As I have every year since the turn of the millennium, I will be a guest at Farpoint 2020 in Cockeysville, Maryland, just north of Baltimore. It’s my first convention of 2020, in fact!
As ever, I will be both author and music guest, doing panels and readings and autographings in the former capacity and a concert with the Boogie Knights in the latter.
Here’s my schedule:
10pm-midnight: book fair (Hunt Valley corridor)
11am-noon: Boogie Knights concert (Valley)
2-3pm: practical self-defense workshop (Hunt)
4-5pm: “Crowdfunding Your Work,” w/Michael Critzer (Salon C)
5-6pm: autographing, w/Dr. Patricia Straat (Hunt Valley corridor)
6-7pm: “Mirror Universe: We Love It Despite the Flaws,” w/Royce Essig, Miles McLoughlin, and Kyle Williamson (Salon A)
10-11am: “Trek All Access,” w/Derek Tyler Attico and JL Gribble (Salon A)
11am-noon: reading, w/JL Gribble (Salon E)
I’m scheduled for an autographing at 1pm, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to make that, as I have a lunch thing.
Looking forward to seeing folks there!
Another one for the late Joseph Shabalala, this being Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s performance of a South African song that has variously been known as “Wimoweh,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and “Mbube.”
Paris is accused of murdering an alien with a really ridiculous hairdo, and also of sleeping with the murdered man’s wife. Paris protests his innocence, and it’s up to Tuvok to prove it. The Star Trek: Voyager has mixed feelings about “Ex Post Facto.”
As a police procedure junkie in general, and also a fan of the character of Tuvok, I love the episode. It’s a good use of twenty-fourth-century technology as part of an investigation, from the insertion of memory engrams as punishment to the ARA analysis (which, of course, only proves that Paris believes he’s telling the truth). I also like that the main reason why the doctor (and why the hell wasn’t he given a name?) was almost able to get away with it is because he could not possibly have known that there was someone on Voyager who was telepathic. Only Paris saw the images, and he assumed the text was part of the process (hell, I assumed it was some kind of status update or other when we first saw it in the teaser), and most people don’t notice relative heights. (Points to director LeVar Burton, who avoided showing Paris and Lidell standing straight next to each other until the climactic gather-the-suspects scene.) Only Tuvok’s hyper-observational nature saved the day.
Crazy 8 Press has a new anthology that’s up on Kickstarter: Bad Ass Moms, which is a collection of short stories about, well, bad-ass Moms! A very nifty collection of authors is set to write stories about Moms who kick butt, including:
- Danielle Ackley-McPhail
- Derek Tyler Attico
- T. Eric Bakutis
- Russ Colchamiro
- Paige Daniels
- Kathleen O’Shea David
- Peter David
- Michael Jan Friedman
- Robert Greenberger
- Glenn Hauman
- Heather E. Hutsell
- Kris Katzen
- Paul Kupperberg
- Karissa Laurel
- Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
- TJ Perkins
- Aaron Rosenberg
- Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg
- Joanna Schnurman
- Hildy Silverman
- Denise Sutton
Some of the above are bad-ass Moms their own selves, too!
If you want to see my name added to that list, the anthology has to get to its stretch goal! The anthology funding goal is $4500 (as I type this, it’s at $1126, so at about a quarter of the way there so far), and if it reaches $5000, I will also contribute a story!
So please go and support this anthology, because the world needs more bad-ass Moms, dadgummit!
I’ve done this before, but — while people are still sometimes commenting on things — with “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch” having come to a pause, it’s a good time to see which movies have generated the most (and least) comments.
- 204 — Avengers: Endgame
- 188 — Captain Marvel
- 173 — Avengers: Age of Ultron
- 170 — Black Panther
- 169 — Man of Steel
- 168 — The Dark Knight Rises
- 142 — Captain America: Civil War
- 133 — Captain America: The First Avenger
- 121 — Iron Man 3
- 121 — Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- 119 — X-Men
- 116 — Ant-Man
- 110 — The Dark Knight
- 108 — Superman, Superman II, Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
- 108 — Watchmen
- 106 — Doctor Strange (2016)
- 104 — Superman Returns
- 104 — Iron Man
- 103 — Ant-Man & The Wasp
- 103 — Avengers: Infinity War
- 102 — Deadpool 2
- 98 — Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
- 98 — Shazam!
- 96 — The Amazing Spider-Man
- 93 — X-Men: The Last Stand
- 93 — Thor: The Dark World
- 91 — Justice League
- 89 — Wonder Woman (2017)
- 88 — Avengers
- 86 — Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
- 83 — Suicide Squad
- 82 — Spider-Man (2002)
- 81 — Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
- 80 — Flash Gordon (1980) and Flash Gordon (2007)
- 79 — Thor
- 79 — X-Men: Days of Future Past
- 76 — Spider-Man 2
- 76 — Guardians of the Galaxy
- 76 — Fantastic Four (2015)
- 74 — Daredevil
- 74 — X-Men: First Class
- 74 — Joker
- 73 — Deadpool
- 73 — Spider-Man: Far from Home
- 72 — Spider-Man 3
- 71 — Batman Forever and Batman & Robin
- 70 — Mystery Men and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- 69 — Thor: Ragnarok
- 68 — Batman Begins
- 68 — The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- 65 — X2: X-Men United
- 64 — Modesty Blaise and My Name is Modesty
- 60 — Batman (1989) and Batman Returns
- 60 — X-Men: Apocalypse
- 58 — Kingsman: The Secret Service
- 57 — Aquaman
- 57 — Sin City
- 56 — Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
- 56 — X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- 54 — V for Vendetta
- 52 — Judge Dredd and Dredd
- 52 — The Amazing Spider-Man 2
- 52 — Green Lantern
- 52 — Men in Black, Men in Black II, and Men in Black 3
- 51 — The Incredible Hulk (1977) and The Return of the Incredible Hulk
- 51 — The Rocketeer and The Phantom
- 50 — Blade, Blade II, and Blade Trinity
- 50 — Iron Man 2
- 50 — Dick Tracy (1990)
- 50 — Marvel’s Inhumans
- 49 — Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
- 49 — Venom
- 48 — introduction post
- 48 — Fantastic Four (2005)
- 48 — Spider-Man: Homecoming
- 47 — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- 46 — The Spirit (1987) and The Spirit (2008)
- 44 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
- 43 — Logan
- 42 — Captain America (1990) and Fantastic Four (1994)
- 42 — The Wolverine
- 41 — The Punisher (1989), The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone
- 41 — Prince Valiant (1954) and Prince Valiant (1997)
- 39 — Swamp Thing and Return of Swamp Thing
- 39 — Red Sonja
- 37 — Spider-Man (1977) and Doctor Strange (1978)
- 36 — The Return of the Incredible Hulk, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and The Death of the Incredible Hulk
- 36 — Hulk
- 36 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
- 36 — R.I.P.D.
