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Even though I remain busy with post duties on Dark Matter season 3 (cuts, music reviews, mixes, and VFX approvals), I have made it a point NOT to think about season 4.  Not yet.  I do have a game plan complete with story and character arcs for next year but, for now, I’m taking a little break.  I plan to get on it next month…which, I guess, is Monday.  The season 4 writers’ room fast approaches (we’re aiming for June 12th in Vancouver, three days after our double episode premiere on Syfy and Space Channel) so I need to be more ready!  When the time comes, I’ll be joined by a few DM regulars in addition to, hopefully, a Stargate veteran I’ve been wanting to re-team with for years.  Exciting announcement to come!

The free time has allowed me to catch up on my reading.  So far in 2016, I’ve blazed through 68 books which should put me on pace to obliterate my previous record of 108 books read back in 2014.  I’m presently putting together a list of my favorite genre novels and comic books of 2016 in advance of my annual Rogue Star Awards.  Check the right sidebar for past winners.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to cast votes for this season’s episode titles. Here is a rundown of what you selected:

Episode 27: Being Better Is So Much Harder

Episode 28: It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This

Episode 29: Welcome To The Revolution

Episode 30: All The Time In the World

Episode 31: Give It Up, Princess

Episode 32: One Last Card To Play

Episode 33: Wish I Could Believe You

Episode 34: Hot Chocolate

Episode 35: Isn’t That A Paradox?

Episode 36: Built, Not Born

Episode 37: The Dwarf Star Conspiracy

Episode 38: My Final Gift To You

Episode 39: Nowhere To Go

What do they all mean?  Any guesses?

Nurse Suji attends to Akemi on the mend.

Next to natto and shopping online for dog clothes, there’s nothing my girlfriend enjoys more than good old-fashioned outdoor photo op.

#oddballgirlfriends

“Tonsilitis,”said the doctor.

“Tonsilitis?”I repeated.

“Tonsilitis?”asked a concerned Akemi.

“Tonsilities,”he confirmed.

“Surgery?”I asked.

“Surgery?!”said a suddenly panicked Akemi.

“No surgery,”said the doctor.

“No surgery?”I asked.

“No surgery,”he confirmed.

Apparently, tonsil surgery went out of style with in-flight smoking and salad gelatine.  Instead of a tonsillectomy, all she needs is about a week’s worth of antibiotics.  Oh, and – according to Akemi – one of these:

Despite my attempts to dissuade her, point out that it made her look like a hipster anarchist, she insisted on wearing one of these creepy surgical masks that are all the rage in Japan. I’m reminded of that King of the Hill episode where Hank Hill finds himself in Tokyo, attempting to flag down passersby for help.  “Excuse me,”he says.  “Pardon me.”  And then, to the guy walking by in the surgical mask – “Doctor.”

Hey!  You did it!  You all pulled together to come up with a title for our season 3 finale, ensuring I won’t have to.  Your winner is…

“Episode 39: Nowhere To Go”.

Damn, that sounds ominous.

Over the past two seasons, you, the fans, have helped shape the show.  You’ve weighed in on everything from concept designs to episode titles and, today, your opinion counts more than ever as we seek to name the Dark Matter season 3 finale.

As in previous polls, I’m offering up a choice of three potential titles – all of them pieces of dialogue from the episode in question.  You may not know exactly what these words refer to given the lack of context, but each and every line offers up a hint of what’s to come.  In the ensuing weeks, I’ll go back and review the dialogue clues for every season 3 episode and maybe offer up a few more tantalizing tidbits of what awaits in the coming months.

But, first things first.  Choose your favorite season 3 finale title from amongst the following…

Polls close in 24 hours, so get voting!

Supplied a few notes on Ben Pinkerton’s music for Episode 302 in advance of Friday’s mix.  Kudos to Ben who continues to do such an amazing job scoring the show.  Now, all he has to do is release that soundtrack.  Am I right?

