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Keith DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [2]
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Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Ragnarok and Roll (Excerpt)

, || Cassie Zukav has always been a bit of a weirdness magnet. Strange things always happened to her, even before she came to Key West for vacation and never left. She's dealt with sea monsters and nixies and dragons, and shares her room with the ghost of an old wrecker captain, whom only she can see and hear. Now she spends her days leading scuba diving jaunts and her nights at Mayor Fred's Saloon watching the house band, 1812, rock the joint. But when 1812 takes a break, they're replaced by Jötunheim, a band everyone but Cassie loves. Their lead singer is Loki, the Norse trickster god, who is trying to bring about Ragnarok-the end of all that is. Cassie learns that she's a Dís, a fate goddess, from Odin himself, the Allfather of the Norse gods. She's the only one who can stop Loki from destroying the world. And then things get really weird...

“We Will Find Hope in the Impossible” — Star Trek Beyond Non-Spoiler Review

Please note that this is a SPOILER-FREE REVIEW! The review that is full of spoilers will go up on Tor.com on Monday, done in the same style as my Trek Rewatches. Please everyone, keep spoilers OUT of the comments! Monday’s post will be the place to talk spoilery stuff…

As I settled into my comfortable recliner chair (best invention for movie theatres EVER) Thursday night to see Star Trek Beyond, I found myself remembering 1986. You see, 1986 was an anniversary year for Star Trek that included a movie that everyone was hoping would be better than the last one, and also the announcement of a new Trek TV series that would be distributed in a manner that was unusual and different, though not unprecedented.

[“When you have lived all the lives he lived, you learn that fear of death is illogical.” “Fear of death is what keeps us alive.”]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Day of the Dove”

“Day of the Dove”
Written by Jerome Bixby
Directed by Marvin Chomsky
Season 3, Episode 11
Production episode 60043-66
Original air date: November 1, 1968
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Kirk, McCoy, Chekov, and Lieutenant Johnson from security beam down to Beta XII-A, phasers ready, responding to a report of a human colony being attacked by an unknown ship. But Chekov detects no sign of the colony nor of any sign that it was destroyed, or even that it ever existed, and McCoy reads no life signs.

Then Spock calls from the Enterprise—there’s a Klingon ship approaching. However, Sulu scans the Klingon ship and discovers that it’s disabled, with multiple explosions. Commander Kang beams down with a landing party and strikes Kirk, accusing him of firing on his ship and disabling it, while Kirk accuses Kang of destroying the colony on the planet.

And even as Kirk and Kang confront each other, there’s this swirly thing floating nearby…

[We have always fought. We must! We are hunters, Captain, tracking and taking what we need.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Contaminated Cowl” / “The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul”

“The Contaminated Cowl” / “The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 35 and 36
Production code 9739
Original air dates: January 4 and 5, 1967

The Bat-signal: The Mad Hatter steals seven hundred empty hat boxes from Bonbons Box Boutique. Gordon alerts Batman, interrupting Bruce giving a check to Professor Overbeck at Gotham City Atomic Energy Laboratory to aid in his atomic research.

In his hideout, the Mad Hatter is putting away all his stolen hats. Stealing headgear has lost its allure for him. He just wants to steal one final headpiece: Batman’s cowl. He also plans to hit the Headdress Ball in the Top Hat Room of Gotham Tower, hosted by Hattie Hatfield, who will be wearing a fancy headdress held in place by the Hatfield Ruby. It’s an obvious target for him, which means that the Dynamic Duo eventually figure it out, with help from the Bat-computer.

[I have Batman’s cowl! The crowning achievement of my career and the end of his!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”

“For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”
Written by Rik Vollaerts
Directed by Tony Leader
Season 3, Episode 10
Production episode 60043-65
Original air date: November 8, 1968
Stardate: 5476.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is fired upon by a spread of old-fashioned missiles. Kirk orders Sulu to blow them up with phasers, and then Chekov traces their course back to an asteroid, toward which the Enterprise heads at warp three.

While the ship is en route, McCoy announces the results of the crew’s annual physicals: everyone’s in great shape except for McCoy himself, who has xenopolycythemia, a terminal illness for which there is no cure.

[Forgive him, for he was an old man, and old men are sometimes foolish.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Sandman Cometh” / “The Catwoman Goeth”

“The Sandman Cometh” / “The Catwoman Goeth”
Written by Ellis St. Joseph and Charles Hoffman
Directed by george waGGner
Season 2, Episodes 33 and 34
Production code 9715
Original air dates: December 28 and 29, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Sandman, who’s in Gotham from Europe, has teamed up with Catwoman on a scheme to relieve J. Pauline Spaghetti of her great fortune. They each intend to betray the other as well. However, the GCPD was actually on the ball, for a change, having embedded an undercover detective in Catwoman’s gang. Unfortunately, Policewoman Mooney’s cover is blown by Catwoman just as she’s reporting in. Now Mooney’s in trouble, so Gordon calls Batman.

[Fresh catnip? At this time of night?]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Puzzles are Coming” / “The Duo is Slumming”

“The Puzzles are Coming” / “The Duo is Slumming”
Written by Fred de Gorter
Directed by Jeffrey Hayden
Season 2, Episodes 31 and 32
Production code 9731
Original air dates: December 21 and 22, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Puzzler—a Shakespeare-spouting villain—is in billionaire Artemus Knab’s penthouse apartment (for which the Puzzler has a key). Along with his henchmen and moll, Rocket (an aspiring actress, who’s hoping for an introduction to Knab to further her career), they fly a tiny model plane right into Gordon’s office (which happens to be across the street). It drops a smoke bomb and has a note. On one side, it says, “Forsooth, the puzzles are coming.” On the back: “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, inside out the puzzle goes.”

Realizing it’s the Puzzler, Gordon and O’Hara immediately call Batman and Robin. The call interrupts Dick practicing his bird calls, which, amazingly, will actually be important later.

[Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Tholian Web”

“The Tholian Web”
Written by Judy Burns & Chet Richards
Directed by Ralph Senensky (uncredited) and Herb Wallerstein
Season 3, Episode 9
Production episode 60043-64
Original air date: November 15, 1968
Stardate: 5693.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is searching for the U.S.S. Defiant, which went missing three weeks earlier. Spock’s sensor readings indicate that the fabric of space where the Defiant was last reported is literally breaking up. Chekov picks up what appears to be the Defiant on the viewer, but though they can see it, there are no significant sensor readings from the ship. Nonetheless, it is there, even if it is all green and glowy.

Leaving Scotty—who reports a minute drop in warp power, which has him concerned—in charge of the ship, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Chekov don environmental suits and beam over to the Defiant bridge to find several dead bodies of crew who have apparently murdered each other.

[Do you suppose they’re seeing Jim because they’ve lost confidence in you?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Cat’s Meow” / “The Bat’s Kow Tow”

“The Cat’s Meow” / “The Bat’s Kow Tow”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 29 and 30
Production code 9737
Original air dates: December 14 and 15, 1966

The Bat-signal: Bruce and Dick are being interviewed on a morning TV show by Harry Upps, discussing the Wayne Foundation youth program. While Upps is doing a commercial for an umbrella, Catwoman comes in in disguise and activates a device. Upps loses his voice a second later.

Upps opens the umbrella, and it’s filled with cards containing a riddle: what’s black and white and full of fuzz? (Bruce thinks zebra, Dick thinks police car.) Our heroes are concerned that this may be the work of one of their arch-villains—they express these concerns while in an active TV studio with live microphones and cameras on them. Great way to conceal your secret identity, guys! (Bruce, at least, makes a show of putting a hand over the mic, but that’s a band-aid on a bullet wound, especially since Dick does nothing that sensible.) Umbrellas usually means Penguin; riddles usually means the Riddler; pranks usually mean Joker.

[“With your beauty and intellect, you can go much further helping your fellow man rather than harming them!” “A bit of whimsy that escapes me at the moment, Batman.”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Empath”

The Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch is devastated by the tragic death of Anton Yelchin, taken from us far too young. Rest in peace, good sir.

 “The Empath”
Written by Joyce Muskat
Directed by John Erman
Season 3, Episode 8
Production episode 60043-63
Original air date: December 6, 1968
Stardate: 5121.5

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to Minara II, which orbits a sun that is going nova. The Enterprise‘s mission is to retrieve the scientific team that is studying the nova, as the sun’s reaching a critical stage, but the scientists have responded to no hails, and the landing party finds all their equipment covered in dust.

A solar flare is approaching the planet. The landing party will be safe on the planet, as the atmosphere will protect them, but the ship is a sitting duck. Kirk orders Scotty to take the ship out of orbit, which means the trio are stuck there for at least 74 hours.

[Love and compassion are dead in you! You’re nothing but intellect!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”

“Is There In Truth No Beauty?”
Written by Jean Lisette Aroeste
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Season 3, Episode 7
Production episode 60043-62
Original air date: October 18, 1968
Stardate: 5630.7

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is conveying Kollos, the Medusan ambassador to the Federation, back to his homeworld. The Medusans’ physical forms are sufficiently bizarre that no human can look upon one without going mad. Vulcans can only do so while wearing a special visor.

Ambassador Kollos’s aide, Larry Marvick, beams aboard first. Marvick is one of the designers of the Enterprise, so Kirk sends him off with Scotty so they can geeble about engines. Kirk then leaves Spock alone with a visor to beam Kollos aboard, along with his other aide, Dr. Miranda Jones, a telepath who studied on Vulcan. Jones greets Spock with a Vulcan salute, with Kollos kept in a box for everyone’s protection. Jones also wears a visor when beaming aboard.

[“I suppose it has thorns.” “I never met a rose that didn’t.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “The Penguin’s Nest” / “The Bird’s Last Jest”

“The Penguin’s Nest” / “The Bird’s Last Jest”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Murray Golden
Season 2, Episodes 27 and 28
Production code 9701
Original air dates: December 7 and 8, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Penguin has opened a fancy-pants restaurant called the Penguin’s Nest at the top of a Gotham City skyscraper. Peculiarly, the restaurant has a cover charge of $100, and a sign that says “ONLY RICH PEOPLE AND FRIENDS ADMITTED.” Warden Crichton has arranged for Gordon, O’Hara, Bruce, Dick, and Harriet to have dinner there to show how his prison reforms are working. Penguin apparently learned the art of haute cuisine in the penitentiary kitchen.

More peculiarly, orders are taken by writing them down on slips of paper and handing them to the waitstaff rather than being given orally.

[It sticks out like the Penguin’s nose.]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Spock’s Brain”

“Spock’s Brain”
Written by Lee Cronin
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 3, Episode 6
Production episode 60043-61
Original air date: September 20, 1968
Stardate: 5431.4

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is being pursued by an unidentified ship with unique technology. They’re not responding to communication, and the ship is on alert with weapons standing by. There’s only one life form on board.

Said life form suddenly transports on board the ship, a woman named Kara. Two security guards enter the bridge, at which point Kara touches a control on her wrist, which knocks out both main power and the entire crew. (In sickbay we get a great shot of Chapel’s underwear as she tumbles to the deck.) She then goes right for Spock. [You are not Morg or Eymorg.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Come Back, Shame!” / “It’s How You Play the Game”

“Come Back, Shame!” / “It’s How You Play the Game”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 25 and 26
Production code 9729
Original air dates: November 30 and December 1, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open at the Gotham Speedway, where Grimaldi Smith is in the lead at the Gotham 100. During his pitstop, Shame and his gang steal his car, leaving behind a platinum bullet. It’s one of three car thefts perpetrated by Shame (the others being a hot rod and a go-cart), and Gordon’s only recourse is to call Batman.

Bruce and Dick interrupt their toy slot car races (Bruce keeps winning, of course) to head over to GCPD HQ. O’Hara reveals that they’ve rounded up the three stolen vehicles, but there was one part missing from each one—the carburetor from Smith’s stock car, custom-made alloy pistons from the go-cart, and milled heads from the hot-rod.

[He’s madder’n a hyena with laryngitis!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “And the Children Shall Lead”

“And the Children Shall Lead”
Written by Edward J. Lasko
Directed by Marvin Chomsky
Season 3, Episode 5
Production episode 60043-60
Original air date: October 11, 1968
Stardate: 5029.5

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to Triacus, a scientific outpost, responding to a distress call. They materialize to find a whole lot of dead bodies. There’s only one survivor: Professor Starnes, but he dies after a minute, and he doesn’t recognize Kirk before he croaks.

One of the corpses has a bottle of poison in her mouth, and Starnes’s last log entry on his tricorder indicates that they have to all kill themselves because of the enemy within. (Gee, that would make a great title…)

[DEATH TO YOU ALL!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Marsha, Queen of Diamonds” / “Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds”

“Marsha, Queen of Diamonds” / “Marsha’s Scheme of Diamonds”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 23 and 24
Production code 9727
Original air dates: November 23 and 24, 1966

The Bat-signal: The police are on alert at U Magnum Diamonds because Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, is back in town—she’s been after the Pretzel Diamond, which U Magnum has on display, for years. O’Hara himself shows up to make sure all is well—and then escorts Marsha inside to take the diamond! O’Hara is completely devoted to her, fawning all over her and threatening the staff at U Magnum with arrest if they don’t give Marsha the Pretzel Diamond.

Apprehensive about his subordinate’s going rogue, Gordon immediately calls Batman, who is in the Batcave doing maintenance on the Bat-diamond and the machine that channels the power to the Bat-computer through that massive, perfect gem. They head off in the Batmobile to GCPD HQ—but Gordon isn’t there! On Marsha’s orders, O’Hara has called the commissioner to Marsha’s hideout.

[Let me be near you!!!!!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!