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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
It's the day of the 50th ever Super Bowl, and as is my tradition, I will be live-tweeting both the game and the commercials. Expect lots of snide commentary. If you're on the Twitter, follow me @KRADeC or point your browser here and keep refreshing.

Meanwhile, I'm plugging away at The Warriors Three: Godhood's End. I think the most fun I've had working on the Marvel's Tales of Asgard trilogy has been writing Volstagg. The Warriors Three are odd in that they're among the few Thor characters who are not based on any actual Norse characters. Fandral is basically Robin Hood, Volstagg is basically Falstaff, and Hogun -- well, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has portrayed him as being Jackie Chan, more or less, but Stan Lee said in a 2011 interview that he was mostly supposed to be Charles Bronson (probably based on his character in The Magnificent Seven). Either way, they're tremendous fun to write, especially the gluttonous, boasting Volstagg. In fact, much as I love how Ray Stevenson plays him in Thor and Thor: The Dark World, the fact of the matter is that Volstagg needs to be played by Brian Blessed (who's now too old) or John Rhys-Davies. Watch Blessed particularly in The Black Adder or the Colin Baker Doctor Who story he appeared in as part of the "Trial of a Time-Lord" storyline or Flash Gordon. THAT'S VOLSTAGG!

Anyhow, back to the grind so I can watch the feetsball with a clear conscience......

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Drift Away" by the Nylons

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The Riddler films a silent movie, complete with pie-in-the-face, the Tramp, the Keystone Cops, a woman named Pauline in peril, and a couple of cliffhangers worthy of Harold Lloyd. The Bat-rewatch does "Death in Slow Motion"/"The Riddler's False Notion."

An excerpt:
One amusing thing: the lengthy Charlie Chaplin/Keystone Kops opener meant that they had to trim the sequence where Gordon activates the Bat-phone, Alfred finds Bruce and Dick, they lie to Aunt Harriet, they talk to Gordon, they slide down the poles, they get into the car, they drive off, the car goes down the road, and they pull in front of GCPD HQ and run upstairs. In this case, Bruce and Dick are already in the library so they answer the phone themselves, the conversation with Gordon is truncated, and they cut straight from driving past the “GOTHAM CITY 14 MILES” sign to their arrival at police HQ. It actually shows how much that sequence is, well, redundant filler, and I was perfectly happy to lose all that unnecessary nonsense so I could watch Gorshin do Chaplin.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Bourée" by Jethro Tull

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In December 2008, BOOM! Studios started publishing a Farscape comic, co-written by me and series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon, with art by Tommy Patterson. My first convention appearance after the comic debuted was New York Comic-Con in February 2009, and here I am there at BOOM!'s booth signing comics for Scapers. It, frankly, boggles my mind that that was seven years ago...........................

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "The Code of Handsome Lake" by Robbie Robertson

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My second convention of the year will be Farpoint 2016, held as ever in Timonium, Maryland, just north of Baltimore.

Here's my current, very busy schedule:

8-9.30pm: opening ceremonies -- I'll be part of the Prometheus Radio Theatre performance during the ceremonies (Greenspring)
10pm-midnight: Farpoint book fair (Dulaney 1 & 2)

11am-noon: Boogie Knights concert (Greenspring)
3-4pm: "Holy Golden Anniversary, Batman!" w/Robert Greenberger, Richard C. White, and Lance Woods (Dulaney 2)
5-6pm: reading, w/Michael A. Ventrella and Kim Headlee (Dulaney 1)
6-7pm: autographing, w/Joseph A. Berenato, Peter David, and Dave Galanter (Dulaney 1)
8-9pm: "Writing Inclusively vs. Token Characters," w/Rigel Ailur, Jennifer Povey, and Don Sakers (Chesapeake 1)

11am-noon: self-defense workshop (Atrium front)
1-2pm: "Sci-Fi Fights!" w/Robert Greenberger and Steven H. Wilson (Ridgely 1)
2-3pm: autographing, w/Ben Anderson, Don Sakers, and Richard C. White (Dulaney 1)
3-4pm: "Writer Beware," w/T.J. Perkins and Richard C. White (Chesapeake 1)

Hope to see folks there!

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Go Daddy-O" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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Arrived today via the postal service and IDW Publishing, my very own, hot offa da presses copy of V-Wars: Night Terrors!

