Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth”

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The Enterprise encounters Kukulkan, and it goes about as well as it did when they met Apollo. Only with fewer togas, which is probably for the best. The TOS Rewatch asks, “How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth.”

An excerpt:

My main source of adoration is that we get the gods-were-really-aliens trope, but it isn’t a god from Europe or North Africa, as is often the default in such tales. The only deities even mentioned in the episode, beyond Kukulkan, are Quetzalcoatl and the dragons of Asian myth.

My main issue, unfortunately, is yet another use of the gods-were-really-aliens trope.

irons in the fire update

I usually do this at the top of the month, which isn’t until next week, but I didn’t do one for April, and now that we’re past the wedding, I’m starting to get the rest of my life back in order……………..

Marvel. The third book in the “Tales of Asgard” trilogy — Marvel’s Warriors Three: Godhood’s End — will be out in May. Joe Books is also putting out an omnibus of all three novels in the fall. In addition, I have another proposal sitting waiting for approval, which would be fun to do.

Precinct. The Kickstarter for Mermaid Precinct was a huge success. The fulfillment date is October, and I’m going to work mightily to stick to that. Meantime, I wrote “Baker’s Dozen,” which was the last Kickstarter, and I’m already cogitating on doing more Precinct stories via Kickstarter also, as that model has proven fruitful. I have two more story notions (one involving the prison barge, as established in “Catch and Release” in Tales from Dragon Precinct, another the story I originally intended for the Dragon Precinct graphic novel that failed to fund) which would work this way.

Super City Cops. I’m doing a story in this setting for an upcoming eSpec Books anthology, which I need to put together soon. Meantime, I’m hoping that sales on Avenging Amethyst, Undercover Blues, and Secret Identities are strong enough that Bastei wants more. So buy them!

Bram Gold. I’m in the midst of writing A Furnace Sealed, the first Bram Gold novel, which I’m hoping will be out by year’s end. And then, of course, there’s the next two books……

Cassie Zukav. The next Cassie story will be out in May: “Behind the Wheel” in TV Gods: Summer Programming, which will launch at Balticon 51 from Fortress Publishing. Beyond that, I have several Cassie story notions — the UFO in the Dry Tortugas story, a spring break story, a story that brings Loki and Odin back, etc. — that are just waiting for the right concatenation of circumstances to happen. And I have a verbal agreement with Plus One Press to do a second story collection once I’ve written enough stories to fill one. It’ll be called “Ragnarok and a Hard Place.”

Orphan BlackStill waiting for the final approval on Classified Clone Report, but we’re close. Looking forward to the book’s release this summer…

Supernatural. I’ve actually done all the work for John Winchester’s Journal, which will be out this fall. That was fun to do.

Sooper-seekrit project #1. This is another tie-in book, which I have to dive into after I’m done with A Furnace Sealed.

Sooper-seekrit project #2. I’ve been approached to write a tie-in trilogy, but before they sign me up, they’re paying me to write a scene between two of the characters, which has to be done by the end of May. If they like it, they’ll sign me up to write the books.

Sooper-seekrit project #3. This isn’t a done deal yet, it’s something my agent and the publisher have been discussing. We’ll see if it happens.

Star Trek. An era is coming to an end, as in three months, I’ll be done with the original series rewatch on Tor.com. I have one more animated episode and the animated series overview to do, then the next ten weeks will be taken up with the TOS movies. In addition, I still have to finish up editing the English translation of Prometheus Book 3, which was a casualty of wedding prep, sadly. But once those two things are done, I will have no new Trek stuff to do for the first time since 1999. Well, at least until Discovery premieres, as I’ll be reviewing that for Tor.com. Still, it’ll be weird to not have any projects related to Star Trek on my plate for the first time this century…..

Other Tor.com writing. I’m wrapping up the Bat-rewatch, and then after that I’ve got a weekly project for them that will kick in once the TOS Rewatch is done (we’ll be announcing that soon, I think). I also plan to do an overview of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman and a look at WW comics in the days leading up to the release of the Gal Gadot film.

Miscellaneous. I’ve got stories coming out later this year in Nights of the Living Dead (co-edited by GEORGE FUCKING ROMERO!!!!!!), Stargate: Homeworlds, and Joe Ledger: Unstoppable. I also have a vague notion for a Stargate SG-1 novel, but I need to put it together…..

my Zenkaikon 2017 schedule

I will be at Zenkaikon 2017 this coming weekend in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I’m one of the Guests of Honor, alongside fellow author Charles Dunbar; actors Steve Blum, John Patrick Lowrie, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Ellen McLain, and Sonny Strait; performers Cosplay Burlesque, Cosplay Pro Wrestling, the Slants, Uncle Yo, and Greg Wicker; and cultural presenter Kuniko Kanawa.

