4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Faust: Love of the Damned

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We bring our brief revival of the great superhero movie rewatch to another pause as we look back at a film I missed the first time through, Faust: Love of the Damned, based on the comic by David Quinn & Tim Vigil. In all honesty, I’d have been okay with continuing to miss it………

An excerpt:

Brian Yuzna’s movie based on the source material is at least easier to follow along visually, but the dialogue isn’t really any better. What’s especially odd is that the movie is less invested in Jaspers than it is pretty much any other character in it. He disappears for an extended period in the back end of the movie, and when he does show up, he’s catatonic for most of the climax. His story is truncated, ineffective, and uninteresting, and the movie can’t even be bothered to explain exactly how and why he came back from being buried alive.

It doesn’t help that Mark Frost plays him with bug-eyed blankness, except when he’s in the Faust makeup, at which point he tries to funny and psychotic and utterly fails, not aided by the rubber horns he’s wearing wobbling every time he moves, making it impossible to take him in any way seriously.

KRAD COVID readings #38: “Editorial Interference”

Back in 1996, I wrote “Editorial Interference” for an anthology called Two-Fisted Writer Tales. Intended as the followup to Swashbuckling Editor Stories, the anthology never did come together, but I did run the story in the tiny online zine on the GEnie bulletin board, Fedoras Literary Review. In 2005, it was finally printed in a book, the Circles in the Hair anthology my writers group put together, and I also reprinted it in Without a License.

The story is a mystery about a strange set of killings, and it was inspired by my early career as a low-level editor who did a ton of work for no credit.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Flashback”

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In 1996, both Deep Space Nine and Voyager celebrated Trek‘s 30th anniversary with special episodes, and today’s Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch looks at the latter: “Flashback,” in which Tuvok sees a nebula and has a panic attack, which results in him looking back at his time serving on the U.S.S. Excelsior under Captain Sulu. See what I say about this episode that guest stars original series actors George Takei as Sulu, Grace Lee Whitney as Rand, and Michael Ansara as Kang!

An excerpt:

It’s a noble effort, but it feels meaningless at best, annoying at worst—particularly Janeway’s insufferably self-righteous look back at Kirk and Sulu’s heyday. Once the initial nostalgia hit wears off, there’s nothing to it, the solution coming out of the EMH in sickbay discovering one bit of made-up science that can stop the other bit of made-up science, which drains all the tension out of it, exacerbated by the actual culprit being something utterly irrelevant to the characters.

But it is fun to see Sulu in the center seat again…

KRAD COVID readings #37: “Recurring Character”

Back in the 1990s, the hottest show on television was Xena Warrior Princess, one of a slew of syndicated shows that found success in the wake of Star Trek: The Next Generation pioneering first-run syndication as a method of distributing television. It was a huge hit with a massive following, and there were also Xena novels, and eventually even a short-story anthology, to which a bunch of nifty folks contributed — including me! Released in 2001, just as the show was drawing to a close, Martin H. Greenberg assembled The Further Adventures of Xena Warrior Princess.

My own tale was called “Recurring Character,” and it’s a riff on the fact that the same stunt guys were in the fight scenes, kind of. You’ll see.

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Tuesday’s dead

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So today started with shopping: picking up an online order from Stew Leonard’s (their mascot is a cow — it’s a store connected to a farm, and they have superb dairy products — so they call it COW-side Pickup…), then shopping in Little Italy.

However, after I’d stopped at the ATM, I started driving to Stew Leonard’s by turning up a side street, and I heard the car hit, um, something. Not hard, but a mild thunk. Next thing I know, the car is listing to the left a bit and the front driver’s side tire is rumbling.

It’s a flat.

Now, we’ve gotten lots of flats, and we’ve gotten very good at changing them. Of course, I was alone, so I had to do it all myself, but I did it in fifteen minutes flat, and only fucked up one thing — I put the jack in the wrong spot initially — and I even remembered to loosen the lugnuts before I jacked up the car this time! (Sigh.)

Anyhow, then I went to the mechanic to make sure our spare had enough air in it (it didn’t) and to have them repair the flat. (Later I went back, and it wasn’t reparable, so we’re without a spare until tomorrow when they’ll sell us the new tire they ordered in.)

Then I went home to change clothes (I was covered in tire shmutz) and then went to Stew Leonard’s, then we went to Little Italy, and then I took a very long nap. Sheesh.

Tonight I recorded a panel for Con-Tinual: The Con that Never Ends, a virtual convention that’s been running on Facebook since the pandemic started. It’ll go live in a couple weeks, and it’s me and several other folks from eSpec Books (co-publisher Danielle Ackley-McPhail and fellow scribes James Chambers, Megan Mackie, and Robert E. Waters) talking about our upcoming releases, and we all also read from our recent or upcoming work.

One thing I didn’t need to do is go vote. While today is Primary Day, our esteemed governor signed an executive order allowing anyone and everyone to qualify for an absentee ballot for this particular primary, so folks could vote by mail. Which is how civilized places should do it anyhow. (Honestly, every adult should automatically be registered to vote and should have dozens of options on how to vote. Voting should be easy, not hard.) So we mailed in our ballots last week. The only downside is that we didn’t get “I VOTED” stickers. Ah, well.

Because of automotive silliness, I didn’t get to make sauce today as planned, but will probably do so tomorrow. Meantime, I’ve got a story to proofread and plenty of other stuff to do……………………..

How was your day?

 

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Basics, Part II”

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The Kazon have taken over Voyager, and the only hope for retaking the ship lies with the EMH, a psychotic killer, and Tom Paris. Amazingly, they’re successful. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew has to survive with no technology on a violent world. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch kicks off season three with “Basics, Part II.”

An excerpt:

And that’s as nothing compared to the bravura performance of Brad Dourif. There’s not a hell of a lot of characterization elsewhere in the episode, as most everyone is focused on the plot—staying alive on Hanon IV, taking the ship back in space—but in Suder we get a compelling character study. Suder has been trying so hard to move beyond his psychotic past, and the situation has been shoved into his face that forces him to backpedal. The sadness etched on Dourif’s face as he does what has to be done is heartbreaking, and adds tragedy to the events on the ship.

Monday music: “Crossroad Blues”

You probably think this is an Eric Clapton song. And he did cover it, along with a lot of other blues songs by African-American artists. Legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become a great guitar player. Said legend has been the fodder of fiction for ages, including an episode of Supernatural and one of my Cassie Zukav stories. Anyhow, here’s his most famous song (due, it’s true, mostly to Clapton).

KRAD COVID reading #36: “Deep Background”

In 2017, Titan published an Aliens short-story anthology, edited by Jonathan Maberry, called Bug Hunt. Building on the Colonial Marines established in the sequel to Alien, most of the stories in the book focused on the Marines and their lives in the dank future of that movie series. My own story, “Deep Background,” was about a reporter embedded with a platoon of Marines, and it’s what I read here.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

Happy Fathers Day

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This Fathers Day is not the best, as we’re still gripped in an awful pandemic, but we’re doing what we can. Our dinner plans include takeout from a favorite Little Italy restaurant, Tra Di Noi.

I have two fathers, even though only one contributed genetic material. But both of them were responsible for raising me (along with my various mothers, whom I discussed a month ago).

My father, Robert DeCandido, met my mother at Fordham University, in a Romantic Literature class (yes, really). They got married on Fordham’s campus in September 1968 (after he graduated and when she started her senior year), and my mother gave birth to me in April of 1969 right before finals.

For the first few years of my life, Daddy was a cab driver on the night shift, thus allowing him to take care of me while my mother attended graduate school at Columbia University’s Library School. It was there that she met John Peters, an expat from Denver, Colorado also attending Columbia, and he became my nanny and eventually part of the family. When my parents got an apartment in the north Bronx, John slept on the couch until he decided to stay in NYC rather than return to Denver, and he grabbed the apartment below ours when it became available. Four years later, he went in with my parents on the house I grew up in, and that was that.

Both Daddy and John instilled in me so much: love of reading, love of odd hobbies, love of intellectual conversation, love of bullshitting with random strangers, love of storytelling. I don’t become a writer without these two inspiring me, and I don’t become as thoughtful as I am without these two, either, which is, honestly, even more important than my being a writer. (And, I hope, that quality makes me a better writer.)

But more than that, both these two take tremendous joy out of life. Besides being smart and learned and curious, the pair of them are also two of the funniest humans you’ll ever meet.

(My mother’s twin brothers, Fred and Nat, are both goofballs, and were even more so when they were teenagers. When my mother first brought my father home to meet the family, Fred and Nat were very unhappy to meet my father, because he was funnier than they were, and they really resented that.)

So Happy Fathers Day to my two Dads, who helped make me smart, who helped make me curious about the world around me, and who helped make me funny (and not just in looks).

(Picture taken by Wrenn Simms outside Mario’s Restaurant in Little Italy in the Bronx on Fathers Day 2017. Yes, the wind is blowing my hair around, but I don’t care.)