Star Trek: Picard‘s “Stardust City Rag”


Picard plays dress-up — and puts on an outrageous accent — and we get some nasty reunions involving Seven of Nine, Raffi Musiker, and Dr. Jurati, plus some actual forward movement on the plot! It’s a Christmas miracle! I have a great deal to say about Star Trek: Picard‘s “Stardust City Rag.”

An excerpt:

While “Stardust City Rag” is a fine title, it could just as easily be called “Seven of Nine is Back and She’s Pissed!” In the two decades since Voyager came home, Seven has joined the Fenris Rangers, helping keep law and order in a lawless and chaotic area of space. She has tremendous bitterness toward the Federation, and a particular animus toward Bjayzl, which is the real reason why she helps Picard.

We get the first hint of that in the opening flashback from fourteen years earlier, where we see Icheb—the former Borg drone who served on Voyager during its final two seasons—being tortured and killed, his Borg implants being violently removed. When Seven shoots him in the end, it’s a mercy killing to end his suffering.

There are two nice touches in this scene: Icheb was an officer on the U.S.S. Coleman, having completed the Starfleet training he began on Voyager, and the person removing his implants can’t find his cortical node, which Icheb donated to Seven in the Voyager episode “Imperfection.”

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Prime Factors”


The crew meets a friendly people who love food and nice things and love stories and are great at hospitality. They also have technology that can get the crew closer to home. But in the end, the people are assholes and the technology won’t work for them. Life sucks, sometimes. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch does “Prime Factors.”

An excerpt:

Ronald Guttman has been a favorite of mine since his role as the chief engineer in The Hunt for Red October all the way to his recent brilliant turn as an old man turned into a vampire in Preacher, and he’s perfect here. He’s a hedonist, and he is all over Janeway, but he also offers the crew something they desperately need. Honestly, he’s the perfect predator, which is exactly what the role calls for. Indeed, all the Sikarians are to a degree, as they are hungry for new experiences, and are willing to manipulate people and give them pretty gifts in exchange for it, whether it’s Labin’s offer to give Janeway tons of clothes, Otel’s offer of the trajector, or Eudana taking Kim to another world.

And as soon as Janeway sees through it, he gets pouty and angry and throws a tantrum, blaming her for harshing his mellow. It’s classic predator behavior, and Guttman just nails it. To Janeway’s credit, the minute he shows his true colors and makes it clear that there’s no longer a benefit to her crew to stay, she packs up and leaves.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Emanations”


First they think they’ve found a new element. Then they realize they’ve found a mass grave. Then there’s a transporter accident, and they wind up pissing all over an alien culture’s beliefs about the afterlife. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch journeys to the next “Emanations.”

An excerpt:

I did love the final scene between Janeway and Kim, showing how much the captain cares about her crew’s well being. And in general, this is a nifty science fictional concept that shows the difficulties of cultural relativism, especially when you’re not prepared for a first-contact situation. I also like the fact that we never do find out exactly where the Vhnori homeworld is. Neria talks of other dimensions, and it’s perfectly possible that they are in an other dimension. We just don’t know, and I find that appropriate in an episode that is about the greatest unknown of them all, death.

my Farpoint 2020 schedule


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!


Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Ex Post Facto”


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.”

An excerpt:

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.

nifty new Kickstarter: Bad Ass Moms


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!