Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek (2009)

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The original crew gets rebooted as Pine, Urban, Pegg, Cho, Saldana, Yelchin, Cross, and Ryder replace Shatner, Kelley, Doohan, Takei, Nichols, Koenig, Lenard, and Wyatt, while both Quinto and Nimoy do Spock. Is it a reboot or a boot to the head? The TOS Rewatch does the 2009 Star Trek.

An excerpt:

Overall, the performances elevate the film considerably. Nobody ever went wrong casting John Cho or Anton Yelchin in anything, Simon Pegg is a delight as Scotty, Zoë Saldana is a fine Uhura, Bruce Greenwood brings gravitas to the role of Pike, and Faran Tahir, Chris Hemsworth, and Jennifer Morrison do excellent work on the tension-filled prologue (I wish I could say the same for Ben Cross and Winona Ryder, but they make almost no impression as Sarek and Amanda except to make us long for Mark Lenard and Jane Wyatt, the only re-cast roles where I felt that way). Plus, of course, you have Leonard Nimoy, who can not only put lipstick on a pig, but make the pig look good.

Unfortunately, this film needs all the elevating it can get, because while it succeeds in pacing and mostly in acting, everything else is a total mess. For starters, one person I didn’t list in the previous paragraph is Eric Bana. Nobody went right casting Bana in anything, and I have yet to see him give a performance where I actually gave a rat’s ass about the person he was playing. That streak remains intact with his lifeless performance as Nero, which does a great deal to suck the life out of the plot.

from the archives: Articles of the Federation ten (now twelve) years later

Two years ago today, I was interviewed by Visionary Trek about my Star Trek political novel Articles of the Federation on the occasion of its tenth anniversary. Here’s what I wrote about it on the old blog………

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Amazingly, it’s been ten years since Star Trek: Articles of the Federation was released….

I’d actually intended to write about Articles last month — the actual anniversary month of the book’s June 2005 release — but deadlines and life got in the way. It’s amazing that it’s been so long, and curious to look back at the influence the book has had.

It’s a bit of an odd duck. The book isn’t about a ship and crew, but rather politicians. None of the main characters are established from the screen iterations of Trek, and the only “canon” characters who do appear — Spock, Alexander Rozhenko, Admiral Ross, Janeway, the EMH, Bruce Maddox — have tiny roles. Plus, the novel consists entirely of people sitting in rooms talking to each other. Because that’s what politics is.

It’s at once one of my worst selling books (it was the first 2005 novel to go out of print, it never got multiple printings, and it’s got the crappiest numbers of all my Trek fiction on my royalty statements), but it’s also probably my best-reviewed book — certainly my best-reviewed Trek book.

The novel grew out of a desire to show more of Federation politics. We saw tons of Klingon, Bajoran, Cardassian, Ferengi, and Romulan politics in the various shows and movies, but a vanishingly small amount of Federation politics. David Mack and I started that process of rectifying that in the last three books of the A Time to… series, and then I devoted an entire novel to it.

That novel may not have sold, but it has been influential. Every portrayal of Federation politics that we’ve seen in the fiction over the past ten years has used Articles as its guide. I’ve joked that it’s the Music from Big Pink of Trek fiction. Big Pink is a 1968 album by The Band, which most rock’n’roll fans probably haven’t heard of, or if they have, they may not know well, but pretty much every single person who made music between 1968 and 1980 cited Big Pink as a major influence. President Nan Bacco, the main character of Articles, who is based in large part on my late great-grandmother, has gone on to appear in more than a dozen novels since then, starting with her major supporting role in Mr. Mack’s epic Destiny trilogy, and going on from there.

On the occasion of the novel’s tenth anniversary, I sat down with the fine folks at Visionary Trek for an edition of their “Captains’ Table” podcast to talk about Articles and various other bits and pieces of my Trek work. Do check it out!

my workshops at the Ghost Town Writers Retreat

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The first weekend in August, I’ll be at the Ghost Town Writers Retreat in Georgetown, Colorado, and they just announced the latest round of workshops, including the four I’ll be doing:

Making Time to Write: New writers often say “I can’t find time to write,” as if it rolled under the couch or something. Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses time management and how to carve out time to get those words cranking.

Navigating the Submissions Minefield: Okay, you just finished your story or novel. Now what? Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses the many options and routes to publication.

It’s A Career Whether You Make Money or Not: A professional writer is also a single-person small business. Keith R.A. DeCandido explains what that means, what the pitfalls are, and how you have to manage your career as a writer, regardless of whether or not you make your living at it.

Playing in Someone Else’s Sandbox: Keith R.A. DeCandido has been writing and editing licensed fiction and shared universes for 25 years, and he shares insights on how the creative process differs when someone else created the world you’re writing in.