- 35 — Generation X and Justice League of America
- 35 — Catwoman
- 35 — Ghost Rider
- 34 — Howard the Duck and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- 33 — Captain America (1979) and Captain America II: Death Too Soon
- 33 — Steel and Spawn
- 33 — RED
- 32 — Jonah Hex
- 32 — X-Men: Dark Phoenix
- 31 — The Crow, The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: Salvation, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer
- 31 — The Flash
- 30 — Barb Wire and Tank Girl
- 29 — Superman and the Mole Men and Batman (1966)
- 29 — Hellboy II: The Golden Army
- 29 — Cowboys & Aliens
- 28 — Sheena
- 28 — Men in Black International
- 27 — Kingsman: The Golden Circle
- 25 — Dick Tracy (1945), Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Dick Tracy’s Dilemma, and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome
- 24 — Wonder Woman (1974), The New Original Wonder Woman, and Supergirl
- 24 — The Losers
- 22 — Witchblade
- 22 — Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
- 21 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
- 20 — Elektra
- 20 — Man-Thing
- 19 — Hellboy (2004)
- 17 — Hellboy (2019)
- 16 — Kick-Ass 2
- 14 — The Mask and Son of the Mask
- 14 — Kick-Ass
- 12 — RED 2
While the list in the abstract is no surprise — the top four slots, and eight of the top ten are Marvel Cinematic Universe films, all the Batman and Superman films released in my lifetime have 60 or more comments, the top 33 spots are all occupied by either Marvel or DC characters — there are some unexpected placements here.
I was rather stunned to see that the highest-placed movie that wasn’t Marvel or DC was, of all things, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (followed by the two Flash Gordon movies, which was less of a surprise).
I expected there to be more comments on the Hellboy movies, a lot more comments on Dark Phoenix (the only X-Men team film to not reach 60 comments), and a lot fewer comments on Mystery Men and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the two Modesty Blaise films.
It’s odd that the first and third Iron Man movies broke 100 comments, but Iron Man 2 only managed 50. It’s interesting that, of the three Thor movies, The Dark World (generally considered the redheaded stepchild of the trio) got the most comments.
Most of the top ten are utterly predictable, though I would’ve expected more comments on Infinity War and The Dark Knight and fewer on Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3, but whatever.
Also, nobody really wanted to talk about The Mask movies, the RED movies, or the Kick-Ass movies much, did they?
I first was introduced to Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Paul Simon’s brilliant Graceland album in 1986 — indeed, lots of people were introduced to this amazing South African a cappella band then, though they’ve been around since 1960. They sang with Simon on “Homeless,” which was co-written by Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala, and also on “You Can Call Me Al” and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” Simon later produced their album Shaka Zulu.
Simon promoted Graceland with a tour that included a bunch of South African musicians: besides Mambazo, he was also joined by Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba, as well as a backing band made up entirely of South African musicians, led by Ray Phiri of Stimela.
Joseph Shabalala retired from Mambazo in 2014, and yesterday he died in his home in Pretoria.
I named a Star Trek character after Shabalala, giving his name to the U.S.S. Odyssey first officer played by Michael Jace in the Deep Space Nine episode “The Jem’Hadar” in my novel The Brave and the Bold Book 1. Because that character was killed in the DS9 episode (my novel was a prequel to it), I kept the tribute going by putting his son Anthony Shabalala on the U.S.S. da Vinci in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series as a tactical officer on the bridge.
Anyhow, here’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing “Amazing Grace.” I can think of no better tribute to Shabalala’s enduring musicianship, his glorious smile, his immense talent, and just the incredible joy he took in performing.
The crew thinks they can get home, or at least talk to home, but every hopeful revelation is followed by a disappointment. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch tries to fit a camel through the “Eye of the Needle.”
In many ways, this episode does right what DS9’s “The Sound of Her Voice” would later do completely wrong, as the surprise about the time jump makes much more sense in this episode than it will on the DS9 episode, where the conversations were longer and friendlier. It also gets the one thing that the DS9 episode did right, to wit, a great guest character, as Vaughn Armstrong does yeoman work making R’Mor a rounded, complex, fascinating character. A respectful friendship develops beautifully between Janeway and R’Mor, starting with the heartfelt audio conversation in Janeway’s quarters, all the way to their goodbyes in the transporter room. Just fabulous work by both Armstrong and Kate Mulgrew. Mulgrew also is wonderful alongside Roxann Dawson in another nerdy technobabble exchange between Janeway and Torres when the latter suggests using the transporter. The joy both characters take in doing science is always tremendous fun.