I’m in Kansas City for Planet Comic-Con, and in honor of that, here’s Leadbelly’s classic “Kansas City Papa.”
I will be a guest at Planet Comic-Con in Kansas City, Missouri this weekend! This is the 20th anniversary of the con, and I’ll be spending pretty much all my time at Bard’s Tower, Booth #803. (If I’m doing programming, nobody has informed me about it. Then again, my listing on the web site has a two-year-old bio and lists me as someone who’s written Spider-Man and X-Men — which is true, technically, but my one X-Men short story was 19 years ago, and my last Spidey work was 14 years ago…)
I’ll be at the Tower alongside the great Mercedes Lackey, the magnificent Dan Wells, the impressive Brian Lee Durfee, the delightful Larry Dixon, the superlative Mario Acevedo, and probably a bunch of other folks besides.
I should have copies of the Precinct books and of A Furnace Sealed, as well as other books of mine, so come on by and check it out if you’re in KC for the show!
The fine folks at Altrix Books have announced the table of contents for Unearthed, their upcoming anthology of stories about sarcophogi and tombs and other mysterious objects that are, well, unearthed. One of the stories is a new tale of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet.
- “Disinfection Protocol” by Michael O’Brien
- “The Sarcophagus: Or, Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Tremble” by Graham Tedesco-Blair
- “Hearing Things” by Meredith Peruzzi
- “Rán for Your Life: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet” by Keith R.A. DeCandido
- “The Jar of the Alabaster Assassin” by Paul Driscoll
- “Long Time Dead” by John Peel
- “Quadrireme” by James K. Maddox
- “In the Heart of the King” by Richard Gurl
- “Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme?” by Sharyna Tran
- “Raffles the Amateur Cracksman: An Egyptian Cameo” by James Bojaciuk
- “Was I a Viking Old?” by I.E. Kneverday
- “Kill the Cat: A Story from the Owl’s Flower Pantheon” by Kara Dennison (who also edited the anthology)
The anthology will have illustrations by Ginger Hoesly, Sophie Iles, and Monica Marier.
This is the first time I’m in an anthology with the great John Peel, who is an old and dear friend, and I’m also thrilled to be once again being between the covers with Meredith Peruzzi, who is even dearer (this is her second published fiction, her first being in Altered States of the Union in 2016).
More to come soon, including a cover and pub date………….
This song came up on my phone while I was folding laundry. I was kind of in a dour mood — today is not a fun anniversary — but this song cheered me right the hell up. It’s not a cure for depression or anything, but I gotta say it’s really hard to hang onto a sour mood when you hear this B-52s song about a “Rock Lobster.” (“There goes a narwhal!”)
Twelve years ago this morning, I got a phone call informing me that my dear friend David M. Honigsberg had died.
Ninety-six years ago today, my grandmother Marianina DeBacco was born, the first of ten children Grazia DeBacco would give birth to.
The 27th of March will always be a day of sadness for me.
Grandma was always called “Annie” as she grew up in western Pennsylvania during the Depression, and by adulthood she considered her first name to be “Ann.” She met Manfred Andreassi in the 1940s when he was visiting family and they got married in 1946, with Fred taking Ann back to New York with him. They raised four kids, the oldest of whom was my mother, GraceAnne (her name a portmanteau of her mother’s and grandmother’s). Grandma moved back to Pennsylvania after her husband died in 1976, first living with her mother, then in an old-folks’ residence after Nana died in 2003.
Grandma used to babysit me when I was a kid. I was, sadly, present when Grandpa died that awful July day in ’76, with seven-year-old me barely understanding what was going on.
Of my four grandparents, she was by far the longest-lived — my paternal grandparents died in 1971 and 1988, with my maternal grandfather between them in ’76, but Grandma made it all the way to the 21st century, finally going in her sleep in April 2016. (Her funeral wound up being on my 47th birthday, which was — weird.)
David was one of my best friends. Through most of the 1990s, we were in a band together, the Don’t Quit Your Day Job Players. He wrote a Silver Surfer short story for me when I worked for Byron Preiss, Marina and I hosted his ordination party after he was made a rabbi, and he and I attended numerous conventions and went on the road for concerts together a lot between 1995 and 2001. We recorded two CDs together, and he used our work together on another CD after the band split up. We played live together more times than I can count, before, during, and after the band’s heyday. He consulted on the first-ever Klingon-Jewish wedding, in the story “Creative Couplings,” a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers novella by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg that I edited. He organized “WineCon,” a group gathering to the wineries on the North Fork of Long Island (before that area became hip and trendy).
He was my rabbi, which is a weird thing for this non-Jewish agnostic to say, but there it is. He and his wife Alexandra, who is a priest (yes, really), held a wonderful little gathering in Fort Tryon Park a few days after 11 September 2001 that was a big help in our collective healing process.
I’m now older than David was when he died. This will forever freak me out.
Wrenn and I didn’t get together until after he died, and I was always particularly sorry for that, as he knew Wrenn also, and I’m fairly certain he would have been very happy to see us as a couple. I wish he was still here for any number of reasons, not least being that we would have asked him to perform our wedding. (No offense, Glenn.)
Today I miss my Grandma and I miss my rabbi.
Top picture: me and David Honigsberg playing at the Baggot Inn in 2000 with the Don’t Quit Your Day Job Players.
Bottom picture: my mother, my grandmother, and me at Grandma’s nursing home in 2011.
For many years, I have said the following truism: “Never mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend.” I think I first said it on some online forum or other in the early 2000s. Most recently, I said it at a Star Wars panel at Emerald City Comic-Con, mostly in relation to the online smear campaign against The Last Jedi because it got girl cooties on the Star Wars franchise. I got cheers for the line.
Recently, I referred to it as “DeCandido’s First Rule,” mostly because I have some other truisms. Here’s what I’ve got so far, which I may add to some day:
- DeCandido’s First Rule: Never mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend.
- DeCandido’s Second Rule: Don’t post anything on the world wide web that you don’t want the whole world to know about.
- DeCandido’s Third Rule: Don’t post angry.
- DeCandido’s Fourth Rule: The first draft is allowed to suck.
- DeCandido’s Fifth Rule: Your editor is not out to get you.
The only penalty for breaking these rules is your own mental health……
One more flashback to the 1990s before we dive into the DCEU: in this case, a 1993 pilot movie that has all the good and bad of the 1990s, from a very charming Dean Cain as Clark Kent and Teri Hatcher doing the best she can with uneven material as Lois Lane — plus Lane Smith and John Shea as the single best live-action Perry White and Lex Luthor we’ve ever seen. The great superhero movie rewatch looks at the pilot movie for Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the truly fine performances of K Callan and Eddie Jones. The best thing John Byrne ever did in a storied comics career was to change Superman’s mythos so that his parents remained alive and part of his life into adulthood. In both the comics and the on-screen adaptations, this has mostly been a boon to the character and to the storytelling. (Why I qualify that with “mostly” is something we’ll get into next week.) And Callan and Jones are a magnificent double-act of concern, love, and affection.
We open with a funeral and end with a character volunteering to (almost) die, and the middle is full of more death, both discussed and actual. Ethan Peck seems to be inhabited by the ghost of Leonard Nimoy (aided by a script that understands how Spock talks). And best of all, we finally find out who the Red Angel is, and it’s a very worthy and impressive twist. My take on a most intense episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “The Red Angel.”
It starts with something I would not have credited them doing with the death of so minor a character as Airiam: a funeral. Usually such pomp and circumstance is reserved for people in the opening credits, and the fact that they went to this trouble for a minor character was a welcome change from the norm, where the characters’ reactions to other characters’ deaths depends entirely upon their actors’ billing. It shows that the writers remember that, even though the viewers barely knew Airiam, the crew of Discovery knew her damn well.
I also love that they used Spock’s funeral at the end of The Wrath of Khan as a template for Airiam’s service here. But instead of just one eulogy, we get several—from Pike, from Tilly, from Stamets, from Detmer (my favorite of them, as Detmer explains how Airiam helped the pilot deal with her own cybernetic implants—”It made both of us new, and that there could be a future”), and finally from Burnham. We even have a musical coda, à la Scotty playing “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes—in this case, Saru singing a lovely Kelpien death dirge as they send out Airiam’s coffin through the torpedo tube.
Across the Universe, the forthcoming Fantastic Books anthology of alternative takes on the Beatles, is funded! Edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Randee Dawn, this antho will feature a story by me, as well as contributions from Janis Ian, Jonathan Maberry, David Gerrold, Jody Lynn Nye, Cat Rambo, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Nancy Holder, Alan Goldsher, Gail Z. Martin, and the great Spider Robinson.
Meantime, Randee has been doing spotlights on the various authors, and mine went up today, which includes the list “7 Sweet Reasons You Need to Know Keith R.A. DeCandido, Though Some May Be Fake News.”
Dan Gunther of Trek Lit Reviews has written a very nice review of my 2004 novel A Time for War, a Time for Peace, my concluding volume to the nine-part series that chronicled the year leading up to the movie Star Trek Nemesis.
(In other news, holy crap, has it really been fifteen years since that book came out????)
As a coda for the A Time To series, this novel succeeds on nearly every level. It brings to a satisfying close all of the outstanding story elements from throughout the previous eight books, while transitioning very well into the events of Star Trek Nemesis. The end of the book actually features some events that occur after the end of Nemesis, which allows the author to deal with some of the fallout from that film while setting up the novels that follow it, in what has come to be known as the post-Nemesis novel continuity. This came as a bit of a surprise as I did not realize that this novel would deal so directly with some of the events of Nemesis.