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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...

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!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Enterprise Incident”

“The Enterprise Incident”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by John Meredyth Lucas
Season 3, Episode 4
Production episode 60043-59
Original air date: September 27, 1968
Stardate: 5027.3

Captain’s log. Kirk is acting irrationally, being snappish with both Chekov and Spock and then ordering the ship to head for the Romulan Neutral Zone, in violation of treaty, and entirely on his own authority, as no order from Starfleet has come in that Uhura is aware of. They go through the Zone and into Romulan space. Three ships decloak: Romulan ships, albeit of Klingon design. The Enterprise is surrounded.

Sub-commander Tal contacts them, asking them to surrender or be destroyed, giving them an hour to comply. Kirk and Spock theorize that they would’ve just destroyed them right off normally, but they must want the ship.

[Captain, please go. Somehow they do not look aesthetically pleasing on a human…]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Impractical Joker” / “The Joker’s Provokers”

“The Impractical Joker” / “The Joker’s Provokers”
Written by Jay Thompson and Charles Hoffman
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 21 and 22
Production code 9723
Original air dates: November 16 and 17, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open with the Joker in the Keyborn Bookstore taking a book called The Keys to the Kingdom and tearing it up, then going to the Keynote Music Shop and smashing the record You’re the Key to My Heart. Then he sets fire to the Gotham City Key Club’s confidential membership list and messes with the sign on the Keystone Building.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce is helping Dick with a geography paper, about the Rock of Gibraltar and how it’s the key to the Mediterranean, and how that should be the keynote of his paper.

Gee, I wonder what the theme of this episode is going to be…

[A grown man like me should be prepared to meet his maker at any time—but not a boy like Robin!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Paradise Syndrome”

“The Paradise Syndrome”
Written by Margaret Armen
Directed by Jud Taylor
Season 3, Episode 3
Production episode 60043-58
Original air date: October 4, 1968
Stardate: 4842.6

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to a verdant planet that has a lot of the same plant life as Earth, even though the size, shape, and age of the planet makes it very unlikely that it would evolve in any way parallel to Earth.

They encounter an obelisk, one that resists Spock’s tricorder scan, and one at odds with the lack of technological sophistication seen in the natives, who live in rudimentary structures. Looking more closely, Spock sees that they are a mix of Navajo, Mohegan, and Delaware tribes from Earth.

[I am Kirok!!!!!!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “Green Ice” / “Deep Freeze”

“Green Ice” / “Deep Freeze”
Written by Max Hodge
Directed by george waGGner
Season 2, Episodes 19 and 20
Production code 9725
Original air dates: November 9 and 10, 1966

The Bat-signal: In the height of a hot summer day, Gotham City is hosting the Miss Galaxy beauty pageant. The five finalists are Miss Corsica, Miss Canary Islands, Miss Barrier Reef, Miss Gotham City, and Miss Iceland. Mr. Freeze shows up and kidnaps Miss Iceland.

As soon as Gordon learns of this, he goes to call Batman. But Mr. Freeze shows up in the air conditioning vent and immediately freezes the entire office, including Gordon and O’Hara. Gordon barely manages to get off the words, “help… Ba…” into the Bat-phone before succumbing to the cold.

[Wild!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Elaan of Troyius”

“Elaan of Troyius”
Written and directed by John Meredyth Lucas
Season 3, Episode 2
Production episode 60043-57
Original air date: December 20, 1968
Stardate: 4372.5

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has been sent to a pair of warring worlds, Elas and Troyius, under radio silence, beaming Ambassador Petri aboard from Troyius. Kirk’s orders are only to do as the ambassador says, and he says to head to Elas to beam a delegation aboard. The Elasians are pissed that the Enterprise is late—which Kirk didn’t think they were—and Spock and McCoy discuss the anthropological report on the Elasians: the men are vicious and bad-tempered, and the women are “mystical” and drive men wild. (McCoy is smirking creepily as he says that.)

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty meet with Petri in the transporter room. Three security guards beam aboard to secure the room for Elaan, the Dohlman of Elas. Petri and the guards get down on one knee to pay homage to her; once she materializes, the Enterprise crew also kneel.

[I will not be humiliated!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “Hizzoner the Penguin” / “Dizzoner the Penguin”

“Hizzoner the Penguin” / “Dizzoner the Penguin”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18
Production code 9719
Original air dates: November 2 and 3, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Penguin foils a robbery of a blind news vendor, right in front of a cop. (Said cop was way more concerned with Penguin than the poor blind dude.) He then saved a baby and donated money to the Gotham City Charity Fund. A very confused Gordon and O’Hara immediately go to the red phone…

[There will be no mudslinging in this campaign…]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Spectre of the Gun”

“Spectre of the Gun”
Written by Lee Cronin
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Season 3, Episode 1
Production episode 60043-56
Original air date: October 25, 1968
Stardate: 4385.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise goes to Melkotian space, under orders to make contact with the locals, and they find a buoy which parallels the ship, adapting to every course change, and also closing in on them. When the ship stops moving forward, the buoy also stops and finally communicates: they have encroached upon the space of the Melkot (which they kind of already knew). Each crew member hears the buoy’s voice in their native tongue—English for Kirk, Vulcan for Spock, Russian for Chekov, and Swahili for Uhura. Kirk’s attempt to communicate back is met with silence, so Kirk decides to beam down anyhow.

[A lot of people and things have tried to kill me. You’d be surprised!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch