Sunday, October 29, 2017


On Christmas Eve in 2009, I shot awake in the darkness of our old house struggling to breathe. I'd just experienced one of the most terrifying and memorable nightmares of my life. In it, I was walking along New Hampshire's Route 93, surrounded by devastation and other survivors of an alien invasion. Chasing us was an enormous vortex, which looked like a massive bruise in the sky. A tornado touched down from the vortex, and, right before waking up, I felt myself being drawn up into its maw. My last memory was of looking into the vortex and seeing a hateful alien face, massive, unforgettable, merciless. Dating back to when I was fifteen, the year I had that big Eureka! moment about living the writing life, I've penned an entire short story on Christmas Day. That year was no different. Possessed by the same lingering terror that chased me through the dream, I put pen to paper and bled out the words. By the time dinner came out of the oven, I had a completed first draft.

I sent out "Vortex" several times in 2010, and had quite a few near misses. As other projects and deadlines drew my focus, I stopped sending the story out -- until this year, when I read the call for Franklin/Kerr Press's apocalyptic-themed anthology, Down With the Fallen. Not long after submitting, I received a glowing acceptance by editor Jordon Greene. Down will soon be released, containing work by an amazing group of authors. Many shared the back-stories behind their stories in Down With the Fallen.

J.C. Raye on "To Market, To Market": "Justice. Interesting word, isn’t it? Sometimes, in the darkest place of our heart, we’d maybe like to see a little more of it rear its head, now and again. For real. For…right. Witness it dispensed a little more evenly. More publicly. Over a wider array of truly worthy recipients. For example, do you secretly wish that driver who ran the red in front of you would accidentally wrap their Hummer around an oak? No deaths or injuries or anything like that. Just a trashed car. Well, of course not! Evil to even think about. Would you love to see that shoplifter discover an angry scorpion in their jacket pocket, replacing the stolen pair of earrings dropped there only moments before? Please. What’s a few baubles in the scheme of things? Ever fantasize about making that oh so delicious short film, documenting your neighbor’s majestic belly flop into his pool while still collecting state disability payments? Oh no. Not you. Not your brother’s keeper and all that jazz, right? But hey, what if there was someone who could dispense that kind of justice? We’re talking payback folks. Accurate, swift, righteous. And right to your door."

Garrett R. Kirby on "The Other": "I will never forget coming up with my idea for ‘The Other’. I was suffering from a serious case of insomnia at the time, and it was somewhere around five in the morning. My alarm wouldn’t go off for another hour, but suddenly, in that odd state between consciousness and dreaming, I found myself imagining something that truly horrified me. It was the idea of a mother, carrying two unborn twins, dying of exposure in a nuclear fallout. The idea was that while she lay dying, something alien had sprung up in her womb, and began leaching life off of the fetuss’, creating this symbiotic relationship that caused this thing -- this Other -- to grow from the radiation, while also keeping the fetuses alive, meshing with them like some mutant cancer. The thought chilled me to the bone, and while none of this is directly in ‘The Other’, you do certainly see the aftermath: a world where these monstrous Others have become the apex predators; things which must be avoided by the remaining humans at all costs. I also thought it would be a bit more frightening if that little tumor wasn’t quite so small anymore…"

Jeremy Megargee on "The Rip": "Limax maximus literally translates to “biggest slug”, and I’ll be the first to tell you, these slimy bastards are BIG. Another common name for them is the leopard slug, and if you live in North America, chances are you’ve seen them sliming across your porch or your deck on a damp night and leaving a trail of grimy mucus in their wake. If you’re ever bored after midnight, take a seat and watch their progress. There’s something alien about their movements. The twisted contortions of their bulging forms mesmerize and repulse all at the same time. And on some level, if you watch them, you get the strange feeling that those stalk eyes are watching you right back. I’d watch these creepy little crawlies as a kid, and I guess something about it resonated, and that memory became the inspiration for ‘The Rip’. There’s something otherworldly about a slug, and I did my best to expand upon that concept. Don’t take my word for it. Watch them. Study them. Marvel at them."

