content by

Keith DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [2]

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: First Season Overview

Star Trek First Season
Original air dates: September 1966 – April 1967
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Producer (“Miri” forward): Gene L. Coon

Captain’s log. After a false start with “The Cage,” a more promising pilot in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the series settled into something like a rhythm. The Starship Enterprise travelled to the edge of the galaxy, met more than one powerful being—Charlie X and the Thasians, Trelane and his parents, the Metrons, the Organians—made a number of first contacts—the First Federation, the Gorn—and encountered more than its share of dangers—a salt vampire, a bunch of Augments, flying vomit that makes you crazy, more than one machine-run world, a disease that makes you act drunk, a malfunctioning transporter, a quasar-like phenomenon, Harry Mudd.

[I am attempting to construct a mnemonic circuit using stone knives and bear skins.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Hi Diddle Riddle” / “Smack in the Middle”

“Hi Diddle Riddle”/ “Smack in the Middle”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Robert Butler
Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2
Production code 6028
Original air dates: January 12 & 13, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open at the Gotham City World’s Fair, specifically at the exhibit for the Republic of Moldavia, where the prime minister is holding a “friendship luncheon.” A cake is brought out, which is adorned with two figurines, one of a guy in a silly hat and overalls that is, I guess, supposed to symbolize Moldavia, shaking hands with Uncle Sam.

However, as the PM cuts into the cake, it explodes. It’s a small explosion, enough to ruin the cake (too bad, it looked yummy) and also shoot a message into the air, which then parachutes down. It’s a piece of paper with a riddle on it: “Why is an orange like a bell?”

[I’ll stand at the bar. I shouldn’t wish to attract attention.]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Operation—Annihilate!”

Written by Steven W. Carabatsos
Directed by Herschel Daugherty
Season 1, Episode 29
Production episode 6149-29
Original air date: April 13, 1967
Stardate: 3287.2

Captain’s log. The human colony of Deneva has gone quiet. It’s also on the path of a series of planets that have all suffered mass insanity over the past several centuries. The most recent was Ingraham B a few years ago.

Sulu picks up a one-person vessel headed directly for the sun. Before the ship burns up, the pilot finally responds to Uhura’s hail, saying that he’s done it and that he’s free. And then he’s dead.

McCoy is concerned that this suicide, along with the radio silence, is an indicator that Deneva is suffering from the mass insanity. Kirk tells Uhura to try a particular subspace code, one that’s for personal use—it belongs to his brother, George Samuel Kirk, who is stationed on Deneva along with his wife Aurelan and their son Peter.

[You’ve been so concerned about his Vulcan eyes, Doctor, you forgot about his Vulcan ears.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Introducing the Bat-Rewatch!

I’m already doing a rewatch of a show that debuted in 1966 that has become a popular culture icon and stars a man known (whether fairly or not) for his overacting. So why not another one?

Starting next Friday, I will be doing The Bat-Rewatch! I’ll be looking back at the Batman TV series developed by William Dozier for ABC, and which ran from 1966 to 1968. Between seasons one and two, we’ll also take a gander at the Batman feature film that was released in the summer of 1966.

[Holy rewatch, Batman!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The City on the Edge of Forever”

“The City on the Edge of Forever”
Written by Harlan Ellison
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episode 28
Production episode 6149-28
Original air date: April 6, 1967
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has detected waves of time that cause turbulence in space, making for a risky orbit over the planet that’s the source of the waves. The helm overloads, injuring Sulu badly enough to cause a heart flutter. McCoy gives him a small dose of cordrazine (which Kirk describes as “tricky stuff”). Sulu’s fine, but another bit of turbulence causes McCoy to stumble forward and inject himself with the entire vial, which sends him into an adrenaline-fueled, drug-induced panic. He runs from the bridge, screaming about assassins and murderers, and goes to the transporter room, taking out the chief and grabbing his phaser, then beaming down to the surface.

Kirk takes a landing party that also includes Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and two security guards. Spock reports that the ruins are 10,000 centuries old. At the center of it all is a giant ring, which is apparently the source of all the time displacement, even though it just looks like a big stone ring.

