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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
kradical
A magnificent performance of "Get Up and Go," a song about getting old, by the Weavers during their 1980 reunion concert at Carnegie Hall. The whole thing's worth it for Lee Hays's intro, and then the four of them -- Pete Seeger, Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert, and Hays -- each take it turn to sing.

Hays died only a year after this concert, while the other three all made it to the 2010s: Seeger died in 2014, Gilbert in 2015, and Hellerman earlier this month. I think this song is a great way to remember them......

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "May There Always be Sunshine" by Pete Seeger

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kradical
Scotty falls in love with a woman who gets possessed by a murderous swirly thing. Also the episode was cowritten by the woman who created Lamb Chop! Which is way cooler than anything in this episode. The TOS Rewatch turns off "The Lights of Zetar."

An excerpt:
I had absolutely no memory of this episode beyond a few visuals here and there—the swirly thing in Romaine’s eye, Romaine in the pressure chamber, Scotty being smitten with Romaine—but that’s about it. Watching it now, I realize that it’s primarily on the back of Jan Shutan, who has about as much presence as the lettuce with which her character shares a name. As I’ve said many times over my various rewatches, romance-in-an-hour episodes like this are heavily dependent on the acting ability of the guest-star half of the romance, and Shutan is pretty much DOA. Her line readings are flat, her chemistry with James Doohan is nonexistent (which is too bad, as Doohan really is doing his best OMG-I’m-smitten work here), and she just drains all the life out of the episode.

Which is fatal, as this episode doesn’t have all that much life in it in the first place.

Current Mood: sick sick
Current Music: "Inside" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
There was a day in the spring of 1988 when I was driving into Manhattan in my 1977 Ford Pinto to go to my local comic shop, which was Action Comics on East 81st Street. (Interesting trivia -- that was where I first met Scott Dunbier, who worked there as a young man. These days, Scott is an editor at IDW, and a damn fine one, too.) It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, not a cloud in the sky, I had the windows down, and I was driving home on the FDR, the sunlight glinting off the skyscrapers, and "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel came on the radio.

That moment is forever etched in my memory. Everything was perfect in that moment. I was in college, incredibly happy, as I blossomed at Fordham University. The adult I was to become truly coalesced at Fordham. I had just picked up some comic books. I had a wonderful girlfriend, whom I would later marry. And it was a beautiful day out as I was driving in my city. The soundtrack of that moment is, of course, "Solsbury Hill," and so it's here now on this beautiful fall afternoon.......

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel

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kradical
I've got stuff that has been recently released, and stuff that is coming out very soon.........



"William Did It"
in A Baker's Dozen of Magic

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


This story originally appeared as the October 2015 story on Story of the Month Club, and has been released this year in SMC's annual compilation of the previous year's tales. It's a tale of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet, the latest in that cycle of urban fantasy stories set in Key West. This particular one takes place during Fantasy Fest over Hallowe'en week and is a Cassie take on one of Key West's most entertaining ghost stories, Robert the Doll.




the "Tales of Asgard" trilogy

Marvel's Thor: Dueling with Giants

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound

Marvel's Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings
Amazon | Indie Bound

Marvel's Warriors Three: Godhood's End'
Amazon | Indie Bound


Kicking off a new series of YA Marvel novels published by Joe Books, the "Tales of Asgard" trilogy includes the already-released Dueling with Giants, as Thor battles Hrungnir for the life of his stepmother Frigga, with Loki lurking in the background to mess things up behind the scenes; Even Dragons Have Their Endings, out in November, has Sif endeavoring to save the town of Flodbjerge from a dragon that is menacing its people; and Godhood's End, out in December, sends dashing Fandral, grim Hogun, and voluminous Volstagg on a quest to retrieve the Golden Apples of Immortality, which have been stolen by the Frost Giant Thjasse.




Stargate SG-1: Kali's Wrath
Amazon | B&N


Three of the four members of SG-7 have been wiped out by the Reetou, who have invaded one of Kali's worlds. SG-1 is sent to rescue the survivors, and deal with the renewed Reetou threat -- but Kali has her own agenda, and the System Lord has kidnapped O'Neill, Carter, and Jackson, blackmailing them into doing her bidding. Teal'c must enact a rescue -- and use Kali's First Prime to help. A fifth-season adventure of SG-1 on sale now.




Must-watch episodes of all five Star Trek series
in Entertainment Weekly: The Ultimate Guide to Star Trek

Amazon | B&N


For the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the good folks at Entertainment Weekly put together this ultimate guide, with tons of articles and pictures and essays and lists and things. My job was to pick the 4-6 essential episodes of each of the five series: the original live-action series, the animated series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise.