Tobey Alexander on "Thirteen Days": "‘Thirteen Days’ was born from a whim but ended up being something to test me as a writer. I’ve always focussed on longer stories and thought I’d challenge myself to write a short story, it was October so the Halloween mood took me. When I asked my helpers (my two sons who thankfully often act as my brainstorming medium) they told me I should write a zombie story. I was worried about being too cliché and sat down to think how I would want it to be different, a little away from the norm and yet chilling in itself. I came up with the idea of taking a first person perspective. Not only did I decide to write a short story where I normally write novels or novelettes, I wrote in the first person instead of the third and so ‘Thirteen Days’ became my ‘out of my comfort zone’ tester. Hopefully, I’ve given you all something entertaining and chilling at the same time with a little feeling of humanity in a situation where humankind is not necessarily top of the food chain anymore. That said, what really separates us from the monsters? I’d guess...not a lot!"

Jack Lothian on "Men of Tomorrow": "It was a few years ago, Halloween night. We were making our way home in the wee small hours. The streets weren’t exactly empty but most of the parties were over. As we crossed over the main road, we passed a small alleyway and I could see someone standing at the end it. It was man, dressed in tights and a cape, an emblem on his front, hair slicked into a S-curl that had got messier as the evening had gone on. He was staring off into the distance with this look on his face… it wasn’t annoyance or anger. It was more like some kind of revulsion for the world he found himself in. Now, I understand that in reality he was probably a partygoer who’d had one Jäger shot too many and was now dealing with a rebellious gut, but there was something about him standing there, in the shadows, in that costume, with that expression of disgust… Anyone with the power to save the world would have the power to destroy it too, should they be so inclined. I hope he had a good Halloween anyway."

 M.B. Vujacic on "Freshmint": "‘Freshmint’ draws more from my own life than most of my stories. I'm a big fan of hookahs, and the hookah lounges where the story takes place are inspired by actual places in my hometown, Belgrade. The two male characters are caricatures of me and a buddy of mine, and freshmint was our favorite flavor at the time I wrote this story. Finally, as far as I'm concerned, the forearm-length centipedes that live in South America and hunt bats are among the scariest creatures on Earth. Even the small, black ones that occasionally find their way into my house give me the creeps. Fun fact: I'm currently writing a full length novel set in the same apocalyptic universe in which ‘Freshmint’ takes place, so I guess you could say ‘Freshmint’ is a prototype of sorts. A prototype I'm rather fond of. Here's to hoping the readers will share the sentiment."

Rohit Sawant on "The Pack": "Usually when you trace the origin of a story, you can follow the thread leading to the collision of ideas that sparked it, but sometimes, like in the case of 
The Pack’, it’s like waking up to find a mound of puzzle pieces on your doorstep. I only had a rough storyline, but even in its half-formed state, the characters and the imagery fascinated me, but most of all I was drawn to exploring how certain situations were likely to throw a harsh light on the fickleness of alliances when the chips are down; however, it still felt incomplete so I set it aside. It wasn’t until I saw this photograph my dad took of a New Jersey neighborhood when he visited the states late last year that things clicked, which was odd since the location doesn’t feature specifically in the story, but in that mysterious way, something about it brought everything together, and I began work on the piece about these two characters who butt heads in a post-apocalyptic setting while carrying out a task. Now that might sound pretty vague but revealing more would only spoil the fun!"

Marvin Brown on "Grandfather's Room": "I set two ground rules before tackling my post-apocalyptic tale: first, there would be no zombies or mutants or aliens. Second, the planet couldn’t be destroyed by nuclear mayhem, climate catastrophe, pestilence, asteroids, extraterrestrial invasion, or electromagnetic pulse -- any of the usual ways we get to the end of the world in these types of stories. Oh, there will be a collapse of civilization and my New Creatures will roam, but anywhere I can sidestep common tropes of the subgenre I did. I like the texture of post-apocalyptic stories: vast man-made structures in ruin, unmanaged nature taking back its planet, the devastating silence. Most unnerving, though, are the echoes and footprints and fading photos of the extinct. So, as your tour guide, I aim to provoke with these time-tested horrors, and point out some new ones as we cross this dystopian terrain."

