and call yourself righteous, you just get to be called a bigot.

In any case, "It's God's will" is not only horseshit, it's also not any kind of basis for rule of law in a democratic republic. The other argument is that it will harm opposite-sex marriage, which is also horseshit, because if the true concern was the "sanctity" of marriage, they'd be agitating to outlaw divorce. Which nobody is, because that would be ridiculous. As are all the arguments against same-sex marriage, which pretty much boil down to "I think it's yucky" -- which is also not any kind of basis for rule of law in a democratic republic.

So bravo to the Supreme Court -- well, five of them, anyhow. In particular bravo to Justice Kennedy and my fellow Cardinal Spellman High School graduate Justice Sotomayor, Catholics both, who I suspect felt some pressure from the authorities in their chosen religion on the subject of how to rule here, and good for them for not succumbing to it.

It's funny, we went down this road with the military, and it's following the same pattern: the arguments against homosexuals in the military were the exact same ones (to the letter) being made against having black people integrated with white people in the military. The arguments being made against same-sex marriage now are the same ones made decades ago against interracial marriage. And all four arguments were, ultimately, horseshit and based solely in bigotry.

Today was a victory against bigotry. Any day with that is a good day.

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Current Music: "The Weight" by The Band

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Back in 1999, my then-wife Marina Frants took my first ever bio photo. She took it in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, Australia. It served me well until 2004, when I realized I needed a photo that looked more like me. (I had different glasses, plus my beard looked different -- in '99 the beard was only a year old and hadn't settled yet.)

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Current Music: "For a Thousand Mothers" by Jethro Tull

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The Irish band Clannad has long been a favorite of mine -- I was fortunate enough to see them at the Beacon Theatre in the 1990s, too. Here's one of their standards, the Irish love song "Riu," as performed in 1977.

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Current Music: "Riu" by Clannad

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On the Read Star Trek Books blog there's a new post listing the top five action sequences in Star Trek novels. I'm pleased to say that the Hirogen-Jem'Hadar fight from my 2001 DS9 novel Demons of Air and Darkness -- which I remain a decade and a half later quite proud of -- nabbed the top spot. Click this paragraph for the whole list, which also includes work by Dafydd ab Hugh, L.A. Graf, and my dear friend David Mack.

Money quote:
When a Jem’Hadar Soldier meets a Hirogen Hunter in a one on one battle royal who wins? While reading this incredible game of cat and mouse I had to remind myself to breathe more than once. Most of the air that did reach my lungs came in the form of gasps. Despite my lack of oxygen this action sequence sticks in my mind with great clarity. All I can say is, “bravo sir, bravo.”

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Current Music: "How Can I Be Old" by the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players

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Here's the full table of contents for the upcoming X-Files anthology Trust No One, edited by Jonathan Maberry, coming out in July from IDW (Amazon | Barnes & Noble):
    "Catatonia" by Tim Lebbon
    "The Beast of Little Hill" by Peter Clines
    "Oversight" by Aaron Rosenberg
    "Dusk" by Paul Crilley
    "Loving the Alien" by Stefan Petrucha
    "Non Gratum Anus Rodentum" by Brian Keene
    "Back in El Paso My Life Will be Worthless" by Keith R.A. DeCandido
    "Paranormal Quest" by Ray Garton
    "King of the Watery Deep" by Timothy Deal
    "Sewers" by Gini Koch
    "Clair de Lune" by W.D. Gagliani and David Benton
    "It’s All in the Eyes" by Heather Graham
    "The House on Hickory Hill" by Max Allan Collins
    "Time and Tide" by Gayle Lynds and John C. Sheldon
    "Statues" by Kevin J. Anderson

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Current Music: "Yakety Axe" by Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler

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We have an official pub date at last! The X-Files: Trust No One, an anthology of stories based on the 1990s TV series, edited by Jonathan Maberry, will go on sale from the fine folks at IDW on 28 July 2015. I've got a story in the anthology, which is the first of three that IDW will be doing. My story is a late-second-season tale called "Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless."

