Author, editor, anthologist, musician, podcaster, black belt, curator, and all-around hoopy frood. Farscape comics writer, multifaceted Star Trek writer/editor, Boogie Knights percussionist, Scattered Earth contributor, voice of Todd Rage, author of the Dragon Precinct and SCPD novel series, and a whole lot less.
Some of my favorite fiction, whether on the page or on the screen, is that which thoroughly embraces its location, to the point where the place is as much a character in the story as the people. TV shows like The Wire with Baltimore, the various Law & Order series with New York, Republic of Doyle with Newfoundland, and Longmire with Wyoming; movies like The Taking of Pelham-123 with New York, The Dark Knight with the (fictional) Gotham City, L.A. Confidential with Los Angeles; and novels like the works of George Pelecanos with Washington, D.C., Carl Hiaasen with south Florida, and Laurie R. King with pretty much anywhere she cares to write about, as she is particularly expert at immersing you in a particular time and place.
One of the joys of writing Animal was getting to bring the reader to the crowded market streets of Shanghai, the rainstorm-wracked national park in Chad, the oppressive humidity of Miami, the wide-open spaces of South Africa, and the crowded cities of Beijing and Atlanta.
The existence of The Last Waltz precludes Stop Making Sense from being the greatest concert movie ever made, but Jonathan Demme’s movie of a Talking Heads concert from 1984 is pretty damn awesome, and this is one of my favorite songs from it, the stellar live version of “Slippery People,” which is a decent little new-wave-y/reggae-ish song on Speaking in Tongues, but live in the movie is a much more intense, rockin’ number with guitars and bongos emphasized over synthesizers.
Having said all that, there was a lot of good-but-not-great this season. So many episodes held back from what they could have been due to clumsy writing (“Revulsion“), bad procedure mixed with moral repugnance (“Retrospect“), or writing themselves into a corner (“Yearof Hell“). And far too often, they crowbarred a story into a concept whether it makes any kind of sense or not: “The Raven,” “Concerning Flight,” “Mortal Coil,” “The KillingGame,” “The Omega Directive,” and “Demon” all suffered from conceptual issues that the episodes themselves couldn’t write past.
On 14 January 2021 at 8pm EST (that’s tomorrow night), I’ll be the guest on Kingdom of Graph (part of MyFandomTV) with Marco Guerrero and Michael Berkowitz. It’ll be live on YouTube at the link below, so check it out!
As we approach one presidential inauguration, here’s a song that was inspired by the first month in office of President George H.W. Bush, Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.” We get both the original studio version and a barn-burning live version by Young and Pearl Jam at the 1993 MTV Music Awards.
Season one was a show written to be binged that was then released in two sets of weekly drips and drabs over five months, thus utterly spoiling the flow of the narrative. Season two started out as a show about one thing, and very obviously became a show about a different thing at the end, as the writing showed the seams of the behind-the-scenes turmoil.
Season three, though, provides a nice balance of standalone episodes with moving the plot along. It’s less serialized than the prior two, but still with a continuing narrative. For one thing, this gives Discovery individual standout episodes, which have been rare in the prior two seasons. “Su’Kal” and “Unification III” and “There is a Tide…” are all particularly strong.
For 2021, KRAD COVID readings will be 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 wrote ten installments in the series, and I’ll be reading them over the course of the next ten months, with a new reading every #TrekTuesday.
We continue with Part 2 of my four-part reading of Fatal Error, the second novella in the series. The supercomputer Ganitriul is failing, and the world of Eerlik is falling into chaos. The U.S.S. da Vinci sends an S.C.E. away team to to try to fix the moon, even as the First Speaker of Eerlik tries to do likewise.
On top of that, while it’s good that the crew is confronted with those aforementioned unintended consequences, there’s no apology, no regret, no recrimination. Janeway’s alliance with the Borg was directly responsible for a genocide. Probably multiple genocides, given that it’s, y’know, the Borg. Now it’s possible Species 8472 would’ve been worse, but we really have no way of knowing. All we know for sure is that they were defending their territory from a Borg incursion into fluidic space. On the other hand, we know what the Borg does, and it’s not very nice. Some guilt on the part of our heroes would not have been untoward, is what I’m saying, and there’s none of it.
John Fogerty has had the phrase “weeping in the promised land” bouncing around in his head for twenty-five years, and even wrote a song about it once, but he wasn’t thrilled with it. In 2020, with his planned tour cancelled due to the apocalypse, he found lyrics to go with it. It’s his first new song in eight years, and it broke the dam, as he’s working on a new album. (The whole story can be found on Rolling Stone.) Here’s the song, a fuck-you farewell to the Trump Administration.
I will be joined by Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor; Fred Nelson, who plays King Henry VIII at the Maryland Renaissance Festival; actor and director Thomas Plott; and Cindy Anderson of The 501st–Old Line Garrison.
This will be a fun Hollywood Squares style trivia game, covering all kinds of stuff. Should be fun! Come support Heather (who is not just a dear friend, but also my former bandmate in the Boogie Knights) and have a good time!