It's the third in the shard-world vampire anthology series edited by the mighty Jonathan Maberry, which has stories by me and Jonathan as well as Larry Correia, James A. Moore, Jeremy Robinson, John Everson, Hank Schwaeble, Scott Nicholson, Marcus Pelegrimas, Tim Waggoner, Scott Sigler, Weston Ochse, and Sam Orion Nova West-Mesnch. You can order it in print, eBook, and/or audio form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Blackstone, Indie Bound, or directly from IDW.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Industrial Disease" by Dire Straits

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As reported in Publishers Marketplace, New York Times bestseller and Patient Zero and Rot & Ruin author Jonathan Maberry and Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead filmmaker George A. Romero sold (as editors) the anthology NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD to Michael Homler at Griffin, via their agents, Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger for Maberry and David Gersh at Gersh Agency for Romero. The anthology will have original stories set in the 48 hours surrounding the classic Night of the Living Dead, and is scheduled to be published in 2017.

The lineup, in alphabetical order:
    Jay Bonansinga: New York Times bestselling author of the Walking Dead novels.
    Sandra Brown & Ryan Brown: Sandra is an international bestselling author of over 70 novels; Ryan is the celebrated author of the zombie sports novel Play Dead.
    Mike Carey: Award-winning comic book writer (Lucifer, now a FOX TV series, Hellblazer, X-Men: Legacy) and novelist (the Felix Castor series, The Girl with All the Gifts, which is in post-production for a film).
    Keith R.A. DeCandido: Bestselling author of Resident Evil novels, as well as popular novels in the worlds of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Sleepy Hollow, V-Wars, and Supernatural.
    Craig Engler: Co-creator and writer for Z Nation.
    Mira Grant (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire): New York Times bestselling author whose Newsflesh series hits every zombie best-of list and was ranked #74 in an National Public Radio listener poll of the top 100 thriller novels of all time. Mira/Seanan has won the John W. Campbell Award, Darrell Awards Hall of Fame, six Pegasus Awrds, and a Hugo Award.
    Brian Keene: Author of horror, crime fiction, and comic books. He has won two Bram Stoker Awards. His 2003 novel The Rising is often credited with inspiring pop culture’s current interest in zombies.
    Joe R. Lansdale: Bestselling and Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 45 novels as well as comics and short stories. His mystery series, Hap & Leonard, is in production for TV. His Bram Stoker Award-winning short story, "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks," was included in the first-ever zombie anthology Book of the Dead (edited by John Skipp and Craig Spector).
    Jonathan Maberry: New York Times bestselling author of Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin, Dead of Night, and Zombie CSU and co-author of Marvel Zombies Return.
    Isaac Marion: Author of the New York Times bestselling zombie novel Warm Bodies, which was made into a successful movie.
    Joe McKinney: Multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of zombie fiction Dead City, The Savage Dead, and others.
    George A. Romero: The Godfather of the dead.
    Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman: Neal is a winner of the National Book Award and a bestselling author. His son, filmmaker Brandon, is a frequent collaborator for Neal’s short fiction.
    David Wellingtonn: Bestselling author of the landmark Monster Island and its sequels as well as the critically acclaimed new zombie novel Positive.
    Chuck Wendig: New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Banned from the Renaissance" by Boogie Knights

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My old buddy Kristine Kathryn Rusch has curated a new Story Bundle of Women in Fantasy, and her bundle includes not only one of her own works, but also Miles to Go by my sister from another mister Laura Anne Gilman, as well as bunches of others.

Here's the official release:

The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $5) are:
Book of Earth by Robin Brande
Miles to Go by Laura Anne Gilman
Night Calls by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Hex in the City (anthology) by Fiction River
Marny: Feyguard Book 3 by Anthea Sharp

If you pay more than the bonus price of just $15, you get all five of those titles, plus five more:
Hunt by Leslie Claire Walker
The Raven and the Dancing Tiger by Leah Cutter
Traitors by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Tides of Darkness by Judith Tarr
The Adventures of Myhr by P. N. Elrod

The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via StoryBundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods--you get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards--which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle--and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

So that's what it is. Why should you StoryBundle?