Irina Slav on "A Year Later": "My first thought when I saw the phrase ‘post-apocalyptic anthology’ in the Franklin/Kerr call was ‘Disease! Zombies! Yay!’ My second thought was ‘Oh, how banal can you get?’ I still wanted my disease-caused Apocalypse, though, I’m kind of pigheaded with my ideas, so I looked for a way around the banality of disease-zombies-survival. I left the disease, dispensed with the zombies as we know them, and decided to make the story personal. What happens to Haley and Julianne in ‘A Year Later’ is pretty run-of-the-mill survival in a post-apocalyptic world where every human touch is death up to one point. For that point, I had to reach into that darkest corner of my mind when the most gruesome horrors lurk. The horror I pulled out this time is kind of disturbing but it had to be in the story. There was no other way, as Haley would probably say."

Christine Stabile on "Dry Leaves": "This story was born from a nightmare. The kind that jolts you awake drenched in sweat and sobbing. Unlike most of my vivid dreams, this one didn’t fade away. It plagued me until it was written and Jill’s story was told. Was it a glimpse into the future? I hope not. You can find me on Facebook -- I’d love to hear from you."

Jordon Greene on "Forbidden": "You know what I hate more than anything? It's not people who drive too slow in the left lane, though they do rank near the top of the list, or liars and thieves even. No, what I hate more than anything is when people use the government to oppress others who don't follow or agree with their religious views. What is more high minded than that? ‘Forbidden’ takes this deep distaste for religious tyranny to the next level in a world that I hope we'll never live in. It takes a current issue that seems to rile up a lot of fuss in our day and throws it in the middle of a horrifying political system only a theocrat could appreciate to make a point. Tyranny is tyranny, no matter what label you put on it. As a person of faith myself, I don't have a problem with religion, I have a problem with its abuse."

Jessica Clem on "Slits": "In the dystopian world of ‘Slits’, the First Battles of the extremist True Cross militia has eliminated law and order in a small community. Those who remain must obey their commandments, including participation in the annual, bloody Holy Arcturus. This gruesome game pits eight randomly selected people against each other, where they must cut and gut their way to victory inside the claustrophobic confines of a mega trailer home. This story follows Charlotte, one of the chosen who is afflicted with PTSD flashbacks. We follow her from room to room as she battles former acquaintances and neighbors, and the crazed ringleader known as The Gorgeous Man. She knows whomever remains will become a member of the militia. But whomever doesn’t... This story was inspired by a terrifying nightmare of mine. The trailer was original to my dream, but the extremist mania of the army was inspired by the ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘The Long Walk’, and the Crusades. I wanted to the horror to be inside and out of the trailer, bleeding into every edge of the community. Is there a world worth fighting for in ‘Slits’? It’s up to YOU, brave reader, to decide!"

Monday, October 16, 2017


In June 2016, I had the great luck of attending Writing From Nature, a workshop/retreat set in the wild shadows of Mount Monadnock (which I climbed almost to the summit the autumn I was fifteen). On the Saturday of Christine Woodside's excellent weekend experience, she sent us out into the woods without notebooks and pens -- which I found supremely unnerving. We were to walk, observe, and return after an hour. I like to be challenged, and this facet really tasked me. Rarely have I ever found myself without pen and paper by my side. I ambled down to the little chapel near the lake, sitting on a granite bench set beside a field stone wall at water's edge, and was supremely inspired. So much so that I couldn't get back quickly enough to work on my short story "The Shut-in", of which so many details came to me from that one hour sans writing utensils. Over that afternoon and the next morning, I belted out most of the story, about a young man who finds a kind of counterfeit happiness in a haunted lakeside bungalow over the course of a troubled summer. But returning home and to other deadlines, the folder went into the 'works-in-progress' pile on top of the second of the two big four-drawer lateral file cabinets in my Writing Room, and there it stayed until late December. In between my return from Writing From Nature and the time I again picked up the story was a twenty-four day stay in the hospital. The very last completed project of 2016 was "The Shut-in", and only one day following its 'The End' I received a personal invitation from Marie Piper to submit to a new charity project being planned -- Haunt, which would benefit Chicago-area homeless initiatives. Would I be interested, and did I have anything that fit the particular guidelines? Did I? "The Shut-in" seemed the perfect submission, and it was. Within days of sending it in, I received a wonderful acceptance from Ms. Piper. Tomorrow, my tale appears in Haunt alongside eight others by some of the most talented contemporary writers out there, with a stunning cover by artist Aleisha Knight Evans.

Many of my fellow authors shared the back-stories behind their stories in Haunt.

Randi Perrin on "Redemption Hill": "This story was all about stepping outside of comfort zones. I’ve written paranormal/fantasy romance, m/m romance, and contemporary romance. I’ve never done anything in the horror vein. So when this project was pitched to me I was excited, which then gave way to fear. I had written the project off, and emailed Marie and told her I was too damn busy to do it. The truth behind that was that I was too damn scared to do it. I can’t write horror. What the hell had I gotten myself into? Then one day this character appeared to me, little spunky thing she was. The problem was that she was seventeen. I. Don’t. Do. YA. It’s my general hard and fast rule. I’m willing to do all kinds of things, but write about high schoolers? Are you kidding me? Still, Amelia wouldn’t shut the hell up. Once she gave me her first joke I knew I couldn’t just bury her and pretend she never existed. As a result, this story was born, which is everything I said I wouldn’t do: horror, YA, and not a romance. That’s extra scary for me. If you need me, I’ll be over here biting my nails while I rock in the corner."

Harley Easton on "People Who Live in Glass Sanitoriums": " I often find myself inspired by multiple sources. Elements of places, stories, and interactions that shouldn’t make sense together sit in my brain until they gel into something more solid. In my area, there is an old insane asylum that is rumored to be haunted. It has been the subject of neglect and vandalism. A beautiful building, the local historical society had been trying to raise money to save it by offering history walks and haunted tours. At one point, it was rumored that the asylum might be renovated for a haunted bed and breakfast location. The city keeps trying to tear it down and sell off the land, but they haven’t done it yet. The idea of this old asylum’s tenuous fate combined with the glass brick walls of an early 1920s house in our area and my teenage fascination, pre-reality television shows, with all things ghost hunting. Thus came the idea of an old sanitorium turned hotel and paranormal research center that had a stunning glass wall as a distinctive feature. My characters came out of real life as well. People will tell you that irritated authors will write you into their stories. Believe them. In my early twenties, I had a particularly bad series of dates with an individual who grew into my character Drew. It took over a decade, and several story revisions, for the character to soften out to someone likable enough to be the narrator and still flawed enough to ignore some rather blatant hints about where his actions were leading the story. In the end, I was much kinder about my character and his eventual fate than I could have been when I originally conceived the story."

Katey Tattrie on "Roommates": "Ryan Headley loves the outdoors and working with his hands. After a long search, he finds the perfect house, with land big enough for his dog to enjoy, for just the right price. But he soon finds out why; it’s haunted. Would you knowingly share your house with a ghost? What if it was the ghost’s dream house and it didn’t want to leave? If you could talk with them, would you hang out like friends? Especially if your dog loves them? Curiosity soon takes over, and Ryan can’t help but go digging into the ghost’s life, stirring up stories. Can he find out the mystery, of what has tied it here in death?"

C.M. Peters on "The B Room": "Manors. Big ol’ huge manors. I’ve always had a weakness for those fabulous looking homes but only got the chance to visit one, Casa Loma. It’s a beautiful Gothic Revival style house in Toronto built between 1911 and 1914. Large bedrooms, huge windows letting the light in, but frightening at night with all the creaking and wind drafts coming through the cracks. Although it’s not the setting I used for The B-Room, I kept it in the back of my mind while I wrote Beth’s story. So, when the time came for a haunted house story, what better to use a house I’ve visited and was terrified in -- an 800-meter long tunnel runs under the manor and feels like it’s suffocating you at every corner. Now add a young woman, which I see as the lovely Alicia Vikander, suddenly having to deal with his house as an inheritance and all that comes with it -- even if it might not be of this realm. This is what I began with and thus ‘The B Room’ was born."

Marie Piper on "Jessie": "My story came to me in a roundabout way. It exists in the same universe, and serves as a sort of epilogue, for my Maidens & Monsters serial, which is comprised of classic gothic/horror tales re-told in a Kansas town in 1880. But, while those books were all based on classics like Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera, I decided that Jessie needed to pay tribute to a more modern horror master…Stephen King. It was inspired by Gerald’s Game, a book that still haunts me to this day (and was just recently made into a movie by Netflix!) I’ve always been fascinated by the American west, and the spirit of exploration that sent people crossing the country to find something new. Jessie and her husband, Daniel, came to Kansas to be free of prejudice they faced back home. But after Daniel disappears, Jessie is alone, trapped in her bed in an isolated farmhouse, with only her thoughts to keep her company. But is she alone? You’ll have to read to find out."

