Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Unimatrix Zero”

The sixth season comes to an end with yet another Borg episode, this one creating an interesting notion for a Borg resistance, but also utterly failing to maintain the concept that the Borg are, y’know, scary. Or menacing. Or even hard to defeat. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch travels to “Unimatrix Zero.”

An excerpt:

In much the same way that, over time, the producers of DS9 took everything that was interesting and alien about the beings who lived in the Bajoran wormhole and made them trite and boring, so too with Voyager’s producers and the Borg. The “ultimate user” species that Q described as utterly uninterested in the nuances of human behavior or communication but only was interested in technology they can consume has turned instead into a mustache-twirling villain who taunts her arch-nemesis and gives monologues and isn’t actually dangerous to attack.

There’s no sense of menace here. The Borg Queen, introduced as a haunting, scary ghost in the machine in First Contact, has turned into an ineffectual villain helplessly trying to keep her drones under control and stymied by the machinations of Janeway and her crew. Susanna Thompson does the best she can, but the script does her no favors, stopping just barely short of having her shake her fist and saying, “Curses, foiled again!”

I will be at GalaxyCon Raleigh

My second in-person convention of 2021 will be in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I will be attending GalaxyCon Raleigh at the aptly named Raleigh Convention Center at 500 S. Salsbury Street from 29 July – 1 August. I’ll be at the Bard’s Tower booth, which will be Booth #500, alongside fellow word-slingers Jody Lynn Nye, Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jackson Miller, Dan Wells, Guy Hutchinson,Christopher Ruocchio, Rick Heinz, Megan Mackie, and Chris Irving.

I might also be doing programming. No word on that yet, but will update this post if I get a panel schedule. EDITED TO ADD: See schedule below…..

There will also be tons of actors (live-action and voice actors), comics creators, wrestlers, and cosplayers there. So come on by if you’re in NC at the end of the month!

Here’s my panel schedule, all of which will be in the “Creator Cave” (room 304)…..


7-8pm: “Star Trek in Prose and Film,” w/Carlos Ferro, Rick Heinz, and Melinda M. Snodgrass


12-1pm: “Writing in Comics, Prose, and Games,” w/Rick Heinz, John Jackson Miller, and Jody Lynn Nye


12-1pm: “World Building,” w/Brian Anderson, John Jackson Miller, and Jody Lynn Nye

KRAD COVID reading #97c: Star Trek: S.C.E.: War Stories Book 2, Part 3

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is 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’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

We continue War Stories Book 2, which shows one of the U.S.S. da Vinci‘s missions during the Dominion War, the conflict portrayed on the last two seasons of Deep Space Nine. In Part 3, the weird Dominion device nearly kills 110 and 111 while Captain Gold prepares the da Vinci for a battle against Dominion forces.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “The Haunting of Deck Twelve”

Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but if you’re going to title an episode “The Haunting of Deck Twelve,” shouldn’t there, at some point, perhaps be a haunting on deck twelve? The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch calls title bullshit on “The Haunting of Deck Twelve.”

An excerpt:

There are some good moments in the episode, but most of them come from the Borg kiddos pestering Neelix with questions. My favorite was Icheb correcting Neelix misstating the technobabble.

I will give the episode one piece of credit: the use of the computer’s voice interface, making use of its library of preprogrammed phrases and responses, is an incredibly clever method of communicating.

But that’s pretty much it. The episode itself is completely nowhere, and while the framing sequence tries very hard to cover up how nowhere it is, it mostly fails, too.

my Sunday feeling (on a Monday)

Several friends of ours formed “Le Crew” a bunch of years back to make wine with a specialty house that allows you to choose your own grapes and such and participate in the creation of a wine. Wrenn and I joined Le Crew a couple of years ago and our first wine was a rioja. Our second was a Montepulciano, and yesterday we got together at Make Wine With Us in New Jersey and bottled it. It was a fun little assembly-line process whereby we filled the bottles, corked them, put the foil on, sealed the foil, and put on the label (seen above).

Our Montepulciano is called “The Full Monte,” and the label design is by the redoubtable David Mack, mixing the movie poster for The Full Monty with Michelangelo’s David. I love it.

Afterward, we retired to Glenn & Brandy’s place for lunch and general hanging out, and that was even more glorious than the bottling. After the recent apocalypse, it was so wonderful to just hang out with folks. I figured we’d be there for an hour or two. Six hours later, we finally realized we should probably go home, though we didn’t particularly want to.

A really really good day.

This morning, I get to go to the orthopedist to discuss the MRI of my knee that I got last Wednesday. After decades of knee problems I’m finally seeing a specialist about it. X-rays showed no arthritis, so we tried an MRI. Though it was only of one knee, because insurance wouldn’t approve both knees. Don’t look at me, I just work here…..

Also on the docket for this week is dinner with another couple, a Star Trek panel for Con-Tinual: The Con That Never Ends, my aunt’s birthday lunch, and, best of all, Wrenn and I are going to the Yankees-Phillies game on Wednesday night! Plus, y’know, writing and editing and stuff…….

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Life Line”

It’s two, two, two Robert Picardos for the price of one! Plus bonus Marina Sirtis and Dwight Schultz! It’s an hour of dual snark as the Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch needs a “Life Line.”

An excerpt:

Really, that’s all there is to say about the main plotline. It’s just a vehicle for Picardo to do a double act with himself. (The actor himself joked that, “I achieved a lifelong ambition of working with an actor who I’ve admired.”) That and we get more of Barclay and Troi, which is never a bad thing. Dwight Schultz is unusually subdued in this one—though, to be fair, he can hardly get a word in—and it’s nice to get a Barclay story that isn’t about his neuroses. Barclay here is just being a good person and a good friend. And Marina Sirtis is a delight—I especially like her coming out and calling both the EMH and Zimmerman jerks. It’s not very professional, but it was definitely deserved. And in general, Troi does good work here. The script is excellent, full of snappy patter and great one-liners for both of Picardo’s characters.

irons in the fire update

Haven’t done one of these in a while, and there’s lots to do….

Nonfiction thingie. This hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m in the midst of writing a monograph of approximately 30,000 words about a specific episode of a TV show. This is a lot of fun, and it should be done in the next week. Not sure when it’ll be available for sale, or even announced, but keep watching this space……

Tie-in comic book. What was supposed to be a bigger project turned into a smaller one, but I’m writing a five-issue miniseries that’s a tie-in to a nifty license. I’ve written the script for #1 and I’m waiting for approval on it now.

The Four ???? of the Apocalypse. I still have to write my story for this anthology that Wrenn and I are editing, and today is the official due date for the stories. We have 19 of the 28 stories in, four of them I already know will be late (that includes mine), and I’m hoping to see the remaining five by the end of the day. We’re also getting the cover sketch in today. Hoping to have this out in time for Dragon Con. *crosses fingers*

Luminosity story. I’m going to be doing a story for Phenomenons: Every Human Creature, a shared-world superhero anthology that’s in the midst of a crowdfund (check it out! only three days left!), which will feature a Bronx-based hero named Luminosity, a former prosecutor who fights crime with her ability to control the light spectrum.

Tie-in fiction. I have tie-in proposals with two different publishers, both licenses I’ve worked in before. Still waiting to hear back.

Science fiction novellas. I’m working on a series of SF novellas that are sorta-kinda a game tie-in. More on this when it’s announced.

Tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet. Wrenn is currently editing “Ragnarok and a Hard Place.” Once I incorporate her changes, I’ll send it back to her to format and it’ll go to the Indie GoGo supporters. After that, I’m going to put together Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet, which will include all the Cassie stories that weren’t in Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet back in 2013, and which will also likely include one new never-before-seen story, which I still need to write. I’m hoping to have the new collection out in early 2022.

The Bram Gold Adventures. I’m in the midst of Feat of Clay (written the first ten chapters, which is 37,562 words), and I hope to finish it soon and have it out also in early 2022.

Precinct series. After Feat of Clay is done, the next step is Phoenix Precinct.

Collaborations with Dr. Munish K. Batra. Munish and I are currently batting around notions for a sequel to Animal. Our second collaboration, working title Pigman (a medical thriller), is currently making the rounds via our agent. And we have some other ideas we want to work on.

Super City Cops. I’m still under contract to write four novellas in this universe for Falstaff Books. One of these days…..

Time travel story. This will be a nifty story for a fun anthology that I’ll talk about more once the Kickstarter launches……

Nonfiction. Still doing the Voyager Rewatch twice a week for I’ll be reviewing the new Trek shows when their episodes come out, and I have other possible pieces for them. Plus in December, I’ll be reviving the great superhero movie rewatch to cover Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals, The Suicide Squad, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage. On Patreon, I plan to review Black Widow as this month’s movie review, and I’ve got a ton of TV to catch up on.

There are other things I’d like to be working on, but this covers the high points, methinks…..

KRAD COVID reading #97b: Star Trek: S.C.E.: War Stories Book 2, Part 2

For 2021, KRAD COVID readings is 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’ll have a new reading every #TrekTuesday.

We continue War Stories Book 2, which shows one of the U.S.S. da Vinci‘s missions during the Dominion War, the conflict portrayed on the last two seasons of Deep Space Nine. In Part 2, while Stevens. 110 ,and 111 try to dope out the Dominion’s “golf ball,” Salek, Duffy, and P8 Blue work to fix a vital communications relay.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

my panels at Shore Leave 41.6!

I did five bits of programming at the virtual Shore Leave convention this past weekend — the second year in a row the show was forced to be online-only thanks to the current apocalypse. With luck, we’ll be back in person next year for a proper Shore Leave 42.

Anyhow, here’s what I did:

Me moderating “The New Age of Star Trek,” as Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Dayton Ward talked with me about Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Short Treks, and the upcoming Strange New Worlds and Prodigy.

Me and fellow author guests Aaron Rosenberg, Heather E. Hutsell, James Swallow, Joshua Palmatier, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roberta Rogow, Christopher D. Abbott, Michael Jan Friedman, and Paul Kupperberg pimping our latest offerings at the “New Release Party.”

Publisher/editor/author Danielle Ackley-McPhail leads “eSpec Books Presents,” joined by me, Hildy Silverman, Jenifer Purcell Rosenberg, Robert Greenberger, Mary Fan, Russ Colchamiro, and Aaron Rosenberg to talk about all the cool stuff from eSpec.

Kelli Fitzpatrick moderated this wide-ranging talk on “Characterization in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” that included myself, Amy Imhoff, Derek Tyler Attico, Mary Fan, and Glenn Hauman.

And finally, “How Did I Get In This Mess?” which had Howard Weinstein moderating a talk on how we all broke into the business, featuring me with fellow scribes Richard C. White, Christopher D. Abbott, Joshua Palmatier, and Robert Greenberger.