another nice review of Aliens: Bug Hunt

BugHunt

Over at Sci-Fi Bulletin, Paul Simpson has written a very favorable review of Bug Hunt, the Aliens anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry that includes my story “Deep Background.” Paul gave it a 9/10, which was very kind of him.

Money quote:

All focus on the Marines but from different angles – Scott Sigler’s story boasts a particularly intriguing perspective, which you’ll find even more fascinating when you read his notes at the end of it, while Keith DeCandido’s tale reminds us just how twisted humanity can be even without the assistance of Xenomorphs in the mix. We get back stories for some of the Marines (Yvonne Navarro’s adding a poignancy to the events of Alien3) and see them in action away from LV-426.

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Albatross”

 
An excerpt:
This is a remarkably unremarkable episode. It’s a bog-standard falsely accused drama that hits every cliché, every beat, every everything in utterly predictable fashion. Every plot twist is pretty well telegraphed, as you know that the crew will get the plague, since they wouldn’t have bothered mentioning that Vulcans were immune if they didn’t need Spock to not get it so he could function while everyone else was sick.

I say it’s my birthday

Today is my 48th birthday!

It’s already better than my 47th birthday by virtue of not having a funeral in it. Last year, I had to cut my trip to Treklanta short and drive out to western Pennsylvania for the funeral of my grandmother, who died on the 13th of April 2016 at the age of 93. The funeral was held on a sunny Monday morning.

Today the plans are a bit low-key. As some of you know, Wrenn and I are finally getting married this Saturday. This means that most of our energy is focused on that. But I do plan to spend some of the day wandering about the city I call home.

nice review of Aliens: Bug Hunt

Aliens: Bug Hunt is out tomorrow from Titan — just in time for my 48th birthday! — and there’s already a review up! The fine folks at Gamers Sphere have put up a review by Courtney Gamache. Gamache specifically reviews four of the eighteen stories, specifically those by Paul Kupperberg, Larry Correia, Weston Ochse, and Mike Resnick & Marina J. Lostetter.

Money quote:

Aliens: Bug Hunt has such a variety of stories that span the different creatures and scenarios in the Aliens universe. By having the different authors write these short stories, we are able to see different parts of this world through the eyes of some of the best authors out there. The book is a tasteful horror-driven science fiction that Jonathan Maberry promised in the introduction.

BugHunt

aaaaaaaaaaaand we’re done….

Mermaid Precinct‘s Kickstarter funding period is officially over! We raised $6001, which puts us at 120% of our $5000 goal. It also means we hit four of the six listed stretch goals!

This all makes me exceedingly happy. I’ve always said I have the best fans in the world, and this is just more evidence for it.

Thanks to everyone who pledged and also to all those who pimped out the Kickstarter online. You’re the best!

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Zombiepalooza talks Sherlock Holmes with me and other Baker Street Irregulars contributors

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Last night, Jackie Chin and Dead Door William hosted Zombiepalooza live, a five-hour interview show that can be seen on YouTube. It was live last night from 8pm-1am EST last night, and the focus was on Baker Street Irregulars, the alternate Sherlock Holmes anthology edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry to which I contributed the story “Identity.”

To that end, Jackie and William had several of the people involved in the anthology on the show: Michael was on first for an hour, followed by Jim Avelli, followed by me, followed by Jody Lynn Nye, and finishing with Ryk Spoor in the final hour. It was a lot of fun, and we talked about all kinds of nifty things.

The show is still archived on the Tube of You. I show up at 2:01:04.

last day of the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter!

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At 9am tomorrow, the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter ends, so this is your last chance to get in on it! Help support the latest in my fantasy police procedure series as Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard must solve the murder of the legendary Pirate Queen. Nifty rewards! Stretch goals (only $101 to the next one…)! Stuff!
 

meandering about Manhattan

Yesterday, I had to get my hair and beard trimmed. The same guy’s been cutting my hair since I was 18 — so thirty years, now — and he’s amazing. I’ve followed Allan to five different salons in the West Village over the past three decades, the latest of which is the Rizza Salon on Greenwich Street:

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He did his usual magic, and I came out looking all neat and trimmed.

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My hair looks a bit too straight because Allan brushes it while it’s still wet — this is why I only brush it when dry, as that maintains the waves and curls and stuff. And that sentence is the entirety of what I’m willing to arse about with regards to hair care. *laughs*

Afterward I headed off to do fun things. First, though, I needed food, so I headed over to Two Boots, one of my favorite pizza places. Got me two slices and a couple of black cherry sodas (one of the many reasons why Two Boots is awesome, besides their excellent pizza, is that they carry Boylans sodas).

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After food, I stopped by the Tiles for America monument on the corner of Greenwich and Seventh Avenue South, which is a bit weather-beaten, but still nifty….

