This And That

Back to Press

So I read on Keith DeCandido’s blog that Tales of the Dominion War is going back for a second printing. Hooray! It’s a rock solid collection and worthy of the attention it’s getting.

With so much media tie-in competition these days, Pocket’s print runs for Star Trek fiction have been cut back, drastically when compared with the past. And yet, the current A Time to… series has been selling very well for them, with David Mack’s A Time to Heal actually hitting the USA Today best seller list.

The quality of the books is way up over the last few years and it’s nice to see readers responding.

Ivan’s Visit

We got the merest taste of Hurricane Ivan as the storm moved over Connecticut yesterday. Driving rains and wind, branches down, some power lines down (thankfully not here), and so on. Under circumstances like this, one corner of the basement gets damp. It just happens to be the corner where the filing cabinet is, next to my desk. Yesterday, we got so much rain, so fast; we developed two leaks in the vicinity. I spent well over an hour sitting down there with the Shop Vac running, keeping the floor as dry as possible.

And then the storm passed, the skies lightened, an early fall breeze filled the air and it was over. Odd.

The New Season Begins

Here, we intend to sample the following new series this season: Jack & Bobby, Clubhouse, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Any other suggestions?

As it is, these are being added to the family rotation of Boston Legal, Gilmore Girls, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, Smallville, ER, Enterprise and Joan of Arcadia.

I’ve stated previously, I was very impressed with the first episode of Jack & Bobby. I got a nice note from Brad Meltzer, who helped co-create the series, letting me know he and his partner are writing the seventh episode so it’s nice to see he’ll stay involved. We’ll probably cut away from the Emmy Awards to watch it tonight.

The More Things Change…

At the annual used book sale back in July, I picked up Alan King’s 1964 best-sellerHelp! I’m a Prisoner in a Chinese Bakery. I’ve always like King and his work and was sorry to see him pass away recently. Reading the book the other day, I was struck at how similar his complaints were. Here we are 40 years later, and the complaints haven’t changed all that much.

When you strip away the borscht belt humor, the obvious wife and in-law jokes, and look at what he’s commenting on, it’s all eerily familiar. Look at these excerpts:

“I think we should realize that having parents plan out every step of their children’s lives is not always a blessing. The big thing used to be planned parenthood; now it’s planned childhood.”

“Did you know that the number-one health problem in the United States is obesity? That’s a fact. We’re all too fat.”

“Modern Man is expected to be a good provider for his family, a faithful and virile husband, a helpmate, a loving father, an asset to his community, a paragon of virtue, a pillar of strength, a fountain of compassion. And all the time he’s got to conform to the system, act by the rules, and live by the numbers.”

And there are other universal truths and complaints sprinkled throughout the book about airplane delays, banking, lawyers, and so on. On the other hand, it’s also a time capsule. He laments the move to the seven digit phone number (no more MUrray Hill 567) or the absence of doctors making house calls.

4 comments

  • Michael A. Burstein

    Reagrding TV, Nomi and I found Jack & Bobby quite good last week, and we plan to watch it again tonight. (Or at least record it on the TiVo for later viewing.) We’re also planning to check out Desperate Housewives, which annoyingly is on at the same time as Jack & Bobby. Which is why we have a VCR hooked up as well…

  • I really liked Tales of the Dominion War, including your Klag story. I think Pocket’s on to something with these anthologies.

    As for Jack and Bobby, I’ve already fallen in love with it. Just a good wholesome show. Kind of like Joan of Arcadia meets the West Wing.

  • TOTDW is a rather good book…and your Klag story got a pretty good review from me and the beagle:-). I don’t quite recall where I placed it in story rankings, but it was one of the graded A stories.

    After a so-so first episode, I’m really liking Father of the Pride. It’s not for kids, nor should it be, but it’s a hoot. This week, Shrek’s Donkey guest stars.

    I’ve been watching Medical Investigation…I think that’s what it’s called…The CSIesque show about a NIH team. It’s 3rd episode showed a little promise breaking away from it’s mold, but not too much.

    LAX, on tonight, gets it’s second chance. The first episode was ok, nothing great, but Blair Underwood and Heather Locklear have fun chemistry, so it gets a look #2.

  • Lance Woods

    Bob,

    It took a tiny piece of pop-culture trivia to get me to step out onto your board, but here I am.

    “Busy, busy, busy” is, indeed, from FROSTY. The actor who voiced the magician was Billy DeWolfe, who was often confused with Terry-Thomas (even though the latter was English, and DeWolfe was from the US).

    In addition to FROSTY and tons of other appearances, he did a hilarious turn as a dog stylist on a DICK VAN DYKE SHOW episode. He’s one of those late, great character actors I miss every time I see or hear him (like another VAN DYKE veteran, J. Pat O’Malley).

    And by the time I finish mouthing off on this, someone will have said the same thing in a more concise fashion, so I’ll go now and “write.”