Sienna Saint-Cyr on "Possessed": "When asked what my inspiration for Possessed was, I huffed, then promptly felt my cheeks filling with heat. Normally, I’d have a real answer. Like, I had this experience that I wanted to write about, but not this time. I really didn’t have an inspiration for this story. I was dealing with depression and horny as heck at the same time. Thus, a story of tragedy and sex. While this isn’t the most creative of inspirations, I do connect to the main character in a deep way. Not only that, but I’m very into tantric sex. So I brought some of the energy/spirit scenes in to honor that part of me. All in all, this story was super fun to write. I enjoyed it because it wasn’t heavy in me dealing with trauma through writing, or rewriting some part of my life I wish had gone differently. It was simply fun. So for me, this is a huge win! I hope you enjoy my sexy little story of heartache and pleasure!"

S.B. Roark on "By Tethers Bound": "Every horror story needs a memorable antagonist.  I am a fan of vampires.  The bloody monstrous kind, no sparkles added.  I like my monsters with bite and unafraid to explore the bloodlust in us all.  Vampires have always been a mirror to humanity, showing us the demons which lurk inside our ‘civilized’ minds.  When I wrote ‘By Tethers Bound,’ I asked myself the question ‘What would it take for a vampire to truly dwell in civilized society?’  Inspired by Jekyll and Hyde and the tales of Jack the Ripper, I decided that the only answer was that they would have to let the monster out at times.  But what if they could cut out the monster completely and set it free on an unsuspecting world?  Would this person be responsible for the actions their monster took?  And to what lengths would they go to avoid facing their own personal demon?"    

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Light Ship Altares Flies Again!

I was raised on a healthy diet of creatures double features and classic TV science fiction. When I was eleven, sitting cross-legged on the living room floor in the enchanted cottage where I grew up, I briefly got lost in Gerry Anderson's made-for-TV movie, The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity, in which the crew of the light ship Altares launches to nearby Alpha Centauri in search of answers that might heal a dying Earth. I was captivated -- not only by the story and visuals, but by the common DNA the project shared with my beloved Space:1999, a television show that forever changed my life. Day's entire adult cast had performed on 1999 -- Joanna Dunham, Altares' CMO, played "Vanna", Raan's (the late, great Peter Cushing) daughter in the first season episode "Missing Link." Brian Blessed, navigator "Tom Bowen" was "Dr. Cabot Rowland" in "Death's Other Dominion" and Maya's father, "Mentor", in the second season "The Metamorph". And of course, Nick Tate was Eagle pilot "Alan Carter" and fittingly helmed Altares as her captain. I simply loved The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity.

Flash ahead some four decades to a Saturday night in New Hampshire's North Country, where I and several members of my writers' group were enjoying a late September retreat at the Waterfall House. After a long, productive day of writing (and exquisite dining!), I retired to my room and found a message from Robert Wood, who, with the late Gerry Anderson's son, Jamie, sought my help in bringing the crew of Altares back to life for a new generation of Science Fiction fans and readers. Would I be interested in writing a novelization of Johnny Byrne's pilot episode script? Feeling both humbled and also daunted by the prospect of adapting a legendary writer's beloved work from script to novel, I said yes. On January 1, 2017 with the movie playing on my laptop's screen, the original script open on the desk before me, and a fresh pad of lined paper and pen in hand, I began to write.

The going was, at first, slow. But like the light ship's charge across space, I built momentum. Both Robert and Jamie Anderson requested certain additions and enhancements to the story, namely a bigger reason for the crew to willingly enter the black hole at the climax of the original movie. Immersed in the script and the film, I woke late one snowy winter night from a terrifying dream involving the crew and consequences caused by their mission. I found myself reaching for paper and pen in the drawer beside my bed, jotting down rough notes, and in the morning they still stood up. I was able to weave these darker elements seamlessly into the original storyline, thus fulfilling the task assigned to me. Those changes -- and the completed novel -- were praised upon delivery. My novelization of The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity was recently published by Anderson Entertainment to great reviews and the potential for more adventures to follow.