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Then it was a leisurely walk through Greenwich Village. So much of the Village has changed since I first started meandering around Manhattan by myself as a kid. I started collecting comic books in 1981, and it was around 1982, when I was finishing eighth grade, that my parents started trusting me to travel on the subway alone — usually to go to the Forbidden Planet on Broadway and buy my weekly stash of funnybooks. What’s fascinating to me about how much has changed in 35 years, and yet how much remains the same. The main difference is that the area is far more touristy now, and more commercial. The notion of a Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts or some other chain store in the Village would have been unimaginable in the 1980s, but is commonplace now. On the other hand, so much of the vibe is the same. As is, naturally, the beautiful architecture, as you can see at this look down Charles Street:

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Eventually, I wound up on Christopher Street and McNulty’s Tea & Coffee. New Yorkers have been getting their coffee and tea at this charming little shop on Christopher Street since the late 19th century (and, based on their sign, they haven’t changed the font in 122 years, either), and my family has been acquiring their caffeine there since the early 1970s. Speaking of things that are the same and things that are different: McNulty’s hasn’t changed in the last forty years. Well, okay, it smells a bit different, as they have more flavored coffees and teas than they used to, which is a result of changing tastes in tea and coffee among the general population, but otherwise? Same dark wood floor, same gigunda brass scales and scoops to measure out the beans, same bags, same brown tape dispenser to seal the bags, same stamps to mark each bag, same barrels, same containers, same everything. It’s fantastic.

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After purchasing some Hawai’ian Kona and Sumatra, I headed to the Christopher Street station on the 1 train, pausing first to go to Christopher Park, which is now part of the Stonewall National Monument, which includes both the park, the block around it, and the Stonewall Inn. I especially liked the Gay Liberation Monument set of statues in the park, which is two same-sex couples hanging out in the park with everyone else. This pic is the monument with the Stonewall Inn itself in the background:

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Speaking of how touristy the Village has become, there were tons of tourists taking pictures at Stonewall, which was actually kind of cool. That’s certainly not something you would’ve seen in 1982…..

After that, I hied myself up to Rockefeller Center to check my PO box. Speaking of things changing or not, my relationship with my PO box has changed radically over the past twenty years. When I first got it, my marriage was breaking up, and I wasn’t sure where I was going to be living, so I got the PO box to give myself a constant address. After I settled back in the Bronx, that home’s mail carrier was blind and illiterate (we were constantly getting mail for other addresses, and stuff kept taking forever to make it to us), so I kept using the PO box as my primary address for things. Then, as time went on, two things happened: we got a new mail carrier and I also just in general get less mail. The PO box used to be the repository for things like contracts, checks, copy-edited manuscripts, page proofs, fan letters, and when I was doing Imaginings back in 2002, submissions. All of those things come electronically now — the vast majority of my payments for work now come electronically, ditto contracts and page proofs and manuscripts and fan letters. And even if I do ever do an anthology again, I’d be accepting submissions electronically.

Anyhow, I still keep the PO box, as there’s value in having an address I can give out to the public without saying precisely where I live, but I only check it once a month or so. And today was my first time checking it in weeks, and there was nothing in it. Ah, well.

At the very least, I got to get nice pics of Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

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Then I stopped in Barnes & Noble, which was to see if they had copies of Aliens: Bug Hunt. They didn’t.

There’s another thing that’s changed. When I started in book publishing, release dates were more of a vague guideline than anything. Books came out in a publication month, which was generally a five-week period between the last week of the previous month and the end of the pub month listed. Occasionally, a book would actually only be released on the pub date, but those were always either massive best-sellers or written by people who were famous for something other than writing books — and those books would be listed as “embargoed” until the pub date, which speaks to how unusual that was.

Now, though, the rise of eBooks has gotten books to the same point as every other entertainment medium, to wit, one with solid release dates. Where I used to see books in stores long before their actual official date, it’s far more common for them not to show up on shelves until the day they’re supposed to hit — which is also the date that the eBook goes live. Unlike the print books in stores, the eBook releases are entirely within the publisher’s control.

My point being that ten years ago, I’d have found a copy of Bug Hunt before its official 18 April pub date. Now I have to wait until my actual birthday. *laughs*

Anyhow, after B&N I went to Grand Central Terminal:

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After buying my ticket home, I had to, of course, stop at Magnolia Bakery and purchase cupcakes. (Everyone in this house has standing orders, if they’re going through Grand Central, to stop at Magnolia.) Then I got on the train and went home with my loot:

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All in all a good Friday. (Ahem.) That was, of course, followed by teaching my usual kids fighting class, which went well.

second stretch goal achieved for Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter!

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SECOND STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED! ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT!
 
There’s only 48 hours left in the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter, and we’ve hit two of our stretch goals! Just $227 to go to hit the next stretch goal, where everyone who pledges between $15 and $49 will get copies of all the previous “Precinct” Kickstarter stories: “When the Magick Goes Away,” “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty,” and “Baker’s Dozen.”