In comics form, both Barbarella and Vampirella are sexualized to the max. Barbarella leans into that, so much so that it almost falls over, while Vampirella pretty much avoids it. Both characters have a major sleaze factor, and that was completely missing from the Vampirella movie. Which would’ve been fine if there was a good movie to replace it, but there really, really isn’t. It’s just another low-budget sci-fi flick with bad acting, worse effects, a mediocre script, and absolutely nothing to recommend it.
When this episode first was announced, my response—and the response of many Trek fans—was a rolling of the eyes. In much the same way “Acquisition” seemed an unnecessary foray into continuity landmines just for the sake of doing a Ferengi episode, so too here with the Borg.
However, this is both a better episode than “Acquisition,” and also less of a risk, for several reasons. For one thing, the Borg are way more popular than the Ferengi. For another, in this case, the continuity hit was already there. After all, even a big-ass explosion is going to leave some debris, and it makes perfect sense that some bits of the Borg sphere might land on Earth. And landing in the Arctic is a particular masterstroke, since the shifting ice floes up there are such that it’s easy enough for things to disappear from sight for long periods of time.
I’ve got a bunch of stuff on the ol’ plate, and with the recent release of Phoenix Precinct and of The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian, I thought I’d remind y’all what I’ve got scheduled to be coming between now and the middle of 2023….
Phoenix Precinct. This won’t be officially published until March 2023, but eSpec Books and I will both have the trade paperback at conventions (and you can order them from me) before that. This is the sixth novel, and seventh book overall, in my “Precinct” series of epic fantasy/police procedural stories. In this one, we look in on Albinton, or “New Barlin,” a new neighborhood built recently in Cliff’s End to accommodate refugees from the nearby city-state of Barlin, which suffered a massive fire. Refugees are being assaulted, and now one has been murdered. But the investigation by Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald leads to corruption in the Castle Guard — and in the castle itself!
The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian. In 1970, teenager Jim Theis wrote a really terrible high fantasy novella called The Eye of Argon for a fanzine. It became legendary in fannish circles, as folks would try to read it with a straight face and with all the (many) typos intact. Now, for some reason, editor Michael A. Ventrella and publisher Fantastic Books has released the entire original text, both a facsimile of the original and the full annotated text, along with a mess of short-story sequels to the epic tale by a bunch of authors, including me. I wrote “The Rat’s Tail,” and it’s legit the worst story I’ve ever written for publication. Mfrink!
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning. This first issue of this five-issue miniseries from TokyoPop should finally hit the stands in December 2022, with the remaining four coming out over the course of the first half of 2023, and then there’ll be a graphic novel collecting the whole thing in the fall of 2023. Featuring art by Carmelo Zagaria, this is a prequel to the Infinite Darkness animated series on Netflix and focuses on fan-favorite RE character Leon Kennedy, as he is sent to Pittsburgh to investigate a bombing…
“Ticonderoga Beck and the Stalwart Squad” in Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2022. Of the many many short stories I’ve written recently (I’ve written ten that either were published in 2022 or will be published in 2023), this is my favorite: a two-fisted pulp action story taking place in 1938 featuring the famous polymath Ticonderoga Beck and his Stalwart Squad, who protect the good ol’ U.S. of A. from the forces of evil, including his bodyguard, the former heavyweight champion boxer Sluggin’ Secundo Vecchia; his physician, the mysterious Oriental Chow-Lin; his Negro mechanic and chauffeur, Gregory Johnson; his secretary Della Maze; and his cook, Mary Johnson, Gregory’s sister. But the Squad has a secret, that you’ll just have to read the story to learn about. This will be in Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2022, edited by Robert Greenberger, and should be out soon from Crazy 8 Press, and it’s the first of what I hope are many Ticonderoga Beck stories.
“Whatever Joker Wants, Joker Goetz” in The Man Who Laughs: Exploring the Clown Prince of Crime. In 2019’s Joker, they did a riff on the Bernhard Goetz subway shooting in 1984 that galvanized New York City. My essay in this collection of think-pieces on the Joker in all his iterations (from his first appearance in Batman #1 in 1940 through to all his various comics and screen incarnations) looks at how the movie used that cause celebre from the 1980s to tell its story, and whether or not it succeeded. This collection, edited by Rich Handley & Lou Tambone, will be out in early 2023 from Crazy 8 Press.
