Inspired by the current apocalypse, Arlo Guthrie teamed up with Jim Wilson, Vanessa Bryan, Stanley Clarke, Brad Cole, Charlie Morgan, Andy McKee, and a gospel choir featuring Dasha Chadwick, Nic Jackson, and Dillon O’Brien, to produce a new version of “Hard Times Come Again No More.” The song was originally written by Stephen Foster in 1854, commenting on the fractured state of the pre-Civil War U.S. It has been covered by many over the century-plus since, including by Ry Cooder, Mavis Staples, Bob Dylan, and Arlo’s father Woody Guthrie.
Years ago, I saw Arlo in concert in Patchogue, New York, and he was talking about his father’s songs, and said on the one hand that it’s amazing that, decades and decades later, Woody Guthrie’s songs still have relevance and importance. On the other hand, it’s too bad that the world still sucks. This song, sadly, embodies that, but there’s a message of optimism in it that we really need right now….
I’ve written extensively in the universe of the twenty-year-old SyFy series Farscape, including a novel, six comic book miniseries, an ongoing monthly comic book series, and several short stories, of which I read one here: “Brotherly Love,” which appeared in the second issue of Farscape: The Official Magazine in 2001, and which focused on Bialar Crais.
I want to like this episode more than I do, mainly because the opening is so promising. This is what I was hoping for in “Projections” when the EMH thought he was stranded alone on the ship, and it goes along beautifully for quite a while. It’s a nice action mystery, where Janeway is trying to figure out what happened.
But then we do find out what happened, and it all becomes significantly less interesting—and, more to the point, less sensible.
In 2012, Jonathan Maberry launched V-Wars, a shared-world anthology published by IDW that does something old by doing something new: there’s a virus that turns some people into vampires, but not pop-culture vampires, but rather whatever the vampire is from the folklore of their ethnic heritage. I did two stories for the series, and this is my second: “Streets of Fire,” from the third anthology Night Terrors, in which a reporter is embedded with the Vampire Crimes Unit of the NYPD. (I read my first story, “The Ballad of Big Charlie,” inthreeparts as episode 29.)
Q shows up on Voyager trying to seduce Janeway and it’s mostly just stupid and embarrassing. But he’s not just sowing his omnipotent oats — he’s fighting a Q civil war. Suzie Plakson is awesome as Lady Q, but that’s all this mess has going for it. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch does “The Q and the Grey.”
On top of all this, the solution is completely nonsensical. We’re given no good reason why General Q would surrender, nor why just the act of procreation would end the war. It just stops because the script says it stops. Yes, the Voyager crew are supposedly using Q weapons, but we’re still talking about mortal humans against omnipotent beings, and the truth of the matter is that no action any of Voyager‘s crew could take can compare to what the Q can do. It should have been just Janeway’s convincing the Q to create new life—but even then, the jump from that to the end of the war is vague and unconvincing. Which is pretty much what this episode is.
For my latest reading, I read the first of my Connie de la Vega stories, “The Silent Dust” from the charity anthology Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos, which came out simultaneously with my second Connie story, “The Puzzle” in Footprints in the Stars. (Both anthologies debuted at Shore Leave last year.) In this tale, Connie remains woefully underappreciated, but an emergency situation gives her a chance to either show her worth or get her fired….
3. Of the three novelties, which was your favorite and why?
Extinction because I was given so much freedom. First off, I was asked to provide a subplot for the Jill Valentine character because, while she wasn’t in the movie itself, they wanted the character to be available for future films, so I was tasked with giving her her own little side plot. And I was also encouraged to bridge the gap between the end of Apocalypse and the beginning of Extinction. I’m excessively proud of the work I did on that novelization because I was able to do those two things, as well as flesh out Claire Redfield’s team.
I’ve moderated two panels for Shore Leave 41.5, which is the virtual version of Shore Leave being held this year thanks to the apocalypse, with Shore Leave 42 officially postponed to 2021.
The first was on The Mandalorian. (Amazingly, we did not talk about Baby Yoda the entire time.) The panel included Christopher D. Abbott, Keith R.A. DeCandido (that’s me!), Mary Fan, Glenn Hauman, and Laura Ware.
Next was the Authors’ Summer Book Release Party! Since we were denied the Friday night Meet the Pros party where we normally pimp our wares, we instead had a panel where a baker’s dozen of authors each took it in turn to talk about their newest scribblings. The panel included Christopher D. Abbott, Rigel Ailur, Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Keith R.A. DeCandido (me again!), Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Paul Kupperberg, David Mack, John Jackson Miller, Joshua Palmatier, and Dayton Ward.