• Get quality reads in one convenient package.
• Pay what you choose (minimum $5): If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
• Support authors who support DRM-free books: Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
• Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. (Our charity, The Pearl Foundation, promotes education by endowing scholarships. The scholarships focus on returning students, who have been away from school for more than five years. Those students need a lot of financial assistance because they often have families, mortgages, and all those other expenses of adulthood.)
• Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com. For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle, and like us on Facebook.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "I Saw Her Standing There" by Paul McCartney

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With thanks to Meredith (woofiegrrl), here's Vienna Teng's rather inspiring "Level Up."

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Level Up" by Vienna Teng

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We meet Spock's parents, not to mention Andorians and Tellarites, and the Enterprise's mission of taking delegates to a conference goes spectacularly badly. The TOS Rewatch takes a "Journey to Babel."

An excerpt:
My biggest issue with the episode, though, is that the core conflict involving whether or not Spock will transfuse his father is presented as a dichotomy between Vulcan logic and human emotion and it so totally isn’t. Every single argument Spock makes has nothing to do with Vulcan philosophy and everything to do with the oath he took as a Starfleet officer and the duties he is forced to perform as first officer of the ship. Yes, the script casts it as Spock choosing the logical course of action, but that logic just gives him a clearer path to duty that has nothing to do with what planet he was raised on and everything to do with the braid on his cuff. And he’s right: there are a hundred high-ranking Federation delegates on board, there’s been a murder and an assault on the captain, and there’s a hostile ship trailing them. Yes, Sarek’s life is in danger, but there are more than five hundred people on board whose lives are also in danger just from the situation, and that’s not something he can fob off on the chief engineer.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Dark Side" by Tim Minchin

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Marvel books. The Marvel's Tales of Asgard trilogy is progressing nicely. Thor: Dueling with Giants is done and published in eBook form, with the print book due next month. Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings has been revised following editorial feedback and is awaiting Marvel's approval. I'm in the midst of The Warriors Threee: Godhood's End, and hope to have it done this week. I have a couple of other pitches floating about, and we'll see if anything comes of them.

Super City Police Department. The first serial novella, Avenging Amethyst, will be worked on between other projects.

The Adventures of Bram Gold. The bad news is the novel is due 15 March. The good news is that the first four chapters are already written. I will dive into this after the Marvel stuff's done. And at some point, I'll need to come up with plots for the second and third books that are more than a paragraph long.......

Limbus. I'm doing a story for Volume 3 of this shared-world anthology series published by JournalStone. It's due in February.

Nights of the Living Dead. I've sent in my pitch for this anthology. Waiting for the approval from editors George Romero and Jonathan Maberry, as well as whoever holds the rights to the property (which might also be Romero -- I honestly don't even know what the ownership situation is with that license, I'm just enjoying playing in it....).

Tie-in anthology. This hasn't been announced yet, but I've sent in my pitch for this, too, and am waiting for a licensor okay.

Thriller. This collaborative thriller is due in June.

Anthology. I'm going to have a story in an alternate history anthology. Still need to come up with the actual plot -- I already know what the divergent point is going to be. That story is due in early May.

Dragon Precinct series. I need to get "Baker's Dozen" written, since the Kickstarter is, er, old, and I also need to get Mermaid Precinct written. It will happen this year. Somehow.

Stargate SG-1. Kali's Wrath is with MGM, awaiting their approval. Once they give it the okee-dokee, it'll be published soon thereafter. I have other ideas for SG-1 tales, including a collaborative project that's been in development hell since 2011, as well as a standalone novel. We'll see what happens.

Mystery. I'm hoping to be able to write this later this year. We'll see. Either way, don't expect details, as it'll be written under a pseudonym that will not be known.

I think that's everything that's actually active............................

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Hunchback" by Boogie Knights

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My favorite version of the (admittedly minor) Jethro Tull song "Sweet Dream" is the one from the Living with the Past album, mostly because I love Andrew Giddings's keyboard work on it. It came on the iPod when I was driving home from teaching today, and it just made me all happy and stuff when I played it really really loud.....

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Sweet Dream" by Jethro Tull

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This is one of those weekends where I didn't get as much done as I should have. I did get two short story proposals out the door -- both for tie-in anthologies, one for the Nights of the Living Dead antho edited by George Romero & Jonathan Maberry, the other for another as-yet-unannounced book -- and have made a bit of progress on the Warriors Three book. I'm about to dive back into the latter after a nap.

