Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Prototype”


Torres reboots a robot, then is kidnapped for her trouble and forced to build another robot. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch builds itself a “Prototype.”

An excerpt:

I also love watching Torres at work here. One of my frustrations in this rewatch—which has only started to coalesce recently, which is why this is the first time I’m writing about it—is that Torres has a much higher failure rate than her counterparts on other shows. ScottyLa Forge, and O’Brien before her, and Tucker and Stamets after her, don’t screw up nearly as often as Torres does. Torres’ technobabble solutions in “Emanations,” “Prime Factors,” “Elogium,” “Twisted,” “Tattoo,” and “Resistance” all failed. It’s starting to get really tiresome, especially given that she’s the only one of those six chief engineers who has a uterus…

So to see Torres win at science throughout the episode is a welcome change. The process by which she tries to figure out how to revive 3947 is tremendous fun, with Kim, Neelix, and the EMH all doing a nice job playing her sounding board at various points. Her joy in discovery, in trying to solve the problem, is palpable, and a lot of the episode’s appeal is watching her work—and then her nicely, uncharacteristically subtle anguish when she realizes she has to destroy her creation.

talkin’ X-Files on The FBI’s Most Unwanted podcast


One of the unexpected benefits of the KRAD COVID readings is that my reading of my 2015 X-Files story “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” brought me to the attention of podcaster Matt Spaulding and his The FBI’s Most Unwanted podcast! Matt had me on to talk about my longtime X-Files fandom, going all the way back to the show’s pilot episode, to my days helping run a small XF fan convention to the aforementioned short story, which appeared in the anthology Trust No One. Check it out!


my talk on the business of writing for the Stay in Place Virtual Writing Conference


Kaye Booth held a wonderful virtual writing conference on Facebook on the 28th of April, and I got to participate in it! I did a panel with Jonathan Maberry and Kevin Killiany on media tie-ins — which I hope to post soon — and also did a talk on the business of writing.

Facebook won’t let me embed videos, but here’s a link to the video. I gave the same speech I gave to the C3 conference two years ago, with some random babbling added on at the end.

Check it out!


Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Resistance”


Janeway is stuck on a planet with Don Quixote, more or less. It’s a cliché story, but it works thanks to fantastic work by everyone involved, particularly guest Joel Grey. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch feels “Resistance” is not futile, as this is one of the show’s best episodes.

An excerpt:

I also admire Klink simply letting the crew do their jobs without any of the baggage. Neelix is The Local Guide, and he does that job very well in that episode, and we don’t get any of the character’s goofy excesses. Kim is The Science Guy, throwing technobabble ideas at Chakotay fast and furious, while Chakotay is The First Officer, holding things together while Janeway’s out of commission, the same way Spock, Riker, and Kira have done for their captains in the past.

double crowdfund now a triple crowdfund, with more to come!


We’ve been making tremendous progress on what is now a triple crowdfund for To Hell and Regroup by myself and David Sherman (final book in David’s “18th Race” trilogy of military SF novels) and two SF thrillers by Christopher L. Bennett, Arachne’s Crime and Arachne’s Exile.

That’s right, we’ve hit the $3000 stretch goal that turns this into a triple, as eSpec Books will now produce both of Christopher’s “Arachne” novels. Thank you all so very much!

If you pledged before we hit that threshold, now’s the chance to adjust your pledge (or take an add-on) so you can get this third book as well, if you want. If you haven’t pledged, there are lots of cool rewards beyond three great SF novels.

Right now, everyone who’s pledged $5 or more gets the following bonuses:

  • my two short stories “House Hunting” and “Alien Invasion of Earth!”
  • “Vein Glory” by Christopher L. Bennett
  • “Slow and Steady” by John L. French
  • “Child of the Wood” by Jeff Young
  • In a Flash, a collection of flash fiction by Christopher Burke

On top of that, the first 15 backers will get a copy of The Die is Cast, a short-story collection by Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Mike McPhail; the first 50 backers will get a copy of Devil Dancers by Robert E. Waters; and the first 100 backers will get a copy of my short-story collection Without a License. If we hit 175 backers (we’re at 108 as I type this), those 175 will get a copy of my Afro-futurist novel Guilt in Innocence.

Plus there are optional add-ons: a (very very rare) print copy of David Sherman’s “DemonTech” novel Get Her Back!; Jeffrey Lyman’s “The Fall of Autumn,” “Lord of Fire,”
“Lord of Wind,” and “The Troll King”; James Daniel Ross’s “Not One Word,” “Revestak,” “The Oath,” “The Nature of Mercy,” and “A Different Kind of Courage,” all part of his Radiation Angels series; and copies of various eSpec Books titles.

And we’ve got lots of stretch goals still to come!

  • at $3600, Christopher will write a new “Arachne” story, “Comfort Zones,” exclusive to this crowdfund
  • at $3800, eSpec will publish a new edition of David’s Get Her Back!, the fourth “DemonTech” book, which is currently out of print (the first three are still available from Random House)
  • at $4000, this becomes a quadruple crowdfund, as a new short story collection by Jeff Young will be added
  • at $4400, eSpec will produce a custom patch for the “18th Race” trilogy
  • at $6000, eSpec will produce hardcover omnibus editions of both the entire “18th Race” trilogy and the two books in the “Arachne” duology

This is all great stuff, so please, consider pledging (even if it’s only a dollar, every little bit helps), and if you can’t pledge in these difficult times, please consider boosting the signal to other folks. Thanks so much.

Monday music: “Nothin’ I Can Do About It”

One of my favorite live performers is Michael McCloud, the troubadour of Key West, who can be found most afternoons at the Schooner Wharf Bar singing both originals and covers. I first saw him when I first went to Key West in 1993, and have never missed on any of my trips there since. Here’s one from one of his live albums that I’m particularly fond of.

KRAD COVID readings #16: “loDnI’pu’ vavpu’ je

Five weeks ago, I started KRAD COVID readings. Like many authors, I’ve been doing readings of my fiction to help ameliorate the frustration of pandemic life. I’m glad it’s been so successful, and I hope it continues to be.

This time ’round, it’s another Star Trek story: “loDnI’pu’ vavpu’ je” (“Brothers and Fathers”) from the 2005 anthology Tales from the Captain’s Table.

Back in 1998, John Ordover and Dean Wesley Smith conceived the six-novel series “The Captain’s Table” where the various captain characters (Pike, Kirk, and Sulu from the original series; Picard from The Next Generation; Sisko from Deep Space Nine; Janeway from Voyager; and Calhoun from the New Frontier novel series) all went to a strange bar that only serves ship captains from throughout time and space, where the only payment is that you must tell a story.

In 2005, I put together an anthology that followed up that series, utilizing the captain characters who’d been added since ’98, both on screen (Riker becoming Titan captain in 2002’s Nemesis, Kira becoming the new commander of Deep Space Nine and the Defiant at the end of 1999’s “What You Leave Behind,” the creation of Archer for Enterprise in 2001) and in prose fiction (Shelby being promoted in New Frontier, Chakotay being promoted in the Voyager novels, Demora Sulu being promoted in novels featuring the Enterprise-B, the creation of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, I.K.S. Gorkon, and Stargazer series). I also wrote the story from my own series (Gorkon) with a story told by Klag, son of M’Raq, the lead in that series who also appeared on the TNG episode “A Matter of Honor,” played by Brian Thompson.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

me and Laura Anne Gilman on Fast Forward

The science fiction interview show Fast Forward has been around since the early 1990s, starting out life on public access and moving to the Internet with the new millennium. In this time of pandemic, they’ve been doing interviews over Zoom, and yesterday, host Mike Zipser did a joint interview with myself and my sister from another mister, Laura Anne Gilman, as we talked about what the writing life has become in the time of the coronavirus. Check it out!

Shore Leave officially postponed


In the most unsurprising news in the history of the world, especially in the wake of every other convention (up to and including San Diego Comic-Con doing likewise) doing so, Shore Leave 42 has officially been postponed to 2021.

Shore Leave has consistently been my favorite convention every year. I first went in 1992 with The Chronic Rift and its spinoff Word Balloons: Interviews with Comics Folk, and we got to record interviews with Mark Lenard, Majel Barrett, Diane Duane, Peter Morwood, L.A. Graf, Michael Jan Friedman, and Howard Weinstein.

I went back in 2000 as an author guest, having had my first two Trek works released (the comic book miniseries Perchance to Dream and the eBook novella Fatal Error), and have been there every year since. I have, over the last 20+ years, been press, author guest, music guest (as the Boogie Knights’ percussionist), panelist, reader, workshop runner, performer, comedian (I was the primary pinch hitter for Mystery Trekkie Theatre 3000 whenever one of Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, or Robert Greenberger wasn’t available to do it), and been both the subject of a comedy roast and been a roaster of others.

Shore Leave is always a wonderful time, and I will greatly miss it this year, along with all the other things we’re missing. But it hasn’t been cancelled — it’s officially a postponement, and almost all the guests have already committed to still being guests when it happens 15 months from now.

So next year in Hunt Valley! Or, uh, something….

Here’s the official statement from the con chairs:

Dear Fellow Fans,

It is with our deepest regrets that we have to announce the postponement of Shore Leave 42 due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The event will return, stronger than ever, July 9 – 11, 2021. This is the first time in our 42-year history that we have had to skip a year.

Recognizing that our attendees save and plan for their conventions each year, and many exhibitors rely upon this event for a portion of their livelihood, we had hoped that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer. Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of Maryland have made it clear that holding a very social event like ours would not be prudent.

We are working with our guests (media, writers, scientists) and most have agreed to come next year, we are still working to secure the agreement of the final media guest. No guest has canceled as of this announcement. We will be posting the guests who have agreed to come back in 2021 in the next few weeks. 9 of the 10 media guests have already confirmed.

Individuals who purchased registrations for Shore Leave 42/2020 will have the option to transfer their registrations to Shore Leave 42/2021 or request a refund. All 2020 registrations holders will receive an email within the next week with instructions on how to request a refund.

It will be up to the individual attendee to contact the hotel to adjust/cancel their reservations. You may do so online or directly through the hotel at (410) 785-7000.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision. We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.

For the Shore Leave 42 committee,

Inge Heyer and Don Ramsey
Co-Chairs, Shore Leave 42

a nice review of A Furnace Sealed


The wonderful JL Gribble has written a lovely review of my 2019 novel A Furnace Sealed. Check it out!

An excerpt:

The reason I reject a lot of urban fantasy tropes in my own writing is because they annoy me. In this book, DeCandido does the opposite, by embracing those tropes and twisting them just enough, writing with enough familiarity of both the world he’s created and the audience he’s invited in, to create an appealing story with memorable characters. So much of traditional urban fantasy also defaults to Judeo-Christian mythology that I was extra pleased when this book used the setting of New York City to employ local mythology in the greater plot rather than importing Euro-centric bad guys. In an urban fantasy setting, New York City should definitely be a melting pot for more than just it’s human inhabitants. (Extra bonus points for secondary character representation of race, sexual orientation, and mobility issues.)