You can preorder the trade paperback from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Here's the full author list, alphabetically: Kevin J. Anderson, Max Allan Collins, Peter Clines, Paul Crilley, Timothy Deal, Keith R.A. DeCandido, W.D. Gagliani & David Benton, Ray Garton, Heather Graham, Brian Keene, Gini Koch, Tim Lebbon, Gayle Lynds & John C. Sheldon, Stefan Petrucha, and Aaron Rosenberg.

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Current Music: the Yankees-Phillies game on YES

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It's been a rough time for The Chronic Rift podcast, as real life has interfered with our ability to get episodes out, but executive producer John S. Drew has been getting back on the ball. Including getting our look at each of the people to play the title role in Doctor Who back on track.

So our latest Spotlight is hosted by John and talks about the Fifth Doctor, as played by Peter Davison. Join John, me, and Krissy Myers as we talk celery sticks, the Black Guardian, "The Caves of Androzani," Adric's death, the 20th anniversary, Kamelion, and a whole lot more.

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Current Music: "Furry Sings the Blues" by Joni Mitchell & The Band

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As y'all know, I offered everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe a free short story in exchange for their generous gift. (I'm not linking to it -- we shot way past our goal, and our lives are much better now, so there's no need to keep flogging it. *wry grin*)

Not everyone said yes, but those who did requested one of the stories I control the rights to. (I wasn't comfortable giving away any of my tie-in stories, since I do not control the rights to those.)

Here's the list of stories in order of the number of people who requested them. I think it's an interesting insight into what folks want to read:

"Ragnarok and Roll"—10
This is kinda the first Cassie Zukav story, featuring Cassie having to stop Loki from bringing about Ragnarok, for which he's building power by fronting a rock and roll band. The true first Cassie story is "How You Can Prevent Forest Fires...," but that's an embryonic Cassie story that doesn't have all the elements of the usual -- most notably, she isn't in Key West yet. "Ragnarok" was the first "proper" Cassie story to see print, in 2011's Tales from the House Band Volume 1, reprinted in Apocalypse 13 in 2012 and in Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. It's actually chronologically the second "proper" Cassie story, the first being "Down to the Waterline," which recently appeared in Buzzy Mag.

"Stone Cold Whodunit"—10
To my surprise -- given that the Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw isn't exactly a top seller for me -- this SCPD short story that appeared in the With Great Power anthology edited by John French and Greg Schauer is tied with the most requests. It's about the joys of tracking a weird murder in a world where superheroes -- and dimensional travel -- exist. I'm actually rather gratified, as The Case of the Claw is a novel that I think is one of my better ones, and I hope this will drive another sale or three.....

"A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar"—5
This delightful little short short was actually written for a Van Helsing anthology that was to appear around the same time as the Hugh Jackman film in 2004, but the story was deemed too frivolous -- not that that's a bad thing necessarily, but all the other stories in the anthology were heavy and serious, and my story would've stuck out like a sore thumb. So I submitted it to Amazing Stories, who printed it in what turned out to be their final print issue under Paizo in February 2005, issue #608. The story was reprinted twice (in The Town Drunk in 2006 and in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido in 2015) and also made into an award-nominated audio by Gypsy Audio in 2012.

"Editorial Interference"—5
I suspect that this story has gotten requested mostly on the basis of its title. I wrote it for an anthology that never actually happened, it wound up being printed in a very early online zine called The Fedoras Literary Review in 1996, reprinted in Circles in the Hair in 2006 and Without a License in 2015. The story derives from my many years of experience working as an assistant editor who does all the work and gets none of the credit....

"Getting the Chair"—5
"Partners in Crime"—4
These two are Dragon Precinct stories, high fantasy police procedurals. "Getting the Chair" was the first short story I wrote in the milieu, and it actually was published in Murder by Magic edited by Rosemary Edghill around the same time as the first novel, in 2004. It's about a wizard who animates furniture being killed -- but the three pieces he animated tell contradictory stories about the murder. "Partners in Crime" is the Precinct story I wrote for Without a License, and is one of only two Precinct short stories (so far) that wasn't printed in Tales from Dragon Precinct in 2013. ("Getting the Chair" was reprinted in that collection.)