Also got to see some old friends who were in from out of town yesterday and also did a bit of TV catchup. Wrenn and I lost track of The Flash last season about midway through, so when they got to the crossover in December that was setting up Legends of Tomorrow, we basically stopped watching Arrow. Last night we decided, the hell with it, watched the Flash half of that crossover (we've got the back half of season one of and the first half of season two of Flash, we just haven't watched them yet), then watched the Arrow half, then watched LoT.

I enjoyed the crossover a lot more than the first two episodes of the new show, mainly because I love the easy camaraderie between the Flash and Arrow casts. Unfortunately, the three newest additions -- Ciara Renée as Kendra/Shayera/Hawkgirl, Falk Hentschel as Carter/Koufu/Hawkman, and Casper Crump as Vandal Savage -- are all pretty terrible. The biggest issue is Crump, who follows in the footsteps of Matt Nable's weak-tea Ra's al-Ghul to give us a relentlessly mediocre Savage. This makes twice in a row where Andrea Romano cast a voice actor who would've been a bajillion times better in the role in the DC animated universe of the 1990s/2000s than Greg Berlanti's casting people can manage in live action, as David Warner and Phil Morris would have been infinitely superior as Ra's and Savage.

Because the three actors have no chemistry, no bite, and appallingly little talent (in Renée's case extending to her scenes with Cisco, in which the interest is entirely one-sided thanks to Carlos Valdes's relaxed charisma), that aspect of the plots of the four episodes we watched last night was the least interesting part of it -- which is a problem, as it was pretty much the catalyst for the entire storyline. Luckily, the stuff around the edges was great. LoT in particular has the advantage of some prime talent in the rest of the cast. Nobody ever went wrong casting Victor Garber in anything, and he kills it as Martin Stein, the intellectual half of Firestorm (the jury's still out on Franz Drameh as Jax, the muscle of the pairing). Brandon Routh continues to make Ray Palmer a delightful combination of geeky and egotistical, basically doing him as a less creepy Tony Stark, and it works beautifully. Caity Lotz is doing zombie Sara Lance as someone trying to find her place in life while kicking all the asses -- thus far in the first two episodes, she's been the only consistently competent person, and she's been magnificent. Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell take the chemistry they created on Prison Break and continued on Flash and put it to superb use here. (Our roommate Dale nailed it with Miller: he's playing Leonard Snart/Captain Cold as Avon from Blakes 7, and it's perfect.) And Arthur Darvil plays a renegade Time Master who steals a time-travel ship in order to be a hero -- can't imagine what he'd drawn on to play that role........................

The biggest problem with LoT, besides the fact that the three actors who form the core of the ongoing storyline suck, is the ongoing storyline itself. It's the common mistake of doing a movie plot on a TV show: when the storyline is directed to a particular goal, it means our heroes have to consistently fail or the show ends. With luck, the Savage arc will only involve the short first season, and if the show continues, they'll move onto something else for season 2, with the team having gelled after taking Savage out. If not, it's going to be a very frustrating repetitive show.

The second biggest problem is cast bloat. They fixed that in episode 2 by killing Hawkman off, which also removed one of those three terrible actors. The large cast of Arrow grew organically, and Flash has kept the supporting cast smaller and more manageable. Let's hope they haven't bitten off too much here.

Anyhow, I'm diving back into the Warriors Three novel now, having spent most of last week doing editorial revisions on the Sif book. I'm quite pleased with the latter, and the former is coming along nicely, thank you. (Honestly, I could write Volstagg all day....)

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "The Boxer" by Paul Simon

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With thanks to the mighty Deb Grabien (debg) for the heads-up, here's a magnificently reggae-ish version of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" by David Lindley, backed up by long-time Zevon collaborator Jorge Calderon, as well as the great David Saborn on saxophone, George Duke and Philippe Saisse on keyboards, Hiram Bullock on guitar, and one of my all-time faves, Omar Hakim on drums.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Werewolves of London" by David Lindley

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It's Roddy McDowall's one and only appearance as the evil Bookworm! The Bat-rewatch does "The Bookworm Turns"/"While Gotham City Burns."

