I’ve Been Fanficced

I was a writer/producer on SEAQUEST 2032, which was cancelled mid-way through production of  its third season, though scripts were ordered for several more episodes. William Rabkin and I wrote one of those scripts, which was entitled "About Face," and would have been episode 14 of the season. The script has been lost, but a SEAQUEST fan named Rod J. Glasbergen has taken  our one-page treatment for the episode and used it as the basis for his own fanfic story, which he’s posted on the net with this byline and disclaimer:

2032: the Continuation is as the title suggest the continuation of
seaQuest 2032.  I have for this reason started with episode 14 of the
incomplete third season.


By Rod J. Glasbergen

Based on an original outline by Lee Goldberg and William

– used without permission –

Since he admits that he did it without permission,  I guess that makes it okay, right? Fanficcers certainly have a bizarre take on what constitutes copyright infringement.

Rod even lifts some of our lines of description and bad temp dialogue word-for-word and uses them in his story as his own (I can’t imagine what Rod would have written, and claimed as his own, if he’d actually managed to get his hands on our detailed outline or our actual script).  He’s not some kid, either…he’s in his mid-20s and even has the chutzpah to take credit for the creation of the rest of the third season:

SeaQuest 2032: the Continuation and all related materials are the concept of Rod Glasbergen.

I don’t think his version of our SEAQUEST 2032 "About Face" story would even qualify as legitimate  ‘fanfic’ to fanficcers. This is simply a blatant  rip-off of someone else’s work.

Shame on you, Rod.

(Thanks to Adam for the heads-up)

UPDATE 8-20-2006: I heard from Rod today. He wrote:

I clearly intended no offence to you or Mr Rabkin in my attempt to
flesh out ABOUT FACE  as a fan fiction.  The idea behind continuing
SEAQUEST 2032 as a multi-episode fanfic was not designed to offend or
insult the writters and producers or anyone involved in the making of
SEAQUEST. I apologize if my work too closely resembles your own, and if you would like I will remove the episode from my website.

I appreciate his willingness to remove the "episode" from his site (and I’ve taken him up on his offer). But he still doesn’t get what he’s done wrong. He’s sorry if his work too closely resembles ours? It is ours.  He literally took our story idea and tried to write it himself.  At least he’s taking it off the net…


Holy Lawsuit, Batman!

The daughter of BATMAN producer William Dozier is suing Fox for $4.4 million in unpaid royalties on the TV series. Thinking of the TV Batman brings back memories (as it did for Bob Sassone at TV Squad) My Mom grew up in Walla Walla with Adam West, who played BATMAN, and I was an avid fan of the show when I was a kid. I remember wearing my Batman Halloween costume to the premiere of the movie (the one based on the TV show).

In the late 90s, we cast Adam West on DIAGNOSIS MURDER and, although I spoke to him on the phone, I didn’t get a chance to meet him. The week he was shooting, we were in Hong Kong researching a pilot we were writing for CBS. But he was the best thing about the episode and is great in Conan O’Brien’s unsold pilot LOOKWELL.

I’m Changing My Hair Color And Moving to Germany

German researchers report that red heads have a lot more sex than everybody else.

The study by Hamburg Sex Researcher Professor Dr Werner Habermehl
looked at the sex lives of hundreds of German women and compared them
with their hair colour.

He said: "The sex lives of women
with red hair were clearly more active than those with other hair
colour, with more partners and having sex more often than the average.
The research shows that the fiery redhead certainly lives up to her

Oh, wait, it only applies to women. Damn.

Born to Write

My brother Tod ponders  today whether writing can be taught.

Oh, sure, you can teach someone how to write correctly — how
to format dialog, where to place a comma, how to avoid using adverbs in
dialog tags, he noted furiously, how to present plot in a cogent
fashion, what the 7 basic conflict plots are, all that academic stuff
— but you can’t teach someone how to be creative or compelling in
their fiction.

He shares some particularly scary examples of students who will never be published (at least  not without writing a check to iUniverse).

