Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Dark Frontier”

An episode that’s twice the length with half the plot! Voyager goes after the Borg, on purpose, and don’t wind up devastated and destroyed, which is pretty much the textbook definition of a failure of writing. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch comes to a “Dark Frontier.”

An excerpt:

The Hansens came up with all these nifty-keeno doodads that would protect them from the Borg. But the Hansens were assimilated. We even saw the Borgified Magnus Hansen right there in the episode. We also know from “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II” that the Borg instantly absorb all knowledge of folks they assimilate and immediately incorporate that knowledge, as the Borg already had a defense against the Enterprise’s fancy-pants weapon because they had assimilated Picard a few hours earlier. And yet twenty years later the Borg never bothered to create a method of defending against the lifesigns inhibitor, the multiphasic shielding, or anything else? Really? We’re supposed to buy that?

SHE RIDES!

It took a week longer than anticipated, but I have finally finished the first draft of All-the-Way House, the fourth volume in the Systema Paradoxa series of novellas about cryptids that’s being released by the NeoParadoxa imprint of eSpec Books, in association with Cryptid Crate.

I’m gonna let it sit for a day while I write Monday’s Voyager Rewatch and an article on WandaVision, both for Tor.com, and then and then look it over tomorrow before sending it to my editorial goddesses, GraceAnne Andreassi DeCandido (a.k.a. The Mom) and Wrenn Simms (a.k.a. The Wife), both professional editors, and both invaluable helpmeets in my writing.

All-the-Way House is, as you might gather from the cover, about the Jersey Devil, and it was a lot of fun to dig into the various legends about the creature also known as the Leeds Devil in general, and the mass hysteria regarding the Devil during a weird winter week in January 1909. The novella takes place in three different time periods — the origin of the Leeds Devil in 1735, the aforementioned week in 1909, and in the present day. It takes place in central New Jersey (Camden, the Pine Barrens, Atlantic City, etc.) and eastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Chester). It takes place in the same milieu as the Adventures of Bram Gold (A Furnace Sealed, the upcoming Feat of Clay, “Under the King’s Bridge”) and the Yolanda Rodriguez short stories (“Materfamilias” in Bad Ass Moms and “Unguarded” in the upcoming Devilish and Divine).

It’s not up for preorder yet, but hopefully soon…..

Go Ju Kata

This morning, I did an amazing thing.

Our karate discipline is pretty small — we only have five dojos, and they’re in five different countries: our honbu, or headquarters, here in New York, plus dojos in South Africa, Italy, Chile, and Japan. This morning at 8am Eastern Time, representatives from all five dojos gathered — some in their training space, some in their homes, some in large outdoor spaces — and together we all did fifty katas in two hours.

Katas are my absolute favorite part of karate. A kata is a form, a series of movements and techniques in sequence. The vast majority of katas are twenty steps, though some are ten or fifteen, and once you hit black belt they get even longer. (As a third-degree black belt, I have two katas that are just over fifty moves.) I love the way you lose yourself in the movements, in the techniques.

Today’s event was just spectacular. We did twenty-one different katas, each of them at least twice, some of them three times. Besides just the joy of doing katas, there was the added wonderfulness of being able to do them in concert with our friends around the world. The folks at the other dojos are also dear friends in addition to being fellow martial artists. The Italy dojo welcomed me and Wrenn wholeheartedly when we visited in 2018, and the students and teachers from all four of the other dojos have all made visits to us at honbu and it’s been wonderful every time.

One of the great frustrations of the past year has been the inability to interact in person with people. Doing so over video conferencing is a practical substitute, but it’s not always an emotionally satisfying one. Today, though, it was, as video conferencing was the only way to make this work. After all, we’re not just five different dojos in five different cities and different countries, we’re all in different time zones and in different continents! And through the magic of technology, we were able to be together even as we’re separated by so much distance, united in our love of and skill with karate. Watching us all move together in unison on my laptop screen was just fantastic.

We’re hoping to make this an annual thing. I, for one, can’t wait to do it next year….

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Bliss”

Voyager detects a wormhole to Earth that seems too good to be true — and it totally is. Sadly, there’s no Admiral Ackbar to warn them that it’s a trap set by a telepathic creature that wants to eat Voyager, but there are Seven of Nine, Naomi Wildman, and the EMH, who join forces with an alien trying to stop the creature to save the day. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch feels a whole lotta “Bliss.”

An excerpt:

Still the episode feels bizarrely inconsequential. Seeing the Stepford crew of Voyager gleefully barreling toward this fake wormhole is cute for about a minute, but it drags on far too long. By so totally falling for the creature’s deception, it makes the crew look incredibly ineffectual. It would’ve been nice to see some confusion or resistance—from Tuvok, if nothing else, given his Vulcan suppression of his emotions and his Vulcan telepathy.

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Gravity”

Hey, look, it’s Lori Petty! And her character falls in love with Tuvok! Man, is she in for a rough ride…. As a bonus, Joseph Ruskin is there with his amazing voice. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch succumbs to the forces of “Gravity.”

An excerpt:

Yes, the story is one we’ve seen before—not just on the original series, but also in “Alter Ego“—but the episode sings mainly because Russ, Lori Petty, Robert Duncan McNeill, and Robert Picardo all sell it. Petty is particularly good in this, giving us someone who is at once very capable of surviving on her own, but also incredibly lonely and eager for companionship. And the anguish of both sides of the doomed romance is palpable.

KRAD COVID reading #93a: Star Trek: S.C.E.: Invincible Book 1, Part 1

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is 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’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

This week, we kick off the two-book Invincible, which was a collaboration between me and David Mack. In this first part of Book 1, Commander Sonya Gomez is assigned to the crystal planet of Sarindar to help the Nalori Republic construct a subspace accelerator. But the project is beset by substandard equipment and indifferent workers who dislike the Federation, dislike Starfleet, and don’t think women should be in charge of things…

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

I’m on The Big Thrill

I’m interviewed by The Big Thrill about Animal, the thriller I wrote with Dr. Munish K. Batra. Check it out!

An excerpt:

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

Mostly by shining a light on the mistreatment of animals and on posing the rather dicey moral dilemma, as the actions of the killer in this novel can be viewed as righteous. Yet he’s still a mass murderer.

Turning the Tied blog tour continues!

The blog tour to promote Turning the Tied — the new charity anthology of tie-in stories featuring public-domain characters written by some of the best tie-in writers in the business — is continuing apace. I mentioned the first few stops on the tour in this post, and here are some more:

Check them out!