Star Trek: Lower Decks‘s “Much Ado About Boimler”

The latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks tries to cram too much into its half-hour timeslot, and winds up serving none of them well at all. My take on “Much Ado About Boimler” over on Tor.com.

An excerpt:

The captain of the Division 14 ship is of the same species as Lieutenant Arex from the animated series—either an Edoan or a Triexian or an Edosian, depending on which tie-in material you read. In any case, he’s got the elongated head, three arms, and three legs. I am, for the record, all for bringing back as many aliens from the animated series as possible, please and thank you! We’ve already gotten a Caitian (T’Ana) and a Vendorian (in “Envoys“). I’d especially love to see the Nasats (the name we gave to M3 Green’s species from “The Jihad” in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series) and the Skorr (also from “The Jihad”) and the Pandronians (from “Bem“).

KRAD COVID readings #63: “A Clean Getaway”

In 2007, I wrote a story for the Jean Rabe-edited anthology Pandora’s Closet entitled “A Clean Getaway.” The anthology theme was closets that hold dark secrets, and in this case, a heretofore unseen closet in a rich family’s house suddenly appears and starts spewing filth. Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald must figure out why it’s happening before the closet’s muck-producing takes over the house–and the block!

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

adding to the stuff I did at Dragon Con

There was one program item I did at virtual Dragon Con that was originally recorded and held in reserve in case something went wrong on Dragon Con TV. As it happened, nothing did, so the panel wasn’t shown during Dragon Con, but it is shown now on the American Sci-Fi Classics Track YouTube page.

I’ve added it to the stuff I did at Dragon Con entry, but here it is in this post also because it’s awesome: the Roll-a-Panel about movies from 1985!

This was recorded Thursday of Dragon Con and given to DCTV for backup. It wasn’t needed, but hilariously, the Classics Track itself had a snafu, so they did an impromptu Part 2 of the 1985 roll-a-panel during the con, which is also on their YouTube page.

The best thing about the above panel is that I’m wearing a T-shirt that I actually bought in 1985! Amazingly, the T-shirt I bought at the Bruce Springsteen concert I saw in Giants Stadium of August of that year still fits me……………..

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Displaced”

Members of Voyager‘s crew are disappearing and being replaced by aliens who seem as befuddled as they about what’s going on. But all is not what it seems…. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch gets “Displaced.”

An excerpt:

In this episode, Voyager’s crew are heroes, and it’s a joy to see. Yes, Janeway is suspicious of the Nyrians, but not so much that she treats them poorly. And when it’s all over, Janeway has as much concern for all the other prisoners—even though she’s only met one of them—as she does for her own people and makes sure that everyone the Nyrians captured is freed. This is a nice change from, for example, “Faces,” where the crew despicably left a whole bunch of the Vidiians’ slave-labor-cum-organ-sources behind to die in the slave camp, including the guy who helped Paris, Torres, and Durst out. And, of course, it’s in keeping with “Rise” and “Dreadnought,” where Voyager risks their own lives to save others—not to mention the action that left them stranded, done to save the Ocampa.

KRAD COVID reading #62: “Four Lights”

In 2007, for the 20th-anniversary Star Trek: The Next Generation anthology The Sky’s the Limit, I was tasked by editor Marco Palmieri with writing a Picard story. I decided to do a reunion during the Dominion War between Picard and Gul Madred, the Cardassian who tortured Picard in the classic “Chain of Command” two-parter — only this time, Picard is the jailer and Madred is the prisoner…..

Check out my reading of “Four Lights.” And please subscribe to the channel!

new stuff on Patreon

Since my week-long attempt to drum up more support for my Patreon, I’ve posted a bunch of new content on the site, including:

  • a review of Bill and Ted Face the Music ($1/month and up)
  • twenty-nine cat pictures ($2/month and up)
  • reviews of Prime Suspect 1973 and Cobra Kai ($5/month and up)
  • two excerpts from Pigman ($7/month and up)

I plan to put up at least one vignette in the next week for the $10/month and up supporters as well.

Please consider supporting me!

nineteen years later…

I wrote the following a year ago, and the only change I would make to it is to change the word “eighteen” to “nineteen.” So, to repeat myself….

On this day, [nineteen] years ago some people flew planes into buildings. It was the textbook definition of a terrorist attack, one designed to scare us and to ruin our way of life. It is a day I will never forget, as I spent it sitting on my couch watching the live coverage and being appalled and scared and frightened and curious and confused and every other possible emotion.

Everyone’s talking about how the day “changed everything,” and they’re both right and wrong. In so many ways, it worked 100% as a terrorist attack and as a ruination of our way of life, from the passing of the PATRIOT Act (the most despicable law this country had passed to that point, in my not-so-humble opinion), to the current fetish for imprisoning or refusing entry to brown-skinned people who mistakenly believe the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, to Islamophobia and racism spiking to the point that we somehow elected a white supremacist to be president, to our government performing torture in violation of good sense and human rights (it’s not a coincidence that actionable intelligence on al-Qaeda didn’t start showing up until the torture stopped and humane interrogations began; torture is only useful to torture people, as an interrogation tool, it’s useless and counterproductive), to the insane contortions air travellers have to go through for imagined and wholly nonexistent “security.” It fooled people into thinking that George W. Bush was a strong president, leading to the only presidential election since 1988 where the Republican got more votes than the Democrat; it fooled people into thinking Rudy Giuliani was a good mayor (and he did handle the aftermath of the crisis well — but then, fascists are at their most useful in such circumstances). And it led to two wars, only one of which had anything to do with the event, and both of which were quagmires with appalling loss of life on all sides.

Congratulations, Mr. bin Laden. You won.

KRAD COVID readings #61: “A Bone to Pick”

In 1995, Esther Friesner put out the Chicks in Chainmail anthology, a humorous anthology that was mostly cashing in on the Xena craze of the time. It was a huge success, and spawned many sequel anthologies, the first of which was Did You Say Chicks!? in 1998. My then-wife Marina Frants and I collaborated on a story for that one, which mixed the anthology theme with Russian folklore, as the town of Voronye is threatened by Tatars and Vassilisa has the idea of asking Baba Yaga for help.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Distant Origin”

It’s time to play with dinosaurs! The Voth have a theory that they came from another planet far away, and when one scientist finds Hogan’s remains from “Basics, Part II,” he’s sure of it. But speaking truth to power doesn’t always end well, not even when you’ve got Chakotay arguing for your side. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch curses your sudden but inevitable betrayal with “Distant Origin.”

An excerpt:

What I particularly like is that Gegen is our POV character. This episode is about him, and his quest to learn the truth about his people—and his conflict with the hidebound government of his people. In a year in which the disconnect between politics and science is particularly brutally sharp, this episode resonates. Odala isn’t interested in evidence, she’s only interested in maintaining the status quo, and she does so by dismissing the evidence as “just one person’s theory,” as if a theory wasn’t something heavily backed up by evidence. (If it’s not, it’s a hypothesis. Theories have the weight of research behind them.)

This episode also gives Robert Beltran a chance to shine, and he nails it. His quiet plea to Odala, his heartfelt explanation of how awesome the ancestral Voth had to have been, and how proud they all should be of them, is magnificently delivered. Concetta Tomei’s bland refutation of everything Gegen and Chakotay say is equally magnificent, perfectly embodying the hidebound politician who sounds so reasonable when she ignores reality.