Super City Cops novellas
Avenging Amethyst
Undercover Blues
Secret Identities

to be serialized via Oolipo


These novellas will be released in late 2016 and early 2017, available in subscription form from the fine folks at Oolipo. Several stories are already available on the platform if you want to check it out at the site, and three Super City Cops novellas will be part of it: Avenging Amethyst, in which Detectives Milewski and Alvarado must solve the murder of one of Super City's most mysterious heroes; Undercover Blues, in which Detective Elias Vondelikos goes undercover as one of Apollo's henchmen; and Secret Identities, in which Lieutenant Therese Zimmerman makes a startling discovery about Spectacular Man.




"Streets of Fire"
in V-Wars: Night Terrors

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


Jonathan Maberry's shared-world vampire storyline involves people turning into vampires thanks to a virus -- but not pop-culture vampires, but rather the type of vampire that corresponds to the folklore of their ethnic heritage. It's doing something new by doing something old, going back to the original folklore. In this third V-Wars anthology, we see New York Daily News reporter Mia Fitzsimmons being embedded with the Vampire Crimes Unit of the NYPD, where she gets a front-row seat to a very unique drug war. (I've also got a story entitled "The Ballad of Big Charlie" in the first V-Wars volume; there've been four all together, the others being subtitled Blood and Fire and Shockwave.)




"Right On, Sister!"
in Limbus Inc. Book 3

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


Another third-volume-in-a-shared-world-anthology story, though this one is far looser: the common thread is Limbus, a shadowy, powerful, mysterious company that recruits people who are down on their luck and with skills other companies may not value -- or even recognize. My story primarily takes place in 1978 New York, where Wanda Jackson loses both her part-time jobs, and has to go to Limbus for gainful employment, for work that is far more complicated than she could imagine. This one also has stories by masters Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Laird Barron, and David Liss.




"We Seceded Where Others Failed"
in Altered States of the Union

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


My contribution to this wonderful alternate-history anthology, which shows different ways the United States could have gone from the ridiculous (Peter David's epic battle between Donald Drumpf of North Alaska and Sarah Palin of South Alaska; David Gerrold's look at California taking over the Earth) to the thought-provoking (Ian Randal Strock's alternate Civil War that starts with Lincoln's death while a prisoner of the South; Meredith Peruzzi's examination of a family in the 51st state of the Philippines). My own contribution has the Florida Keys actually seceding in the 1920s, as opposed to the joke secession in 1983, but the 1983 events that precipitated the fake secession still happened......




Icarus
adapted from the novel by Gregory A. Wilson, art by Mark Dos Santos and Matt Slay

Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound


Gregory Wilson's novel Icarus is about a Jellinek, a prospector in a harsh volcanic world, who encounters an ethereal creature named Icarus. Having Icarus literally fall from the sky first saves Jellinek's life and then changes it forever, and Icarus's presence is a harbinger for massive change in his previously-very-small world. This is Volume 1 of an adaptation of Greg's novel into graphic novel form, with Volume 2 coming next year. I wrote the script adaptation, with Mark Dos Santos and Matt Slay providing the artwork.




coming in 2017


"Deep Background" in Aliens: Bug Hunt. An anthology of stories about the Colonial Marines, featured prominently in Aliens, it will include my story about a reporter who's embedded with the Marines, and the horrible things she learns. This anthology's official pub date is the day before my 48th birthday.....

"Live and On the Scene" in Nights of the Living Dead. An entire anthology (coedited by Jonathan Maberry and George Romero his own self!) of amazing stories that take place alongside the seminal zombie flick, my story focuses on one of the TV reporters from WIC-TV (the station the folks in the movie were watching) as he sees the world fall to pieces around him.

Mermaid Precinct. Yes, I know it's been a few years since the last "Precinct," but I promise that there will be a fifth novel in the series. I can tell you that the plot of Torin and Danthres's latest case will involve the Pirate Queen.

"Identity" in Baker Street Irregulars. Part of an anthology of alternate Sherlock Holmes stories, in which Holmes can be anything but a detective in Victorian London, my tale is about a brilliant, if awkward, young woman in New York City named Shirley Holmes and an African-American ex-Army medical student named Jack Watson, and how they help a woman locate her fiancé who's disappeared. [Preorder: Amazon | B&N | Indie Bound]

A Furnace Sealed (The Chronicles of Bram Gold Book 1). The first book in a new urban fantasy series about Bram Gold, a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who hunts monsters. Binding spells all over New York City are unravelling, and immortals are turning up dead. Bram has to find out the connection between these two before it literally tears the Bronx apart....

"Behind the Wheel" in TV Gods: Summer Programming. A tale of Cassie Zukav, in which she and several other of the regulars at Mayor Fred's Saloon are interviewed by a sports spotlight show about stock car racer Jamie McIntyre, and she and the others have to keep the fact that he's the Norse god Tyr out of the press.....

