24: ROGUE, by David Mack: Comin’ at ya in September!

One of my partners in crimes against the written word, the redoubtable David Mack, was able to offer up some great news to his readers and fans: Tor/Forge Books and Fox Licensing have approved his manuscript for Rogue, his forthcoming novel set in the world of 24 and everybody’s favorite counter terrorist bad-ass, Jack Bauer.

Meanwhile, the good folks at Tor/Forge have also offered up the book’s final cover, which is rather tasty all by itself. Behold, yo:

24-rogue-cover

Go check out the full details over at Dave’s blog:

DavidMack.pro – 24: Rogue has an approved cover!

(Hmm…It occurs to me as I read back that first section that both “readers” and “fans” might’ve been redundant, up there. On the other hand, it’s possible–even likely–that Mr. Mack has fans of his other pursuits which have nothing at all to do with his writing. His wine making, for example. Or his side job as a belly dancer. So, I’m gonna leave that as is, for now.)

24-deadline-coverWe’re still waiting to see the cover jacket copy, so the particulars of Jack’s latest adventure set between “Day 8″ and Live Another Day remain classified, for the time being. What I can tell you is that Rogue is set after the events of James Swallow’s novel from last fall, Deadline, in the period when Jack is on the run from pretty much everybody on Earth following the events of the television show’s eighth season. Before he made his way to London in order to Live Another Day, Jack….kept busy. :)

24: Rogue will be on sale in trade paperback and various electronic book editions on or about September 8th, so I’d pre-order now, if I were you.

Elsewhere in the Jackosphere, my own 24 novel remains in a state of gestation. As I indicated yesterday in my monthly wrap-up post, I have been asked by the Fox Licensing folks to take Jack in “a different direction” than the one I had originally planned. I’m actually rather excited by this idea, and both Fox and my editor are also very keen on it. This has caused a bit of rethink so far as my story idea, but I believe it’s all for the better, and I’m jazzed about diving back into the story in the coming weeks.

But forget about that. You’ve got Deadline to keep you busy until Rogue comes out, so go out and support my buds, whydontcha?

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February writing wrap-up.

all-the-words

Time flies when you’re having fun. Or…something.

Lots of moving about of various pieces around the writing board in February. All sorts of interesting games are afoot in one way or another. At this point, I can say that I’m going to be very busy for the next few months, and the rest of the year is taking shape rather nicely. I heard back on a few things that have been in the works for a bit, which I’ll share with you down below.

So, let’s quit stalling and get on with the February rundown:

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Watching Star Trek back in…the good old days?

The passing of Leonard Nimoy has had a lot of us thinking and talking about his impact, not just on Star Trek and pop culture but also what he’s meant to us as fans.

While I was writing about him yesterday, it made me think about watching Star Trek as a kid. Way back when, before the internet and home video and Netflix and all that jazz, Star Trek existed–for the most part–as a package of 79 episodes run, rerun, and rerun ad infinitum on local UHF (remember that?) TV stations. I was born in 1967, so I was too young to have watched the show during its initial broadcast. I came to love the show through those reruns, every afternoon after school and maybe an extra dose on Saturday.

There also was a Saturday morning cartoon…excuse me…animated series, that I got to watch first run, and there were sporadic comic books, along with coloring books, models, action figures, and the occasional paperback novel. First there were the adaptations of the original series episodes as written by James Blish, but later there were “original” novels featuring Kirk and the gang boldly going where they’d never been on TV.  Meanwhile, my friends and I would “play” Star Trek, the same way you played “Army” or “Cowboys & Indians.” We had our Tracer Guns and our walkie talkies communicators, and that big weird slide/climbing bars/ladder ball thing at the center of the nearby playground was our Starship Enterprise.

As for watching the show itself? For the longest time, there were many afternoons when Star Trek looked a lot like this:

st-blackwhite

I found some pictures on the ‘net to help me illustrate my point, and da-yum if this isn’t pretty much exactly the way I remember some of those days after school, or on a Saturday when the weather sucked or I was way out at my aunt’s place, well beyond the optimal distance for getting decent reception from WTOG, Channel 44 Tampa-St.Petersburg.

startrek-titlecard-bwDepending on any number of factors, and despite my best efforts to angle my little black and white television’s rabbit ear antenna just so, there were times when I had to decide between watching Star Trek and listening to Star Trek. Hell, I don’t think I even knew the original series was a color show until some point in the mid 1970s. The only reason I knew what color everything was supposed to be was thanks to the cartoons and comics and toys and other stuff.

Ah. The good old days.

Fast forward to the present: forty years after those wonderful afternoons at the playground or even transfixed by that little black and white TV, here we are. High definition media has seen to it the show is as gorgeous as it’s ever been. If I’m not pulling my original series Blu-rays off the shelf, then I can stream them on my television or my computer. Hell, I can watch a favorite episode on the phone in my pocket. I can do any of that whenever and wherever I want, without having to wait for my local TV station to cycle back through the rerun package. This is awesome, amirite?

And yet, there’s something about that simpler time that always brings a smile to my face.

Okay. I could’ve probably lived without stuff like this:

st-blackwhite02

Anybody else old enough to remember watching Star Trek this way?

 

Posted in fandom, feelin' nostalgic, nerdity, ramblings, trek | 19 Comments

Spock & McCoy: Together again (Just because.)

Okay, I admit up front that this is an exercise in complete self-indulgence. I’ve been feeling off all day, today, for what I’m sure are obvious reasons. One of the recurring themes I’ve seen in the various tributes to Leonard Nimoy I’ve encountered here and there across the social media sphere are pictures showing him with William Shatner and/or DeForest Kelley. Smiles and laughter are usually present, made all the more charming when it’s Nimoy in character as Spock with a wide grin.

This of course started me to thinking about the numerous memorable scenes between any or all of these three actors, including the “arguments” between Spock and Doctor McCoy over the years. De Kelley passed away back in 1999, and I’ve often wondered if–had he stayed with us a while longer–whether he and Nimoy might have seen fit to create some kind of 2-man performance for conventions, the way Nimoy and John DeLancie did with their Spock vs. Q show, and continue the good-natured ribbing between Spock and McCoy.

Man. That might’ve been something to see.

Anyway, I was reminded of a bit of Trek-related humor I’d read years ago, way back when on the message boards of the America Online service. It was a bit where someone had taken the classic Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First?” routine and translated it so that it was “performed” by Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty, with Spock playing the part of Costello and Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty dividing the Abbott part between them.

For whatever reason, I thought about that routine tonight, and decided to write a new version for just Spock and McCoy. Why? Mostly just to make myself smile and chuckle a bit, I suppose. I make no claim to the original idea; I just gave it my own spin. Yes, it’s goofy, but work with me, here.

Imagine, if you will, two old friends reunited after a long separation…..

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Posted in jokes, ramblings, trek, tributes | 7 Comments

Leonard Nimoy, RIP.

The New York Times and numerous other media outlets are reporting that Leonard Nimoy died earlier this morning at the age of 83. Our thoughts today are with his family and friends.

NYTimes.com: Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83

StarTrek.com also has a very nice tribute to Mr. Nimoy, chronicling his extensive career on the stage, television, and the silver screen as well as his writing, poetry, and other pursuits:

StarTrek.com: Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Last year, after he had become a regular, active presence on Twitter, he announced that he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and he attributed this to his years of smoking. Mr. Nimoy gave up the habit decades ago and even allowed his image to be used by the American Cancer Society to promote smoking cessation programs. I still have one of the posters from back in the late 80s in which Spock advocated, “Don’t Smoke. Live Long and Prosper. Leave the Pack Behind.”

Upon making his announcement last year, he continued urging people to give up smoking, using himself as the picture for what happens when you wait too long. He became a “Grandpa” to anyone who would listen to him on the subject:

nimoy-tweet

There really can be no understating Mr. Nimoy’s impact on Star Trek. His is the one character who is the throughline for everything that has come since the first pilot was developed in 1964, including linking the original continuity to that of the newer films. If there is a “Six Degrees of Spock” exercise to be conducted, I’m sure the results would be, to borrow one of his expressions, “Fascinating.”

spock-stii
There really can be no understating Mr. Nimoy’s impact on my own life. My earliest memories involve watching reruns of the original Star Trek series, and Spock–along with a healthy dose of Captain Kirk, of course–was the key component; the connective tissue holding everything together. Through the cartoons on Saturday mornings (Yes, I watched them first-run) to books and comics and toys t0 Star Trek‘s cinematic rebirth and eventual evolution into what we now call “the Star Trek franchise,” Spock is right there at the heart of it. Leonard Nimoy is right there at the heart of it. The show and its characters, including Spock, continued to pull me back and allow me to find something new to appreciate with each subsequent viewing.