Here’s my schedule:

Friday:

1-2pm: opening ceremonies, w/all other guests (main events)

7-8.30pm: VIP Meet & Greet, w/all other guests (Montgomery House 2nd floor)

10.15-11.15pm: “Doctor Who Panel” (Live 1, Floor 2, Commonwealth 3)

Saturday:

4.15-5.15pm: “Orphan Black: The Final Season” (Live 6, Floor 3, Heritage B)

8.45-9.45pm: “Let’s Get Down to Business (of Writing!)” (Live 6, Floor 3, Heritage B)

10.30-11.30pm: “Guests Against Humanity,” w/Uncle Yo, John Patrick Lowrie, & Ellen McLain

(There’s also an Eye of Argon reading that’s against GAH, but I may poke my head into that after GAH is done….)

Sunday:

1.30-2.30pm: “Marvel & Netflix” (Live 6, Floor 3, Heritage B)

2.45-3.45pm: practical self-defense workshop (Live 5, Floor 3, Heritage A)

I will also have a table and will be selling books and bears throughout the weekend. Hope to see folks there!

guide to the tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet

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I have written several short stories that feature a young woman named Cassie Zukav. She was introduced in a story called “How You Can Prevent Forest Fires…” in the 1997 anthology Urban Nightmares, a collection of stories based on urban legends co-edited by me and the late Josepha Sherman. A grad student in San Diego, she finds herself haunted by stories about divers being found burned alive in forest fires.

Cassie seemed to die at the end of that story, but she’s a hardy woman, and I brought her back in 2011 for the short story “Ragnarok and Roll,” which established that she’d gotten her Masters degree and moved to Key West, Florida.

I first visited Key West in 1993 when my ex-wife and I went for our first anniversary. I’ve been back many many times since — it’s a magical place ($1, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and it’s full of nifty ghost lore and weird stories and fantastic history. It’s the perfect place to set urban fantasy stories, and since 2011 I’ve written more than a dozen featuring Cassie as she learns that she’s a Dís, a Norse fate goddess. She spends her days as a dive-master at the Seaclipse Dive Shop, her nights hanging out at Mayor Fred’s Saloon in Old Town listening to the house band 1812 play. She also encounters several Norse gods, the ghost of a wrecker captain (and a few other ghosts besides), an immortal barfly, a musician who steals people’s soul (singular deliberate there), a nixie, a water fae, a mermaid, a possessed doll, and more.

A good entry point to the Cassie stories is “Down to the Waterline,” which is available for free online at BuzzyMag. And if you like that one, you’ll probably like the others, nine of which are available in the collection Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. Here they all are, in chronological story order:

“How You Can Prevent Forest Fires…” (Urban Nightmares, 1997; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll, 2013)

“Down to the Waterline” (BuzzyMag, 2015)

“Ragnarok and Roll” (Tales from the House Band Volume 1, 2011; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll and also in Apocalypse 13, 2012)

“Undine the Boardwalk” (Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental, 2014; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll)

“I Believe I’m Sinkin’ Down” (Tales from the House Band Volume 2, 2012; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll)

“Love Over and Over” (Ragnarok and Roll)

“William Did It” (Story of the Month Club, 2015; reprinted in A Baker’s Dozen of Magic, 2016)

“Rán for Your Life” (Unearthed, 2019)

“Cayo Hueso Part 1: A Farewell to Cats” (standalone eBook, 2013; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll, collected in limited-edition Story Bundle eBook Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, 2015)

“Cayo Hueso Part 2: The Buck Stops Here” (standalone eBook, 2013; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll, collected in limited-edition Story Bundle eBook Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, 2015)

“Cayo Hueso Part 3: Twisting Fate” (standalone eBook, 2013; reprinted in Ragnarok and Roll, collected in limited-edition Story Bundle eBook Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, 2015)

“God of Blunder” (Ragnarok and Roll)

“Fish Out of Water” (Out of Tune, 2014)

“Seven-Mile Race” (Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido, 2015)

“Behind the Wheel” (TV Gods: Summer Programming, 2017)

“Ragnarok and a Hard Place” (forthcoming to Indie GoGo supporters, 2020)

And I have more burbling in my head, worry not. Cassie’s not going anywhere, and I already have an agreement with Plus One Press (publishers of the first collection) to do a second collection once I have enough stories for it, to be titled Ragnarok and a Hard Place.

There are also Cassie vignettes available to folks who support my Patreon:

  • “A Windy Night in December at Mayor Fred’s Saloon” (takes place between “Fish Out of Water” and “Seven-Mile Race”)
  • “Papa’s Pool” (takes place in 1938)
  • “No Vacancies” (takes place between “Cayo Hueso” and “God of Blunder”)
  • “Spoiler Warning” (takes place between “Behind the Wheel” and “Ragnarok and a Hard Place”)
  • “Cover Me” (takes place between “Ragnarok and Roll” and “I Believe I’m Sinkin’ Down”)
  • “Cheaters Never Win” (takes place between “Behind the Wheel” and “Ragnarok and a Hard Place”)
  • “Just Come Down for the Weekend, But That Was 25 Years Ago” (takes place prior to “Down to the Waterline”)

The Side of Good/The Side of Evil (and 13 others) for only three bucks!