"Ganbatte" in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable. Since 2009, Jonathan Maberry has been writing the adventures of Joe Ledger, supernatural thrillers about the Department of Military Sciences, a government organization that deals with paranormal threats. With Unstoppable, Jonathan has opened the DMS to other writers, and I decided to take on one of Joe's teammates, Lydia "Warbride" Ruiz, and provide her background from her misspent youth in south Florida to how she got recruited as one of the first female Navy SEALs to learning a hard lesson in the cliché about how you can't go home again. This is a story I'm extremely proud of, and also a bit nervous about. I hope folks like it, as it means a lot to me.....

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel

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kradical
Joker makes robots and Bruce Wayne gets something to do for a change. The Bat-rewatch has "The Joker's Last Laugh"/"The Joker's Epitaph."

An excerpt:
I love the fact that Batman has a miniature Batcave entrance (labelled, of course, because this is Gotham) for the express purpose of trolling the bad guys. I love that Batman’s plan doesn’t entirely work (well, it mostly does—he does end the counterfeiting), and has the unintended consequence of putting Joker in charge of personnel at the bank. I love that Alfred has to pretend to be Batman, not once, but twice, and he gets to do a bat-climb! (Take that, Sean Pertwee!) I love the glee with which Phyllis Douglas plays Josie—not the best of the molls, but definitely in the upper echelon. I love watching Bruce pretend to be a klutz in order to “help” Joker by really helping Robin. I love that the GCPD, left to their own devices, actually approaches competence for once. (Though I was disappointed to see that Gordon didn’t participate in the bat-fight at the end, staying on the sidelines with Josie. He’s a trained cop for crying out loud!) And I love that Batman is a paragon of virtue and law-abiding-ness right up until the part where Bruce is put in a straitjacket and placed in an insane asylum, at which point he has no problem with Alfred and Robin violating a court order to illegally free Bruce from the paddy wagon.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel

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kradical
Another Mark Knopfler live one, this "Speedway at Nazareth," which has an amazing instrumental crescendo at the end:

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Speedway at Nazareth" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
There's a meme flying around the Internet whereby you describe yourself in three fictional characters.

I keep coming back to Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx's ruler of Freedonia in Duck Soup), Bugs Bunny, and Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (specifically Alan Alda's interpretation in the TV show M*A*S*H, with all respect to the original in Richard Hooker's novel and Donald Sutherland's interpretation in the movie).

Basically, Groucho Marx's best character and two other characters who are Groucho pastiches to some degree or other.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed

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kradical
Trek manages the impressive feat of doing a story about overpopulation by showing lots of empty Enterprise corridors. Sure. But hey, Kirk gets the whole ship to himself and a hot chick... The TOS Rewatch is hit by "The Mark of Gideon."

An excerpt:
Hodin brings Kirk to the council chambers and explains the situation: Gideon’s atmosphere is germ-free, and the people suffer no disease, are able to regenerate, and grow to extreme old age. It has resulted in horrible overpopulation, as they also believe life is sacred—and apparently they’ve never heard of condoms and diaphragms. (More invasive birth control wouldn’t work, thanks to their regenerative capabilities.)

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Beltane" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
John Astin utterly fails to fill Frank Gorshin's purple boots. The Bat-rewatch does "Batman's Anniversary"/"A Riddling Controversy."

An excerpt:
It’s funny, “The Puzzles are Coming” / “The Duo is Slumming” feels like a hastily rewritten Riddler episode, and this one feels like a hastily rewritten Puzzler episode. They’d have been better off either (a) creating another new villain for Astin or (b) having Astin be the new Puzzler or (c) just bringing Maurice Evans back. I get wanting to use the Riddler, given that he was the most popular villain in the first season and movie, but it isn’t the character that made villain popular, it was the actor, and the story suffers without him.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Heading for the Light" by the Traveling Wilburys

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kradical
From the upcoming Marvel's Warriors Three: Godhood's End, Book 3 of the "Tales of Asgard" trilogy. This is a bit which the copy editor tagged with the comment, "Ha! This is great!"
Fandral leapt down next to Gulltoppr, bending his knees and rolling over to an upright position before hopping back onto his horse. He had made the mistake of leaping from a second-story window—a much shorter distance than what he traversed this day—right onto Gulltoppr’s saddle, and the suddenness of his impact, as well as the location of same, left him barely able to walk for the next week. Since then, he’d made it a point to only leap from such heights to the spot next to his noble steed, especially given the sheer number of bedroom windows through which he’d needed to escape upon the unexpected return of angry husbands . . .

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Donegan's Gone" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
I recently read the newest edition in Titan's "The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" series, this a novel by my dear friends and colleagues Steven Savile and Robert Greenberger, entitled Murder at Sorrow's Crown.

While Steve and Bob are buddies, that doesn't alter how impressed I am with how well they've at once captured the feel of a Conan Doyle story while still having a modern sensibility, particularly in the portrayal of John Watson, whose medical and military background prove useful in the unfolding of the story. It's a good mystery, with facts slowly unfolding and new revelations flowing naturally from our heroes' investigations. Holmes and Watson sound very much like themselves -- my usual acid test is whether or not I can hear Jeremy Brett and David Burke as Holmes and Watson, respectively, and I totally could here.

My only complaints would be occasional bits of awkwardness in the writing style, a lack of engagement with the actual villains of the piece, who barely make cameos in the story, and the fact that the phrase "Sorrow Crown" doesn't even show up until nearly the end, which is frustrating from it being in the title and all.

But these are minor complaints in an overall fantastic Holmes story that is a worthy addition to the never-ending oeuvre of the great detective. Pick it up from the fine folks at Amazon.......

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Romeo and Juliet" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
According to his daughter, Eric Cone, who was a fan of mine and a friend of mine, died from depression. I'm assuming that that's a euphemistic code for Eric having taken his own life.

I know and have known many people with depression. The ones who have dealt with it most successfully are those who've had it treated in some way, whether through therapy, medication, or some other means. It varies, which is part of the problem, of course. If you have a broken arm, you go to the doctor, and you get it set and it heals. If you have a virus, you take meds.

But if you have a chronic condition, then you have to get it treated. That's more complicated, and more ongoing. To give a personal example, I have a hypoactive thyroid. That's never going to change, and I'm going to be on some form of synthroid for the rest of my life. If I stop taking the meds, bad things will happen.

Mental issues are very much the same thing. They need to be treated. The form of that treatment will vary from person to person. Meds that work perfectly on one person have disastrous side effects for another. One person will respond beautifully to therapy, another will find it wholly ineffective.

Sometimes the treatment can be as simple as talking to someone about it. But sometimes that doesn't work, either.

But depression is still a form of illness. It's something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. When you trip and fall down and hurt yourself, you treat the injury. It's second nature for most. The same thing for when you have an injured brain.

I wish Eric had been able to find a treatment that would have eased the depression enough so that he was still with us right now. And it is my hope that, if you're reading this and you suffer from depression -- or another form of psychological issue -- that you're dealing with it. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. Pretending it doesn't matter or it isn't important or it isn't that big a deal won't make it go away. Eric's death is the nastiest evidence that it does matter. Depression has the potential to, if left unchecked, be life-threatening. That's not irrelevant. That's not unimportant. That's not dismissable.



About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Home for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors, or reach a media contact, go to HoldOntoTheLight.com or to the group on Facebook.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "My Sunday Feeling" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
I was devastated to learn today that Eric Cone died. Eric was an online friend, and a huge fan and supporter of my work. In particular, I was touched by how aggressively he pimped the Kickstarter for the Dragon Precinct graphic novel. That particular crowdfund failed, but it wasn't due to Eric, who was tireless in his support.

His daughter Erica is trying to scrape together the funds to fulfill Eric's wishes that he be cremated, and she's started a GoFundMe. Eric was a good guy and his loss puts a big hole in the world today. If you can, even if it's only a little bit, help Erica fulfill one final wish for her Dad.

I will miss seeing his smiling face on Facebook and Twitter. *raises glass*

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Telegraph Road" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
Inspired by a thread on Facebook...................

Aspiring writers are often fearful that someone will steal their ideas. What they don't understand is that the idea isn't a commodity worth stealing. What matters is the execution. Both Shakespeare's Macbeth and Holinshed's Macbeth start from the same idea, but the former has been a world-renowned play for centuries while the latter is an academic curiosity at best because of the execution of the concept.

Here's a thought exercise: a space opera TV show about a unique ship that flies around space constantly encountering enemies and foes and problems on all sides. The ship has a charismatic white male captain, a tough female second in command, and a blunt-speaking male subordinate who makes snotty comments a lot and believes he could run the ship better than the captain.

Am I describing Blakes 7? Or Firefly? Or Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda? Or Lost in Space? The answer, of course, is all four, yet no one would ever mix those shows up, nor say that any of the later ones were ripping off the earlier ones.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "So Much Trouble" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
One of my three or favorite songs of all time has always been "Telegraph Road," a Dire Straits song off 1982's Love Over Gold album. DS frontman Mark Knopfler has continued to perform the song live on and off over the years, and here's a particularly superlative version from a 2005 concert in Rome:

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Telegraph Road" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
Queen to queen's level three. For the proper response, check out the TOS Rewatch, where we see Steve Ihnat and Yvonne Craig try out out-overact William Shatner in "Whom Gods Destroy."

An excerpt:
As an acting exercise for Steve Ihnat and Yvonne Craig, this is a fun little hour to watch. I like that Ihnat doesn’t overplay Garth’s insanity—it’s a very intelligent, mostly very controlled madness. In fact, the only exception is the temper tantrum he throws when he learns of the security callsign, and I’m willing to put most of that on William Shatner’s usual theatricality. His costuming is particularly ingenious, from the cape that is constantly falling off, to the medal that flies off his chest as he’s throwing the temper tantrum, to the rather pathetic crown, to the thing I never actually noticed until this rewatch: his boots are mismatched! One is silver, one is gold.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Different Light" by the Bangles

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kradical
I've been thinking a lot about 2001 lately, but not because of the anniversary that we have today, but rather because 2001 was the year I moved into the building that we just vacated.

The disaster porn and "never forget" idiocy that keeps getting perpetuated on the anniversary generally makes me ill. I live in New York City. I sat on my sofa in the living room with my eyes glued to the TV. It is quite simply impossible for me to forget that day in general and in particular that one moment when the second plane hit, as, in that nanosecond, everything changed. What had been an awful accident suddenly became an attack.

What 9/11 did in the short term was show how amazing people can be in the immediate aftermath of a crisis, as this city in particular and the world in general came together amazingly. What it did in the long term was show how absolutely stupid and idiotic and harmful people can be in the longer aftermath, as we gleefully gave up liberties and went along with craven awfulness and morally reprehensible behavior because we fooled ourselves into thinking it necessary. The damage done to the very fabric of what makes us what we are is still in the process of being repaired fifteen years later. We still have to go through the most ridiculous and pointless nonsense just to board a plane. We still have governmental intrusion on our private lives that was unimaginable fifteen years and one day ago. And we still have a giant pile of corpses in Afghanistan and Iraq that are only there because of our wrongheaded response to that attack.

Because of what happened fifteen years ago today, the country came together. Because of what happened fifteen years ago today, the country fell apart.

Other things I've said about the events of 11 September 2001 in the past:

My thoughts on the day, and the days after, as they happened.
The one-year anniversary in 2002.
The four-year anniversary in 2005.
The six-year anniversary in 2007.
The whole nonsense in 2010 about "the mosque at Ground Zero," which was neither of those things.
Musings on the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "Every Breath You Take" by Sting

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kradical
Tthe Penguin becomes a movie mogul, teams up with Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, and rides a solid gold tank! The Bat-rewatch does the show's second-ever three-parter with "Penguin is a Girl's Bet Friend"/"Penguin Sets a Trend"/"Penguin's Disastrous End."

An excerpt:
It’s obvious that the producers decided that, since the movie featured a villain team-up, and since they needed a way to stanch the hemorrhaging viewership, more team-ups were the way to go. The problem, however, has been in simply awful execution each time. Catwoman was unconvincingly crowbarred into an existing Sandman story, Penguin’s role in the Zodiac three-parter was minimal to nonexistent, which holds true here also, as Marsha serves very little practical purpose in the storyline, almost completely absent from the second part, and doing little in the first and third beyond looking hot and saying, “darling” as often as Burt Ward says, “holy.”

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "The Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon & Sting

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kradical
Well, mostly a huge success. Tonight was the NYRSF Star Trek 50th Anniversary Reading with myself, David Mack, Emily Asher-Perrin, and Steven Barnes, and it mostly went well.

We had some technical difficulties that derailed the first part of the program. Our original intention was to have Steve do a live Skype interview. Unfortunately, both of the technical folks at Brooklyn Commons, where the NYRSF readings are held, were unavailable tonight. So rather than risk trying to do the Skype thing live, I prerecorded the interview last night.

Unfortunately, the playback was a disaster, and we weren't able to make it work. (As a video technical director, I make a dandy writer.) I'm gonna try to clean up the video and post it online later -- by which I mean, get someone who knows what the fuck they're doing to fix what I screwed up.

Steven deserved better, and so did the event, but once it was clear that this wasn't going to work, we moved on.

Dave read from the first book in his Cold Equations trilogy, The Persistence of Memory, specifically the scene where Noonien Soong sacrifices himself in order to resurrect Data.

After that, Em got up and read from one of her favorite Trek novels, The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah.

Following a brief intermission, me, Dave, Em, and Jim Freund (the guy who runs the NYRSF readings) performed Dayton Ward's hilarious skit, "Opening Night," about four friends who go to see Star Trek V: The Final Frontier on opening night in June 1989. It's about the endurance of fandom, and reminds us how little -- and how much -- has changed in 27 years.

I ended the evening with a reading of President Bacco's commencement speech to the 2380 Starfleet Academy graduating class from Articles of the Federation.

It was a wonderful, fun night. There will be video and audio posted online, and I promise links when that happens.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
And the cover says it all......