I tend to agree with him that you can’t teach creativity…or even basic story sense.  I’ve had a few students over the years in our online course who simply couldn’t comprehend what a story is. They couldn’t grasp the concept of "franchise"  and "conflict or why you couldn’t tell a story on MONK in the same way you would on, say, CSI. " Those students could take a thousand classes and it won’t change a thing. They will never be TV writers.

On the other hand, I’ve just finished teaching a course for the UCLA Extension was wowed by how creative, bright, and genuinely talented my students were.  Not because of what I taught them, but because they were born writers. I  just introduced them to a structure and way of thinking about story that they didn’t know before. There were one or two who struggled…but I think they’ll get the  hang of it.

Lori’s Ever-Changing Claims

Lori Prokop, online huckster and the originator of the Book Millionaire scam, posts this claim on her website:

“I’ve never seen anything like your four hour book signing at Barnes and Noble in Las Vegas. More than 1,174 people gladly stood in line for hours to meet you, buy your book and have them autographed. The line wove through the aisles of the store. Barnes and Noble
removed floor displays to make room for your book buyers. The Las Vegas NBC
affiliate covered the event and said they had never seen anything like it.
That’s amazing in Las Vegas, the city of excitement and entertainment.”
— Tali Mauai, Co-Author of the audio book
From Zero to Hero

I thought it was pretty amazing too. So, in the spirit of fairness
and accuracy, I checked into Lori Prokop’s claim (made through Tali Mauai) with friends in Las Vegas and my book industry sources and, as far I can tell, there was never any such booksigning event for her at a B&N there in the last five years nor the corresponding booksales that she implies she made. Perhaps she would be kind enough to provide the
exact date of the event and specific store where it took place so we can corroborate her claim?

Oddly enough, Lori uses the same claim from Tali, slightly reworded, to push her "Chiropractic Best Seller Book Program," a scheme to convince chiropractors that it would be a good idea to pay her vanity press to publish their articles and books. Note the significant differences (which I’ve boldfaced and italicized) between the two versions of the claim:

"I’ve never seen anything like our four hour book signing at Barnes and Noble in Las Vegas. More than 1,100 people gladly stood in line for hours to meet us, buy our book and have them autographed. The line wove through the aisles of the store. Barnes and Noble removed floor displays to make room for our book buyers. I felt like a local celebrity and my life has never been the same. I love it. The Las Vegas NBC affiliate covered the event and said they had never seen anything like it. That’s amazing in Las Vegas, the city of excitement and entertainment.” Tali Mauai, bestselling co-author, Zero to Hero

There is yet a THIRD version (again, with the differences in italic and bold-face) of the quote, this time pushing her seminars that will allow you to  "discover your powers to heal yourself, achieve abundance and create what you want in your life."

Lori, I’ve never seen anything like your four-hour
book signing at Barnes & Noble in Las Vegas.
More than 1,100 people stood in line for hours
to meet your authors, buy their books and have
them autographed. Barnes & Noble removed floor
displays to make room for your book buyers.
National media covered the event and said they
had never seen anything like it.” Tari Mauai, Bestselling Author, from Zero to Hero.

I wonder which quote is "the truth."  Again, perhaps Lori would be kind enough to clarify for us exactly when which author, selling what book,  had this mobbed Las Vegas booksigning that made members of the local (or it was it national? Perhaps even GLOBAL) press corps faint with astonishment.

A Vacation in the Badlands

I took a vacation — a day-trip, if you will. It’s 1:30 in the morning and I  just finished reading Richard S. Wheeler’s western novel BADLANDS, the story of a group of naive paleontologists researching fossils in the heart of the Sioux nation. It’s not nearly as dry a story as that description sounds… though I’m choking on the dust kicked up by Wheeler’s remarkably vivid, and yet keenly economical, prose. I couldn’t go to bed without getting to the end. Yes, I know it’s a cliche, but it’s the truth. He’s taken a surprisingly fresh and unique approach to a time-worn and familiar set-up, the foolhardy easterners led into the untamed west by a wizened, half-Indian guide. But there’s a good reason why Richard S. Wheeler is considered a legend in western literature. He takes the seemingly familiar and makes it brand new by leading you to what appears to be a cliche or stereotype — and deftly playing on your expectations, twists them and takes you instead to a realization of character or place that you didn’t see coming. Don’t let the traditional, western cover fool you.  BADLANDS is more about science, religion, and culture than it is about horses, injuns and shootouts and I loved every minute of it…and found the relaxation and escape I craved to recharge myself creatively for the tasks that lay ahead (it was far more satisfying than Larry McMurtry’s TELEGRAPH DAYS, which I read a couple of months back).  Now I have to tackle Richard’s beloved Skye series from book one onward…and considering how many there are, that alone could end up being a lifetime pursuit.

