Monday music: “Women with a Y”

Back in the 1980s, a nifty folk trio called Uncle Bonsai got together. I first heard them on Vin Scelsa’s old “Idiot’s Delight” radio show, and I actually got to meet them and interview them for the paper when I was at Fordham University in 1988 and they played the Bottom Line. I’ve remained a big fan of their work, though I do need to catch up on their most recent work.

In any case, here’s one of their best songs, “Women with a Y.” The title riffs on the notion that was first floated in 1976 of taking the word “man” out of “woman” by substituting a Y for the A in the word. But it’s also a brilliantly written song, in particular for this verse:

Mary was a martyr, Mary must have been a martyr

‘Cause her God in all His wisdom wouldn’t look her in the eye

So he took her and he left her with some jackass in a stable

While he boasted of the conquest to the other holy guys

So the man takes his position

With the woman in submission

‘Cause the Bible says that’s how they do it here

And the woman falls from favor

All because some horny savior

Showed that men can come just once and disappear

That’s one of those verses that I listen to and read and just am in awe. And I write words for a living!

Anyhow, here’s the whole thing…..

talkin’ Articles of the Federation on Literary Treks


I’m on the 265th episode of Literary Treks, part of the series of podcasts about Star Trek, talking about my 2005 Star Trek political novel Articles of the Federation. Hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther have me on for a wide-ranging talk about the first year of President Nan Bacco’s term as president of the Federation.

Check it out!


what order to do Phase 3 of the MCU in the great superhero movie rewatch…..


So one of the things I’m struggling with in the great superhero movie rewatch is what order to do the Phase 3 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. I do not want to do them in release order, because I don’t think that does justice to them.

Here’s the release order:

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Doctor Strange
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp
  • Captain Marvel
  • Avengers: Endgame

And here’s the order that I think I want to review them in:

  • Captain Marvel
  • Doctor Strange
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Black Panther
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame

My rationale is thus: Captain Marvel is chronologically the first one of the batch, and it sets up so much of the MCU I think it’s the right place to start this phase, enjoying its bits of retconning.

Doctor Strange is next because it simply has to take place over a span of time in order for Strange to have learned everything he learns in it, so its starting point is likely right after 2012’s Avengers and working its way to its spot in the 2016 releases at the end. Plus it sets up adding magic and time travel to the MCU.

Civil War is next, and I specifically think that Homecoming, Black Panther, and Ant-Man & The Wasp should go right after CW because those three movies specifically deal with the fallout from that film (the introduction of Spider-Man, the death of T’Chaka, and Scott Lang being on the wrong side of the law).

Then GOTG2 and Ragnarok because they set up the cosmic end of the next two Avengers movies, with the ending of Ragnarok in particular leading right into the beginning of Infinity War.

Any thoughts on the subject?


4-Color to 35-Milimeter: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice


Well, it’s better than Man of Steel, but only in the sense that root canal is better than gallbladder surgery. We get a good Batman and a great Wonder Woman, but the filmmakers still completely screw up Superman. The great superhero movie rewatch slogs through Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

An excerpt:

But aside from his rescue of Lane in Africa (which was a setup by Luthor to make Supes look bad) and his saving of the little girl in Mexico, we don’t actually see Superman be a hero. He’s only been around for eighteen months, but David S. Goyer, Chris Terrio, and Zack Snyder present it as if he’s been a hero for a long time, counting on the character’s pop-culture footprint to fill in the blanks.

Except it doesn’t work here because we don’t have a Superman who’s been around since 1938, we have a Superman who’s been around for eighteen months, and who introduced himself to the world by levelling two cities. The opening of the movie does a certain amount of work to provide a human cost to the carnage of Man of Steel, which is too little too late, though the effort is, at least, appreciated. And then we’re told that Superman’s a hero now, but we don’t see any of what he’s actually done in a year and a half. And that’s not a long enough time for him to be as lionized as he is.

Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Through the Valley of the Shadow”


Star Trek: Discovery this week shows how you do a prequel right, as Pike has an experience that lends texture and meaning to “The Menagerie” 53 years later. Plus Burnham and Spock get to work together! My take on “Through the Valley of the Shadow.”

An excerpt:

Before we get there, though, we have a bit of personal business. We finally get Tig Notaro back as Commander Reno, and while the bridge crew plays a word game in the mess hall, Stamets is still moping over Culber—who is hanging out in the mess hall with a whole ‘nother set of people.