“This Little Light of Mine” in Phenomenons: Season of Darkness. In this second volume of the shared-world superhero milieu created and edited by Michael Jan Friedman, my Bronx-based hero Luminosity is devastated to learn that her best friend and crime-fighting partner De’Andra Jones has been kidnapped — and so has Sarcastic Fringehead! Teaming with Red Sky, Black Hat, and La Colosa y La Particula, Luminosity must track down her partner and the teenaged hero. It’s a wonderful team-up that I had much more fun writing than should be legal. Look for the book in 2023 from Crazy 8 Press.
“‘The Curse of the Fatal Death’: I Was Between the Covers with Steven Moffat” in Outside In Regenerates: 160 New New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers. In honor of the tenth anniversary of Stacey Smith?’s Outside In series that takes unique views of various classic TV shows, she’s putting together a reboot of the first Outside In volume, which looked at classic Doctor Who (and is now out of print). This time, it’s new writers taking yet another gonzo gander at pre-2005 Who tales, and I’ll be closing out the volume with my take on the Comic Relief sketch “The Curse of the Fatal Death,” featuring Rowan Atkinson (and others) as the Doctor, Julia Sawalha has his companion Emma, and Jonathan Pryce as the Master. ATB Publishing should have this out in early 2023.
The Thick Blue Line in Sherlock Holmes: Cases by Candlelight Vol. 2. I’ll be writing a novella for this second book in Christopher D Abbott’s series of Holmes short pieces by him and others. I’ll be telling a tale of Scotland Yard, as the chief of detectives is acting strangely, and the various detectives whom Holmes has worked with (or, occasionally, against) over the years band together to hire the great detective to find out what’s wrong with their boss. This should be out in the summer of 2023.
“What Do You Want from Me, I’m Old” in The Four ???? of the Apocalypse. Wrenn Simms and I have been very dilatory in putting this anthology together, but we’re struggling mightily to get it out for spring or summer 2023 as the inaugural publication of Whysper Wude. My story will be about the four septuagenarians of the apocalypse.
“Know Thyself Deathless” in Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups. This anthology, edited by Jonathan Maberry and myself, will feature team-ups of classic characters, and I’m putting together Ayesha — the title character from H. Rider Haggard’s She — and the Yoruba goddess Egungun-oya in my tale. We’re shooting to have this out from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers in the summer of 2023.
Feat of Clay (The Bram Gold Adventures Book 2). The sequel to A Furnace Sealed sees supernatural hunter-for-hire Bram Gold in the rather awkward position of being hired to track down a golem by the same person who animated the golem that killed Bram’s parents a decade ago. There’s also a stray dragon in someone’s back yard, plus Bram is still dealing with the fallout from Book 1. We’re shooting to have this out in the summer of 2023 from WordFire Press.
Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. Eight stories and a dozen vignettes set in Key West involving Cassie Zukav, who is one of the Disir — a Norse fate goddess — and her encounters with nixies, a creepy doll, Norse gods, a family of dragons, and more. Seven of the stories are reprints, with a new one (“Stop Dragon My Heart Around”) written just for the collection, and the vignettes originally appeared on my Patreon. Plus One Press should have this out in the world some time in mid-2023.
“Another Dead Body on the Corner” in Joe Ledger: Unbreakable. For the second time (following 2017’s Joe Ledger: Unstoppable, which included my award-winning story “Ganbatte”), Jonathan Maberry is letting other writers play in his “Joe Ledger” universe. In 2023, along with the thirteenth novel in that series, Cave 13, JournalStone will put out Joe Ledger: Unbreakable, edited by Jonathan and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, and this time I’ve written a story of Ledger’s days as a detective in the Homicide Squad of the Baltimore City Police.
The Gold Archive: Birthright. Part of Obverse Books’ series of monographs on Star Trek episodes, this is my in-depth look at the two-part episode that introduced Data’s dream program and had Worf seeking out his father only to find a bunch of Klingons in a gilded cage. This has been delayed due to the series editor suffering some rather major health problems, but I’m hoping it’ll be out some time in 2023.
Star Trek Adventures: Incident at Kraav III (with Fred Love). I have no idea when this role-playing game module will actually come out from Modiphius — it’s been approved by CBS and I’ve been paid — but this is a Klingon-focused adventure where a Klingon Defense Force ship must investigate why an industrial complex has gone quiet.
If you want to get a wonderful gift for a loved one, how about one of my books, autographed! I’ve got a mess of books available!
If you want one sent to you with my scribble on the title page, simply send the appropriate amount of money to me with a shipping address, and I’ll send it posthaste! If you’re in the U.S., please send the cover prices of the books you want (listed below) plus $8 for shipping. If you’re not in the U.S., please just send the cover prices, and I’ll ask you for the postage (whatever it is) after I ship it.
Money can be sent via the following means:
PayPal to email@example.com
Zelle to firstname.lastname@example.org
Venmo to @keith_decandido
Google Pay to email@example.com
Check or money order made out to Keith R.A. DeCandido to PO Box 4976, New York, NY 10148-4976
Here’s what’s available:
A Time for War, a Time for Peace — $10
A Singular Destiny — $10
I.K.S. Gorkon: A Good Day to Die — $10
I.K.S. Gorkon: Honor Bound — $10
I.K.S. Gorkon: Enemy Territory — $10
Klingon Empire: A Burning House — $10
Spider-Man: The Darkest HoursOmnibus (w/Down These Mean Streets) — $16
Thor: Dueling with Giants — $10
Other tie-in books
Alien: Isolation audio CD — $20
Serenity — $10
Young Hercules: Cheiron’s Warriors — $5
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars — $10
Supernatural: Nevermore — $10
Supernatural: Bone Key — $10
Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon — $10
all 3 Supernatural books — $25
Dragon Precinct — $16
Unicorn Precinct — $16
Goblin Precinct — $16
Gryphon Precinct — $16
Mermaid Precinct — $16
Mermaid Precinct signed & numbered hardcover — $50
Phoenix Precinct — $16
Tales from Dragon Precinct — $16
3 Precinct books — $45
4 Precinct books — $60
5 Precinct books — $70
6 Precinct books — $85
all 7 Precinct books — $95
Other original books
A Furnace Sealed — $16
Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet — $16
Systema Paradoxa: All-the-Way House — $13
Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido — $16
The 18th Race
To Hell and Regroup (written with David Sherman) — $16
The 18th Race Omnibus (written with David Sherman) — $35
Across the Universe: Tales of Alternate Beatles (w/”Used To Be”) — $16
Bad Ass Moms (w/”Materfamilias”) — $16
Devilish and Divine (w/”Unguarded”) — $16
Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds, and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly (w/”‘The Train Job’ Didn’t Do the Job”) — $16
Pangaea Book III: Redemption (w/”Journalistic Integrity”) — $16
Phenomenons: Every Human Creature (w/”The Light Shines in the Darkness”) — $16
Turning the Tied (w/”In Earth and Sky and Sea Strange Things There Be”) — $16
X-Men Legends (w/”Diary of a False Man”) — $20
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, just reply to this blog post or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s very easy to love Thanksgiving, and it’s also very easy to hate it. Love, because showing gratitude for the things you have is never a bad thing, and neither is the notion of community and sharing food. Hate, because the American iteration of the holiday is rooted in a history of genocide and mistreatment of the people who lived on this continent before the Europeans showed up.
I choose to go for the former — giving thanks is always good, and, I think, very important.
I am thankful for my writing career, which has enabled me to make a living doing something I love, and have wanted to do pretty much since I was six. This year in particular I’m thankful to my assorted editors on the stuff I’ve worked on in 2022 or will be working on in 2023: Christopher D. Abbott, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Emmet Asher-Perrin, Lena Attanasova, Peter & Kathleen David, Joseph Dilworth Jr., Michael Jan Friedman, Deborah Grabien, Robert Greenberger, Marco Guerrero, Rich Handley, Tina Jens, Jim Johnson, Jonathan Maberry, Bridget McGovern, Mike McPhail, Audrey Parente, C.T. Phipps, Paul Simpson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Stacey Smith?, Lou Tambone, and Michael A. Ventrella. I’m also thankful for my amazing agent Lucienne Diver, who is both a wonderful agent and a dear friend.
I am thankful for my readers, without whom that writing career would be less impressive. The feedback I continue to get for my work, past and present, continues to delight me and fill me with joy and fulfillment.
I am thankful for all the conventions that had me as a guest this year, whether on my own or through the auspices of Bard’s Tower. In particular, I want to thank Philcon, Bubonicon, and InConJunction, who all had me as a Guest of Honor this past year. I also want to thank all the folks who’ve been with at Bard’s Tower, who are a great bunch of humans.