Also, this morning, I had a conference call with the Syfy International team. Representatives from various territories kindly took the time to hear my pitch for the show’s third season, everything from our two comedic episodes to our new Big Bad to the Dark Matter aftershow, After Dark, which will offer post-episode discussions every week with cast members and the occasional showrunner.    Get the inside scoop on every episode exclusively on After Dark!

Okay.  Enough fun time with the dogs.  Got to start thinking about season 4!

This is the time of year when I put on the pounds.  Between show wrap and my return to Vancouver, it’s about four weeks packed with goodbye lunches and dinners.  Farewell to friends.  Farewell to co-workers.  Farewell to the crispy sirloin, green pepper and onions taco at Campechano.  I’ll miss you all!

Today, was a simultaneous hello/goodbye with one of my very favorite people, Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter’s ONE/Derrck Moss/Jace Corso), who made time for lunch with yours truly despite a very busy Toronto production schedule.

Marc contemplates lunch at Forno Cultura, a casual Italian eatery that offers up home made breads, pizzas, sandwiches, Italian desserts and, of course, coffee.

Marc contemplates our dessert medley.

And then after dessert, it was MORE DESSERT at SOMA Chocolates.  A little shout-out to our favorite Android.  Z for Zobot!

Then, no doubt, the highlight of his trip to T.O. – meeting Suji.

Oh yeah.  No one appreciates a scalp massage like this girl.

Akemi, Lulu, Suji, and I were delighted to spend time with Marc.  Hope to see him in Vancouver this summer!

And then tonight, it was dinner with Co-Executive Producers Ivon Bartok and Robbie David.  Okay tacos, some pretty good wings, but an outstanding dulce de leche cake for dessert!

Just because production has ended doesn’t mean I’ve finished work on Dark Matter.  I completed my cut of Episode 312 (“My Final Gift To You”) today. Director Bruce McDonald, editor Norman Wong, and our cast deliver one of this season’s very best episodes.  It one rivals Episode 310 (“Built, Not Born”) for the number of incredibly touching character moments.  Both guaranteed to give you all the feels.

Yesterday morning, we were at Deluxe for the Episode 301 (“Being Better Is So Much Harder”) mix.

Friday morning, we’re back at it for Episode 302 (“It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This”).

Hey, we have one final Dark Matter season three episode to title – and it’s the finale know less!  Tune in to tomorrow’s blog entry for a chance to opinionate on this one!

Yesterday, I offered up a list of My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016.

Today I’d like to offer up a list of My Favorite Genre Short Stories of 2016.

Of the roughly 200 stories I read last year, these were, in my humble opinion, the Top 30.

I’ve included a short synopsis and links to an online reading copy. You may also want to consider purchasing the issues outright (or, better yet, subscribing!). And, if you’re interested in further reading, I would heartily recommend RockStackRank, a site that offers up monthly aggregate ratings for works in the categories of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

“Salvage Opportunity” by Jack Skillingstead (Clarkesworld #114) – SF

Badar has a 4-year contract sits all alone at a salvage site on Kepler-186f.  – RocketStackRank

“The Governess with a Mechanical Womb” by Leena Likitalo (Clarkesworld #114) – Post Apocalyptic

Agneta and her little sister, Saga, are among the last human survivors. The invading aliens have assigned a modified human “governess” to watch over them. RockStackRank

“Into the Wreck” by June Oldfather (Strange Horizons – February 22nd, 2016) – SF

A human science team studies the colossal wreck of an alien spacecraft. RocketStackRank

“The Artificial Bees” by Simon Guerrier (Uncanny #9) – SF

Randall, a robot, investigates an unfamiliar place: a home garden. RocketStackRank

“Not a Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass” by Jeremiah Tolbert (Lightspeed Magazine #69) – Fantasy

Ellie used to travel freely to the other world, but lately her door doesn’t work. In fact, all the portals are broken for some reason.RocketStackRank

“Blessed are Those Who Have Seen and Do Not Believe” by D.K. Thompson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #91) – Magical Steampunk

Elijah is dying of tuberculosis in a London where Darwin discovered spirits, not evolution. He and a vampire friend descend into the underground to look for a cure. – RocketStackRank

