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! “Fine Finny Fiends” / “Batman Makes the Scenes”

“Fine Finny Fiends” / “Batman Makes the Scenes”
Written by Sheldon Stark
Directed by Tom Gries
Season 1, Episodes 33 and 34
Production code 8733
Original air dates: May 4 and 5, 1966

The Bat-signal: Alfred heads to a fish store that has a special on cut-rate caviar. As he’s testing the caviar, the umbrella over the barrel closes, and then one of the fish store clerks gasses Alfred. (Why the butler of a multimillionaire is bargain hunting for caviar is left as an exercise for the viewer.)

Cut to O’Hara, who tells Gordon that witnesses saw an unconscious Alfred (“the Wayne butler”) being put into a car by people carrying umbrellas. (How passers-by on a side street in Gotham recognized Bruce Wayne’s butler is also left as an exercise for the viewer.) Given that it’s a sunny day out (William Dozier specifically told us at the top of the episode that it was “another lovely day”), the presence of umbrellas must mean the Penguin. And the Penguin means calling Batman.

[“Have you ever popped out of a cake before?” “No, but I’ve been practicing!”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series: “A Private Little War”

“A Private Little War”
Written by Jud Crucis and Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 16
Production episode 60345
Original air date: February 2, 1968
Stardate: 4211.4

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has arrived at Neural. Kirk led a planetary survey to the world as a lieutenant thirteen years ago, and he, Spock, and McCoy have beamed down to examine the local flora, which has many spiffy medicinal properties. Spock sees the footprints of a bear-like creature known as the mugato.

Kirk and Spock see three dark-haired locals with flintlock rifles, which surprises Kirk, since the last time he was here, they were a peaceful people whose only weapons were bows and arrows. He also sees four other white-haired locals—including his friend from the last time, Tyree—walking into an ambush. Kirk throws a rock to distract the rifle carriers, but then they give chase. McCoy hears the commotion and calls the Enterprise, but before they can be beamed back up, Spock is shot.

[I’ll make a Klingon of you yet.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “Death in Slow Motion” / “The Riddler’s False Notion”

“Death in Slow Motion” / “The Riddler’s False Notion”
Written by Dick Carr
Directed by Charles R. Rondeau
Season 1, Episodes 31 and 32
Production code 8731
Original air dates: April 27 and 28, 1966

The Bat-signal: A silent film festival at a fancy new cinema in Gotham comes to an end. As the crowd gathers in the lobby, the head of the festival thanks Mr. Van Jones, who lent the festival films from his private collection of silent pictures.

[You’re an ignorant oaf, Chief O’Hara!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Journey to Babel”

“Journey to Babel”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 15
Production episode 60344
Original air date: November 17, 1967
Stardate: 3842.3

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, in full dress uniforms and alongside an honor guard, meet the last of the one hundred-plus delegates the Enterprise is escorting to a conference on a planetoid codenamed Babel to discuss the issue of Coridan’s admission to the Federation: Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, along with two aides, and his wife Amanda Grayson. Sarek treats Spock with obvious contempt, which makes it an even bigger surprise when Spock reveals that Sarek and Amanda are his parents.

Kirk conducts Sarek and Amanda on a tour. When they reach engineering, they see Spock, and while Sarek ignores him, Amanda does not, expressing disappointment (a) that Spock still hasn’t learned to smile (obviously she’s unaware of how he responds to vibrating Talosian flowers) and (b) that he hasn’t visited home in four years.

[Well what do you know? I finally got the last word……]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “The Bookworm Turns” / “While Gotham City Burns”

“The Bookworm Turns” / “While Gotham City Burns”
Written by Rik Vollaerts
Directed by Larry Peerce
Season 1, Episodes 29 and 30
Production code 8717
Original air dates: April 20 and 21, 1966

The Bat-signal: A new bridge has been built in Gotham City, the Amerigo Columbus Bridge, and the ribbon cutting ceremony has Gordon in attendance. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Dick are watching the ceremony on TV, and Dick sees the Bookworm. Bookworm radios one of his henchmen, Printer’s Devil, to start “chapter one,” and Printer’s Devil shoots Gordon, who falls to his doom over the bridge and into the river. Bruce and Dick see this on TV and are outraged. Unwilling to wait for the Bat-phone on this one, they head out of their own initiative to avenge their friend’s death.

[He’s almost as annoying as Batman!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Bread and Circuses”

“Bread and Circuses”
Written by Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Season 2, Episode 14
Production episode 60343
Original air date: March 15, 1968
Stardate: 4040.7

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has found debris that appears to be the remains of the S.S. Beagle, which has been missing for six years. Spock detects no bodies, so it’s possible the crew got to safety somewhere. Chekov computes the drift pattern of the debris and Spock traces it to the fourth planet of system 892.

The Beagle‘s shipmaster was R.M. Merik, who went to the Academy with Kirk, but who washed out in his fifth year and went into the merchant service.

The planet in question is Class M, appears to be early-to-mid-twentieth century equivalent in terms of technological development. Uhura is picking up amplitude and frequency modulations (AM/FM radio!), as well as TV broadcasts (she refers to it as something that used to be called “video,” and Spock pedantically corrects her by saying it was usually referred to as “television”). She picks up a news report of treasonous behavior among slaves, who are taken away and arrested. The sports report shows gladiatorial arena combat. The announcer mentions a bout in which a barbarian named William Harrison was killed, and Spock comments that Harrison was a member of the Beagle crew.


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch, Batman! “The Curse of Tut” / “The Pharaoh’s in a Rut”

“The Curse of Tut” / “The Pharaoh’s in a Rut”
Written by Robert C. Dennis & Earl Barret
Directed by Charles R. Rondeau
Season 1, Episodes 27 and 28
Production code 8729
Original air dates: April 13 and 14, 1966

The Bat-signal: We open with the narrator failing his saving roll against “clever renaming of New York places” by referring to Gotham Central Park. First we have an establishing shot that is stock footage of Central Park in New York City, which cuts to a park that is so obviously a park in Los Angeles (or at least not a park in Manhattan, as you can’t see any buildings). Two guys in mummy masks place an Egyptian statue into the park, and then remove their masks for no compellingly good reason.

[And to think, he was once a famous professor in Yale University.]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Trouble with Tribbles”

Prior to this rewatch, I did rewatches of the first two TV spinoffs of The Original Series: both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. When the latter show reached its fifth season, which was also the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, I reviewed, not only DS9‘s anniversary episode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” but also “The Trouble with Tribbles” and DS9‘s sister show Voyager‘s 30th anniversary episode, “Flashback.” I stand by the review of “The Trouble with Tribbles” that I wrote in 2014, so rather than repeat myself, we’re just gonna rerun that rewatch entry. I promise new material next week with “Bread and Circuses”…

“The Trouble with Tribbles”
Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 13
Production episode 60342
Original air date: December 29, 1967
Stardate: 4523.3

Captain’s log: Kirk holds a briefing with Spock and Chekov. Since Chekov is all young and ensign-y, Kirk quizzes him on Deep Space Station K-7, to which they’re en route, and Sherman’s Planet, the closest Class-M world to the station. The planet is claimed by both the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Under the terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, whichever side can develop the planet most efficiently will be awarded the planet.

Uhura interrupts Chekov waxing rhapsodic about Russian history with a Code One Emergency—a disaster call—from K-7. However, they arrive at K-7 to find no Klingon ships, no evidence of a disaster. Kirk breaks radio silence to talk to Mr. Lurry, the manager of the station, who thumphers and says that maybe he should beam over. Kirk, livid, beams down with Spock. (Since neither Sulu nor Scotty are on the bridge, Kirk leaves no one in command in his and Spock’s absence, since we can’t have an ensign or a black woman in charge of a starship…)

[I was not aware, Mr. Baris, that twelve Klingons constitutes a swarm.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Joker Trumps an Ace” / “Batman Sets the Pace”

“The Joker Trumps an Ace” / “Batman Sets the Pace”
Written by Francis & Marian Cockrell
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian
Season 1, Episodes 25 and 26
Production code 8727
Original air dates: April 6 and 7, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Joker robs a fur store, tying the customers and staff up in streamers, and then stealing all the hairpins from a socialite’s hair. This is reported to Gordon, who reveals that Joker previously stole a hole from a golf course. He calls Batman, which interrupts Bruce and Dick doing a jigsaw puzzle upside down (it helps test visual memory).

While they were en route, a package was delivered to Gordon. Batman opens it “carefully” (he listens with a stethoscope then, after insisting he’ll open with extreme care, he slices the wrapping open with a pocket knife), then Robin, Gordon, and O’Hara stand behind the Bat-shield while Batman opens the box.

[No more will they cheer and scoff, cut their ciruclation off…]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series: “I, Mudd”

“I, Mudd”
Written by Stephen Kandel
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 12
Production episode 60341
Original air date: November 3, 1967
Stardate: 4513.3

Captain’s log. McCoy and Spock discuss a new crew member, Lieutenant Norman. He doesn’t smile, only talks about ship’s business, refuses to discuss anything personal, and has missed two appointments for his physical.

Norman goes to auxiliary control and renders Ensign Jordan unconscious, then takes control of the ship from there. He inputs a new course and sets the Enterprise on it. Security reports to auxiliary control to find only Jordan. Norman’s gone, but he’s locked out the controls. Norman has moved on to engineering, and taken over that as well, after rendering the entire crew unconscious.

[“You couldn’t sell fake patents to your mother!” “I fail to understand why I should care to induce my mother to purchase falsified patents.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Ring of Wax” / “Give ’em the Axe”

“The Ring of Wax” / “Give ’em the Axe”
Written by Jack Paritz and Bob Rodgers
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 1, Episodes 23 and 24
Production code 8725
Original air dates: March 30 and 31, 1966

The Bat-signal: At Madam Soleil’s Wax Museum, they are unveiling a new wax likeness: Batman. Except when Soleil opens the curtain, it reveals instead a wax statue of the Riddler, complete with a tape recorder that plays a riddle: what’s black and white and red all over? And it’s “red,” not “read,” because the statue is holding a rifle that squirts red paint all over the visiting dignitaries. The recording has a second riddle: what has branches and leaves but no bark?

[No wonder the United States government has banned its importation. It might fall into the wrong hands!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Star Trek The Original Series: “The Deadly Years”

“The Deadly Years”
Written by David P. Harmon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 11
Production episode 60340
Original air date: December 8, 1967
Stardate: 3478.2

Captain’s log. A landing party beams down to Gamma Hydra IV, consisting of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and Lieutenant Arlene Galway. Nobody meets them, even though they’re there for a standard annual checkup of a scientific outpost. It’s not like they weren’t expected—in fact, Kirk spoke to Robert Johnson, the expedition’s leader, an hour earlier, and while he seemed a bit disjointed, everything seemed fine.

Kirk sends folks to look around, and Chekov finds the desiccated corpse of a very old human male. McCoy verifies that he died of old age—which Spock says is impossible, as he checked the personnel records, and none of the colony personnel were over thirty.

[I don’t know what’s causing it. A virus, a bacteria, or evil spirits, but I’m trying to find out.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Mirror, Mirror”

“Mirror, Mirror”
Written by Jerome Bixby
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 10
Production episode 60339
Original air date: October 6, 1967
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Kirk is leading a landing party that includes McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to negotiate with the Halkan Council over mining rights—which the Halkans are refusing. The Halkans have a history of total peace, and they cannot risk the Federation using the dilithium crystals to take even one life, as that would violate their ethics. Tharn, the head of the council, points out that they could take the dilithium by force, and Kirk smiles and says they won’t, and that he should consider that.

A nasty ion storm is buffeting the Enterprise in orbit, and Kirk orders the landing party beamed back and a course set to clear the storm. However, something goes wrong with the transport, and the landing party find themselves in the transporter room of a much different Enterprise. Everyone’s uniform is different, there’s a logo with a sword through an image of the Earth all over the place, four security guards stand at the transporter room door, and Spock has a Vandyke beard. Everyone gives Kirk a very formal salute upon their materialization.

[Terror must be maintained or the empire is doomed. It is the logic of history.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Apple”

“The Apple”
Written by Max Ehrlich
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 2, Episode 9
Production episode 60338
Original air date: October 13, 1967
Stardate: 3715.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is in orbit of Gamma Trianguli VI, under orders to make contact with the natives, and also to make sense of some odd readings taken by nearby scout ships. A landing party beams down that includes Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Chekov, Yeoman Martha Landon, and four security guards: Hendorff, Marple, Mallory, and Kaplan. Spock comments on how the planet has fairly even, pleasant temperatures and a great deal of plant growth all over the planet, even at the poles, which is bizarre to say the least.

A flower starts turning on its own. Hendorff goes to investigate it, and is hit with a barrage of spores that kill him instantly. Kirk reports in to Scotty, in charge of the Enterprise, who beams the body back. Scotty also reports that the antimatter pods are losing potency, and they’re detecting an odd electromagnetic field on the planet. Spock, meanwhile, reports that there’s a consistent, artificially created subsurface vibration, and it covers the entire planet.

[“Doctor McCoy’s potion is acting like all his potions: turning my stomach.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Penguin Goes Straight” / “Not Yet He Ain’t”

“The Penguin Goes Straight” / “Not Yet, He Ain’t”
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and John Cardwell
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Season 1, Episodes 21 and 22
Production code 8723
Original air dates: March 23 and 24, 1966

The Bat-signal: At a matinee performance at a Gotham City theatre, the intermission is menaced by a machine-gun-carrying man in a mask. Penguin is one of the attendees, and his discussion of the play’s merits is interrupted by the attempted robbery—which he foils with the aid of his bullet-proof umbrella. One of the attendees is Sophia Starr, a famous society woman, and she is very grateful to Penguin—they leave the theatre arm in arm.

[Obviate the obvious!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!