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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...

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Wink of an Eye”

“Wink of an Eye”
Written by Lee Cronin and Arthur Heinemann
Directed by Jud Taylor
Season 3, Episode 13
Production episode 60043-68
Original air date: November 29, 1968
Stardate: 5710.5

Captain’s log. The Enterprise responds to a distress call on Scalos. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and two security guards beam down to the location from which Uhura is receiving the distress call. But while the locations match, Kirk sees nobody at the beam-down site, and Uhura still only sees the Scalosians in the broadcast of the distress call. McCoy isn’t picking up any animal life at all, though Kirk hears what sounds like an insect buzzing.

There is an abundance of art and literature and architecture, and some of the latter was obviously occupied recently, though other parts were abandoned.

Suddenly, Compton, one of the security guards, disappears, right after he took a sip from a fountain.

[I want to keep this one a long time. He’s pretty.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Plato’s Stepchildren”

“Plato’s Stepchildren”
Written by Meyer Dolinsky
Directed by David Alexander
Season 3, Episode 12
Production episode 60043-67
Original air date: November 22, 1968
Stardate: 5784.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise responds to a distress call from an uncharted planet, one on which Spock’s sensors detect no life. They are greeted by a very short humanoid named Alexander, who provides a massive infodump about how they are the Platonians, and they travelled to Earth during the height of Greek civilization after their own sun went nova, and then colonized this world after Greece fell. They apparently follow Plato’s teachings, and Parmen, their current philosopher-king, calls them Plato’s children, though Alexander thinks it would be more accurate to call them Plato’s stepchildren.

That would make a dandy title…

[I’m Tweedledee, he’s Tweedledum. Two spacemen marching to a drum. We slith among the mimsey toves. And gyre among the borogoves.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Zodiac Crimes” / “The Joker’s Hard Times” / “The Penguin Declines”

“The Zodiac Crimes” / “The Joker’s Hard Times” / “The Penguin Declines”
Written by Stephen Kandel and Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 37, 38, and 39
Production code 9733
Original air dates: January 11, 12, and 18, 1967

The Bat-signal: O’Hara is showing off the rare art map to Gordon—it’s a map of rare art, not a rare map of art, just to be clear—that shows where all the rare art is in Gotham City. His insistence that it’ll improve their ability to fight crime is interrupted by the Joker, who is on the windowsill for some reason. Keeping Gordon and O’Hara at bay with his magic wand—which emits an electrical charge—he steals the map, which he announces is the first of his Zodiac crimes, and to look for eleven more.

[The scorpion isn’t fake — I am!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

“I Think You’re Underestimating Humanity” — Star Trek Beyond Spoiler Review

Star Trek Beyond
Written by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
Directed by Justin Lin
Release date: July 22, 2016
Stardate: 2263.2

Please note that this is a SPOILER FILLED REVIEW! Seriously, lotsa spoilers here and in the comments. If you do not wish to be spoiled, there’s a spoiler-free review elsewhere on the site, and you can read that and also comment there without worry about being spoiled. Here, though, we’re talkin’ ’bout the whole thing…

[I joined on a dare…]

“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!