“In Skander, For a Boy” by Chaz Brenchley (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #91) – High Fantasy

Having no heir, King Rulf sends Harlan, his most trusted adviser, to find the son of the king he overthrew 20 years ago.RocketStackRank

“We Have A Cultural Difference, Can I Taste You?” by Rebecca Ann Jordan (Strange Horizons – April 18th, 2016) – SF

Filo/Gee, an intelligent giant amoeba, isn’t the ideal college roommate, particularly since he experiences the world through touching and tasting, which is hard on books, electronics, and relationships.RocketStackRank

“1957” by Stephen Cox (Apex Magazine #84) – SF Horror

Daniel is 17, attends a British boys school, and is very happy except in those moments when he remembers a very different life.RocketStackRank

“Blameless” by Jeffrey Ford (A Natural History of Hell – Stories)

A couple are invited over to a neighbor’s daughter’s exorcism. (Small Beer Press) – New Weird Horror

“Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic” by Jose Pablo Iriarte (Strange Horizons – June 13th, 2016) – Contemporary Fantasy

Sergio is called to remove an offensive mural, but when he touches it, it makes him “remember” things from other people’s lives. – RocketStackRank

“A Good Home” by Karin Lowachee (Lightspeed Magazine #73) – SF

A disabled human veteran takes in a disabled AI veteran. The AI doesn’t talk anymore due to trauma, but Tawn tries to get through to it, even though his mother thinks it’s dangerous.RocketStackRank

“Binaries” by S.B. Divya (Lightspeed #73) – SF

The narrator describes his life in exponential steps.RocketStackRank

“Cuckoo Girls” by Douglas F. Warrick (Apex Magazine #85) – Horror

Nikki and Samantha are on the run from luminous monsters that are trying to kill them–and anyone they care about who’s near them.  – RocketStackRank

“Lullaby For A Lost World” by Aliette De Bodard (Tor.com) – Horror

Charlotte’s sacrifice kept the forces of chaos at bay, but only for a while, and in her grave, she grows resentful.RocketStackRank

“Against the Stream” by A Que (Clarkesworld #118) – Time Travel

An “illness” causes a man to wake each morning in the previous day, and as he lives his life backwards, he sees the mistakes he made.RocketStackRank

“The One Who Isn’t” by Ted Kosmatka (Lightspeed Magazine #74) – SF

A woman appears to be helping a child recover from some form of brain damage. His perceptions and memory are off, but something is off about her too.RocketStackRank

“The Assassin’s Secret” by Adam Troy-Castro (Lightspeed #75) – Fantasy

The world’s greatest assassin sits in his lair, waiting for people to come to him to beg his assistance.RocketStackRank

“The Gentleman of Chaos” by A. Merc Rustad (Apex Magazine #87) – High Fantasy

An immortal assassin threatens the new king, so he has his sister trained as the ultimate bodyguard.RocketStackRank

“The Engines Imperial” by Sean Bensinger (Clarkesworld #119) – Fantasy SF

The starship Rook returns to the system to mourn her sister starship, who died there 10,000 years ago.RocketStackRank

“Rooms Formed of Neurons and Sex” by Ferrett Steinmetz (Uncanny Magazine #12) – Near-Future SF

Lydia’s boyfriend, Ross, was just a brain in a jar. So how, exactly, did she injure him during sex?RocketStackRank

“Of Sight, Of Mind, Of Heart” by Samantha Murray (Clarkesworld #122) – SF

You adopt an android baby. You name him Ben. He grows amazingly fast.RocketStackRank

“Afrofuturist 419” by Nnedi Okorafor (Clarkesworld #122) – SF

Nigerian astronaut Abacha Tunde has been abandoned in space since 1990 and he would appreciate some help getting home.RocketStackRank

“Every Day Is The Full Moon” by Carlie St. George (Lightspeed Magazine #79) – Slipstream

B’s werewolf dad beats her, but what really gets her down is she hasn’t become supernatural like her friends have.RocketStackRank

“A Salvaging of Ghosts” by Aliette De Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195) – Space Opera