An excerpt:
There are moments here and there. Neil Hamilton does a nice job selling the fake Gordon’s “death,” as well as the commissioner’s total confusion when he walks into his office to a bunch of people acting (from his POV) like idiots. And we get a rare look at badass Alfred, as 63-year-old Alan Napier leaps over the atomic pile railing to answer the Bat-radio. (Take that, Sean Pertwee!)

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Coney Island Baby" by Tom Waits

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Hey folks! It's that time of year again, when a young (or old) fan's fancy turns to thoughts of Hugo Awards. Okay, maybe not, but either way, it's officially Hugo nomination time! If you're a member of Sasquan (last year's WorldCon), MidAmericon II (this year's WorldCon), and/or WorldCon 75 (next year's WorldCon), you are eligible to nominate works that you think are worthy of Hugo consideration from the 2015 calendar year.

By a startling coinkydink, I, as, y'know, a working writer, have stuff that's eligible! So if you like my work (and you probably at least have a passing affection for it, if you're reading this blog), then please do consider nominating one or more of the following for a Hugo Award:

Heroes Reborn: Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World

"Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless," The X-Files: Trust No One
"Down to the Waterline," Buzzy Mag
"William Did It," Story of the Month Club

Short story
"Behold a White Tricycle," Without a License
"Partners in Crime," Without a License
"Send in the Clones," The Side of Good/The Side of Evil
"Seven-Mile Race," Without a License
"Wild Bill Got Shot," Without a License

Related work
The Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch, Tor.com
The Stargate Rewatch, Tor.com
Holy Rewatch, Batman!, Tor.com

"Down to the Waterline" is available for free online, as are the rewatches (see links in list above). The others, I am more than happy to provide a PDF of for anyone who requests one and is a member of at least one of the above-mentioned WorldCons. Either comment below or e-mail me at krad at whysper dot net.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "The Hula Hula Boys" by Warren Zevon

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Me doing a reading from my Farscape novel House of Cards at I-Con XXI in the spring of 2002 in Stony Brook, Long Island. Next to me is a bear that was a gift from a bunch of Farscape fans, and which I still have. (His name is Red. Not the most original, but it works.)

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Freya, Shakti" by Emerald Rose

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Wrenn found this online, and it blew me away. It's a two-hundred-person choir in Ontario, Canada performing "Space Oddity" in tribute to David Bowie. Just beautiful.

This 500+ Choir singing Space Oddity in memory of David Bowie is the only thing you need to see today.

Posted by Clare FM on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

EDITED TO ADD: embed code doesn't seem to be working, so here's a link...............

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Down So Long" by Sting

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After a bit of a delay, the third volume of Jonathan Maberry's shared world anthology series V-Wars is now out in trade paperback! Entitled Night Terrors, this latest anthology includes my story "Streets of Fire," which is a sorta-kinda sequel to "The Ballad of Big Charlie," my story in the first volume.

The eBook editions will be available soon, and the audio has actually been available since last fall. (Go fig'.) You can get it from Amazon (trade, audio), Barnes & Noble (trade, audio), Indie Bound (trade), and Blackstone (audio).

Here's an excerpt from "Streets of Fire":
Mia tumbled out of the back seat of the department-issue Chevy trying to get her bearings.

Giving Sullivan an accusatory look as he got out of the driver's seat, she then turned to Thorndike, who unfolded his massive frame from the passenger seat. "He always drive like that?"

Thorndike grinned, showing yellow teeth. "Nah, usually he's reckless."

Sullivan shrugged. "What? You gotta drive on the FDR like that."

They had taken the FDR Drive from 106th Street down to 34th Street, then travelled over to 1st Avenue and 30th Street, parking the car in a no-parking zone while placing their NYPD credentials in the dashboard. Mia had lost track of the sudden lane changes and the number of cars Sullivan had cut off by the time they passed 96th Street.

"My old man," Sullivan said as he headed toward the entrance, "he always said that you knew you'd be okay drivin' in New York if you could navigate the FDR without shittin' in your socks."

"In that case, I wanna see your socks," Mia said.

Both cops laughed, and they headed inside, eventually reaching the office of Dr. Mukta Patwardhan, which explained the "Muck" nickname, though not why the doctor put up with it. Thorndike knocked on the door, and an accented voice said, "Come in!"

Opening the door, Mia saw a slender Indian woman with dark hair tied in a bun, a pointed nose, and very dark eyes. Looking up, she said, "Red, Fatso, it is good to see you both."

