As a kind of final-season tribute to everything Voyager has been through over the years, this works nicely. As an actual story, it’s kind of nowhere. And it actually pissed me off in several spots, in ways that everyone who’s been reading these rewatches for the past nineteen months can probably guess…
Nine years after the release of Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, which collected a mess of urban fantasy stories set in Key West, Florida involving Norse gods, scuba diving, folklore, rock and roll music, and beer drinking, Plus One Press is going to be doing a sequel, Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. This is because I’ve written enough stories to create a second collection, finally.
Here’s the table of contents:
“Down to the Waterline” (originally published in Buzzy Mag in 2015)
“William Did It” (originally published on StoryOfTheMonthClub.com in 2015, reprinted in A Baker’s Dozen of Magic in 2016)
“Rán for Your Life” (originally published in Unearthed in 2019)
“Stop Dragon My Heart Around” (new story written for this collection)
“Fish Out of Water” (originally published in Out of Tune in 2014)
“Seven-Mile Race” (originally published in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido in 2015)
“Behind the Wheel” (originally published in TV Gods: Summer Programming in 2017)
“Ragnarok and a Hard Place” (originally released to Indie GoGo supporters in 2021)
In addition, all the Cassie vignettes that I’ve written for my Patreon will be published in the collection.
I still have to write “Stop Dragon My Heart Around,” but once that’s done I’ll turn the manuscript in, and Plus One will schedule it.
With all that, though, this two-hour episode doesn’t quite cohere. Part of the problem is that Iden is a nowhere antagonist. Jeff Yagher has no discernible personality (Cindy Katz and Spencer Garrett do a much better job), and his transition from bland affable leader to megalomaniacal murderer is utterly unconvincing. It’s a narrative cheat to make the EMH’s decision easier, but it makes the arguments far less convincing. The holograms generally are not the nicest people around—they kidnap both the EMH and Torres, they pretty much torture the EMH to make a point—but it was up to Yagher to show how they were evolving past that, and he never really did that. He was unconvincing as an antihero, as a resistance leader, or as a lunatic.
Dragon Con is back this year, in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend (starting the night of the 2nd of September and going to Labor Day itself, Monday the 6th), and despite Georgia turning into a COVID hotspot, Wrenn and I plan to attend. We’ll be masked the entire time, which is a requirement of the convention. In addition, and the con is requiring that all attendees either be vaccinated or have proof of a recent negative COVID test, so that’s good.
As usual for me at DC, my schedule is batshit crazy.
8.30 – 9.30pm: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV Series Turns 40,” w/Robert Bowen, Brian Doob, Nathan Laws, and Caro McCully (virtual panel streaming on the Brit Track’s YouTube channel)
4 – 5pm: autographing, w/various other authors at Bard’s Tower (Merchandise Mart Booth 2719)
5.30 – 6.30pm: “Military Sci-Fi Writers & Creators–Media Edition,” w/Jason Anspach, J. Gregory Keyes, and Van Allen Plexico (Westin Chastain DE)
7 – 8pm: “Aliens: 35 years of Nuking it from Orbit,” w/Andrew E.C. Gaska (Marriott M103-M105)
10 – 11pm: “First Contact Improv,” w/Griffin Barber, Cecilia Dominic, and Robert E. Hampson (Hyatt Embassy AB)
11.30am – 12.30pm: “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends 40th Anniversary,” w/Chris Cummins, Kevin Eldridge, and Derek B. Gayle (Marriott M103-M105)
2.30 – 3.30pm: autographing, w/L.H. Nicole and John Scalzi (Marriott International Hall South 1-3)
4 – 5pm: reading (Hyatt Vinings) — I will probably be reading from the in-progress Feat of Clay, but I may read something else instead or also
5.30 – 6.30pm: “Alien: On the Page, Everyone Can Hear You Scream,” w/Andrew E.C. Gaska and Steve Saffel (Westin Peachtree 1-2)
10 – 11am: “From Screen to Page: Writing Media Tie-in Novels,” w/D.B. Jackson, Dan Jolley, Terry Mancour, and Jennifer Morris (Westin Chastain 1-2)
11.30am – 12.30pm: “Battle of the Fictional Bands,” w/Joe Crowe, Chris Cummins, Kevin Eldridge, and Gary Mitchel (Marriott M103-M105)
1 – 2pm: “The Heroes and Villains of Stargate Universe,” w/Badger, James Henson, Gary Lindros, AJ Neault, and Van Allen Plexico (Westin Chastain DE)
4 – 6pm: autographing, w/various other authors at Bard’s Tower (Merchandise Mart Booth 2719)
7 – 8pm: “Creating the Great Star Trek Novel,” w/Dan Jolley (Hilton Galleria 2-3)
8.30 – 9.30pm “Classic Sci-Fi Novelization Readings,” w/Joe Crowe, Chris Cummins, John Hudgens, and Sue Kisenwhether (Marriott M103-M105) — this will feature, among other things, ToniAnn Marini reading from my Gargantua novelization
11.30am – 12.30pm: “Dead at the Keyboard,” w/Peter David, Anthony Francis, Nancy Knight, and Trisha J. Woodridge (Hyatt Embassy EF)
1 – 2pm: “Classic Sci-Fi Roll-a-Panel: Critical Fails,” w/Billy Brooks, Joe Crowe, Melissa McArthur, Gary Mitchel, and James P. Nettles (Marriott M103-M105)
And then the ship refuses to give Boimler his food, and the doors don’t respond to his approach because of “new security measures” because of all the Pakled attacks. There is no level on which this makes anything like sense. Look, for 55 years, quite possibly the most consistent thing we’ve seen on Star Trek has been that when you approach the doors, they slide apart, no matter who you are. And the replicators have never had any kind of security on them, at least not for food. Any random schmuck who wandered onto the Enterprise or Voyager or the Defiant or even one of the runabouts or the Delta Flyer was always able to get food and have the doors slide apart when they approached them.
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 continue Breakdowns, which was the last of four aftermath stories following the brutal mission to Galvan VI chronicled in David Mack’s Wildfire. In Part 4, Gomez confronts Gold about the circumstances of Duffy’s death, which proves a sad catharsis for both of them.
To make matters worse, Kim’s story is sabotaged by the need to make Seven be important as often as humanly possible, so we have the bizarreness of the one person in the main cast who knows even less about how to be a commanding officer than Kim lecturing Kim on what he’s doing wrong. Not that she’s saying anything useful, she’s just taking up a contrary position to whatever it is Kim is doing so she can berate him and pretend to know what she’s talking about so he can then pretend to learn something and be better at his job. Bleah.
I did two events at the virtual Bubonicon 52: Take Two, at which I was the Guest of Honor. First I did a reading from Systema Paradoxa: All-the-Way House, my novella about the Jersey Devil, and then I moderated a panel on magic systems in writing with S.M. Stirling, Sherwood Smith, A. Lee Martinez, and Chaz Kemp.
The joys of a virtual convention — besides the fact that I could do it at the same time I was doing an in-person panel in Kansas City — is that the events are archived! Check them out!