Monday music: “Who Do You Love?”

Stumbled across this on the Tube of You, and holy shit, is it awesome: Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson covering Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” from the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2013. Guitar heaven here, folks — check it out!


Short Treks: “The Brightest Star”


Short Treks has its first misfire, as “The Brightest Star” fails as a short piece, fails as a story providing Saru’s backstory, and just generally fails. Doug Jones and Michelle Yeoh are awesome, at least…….

An excerpt:

This is the first of the Short Treks that fails in my opinion, and it does so on two levels. The first is that this is very much not a story that should be told in 10-15 minutes. Both “Runaway” and “Calypso” were perfectly designed for the short format. But “The Brightest Star” feels like the outline of a longer story, not a story in itself. We get no context for the Kelpiens’ life. We know nothing of the Ba’ul, nor of what actually happens to the sacrifices. There’s so much story left on the floor here because of the limitations of the timeframe. What else to the Kelpiens do besides farm? What form of government do they have? Are all of them doing what Saru’s village is doing? More to the point, how does the rest of the galaxy view what’s happening there? Georgiou knows that Saru manipulated Ba’ul technology, and she also mentions that her contacting Saru was a controversial and fraught decision in Starfleet. Why didn’t we see those arguments? Why isn’t Starfleet doing something about the Ba’ul’s enslavement of the Kelpiens? (Assuming it is enslavement—even that is not clear.)

The story of Saru’s background is one that requires a full one-hour episode at least. What we get here is maddeningly abbreviated.

coming in 2019……


Here’s a quick guide to stuff I’m writing that should be out in 2019:

Mermaid Precinct. The fifth novel in the “Precinct” series of fantasy police procedurals, this features Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald being tasked with solving the murder of the legendary Pirate Queen. I’m shooting to have this out in February from eSpec Books.

A Furnace Sealed. The first book in the Adventures of Bram Gold, a Bronx-based Courser–a hunter-for-hire who deals with supernatural creatures, mystical happenings, and things that go booga-booga in the night. Just got the galleys on this, so I’m hoping WordFire Press will have this out in February as well. There will be a cover reveal for this book very soon.

Alien: Isolation. This has officially been moved to a July 2019 release for various external reasons having nothing to do with me or this book, just a better schedule for Titan and Fox. This novel will be partly an adaptation of the hit 2014 video game, partly Ripley family backstory, as we learn a great deal about both Ellen and Amanda Ripley.

Brave New Girls. I will be submitting a story to the next in this series of charity anthologies edited by Paige Daniels and Mary Fan, featuring a new character I recently conceived that I’m dying to now write adventures of. The book should be out in July as well.

UnearthedI will also have a Cassie Zukav story in this charity anthology from Altrix Books edited by the wonderful Kara Dennison. It will be the oft-reference tale of a UFO that Cassie finds in the Dry Tortugas.

Release the Virgins! I will have a “Precinct” story in this Michael A. Ventrella-edited anthology from Fantastic Books, entitled “The Midwinter of Our Discontent.”

Another Fine Day in Gotham City. I will be contributing a piece to this overview of the 1966 Batman TV series.

Thrilling Adventure Yarns. The latest anthology from Crazy 8 Press will be edited by Robert Greenberger, and will feature old-fashioned pulp stories. I’m doing a 50s-style alien invasion movie that I’m really looking forward to writing. It, too, will be out in July. The great superhero movie rewatch will continue unabated every Friday through 2019 — I’ve got enough movies to keep me going until August at least. I’ll also be reviewing each episode of Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks as they come out, and I’m sure I’ll be writing other things, too.

There may be other things, and there will be one definite thing that hasn’t been officially announced yet, but which will be pretty spectacular.

Busy busy busy……………………


4-Color to 35-Millimeter: X-Men: First Class


The secret origin of the X-Men as we see how Xavier and Magneto met, how the X-Men were formed, and what really precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis. The great superhero movie rewatch revisits the X-franchise for the month of December, starting with X-Men: First Class.

An excerpt:

Having said that, the movie is a bit overcrowded. Pyro changing loyalties in X2 was beautifully played and perfectly constructed. Salvadore’s similar change was not, and it’s mostly because the movie didn’t give us enough time to get to know her—or, really, anyone else beyond Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique. Darwin’s death is robbed of its poignancy by the character not having enough screen time. (Though Edi Gathegi, as usual, imbues him with tremendous charm.) Hoult doesn’t quite sell McCoy’s desire to normalize his feet in order to assimilate, especially since he’d already assimilated just fine before Xavier showed up. And none of Shaw’s Hellfire Club minions have any personality at all. Azazel is just a plot device in a devil suit, Frost—a fascinating and complex character in the comics—is just a plot device in white lingerie, and Riptide isn’t even really a plot device, he’s just kinda there.

irons in the fire update


Travelling to Italy was amazing, but I’m so far behind on stuff…..

The “Precinct” books. Mermaid Precinct is done, and it’s with my editor, who is also my wife. Handy being married to a professional editor. Less handy when that same professional editor is also a layout/production person who’s latest project went kerflooey because of a bug in the latest update of InDesign, so she’s been wrestling with that instead of editing Mermaid. Sigh. But soon! Also “The Fall of Iaron” is ready to go, and is also awaiting Wrenn’s production skills (she can do that in an afternoon, she just has to have a spare afternoon to do it). In addition, “The Midwinter of Our Discontent” will be in Release the Virgins! I’ve read over the galleys, and it all looks great. Book should be out in the early part of 2019. I actually came up with the plot for Phoenix Precinct in Italy, and the plot for Manticore Precinct was already in my head, so the next two books will be good to go when I can carve out time to write them.

Thrillers. My first collaborative thriller has had some difficulty finding a publisher for actually understandable, if frustrating, reasons. We’re gonna keep trying, but put it aside and work on some other stuff. My collaborator and I have three other novel ideas, and I’m working on the first of those three right now.

Game tie-in. I’m in the midst of the first “season” of “episodes” of this serialized storyline. Hoping to get it done this week. And I’ve got about a dozen or so “seasons” planned out, so this’ll keep me busy for a while.

Alien: Isolation. Should be getting feedback from my editor on this manuscript this week. (Yucky outside circumstances kept him from getting to it sooner, sadly.) The January 2019 pub date is not really realistic at this point, but it should be out by the spring if all goes well. I’ll know more after I talk to him.

KRADitorial. We’ve got two manuscripts to work on right now, with a third likely to come this week, assuming he liked the sample edit Wrenn and I did.

18th Race. The third book in this trilogy is the next thing after the collaborative thriller.

Super City Cops. Over the course of 2019, I’ll be writing four new novellas featuring Detectives Milewski and Alvarado and their attempts to keep the peace in a city filled with spandex-clad heroes.

Short stories. I have three anthology invites that I have to write the stories for soon. One will be a 1950s-style alien invasion tale. One will be about a new character who’s been batting around in my head, a young woman with engineering skills but without the education/certifications you need to be one (as those cost money she doesn’t have), and so who works “beneath her station,” as it were, on the moon and in space. One will be a new Cassie Zukav story.

Cassie Zukav and Shirley & Jack. I have ideas for stories involving both of these original story cycles, just need time and/or a market.

Bram Gold. Waiting for the galleys for A Furnace Sealed, as well as a cover. And a final pub date. After that, I need to figure out the plot for Book 2.

So just in general, I have the following under contract, but not yet written: three more collaborative thrillers, one collaborative SF novel, two more “Precinct” novels, two more Bram Gold novels, four more Super City Cops novellas, and a ton of game tie-in novellas. So 2019’s gonna be busy, is what I’m saying.