 

a nice review of Supernatural: Nevermore

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Ten years ago, HarperPrism released my first (and also the first) Supernatural novel, Nevermore, which had the Winchester brothers driving the Impala into New York City to deal with two cases, one involving a haunting, one involving Edgar Allan Poe-inspired murders.

Today, J.L. Gribble has reviewed Nevermore on her blog!

Money quote:

It was interesting to essentially travel back in time with these characters, as someone 12 seasons into the show, while this book takes place at a time with the brothers are still haunted (metaphorically) by Sam leaving his life in Stanford behind, and the recent death of John Winchester.

While the brothers’ dialogue was spot-on, the author sometimes had trouble capturing their internal narrative voice — I note, however, that this is entirely subjective on my own part. The supporting characters were all unique, fleshed out, and at times hilarious. I find myself hoping that I encounter Detective McBain again in the future.

(For the record, I’m quite pleased with Detective McBain, and I’d love to write her again some day….)

 

out today: Nights of the Living Dead

ZOMBIE DAY IS HERE! Or something…………….

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Out today in print, eBook, and audio: Nights of the Living Dead, an anthology of original zombie stories edited by Jonathan Maberry and George A. Romero his own self! The stories take place around the events of the seminal 1968 zombie flick that changed the face of horror forever.

Here’s the lineup, in alphabetical order:

Jay Bonasinga, New York Times best-selling author of The Walking Dead novels.

Max Brallier, author of The Last Kids on Earth and Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Ryan Brown, author of the zombie sports novel Play Dead.

Mike Carey, award-winning writer of comics (Lucifer, Hellblazer, etc.) and novels (the Felix Castor series, The Girl with All the Gifts).

Keith R.A. DeCandido, best-selling author of three Resident Evil novels, as well as fiction in the worlds of Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sleepy Hollow, V-Wars, Limbus Inc., and more.

Craig Engler, cocreator and writer of the Z Nation TV series.

Mira Grant (a.k.a. Seanan McGuire), New York Times best-selling author of the Newsflesh series.

Brian Keene, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rising.

Joe R. Lansdale, best-selling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of 45 novels, plus comics and short stories, including “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” in Book of the Dead.

Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Patient Zero, Rot & Ruin, Dead of Night, and Zombie CSU, cowriter of Marvel Zombies Return.

Isaac Marion, New York Times best-selling author of Warm Bodies.

George A. Romero, the godfather of the dead, writer/director of Night of the Living Dead and its four sequels.

John Russo, cowriter of Night of the Living Dead and author of the novels Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead.

Carrie Ryan, international best-selling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

David J. Schow, author, screenwriter and editor, and winner of the International Horror Guild Award.

Neal Shusterman & Brandon Shusterman, respectively a winner of the National Book Award and a best-selling author, and a filmmaker who often collaborates with his father (like here).

John Skipp, best-selling author of The Light at the End, filmmaker of Tales of Halloween, editor-in-chief of Fungasm Press, and coeditor of Book of the Dead.

David Wellington, best-selling author of the Monster Island series and Positive.

Chuck Wendig, New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Aftermath.

You can order the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Indie Bound.

Shore Leave 39 in pictures

The Boogie Knights backstage after our concert. L-r: Alice the Cooper’s Daughter (Kate Greenberger Pakaski), Sir John of Denver (John Scheeler), Theodoric of York (Dave Keefer), Mad Donna (Lynn Cunningham), Lady Pinque (Linda Swann), Krad the Obscure (me), and Lady Dionne of Warwick (Sharon M.A. Palmer). I honestly don’t remember who took the photo — maybe Bob Greenberger? — but it was with Sharon’s phone.

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Me chatting with the magnificent Karen Roberson at the bar Saturday night. Photo by Russ Colchamiro.

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The “Where No Tale Has Gone Before” panel. L-r: Scott Pearson, Dayton Ward, David Mack, me, and Christopher L. Bennett. Photo by Derek Tyler Attico.

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The panel simply called, “The Batman.” L-r: Derek Tyler Attico, Robert Greenberger, Michael Jan Friedman, Richard C. White, and me. Not pictured, moderator John Coffren, who was on the other side of Derek from Bob. Derek posted the picture to Facebook, but I have no idea who took it.

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Me in the author chimney! Signing books at the bookseller, holding up a copy of Without a License. Photo by Caren Christiansen.

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Me and Laura Ware on the “Why We Write” panel. Not pictured: Melissa Scott, Peter David, and Heather E. Hutsell. Photo by Neil Ottenstein.

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ASL interpreter Meredith Peruzzi and me on percussion during the Boogie Knights concert, both of us doing our best Grumpy Cat impersonations….. Photo by Neil Ottenstein.

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Me, Dave Keefer (he’s behind me), and John Scheeler singing “Wanted: Harem Guard” at the Boogie Knights concert. Photo by Dawn Swingle.

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Me at Meet the Pros and the handy sign that Diane Bellomo gave us to forestall inevitale “How’s married life?” questions. Photo by Neil Ottenstein.

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down and safe

We’re back from a most excellent Shore Leave 39. And boy, are we tired….

The only mild disappointment was that Friday night’s Meet the Pros event seemed less well attended than usual. Having said that, I sold a bunch of books, as well as Wrenn’s stuffed things (bears, cats, catnip toys, and pillows, all in geeky fabrics, check out the Etsy shop) and signed many more things.

All the panels were very well attended and had into-it audiences. There was only one person I wanted to clobber, and that was the guy in the second row of the Wonder Woman panel who a) kept interrupting the panel and b) kept defending Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman, and it’s an open question which of the two was more offensive. Still, the WW panel was a highlight — I was the token male on the panel, along with Simantha Galanter, Hildy Silverman, Amy Imhoff, Susan Oleson, and moderator Rigel Ailur, and I was also the only one wearing tights (I just came from the Boogie Knights concert). Oh, and when an audience member asked a question for each member of the panel, Rigel turned to me and said, “Gentlemen first.” It was epic.

Speaking of the Boogie Knights, we had a superlative show. They have a new sound guy, and he was magnificent. I have complained often about the sound at Shore Leave and Farpoint, in the past, so it’s only fair that I compliment them when they get it right, and hoo boy did they. We sounded great and I’m very pleased. I’m even more pleased that we had the triumphant debut of a song I wrote! We did a new song called “Young Master Frodo,” to the tune of the Irish folk song “General Taylor,” and it went beautifully. That’s only the second time the Knights have performed a song I penned, the other being “Wreck the Shrine” a bunch of years back.

Other panels I did besides the WW one included “Why We Write” with Laura Ware, Melissa Scott, Heather Hutsell, and Peter David on this strange obsession us creative folks have with our craft; “What’s Your Favorite Trek?” with Amy, Dayton Ward, Dave Galanter, and Scott Pearson explicating what aspects of the sprawling Trek franchise we love the most; “The Batman” with John Coffren, Derek Tyler Attico, Bob Greenberger, Rich White, and Mike Friedman talking all things bat; “Where No Tale Has Gone Before,” in which Dayton, Scott, Dave Mack, and Christopher Bennett talked about how we haven’t run out of Trek stories to tell after 50 years of TV shows, movies, books, comics, games, and fanfic, and we’re not likely to, either; “Mixing and Matching Genres” with Greg Cox and Roberta Rogow talking about mixing genre chocolate and peanut butter; and “Ye Gods!” in which Amy, Hildy, Bob, Aaron Rosenberg, and Kathleen O’Shea David talked about the enduring use of deities in fiction.

I also did my usual practical self-defense workshop, which was very well attended and went really well, despite being listed at two different times in the pocket program and despite Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn’s talk running over time opposite it. But it went really well.

The con ended on a bittersweet note, as Peter, Bob, and Mike did their final Mystery Trekkie Theatre 3000, which they debuted 25 years ago with snide commentary on “Turnabout Intruder.” This year, they showed a “best-of” set of clips from past MTT3Ks, then once again did “Turnabout Intruder,” though this time it was the remastered version…..

In between were gatherings, socializing, autographings in the author chimney (the section of the bookseller’s area that’s between two narrow brick pillars), the Saturday night pilgrimage to Andy Nelson’s BBQ, and hanging out in the bar. A highlight was me, Dave, Scott, Greg, and Dayton sitting in the lounge outside the bar after it closed, gossiping about the industry until the wee hours.

It was really fantastic to see people, to hang out with people, to meet up with fans and friends and to generally have a good time. It was especially nice, as always, to see a number of people who enjoy my work.

I also want to single out three cool people I got to spend a lot of time with, all at their first Shore Leave: writers Amy Imhoff and Kelli Fitzpatrick and also Karen Roberson, who is awesome. They’re all awesome, and I hope this is the first of many Shore Leaves for all three.

More anon…………..

 

throwback Thursday

Three pictures taken by Arwen Rosenbaum from a 4th of July party in 2001. Hard to believe that was sixteen years ago…………..

These are all from a volleyball game. We start with me serving while David Mack looks on in amusement:

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Then we have me off-balance while Rik Cleary, Peter Liverakos, and Lucienne Diver look on in amusement:

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And finally, me having fallen on my ass, and neither Rik nor the late David Honibsberg, nor Glenn Hauman evince any interest in helping me up. Bastards…….

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