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BookSweeps is having a sale on spec-fic anthologies! There are fourteen anthos of science fiction & fantasy on sale for only three bucks, one of which is The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, the superhero/supervillain flipbook anthology edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer that includes my Super City Cops story “Send in the Clones.”

Click on this paragraph to get The Side of Good/The Side of Evil and the other thirteen anthologies for only $2.99!

interview with me

Money quote:
I got involved [with Limbus Inc.] simply by being recommended by regular Limbus contributor Jonathan Maberry when they were casting about for fresh blood for Volume 3. I read the first two anthologies after JournalStone approached me. My first thought was that Limbus Inc. goes after people who are down on their luck and/or underappreciated. It seemed to me that the last people they would go after are white guys, who are the people in the world least suffering from those problems. You want to target the people who never get a chance to show their stuff, go after a black woman in a poor part of New York City in the 1970s. That’s someone whose gifts would be guaranteed to go unnoticed—except by a fancy-shmancy powerful shadowy corporation.

so I’m getting married tonight……

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Back in August 2013 on our vacation to Key West, Florida, I proposed to Wrenn Simms. She said yes.

Since then, we have put off the actual wedding until we could afford to throw the party we wanted. In 2016, Wrenn had a lucrative freelance gig, and I had tons of writing work, so we were all set to have our wedding in September of that year.

Then our landlord terminated our lease in late July, and we had to postpone, as we needed to spend August searching for an apartment and moving (which involved considerable outlays of cash).

We rescheduled to 22 April 2017, one of the two weekends between my birthday and Wrenn’s.

It will be held tonight, at our favorite restaurant. Our nearest and dearest will be present, with eight of them standing at our side (four on each side), another dear friend performing the ceremony, and then tons of good food and wine.

Which is exactly what we wanted.

It’s funny, both Wrenn and I never intended to get married again. Yet here we are. But I’m also happier than I’ve ever been in my life since I met her, and I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m solemnizing that union, as it were, in front of the people we love most.

Don’t worry, there will be tons of pictures. 🙂

from the archives: guide to the Farscape comics

From 2008-2011, BOOM! Studios had the rights to do comic book versions of Farscape, the Jim Henson Company-produced TV show created by Rockne S. O’Bannon that ran on the Sci-Fi Channel from 1999-2003, with a miniseries, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, finishing up the storyline in 2004. There have been bunches of tie-ins, including three novels (I wrote one, House of Cards), a two-issue comic book from WildStorm, and several short stories that ran in the official magazine and in the role-playing game (I wrote three, “Many a Mile to Freedom,” “Brotherly Love,” and “Ten Little Aliens”).
In 2008, BOOM! started their “season 5” comics that were plotted by Rockne and which picked up from the end of The Peacekeeper Wars. All told, BOOM! published three four-issue miniseries, followed by an ongoing series that lasted 24 issues, plus three four-issue D’Argo miniseries and one eight-issue Scorpius miniseries. I scripted the main comics off of Rockne’s plots, and wrote the D’Argo comics, while my brother from another mother, David Mack, scripted Scorpius.
Anyhow, in 2010, I posted a guide to the Farscape comics, which I updated in 2013 and 2014. There hasn’t been anything new in comics form (or any other, though a movie is in development), so I present again, my……

GUIDE TO THE FARSCAPE COMICS

The majority of the Farscape comics published by BOOM! Studios take place after The Peacekeeper Wars, and continue the story of Farscape forward (the equivalent of season 5 of the show). They are as follows, broken down by how they were collected into bound volumes:

Volume 1: The Beginning of the End of the Beginning
written by Rockne S. O’Bannon & Keith R.A. DeCandido, art by Tommy Patterson

Moya takes Rygel to Hyneria to finally get his throne back, and things go horribly wrong.

Originally published as Farsacpe #1-4, December 2008-April 2009

Published as a hardcover in spring 2009; published as a trade paperback in summer 2010

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Volume 2: Strange Detractors
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Will Sliney

A strange disease sets the crew of Moya against each other.

Originally published as Farscape: Strange Detractors #1-4, April-July 2009

Published as a hardcover in summer 2009; published as a trade paperback in fall 2010

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Volume 3: Gone and Back
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Patterson

Crichton goes to an Unrealized Reality where Zhaan & D’Argo are still alive — but Crichton and Aeryn never met…

Originally published as Farscape: Gone and Back #1-4, July-October 2009

Published as a hardcover in spring 2010; published as a trade paperback in winter 2011

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Volume 4: Tangled Roots
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Sliney

Crichton and Chiana go after Roiin, the bounty hunter chasing Deke, while Aeryn chases down her past and gets a few surprises.

