where to see me in November

November has five weekends in it, and I’m going to be spending three of them at conventions!

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From 8-10 November, I will be at Philcon 2019 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I’ll post my schedule closer to the event, but I’ll be doing plenty of things, including MCing the masquerade! We’ll also be doing a big mass-reading for Across the Universe, the forthcoming alternate-Beatles anthology I’m in.

 

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This year has been a whirlwind of shows with Bard’s Tower, and the final one for 2019 will be GalaxyCon Louisville from 22-24 November. GalaxyCon has taken over a bunch of shows in the southeast, and they run a great great event. I’m very much looking forward to returning to Kentucky for this one. I might be doing programming, but I’ll definitely be at the Tower selling and signing books.

 

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Finally, after years of being told I should go to it, I’m finally gonna be a guest at Starbase Indy in Indianapolis from 29 November – 1 December (Thanksgiving weekend). Really looking forward to doing this Star Trek-themed show.

Hoping to see folks at one or more of these conventions!

 

I never could get the hang of Thursdays…

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Sorry I haven’t been blogging much. Haven’t been talking much online, honestly. This blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter feed have mostly been announcements, links, wishing people happy birthday, and retweeting stuff. I’ve been obscenely overworked, but I haven’t been talking about it much, as very little of it is ready for public consumption. I’ve been working on two collaborations (a medical thriller with a doctor, and a military SF novel with David Sherman), I’ve been working on some RPG writing (I hope I can announce that one soon), I’ve been working on the game tie-in here and there, plus my regular gig writing for Tor.com, and my karate responsibilities (which have included three hours a week working with the people going for their black belt promotion, which started last night, so that, at least, is one small thing off my plate).

Today, I have to:

  • write the final 1000 words of that RPG project
  • pack for Capclave
  • teach my usual Thursday karate class
  • buy cat food so the cats don’t starve while we’re in DC
  • buy some other stuff we need to take with us for the weekend
  • do the rewatch of Captain America: Civil War
  • at least start putting together the packages for the Mermaid Precinct Kickstarter as I finally have the books and packing stuff all together, I just need to spend some time (which I have so much of!) putting the packages together

So, y’know, nice quiet day………………..

 

my Capclave schedule

Capclave

In the 1990s, I was a regular guest at Disclave, which was a Washington D.C.-area-based SF convention that was held over Memorial Day weekend. Then a thing happened in 1997, and Disclave was forced to discontinue, ceding Memorial Day to Balticon and eventually reforming as the much-smaller-scale Capclave, held in October.

Capclave has been trying to get me to be there since it started in 2001 and eighteen years later, they’ve finally succeeded. (Among other things, it’s often been the same weekend as New York Comic-Con, which has created a conflict…) I will be there this coming weekend in Rockville, Maryland.

Here’s my schedule:

Friday

6-7pm: “Mystery Crossovers,” w/Beth Brenner, Gordon Linzner, Jean Marie Ward, and Martha Wells (Washington Theater)

10-11pm: “Books v. Hollywood,” w/Thomas Holtz, David Keener, Barbara Krasnoff, and Will McIntosh (Eisenhower)

11pm-midnight: “Eye of Argon Reading,” w/Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, and Michael A. Ventrella (Washington Theater)

Saturday

12-1pm: “Points of View,” w/Sarah Avery, Barbara Krasnoff, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, and Fran Wilde (Eisenhower)

7-8pm: “Battlefield Writing,” w/Day al-Mohamed, Bjorn Hassler, Mike McPhail, and Allen L. Wold (Monroe)

10-11pm: “Why Superheroes? Why Now?” w/Jim Freund, David Keener, and Hildy Silverman (Truman)

Sunday

12-1pm: reading (Wilson)

2-3pm: “Authorial Intent and Rewriting Canon,” w/Kelly E. Dwyer, Natalie Luhrs, K.M. Sparza, and Martha Wells (Washington Theater)

 

Hope to see folks there! When I’m not on programming, I am likely to be at the eSpec Books table in the dealer room selling and signing things……

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Thor: Ragnarok

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A movie I love and hate in equal measure, as it’s a good general Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, it’s a very good Hulk movie, it’s a good vehicle for the characters of Thor and Loki, but it’s a simply terrible Thor movie. And it blows its attempt to adapt Thor #382 in a truly pathetic manner. It’s fun, but I hate it. I love it, but it’s awful. The great superhero movie rewatch has many feelings about Thor: Ragnarok.

An excerpt:

Worst of all, though, is that this movie redshirts the Warriors Three, and would have done the same for Sif if Jaimie Alexander wasn’t too busy starring on a TV show (which is the first nice thing I’m willing to say about Blindspot, which is a really dreadful series). It’s obvious that Hogun’s final confrontation with Hela was originally meant for Sif, and it would have been a truly despicable and horrific end to one of Marvel’s strongest female characters. But even without Sif, this is a contemptible misuse of three of Marvel’s most venerable and delightful supporting characters, who were established in Thor as being his nearest and dearest comrades. And this movie just kills them perfunctorily without even much of a fight, just so they can show how badass Hela is. Except we know how badass Hela is already—she fucking blew up Mjolnir with one hand! Her badassitude was well established, so there was no need to just cast aside Thor’s three best friends on the altar of proving it once again. Especially since Thor never once even asks about Hogun, Fandral, or Volstagg. Their deaths are never passed on to him, he never gets a chance to mourn them, or even give any indication that he gives a rat’s ass about them. The only non-family Asgardian he has any significant interactions with is Heimdall, who gets treated generally way better, I guess because he’s played by a more famous actor.

Short Treks: “The Trouble with Edward”

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The voice of Sterling Archer, the secret origin of the tribbles, and an Anson Mount cameo as Pike! It’s not great art or anything, but it’ll make you laugh for fifteen minutes. My take on the latest Short Treks, “The Trouble with Edward.”

An excerpt:

One thing I like is that at no point does Lucero even consider the possibility of killing the tribbles. I’m sure many of them do die when the superstructure of the ship collapses, but it’s established that plenty survived, at least. The only fatality is Larkin himself, but tellingly, none of Starfleet’s attempts to restrain the tribbles are lethal: their phasers are on stun and they’re never consigned to space via an airlock.

Short Treks: “Q & A”

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Short Treks is back with a look at Spock’s first day on the Enterprise, wherein he and Number One get stuck in a turbolift for far longer than either is comfortable with. Three of the best things about Discovery season 2 — Ethan Peck’s Spock, Anson Mount’s Pike, and especially Rebecca Romijn’s Number One — are highlighted in this new short, and we get the triumphant return of Shouty Spock! My review at the link….

An excerpt:

What I particularly love about “Q & A” is that Michael Chabon’s script leans into the early-draft versions of the characters that we saw in “The Cage,” as well as the early episodes of the original series, and into the fact that Number One and Spock are actually very similar characters.

The former is hilariously called back to when Spock first beams aboard and is practically screaming his dialogue, and Number One has to tell him that there’s no need to shout. Shouty Spock is one of the more hilarious aspects of the character that Nimoy abandoned after a few episodes, but we got a lot of it, not only in the two pilots, but also in the first couple episodes of season one of the series.

As for the latter, that is accomplished by having the two characters repeatedly say the same thing at the same time, from technobabble to Spock’s signature word (“Fascinating”).

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Doctor Strange (2016)

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The master of the mystic arts comes to the MCU, and while it’s enjoyable, it’s also disappointing in so many ways. The acting is mostly good, and the overall story is fine, but there are some serious problems in the details. The great superhero movie rewatch both enjoys and is let down by 2016’s Doctor Strange.

An excerpt:

[T]he climax is brilliant. Obviously inspired in part by Dormammu’s first confrontation with Strange in the classic Strange Tales #126-127 back in 1964—where Dormammu winds up in debt to Strange for helping him—Strange using the Eye to trap the bad guy in a time loop is just fantastic.

And it points up to an important part of Strange’s character, which is one of the things I like best about the movie: Strange doesn’t wish to kill. He’s forced into it once, and he hates it and doesn’t want it to happen again. He wants to save lives. One of the tensions between Hollywood action movies’ proclivity for death and destruction and adapting superhero comic books is that most superheroes don’t kill—it’s part of what makes them actual heroes as opposed to vigilante shitheads. Far too many movies in this rewatch have ignored or lost sight of that particular truism (the 1989 BatmanIron Man 3, Man of Steel, the 2003 Daredevil), but not Doctor Strange, thank goodness. He sends the second battle with Kaecilius in New York to the mirror dimension, and he puts himself in Dormammu’s fatal line of fire indefinitely, in both cases to safeguard the lives of the people of Earth.