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...

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Joker Goes to School” / “He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul”

“The Joker Goes to School” / “He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Murray Golden
Season 1, Episodes 15 & 16
Production code 8715
Original air dates: March 2 & 3, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open at 3:09pm at Woodrow Roosevelt High School. The basketball team and the cheerleaders are both practicing in the gym. Also in the gym, Dick is lifting weights. After they run their routine, the cheerleaders are thirsty, so they go to a vending machine that dispenses milk—

—except this one instead gives out piles of silver dollars. Gordon suspects that this totally pointless and victimless crime is the work of the Joker, though to be fair, he has a legitimate concern that the Joker is targeting the youth of Gotham for a more nefarious purpose.

The Bat-phone interrupts the latest in a series of implorations by a city politician to convince Bruce to run for mayor, especially now with the water shortage and the regular blackouts. (They ask him every two years. He always declines, saying his charitable work with the Wayne Foundation requires that he stay above the fray of politics.) Batman heads to the Batmobile solo, as Dick is still at school—so he’s already at the scene of the crime.

[Dog George to Batman, do you read me?]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Doomsday Machine”

“The Doomsday Machine”
Written by Norman Spinrad
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 6
Production episode 60335
Original air date: October 20, 1967
Stardate: 4202.9

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is following a garbled distress signal from the U.S.S. Constellation, but they arrive at the source to find a destroyed star system: L-370, which had seven planets a year ago when the Enterprise mapped it, is now just debris and rubble. But the star’s still intact.

They track the destruction through three more star systems, all destroyed in the same way. In L-374, the two innermost planets are still intact, and they also find the Constellation adrift, an automatic disaster beacon the only communication. They’ve got very low reserve power, and that’s it. There’s also a lot of subspace static—Lieutenant Palmer at communications is having trouble breaking through it.

[“Vulcans never bluff.” “No, I don’t suppose that they do.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Thirteenth Hat” / “Batman Stands Pat”

“The Thirteenth Hat” / “Batman Stands Pat”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Norman Foster
Season 1, Episodes 13 and 14
Production code 8719
Original air dates: February 23 and 24, 1966

The Bat-signal: A chef reports for work in a very low-rent kitchen, when the Mad Hatter and two of his goons burst in on him. He steals the chef’s hat—thanks to the Lenny Henry show Chef! I will always think of a chef’s hat as a “culinary condom“—and then uses the super-instant mesmerizer in his big-ass top hat to render the chef unconscious. He does the same to a man wearing a deerstalker on a street corner, and the manager of a silver shop.

Gordon and O’Hara muse on these hat-related crimes, which he really and truly says are happening “right under our noses,” making me wish O’Hara said, “Well, technically, sir, they’re happening over our noses ’cause that’s where you’ll be wearin’ a hat,” but he didn’t, and I was sad. Strangely, Gordon’s main concern seems to be for the hats, even though the Hatter is also kidnapping people…

[“What comes in twelves?” “Donuts! Horsepower? Amendments? Mile limits? Noon? Midnight?”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Amok Time”

“Amok Time”
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 5
Production episode 60334
Original air date: September 15, 1967
Stardate: 3372.7

Captain’s log. McCoy expresses concern about Spock: he’s been increasingly restive, nervous, and hasn’t eaten in three days. Chapel has also noticed, and is bringing him plomeek soup. He rejects it, throwing her out of his cabin metaphorically and the soup out literally. His response to McCoy’s request for a physical is to threaten violence, and after publicly yelling at Chapel, he irritably asks Kirk for a leave on Vulcan.

Kirk confronts Spock. He’s never asked for leave before, in fact, he’s actively refused it (viz. “Shore Leave“). Kirk wants to know why now. Spock refuses to give specifics, so Kirk says that Altair VI has adequate shore facilities. Spock insists that it be on Vulcan. He is obviously a wreck, and Kirk decides to accede to the request. He does have McCoy put him under medical surveillance, however.

[Hot as Vulcan. Now I understand what that phrase means.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away” / “When the Rat’s Away the Mice Will Play”

“A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away”/ “When the Rat’s Away the Mice Will Play”
Written by Fred De Gorter
Directed by Tom Gries
Season 1, Episodes 11 and 12
Production code 8711
Original air dates: February 16 and 17, 1966

The Bat-signal: King Boris of, er, some country or other has landed at Gotham City International Airport. A woman doing Madeline cosplay approaches him and hands him a set of roses, proving that whatever country he’s the king of, they have crappy security for their heads of state. The flowers explode in a barrage of fireworks, a recording of the Riddler’s giggle, and a sign that reads, “When is a person like a piece of wood?” (Wah-hey!) The GCPD is, of course, helpless before this baffling riddle, so they call Batman.

[Boy Wonder, you’ve done it again!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

“Who Mourns for Adonais?”
Written by Gilbert Ralston
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 4
Production episode 60333
Original air date: September 22, 1967
Stardate: 3468.1

Captain’s log. Lieutenant Carolyn Palamas, the ship’s archaeology and anthropology officer, hands in a report to Kirk on the Pollux star system that they’re exploring. Scott then invites Palamas to coffee. The engineer is obviously smitten with her, though McCoy cautions that she’s not as smitten with him as he with her. They then have a conversation about how some day she’ll find the right man and leave the service, because naturally that’s the only possible option for a woman. And then I hit the pause button so I can go throw up and be grateful that it’s not 1967 anymore.

The ship goes into orbit around Pollux IV, which is Class-M, but with no signs of life. They start their usual mapping, but then an energy formation appears in front of the ship that’s in the shape of a giant hand. They can’t move away from it, and then it just grabs the ship, holding it in place. Nothing they try works, including rocking the ship back and forth or adjusting the tractor beams to repel.

[But do not bring that one. The one with the pointed ears. He is much like Pan. And Pan always bored me.]

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Zelda the Great” / “A Death Worse than Fate”

“Zelda the Great” / “A Death Worse than Fate”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Norman Foster
Season 1, Episodes 9 & 10
Production code 8705
Original air dates: February 9 & 10, 1966

The Bat-signal: The First National Bank is robbed by someone wearing a bulletproof vest that’s so strong it doesn’t even make an impact on the wearer when the guard tries to shoot the thief. This is an annual occurrence: every April Fool’s Day, an unknown bandit steals exactly $100,000 from somewhere in Gotham. After two years of this, the cops throw up their hands and call Batman.

Bruce, Dick, and Alfred are on the roof of Wayne Manor, peering through a telescope, so they don’t hear the Batphone. Luckily, this is the one and only time Gordon decides to try both the phone and the Bat-signal, and so the Dynamic Duo head off. (Oddly, they go in the back way, rather than pull up to GCPD HQ’s front door.)

[The boy wonder is about to make a dramatic confession!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Friday’s Child”

“Friday’s Child”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 3
Production episode 60332
Original air date: December 1, 1967
Stardate: 3497.2

Captain’s log. McCoy is briefing Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, and Chekov about Capella IV, where he was stationed for a few months. The natives are tall and their culture very much that of warriors. They were uninterested in medical assistance, as they felt only the strong should survive. We also see a kligat in action, a throwing-star-like weapon that is quite deadly.

The Federation wants Kirk to negotiate a mining treaty with the Capellans for topaline. Spock would normally recommend a heavily armed party, but McCoy cautions against that—a show of force would guarantee that they won’t sign any treaty. So Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Grant from security beam down, leaving Scotty in charge of the Enterprise, with a caution from Kirk that the Klingons have been sighted in the vicinity.

[Oochie woochie coochie coo!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Instant Freeze” / “Rats Like Cheese”

“Instant Freeze” / “Rats Like Cheese”
Written by Max Hodge
Directed by Robert Butler
Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8
Production code 8707
Original air dates: February 2 & 3, 1966

The Bat-signal: Mr. Freeze attacks an ice-skating rink in the midst of an event by melting the rink with a flamethrower. His getaway vehicle is an ice-cream truck. A cop pursues him on a motorcycle, but Mr. Freeze ices the road behind him, and the cop washes out. After expositioning to the audience about Mr. Freeze—that he can only exist in temperatures of 50 degrees below zero (or colder)—Gordon and O’Hara go to the Bat-phone.

[First I toy, then I destroy!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Metamorphosis”

Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Season 2, Episode 2
Production episode 60331
Original air date: November 10, 1967
Stardate: 3219.8

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are transporting Assistant Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford via shuttlecraft. In the midst of negotiations on Epsilon Canaris III, she contracted Sakuro’s Disease, a very rare disease that Hedford nonetheless thinks Starfleet should have inoculated her against before going on this mission. Her attempt to bring about peace on that world was interrupted, but Kirk assures her that they’ll get her to the Enterprise in time to fix her up and get her back to work.

They encounter a large cloud of ionized hydrogen that is on a collision course for the Galileo. It envelopes the shuttle and brings it to a planet. McCoy and Hedford are both pissed—they need to get her to the Enterprise—but Galileo is powerless.

[Immortality consists largely of boredom.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “The Joker is Wild” / “Batman is Riled”

“The Joker is Wild” / “Batman is Riled”
Written by Robert Dozier
Directed by Don Weis
Season 1, Episodes 5 & 6
Production code 8709
Original air dates: January 26 & 27, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open at Gotham State Penitentiary—”one of the state’s busier locations”—where one of Crichton’s reforms is a softball game. The Joker is pitching for his team. Among the spectators is O’Hara, who’s impressed with the job Crichton has done on the Joker—the notion of the Joker taking time away from prison-break-plotting to play softball. (Actually, O’Hara says “baseball,” even though they’re playing softball. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is the chief.)

After throwing two strikeouts, the catcher switches the balls with one under his chest protector. When the batter hits it, there’s an explosion, and a spring under the pitcher’s mound releases, and sends the Joker flying over the wall. (How the Joker contrived to get a giant spring under the pitcher’s mound of a wide-open field in a prison is left as an exercise for the viewer.)

[I swear by every fiend of felonious fundom tomorrow all opposition from the Dynamic Duo will stop!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Catspaw”

Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 60330
Original air date: October 27, 1967
Stardate: 3018.2

Captain’s log. A landing party consisting of Scotty, Sulu, and Lieutenant Jackson on the uninhabited planet (at least according to sensors) of Pyris VII haven’t checked in for half an hour. Uhura finally gets through to Jackson, who requests a beam-up for himself, and won’t answer Kirk’s questions about what’s happening down there.

Kirk and Spock leave the bridge together, but only Kirk arrives in the transporter room (?), joined by McCoy. As soon as Jackson materializes, he collapses on the deck, dead. A voice speaks through his mouth, warning Kirk that the Enterprise is cursed.

[“Wind shall rise!” “And fog descend!” “So leave here, all, or meet your end!”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Fine Feathered Finks” / “The Penguin’s a Jinx”

“Fine Feathered Finks”/ “The Penguin’s a Jinx”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Robert Butler
Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2
Production code 8703
Original air dates: January 19 & 20, 1966

The Bat-signal: Three guys in black suits and bowler hats start giving out umbrellas outside a jewelry store, the House of Ali Baba, with the promise of possible prizes inside. The umbrellas all then open on their own inside the store, spraying gas, blowing fireworks and confetti, and making horrible noises and spitting out gas and comedy snakes. At police HQ, O’Hara says it’s like a fingerprint—the Penguin, who has an umbrella fetish, and he was just released from prison three days ago. Gordon picks up the Bat-phone.

[I’ll get these darn verbs if they kill me!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

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!