"How You Can Prevent Forest Fires..."—3
The first Cassie story I wrote, this was inspired by the urban legend about forest fires being put out by helicopters with big scoops that pick up water from the ocean and dump it on the fire -- later they find the charred corpse of a scuba diver in the fire. Some of the elements of later Cassie stories are there, from the scuba lore to Cassie's spectacular smartassery. It first appeared in Urban Nightmares, co-edited by me and the late Josepha Sherman, an anthology of tales inspired by urban legends published by Baen in 1997, and was reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll.

This is my only thriller to date. Steven Savile conceived the four-part Viral miniseries about the ripped-from-the-headlines story of the CIA using humanitarian aid in Third World countries to do covert DNA testing to find terrorists. My story was the first, published as a standalone novella, focusing on a New York journalist who stumbled onto the story and has to figure out what to do with it -- and also stay alive. The story was reprinted in Without a License.

"Sunday in the Park with Spot"—2
This little trifle about cats, squirrels, dogs, and pigeons keeping the world safe from chaos. I wrote it for Furry Fantastic, edited by Jean Rabe, in 2007, and it was reprinted in Without a License.

"The Stone of the First High Pontiff"—2
The first of what I hope to be many science fiction stories about Jin the Human Finder. It was published in the fifth Defending the Future anthology Best Laid Plans in 2013, and reprinted in Without a License.

"Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty"—2
One of two Precinct stories I've done via Kickstarter (with a third on the way), this one is a bit of a sequel to Dragon Precinct itself, picking up on the band of heroes who were the victims of that novel, and the story of one of their finest battles. As yet, the story has only been released to Kickstarter supporters, and also to two GoFundMe contributors.....

"Fish Out of Water"—1
This is one of three Cassie Zukav stories that do not appear in Ragnarok and Roll, as it was in 2014's Out of Tune, edited by Jonathan Maberry. The story is inspired by Childe Ballad #289: "Mermaid," and has the usual blend of scuba diving, music, and Norse myth.

"The Ballad of Big Charlie"—1
This story first appeared in V-Wars, edited by Jonathan Maberry, a shared-world anthology series in which people are turned into the vampires from their ethnic heritage. "Charlie" is about the Bronx District Attorney who announces in the midst of his reelection campaign that he has the virus that changes people into vampires. The story was reprinted in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido, and its semi-sequel "Streets of Fire" will appear in V-Wars: Night Terrors this fall.

"Fire in the Hole"—1
"Blood on the Water"—1
"A Clean Getaway"—1
"Heroes Welcome"—1
"Catch and Release"—1
"When the Magick Goes Away"—1
These are all Precinct stories that appeared in Tales from Dragon Precinct in 2013. "Fire in the Hole" was first published in 2011's Dragon's Lure and includes an interrogation of a senile dragon. "Blood on the Water" is a Dru-and-Hawk story that is also the first vampire story I've told in the milieu. "A Clean Getaway" was written for Jean Rabe & the late Brian M. Thomsen for the Pandora's Closet anthology in 2008 about a closet that contains a great deal of filth. "Heroes Welcome" is, like "Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty," a look at the surviving members of the heroic band from Dragon Precinct. "Catch and Release" is an Iaian-and-Grovis story where two old cases come back to haunt the Castle Guard (I actually think this is the best Precinct story I've written....). And "When the Magick Goes Away" is the first Precinct Kickstarter I did in 2012, telling the story of Torin and Danthres's first meeting and first case together as partners.

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Current Music: "No Particular Place to Go" by Mos Def

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Quite a number of things this weekend. It's both the summer solstice and Fathers Day, plus there are two wedding anniversaries of couples who mean a lot to me today.

First of all, Deb and Rob Anderson, a pair I met at I-Con in 2005. Actually, no, I only met Deb there, as Rob was unable to attend. But that convention -- at which Jewel Staite and I were both guests -- was my introduction to a whole bunch of Firefly fans who were anticipating the Serenity movie that fall. When the movie did come out, I trundled up to New Hampshire where Rob was managing a movie theatre and I did an event with them for opening night, selling copies of my novelization of the film and generally having a wonderful time.

Over the decade since, Deb and Rob have become dear friends. They and another couple throw regular parties, which they appropriately call "shindigs," in NH every other month or so, and while time and money have not permitted us to go up there for a shindig in quite some time, we still miss everybody up there, but most especially Deb and Rob who are two of the finest people on this Earth to draw breath. We love you guys, and hope you have a happy anniversary.

Secondly we have the anniversary of an event I was actually present for. Lucienne Diver has been my agent since 2003, but she was a dear friend long before that. In the summer of 1997, she and Pete Wheeler got married. It was an outdoor wedding, and we were all encouraged to wear garb rather than suits. I picked up the red poofy shirt, green tunic, and tights that I have continued to wear as a member of the Boogie Knights since 2006 (the tights were ballet tights, from a store frequented by Lincoln Center ballet dancers -- they finally got their first hole last weekend, 18 years after purchase).

1997 was actually a very mild summer, with only one really hot, oppressive day. Of course, that day was 21 June, when we were having an outdoor wedding. *sigh* Still, it was a lovely ceremony and a fantastic reception, and everyone had a great time. I still remember the wedding like it was yesterday, just a lovely (if sweaty) day.

What's especially fascinating is to think back to all the people who were at that wedding. Several of the couples who were there (including me and Marina) are no longer together, at least two people who were there are now dead (David Honigsberg and Josepha Sherman) -- but Lucienne and Pete are still one of the happiest and finest couples I know.

Not only that, but both couples mentioned above have two amazing kids (one each). Rob and Deb's daughter Rowan and Pete and Lucienne's son Tynan are two magnificent kids, smart, funny, brilliant, loving, geeky -- I've known Ty since he was born and Ro-Ro for much of her life, and they continue to amaze and delight me every time I see them.

Which also means, of course, that I must wish Rob and Pete a happy Fathers Day! They are fantastic fathers, as evidenced by their great kids.

While on that subject, this weekend has been a Fathers Day celebration for me and Wrenn, as well. Wrenn's father's birthday is 15 June, so we went out to see him in Philadelphia for a nice combination birthday/Fathers Day lunch. Today, we're going to Mario's on Arthur Avenue for a Fathers Day lunch with my two fathers.

The first time I met Wrenn's Dad was unfortunately not under the best of circumstances. Wrenn and I started dating around the same time her mother died -- which meant, among other things, that I never got to meet Wrenn's Mom, which saddens me. But that also meant that when I did meet him, he was a much more subdued version of himself, as he was utterly devoted to his wife and her death hit him really hard.

However over the six years since then, I have gradually watched as the person who raised Wrenn re-emerged, energized in part by getting two new grandchildren he can play with (one of whom lives in the house with him), and also with the passage of time. I can see now where Wrenn gets her sense of fun, her easy ability to get along with people she's just met, and her overall ability to enjoy life.

As for me, I've been fortunate to be raised by four people, as my parents share their lives and their home with two others. John and Helga are as much my parents as the two folks who did the biological work, and on this Fathers Day I want to thank both Daddy and John for everything they've done.

From both these wonderful men I've learned so much, but probably the thing I owe most to the pair of them (and I get it from both in equal measure, I think) is my inquisitiveness. Wrenn has often said that one of the things she loves about me is that I love to learn things and find out about things, and I get that particularly from John and Daddy. Both of them are always wondering about stuff, and are never content to just sit around and speculate, but try to reason it out and look it up and figure it out and learn about it.

