On Tuesday the 28th of March at 6pm Eastern time, I’ll be part of a virtual panel called “Science Fiction and Fantasy: Genre and Community,” presented by Fordham University’s English Department. The panel includes Fordham folk — alums and faculty — who are in the field, including myself, Tor Books editor Claire Eddy, and fellow authors Andrew Dana Hudson, Paul Levinson, Jane Lindskold, and Gilbert Stack.
What is Science Fiction and Fantasy, as a genre and as a community? Come explore the complex interplay between the literature and the people with a panel of Fordham’s own SFF authors, faculty, and fans.
I will be one of the guests of honor at Zenkaikon 2023 this coming weekend at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I will have a table in the Exhibit Hall — I believe I will be at Table #14, between A Case of Random and DerpyCon — where I will have a mess of my books for sale, including all seven Precinct books, all three of my Supernatural novels, Alien: Isolation, Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours, Thor: Dueling with Giants, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning #1, A Furnace Sealed, All-the-Way House, Ragnarok and Roll, Without a License, Animal, a bunch of anthologies I’m in, including The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian, and many more besides!
I’ll also be doing some programming:
1-2pm: Opening Ceremonies (Freedom Hall A)
4.30-5.30pm: “Selfie Squares” w/Manly Battleships, Carolina Manga Library, and Uncle Yo (Freedom Hall A)
10-11pm: Guests Against Humanity! w/Bubblepop Entertainment and Carolina Manga (Freedom Hall A) — NOTE: this panel is 18+ and you must have an 18+ wristband from the con to enter the panel
midnight-2am: Eye of Argon Reading (Heritage A) — NOTE: this panel is 18+ and you must have an 18+ wristband from the con to enter the panel
1.15-2.15pm: reading (Commonwealth 3)
4.45-5.45pm: “Writing in Other People’s Universes” (Commonwealth 1/2)
Here’s the current list of what’s coming of mine this year in book form. I also am continuing to write regularly for Tor.com (the Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch, the superhero movie rewatch, reviews of the new Trek shows) and my Patreon (TV and movie reviews, and vignettes featuring my original characters).
Phoenix Precinct. The latest novel in my epic fantasy/police procedure series sees Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald, detectives of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard, having to deal with the continued violence against refugees from the neighboring city-state of Barlin, the latest of which culminates in murder. But their investigation leads to much more than a simple hate crime, as they find corruption in the Castle Guard — and in the castle itself!
“Ticonderoga Beck and the Stalwart Squad” in Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2022. In 1938, Ticonderoga Beck defends the good ol’ U.S. of A. against those who would harm it, aided by his Stalwart Squad–his bodyguard, former heavyweight champion Sluggin’ Secundo Vecchia; his physician, the mysterious Oriental Chow-Lin; his pilot/chauffeur/mechanic Greg Johnson; his secretary Della Maze; and his cook, Greg’s sister Mary. But the Stalwart Squad has a secret! This is one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever written, and it’s just one of almost 30 pulp-style stories in this fabulous anthology edited by Robert Greenberger.
“This Little Light of Mine” in Phenomenons: Season of Darkness. My story in the second shared-world superhero anthology created and edited by Michael Jan Friedman sees Luminosity, the hero of the Bronx, having to find her best friend and partner, De’Andra Jones, who’s been kidnapped. Sarcastic Fringehead has also been taken, and Luminosity teams up with Red Sky, Black Hat, and La Particula y La Colosa to rescue them.
“You Can’t Buy Fate” in Star Trek Explorer #7. My first Trek fiction in thirteen years will be out on the 18th of April (which is also my 54th birthday, which is fabulous) in a story that pairs Nog and Ezri Dax on a first contact gone wrong taking place shortly after Deep Space Nine‘s finale.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning #2-5, and graphic novel. Issue #1 of this prequel to the Netflix animated series came out in December, and the second through fifth issues are scheduled to be released by TokyoPop over the next few months, with the 100-page graphic novel collecting the whole schmear being released shortly afterward (the ordering links below are for that graphic novel). The story stars fan favorite Leon Kennedy, trying to stop a terrorist attack in Pittsburgh.