Current Music: "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
This blog post is one of about a quatrillion that will be posted today in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. I'm going to keep it relatively simple, saying only that I can never remember a time when Star Trek wasn't part of my life. I grew up watching the reruns on Channel 11 in New York City (as did many geeky New Yorkers of roughly my age, as that independent station -- these days a CW affiliate -- aired the show every weeknight at 6pm during the 1970s). I just missed being old enough to see it in first-run, as most of the final season had already aired by the time I was born in April 1969. (It's possible I saw "Turnabout Intruder" as a two-month-old, but my memory of that time is, er, spotty....)

However, I have never not been an avid fan of the franchise in all its incarnations. As a child, I devoured the James Blish adaptations and whatever Trek novels I could get my hands on. I happily bought every issue of DC's monthly Trek comic that debuted in 1984, and most of the comics after that. I saw each movie in the theatre when it came out, and my sophomore year of college, I happily watched the first season of TNG, warts and all.

In my early 20s I did some research work for the Star Trek Omnipedia and some other bits of research and cover copy here and there for Simon & Schuster before finally being invited to pitch fiction.

It was in 1999 -- the year I turned 30 -- that I truly became an official professional part of the Trek universe, as I signed contracts for both a TNG novel -- which would be released in 2001 and entitled Diplomatic Implausibility, chronicling Worf's first post-DS9 mission as a Federation ambassador -- and a four-issue TNG comic book for WildStorm -- which was called Perchance to Dream -- which came out at the end of that year.

Since then, a year hasn't gone by without something of mine being published in the Trek universe, whether novel, short story, comic book, novella, article, review, coffee-table book, what have you. My participation as a fictioneer has been curtailed somewhat the past few years, as the current editors at S&S are disinclined to hire me for whatever reason (these things happen with long-running tie-in lines as editors change), but my nonfiction has increased, between my rewatches and reviews for Tor.com and a series of pieces I did for Entertainment Weekly's 50th anniversary magazine.



I do want to single out one piece that I've done in all the Trekkin' I've done, and that's a book that has proven to be hugely influential and probably the best-reviewed book of all the 50+ I've written, for all that it wasn't much of a big seller: Articles of the Federation. Primarily through that novel, as well as other appearances by the character in other, better-selling works (my USA Today best-selling novel A Time for War, a Time for Peace, which introduced her, and David Mack's massive Destiny trilogy in particular), President Nan Bacco became a major character in the Trek literary universe (and gaming, as she's in Star Trek Online), something I am inordinately proud of. That novel also provided a blueprint for the Federation's government -- oddly overlooked on screen -- that has also been influential. I'm incredibly proud of that particular contribution to the Trek.

Okay, another one I want to mention, just 'cause it was so much fun: I was the caretaker of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, an eBook original series that ran from 2000-2007, before eBooks were really a thing, and me and the many writers I worked with had so much fun writing nifty problem-solving stories with the intrepid crew of the U.S.S. da Vinci. I count that series, which I developed with John J. Ordover, as among my proudest accomplishments.



Throughout all this, I have remained an avid fan. Watching or reading Trek still gives me joy, from the classic episodes I've been rewatching for Tor.com to plunking in a DVD to watch for fun to picking up a favorite novel or comic book to reread.

It has also brought me friends and fans that I would never have encountered otherwise, and my life is richer for having those people in my life, both personally and professionally.

Tonight, I get to celebrate that with a bunch of people here in town. At the Brooklyn Commons, I'm joining Jim Freund in hosting a special 50th anniversary of Trek New York Review of Science Fiction reading, featuring author Steven Barnes (in a prerecorded interview), author David Mack, Tor.com's Emily Asher-Perrin, and myself celebrating the 50th with readings and a performance of a skit called "Opening Night" by Dayton Ward, which shows the enduring nature of fandom.

Trek has always been about hope: hope that humanity would get its shit together and be united while going out to face the wonders and dangers of the galaxy together. That's a dream worth having, for dang sure.

Happy birthday! Live long and prosper! Qapla'! And all that good stuff.....

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "My God" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
A sledgehammery message! Lotsa closeups (including creepy ones of people's eyes and mouths)! Tons of reaction shots! Frank Gorshin! The world's longest self-destruct sequence! A wholly pointless decontamination sequence! And more shots of two guys running through corridors than you can shake a stick at! The TOS Rewatch does the episode that should be called "Running Through Corridors" but is, in fact, called "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

An excerpt:
There’s only about fifteen minutes of story here, and it’s endlessly stretched out to an hour. Countless reaction shots as the crew wonders where the invisible ship is. Countless reaction shots as they realize the Enterprise is out of control. Simply endless closeups (including a bizarre fetish for closeups of eyes and mouths during the self-destruct sequence). Long drawn-out closeup reaction shots when Bele takes over the ship a second time. The spectacularly uninteresting decontamination procedure on Ariannus, which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot and should have happened between scenes, but no, we have to suffer through this simple procedure that goes off without a hitch because we need to fill time.

