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!


comments on the great superhero movie rewatch

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.


  1. 204 — Avengers: Endgame
  2. 188 — Captain Marvel
  3. 173 — Avengers: Age of Ultron
  4. 170 — Black Panther
  5. 169 — Man of Steel
  6. 168 — The Dark Knight Rises
  7. 142 — Captain America: Civil War
  8. 133 — Captain America: The First Avenger
  9. 121 — Iron Man 3
  10. 121 — Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  11. 119 — X-Men
  12. 116 — Ant-Man
  13. 110 — The Dark Knight
  14. 108 — Superman, Superman II, Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
  15. 108 — Watchmen
  16. 106 — Doctor Strange (2016)
  17. 104 — Superman Returns
  18. 104 — Iron Man
  19. 103 — Ant-Man & The Wasp
  20. 103 — Avengers: Infinity War
  21. 102 — Deadpool 2
  22. 98 — Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
  23. 98 — Shazam!
  24. 96 — The Amazing Spider-Man
  25. 93 — X-Men: The Last Stand
  26. 93 — Thor: The Dark World
  27. 91 — Justice League
  28. 89 — Wonder Woman (2017)
  29. 88 — Avengers
  30. 86 — Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
  31. 83 — Suicide Squad
  32. 82 — Spider-Man (2002)
  33. 81 — Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  34. 80 — Flash Gordon (1980) and Flash Gordon (2007)
  35. 79 — Thor
  36. 79 — X-Men: Days of Future Past
  37. 76 — Spider-Man 2
  38. 76 — Guardians of the Galaxy
  39. 76 — Fantastic Four (2015)
  40. 74 — Daredevil
  41. 74 — X-Men: First Class
  42. 74 — Joker
  43. 73 — Deadpool
  44. 73 — Spider-Man: Far from Home
  45. 72 — Spider-Man 3
  46. 71 — Batman Forever and Batman & Robin
  47. 70 — Mystery Men and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  48. 69 — Thor: Ragnarok
  49. 68 — Batman Begins
  50. 68 — The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  51. 65 — X2: X-Men United
  52. 64 — Modesty Blaise and My Name is Modesty
  53. 60 — Batman (1989) and Batman Returns
  54. 60 — X-Men: Apocalypse
  55. 58 — Kingsman: The Secret Service
  56. 57 — Aquaman
  57. 57 — Sin City
  58. 56 — Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
  59. 56 — X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  60. 54 — V for Vendetta
  61. 52 — Judge Dredd and Dredd
  62. 52 — The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  63. 52 — Green Lantern
  64. 52 — Men in Black, Men in Black II, and Men in Black 3
  65. 51 — The Incredible Hulk (1977) and The Return of the Incredible Hulk
  66. 51 — The Rocketeer and The Phantom
  67. 50 — Blade, Blade II, and Blade Trinity
  68. 50 — Iron Man 2
  69. 50 — Dick Tracy (1990)
  70. 50 — Marvel’s Inhumans
  71. 49 — Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
  72. 49 — Venom
  73. 48 — introduction post
  74. 48 — Fantastic Four (2005)
  75. 48 — Spider-Man: Homecoming
  76. 47 — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  77. 46 — The Spirit (1987) and The Spirit (2008)
  78. 44 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
  79. 43 — Logan
  80. 42 — Captain America (1990) and Fantastic Four (1994)
  81. 42 — The Wolverine
  82. 41 — The Punisher (1989), The Punisher (2004), and Punisher: War Zone
  83. 41 — Prince Valiant (1954) and Prince Valiant (1997)
  84. 39 — Swamp Thing and Return of Swamp Thing
  85. 39 — Red Sonja
  86. 37 — Spider-Man (1977) and Doctor Strange (1978)
  87. 36 — The Return of the Incredible Hulk, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and The Death of the Incredible Hulk
  88. 36 — Hulk
  89. 36 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
  90. 36 — R.I.P.D.
  91. 35 — Generation X and Justice League of America
  92. 35 — Catwoman
  93. 35 — Ghost Rider
  94. 34 — Howard the Duck and Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  95. 33 — Captain America (1979) and Captain America II: Death Too Soon
  96. 33 — Steel and Spawn
  97. 33 — RED
  98. 32 — Jonah Hex
  99. 32 — X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  100. 31 — The Crow, The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: Salvation, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer
  101. 31 — The Flash
  102. 30 — Barb Wire and Tank Girl
  103. 29 — Superman and the Mole Men and Batman (1966)
  104. 29 — Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  105. 29 — Cowboys & Aliens
  106. 28 — Sheena
  107. 28 — Men in Black International
  108. 27 — Kingsman: The Golden Circle
  109. 25 — Dick Tracy (1945), Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, Dick Tracy’s Dilemma, and Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome
  110. 24 — Wonder Woman (1974), The New Original Wonder Woman, and Supergirl
  111. 24 — The Losers
  112. 22 — Witchblade
  113. 22 — Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
  114. 21 — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
  115. 20 — Elektra
  116. 20 — Man-Thing
  117. 19 — Hellboy (2004)
  118. 17 — Hellboy (2019)
  119. 16 — Kick-Ass 2
  120. 14 — The Mask and Son of the Mask
  121. 14 — Kick-Ass
  122. 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?


midweek music: Joseph Shabalala, RIP

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.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Eye of the Needle”


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.”

An excerpt:

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.

Star Trek: Picard’s “The End is the Beginning”


We get revelations about Picard’s resignation, about the Borg-Romulan connection, and about Romulan mythology, plus we meet Rios (meh) and are reunited with Hugh (yay). My review of Star Trek: Picard‘s third episode, “The End is the Beginning.”

An excerpt:

I find “The End is the Beginning” to be a particularly apropos title, because truly, the end of this episode feels like it should’ve been the end of the first episode. The leisurely storytelling model of modern television instead has it at the end of the third, but it’s not like it’s a surprise that Picard’s going to wind up in charge of a ship, so why wait so long to get there?

Part of the reason is that there’s yet still more exposition to provide, and this time a lot of it relates to the Romulans and the Borg.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “The Cloud”


We’ve got weird food, we’ve got the search for coffee, we’ve got Janeway finally yelling at Neelix and not giving him what he wants, we’ve got European stereotypes from Paris on the holodeck and Indigenous stereotypes from Chakotay in Janeway’s ready room, we’ve got the EMH being cranky, we’ve got Janeway hustling pool, and we’ve got a nebula that isn’t a nebula. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch enters “The Cloud.”

An excerpt:

Chez Sandrine probably seemed like a good idea, but the stereotypes are even worse here, from the pool hustler to the Europeans who all flirt with everything that moves. It wouldn’t bother me as much if it was a re-creation of an old 20th-century bar, but this is supposed to be a 24th-century locale in Marseilles, and ugh. Watching Ricky and Sandrine paw all over Paris is just oogy.

Having said that, I can watch Janeway hustle everyone at pool all day and night.

I never could get the hang of Thursdays


I was overdue for a haircut and a beard trim, so yesterday Wrenn and I hied downtown to take care of that. It was nice to get out and about. The same guy’s been doing my hair (and beard since I grew it) since I was 18 years old, and I’ve followed him to five different salons in Greenwich Village.

We started with lunch at Two Boots’s new location on 7th Avenue South, which is delightful (complete with a hilarious Baby Yoda painting on the window). Two Boots combines good New York pizza with a delightful New Orleans attitude, and as an added bonus they have fountain sodas that includes birch beer, plus they have Boylan’s bottled soda.

Then after the haircut, we went to McNulty’s for some good coffee and tea — that place hasn’t changed since I was a little kid, and I love it, and their coffees and teas are superb — and then to Grand Central Terminal’s market for some spices before heading home.

Today it’s back to the grind, working on To Hell and Regroup and watching and reviewing the latest Picard episode, as well as my usual Thursday teaching…..