“Whatever Joker Wants, Joker Goetz” in The Man Who Laughs: Exploring the Clown Prince of Crime. As part of this collection of essays about Batman’s greatest foe, edited by Lou Tambone and Rich Handley, I’ll be talking about the 2019 Joker movie and how it riffs on the Bernhard Goetz shooting in New York in the mid-1980s.
Coming later this year:
“The Thick Blue Line” in Sherlock Holmes: Cases by Candlelight Volume 2. Part of Christopher D Abbott’s “Watson Chronicles,” my contribution to this anthology has Holmes hired by a most surprising group of clients: the Scotland Yard detectives with whom he has often clashed. But they have a problem that only Holmes can solve…
“A Critical Hit with a Yo-Yo and Other Stories” in D20 or Die!: Memories of Old School Tabletop Roleplaying Games from Today’s Grown-Up Kids. Mine is but one of many reminisces about growing up in the 1980s and 1990s playing tabletop RPGs, put together by Jim Beard, with Forrest C. Helvie. I have a great time talking, not just about the RPGs I played in high school and college, but how they affected my professional life…
“‘The Curse of the Fatal Death’: I was Between the Covers with Steven Moffat” in Outside In Regenerates. I’ll be writing a piece on the 2000 Comic Relief parody special “The Curse of the Fatal Death,” which will also talk about how my professional path crossed with Steven Moffat in 1996…
Feat of Clay. Book 2 in the Bram Gold Adventures, this sequel to 2019’s A Furnace Sealed will see Bram hired to track down a golem that’s been animated. But his client is the guy who animated the golem that killed Bram’s parents a decade ago, which brings up all kinds of bad memories for Bram, who’s still smarting from the awful fate of his cousin in the last book. Plus, an older gentleman has a dragon in his back yard…
“The Legend of Long-Ears” in The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny. My contribution to this Weird Western anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry will have a team-up between two real-life legends of the West, Bass Reeves and Calamity Jane.
“Know Thyself Deathless” in Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups. This will be part of the nifty anthology, published by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and co-edited by me and Jonathan Maberry, featuring team-ups of classic (and public domain) characters. My tale will feature Ayesha, a.k.a. “she who must be obeyed,” from H. Rider Haggard’s She, and the Yoruba goddess Egungun-oya.
Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. The second collection of urban fantasy tales taking place in Key West involving rock music, scuba diving, folklore, Norse gods, and beer drinking, which will include Cassie stories that have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and collections over the last decade, plus a story that was previously only released to crowdfunders and a new story for this collection called “Stop Dragon My Heart Around.”
“What Do You Want from Me, I’m Old” in The Four ???? of the Apocalypse. My contribution to this anthology of alternate takes on the Biblical quartet will feature the four septuagenarians of the apocalypse. Wrenn Simms and I are also the editors of this nifty keen anthology that should finally be out this year…
“Another Dead Body on the Corner” in Joe Ledger: Unbreakable. In 2017, Jonathan Maberry opened up his Joe Ledger universe to other writers, including me. My story for Joe Ledger: Unstoppable, which was edited by Jonathan and Bryan Thomas Schmidt, won a Scribe Award for Best Short Story. I don’t know if history will repeat itself, but this time I’ve written a story featuring Ledger himself, during his time as a detective with the Baltimore City Police.
The Gold Archive: Birthright. This is an in-depth monograph examining the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part episode “Birthright,” which focused on Data and Worf, the show’s two breakout characters. Not sure when this will be released, as the editor is dealing with some major health issues that have delayed things.
“Prezzo” in REDACTED. This has been turned in, but I can’t say where it will be appearing yet. I can say that the story takes place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1932, and involves Italian immigrants and demons from hell.
The latest in a seemingly never-ending series of “Battle of the Fictional Bands” panels on Dragon Con’s American Sci-Fi Classics Track has come and gone, but don’t worry if you missed it live last night, because it’s archived on the Tube of You!