Thuy seeks her daughter’s remains in the twisted parts of unreal space where salvagers pick over the remains of wrecked starships.RocketStackRank

“Terminal” by Lavie Tidhar (Tor.com) – SF

A vast fleet of “jalopies” carry individuals on a one-way trip from Earth to Mars. People do it for different reasons, some of which we learn about in this story.RocketStackRank

“The Savannah Liar’s Tour” by Will McIntosh (Lightspeed Magazine #68) – Urban Fantasy

In the near future, Ben uses cryosleep for a side-effect: while he’s under, he can meet his dead wife. Trouble is, he has a new wife.RocketStackRank

“Secondhand Bodies” by JY Yang (Lightspeed #68) – SF

Agatha wants a svelte replacement for her plump body, but since she can’t get one grown in a reasonable time, she looks into an illegal swap.RocketStackRank

“Two’s Company” by Joe Abercrombie (Tor.com) – High Fantasy

A warrior woman and a thief fleeing from the south meet a male warrior fleeing from the north in the middle of a bridge. Then it gets complicated.RocketStackRank

“Blood Grains Speak Through Memories” by Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #195)- SF

Frere-Jones controls the nanobot “grains” that help protect the ecology in the bit of land she “anchors.” She’s come to view the grains as a tyranny, but there doesn’t seem to be much she can do about it.RocketStackRank

It’s that time of year again, the time of year that the various big name genre awards start generating their list of nominees.  As a fairly prolific reader, I’m often left bewildered and genuinely annoyed at some of the titles that make – and, often, do NOT make – these lists.  So much so that, two years ago, I decided to start my very own genre awards (The Rogue Star Awards right here on this blog) to recognize the overlooked gems and standout novels, novelettes, short stories, and comic books that I, personally, enjoyed over the course of the previous year.  It’s just one guy’s opinion but, when all is said and done, the  opinion of a guy who reads significantly more than 95% of the people voting in those other awards.

Anyway, today I’d like to offer up a list of My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016.

Of the roughly 50 novelettes I read last year, these were, in my humble opinion, the Top 7.

I’ve included a short synopsis and links to an online reading copy.  You may also want to consider purchasing the issue outright (or, better yet, subscribing!).  And, if you’re interested in further reading, I would heartily recommend RockStackRank, a site that offers up monthly aggregate ratings for works in the categories of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

2016’s Top 7 Novelettes

In the Midst of Life by Nick Wolven (Clarkesworld #113) – SF

“In a rude, career-ending memo to his boss, Doug recounts a disaster that occurred on a company property in Indonesia when they tried to evict a group of squatters and their charismatic leader.” – RocketStackRank

Chains by A. J. Hartley (Tor.com) – Steampunk

“Anglet is an indentured laborer working on a suspension bridge. Sir William sees something in her, and wants to pay off her indenture and give her better work.” – RocketStackRank

Teenagers From Outerspace by Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld #119) – Historical SF

“In 1955, Nancy’s best friend Ellen dates a bad boy who introduces her to Bug Town, where aliens live. Nothing is the same after that.” – RocketStackRank

Once More into the Abyss by Dennis Danvers (Tor.com) – Contemporary SF

“Stan is sure he’s an alien, or at least that his parents were, and he’s happy to accompany his wife to the abyss, an archaeological site out west associated with aliens.” RocketStackRank

The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan (Tor.com) – SF/Mainstream

“The crew of the new Mars mission are coming to the hotel where Emily works, and her mom is starting to say strange things about her involvement with the last Mars mission.” RocketStackRank

A Deeper Green by Samantha Murray (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #205) – Fantasy

“The colony can’t tolerate assault, and it depends on Juvianna’s gift of making people forget crime and motivation alike. But what if she used it preventively?” RocketStackRank

Extraction Request by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld #112)  – Military SF Horror

“Elliot’s squad of convict-soldiers crash-lands in the middle of a swamp far away from help. Extracting them doesn’t seem to be a priority, but something seems to be wrong with the swamp.” RocketStackRank

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