And then the final indignity, being forced to watch simply endless shots of Bele and Lokai running through corridors. And running through corridors. And then running through more corridors. And then, for good measure, running through yet still more corridors.

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "Walk of Life" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
This is leaving it late, but I was scheduled to be on a panel at Star Trek Mission New York at the Javits Center today, but I can't do it. I don't have the mental or physical energy for a convention this weekend. I barely have the mental or physical energy to lift my coffee mug. So that's two conventions the move has fucked me for -- I had to cancel Dragon Con, then I thought I could do Mission NY, but I can't do that, either, as the move took longer than planned. Sigh.

However, while the move taketh away, the move also giveth. The move forced us to cancel our wedding, but that means we're actually free the weekend of the 16th of September, which means I'll be attending Intervention 7 as a guest! I'll have a table where I'll be signing and selling books, and I'm also doing a bunch of panels:

Friday
3-4pm: "Write-O-Rama: Quantity leads to Quality!" w/Meg Eden, John Peel, and Michelle Stengel (Panels Room 2)
4-5pm: "Writing Unique Heroes and Memorable Villains," w/Rob Balder and Michael Terracciano (Panels Room 2)

Saturday
12-1pm: "Expanded Worlds of Trek," w/John Peel and Joe Wos (Panels Room 1)
5-6pm: "Farscape," w/Ann White and John White (Panels Room 1)
6-7pm: "Publishing Genre Fiction Novels," w/Meg Eden, John Peel, and James Suriano (Panels Room 1)

Sunday
9-10am: "Author Spotlight: Keith R.A. DeCandido" (Panels Room 1)
11am-noon: "Writing and Creating Three Dimensional Characters," w/Rob Balder, Shaenon Garrity, Tim Johnson, and John Peel (Panels Room 2)
12-1pm: "Star Trek: The Next Generation: 29 Years Later," w/Matt Blum and David Gerrold (Panels Room 2)

The problem with being a last-minute add-on is that they can only squeeze your author spotlight in at 9am Sunday. I sure hope folks show up. (My plan is to do a reading, likely from one of the upcoming Super City Cops novellas.)

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.

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kradical
I have lived at ten different addresses in my life. The first two I don't really remember: an apartment near Fordham University (where my parents met) in the Bronx and an apartment in Fairview, New Jersey where we lived for a year. There's the two-bedroom apartment in the Bronx where I lived from ages three to seven, where I was good friends with the other kids on the block, then the lower part of the two-family house in the Bronx that my mother grew up in that my parents owned from 1976 until 1991. I lived there from '76 until I graduated college in 1990 (with a detour in the summer of 1989 when me and my friend John Drew lived together for a summer in the lower part of a house in Queens that my second mother Helga inherited from her father and was prepping to sell), then moved to an apartment down the street, where I lived for a year and a half until my parents sold the old house and moved into the new one that they remain in today. I moved back into the old house until they sold it, first alone, then with Marina, and that was where we lived when we got married in May 1992. By the end of '92, the house was sold, and we moved to the Upper West Side. We rented an apartment there for two years, then decided to buy a co-op that we would spend the rest of our lives in. *wry grin* When Marina and I split up in 2000, I rented a studio apartment in Weehawken, New Jersey (in the basement of the house owned by my friends Glenn & Brandy Hauman), then Terri and I started living together in an apartment back in the Bronx in 2001.

I have lived at that address -- seven years on the third floor, eight on the second floor (both places have the same floorplan, but the second-floor apartment has two patios, which is why Terri and I grabbed it when it became available in 2008) -- for fifteen years now. Technically, I lived at the house I grew up in for longer, but not consecutively -- it was fourteen years straight, then another 1.5 years.

This morning I got the last of our stuff out of the place and returned the keys to our landlords.

There are a lot of memories tied up in the two apartments I lived in in that building. Starting my relationship with Terri. Having my first two cats, Marcus and Mittens, who came with Terri, as it were. Terri's and my relationship crumbling and falling apart. Wrenn and Dale moving in. Dozens and dozens of house guests over the years, as I have always thought it important to be as welcoming to guests as possible, and Wrenn and Dale in particular also have the hospitality gene, as it were. In particular, I remember October of 2013 where we had four different house guests over the course of the month: Christopher L. Bennett, Meg Nuge, Elizabeth Donald, and Megan H. Rothrock.

Every piece of fiction I wrote that came out between 2002 and 2017 was written at least partly in that building. I started martial arts while living there, I turned 40 while living there, I got a grandmaster award and was roasted while living there, I got my first Guest of Honor invitations while living there, I joined the Boogie Knights while living there.