This time, we specifically did solo acts: Rex Manning, Dazzler, Rowlf, Duke Silver, Lurleen Lumpkin, Mermeia Holographic Wow, Robin Sparkles, Parappa the Rapper, and ten more as they fight it out to see who is the best fictional solo act!
Check out me, Classics Track gurus Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel, Gleaming the Tube‘s Kevin Cafferty, Popcycled Baubles’ Shaun Rosado, and the mighty mighty Sherman Burris, as we determine the winner and champion!
KRAD readings (formerly KRAD COVID readings) is back! After a one-year hiatus, I’ll be doing a new reading in the middle of every month. This time ’round, it’s my story in the 2022 anthology Three Time Travelers Walk Into…, edited by Michael A. Ventrella and published by Fantastic Books. Each of us who contributed took three figures from different points in history and mashed them together. My story, “What You Can Become Tomorrow,” puts author Mary Shelley, Negro Leagues baseball player Josh Gibson, and NASA scientist Katherine Johnson together.
I mentioned last week that I really missed seeing Worf and Musiker, and this week reminded me why. The two remain a superb pair, with the older, more mellow Worf in the hilarious position of being the calm, rational one. (I found myself reminded favorably of the period on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, when Chris Noth’s Detective Mike Logan was teamed with the hot-tempered Detective Nola Falacci, played by Alicia Witt, and Logan at one point marvels at the fact that suddenly he’s the diplomatic one for a change…)
The first thing we see of them is a sparring session on La Sirena, and it’s a magnificent scene that illustrates both characters very nicely. Musiker has no kind of poker face, grinning at one point, snarling at another. Worf, meanwhile, is efficient and calm, and constantly giving advice. It resonated with me due to its similarity to sparring sessions in my dojo, specifically when experienced black belts spar with less experienced color belts, and the former are giving advice to the latter. Worf does that here, and my favorite moment is toward the end of the fight, when he’s just standing there, looking almost bored as he parries every single shot Musiker takes.
In 2008, a wonderful movie called Cadillac Records was released, about the rise of Chess Records, who recorded a lot of the greatest Black musicians of the 1950s and 1960s, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, etc. There were no bad performances in the film — Jeffrey Wright played Waters, Adrien Brody played Leonard Chess, Beyoncé played James, Mos Def played Berry, Cedric the Entertainer played Dixon, Columbus Short played Walter, Eric Bogosian played Alan Freed, etc. — but the standout for me was Eamonn Walker as Howlin’ Wolf. Walker is a New York-based actor who has shown up in many things over the years and always been brilliant. (He was the charismatic Karim Said on Oz, he was the killer in the Homicide movie that served as a coda to the TV show, and for the last decade, he’s played Chief Walter Boden on Chicago Fire and the other Chicago shows.)
One of Howlin’ Wolf’s most popular songs is “Smokestack Lightning,” and Walker just tears through it in the version he recorded for the movie. Just amazing.
It starts out beautifully. I’ve spent a lot of time on this rewatch complaining about this show’s truly awful teasers, so I especially want to give credit to the teaser for this one, which is right up there with TNG’s “Cause and Effect” and Voyager’s “Scorpion” as one of the most effective in franchise history. Archer waking up confused, seeing T’Pol in a captain’s uniform, watching Earth explode—it’s the textbook definition of a good teaser, because it teases the hell out of this episode.
Star Trek. My story “You Can’t Buy Fate” is set issue #7 of Star Trek Explorer — I’ve been paid and everything! Not sure if I’m gonna see a proof of it before publication or not. I’ve got a second story pitch approved, and that’s due on the 30th of June. I’ve sent in another pitch that I’m waiting to hear back on. On the nonfiction side, I’m still rewatching Enterprise every Monday and reviewing Picard every Thursday for Tor.com.