Originally published as Farscape (ongoing) #1-4, November 2009-February 2010

Published as a trade paperback in spring 2011

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Volume 5: Red Sky at Morning
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Sliney

The homeworld of the Pilots is invaded by a mysterious new alien species, and it’s Moya to the rescue — but another Leviathan got there first…

Originally published as Farscape #5-8, March-June 2010

Published as a trade paperback in summer 2011

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Scorpius Volume 1
written by O’Bannon & David Alan Mack, art by Mike Ruiz

Living in exile, Scorpius encounters a mysterious new alien species — will this be his ticket back to power?

Originally published as Farscape: Scorpius #0-3, April-July 2010

Published as a trade paperback in fall 2010

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Volume 6: Compulsions
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Sliney

Two Leviathans versus the Peacekeepers, and you won’t believe the end result….

Originally published as Farscape #9-12, July-October 2010

Published as a trade paperback in winter 2011

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Scorpius Volume 2: Glorious Basterds
written by O’Bannon & Mack, art by Gordon Purcell

Scorpius continues his rise to power — if rise to power it truly is….

Originally published as Farscape: Scorpius #4-7, August-November 2010

Published as a trade paperback in winter 2011

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Volume 7: The War for the Uncharted Territories
written by O’Bannon & DeCandido, art by Sliney

The Kkore have invaded, and all of known space is falling before them: the Scarrans, the Hynerians, the Luxans — the Peacekeepers are next, unless Crichton and Aeryn can stop them.

Originally published as Farscape #13-24, November 2010-October 2011

Published as a trade paperback in summer 2014

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In addition, we’ve done a “D’Argo trilogy” of three four-issue miniseries that involve Ka D’Argo, under the general title of “Uncharted Tales.”

Uncharted Tales Volume 1: D’Argo’s Lament
written by DeCandido, art by Neal Edwards

During the third season, D’Argo and Jool must find a substance Moya needs to survive, and get caught in a gang war.

Originally published as Farscape: D’Argo’s Lament #1-4, April-July 2009

Published as a hardcover in fall 2009, published as a trade paperback in fall 2010

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Uncharted Tales Volume 2: D’Argo’s Trial
written by DeCandido, art by Caleb Cleveland

The full story of D’Argo’s life leading up to the premiere episode — his courtship with Lo’Laan, their marriage, Jothee’s birth, Lo’Laan’s death, and the titular trial.

Originally published as Farscape: D’Argo’s Trial #1-4, August-November 2009

Published as a hardcover in spring 2010, published as a trade paperback in winter 2011

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Uncharted Tales Volume 3: D’Argo’s Quest
written by DeCandido, art by Cleveland

Between seasons three and four, D’Argo goes searching for the man who killed his wife — and instead finds Raxil and a heap of trouble.

Originally published as Farscape: D’Argo’s Quest #1-4, December 2009-March 2010.

Published as a trade paperback in spring 2011

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And there you have it. The individual issues are available at comic stores, and from various online dealers like TFAW. The collections are available at comic shops, bookstores (particularly Barnes & Noble), and online dealers (like Amazon).

nice review of Limbus Inc. Volume 3

 
Carl liked the anthology, and I’m especially pleased to see that he singled out my story for praise!
Money quote:
My favorite story is probably a toss up between Seanan McGuire’s story and Keith DeCandido’s story about a woman with an extraordinary ability to talk people off the ledge so to speak, who travels through time influencing the lives of others and her own on behalf of Limbus, Inc.  This anthology both had a great concept and was well executed.
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progress……

I’m pootling away on A Furnace Sealed, my urban fantasy about a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who hunts monsters, which I’m hoping will be out from the fine folks at WordFire Press some time later this year.

Here’s an excerpt from what I’ve written this week:

As I turned right onto the Concourse to head back to the Mosholu, I went on. “No, whoever did this is trying real hard to make us think it’s a vampire. The bat was just a little extra flair. It means whoever did this knows what they know about vampires from watching old Hammer films, not reality.”

“Hey, I like those movies. Christopher Lee’s still the best Dracula, you ask me.”

I chuckled again while I waited at the light to turn onto the Mosholu. “Nah, Bela Lugosi now and forever.”

“You know he was a drug addict, right?”

“If I factored drug addiction into liking actors, I wouldn’t like any.”

“Fair enough.”

Anyhow,” I said, dragging the conversation back on track, “the puncture wounds, the lack of blood, the bat—it’s all trying to get us to look for a vampire. If we hadn’t been sidetracked by that, we might’ve been on the right track before two more immortals got killed. Now I just gotta figure out what the right track is.”