Now here I sit, decades later and a writer of stories featuring the very characters I grew up watching, and it all tracks back to that TV show I’d run home to see every day after school on that little black and white television in my room. The influence of the show, including the character of Spock as portrayed by Mr. Nimoy, is undeniable.

nimoy-lasttweet

As Doctor McCoy said at the end of Star Trek II: “He’s really not dead, as long as we remember him.” I think it’s safe to say that Spock, and the man who breathed so much life into him for more than fifty years, will not soon be forgotten.

Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy, and thank you for so very many wonderful moments and memories.
spocks-chair

 

A slightly edited version of this piece was published on StarTrek.com on February 27th, 2015.

Posted in trek, tributes | 20 Comments

The Batcave Podcast, Episode 34 and 35!

I keep missing meetings and memos, apparently.

While I was hibernating or whatever, The Batcave Podcast saw fit to drop two–count ‘em! Two!–new episodes. Host John S. Drew has been marching merrily along with his ongoing review of the classic 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. For the second season’s fifteenth story (and 29th and 30th episodes), he’s joined by none other than writer, editor, voice actor, podcaster, musician, and all around decent dude Keith R.A. Decandido as they discuss “The Puzzles Are Coming” and “The Duo Is Slumming, the episodes that introduce a new villain to Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery, The Puzzler!

From John’s write-up:

“Maurice Evans is the new guest villain, The Puzzler. Without even knowing the history of this story, one can see that this should have been a Riddler episode and there are many who feel the character is a poor replacement. But as you’ll see in this podcast, there is a lot to recommend Puzzler as a worthy adversary for the dynamic duo and as one of the better villains created solely for the series.

Of course, that’s not to say this episode doesn’t have its problems, that include determining if this is an established villain in the Batman 66 universe or someone entirely new, the proper definition of monopoly, and a crazed Santa Claus.”

See what John and Keith think of these episodes: “The Puzzles Are Coming/The Duo Is Slumming

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Next up? John is joined by the incomparable Robert Greenberger, a Batman guru of substantial renown, to discuss the season’s sixteenth story (and 31st and 32nd episodes overall) that introduces yet another new adversary, the Sandman, who teams up with returning villainess Catwoman for “The Sandman Cometh” and “The Catwoman Goeth.”

From John’s write-up:

“That European criminal, the Sandman, is in Gotham City with a scheme to rob the millions of heiress J. Pauline Spaghetti. But he needs someone to run interference with Batman and Robin while he lays out his plan. Who better than the Catwoman?

But is this story as exciting as it sounds? Is it as well executed as earlier Catwoman stories? These questions and more will be answered in this podcast review.”

If nothing else, these episodes are notable for the presence of actor Michael Rennie as the Sandman. Rennie is perhaps best known for the role of Klaatu in one of my all-time favorite films, 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. After a string of films during the 195s0, he would go on to appear on several genre television series during the 1960s, such as Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Invaders.

See what John and Bob thought of these episodes: “The Sandman Cometh/The Catwoman Goeth

Posted in batcave podcast, feelin' nostalgic, friends, nerdity, podcasts, tv | Leave a comment

When the ideas won’t leave you alone.

writerI’ve been playing around with an idea for an original science fiction concept for a while now. It’s something I hope to expand to (at least) a novel’s worth of fun and excitement at some point, but it’s been an on-again/off-again thing, and usually gets pushed aside so that I can work on projects that are more pressing, or for which…you know…people have already agreed to pay me.

Gotta go where the food is, right?

Anyway, last night while driving the kids back from Taekwondo, I started letting bits and pieces of this still-gestating concept roll around in my head, and a few of them started to stick together. Some of it was ground I’d covered before, but then I started fitting pieces together in new combinations, and I was liking the direction things were starting to flow.

By the time I got home, I knew I wouldn’t be able to work on anything else until I transferred all of this somewhere more permanent than the collection of randomly firing and misfiring synapses that comprise the lump of oatmeal I have the audacity to call my brain. So, there I was, tapping notes into a document on my laptop for later revisiting. After an hour or so, I was satisfied that I’d siphoned off everything of worth from this exercise and stored it for safekeeping.

Right now–at this moment–I don’t know if anything will come of all that chaos, but it’s that early stage, when thoughts and ideas and nuggets of this or that are flying around every which way in your head, that’s always my favorite part of the writing process. This is true whether I’m working alone or brainstorming with others.

Of course, now I have to put a pin in all of that and take care of the work right in front of me, but I suspect I’ll be revisiting this idea sooner rather than later. Still, it’s tempting to want to turn all my attention to this new, shiny bauble. Grr. Argh.

And so it goes.

#AmWriting

Posted in ramblings, writing | 2 Comments