"How you doin', Muck?" Sullivan asked.

Mia managed to hold in a laugh. She wondered if Patwardhan's nicknames for the cops were a response to being called "Muck" or if she was the one who started it.

"I am very busy, but you are already aware of that. Who is this?" She asked that last with a nod at Mia.

Jerking a thumb at her, Thorndike said, "This is Mia Fitzsimmons from the News. She's following the VCU around for a month. Sarge figured she should meet you."

Patwardhan rose to her feet and offered a hand. "Oh really? It's a pleasure, Ms. Fitzsimmons, and may I say, you don't look a thing like the picture that accompanies your articles."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Mia had been bitching to Bart about that photo for a year now. She returned the handshake.

"Well, I'm quite the devoted reader. You are one of the few voices of reason on I1V1 in the press."

"Thank you. I appreciate that."

"You're welcome. Of course, I've a vested interested. I don't know if Sergeant Gimpy told you or not, but I've been tasked with doing the autopsies for all the I1V1 cases, which means it is my curse to have to deal with the VCU."

"Ah, c'mon," Thorndike said with a grin, "you love us, Muck."

Patwardhan just gave the detective a look before saying, "I assume you came down for the triple in the Bronx?"

Sullivan nodded. "Yeah, we caught that."

"Well, you are about to catch a good deal more. Come with me."

Getting up from behind the desk, Patwardhan led the two detectives and Mia out of her office and toward the morgue.

Sullivan hesitated. "Do we have to—"

Thorndike snorted. "Nut up, Johnny. It's just a couple three stiffs."

"Actually," Patwardhan said, "it is more than that."

She led them down the hall and through large swinging metal doors.

As soon as they entered the chilly room decorated entirely in cold metals and harsh plastics, Sullivan's mouth burbled.

"Fuck," Thorndike said, "you gotta be kiddin' me."

"'Scuse," Sullivan managed to utter before running out of the morgue.

Patwardhan shook her head. "Every time. You would think he would grow accustomed."

"He's third grade—he didn't do homicides before he got shifted over to VCU." Thorndike shrugged. "Some people ain't got the stomach. Anyhow, Trujillo owes me twenty bucks now."

Mia frowned. "Huh?"

Thorndike grinned. "Hector said Sullivan wouldn't yak until the sheets came off the bodies. I didn't think he'd make it through the door." Then Thorndike's face fell. "You ain't gonna put that in the article, right?"

That prompted a smile from Mia. "We'll see."

"Fuck." Thorndike shook his head and then looked at Patwardhan. "So whatcha got for us?"

The M.E. and two other orderlies all pulled the sheets away from the heads of the three victims, side by side on three pallets. Rafael Guesa had the snout that was characteristic of chupacabras, Jason Johnson had teeth made of metal, and Alberto Soriano sadly looked just like a young man whose throat was ripped to pieces.

"The cause of death is fairly straightforward in all three cases. They all died of severe blood loss. In Soriano's case, it was through the carotid artery after it was torn apart by a metal hook that happens to match Johnson's foot. Said appendage had multiple traces of Soriano's blood on it. As for Johnson, he has multiple small puncture wounds on his face and considerable blood loss. In fact, it's approximately the amount we found in the sacs on the tips of Guesa's fingers. Johnson also has blood on his teeth, which matches that of Guesa, who has a bite on his clavicle with metal shavings in it that match those of Johnson's teeth."

Thorndike frowned. "So the bonsie killed Soriano and the choop both, and the choop killed the bonsie?"

Holding both hands palms-up, Patwardhan smiled, showing perfect teeth. "Congratulations, Detective Fatso, I have just handed you three closed cases at once."

"Whoopee dingle. The sarge can show that off at the next COMPSTAT meeting."

Mia was scribbling furiously. There were plenty of instances of vampire-on-human violence and vice versa, but this sort of fight between two vampires with a human in the middle was unusual. A lot of vampires were huddling together. Some were your basic support-group type things, others more nasty, like the New Red Coalition that had been engaging in terrorist attacks all over North America. But there was a lot less of that in large cities like New York. Sure, some groups of vampires stuck together, but plenty were off on their own. Much easier to lose yourself in the crowded big city after all.

