I am Spartacus!

I am writing a book.

There’s a scene in That Thing You Do when the Wonders are about to perform on television, and Lenny asks Skitch, “How did we get here?” And Skitch Patterson, with his Spartacus fixation, says, “I have brought you here, sir, for I am Spartacus.” It’s that sense of unreality that I’m feeling, that sense that I am Spartacus. Because I’m writing a book.

Ring Around the Sky is a novella in the Star Trek: SCE line of eBooks, short works of fiction that can be read on handheld or desktop computers with the proper software. Star Trek: SCE is about the crew of the USS da Vinci, part of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, who travel about the galaxy and fix things. And I’ve been approved to write a story in the line, due out in early 2004.

It should be an interesting story, perhaps a little more tech-oriented than other stories in the series, but when the story revolves around repairing a system of a dozen space elevators and a solid ring built around the planet in orbit you’re bound to have some tech issues that might not arise when dealing with semi-sentient computers. The setting is one I’ve wanted to use for a very long time, and I’m quite excited to have the opportunity at last.

I have to say, just thinking about the story gives me vertigo.

Expect infrequent updates and ruminations between now and May, when the story is due to Pocket Books.


Two recent eBay wins. The John Lennon “Free as a Bird” demo CD I’ve wanted for years, only to lose out to snipers in the final minutes of the auction every time I’ve bid on it. Well, it finally happened. I finally won the auction for the John Lennon Dakota Demos.

The other win is for a Christmas present — a very rare Harry Potter book. More on this later.


In other Beatles-related CDs of interest, George Harrison’s final album was released, Paul McCartney released yet another live CD, this one from his latest tour, and a band named The Fab Four released two CDs of Beatles-inspired Christmas music. Let’s take these from the top.

George Harrison was never the prolific musician that John or Paul were, or even that Ringo was. And musically and creatively, he shot his load with All Things Must Pass, his first post-Beatles album, so massive that it took three LPs, and so thorough that he never really approached its rarified heights. Cloud Nine, nearly twenty years later, was certainly his best post-ATMP work, and perhaps the best album by a former Beatle in the 1980s (though a case could be made for McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt). Brainwashed, Harrison’s final album, equals Cloud Nine in terms of inventiveness, musicianship, and sheer fun. Its songs aren’t quite as memorable as Cloud Nine‘s, but the lyrics work and the guitar work is always top-notch. If you have even the slightest interest in the Beatles or George Harrison, Brainwashed is a safe bet and an enjoyable time.

Back in the U.S., McCartney’s live album from last summer’s tour, covers many of the major McCartney anthems of the Beatles and Wings, with only three songs from the post-Wings era. McCartney and his band are in excellent form, and they give every song its due. The problem is that the album feels a little flat. Perhaps it’s because I heard these songs live and in person, and coming through the stereo they lose something in the translation. Perhaps. It’s a very thorough album at two discs, covering the whole setlist of his concert act, which lasted three hours. Between song chatter and introductions have been lost, as has the performance art introduction to the show. Back in the U.S. is good, but like most live albums, best suited for completists.

A Beatles-tribute band named The Fab Four have released two albums of Christmas music, taking a classic Christmas song and recasting it as a Beatles song. Imagine “Little Drummer Boy” as “Norwegian Wood” or “What Child is This” as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Oddly enough, the mixture works in most cases, and these albums (both run about five or six dollars) are worthy of joining a dedicated Beatles fan’s CD collection, if only for the kitsch factor.


Waiting For Frodo has gone metaphysical with the two strips posted today. And I have no idea why. Perhaps all will become clear in the next or two.

We can hope, anyway.

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