Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Drone”

A transporter accident leads to the creation of a Borg who is a mix of the transporter chief’s DNA and the EMH’s mobile emitter. Seven tries to raise him as an individual, but the Borg Collective isn’t that easy to shrug off. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch gives us the life cycle of a “Drone.”

An excerpt:

What sells this particular iteration of the plot is two fantastic performances by Jeri Ryan and J. Paul Boehmer. The latter’s is pretty straightforward, but he has the same delightful curiosity that we’ve seen before in Brent Spiner’s Data and Hallie Todd’s Lal and will see again in Manu Intiraymi’s Icheb and Isa Briones’ Soji. And Ryan is simply stellar here, as we see how she’s trying to become more human than Borg, and then she uses Borg trappings to help teach One to be a person, and then she finds herself devastated when she realizes she’s going to lose him. The final dialogue exchange between the pair of them before One expires is devastating. She begs him to lower the force field so the EMH can treat him, and he refuses. “You must comply,” she begs, “please—you’re hurting me.”

“You will adapt.”

Again, Borg trappings, but for a human moment. And One dies, not as a drone, but as a hero who saved the ship.

at last, a new president

I haven’t posted much politically over the last four years, which was for a variety of reasons, but the main one was that it was too fucking exhausting. Any time I said anything on social media about politics, the rest of the day was given over to keeping an eye on the responses in order to keep things civil, which is something I insist upon in my online spaces. And it’s just been so depressing because there’s been so much crap from the 45th President.

But today, I’m posting because Donald Trump has left the White House and Joe Biden has just been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. President Trump has been an absolutely terrible President, from beginning to end. He was in violation of his oath of office from the nanosecond he swore it because he didn’t divest himself of his businesses, which is in violation of the Emoluments clauses of the Constitution. And he ended his presidency by inciting a riot, sending his most fervent devotees to the Capitol to disrupt the certification of his successor and kidnap or kill the Vice President and members of Congress. In between, he ruined our standing on the world stage, he encouraged white supremacists, he imprisoned people seeking asylum and separated children from their parents while doing so, he did everything he could to marginalize and remove protections for people who aren’t white, he bypassed Congressional approval of his appointees by making Cabinet members “acting” for indefinite periods, he used his family as staff in violation of the laws put into place after the Kennedy Administration, he continued the disastrous “trickle-down” economic policies that started in 1981 with President Reagan and which have kneecapped our economy for forty years, and so much more.

But the worst was his utterly disastrous, harmful, murderous, idiotic response to the global pandemic that has gripped the world since early 2020.

I am so looking forward to having a grown-up as President. I am so looking forward to someone who understands how government works running the executive branch. I am so looking forward to someone who understands science in the Oval Office. I am so looking forward to someone who acknowledges that people who aren’t cis het white dudes are worthy of being involved in government — hell, in life. I am so looking forward to a president who encourages scientists and who doesn’t encourage racists. I am so looking forward to a president who doesn’t hold rallies after he’s elected.

And I am so looking forward to a president who isn’t nakedly corrupt.

President Biden has a ton of work ahead of him to clean up the spectacular mess of the last four years. Meanwhile, former President Trump has a ton of work ahead of him dealing with all the criminal charges that are about to come pouring down on him. The current attorney general of New York State, Letitia James, ran and won handily in 2018 on a platform that pretty much boiled down to: “as soon as they swear in the next guy, I’m nailing Trump’s ass to the wall.” And it looks like Georgia might have some indictments coming his way for the blatant attempt he made to overturn the will of the people in Georgia during the 2020 election.

I know that I’m so fucking relieved right now that we don’t have a narcissistic wannabe mobster in the White House anymore.

Happy Inauguration Day, everyone.

Writers Digest talks to me and Dr. Batra about Animal

Dr. Munish K. Batra and I are both interviewed by Writers Digest about Animal, talking about the origins of the book and the writing and other stuff.

An excerpt:

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

We knew intellectually how badly animals are treated all over the world, but the detailed research done to make the instances of animal cruelty in the novel accurate was sobering, to say the least. The sheer number of ways that animals are harmed is bad enough, but the reasons are often so incredibly shallow and pointless.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Night”

The fifth season kicks off with the introduction of the Malon and the Captain Proton holodeck program, while crew morale goes into the toilet during a very long trip through some very empty space. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch goes out at “Night.”

An excerpt:

And, for all that it’s sappy and against military protocol and all that, seeing everyone basically tell Janeway to go jump in a lake because they’re not gonna let her sacrifice herself is a tug-the-heartstrings moment. It’s a good reminder to Janeway that, while she may be responsible for the family they’ve built on Voyager over the past four years, they are a family, and they all help each other out.

KRAD COVID reading #91c: Star Trek: S.C.E.: Fatal Error Part 3

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings will be covering the only short fiction I didn’t read in 2020: my novellas for the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, a monthly series of eBooks that ran from 2000-2007. I wrote ten installments in the series, and I’ll be reading them over the course of the next ten months, with a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

We continue with Part 3 of my four-part reading of Fatal Error, the second novella in the series. The supercomputer Ganitriul has been sabotaged, and both the away team on the surface of the moon that houses Ganitriul and the da Vinci in space face off against the saboteurs.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

stuff what I’m writing in 2021

This is not a complete list, partly due to one project that I signed an NDA about and therefore can’t mention yet, partly due to the fact that new projects are always showing up, and partly due to one particular project that I’m not ready to talk about in public yet, but which we should be announcing by the end of the month when the Kickstarter launches.

But here’s what I know of mine that will come out in the new year.

Feat of Clay (The Bram Gold Adventures Book 2)

The second novel in my urban fantasy series about a guy from the Bronx who hunts monsters, this sequel to 2019’s A Furnace Sealed will see Bram Gold recovering from the events of the first book while having to relive a tragedy from his past and also battle a dragon. I’m hoping to have this out by the late summer from WordFire Press.

Systema Paradoxa Volume 4: All-the-Way House

This novella is part of a series of stories about cryptids. This should be out in the summer from NeoParadoxa. More details to come, but I can say that it takes place in the same universe as the Bram Gold Adventures.

“Unguarded” in Horns and Halos, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail & John L. French

Another story in the Bram Gold Adventures setting, this features another supernatural hunter-for-hire Yolanda Rodriguez (first seen in “Materfamilias” in 2020’s Bad Ass Moms) dealing with a set of Muslim angels who are being kept from their appointed task. This should be out some time in the spring from eSpec Books.

“Ragnarok and a Hard Place”

This is a tale of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet, that I crowdfunded (alongside “The Gorvangin Rampages”) in late 2019, and which I really do intend to write before too long. Hoping to have that out to supporters in the spring as well. This story will have both Loki and Odin returning to Key West just in time for the end of the world.

“Transcript of the Mayoral Debate Between Batman and the Penguin: ‘Hizzoner the Penguin’/’Dizzoner the Penguin'” in BIFF! BAM! EEE-YOW!: The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66–Season Two, edited by Jim Beard

Having done the first appearance of the Penguin in the season one volume, I turn my attention to one of Batman ’66’s best satires, when Penguin ran for mayor and Batman ran against him. In this case, I provide commentary on the episode by showing the full text of the candidates’ make-up debate, after the first was postponed in the episode in question. This should be out in the spring from Crazy 8 Press.

Phoenix Precinct

This is more a hope than a definitive statement, but I really do want to get the sixth novel in my fantasy/police procedure series out from eSpec Books in 2021. This may not happen — it will depend on a lot of other outside factors — but I’m going to do my damnedest. This novel will see unrest in the Albinton section of Cliff’s End, the neighborhood that was constructed to accommodate refugees from Barlin after that city-state suffered a catastrophic fire.

Down These Mean Streets in Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours Omnibus

In the spring of 2021, Titan will put out The Darkest Hours, an omnibus that will reprint three Spider-Man novels from the mid-2000s: the titular book by Jim Butcher, Drowned in Thunder by Christopher L. Bennett, and my own Down These Mean Streets, as Spider-Man must deal with a new designer drug that not only gets people high, it temporarily gives them super-powers…

“Incident at Kraav III” in Star Trek Adventures

I’m not 100% sure this will come out this year from Modiphius, or that this will remain the title, but I have written the first draft of this Klingon-focused game module for STA and I’m hoping that it will come together this year.

The Lone Gunmen: ‘The Lying Game’—Mitch Pileggi Gets a Call from His Agent in 2000,” Outside In Wants to Believe: 158 Unique Perspectives on 158 Ten Thirteen Stories by 158 Authors, edited by Stacey Smith?

This is the second of the Outside In volumes to cover the “Chris Carter”-verse, following Outside In Trusts No One, which covered the first six seasons of The X-Files, as well as its spiritual prequel Kolchak the Night Stalker. This followup will cover seasons seven forward of The X-Files, as well as The Lone Gunmen, Millennium, and Harsh Realm. I’ll be doing the episode of TLG that Mitch Pileggi appeared in as Assistant Director Skinner.

Animal (written with Munish K. Batra, M.D., FACS)

Technically, this is already out, but it came out on the 5th of January, so it’s a 2021 book: my collaboration with Dr. Batra is a thriller about a serial killer who targets people who harm animals. It’s already gotten lots of good notices and you can get it right now from WordFire Press.

“In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be” in Turning the Tied, edited by Jean Rabe & Robert Greenberger

This story will be in a charity anthology published by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers in April to benefit the International Literacy Association, and will feature Ayesha, a.k.a. “she who must be obeyed,” from H. Rider Haggard’s She.

Tor.com and Patreon

My nonfiction writing for both these sources will continue. For Tor.com, I will be continuing the Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch every Monday and Thursday, plus if any new Trek TV shows hit the air this year, I will review them. (I expect there might be a Short Treks or two, not to mention the likely launch of Prodigy.) I have a think piece or two in mind for WandaVision and hope to be reviewing both Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Justice League: The Snyder Cut in March (though right now that’s just a hope), plus in both June and December, I’ll be reviving “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch” to cover those superhero movies released in the prior six months.

On Patreon, I still have sixteen TV series to review that I’ve watched and still haven’t written up, and there are some others I’m still in the middle of that will be added to that list. January’s movie review will be Batman: Son of the Dragon, and I will likely be reviewing Big Night and The Princess and the Frog at some point. And the monthly vignettes will definitely continue….

cover reveal: Systema Paradoxa: All-the-Way House

The folks at NeoParadoxa, in conjunction with eSpec Books, are doing a series of novellas about cryptids called Systema Paradoxa. Four of the novellas are already available for preorder (click on this link), and I can now announce that I’m doing one as well! It’s called All-the-Way House, and while I can’t say what cryptid I’m doing, I can say two things: 1) the cover provides a clue if you recognize it and 2) it will take place in the same universe as the Bram Gold Adventures (A Furnace Sealed and the forthcoming Feat of Clay, not to mention the Yolanda Rodriguez stories in Bad Ass Moms and the forthcoming Horns and Halos).

More on this when it becomes available. We’re looking at a summer release for this one….