Now Patwardhan held up a single finger. "However, there is more. I have had several bodies sent to me over the past forty-eight hours that fall under the purview of your unit." She walked over to another set of three pallets, this time uncovering the feet, which were desiccated husks.

Mia looked at the M.E., recognizing the handiwork of a vampire from Armenian folklore. "Dakhanavar?"

Patwardhan nodded.

"Where'd you find these guys, Sunnyside? Belmont? Murray Hill?" Thorndike listed three neighborhoods that had a heavy Armenian population.

"That's the bizarre part, I'm afraid. They were found in Brighton Beach. And two of them have I1V1 and stingers under their tongues, so probably upierczy." She walked over to another pallet, where she revealed the face of a man who looked Russian. "This gentleman was also found dead in Brighton Beach. Cause of death is massive and comprehensive organ failure from no cause that I can determine. Given the neighborhood where he was found, my guess is an eretica. All four of our victims have ties to the Russian mob."

Making more notes, Mia pondered. Scientists had spent a lot of time recently trying to figure out exactly how the eretica could just stare at someone and cause them to die. Most I1V1 mutations had some kind of scientific explanation, but the eretica had continued to baffle.

Patwardhan pointed at another two pallets. "Those two have no cause of death that I can determine whatsoever, and they were found on the Lower East Side, not far from Chinatown."

"You're thinkin' hopping ghosts?" Thorndike asked.

Another nod from Patwardhan. "But they were not found in Chinatown, and these two victims are of Jamaican descent, with criminal records indicating they are involved in the drug trade."

Mia looked up.

Thorndike, though, was shaking his head. "Fuck. All right, Muck, get us the reports on all these guys." He pulled a cell phone out of his jacket pocket. It was almost lost in the detective's massive hand. After manipulating the touchscreen, he put it to his ear. "Hey, Sarge, it don't look good here. We need to get somebody from Vice onna line. We may be lookin' at a drug war usin' vamps."

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Days are Short" by Arlo Guthrie

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David Bowie dying made me think of Mott the Hoople, as Bowie wrote MtH's biggest hit, "All the Young Dudes," and MtH's lead singer was Ian Hunter, and Hunter did a number of great songs during his solo career, but my favorite has always been "Central Park 'n' West," especially since I lived half a block from Central Park West for six years.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Central Park 'n' West" by Ian Hunter

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It's Rome in the 20th century! The TOS Rewatch is fed "Bread and Circuses."

An excerpt:
The gladiator scene is one of McCoy’s most triumphant moments, with Flavius yelling at him to defend himself, and McCoy throwing his arms open and shouting “I am defending myself!” Followed, of course, by his taking the time from getting the shit kicked out of him to yell at Spock for the abject stupidity of asking him if he needs help.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Cross-Eyed Mary" by Jethro Tull

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It's the debut of Victor Buono's King Tut, in a story that will make every Egyptophile cringe. The Bat-rewatch does "The Curse of Tut"/"The Pharaoh's in a Rut."

An excerpt:
I can’t decide if Batman’s constant stream of misinformation about Egypt is meant to be satirical or if the writers were just too lazy to get it right. Goodness knows, most non-European cultures got a perfunctory treatment at best from contemporary screenwriters (cf. Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., etc., not to mention Star Trek‘s botching of Sikhs in “Space Seed“), so it’s probably the latter, but what I love is that it goes beyond the usual oversimplifications. You could just have everyone refer to the statue in the park that totally isn’t a sphinx as a sphinx, but they double down and have Batman say it’s a perfect replica of something it doesn’t look anything like. You could just have Bruce giving the tour to the reporters and discuss the value of the crown, but they double down and have him specify which animal symbolizes which region and getting it entirely wrong.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Grandpa's Hologram" by the Austin Lounge Lizards

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I used to love snow more.

The current blizzard sucks on several levels. Today was supposed to be our annual Twelfth Night Party (which was more of a Thirtieth Night Party, as the weekend we normally would have done it was the same weekend as the Poconos Writers Conference, so we made it today), but we postponed it on account of the weather. Luckily, we were expecting, at the very least, depressed attendance because of the snow (up until last night, we held out hope that it might not be too bad and at the very least the people in NYC itself might make it), so we didn't overdo it on the food.