Plus there's also my silly sense of humor, which I get from all four of them, but it's particularly strong in the two men. (One of my favorite stories about the early days of my parents dating is my twin uncles being really pissed about this guy my mother brought over to the house, because he was funnier than them. Still is, actually...)

While I'm at it, I also want to raise a virtual glass to my grandfathers, both deceased. Grandpa (my mother's father) died when I was seven (I was actually present for it -- details here), and Nonno died when I was in college. They both played a huge role in raising me, as both baby sat for me a lot when I was small, and I still miss them both immensely. I think they would've been proud of the adult I grew into, and I hate that they didn't get to see it. Also, my ex-grandfather-in-law, Marina's grandpa Joseph, who was a great man, a brilliant, funny, loving, wonderful man who it was my pleasure to know, who died when Marina and I were still together. All three are deeply missed.

Happy anniversary to Deb, Rob, Pete, & Lucienne. Happy Fathers Day to Daddy, John, Tom, Grandpa, Nonno, Joseph, and all the fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and father figures out there.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "Gimme Shelter" by Patti Smith

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So the latest round of stupidity from the Rabid Canines who have already gamed the Hugo Awards are now trying to organize a boycott of Tor Books starting on 19 June 2015 (which is today). Because Tor's Irene Gallo said something mean (and also 100% accurate) about the leader of the Rabid Canines on her personal Facebook page, and because Tom Doherty didn't actually fire her for this offense (though he did publicly embarrass her on Tor.com with a public apology, which was, I think, a massive overreaction, especially since we're still waiting for a similar apology to all the women harassed by a long-time Tor editor who was allowed to resign), they have decided that Tor must be boycotted. (Never mind that one of the members of the Rabid Canine slate is John C. Wright, a longtime Tor author.)

My response to this is the same one as my dear friend David Mack, whose idea I'm totally stealing (it's possible he got it from someone else, but he's the first person I saw suggesting it):

Today, Friday 19 June 2015, I would like to ask that you buy at least one, preferably several, Tor Books.

I am not a current Tor author, and my three Tor Books (Gargantua, Farscape: House of Cards, and Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions) are all long out of print, so since I can't be self-serving and suggest my book, I instead suggest you order Dave's book. His 24 novel Rogue is available for preorder (it'll be out in September), and I strongly recommend that you preorder it today. Here's a preorder link on Amazon, here's one for Barnes & Noble, and here's one for Indie Bound.

If you don't want to order Dave's 24 book for whatever reason (or if you've already ordered it), then I urge you to go to Tor's web site and find something that tickles your fancy. Or go to your local bookstore and buy a book with Tor's logo.

Current Mood: stressed stressed
Current Music: "Calling Elvis" by Dire Straits

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From the Millennium Philcon, the 59th World Science Fiction Convention held in Philadelphia in early September 2001. I honestly have no idea who took this picture. Picture taken by the lovely and talented Lisa Sullivan. From left to right, it's Walter Stutzman, Peter Liverakos, me (along with a teddy bear I was given by a bunch of local Farscape fans), the late Josepha Sherman, and Brandy Hauman.

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "Haul Away" by Mark Knopfler

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Keeping up with The Art of McCartney, here's one of the best matches of song to vocalist: Chrissie Hynde doing a lovely rendition of the Beatles' "Let It Be."

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Current Music: "Catapult Rock" by the Boogie Knights

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THE TRIAL OF JAMES T. KIRK! Plus, another woman from the captain's past, an eccentric-as-hell lawyer, and Kirk gets his shirt torn again. The TOS Rewatch convenes a "Court Martial."

An excerpt:
McCoy goes to a great deal of trouble to use a white-sound device (actually a microphone) to blot out the heartbeats of everyone on the bridge. Then Spock pushes three buttons to eliminate the heartbeat of the transporter chief from what they were hearing—so, uh, why couldn’t Spock just do the same thing for the bridge that he did for the transporter room????

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Current Music: "Marilyn" by Dan Bern

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