Another Reason to Love Hard Case Crime

The folks over at Hard Case Crime have unearthed an unpublished novel by David Dodge (TO CATCH A THIEF) entitled THE LAST MATCH, which he wrote shortly before his death in 1974. The manuscript was lost among his papers… until now. Hard Case has announced that they will publish the book in October:

MATCH opens
with echoes of TO CATCH A THIEF, as a handsome criminal spars with a
beautiful heiress on the beaches of the south of France. From there, though, Dodge takes readers
on a sprawling international adventure, from cigarette smuggling in Tangier to a
deadly trip by steamship up the Amazon River.

THE LAST MATCH is a grand romantic adventure of the sort you just don’t see anymore," said [Hard Case publisher] Charles Ardai. "It’s the story of an incorrigible crook racing around the globe to escape the woman who is out to reform him. Bullets fly, machetes slash through the jungle, suckers get fleeced, men win and lose fortunes, and maybe – just maybe – true love triumphs before the final curtain is rung down. But what sort of woman does it take to best the world’s slipperiest con man? All I can say is.just you wait and see."

There’s No Excuse

Stories like this almost make me ashamed to be an American.  The Bush Administration has done so much damage to our country — and caused so much pain, suffering, and death (between the incompentent handling of Hurricane Katrina, the pointless war in Iraq, the torture of prisoners, the massacre of innocent people, etc.) in the process — that they might as well be terrorists themselves.  They are doing Osama’s job for him.

There Are Only 500 Copies of BEYOND THE BEYOND Left! Hurry Before Supplies Run Out!

As I mentioned here before
I’ve got hundreds of copies of my book BEYOND THE BEYOND clogging up space in my garage (reminder to self:  never buy more than 100 copies of my own remaindered book).

My mistake is your gain. I’ll be glad to send you a signed copy BEYOND THE BEYOND for $9.99, which includes media mail postage to anywhere in the United States. 

BEYOND THE BEYOND is about ex-cop Charlie Willis, who handles
“special security” for Pinnacle Pictures. His job: to protect the
studio and its stars, to stop scandals before they explode, to the
keep the peace in the land of make-believe. How he does it is up to
him. In this book, a sequel to “My Gun Has Bullets,” he has to protect
the president of a fledgling TV network from an assassin, an A-list
screenwriter from his homicidal agent, and the cast of a cult TV series
from its legion of rabid,
homicidal fans.

Here’s a sampling of the critical praise for the book:

“Goldberg uses just about everything he can think of to
send up the studio system, fandom, Star Trek, Trekkies, agents, actors…
you name it, he’ll make you laugh about it.” Analog

"An outrageously entertaining take on the loathsome folkways of contemporary
showbiz,"Kirkus Reviews

“Mr. Goldberg has an observant eye and a wicked pen!” Washington  Times

Beyond the Beyond reads like a modern-day Alice in
Wonderland set against the venal world of the TV industry. It’s
wonderfully revealing and uncannily accurate,” Vancouver Sun

"Stingingly funny! B+" Entertainment Weekly

"Some of the easily recognizable actors, agents and producers who
are mercilessly ribbed may find
it hard to crack a smile at the author’s gag-strewn prose. Likewise
those seekers after politically correct entertainment. But the rest of
us should have no trouble….the novel’s satiric slant is strong enough
to have an effigy of Goldberg beamed into outer space at the next Star
Trek convention," Los Angeles Times

And yet, there were still 600 copies that didn’t sell. Even with a
giant penis on the cover. Can you imagine that? If you’d like to buy
one of them for $9.99,  just click on the button below: