Star Trek: Lower Decks‘s “Terminal Provocation”

We get a satire of Clippy, that annoying Microsoft Office Assistant that looked like a talking paperclip from the turn of the millennium, which is the best part of the episode. Goodness knows it isn’t the A-plot, which is just annoying. My take on the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “Terminal Provocation.”

An excerpt:

Okay, regardless of what else the latest episode of Lower Decks did or didn’t accomplish, it did one thing for which it will always have a warm place in my heart: It gave us Badgie, a 24th-century version of Clippy. Everyone who used Microsoft products around the turn of the millennium has probably had a run-in with Clippy, the “office assistant” that was part of Windows 97 that looked like a talking paperclip. It’s also likely that, if you did encounter Clippy, you either wanted to beat it to a pulp or was convinced that it was really an evil creature sent to destroy us all.

Badgie confirms both those states of affairs. It’s possibly the best piece of social commentary Star Trek has ever done.

Okay, maybe not, but damn, it was hilarious. 

KRAD COVID readings #60: “Alien Invasion of Earth!”

In 2019, Crazy 8 Press published Thrilling Adventure Yarns, a delightful anthology edited by the mighty Robert Greenberger featuring new pulp stories (including a never-before-published story by Doc Savage creator Lester Dent!). My contribution was a 1950s-era science fiction story about an alien invasion of Earth, imaginatively titled “Alien Invasion of Earth!”

Check out my reading of it! And please subscribe to the channel!

stuff I did at Dragon Con

So the virtual Dragon Con has come and gone, but don’t worry if you missed it — most of the programming has been archived on the Tube of You! Here’s a lot of the stuff I did.

“The End is Near: A Supernatural Fan Panel,” with me, Gail Z. Martin, Kristin Jackson, Carol Malcolm, Marx Pyle, and Damian Allen.

“American Sci-Fi Classics Pre-Show,” with me, Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Bethany Kesler, Sue Kisenwether, Jessa Phillips, Michael Falkner, Rosalyn Falkner, Darin Bush, Lola Strickland, Kevin Eldridge, Felicity Kusinitz, Michael Bailey, and Sherman Burris, where we all talk Dragon Con memories and other craziness.

“Abbey Road: The 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road and Let It Be,” with me, R. Alan Siler, J.C. De La Torre, Mike Faber, JM Tuffley, Rob Levy, and Widgett Walls.

“Gordon’s Alive!: Flash Gordon at 40,” with me, Joe Crowe, Debbie Viguie, Gary Mitchel, and Jonathan Williams.

“Superheroes After Batman ’89: Dick Tracy! The Shadow! The Rocketeer! The Flash!” with me, Debbie Viguie, Scott Viguie, Denise Lhamon, Shaun Rosado, Gary Mitchel, Joe Crowe, Michael Bailey, and Kevin Eldridge.

“The Pre-MCU Marvel Movies: Blade, X-Men, Fantastic Four,” with me, Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Jessa Phillips, Michael Bailey, and Michael Falkner.

“Roll-a-Panel: 1985 Movies,” with me and a metric buttload of people. This was recorded the Thursday of Dragon Con and then held in reserve in case Dragon Con TV needed a hole to fill. They didn’t, and so it was finally presented on the American Sci-Fi Classics Track’s YouTube page as a bonus. As a further bonus, I’m wearing a shirt THAT I BOUGHT IN 1985, a Bruce Springsteen concert T-shirt from a show at Giants Stadium in August 1985. Amazingly, it still fits…..

“Roll-a-Panel: 1985 Movies, Part Deux,” with me and WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE TO LIST HERE. The American Sci-Fi Classics Track did have a hole in their schedule, so they did an impromptu second 1985 movies roll-a-panel.

“The Sherlock Holmes Archetype,” with me, Caro McCully, Jennifer Blackstream, Trisha J. Wooldridge, Bob Nygaard, and Rox of Spazhouse.

My reading, of bits of Alien: Isolation and To Hell and Regroup.

“Novelization Readings,” with me, Joe Crowe, James Palmer, Kevin Eldridge, Michael J. Williams, Chris Cummins, and Elizabeth Jones.

Doctor Who Potpourri,” with me, Caro McCully, Sue Kisenwhether, JM Tuffley, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Michael Falkner.

“Music for Writers,” with me, Darin Kennedy, and Sue Phillips.


KRAD COVID readings #59: “The Stone of the First High Pontiff”

In 2012, I wrote a science fiction story featuring Jin, the human finder, a woman from a future in which Earth is one of many worlds conquered by the Ashloj Collective. That story, “The Stone of the First High Pontiff,” appeared in the Defending the Future anthology Best Laid Plans, and was reprinted in 2016 in The Best of Defending the Future after eSpec Books took over publishing that anthology series. It also appeared in my 2015 collection Without a License. Check out Jin and her partner Timm taking a job to find the titular stone only to be caught up in religious politics……

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KRAD COVID readings #58e: “Cayo Hueso” Part 5

The conclusion of my reading of the urban fantasy novelette “Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet.” In this concluding installment, Cassie, her twin brother Paul, Odin, Sigyn, and Loki must pool their resources to stop a vengeful ghost, and not everyone will make it out intact……

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Real Life”

The EMH decides to re-create a 1950s sitcom on the holodeck and call it a family. Torres thinks that’s silly, and makes it a 1990s sitcom instead, which really isn’t any better. Plus there’s a wholly unmemorable technobabble subplot. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch sees no correlation between this episode and “Real Life.”

An excerpt:

And then apparently he totally forgets that he can change the program. In fact, Torres has already changed it. Why, when confronted with a wife who actually has a mind of her own (probably the worst aspect of the opening bit is how utterly mindless and bereft of personality Charlene is, and the kids aren’t much better), with a son who is rebelling by trying to be Klingon, and a daughter who can’t find anything, did he not just change the fucking program? Why were his only options after Belle’s accident to end the program or finish it? Why not tell the computer to rejigger the program so she doesn’t have the accident? For that matter, why was he wasting three hours operating on a hologram when he’s the only doctor on a ship that’s busy chasing subspace anomalies?

Star Trek: Lower Decks‘s “Cupid’s Errant Arrow”

The thing I most was worried about upon hearing that a Rick and Morty executive producer was doing Star Trek was that the show would be mean-spirited. This week, at least, those fears are realized as the show’s fifth episode is all about the meanness. My take on the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “Cupid’s Errant Arrow.”

An excerpt:

The entire A-plot depends on Mariner being incredibly awful, even by her already-low standards. We learn that Boimler has a girlfriend, Lieutenant Barbara Brinson, a science officer on the U.S.S. Vancouver, whom he met a few months earlier. Initially, Mariner assumes that Boimler made her up, and suspects that their “date” will be on the holodeck, but Boimler insists that she’s real.

When they meet in the Vancouver shuttlebay, the first thing Mariner says is, “Computer, end program,” and after that, she devotes a ridiculous amount of energy to proving that Brinson is some kind of shapechanger or alien creature in disguise or something, anything other than a woman who is interested in Boimler as a boyfriend. Because she doesn’t believe that Boimler could have a girlfriend.

KRAD COVID readings #58d: “Cayo Hueso” Part 4

Continuing the five-part reading of my urban fantasy novelette “Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet,” in this fourth installment, Cassie is reunited with her twin brother Paul, and they each have major revelations about the other — and then Odin has a major revelation for them both about what’s been happening on Key West….

Check it out! Final part tomorrow! Please subscribe to the channel!

talkin’ anthologies with Randee Dawn, Michael A. Ventrella, and the Pocono Liars Club

Randee Dawn and I were the guests at the Pocono Liars Club Zoom conference this week, talking about writing and editing for themed anthologies with Michael A. Ventrella. We covered a whole range of topics relating to the assembling, conceiving, writing, and putting together of short-story anthologies. Check it out!

most of my virtual Dragon Con schedule

Like pretty much every con that wasn’t in January or February, Dragon Con is going virtual this year. The con will be in bits and pieces all over the web, including DCTV, on Facebook, on YouTube, on Zoom, on Discord, on Twitch, and possibly elsewhere. Here’s a guide to the virtual con including everything that will be on DCTV, and here’s a Google doc that shows what the various tracks will be doing as supplemental programming on their Facebook and YouTube feeds.

This is my current schedule. There are two prerecorded panels I did that have not yet been scheduled, and once I get the times for them, I’ll edit this post.


8-9pm: “The End is Near: A Supernatural Fan Panel” w/Damian Allen, Kristin Jackson, Gail Martin, Marx Pyle, and Carol Malcolm (archived on YouTube)

9-11pm: “Tails of Dragon Con” w/Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Michael Falkner, Rosalind Faulkner, Bethany Kesler, Lola Strickland, Darin Bush, Kevin Kusinitz, Felicity Kusinitz, Sue Kisenwhether, Jessa Phillips, Michael Bailey, and Sherman Burris (Facebook, YouTube)


4-5pm: “Abbey Road” w/JM Tuffley, Jason De La Torre, Mike Faber, and Rob Levy (archived on YouTube)

10-11pm: “Gordon’s Alive!: Flash Gordon at 40,” w/Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Sherman Burris, Debbie Viguie, and Jonathan Williams (archived on YouTube)


1-2pm: “Superhero Movies after Batman ’89,” w/Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Denise Lhamon, Dr. Scott Viguie, Debbie Viguie, and Shaun Rosado (archived on YouTube)

8.30-9.30pm: “Pre-Dawn of the MCU,” w/Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Michael Bailey, Michael Falkner, and Jessa Phillips (archived on YouTube)

10-11.45pm: “Roll-a-Panel: 1985 Reprise,” w/a cast of billions (Facebook, YouTube)


10-11am: “The Sherlock Holmes Archetype,” w/Jennifer Blackstream, Bob Nygaard, Trisha Wooldridge, Caro McCully, and Roxanne Henkle (archived on YouTube)

1.30-2.45pm: Writers Track 15-minute mentoring sessions with me, sign up here! (full schedule of sessions here)

7-8pm: reading — I’ll likely be reading from Alien: Isolation and/or To Hell and Regroup (Facebook, YouTube)

8.30-9.30pm: “Novelization Readings,” w/Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, Michael Williams, Chris Cummins, Kevin Eldridge, Elizabeth Jones, and James Palmer (archived on YouTube)


10-11am: “Doctor Who Potpourri,” w/L. Jagi Lamplighter, JM Tuffley, Sue Kisenwhether, Michael Falkner, and Caro McCully (archived on YouTube)

11.30am-12.30pm: “Music and Writing,” w/Darin Kennedy and Sue Phillips (Facebook, YouTube)

1.30-2.45pm: Writers Track 15-minute mentoring sessions with me, sign up here! (full schedule of sessions here)

As-yet unscheduled

Doctor Who Roundtable,” I’m one of several folks who answered questions about Doctor Who (Facebook, YouTube)

“Roll-a-Panel: 1985,” w/far too many people to list here (Facebook, YouTube)

By Dragon Con standards, this is a light schedule for me, honestly. With the added bonus of no crowds, no half-hour waits for an overcrowded elevator, and I can sleep in my own bed! Woohoo!

Looking forward to seeing folks on my laptop this weekend!