I’m gonna be at Emerald City Comic-Con


Meant to mention this sooner, but I kept waiting for the con to actually put me on their web site. They still haven’t, but I’m assured that I’m still a guest there, so I’m just going ahead and posting: I’ll be at Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle next weekend!

I’ll be spending most of my time at the Bard’s Tower booth, which will be 1121 on the exhibit floor. You can talk to me, have me sign your stuff, and also buy my books! The Tower will have special advance copies of Mermaid Precinct, as well as copies of the other Precinct books, Without a LicenseAliens: Bug HuntStar Trek: Tales of the Dominion War, and, of course, the newly released A Furnace Sealed, along with possibly some others.

I’ll be joined at the Tower by Mercedes Lackey, Jonathan Maberry, Dan Wells, Brian McClellan, Larry Dixon, D.J. Butler, Cat Rambo, Michelle Cori, Peter Orullian, Kuta Marler, Michael Rothman, and Mario Acevedo, among others!

I’ll also be doing at least two panels (possibly more, but, again, the web site doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge my existence):


3-4pm: “The Universe of Star Wars,” w/Jeff Ayers, Amanda Cherry, Greg Hyman, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, and Leo Roberts, TCC L3-R4


2.45-3.45pm: “The World of Star Trek,” w/Jeff Ayers, Gale Benning, Amanda Cherry, Terry McIntosh, and Leo Roberts, TCC L3-R5

Hope to see folks there!



4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Deadpool 2


Ryan Reynolds is back! So’s Morena Baccarin, but she’s unceremoniously killed before the credits because the writers are too incompetent to figure out what to do with her. Despite this spectacular misstep, the movie is a great romp, with great performances from Reynolds, Zazie Beetz as Domino, and especially Josh Brolin, who makes me actually give a fuck about Cable for the first time, well, ever. Plus, X-Force is formed and killed in the space of about 15 minutes, which is awesome as X-Force always kinda sucked. The great superhero movie rewatch has some chimichangas with Deadpool 2.

An excerpt:

What’s especially frustrating is that the movie does a wonderful job satirizing another tired trope, which is that all the super-powered people in comics (and in movies that adapt comics) are skinny. Firefist is a chubby specimen, and the only time you ever see a fat person in a comic book, they’re either not powered, or their powers are very specifically related to their obesity. Firefist is a breath of fresh air, and I love the fact that he’s discriminated against as a fat kid is part of what turns him evil. Julian Dennison absolutely nails the role, making the character’s anger and frustration (and, it must be said, immature idiocy) convincing and real.

Star Trek: Discovery‘s “If Memory Serves”


From the moment the “previously on” appeared on the screen in the retro style with clips from “The Cage” all the way to the end when Discovery goes renegade, I had a big goofy grin on my face. This episode has so much, and it does it all well, from moving the general story forward to finally giving Spock some serious screen time (and revealing the source of the rift with Burnham) to being a sequel to “The Cage” to dealing with Saru’s evolution and Culber’s resurrection, and more and more, and it’s fantastic. Extra points to a superlative performance by Anson Mount as Pike. My review of Star Trek: Discovery‘s “If Memory Serves.”

An excerpt:

Last week, I said I was looking forward to seeing Anson Mount’s Pike deal with being exposed once again to the Talosians and this week’s trip to Talos IV gave me all I was hoping for. But even before that, the cut from Jeffrey Hunter in the scenes from “The Cage” to Anson Mount on the bridge of Discovery was magnificent. I thought the casting of Mount was perfect when it was announced, and “If Memory Serves” just reinforces that.

But what really got me was the look on his face when the image of Vina appeared in the ready room. That was the moment I was waiting for, and Mount managed to show a tremendous range of emotions in that one instant: shock, confusion, desire, anger. His trip to Talos IV had a huge impact on him, and Mount shows us every emotion that this puts Pike through. I’m not one for soulmates, in fiction or in real life, but it’s obvious that Pike and Vina believe that they are each others’ soulmates, and the tragedy of their separation is etched on Mount’s face.

new on Kickstarter: Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles


I’m involved in another anthology being Kickstarted, and this one is going to be particularly magnificent. It’s called Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles, and it will feature a bunch of nifty authors, including me, doing odd takes on John, Paul, George, and Ringo. It’ll be published by the fine folks at Fantastic Books (the same folks who gave us Release the Virgins!), and edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Randee Dawn.

Here’s the lineup of confirmed authors, with more to be added after an open submissions period following the (hopefully) successful funding of the anthology:

  • Spider Robinson
  • David Gerrold
  • Jonathan Maberry
  • Alan Goldsher
  • Cat Rambo
  • Jody Lynn Nye
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans
  • Gail Z. Martin
  • Keith R.A. DeCandido

Plus there will be notes by Janis Ian and Nancy Holder.

So please consider supporting the anthology on Kickstarter!


Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Light and Shadows”


Burnham finally finds Spock, Sarek and Amanda have it out, Pike and Tyler have it out, and Stamets and Tilly save the day with science! My take on Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Light and Shadows.”

An excerpt:

The Sarek family dynamics is of much more interest to me than the tiresome Section 31 maneuvering, which is only even tolerable due to Yeoh being at the center of it. (I found the revelation that Leland was involved in the death of Burnham’s parents to be spectacularly uninteresting and unmoving.) Spock himself remains simply a Maguffin, not speaking a single coherent word the entire episode. Let’s hope that next week Peck gets more of a chance to actually play the character.

4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Deadpool


The merc with a mouth gets his very own movie, as Ryan Reynolds fulfills a life-long dream to play Deadpool in a live-action film. The great superhero movie rewatch eats some chimichangas with Deadpool.

An excerpt:

There’s not a bad performance in the movie, which helps immensely. T.J. Miller’s dorky deadpan keeps up beautifully with Reynolds’s rapid-fire snark, Leslie Uggams is superb as the too-old-to-give-much-of-a-shit Blind Al, Stefan Kapičić is hilariously earnest as Colossus, Brianna Hildebrand is stereotypically teenage (but nonetheless compelling) as Negasonic, and both Ed Skrein and Gina Carano are delightfully, unapologetically evil in their portrayals of Ajax and Angel Dust.

But the best performance here is Morena Baccarin, because she has so little to work with. Deadpool’s approach to Vanessa is to take a complicated comics character and reduce her to The Love Interest. She’s marginalized constantly, with Wilson sneaking out of the house to get his super-cure, and never going near her after he turns ugly, not thinking highly enough of her love for him that he thinks looking like the product of two desiccated avocados that rage-fucked will be enough for her to reject him. And then she’s kidnapped, because that’s really all they can think of to have her involved in the plot. Sigh.

me talkin’ A Furnace Sealed on Mary Robinette Kowal’s “My Favorite Bit”


It’s a day for A Furnace Sealed on the web, it seems. Today, Mary Robinette Kowal featured me on her regular feature “My Favorite Bit,” as I talk about how much fun it was to write a book that took place in my home borough.

An excerpt:

I love writing about the people here. The Bronx is one of the most fascinatingly diverse places you’ll find. In 2009 and 2010, I worked for the U.S. Census Bureau, and I got to see so many different places and things and people.

My favorite was going to a Buddhist monastery, located in an old two-story house on a side street near Kingsbridge Road. From the outside, it looked like just another house, but inside I was greeted by a wizened old monk and his acolyte. They gave me tea, and for half an hour, I felt like I’d been transported to a secluded region of Asia rather than the middle of the Bronx.

The team I supervised for the main Census operation included people who were from (or whose ancestry traced back to) western Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Korea, Cambodia, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Poland, Russia, Italy, and Ireland.