"The instant the possibility arose to be involved with Day it felt like an inspirational lightning bolt struck me," says Robert, who proved himself a wonderful editor on the project. "Suddenly my mind was swirling with possibilities. Being a life-long fan of Space:1999, one of the things that inspires me most about Day is that it shares a lot of genetic material with 1999. From the cast to the music, production design, special effects, models, and of course, the script by Johnny Byrne! Johnny’s connection is of utmost importance, because although the original TV pilot has certain limitations and is hindered a bit by the educational aspect that was built into it, I have no doubt that if it had indeed gone to series, and had Johnny Byrne continued to be involved in it, that it would have gone on to engage with the same kinds of story elements that he had been exploring in his episodes of 1999. I feel very strongly that Day is a natural inheritor of the Space:1999 storytelling format, just with a smaller crew. The Altares crew, like the Alphans before them, find themselves unable to return to Earth, lost on the other side of a black hole (or "black sun" in 1999’s case), and at the mercy of whatever lies ahead of them as they search for a new home in the unknown depths of space. So I think that the storytelling style, as well as the feel and look of the show, would have been very much in line with Space:1999. It really is a bit of a hybrid between 1999’s Year One and Year Two, so all the elements 1999 fans love about Johnny’s episodes could be utilized as a launching pad for further adventures of the Altares crew. I think the relevance of Day lies in its core premise, just like in 1999. It’s a metaphor for life. Just as the Breakaway blast was the moment of birth for a new tribe of humans -- the Alphans -- roaming the universe, so too the Altares' journey through the black hole and their subsequent exit into a new universe represents the birth of another new tribe of humans (the Altareans?). All of us have felt at one time or another alone or lost or adrift in our own world, just as they do in their new universe. Confronting unknown challenges ahead. Making do with the limited resources they have. Both excited by and afraid of the unknown, but unable to stop the inevitable movement forward in their search for a new home. Finding strength and support amongst those closest to you, whether they are family by birth or by choice. The human will to survive. I could go on, but the point is that there are a lot of big topics intrinsically tied to the premise of Day, and immense storytelling potential. There’s a line I remember Johnny Byrne saying about Space:1999 when he came to write the script for the short film Message From Moonbase Alpha years later. He said, ‘You only have to dip your fingers into this quirky, magical pool before all sorts of other chemical things start happening.; I think with The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity we’re dipping our fingers into that same magical pool, and the chemical reaction is just beginning."

(The Altares crew, image from novel)
Throughout the writing of the novelization, it was imperative to me to honor Mr. Byrne by keeping his dialogue intact. Also, I tried to flesh out the main characters, particularly Dr. Anna Bowen and Jane Masters, the ship's copilot. At one point, I felt as though I was with them, not as an observer but along for the actual ride, which I'd experienced way-back-when during the movie's original TV broadcast. There's a paradox central to the enhanced storyline I was asked to create. But another one took place while seated at my desk, and for most of the writing of my adaptation, I was eleven again, which I believe is one of the many great blessings of this particular project. But now once more in the present, is there a future for the Altares and her crew?

"When you look at the core premise of The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity I think it can work very well as a platform for modern storytelling that is both exciting and philosophical," Robert adds. "There were just a couple of key concerns that Jamie and I discussed, agreed upon, and then subsequently shared as guiding points for the novelization. One was that we wanted to minimize the overtly educational aspect of the original TV pilot as it hinders the storytelling and adventure, particularly in the context of an ongoing series, where you don’t want to have to essentially stop the flow of the story for a mini-tutorial on E=mc2, or whatever other scientific lesson was being shoe-horned into the adventure of the week. That really wouldn’t have been an asset for an ongoing series. Two was that we wanted there to be more depth brought to the characterizations than was possible in the scope of the original. They only had 47 minutes, and they had to get from A to B to C, so Johnny’s script was driven by plot more than characterization. Although there were warm moments and worries, but there could have been more if there was additional time. The novelization provided the space to expand the story and characters a little bit, while at the same time not straying too far from the original, and I think does that job marvelously. The twist added to the relationship between Tom and Anna Bowen is my favourite because -- without giving it away for those who haven’t read the book -- although it’s immediately obvious the instant you read it in the book, it’s also something that never would have occurred to most people watching the pilot. It’s a genius twist that is seamlessly integrated with the original, while also suddenly adding a wealth of character depth. I love it, and I’m sure Johnny Byrne would have been very happy with the new life that’s been brought to his old script."