[A lie is a very poor way to say hello.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Infinity

Stargate Infinity Season 1
Executive producer: Andy Heyward
Original air dates: September 14, 2002 – March 24, 2003

Mission briefing. Thirty years in the future, Stargate Command is more publicly known, still run by the Air Force, and there are aliens living on Earth alongside humans. The Goa’uld have apparently been defeated, but a lizard-like species known as the Tlak’kahn has appropriated much of their stuff. They’ve also dominated a large portion of the galaxy.

An ally of the Tlak’kahn is the Sheftu, big transparent pink shape-changing aliens. One has infiltrated the SGC, disguised as Captain Grimes. He has framed Major Gus Bonner for disobeying orders by posing as him and, well, disobeying orders. He later poses as Bonner long enough to shoot two cadets and let the Tlak’kahn into the SGC.

[“No creature could survive for long in a place like this.” “Don’t be so sure. I once spent a whole summer in Phoenix.”]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Errand of Mercy”

“Errand of Mercy”
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by John Newland
Season 1, Episode 27
Production episode 6149-27
Original air date: March 23, 1967
Stardate: 3198.4

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has received word that negotiations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire have broken down. A surprise attack is expected. Kirk has been ordered to go to Organia—the only Class-M planet in the disputed area between the nations—to keep the Klingons from using it as a base. En route, the Enterprise is ambushed by a Klingon ship, but they are able to destroy it. Right after that, Uhura gets a Code 1 message from Starfleet Command: it’s war.

When they arrive at Organia, Uhura relays a report that there’s a Klingon fleet in the sector. Kirk and Spock beam down, with the captain leaving Sulu in charge. If the Klingon fleet shows up, Sulu’s orders are to evaluate the situation, and abandon Organia to join the fleet.

[“Well, what are the odds now?” “Less than seven thousand to one, Captain. It’s remarkable we’ve got this far.” “Less than seven thousand to one. Well, getting better. Getting better.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season Two

Stargate Universe Season 2
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Joseph Malozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: September 28, 2010 – May 9, 2011

Mission briefing. Telford survived his shootout with Kiva, which is more than can be said for Kiva. Her replacement, Dannic, is nuts, and can’t even keep his own people’s loyalty. Johansen is wounded by gunfire, and loses her baby, though she experiences a vision of the baby being rescued by the crew who stayed on Eden. The stones are used to bring medical personnel on board to heal the wounded.

[Holy crap, we dialed Pittsburgh!]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Devil in the Dark”

“The Devil in the Dark”
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episode 26
Production episode 6149-26
Original air date: March 9, 1967
Stardate: 3196.1

Captain’s log. In the pergium production facility on Janus VI, a group of miners are engaged in an armed search, trying to find the thing that has already killed fifty people. Chief Engineer Vanderberg leads a team to relieve one guard, leaving behind another, Schmitter. Schmitter is understandably nervous, though Vanderberg reassures him that the Enterprise is on its way.

Only a minute after Vanderberg and the others walk away, Schmitter is attacked by something, and burned to a crisp.

[Kiss it, baby it, flatter it if you have to, but keep it going!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “This Side of Paradise”

“This Side of Paradise”
Written by Nathan Butler and D.C. Fontana
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Season 1, Episode 25
Production episode 6149-25
Original air date: March 2, 1967
Stardate: 3417.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise arrives at the colony on Omicron Ceti III. The planet is bathed in Berthold rays, a form of radiation that is new to the Federation, so they don’t know its full effects, but extended exposure disintegrates living tissue. It is unlikely that there are any survivors of the colony—led by Elias Sandoval—a likelihood that is increased by the complete lack of response to Uhura’s hails.

However, Kirk beams down a landing party—Spock assures him that limited exposure is safe—including himself, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, DeSalle, and Kelowitz. The settlement is intact, but there’s no sign of any habitation. Kirk waxes rhapsodic on the tragedy of these people travelling all this way, including a year in space to reach the planet, only to die.

And then three people from the colony, including Sandoval, show up alive and well, and doesn’t Kirk feel foolish? Sandoval thinks they came because their subspace radio is on the fritz.

[What can you expect from a simpering, devil-eared freak?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One

Stargate Universe Season 1
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright
Original air dates: October 2, 2009 – June 11, 2010

Mission briefing. The Atlantis database includes a nine-chevron address (well, eight chevrons, plus whatever the point of origin is). It’s believed that there should be a way to dial an even greater distance than between galaxies with nine chevrons. Dr. Nicholas Rush is recruited (by Jackson) to work on it, and he spends two years trying to solve the problem—in that time, his wife dies of a never-specified illness.

The Air Force embeds the problem in a videogame on the off-chance that someone will solve it. That someone turns out to be a young slacker named Eli Wallace, who is beamed to the General George Hammond and brought to Icarus base. Icarus is a top-secret SGC installation that is on a planet full of naquadria, so it has enough energy to power a nine-chevron wormhole.

[This ship simply doesn’t have the capability to dial Earth….]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Space Seed”

“Space Seed”
Written by Carey Wilber and Gene L. Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episode 24
Production episode 6149-24
Original air date: February 16, 1967
Stardate: 3141.9

Captain’s log. The Enterprise finds a derelict Earth ship from the 1990s. McCoy is detecting heartbeats at a very slow rate—four beats per minute—and Spock detects electrical activity. He also makes out a name on the hull: Botany Bay. There’s no record of such a ship, but that was a tumultuous era thanks to the Eugenics Wars, and records are fragmentary.

Kirk takes a team to the ship that includes McCoy, Scotty, and ship’s historian Lieutenant Marla McGivers. Once the Enterprise takes the Botany Bay in tow, the heat comes on and air starts being pumped in.

[Well, either choke me or cut my throat! Make up your mind!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Atlantis Season Five

Stargate Atlantis Season 5
Executive producers: Carl Binder, Martin Gero, Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Joseph Malozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: July 11, 2008 – January 9, 2009

Mission briefing. Carter leads a rescue team to get Sheppard and his team out of the rubble of Michael’s facility, then use the Daedalus to rescue Teyla from Michael’s clutches. McKay winds up having to deliver Teyla’s baby and the mission is a success, with Michael’s operation crippled.

Carter is recalled to Earth where she has been removed from command of the expedition, replaced by Woolsey for reasons that are never made clear, but probably relate to the IOA wanting someone more pliable in command.

[You know how to talk to me, John Sheppard…]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “A Taste of Armageddon”

“A Taste of Armageddon”
Written by Robert Hammer and Gene L. Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episode 23
Production episode 6149-23
Original air date: February 23, 1967

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has been hailing the people of the Eminiar star system. Ambassador Robert Fox is on board, as the Federation is hoping to open up diplomatic relations, but there’s been no response.

Uhura finally gets an answer: a code 710, which is a message that there is conflict and to stay away or risk being damaged. Fox orders Kirk to disobey the 710 despite the very real risk to the Enterprise, so Kirk sighs and orders yellow alert and goes in. Fox’s orders are to open diplomatic relations with these planets so the Federation can establish a needed port there.

[Sir, there’s a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder…]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Return of the Archons”

“The Return of the Archons”
Written by Gene Roddenberry and Boris Sobelman
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episodes 22
Production episode 6149-22
Original air date: February 9, 1967
Stardate: 3156.2

Captain’s log. Sulu and O’Neil have been sent down to Beta III, dressed in native clothes, searching for evidence of the U.S.S. Archon, which disappeared there a hundred years earlier. They’re being chased by guys in monk’s robes. Sulu calls for beam-out, but O’Neil is panicking and runs away. And before Sulu can be transported up, one of the guys in robes hits him with a stick. When he materializes, he’s spouting gibberish about being of the body, looking for Archons, paradise, and so on, all with a goofy smile on his face.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Lieutenant Lindstrom (the ship’s sociologist), and two security guards, Leslie and Galloway, beam down, also in native attire. Spock observes that everyone’s as vacantly content as Sulu is now. A native asks if they’re in for the festival, and they say they are, and they don’t have accommodations for it yet.

[Paradise… paradise….]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Continuum

Stargate: Continuum
Written by Brad Wright
Directed by Martin Wood
Original release date: July 29, 2008

Mission briefing. The last Ba’al clone has been captured and brought to the Tok’ra homeworld for extraction. SG-1 has been invited to observe the ceremony, including O’Neill. Vala, who has been through this herself when Qetesh was extracted from her, wants to bring along an X-699, but Mitchell won’t let her. The ceremony itself is quite lengthy, as it includes a listing of Ba’al’s crimes, which go back millennia. (Jackson at one point says he knows it’s almost over because the crimes they’re listing are starting to sound familiar.)

Ba’al’s last words are ones of confidence. He insists that, while he’s the last clone, the original is still free.

[“I take it that in your timeline, you’re not a discredited wackjob living on the fringes of society?” “That really depends on who you ask…”]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Tomorrow is Yesterday”

“Tomorrow is Yesterday”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Michael O’Herlihy
Season 1, Episodes 21
Production episode 6149-21
Original air date: January 26, 1967
Stardate: 3113.2

Captain’s log. We open at an Air Force Base in 1969, which picks up a giant aircraft like nothing they’ve ever seen before, and it just appeared out of nowhere, “like it dropped out of the sky.” A plane is scrambled to get a better look, and we see that it’s the Enterprise. They collided with a black hole (they call it a “black star”) while en route to Starbase 9, and wound up at Earth. Scotty manages to get power back online, but warp drive is offline. Sulu reports that the impulse drive is sluggish, but he gets them some altitude. Uhura reports silence on the usual Starfleet channels—all she’s able to get is radio, including an announcement of the upcoming first moon landing. This confirms Spock’s hypothesis that the black star sent them back in time to the 20th century.

[“I never have believed in little green men.” “Neither have I.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The Stargate Rewatch: Atlantis Season Four

Stargate Atlantis Season 4
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Joseph Malozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: September 28, 2007 – March 7, 2008

Mission briefing. Atlantis is drifting between star systems, with McKay and Zelenka trying desperately to keep everyone from dying through various manipulations of the power and the shield. Meanwhile, Weir is dying, and the only solution that Keller can come up with involves activating the nanites that are still in her system. Sheppard thinks this is a terrible idea, but they do it anyhow, as she’ll die otherwise. Weir herself thinks it’s a bad idea when she’s revived.

The city needs a ZPM or they’ll be drifting forever, but they have a jumper that can make it to a planet—specifically, the Asuran homeworld. Weir is now plugged into the replicators, so she helps them get the ZPM, and also keeps Oberoth at bay. But in the end, she is taken by the replicators, even as the others escape with a ZPM.

As an added bonus, McKay has altered the replicator base code so that they will do what the Ancients originally built them for: to fight the Wraith. A Wraith-replicator war proceeds to break out in the Pegasus galaxy.

[Good. We can finally get to work without having to look over our shoulders.]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Alternative Factor”

“The Alternative Factor”
Written by Don Ingalls
Directed by Gerd Oswald
Season 1, Episodes 20
Production episode 6149-20
Original air date: March 30, 1967
Stardate: 3087.6

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is finishing up an orbital survey of an uninhabited planet, when they’re buffeted by some kind of force. According to Spock, for an instant the magnetic field of the solar system disappeared and the planet below had no mass—it was as if reality winked out of existence for a second. As soon as the phenomenon abated, a humanoid life sign reading appeared on the planet out of nowhere.

Kirk, Spock, and a four-person security detail beam down to investigate. They find a small, one-person ship—which, weirdly, Spock’s sensors did not pick up—and its pilot, who is ranting and raving and then faints.

[“Coffee?” “Is that an order, Lieutenant?”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Arena”

Written by Fredric Brown and Gene L. Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episodes 19
Production episode 6149-19
Original air date: January 19, 1967
Stardate: 3045.6

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the Enterprise‘s best tactical specialists are beaming down to the base on Cestus III—an isolated colony, and one commanded by Commodore Travers. Kirk and McCoy are looking forward to seeing Travers’s chef as much as they are the commodore himself.

When they materialize on the surface, however, they find a smoking ruin where the base should be. Kirk immediately puts the Enterprise on red alert. The base was obviously destroyed days ago, so the messages they received from Travers were faked. Spock takes tricorder readings, while Kirk sends Lang and Kelowitz to search for survivors. O’Herlihy sticks with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and they find one survivor who’s got bad radiation burns and internal injuries. Spock also detects non-human life nearby. O’Herlihy investigates and is vaporized by some kind of disruptor mortar.

[This place is a mineralogist’s dream!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch