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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 Joker’s Last Laugh” / “The Joker’s Epitaph”

“The Joker’s Last Laugh” / “The Joker’s Epitaph”
Written by Peter Rabe and Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 47 and 48
Production code 9747
Original air dates: February 15 and 16, 1967

The Bat-signal: The Gotham City bank is providing counterfeit $100 bills for withdrawal, which results in law-abiding citizens passing fake money. The bills are perfect on one side, but blank on the other. Haunted by the insanity of the crime—and Joker’s laughter, which is echoing in Gordon’s office from an indeterminate source—Gordon and O’Hara call Batman, which interrupts Dick’s economics homework, to the boy’s delight and Bruce’s chagrin. (Bruce waxes rhapsodic about how awesome the subject of economics is, a diatribe that could only come from someone independently wealthy…)

[Alert your anti-lunatic squad!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series: “The Mark of Gideon”

“The Mark of Gideon”
Written by George F. Slavin and Stanley Adams
Directed by Jud Taylor
Season 3, Episode 17
Production episode 60043-72
Original air date: January 17, 1969
Stardate: 5423.4

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has arrived at Gideon, a planet whose entry into the Federation has been delayed by the natives’ refusal to allow any delegations to the planet, nor any sensor surveys (which makes you wonder why they’re being considered in the first place). They’ve finally agreed to a delegation of one: the captain of the Enterprise, requested specifically.

Spock beams Kirk to coordinates provided by Gideon and relayed to Spock by Uhura. Kirk dematerializes and rematerializes on the transporter platform—but the room is empty. As is the rest of the ship. According to the viewscreen, the ship is still in orbit of Gideon, but the other 400+ people are gone. He also has a bruised arm that he doesn’t know how he got, and based on the Enterprise chronometer, he’s missing nine minutes.

[“You’re mad!” “No, we are desperate.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “Batman’s Anniversary” / “A Riddling Controversy”

“Batman’s Anniversary” / “A Riddling Controversy”
Written by William P. D’Angelo
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 45 and 46
Production code 9745
Original air dates: February 8 and 9, 1967

The Bat-signal: Bruce is helping Dick with geometry homework involving cutting up a pie, but it’s interrupted by the Bat-phone. Gordon’s news is so bad he won’t even discuss it over the phone—or in his office. He insists they meet at the Gotham Plaza Hotel—which turns out to be a surprise anniversary party for Batman.

Mayor Linseed says that the proceeds for this luncheon will be given to Batman’s favorite charity, which is placed in a golden calf and presented on a tray. However, green gas explodes in the room, and several firefighters show up instantly to put out the nonexistent fire—it’s all a cover, of course, for the Riddler, who steals the golden calf full of money earmarked for charity and makes his escape in a fire department van.

[Let go of me, you blue-coated baboon!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Whom Gods Destroy”

“Whom Gods Destroy”
Written by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl
Directed by Herb Wallerstein
Season 3, Episode 16
Production episode 60043-71
Original air date: January 3, 1969
Stardate: 5718.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is bringing a new medicine to the insane asylum on Elba II, a planet with a poisonous atmosphere. The medicine is supposed to eliminate mental illness for all time—the last fifteen remaining mentally ill people in the entire Federation are interred on Elba.

Kirk and Spock beam down to deliver the medicine to Dr. Donald Cory, the colony governor, who is skeptical about the efficacy of the new medicine. (The beam-down procedure requires that the force field protecting the asylum be temporary lowered.) Cory brings the landing party to see Elba’s newest inmate, Garth of Izar, a former fleet captain in Starfleet, whose exploits were required reading at the Academy. Kirk considers him one of his heroes, and he’s disappointed that he’s gone all cluck cluck, gibber gibber, my old man’s a mushroom, etc..

[Letting yourself be hit on the head—and I presume you let yourself be hit on the head—is not exactly a method King Solomon would have approved.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “Penguin is a Girl’s Best Friend” / “Penguin Sets a Trend” / “Penguin’s Disastrous End”

“Penguin is a Girl’s Best Friend” / “Penguin Sets a Trend” / “Penguin’s Disastrous End”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 42, 43, and 44
Production code 9741
Original air dates: January 26 and February 1 and 2, 1967

The Bat-signal: Batman and Robin are on their way to a lecture on crime prevention when they discover Penguin directing an armed robbery. Except it turns out he’s literally directing it—he’s actually directing a movie. The Dynamic Duo showed up and beat the crap out of the “thieves” while totally missing the camera crew that was filming the whole thing. (Those masks really need to provide better peripheral vision…)

Penguin even has a permit, which O’Hara provides, and he intends to sue the police and have Batman and Robin arrested. However, Penguin is willing to forego the suit and pressing charges if Batman and Robin are willing to sign a contract to be in his picture.

[The brave fool!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”
Written by Lee Cronin and Oliver Crawford
Directed by Jud Taylor
Season 3, Episode 15
Production episode 60043-70
Original air date: January 10, 1969
Stardate: 5730.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is en route to Ariannus to decontaminate the world, which is being overrun by a bacterial infection. Sulu picks up a Starfleet shuttlecraft flying on an erratic course—it matches the configuration of the shuttle stolen from Starbase 4 two weeks ago.

The shuttle is damaged, and the sole occupant isn’t responding, so Kirk has Sulu tractor the shuttle into the bay, then he, Spock, and a security team go to the bay to find a humanoid named Lokai, whose skin pigmentation is black on the left side and white on the right. He collapses and is brought to sickbay.

[Blood is blood, even if it’s green like yours.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “That Which Survives”

“That Which Survives”
Written by Michael Richards and John Meredyth Lucas
Directed by Herb Wallerstein
Season 3, Episode 14
Production episode 60043-69
Original air date: January 24, 1969
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. The Enterprise comes across a planet the size of the moon and which is only a few thousand years old, but somehow has an atmosphere and vegetation. Kirk takes down a landing party that includes McCoy, Sulu, and D’Amato, a geologist. As they’re about to beam down, a woman named Losira appears in the transporter room warning them not to beam down. Then she just touches Ensign Wyatt at the console, who collapses, dead.

[“It looks so lonely there.” “It would be worse if he had company.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “That Darn Catwoman” / “Scat! Darn Catwoman”

“That Darn Catwoman” / “Scat! Darn Catwoman”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 40 and 41
Production code 9743
Original air dates: January 19 and 25, 1967

The Bat-signal. Robin is giving a commencement speech at Aaron Burr High School. (Why someone who hasn’t actually graduated high school yet is giving a high school commencement is left as an exercise for the viewer.) He’s approached afterward by Pussycat, who is Catwoman’s protégé. (She’s actually a rock and roll star, but Catwoman has recruited her to be her sidekick, since at age twenty, she’s already over-the-hill to be a rock star…). She scratches Robin with a cataphrenic, which turns Robin to a punk. The boy wonder actually slams O’Hara into a wall and then goes off with Pussycat.

[“I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.” “Marry me!” “Everything except that…”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

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!