The latest reading is a Super City Cops story which appeared in the superhero/super-villain flip-book anthology The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Greg Schauer and published by the fine folks at eSpec Books. The story is called “Send in the Clones,” and it’s the secret origin of the villain known as the Clone Master.
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It’s two, two, two Voyagers for the price of one! The entire ship is duplicated, and much wackiness ensues, especially when the Vidiians show up. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch is trapped in a “Deadlock.”
And then there’s the ending. Why are Kim #2 and baby Wildman #2 the only ones that Janeway #2 sends over? At this point, Voyager #1 has 146 people on board (they had 154 when they left the Ocampa homeworld, seven have died, and one left the ship after being exposed as a spy), and one of those 146 is confined to quarters for being a murderer. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Janeway #2 to give a general order for anyone who doesn’t want to die (and hadn’t already been killed by the Vidiians) to head through the rift? Yes, it would mean those people would have a duplicate working alongside them, but Voyager needs bodies, plus why shouldn’t those duplicates have the option to live if they want? (I mean, if Will Riker can live with it…)
Here’s something a bit different — I read a work of nonfiction! Specifically the essay “Tropes Abandoned, Tropes as Yet Unseen,” my essay about the two-part Batman episode “Fine Feathered Finks”/”The Penguin’s a Jinx,” the debut of Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. It appears in ZLONK! ZOK! ZOWIE!: The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66–Season One, which is on sale now from Crazy 8 Press.
Over on the Future of the Force blog, Carl Roberts has written a very nice review of my 2019 Alien novel Isolation. It’s a very favorable review, and it’s so nice to see the book being praised. Made my day, it did….
The novel covers quite a lot of ground throughout its 336 pages and not a single word is wasted. For an Alien fan like myself, the book is a completely welcome and insightful story that carries on the legacy of the Ripley character while non-fans or just the casual reader will get huge enjoyment of seeing what the next page will throw at them. The game was enjoyable enough but this novel takes the story that much further and is a great way to entertain yourself during those quiet moments during the lockdown.
Neelix is apparently a journalist now, and he is investigating all the weird stuff going on, as both the Paris-is-a-malcontent and the Jonas-is-a-tratior running subplots come to a head in a most unsatisfying manner. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch does some “Investigations.”
Chakotay’s authority as first officer is completely undermined, as two of his subordinates are engaged in a covert mission behind his back, with the full support of his captain. And it makes no sense for it to be Paris who does this anyhow. Think about this for a second. One the one hand, you’ve got a Starfleet commander who left Starfleet of his own accord and became a talented enough Maquis cell leader that an entire ship was sent just after him. On the other hand, you’ve got a Starfleet washout whose history involves getting people killed and getting his sorry ass caught and imprisoned.
Which of those two do you think would make a better stalking horse for the spy on board? I’ll give you a hint: he has a tattoo on his face. But, once again, the show is far too invested in making sure that the white guy gets to do all the cool stuff.
I forgot to mention one thing I did at Virtual Balticon 54: the eSpec Books launch party! One of the highlights of Balticon these last years has been the launch parties run by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and every since she, her husband Mike McPhail, and Between Books owner Greg Schauer formed eSpec in 2015, it’s been an eSpec launch party specifically.
This year, the launch was virtual, and since part of any launch party is the ability to buy books, eSpec set up a “virtual launch” section on their online bookstore.
The launched books included:
- To Hell and Regroup by David Sherman & Keith R.A. DeCandido (that’s me!)
- The Literary Handyman: Build-a-Book Workshop by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
- Arachne’s Crime by Christopher L. Bennett
- In a Flash 2020 by Christopher J. Burke
- Stellar Science Fiction by Jeff Young
- Death’s Embrace by Michelle D. Sonnier
- new editions of Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s Eternal Cycle books, James Chambers’s Corpse Fauna books, Megan Mackie’s Lucky Devil books, and Ackley-McPhail & Day Al-Mohamed’s Baba Ali & the Clockwork Djinn
Several of us did readings from our stuff, including me from To Hell and Regroup, Megan from Finder of the Lucky Devil, Christopher from Arachne’s Crime, Danielle from Baba Ali, and James and Jeff from their work (I forget from which now *hangs head in shame*).
Not as raucous as the usual eSpec party, and no food, obviously, but we still had a grand old time.
I did three program items as part of the 54th Balticon, which thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, was done entirely online over Zoom and Discord rather than at a hotel in Baltimore. This, if nothing else, was cheaper…..
On Friday, Michael A. Ventrella (Release the Virgins!) led a panel on writing for themed anthologies, something that everyone on the panel had experience in both as writers and as editors — it included Monica Louzon (Catalysts, Explorers, & Secret Keepers: Women of Science Fiction), Jean Marie Ward (Tales from the Vatican Vaults), John L. French (To Hell in a Fast Car), and me (Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War). We covered all the bases, discussing the difficulties and joys of putting together such anthologies, and the pitfalls that writers can fall into when writing for them.
On Saturday morning, Nick Martell, who has a new book out called The Kingdom of Liars, and I were scheduled for a reading. Nick read from the early bit of his nifty new novel, while I read an older one: 2003’s The Art of the Impossible, part of the Star Trek: The Lost Era series that covered the 70 years between the original series movies and the start of The Next Generation — in my case, detailing an eighteen-year cold war between the Cardassians and Klingons. We had about fourteen people, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves.
Finally on Sunday afternoon, agent Joshua Bilmes led a discussion about momentum for writers, which was a far-flung discussion on the writing process that also included me (Dragon Precinct), D.H. Aire (Highmage’s Plight), Scott Edelman (longtime writer and editor, including founding Science Fiction Age magazine), and L. Marie Wood (The Promise Keeper).
I believe Balticon will be making the program items available on the Tube of You at some point — will let you know when they do…..