Reno takes matters into her own hands—literally, as she has a hangnail—and goes to Culber to get it treated and tell him to get his head out of his ass. Reno, it turns out, was married, but her wife died in the Klingon war. Reno reminds Culber that he and Stamets have a second chance that may not come again, and not to screw it up. It’s a nice little scene, the highlight of which is Culber and Reno comparing annoying habits of their respective partners. (“Believe me,” Culber says fervently, “I understand micromanagement.”) I particularly like that Notaro keeps the character’s edge, but the scene also gives her a bit more depth beyond “smartass engineer.”

a nice review of Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon: Enemy Territory


Another nice review by Dan Gunther of Trek Lit Reviews of a very old book of mine, in this case my 2005 Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon novel Enemy Territory. I was particularly proud of this book, so it’s nice to see it getting praise a decade and a half on…..

An excerpt:

Enemy Territory continues the excellent I.K.S. Gorkon series with terrific character development for this crew of Klingons whom I have come to love as much (if not more) than any of the Starfleet crews of other novel series. Keith DeCandido has managed to imbue these characters with a life of their own, and I find myself truly invested in the outcome of the lives of the crew of the Gorkon. Add to that the truly fascinating world-building and the story of cultures clashing, and Enemy Territory ends up hitting all the right notes for me. I.K.S. Gorkon continues to be one of my favorite corners of the Star Trek literary universe!

my HELIOsphere 2019 schedule


I will once again be an author guest at HELIOsphere 2019 in Tarrytown, New York, happening this weekend in the city by the Tappan Zee (or, rather, the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, one of the few bridge renamings I’m okay with).

I’ll be spending much of my time at the eSpec Books booth pushing my books (particularly new releases A Furnace Sealed and Mermaid Precinct). I’ll also be doing programming:


3.30-4.45pm: reading, w/Ken Altabef, Nicholas Kaufman, and Ryk Spoor (Ballroom 4)

5-6.15pm: “Crossing Genre Boundaries,” w/James Chambers, Roberta Rogow, Darrell Schweitzer, and Cecilia Tan (Ballroom 5)



11.30am-12.45pm: “The Anniversary Year Panel,” w/Ken Gale, Daniel Kimmell, Barbara Krasnoff, and Darrell Schweitzer (Ballroom 1)

4-5.15pm: “Shared Universes: Your Bridge Derailed My Plot,” w/Russ Colchamiro, Bjorn Haessler, Elektra Hammond, and Walter Hunt (Ballroom 4)

7-9pm: Epic Book Launch Party, featuring the launch of Three Chords of Chaos by James Chambers, The Redcaps’ Queen by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and my own Mermaid Precinct (Grand South)

9-10pm: Books ‘n’ Brews (Ballroom 6)



11.30am-12.45pm: “The Extraordinary Voyages of Deep Space Nine,” w/Laura Antoniou, Russell Handelman, and Susan Shwartz (Ballroom 2)


Looking forward to seeing folks there!


Monday music: “500 Tub Thumps”

I first met the delightful a cappella group Pandora Celtica — who have, unfortunately, since split up — at MALcon in Denver four years ago, and I got a bunch of their CDs. One of my favorites of theirs is this magnificent mashup of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” and Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping,” entitled “500 Tub Thumps.”

down and safe


I have returned from a generally excellent Planet Comic-Con, marred only by it being the second convention in a row where copies of A Furnace Sealed failed to materialize.

However, the books that did arrive all sold, and by the time I had to go catch my flight Sunday, I had moved all five Precinct books, Without a License, and Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War, and many copies of Nights of the Living Dead. I got to hang out with some friends, both old and new (including fellow Trek world-slingers Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, as well as my fellow Bard’s Tower denizens Mario Acevedo, Michelle Cori, Larry Dixon, Brian Lee Durfee, Mercedes Lackey, Aysha Rehm, Alexi Vandenberg, and Dan Wells), and meet lots and lots of fans, including several people who are big fans of my work.

On top of that, I had some fine food (yes, including some barbecue, because duh, Kansas City) and excellent beer. And I got Wrenn a new Tentacle Kitty to go with the dozens of others in the house.

Now it’s time to buckle down, as I have three projects all competing for my time. Today, though, I’m going to get the rewatch of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice done, as well as the usual Monday afternoon karate teaching………………


4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Man of Steel


The start of the DC Extended Universe is a movie that is controversial and fraught and polarizing, as Zack Snyder turns Superman into a supporting character who is barely heroic. The great superhero movie rewatch actually gets angry at one point at Man of Steel.

An excerpt:

Snyder et al make the same mistake with this movie that Ang Lee made with Hulk in 2003: making it more a story about the main character’s father than about the main character. The title character’s journey is cut off at the knees by wasting the early part of the movie on Daddy and waiting for the son to catch up to where the viewer already is. This would’ve worked much better starting with Kent on the boat and doing the flashbacks to his childhood, and then presenting the Krypton part when Jor-El tells Kal-El about it.