But snow is generally less fun now for two reasons. One has been true since Wrenn and Dale moved up here in 2010: I am again a car owner, which means I have to dig out the car at some point. It was so much easier between 1992 and 2010, as I didn't have a car, and I either lived in a co-op or a rental and was therefore not responsible for any shoveling whatsoever.

The second is new with this snowstorm, as this is the first snow we've had since Scooter died.

Nobody loved snow more than Scooter. I remember the first winter after Wrenn and Dale moved up, watching him galumph joyously in the snow was the most wonderful sight in the world. In fact I recorded it (it was my first time recording video on a new phone, so it's at a 90-degree angle, but you can get the idea):

He'd have loved this blizzard so much. *sigh*

Hope everyone in the northeast corridor who's been hit by this storm is staying safe.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "Darling Lorraine" by Paul Simon

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At some point I'll post a full con schedule for 2016 (I'm still working out some stuff), but I can say with authority that I'll be returning to two conventions I went to in 2015 and also that I'll be back at Dragon Con!

Last year was the debut for (Re)Generation Who, the east coast's first big-ass Doctor Who convention, and it was a huge hit. I'm pleased to say that I'll be returning for (Re)Generation Who 2 from 18-20 March at the Hunt Valley Wyndham Grand in Cockeysville, Maryland (just north of Baltimore). I'll be doing panels and stuff, and will also have a table in Artists Alley where I'll be selling books. (I might even have copies of a couple of my Who work, which is all out of print....)

(This means, BTW, that I will not be attending Lunacon 2016.)

Last year, I was a special guest at MALcon and had a fantastic time. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going back this year from 12-14 August at the Ramada Plaza Denver North in Denver, Colorado. I'll also be doing panels and stuff and will have a table in Artists Alley to sell books and things.

And finally, I have been confirmed as being an author guest at Dragon Con 2016. Expect that I'll be doing my practical self-defense workshop at the con again, and lots of panels on multiple tracks -- I expect that this year I'll be showing up on the Stargate Multiverse Track, since Kali's Wrath should be out by the time the con rolls around, as well as my usual appearances on Star Trek, Writers, SF, Fantasy, American Sci-Fi Classics, and all the other tracks!!!!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Across the Great Divide" by The Band

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I first met David G. Hartwell in 1990 when we were doing The Chronic Rift as a public-access TV show. Our first few episodes were just us and our friends discussing various issues, but as we went we wanted to start getting professionals on. Between us, John Drew and I had all of two professional contacts in the field: Bob Greenberger and Jim Frenkel, who appeared on our sixth and seventh episodes. But through them we started contacting others and broadening our base.

Jim was the one who suggested we contact David for our upcoming Frankenstein discussion in the eighth episode. At the last minute, David had to cancel, but he suggested another editor he was working with at the time, Greg Cox. David also recommended Kathryn Cramer for the Heinlein discussion we were doing in episode 9.

We eventually did get David on the show, and he remained a friend over the years. We would regularly bump into each other at conventions and events, him wearing a ridiculous tie and taking pictures, and he was always fun to talk to.

Intellectually, I know he was a giant in the field, but that's not how I remember him, myself. I remember him as a good person who helped out a bunch of kids in their 20s who were trying to make a public-access talk show about the genre that we all loved. Several dear friends of mine I wouldn't even know now if it wasn't for David (starting with Greg).

Technically, David is still alive, but it seems he won't be with us long. The world is a worse place without him.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "The Crush" by John Hiatt & Ry Cooder

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The Joker is back and he's kidnapped the Maharajah of Nimpah -- OR HAS HE?????? The Bat-rewatch does "The Joker Trumps an Ace"/"Batman Sets the Pace."

(Forgot to post this while I was at Arisia. Derp.)

An excerpt:
I meant to mention this in “True or False Face” / “Holy Rat Race,” but there were times when it was really obvious that Victor Paul, Burt Ward’s stunt double, looked about as much like Ward as Madge Blake did. The False Face two-parter had a couple of shots where the use of the double was blindingly obvious, and “Batman Sets the Pace” had a couple as well, both the first shot of the pair of them climbing up the smokestack, and most of the shots in the novelty store fight scene, where director Richard C. Sarafian probably thought all the Joker’s streamers and confetti would disguise the faces (they didn’t).

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Fat Man" by Jethro Tull

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