So many critters called that building their final home: Mittens, who died of cancer in 2004. Marcus, who finally succumbed at the ripe old age of 21. All the animals that Wrenn and Dale moved up with died in that building -- Scooter, the best dog ever, as well as the cats Newcastle, Rhiannon, Jezebelle, and Sterling.

Aoki and Kaylee had their first homes there. Louie had his first with us.

Some wonderful parties were held in those two apartments, starting with the Hallowe'en party Terri and I threw, all the way to the annual Twelfth Night parties that Wrenn, Dale, and I threw (the latest of which was postponed to March by the one and only blizzard we had last winter).

Having said all that, I'm actually glad to be out of there. The apartment had some serious issues, from carpeting in the living room and Dale's room that could charitably be called "worn" (and not-so-charitably called "hideous"). The stove was awful, the fridge was falling apart, the closet doors were a mess, and the patio doors didn't latch right. The front door was always a pain to navigate, and our most recent upstairs neighbors are, frankly, creeps. (Our downstairs neighbors are wonderful, though, and we will seriously miss them.)

More to the point, though we three made it our home, it was always really my old place that Wrenn and Dale moved into.

This new apartment is part of a three-story house. The first floor is taken up entirely by one apartment, then the second floor is split into two: about 2/3 another full apartment, and the other third is part of our place, which also has a staircase to the third floor, which has lower ceilings (it's at roof level). Our portion of the second floor has the front door, the kitchen, and the living room/dining room (which is very large). Then you go upstairs for the three bedrooms, the bathroom, and the massive walk-in closet (which we've already dubbed "the TARDIS" because it is bigger on the inside). The bedrooms are also quite large -- one is Wrenn's and my bedroom, one is Wrenn's and my shared office, and the other is Dale's. Dale's room is actually the biggest of the three, but since he's been stuck in a tiny bedroom for six years, he's welcome to it. :) And the other two are plenty large.

The top of the staircase to the third floor has a huge windowsill. When we first looked at the place in late July, the first thing we said was, "The cats would love this windowsill." Reality has proven us 100% correct, as the most likely place to find Kaylee or Louie is on that windowsill. (We even put a water bowl there.)

The place is completely filled to the brim with boxes and bags. We've been so focused on getting shit out of the old place that unpacking in the new place hasn't really been a priority. That will change this week. This weekend, though, I'm done. I've spent the last three weeks on a seemingly endless treadmill of carrying things downstairs and carrying things upstairs, and I'm sore in places that haven't hurt since I was a low-level color belt doing sparring. Thank fuck I'm a black belt, though -- my training has given me the strength and stamina to do this. We'd have been royally borked if I wasn't in such good shape.

But most importantly, despite all this -- the place already feels like home, even more than the old place did. And I am content.

*collapses on new couch*

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: the Yankees-Orioles game on YES

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kradical
Today we get the last of the crap out of our old place. Yesterday we rented a pickup truck that was mostly to get all the books, DVDs, LPs, games, and comic books we were getting rid of to Housing Works. HW is a great charity that helps homeless folks and people with AIDS and/or HIV, two charities that have always been important to me, and ones that are particularly a big deal here in NYC. The Housing Works Books & Cafe is an excellent place -- I've done a few events there -- and every penny goes to charity. The workers are all volunteers, the merchandise is all donated.

We filled a Nissan Frontier 4x4 pickup (including the back seat and the passenger seat), and also filled the trunk and back seat of our Corolla. For the record, a Frontier can fit 23 comic book longboxes comfortably. :)

We also used the pickup to get the last of Terri's things out the garage (she didn't have much, and she threw some out, and also took a set of shelves we didn't need), and to get the last of the big things to the new place (coat rack, the grill/smoker and charcoal, etc.). Today we return the truck then head back to get the last of the shit out. Most of it is garbage at this point, but it still needs to be dealt with.

And then it'll be done.

I have to say that I am well and truly done with carrying things up and down stairs. We're moving from a second-floor walkup to a second-and-third-floor duplex walkup, plus Terri lives in a third-floor walkup, so that's been a lot of carrying things up and down stairs for the last two weeks.

One thing that helped was a brilliant idea of Wrenn's. The books for Housing Works were all in the library (right by the front patio) of the old place, and tied in bundles with twine, or in shopping bags. Wrenn took a strap with a hook on the end (half of a ratchet strap set) and lowered the bundles and bags down to me from the patio. My knees were very very grateful.

Still and all, it's a damn good thing I've been doing martial arts for 12 years, because it's the only reason I have the strength and stamina to do all this shit. Wrenn is asthmatic and Dale is disabled, so I've been doing the bulk of the heavy lifting for the three of us (we've had a ton of help from friends, of course, which is why I'm not dead right now....).

Blorf..................

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Corned Beef City" by Mark Knopfler

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