Precinct series.Phoenix Precinct is now officially published. I still have to write a short story for Kickstarter supporters of that novel, and then after that, I’ve got Manticore Precinct to write and More Tales from Dragon Precinct to put together. No real timetable for either as of yet. I’m also in very preliminary talks with a gaming company about doing a game based on the series. More on that if it actually happens. For that matter, I’m in massively preliminary talks with a production company about the screen rights to it, but that’s just in the “oh, this might be cool” stage.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness: The Beginning. Issue #1 is out, issue #2 is currently scheduled for April release, and the remaining three issues should be more or less monthly after that. Cross fingers. The graphic novel collecting all five issues will come out not long after #5’s release. My scripts are all done, so I’m just waiting with the rest of y’all.
Tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet. I need to finish writing “Stop Dragon My Heart Around,” at which point Ragnarok and a Hard Place will be ready to go.
Bram Gold Adventures. Waiting for editorial feedback on Feat of Clay, and once that feedback is incorporated, it’ll go off to WordFire. Also waiting for time to write another Systema Paradoxa novella featuring Valentina Perrone.
Sherlock Holmes: Cases by Candlelight Volume 2. I have written “The Thick Blue Line,” and it has been deemed satisfactory by series guru Christopher D. Abbott and editor Aaron Rosenberg. Aaron has also written his story (which I provided some editorial notes on), and we’re just waiting for Chris and Michael Jan Friedman to finish theirs. We’re hoping to have this book out in time for Shore Leave in July.
“Prezzo.” This is a story I’ve been asked to write for a market that is on my writerly bucket list. It’s due tomorrow, and I’m most of the way through it. It takes place in the 1930s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The title is Italian for “the price.” More on this when I’m allowed to talk about it.
The Four ???? of the Apocalypse. Wrenn and I have been awfully dilatory in putting this together, but we’re finally starting to hammer away at it. This is another one I hope to have out for Shore Leave.
Double Trouble: An Anthology of Two-Fisted Team-Ups. The stories for this are due on the 1st of April, and four of the authors have already turned theirs in. I am not one of those four, so I should get a move on to write “Know Thyself Deathless” at some point soon…
Other short fiction. I’ve turned in my story and approved the edits on both “Another Dead Body on the Corner” for Joe Ledger: Unbreakable and “The Legend of Long-Ears” for The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny. The former should be published in the fall, the latter will be crowdfunded starting some time next month, from what I understand. I also have a tie-in short story that’s due at the end of June, which is for a property I’ve never written for before, and which I’m very much looking forward to writing.
Other novel-length fiction. Munish Batra and I have our second collaboration (a medical thriller) being shopped around by our agent, and we’re going to be working on our third collaboration this year — he and I have a phone call scheduled for later this week to start hammering that out. I have a goal for this year to write the first book in the mystery series I’ve been wanting to write for over a decade. I have an urban fantasy novel proposal in with a publisher. I also have a notion for a trilogy that mixes fantasy, science fiction, and horror, which was originally solicited as part of a loose shared-world and then they decided not to do it, but I’m free to shop it elsewhere (the shared-world elements are minor and easily shaved off).
Star Hoppers. I still have to finish Book 7 of this, but the project is slow-rolling at the moment as the guy who’s running it has had other stuff going on. Hoping to get back to it at some point….
Patreon. Last month got away from me, so there was no vignette, so there’ll be two this month. I also have to make up for the lack of movie and TV reviews in February. Sigh.
Other nonfiction. My essays in The Man Who Laughs: Exploring the Clown Prince of Crime, D20 or Die!, and Outside In Regenerates should be out at some point soon — they’re all written and edited and suchlike. In addition to the Trek stuff for Tor.com, I’ll be doing my biannnual revival of the great superhero movie rewatch in June, and I’m in the mix to review other things, too (one upcoming movie is a possibility, and one upcoming TV show is very likely).
A glorious performance from one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction concerts of the Chuck Berry classic “Sweet Little Rock and Roller,” featuring (at least) Kid Rock, Steve Winwood, Tom Petty, and tons more (it’s just billed as “Kid Rock and the Rock Hall Jam Band,” which is less than helpful).