Skip to content

Month: October 2013

North Carolina Comicon!

Ill be atWe’re just a couple weekends away from North Carolina Comicon, and I’m thrilled to announce I will be attending and signing books!

I’ll have plenty of copies of Sidekick for those of you who haven’t gotten your copy yet, as well as a slew of my other stuff. I’ll be happy to chat, answer questions, pose for pictures, and so on.

As a special treat for readers of the blog, the first several (depending upon how many copies I can burn before then) people who tell me “Bobby sent me” will be surreptitiously slipped a copy of the Sidekick Soundtrack. And if you’re really nice, I might let you read the first couple chapters from Crush Story.

youarehereI’m not going to be the easiest person to find at Comicon; I’m stuck way in the very back of the very back of the venue. I will be in Hall “A,” the smaller of the two exhibition halls, at table A4 as indicated in the picture to your right. I will try to make it worth the trip. Promise.

As for signings, here’s my basic policy. If I wrote it (or part of it, if the paperback edition of Very Superstitious is available in time), I will sign it. You do not have to have bought it from me. You do not need to buy it at the table. I will sign it. If I did not write it, I will not sign it.

I’m looking forward to this visit! Please come on out and see me.

Leave a Comment

Division by Zero

In 1993 I had an amazing opportunity. I connected online with another area writer named John Passarella to develop an idea of mine for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Working through his agent at the time, we submitted our spec script and were invited in to pitch to then-story editor Robert Hewitt Wolf.

We never did manage to sell a pitch to DS9 (although one of our “B” plots eventually formed the basis for the seventh season story Take Me Out to the Holosuite) but we were both given an open-ended invitation to pitch to both DS9 and Voyager, which was in development at the time. (I’ll talk about my Voyager experiences later on, if you ask really nicely.)

Although I’ve held on to the second (and I think better) spec script that we collaborated on, as well as a copy of John’s own solo spec script for DS9, I had thought that the script that had gotten us through the door was forever lost.

Until I started trying to recover some of my old floppies this week.

At the time I was actually still writing on an Atari 130XE. My PC days were months away, and I went through hell trying to convert files back and forth between Atari’s own proprietary data format and something readable by Jack’s PC. To facilitate the conversion process, I dumped the script as a generic text file onto a PC-formatted floppy disc using a kludge program to let Atari users read and write DOS floppies. I forgot about that backup copy, and ended up dumping it into a box with other floppies that I never bothered to look at.

Today, I found it.

The date on the disc is August 21, 1993, and while the label says “Acts 1-4,” it also included a copy of the full merged script, revised on August 27, 1993. I can’t remember which one of us did the last revision: Jack or I. In any case, I’m reasonably sure that was the version that we submitted, and since neither of us can profit off of it, I’ve decided to put it out into the wilds for those who might be curious.

I had the story concept in the early days of DS9’s first season, and Jack and I wrote it during the closing days of that season before we even had a chance to look at the series bible. A lot of things we touched on were eventually negated, retconned, or even ignored as the series continued. (The main story comes from facts about Trill physiology from TNG.) We got the news that our script had been formally rejected but we had been invited to pitch, oddly enough, a week before one of the episodes doing those retcons actually aired.

So if you can ignore the fact that this was written before most of what we now know about the characters of DS9 was firmly established, and that we wanted a chance to do some of that character development, go ahead and read it. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel like the DS9 you remember; you probably aren’t thinking about what the first season felt like.

You can read the script by clicking here.

Leave a Comment

Once again, people don’t learn.

Another school shooting brings out the same old tired mantras. “Motive unclear.” “Heroic blah blah.” “Crazed gunman.”

For those of us who actually give a shit, there was no mystery about the case of Sparks Middle School. Just as there was no mystery about Lanier High or Carver High or Taft Union. Or Paducah, or Jonesboro, or (despite the best efforts of historical revisionists to change the narrative) Columbine.

Eventually, the truth will out. And it finally has once again in the case of Sparks Middle School. It was a bullying victim who felt no other option but to take matters into his own hands.

The problem with school shootings, at heart, is one of denial. As I wrote in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Columbine:

“By all rights, Columbine should have gotten the message across loud and clear to kids across the country: don’t fuck with the wrong people or you will end up dead. It didn’t, though, and neither did the killings that came later, because people love victims. Because a couple of kids who were sick of being kicked around killed their oppressors, they wound up making themselves into the bad guys, and made the bad guys into victims in everyone’s eyes. People were too overcome with grief over the senseless bloodshed to think about what had driven the two shooters to do what they did. And for those jocks, having their blood spilled wound up washing away their sins as far as everyone was concerned. Don’t think about what they were really like, turn them into perfect little angels in everyone’s eyes. And, personally, I am not really in favor of giving the world of jocks any new martyrs.”

In Americans’ minds, being shot makes you the victim. Never the oppressor. No parent wants to consider that their kid brought on their own demise through their actions. No one wants to say, in effect, that they got what they deserved. We’re too busy grieving and wringing our hands to actually think about what happened.

We keep having school shootings simply because we don’t make a real effort to stop them. We add security checkpoints and metal detectors and spot inspections but we never address the underlying cause.

I’ve said before that if I’d had easy access to a gun when I was in High School, I would have wound up like one of these shooters. I was a victim of bullying just like so many others. I carry the scars to this day, even as some of the people who bullied me now try to pretend that they’re my friends.

Are we finally going to get serious about ending school shootings? If so, we need to get down to the root cause of so many of them: bullying. And I mean a real effort, not the eyewash that we’re trying to pass off as an effort now. Here’s a start.


Our current “zero tolerance” policies only aggravate the problem. If a kid tries to defend himself against a physical attack, he gets suspended or expelled. If a kid complains about bullying to administrators, their hands are tied because it becomes a “your word against mine” situation so the bully gets away with it.

We need to change zero tolerance so there’s zero tolerance against the aggressors only. We need to start suspending and expelling bullies, not their victims. We need to have administrators respond when complaints about bullying are made, not brush them off.

We need to show kids that their problems can be solved another way, through a system that works.

Because if we don’t, more and more kids are going to feel they have no other option to end their suffering than to kill their oppressors and then themselves.

Leave a Comment