I am thankful for everything related to my now-eighteen-year career as a martial artist. I’m especially grateful to Shuseki Shihan Paul, who is the finest teacher you could ask for, and an inspiration to us all; to my fellow senior black belts at our dojo, Kyoshi Gustavo, Sensei Dorian, and Sensei Charles; to my wonderful students at my afterschool program, who keep me on my toes and whose karate journey is tremendous fun to guide; and to all my fellow karateka both at honbu — our dojo is the headquarters of our style — and at our dojos around the world.
I am thankful for our landlords, who have provided us with a wonderful home lo, these last six years. The place has some issues, but it’s a great home for Wrenn and I, and we are incredibly happy here. It’s a great place to be able to work from home, and it’s also right down the street from my aging parents, which is wonderful on many levels.
I am thankful for my friends and family. I’m lucky to have a wonderfully supportive and loving family (they’re pictured above at our Thanksgiving dinner at Madeline’s Petit Paris in Northvale, New Jersey), and I have the most wonderful friends in the entire universe. I’m especially grateful for the gang I play poker with — the weekly poker games over Zoom have been a tremendous balm — and have made wine with (the two groups overlap). I’m also thankful for the lightening of the pandemic to the point where we can have parties and gatherings again.
I am thankful for the New York Yankees, who were fun to watch this year, even though they were once again stymied by the Astros in the post-season.
I am thankful for the various online places where I interact with folks virtually — yes, even Twitter, at least for now.
I am thankful for the City of New York, which remains the greatest city in the world and which — contrary to the bullshit propaganda on Fox News — is not a crime-ridden hellhole.
I am thankful for my fellows in the Boogie Knights, with whom I was able to perform with for the first time in two-and-a-half years at Shore Leave.
I am thankful for ToniAnn and Kyle, as well as Professor Zoom, Tempura, Jazz, Thor, and Loki, for so very many things.
I am thankful for my parents, who are the best in the universe.
And I am thankful for my wonderful wife Wrenn and our two loving felines, Kaylee and Louie.
Now that Phoenix Precinct is an actual book — and officially going to be published by eSpec Books in March of next year — I thought I’d provide an updated list of how to get the entire set of books in my epic fantasy/police procedure series. Pick up all the adventures of the passionate half-elf Lieutenant Danthres Tresyllione, the ex-philosopher/ex-soldier Lieutenant Torin ban Wyvald, and the rest of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard as they attempt to maintain law and order in the largest city-state in Flingaria.
Here’s how you can order the books in either trade paperback, eBook, or (for the first four novels) audio form online:
If you want an autographed copy of any of the above in trade paperback, you can order them from me. It’s $16 for one book, $32 for two, $45 for three, $60 for four, $70 for five, $85 for six, and $95 for all seven, plus $8 for shipping. You can pay me via PayPal (email@example.com), Zelle (firstname.lastname@example.org), Venmo (@keith_decandido), or Google Pay (email@example.com), or send a check or money order to PO Box 4976, NYC 10185-4976.
Last night, we had our memorial workout in honor of Shuseki Shihan William Oliver, the founder of our discipline who passed away in November 2004. One of the things Shuseki Shihan Paul said at the end of the workout when he was reminiscing about Oliver was a brief mention of the fact that he was a really big Paul Simon fan.
In honor of that, here are two live versions of my favorite of Simon’s songs, “Late in the Evening.” The first is from the concert in Central Park that Simon did with his erstwhile partner Art Garfunkel in 1981, a concert I attended as a twelve-year-old. The second is from a 2012 concert Simon did in Hyde Park.
This episode reminds me of two prior Trek episodes, both of which handled this slightly better: TNG’s “Half a Life” and Voyager’s “Thirty Days.” In the case of the TNG episode it worked because the person who is trying to effect change in an entire society because she doesn’t like the way one person is being treated is Lwaxana Troi, an eccentric, and very self-centered, civilian. And even there, Lwaxana comes around to understand that there’s not really anything she can do. As for the Voyager episode, it’s also got a dumbshit Starfleet crewmember acting on too little information and causing major problems, but at least Paris got a month in the clink and a demotion.
Another one from the Montserrat concert in 1997, this is Mark Knopfler, backed by a full orchestra, doing a lovely rendition of “Brothers in Arms,” the title track of the 1985 album Dire Straits recorded at George Martin’s studio in Montserrat.