Since we came to Ohio for Fanboy Expo Columbus, it seems fitting to do the Low Anthem song “To Ohio.”
The crew has a nasty encounter with the Gorn, resulting in a cat-and-mouse game through a brown dwarf. It’s an exciting, fast-paced action-adventure storyline that Trek has been doing well from “Balance of Terror” in 1966 to “There is a Tide” in 2020, and it’s really good. It’s saved from being great by some stupid writer tricks and a continuity issue (or two). My review of Strange New Worlds‘s “Memento Mori.”
While this is pretty much La’an’s episode in the same way that the previous episodes have been Pike’s, Uhura’s, and Number One’s, the real star of this one is Anson Mount. Throughout this entire crisis, Pike is constantly thinking, constantly trying to figure out a way to turn their disadvantages into advantages. There are echoes of the best of previous Trek captains here: a willingness to do something batshit crazy to get the job done (Kirk, Archer, Burnham, Dal), always thinking three steps ahead (Picard, Saru), and an easy and almost effortless confidence in his crew (Sisko, Janeway, Freeman).
I’m going to be a guest at Fanboy Expo Columbus this coming Memorial Day weekend. To be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the 27th to the 29th at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, I’ll be at Bard’s Tower selling and signing books all three days!
With me at the Tower will be fellow word-slingers Dan Wells, Brian Anderson, Gama Martinez, and Rick Heinz, and actor Carlos Ferro. Also at the con will be comics creators Don Kramer, Angel Medina, Tom Nguyen, and Frank Fosco; actors Lee Majors, Kane Hodder, Tia Carrere, Tom Berenger, Dave Foley, Kevin McNally, Sean Patrick Flanery, David Della Rocco, Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine, Dirk Benedict, and Geri Reischl; performer Tiffany; voiceover actors Kevin Clash, Rob Paulsen, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon, Cam Clarke, Adassa, Olivia Hack, Jennie Kwan, Kat Cressida, and Cricket Leigh; plus a mess of wrestlers and cosplayers.
Hope to see folks there!
Half-hearted attempts are made to show humans stumbling toward a Federation, but there’s little coherency, many inexplicable decisions, and a consistent portrayal of humans as racist, impatient, and stupid even as the scripts insist they’re being bold and daring. And the Vulcans, whom the scripts insists are a bunch of big meanies, are actually acting like grownups.
I was on Pint O’ Comics on WESU FM in Connecticut last night talking about Star Trek — mostly about Strange New Worlds, but really about Trek as a whole — and it was a wonderful conversation. Don’t worry if you missed it, ’cause it’s been archived!
Working on all the things…….
Medical thriller. My second collaboration with Dr. Munish K. Batra is in the midst of revisions requested by our agent. I’m hoping to have those revisions done in the next week or so said agent — who absolutely loves the book, but says it’s too short to be saleable, which has been an issue throughout my career — can start shopping the book around.
Space opera novella series. I’ve completed the first four of these novellas. Not ready to announce what it is yet in any detail. The current plan has Books 5 and 6 done by mid-June.
Precinct series. Phoenix Precinct now has an actual deadline from my publisher: 1 October! So I damn well will write it by then….
Cassie Zukav. I still have to write “Stop Dragon My Heart Around,” which will be the final story to go into Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. It’ll be the only wholly original story in the collection, which will otherwise include all the stories that were published in magazines and/or anthologies and/or collections since 2013, as well as all the Cassie vignettes I posted to Patreon.
Bram Gold. I’m still halfway through Feat of Clay. Sigh. Hoping to get this done before summer is over. Blorfle. Meantime, I’m also scheduled to write another Systema Paradoxa novella in this universe.
The Four ???? of the Apocalypse. One of the two stories we were waiting for has been turned in. Hoping to finally make progress on this…..
Various bits of short fiction for anthologies. Waiting for the go-ahead on one tie-in anthology that I’m really looking forward to. The stories for Zorro’s Exploits and Three Time Travelers Walk Into… are done and awaiting, respectively, proofreading and publication. My stories for the upcoming Tales of Grignr and Ludlow Charingtons charity anthologies are both turned in. I have forthcoming stories to write for Phenomenons: Season of Darkness (which is crowdfunding right now!) and Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2022. And finally, I’m co-editing and writing a story for a tie-in anthology that’s going to be incredibly cool. It’s being shopped around to publishers right now.
Nonfiction. I’m still doing the weekly Enterprise Rewatch for Tor.com, as well as reviews of each new episode of Trek (currently Strange New Worlds) as they air also. On top of that, I’ll be reviving “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch” in June and July with eight new movies (well, five new movies and three older ones), and I’ll be reviewing The Umbrella Academy season three when it drops near the end of June. I’ll also be doing a piece for Outside In Regenerates on “The Curse of the Fatal Death.”
Star Trek Adventures. Still waiting for the final approval on Incident at Kraav III. Meantime, I have ten mission briefs to write for this…
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning. I’ve done all my script work for this, and I think it’s all been approved. At the very least issue #1 is approved. I’ve seen some of the artwork for #1 and it looks fantastic. The series should start being published this summer.
There’s other stuff, too, but it’s all back-burnered while I get the above stuff done. Wheeeee!
If you haven’t joined my Patreon, here’s what you’ve missed since the 6th of March:
- $1/month and up patrons: reviews of the movies Turning Red, Free Guy, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, A Goofy Movie, and The Batman.
- $2/month and up patrons: 52 cat pictures.
- $5/month and up patrons: reviews of the TV shows WandaVision, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Hawkeye, Grace and Frankie, Giri/Haji, Moon Knight, Slings & Arrows, and Under the Vines.
- $7/month and up patrons: excerpts from Feat of Clay, “A Lovely View,” “The Rat’s Tail,” Star Hoppers, and Pigman.
- $10/month and up patrons: vignettes featuring the Super City Cops, Cassie Zukav, and Dragon Precinct.
- $20/month patrons: first looks at “A Lovely View,” “The Rat’s Tail,” and Star Hoppers Book 4 Chapters 1-19.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for my Patreon and read all that cool stuff!
For a while now, Michael Jan Friedman has been teasing folks on Facebook and Twitter with images from the above artwork — it’s the unique heroes of Phenomenons, the shared-world superhero universe MJF created for last year’s anthology of that title, subtitled Every Human Creature.
The book was such a success that a second volume is now being crowdfunded by the fine feathered finks at Crazy 8 Press: Phenomenons: Season of Darkness.
All the heroes in the artwork will be there. Clockwise from the left, we have Penny Trouble (created by Russ Colchamiro and Hildy Silverman), Better Angel (created by MJF), Syntax (also created by Russ & Hildy), Lipstick Lilly (created by Marie Vibbert), and Luminosity (created by me!!!!).
I’m very much looking forward to writing more stories about Luminosity, her best friend De’Andre, and their adventures defending the people of the Bronx. As I type this, we’re already at $1568 of the $8500 goal, and there’s lots of cool rewards and nifty add-ons and, if we make the funding goal, fabulous stretch goals!
Among the rewards, by the by, are Tuckerizations — you (or someone you care about) can be a character in one of the stories! I’ve got three such slots in my own tale, and they’re still available as of this writing…..
We get some backstory on Number One, and a lot of it is taken from a 1989 D.C. Fontana Star Trek novel, which is fabulous. It’s a plot we’ve seen before, but it’s very well executed, from excellent work by Rebecca Romijn as Number One as a contagion spreads through the Enterprise and by Anson Mount and especially Ethan Peck as Pike and Spock on the planet. My review of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘s “Ghosts of Illyria.”
The B-plot here is Pike and Spock down on the planet, and not only does it continue to solidify the Pike-Spock dynamic that would lead to Spock breaking dozens of regs to help Pike a decade hence in “The Menagerie,” but it’s also a master class by Ethan Peck in continuing the character of Spock. Every line of dialogue is delivered in a manner that is at once very Leonard Nimoy-like, and yet totally Peck as well. (Credit also to screenwriters co-executive producer Akela Cooper and supervising producer Bill Wolkoff for penning very Spock-y dialogue.)
The use of actors who were already under contract is one of many ways in which Matalas, et al seem to be focused more on keeping the show under budget than telling the story they want to tell. Most of the sets are either ones that were already created for season one (the Château Picard mansion, La Sirena) or in contemporary L.A. where the show films and don’t require much alteration to work, since it’s only two years in the future. And roughly three-quarters of the season takes place in the same setting as the filming location, leaving only the first two episodes and the very end of the last one to take place in the future.