DeFlip Side Vol. 1

Long, long ago, in the days before radio, DeFlip Side was a brash, free-wheeling Internet column featured monthly in the E-Zine First Light, unfettered by FCC standards and shackles. These original 25 articles have become collectively known as DeFlip Side Volume 1.

E. Catherine Tobler

First Light focused mainly on genre television and was the perfect starting ground for DeFlip Side, thanks to zine creator and editor E. Catherine Tobler, who let me talk about anything I wanted. It was also E who came up with the name DeFlip Side (something I never would have dreamed up); so without her, DeFlip Side quite literally wouldn’t exist. Thanks E!

Elise is a talented writer whose fiction has appeared in Fantasy Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, Strange Horizons, Talebones, and SciFiction. She is currently a fiction editor with Shimmer (which makes me jealous). Go to her website and read her work! I especially like “The Lodger at Wintertide.”

Some Volume 1 caveats:

  • I wasn’t kidding about the FCC thing. Some of these articles contain marginally R-rated content (including profanity, adult themes and brief nudity) so proceed with caution.
  • I have also cannibalized almost all of these for my radio show in one way or another, so if some of the topics seem familiar, it’s because they are!

On with the show…

1) The Wrong Means for a Fitting End
It doesn’t surprise me that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the topic of the very first DeFlip Side. Trek is largely responsible for my love of Science Fiction, and DS9 is the best Trek spin-off. But I apparently wasn’t too happy with the kick-off of its final season. . .


2) Sci-Fi or SF? Give it a Rest!

This fan debate still rages, making this column’s underlying sentiment as valid now as it was in 1999 when I first wrote it. In the interests of full disclosure, I mainly use the term SF these days. Read into that what you will.


3) The Best (and Worst) Reads of 1998

This is the first of what has become a DeFlip Side Januray tradition. The ranking categories have changed as the years have progressed, but the “Best Reads” segment is still my favorite. Who doesn’t like to spread the word about good books?


4) Dark Side of the Rainbow?

You’ve all heard the rumor that Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album synchronizes eerily with the film The Wizard of Oz. Well, we put the urban legend to the test.


5) Still Clueless After All These Years (or What I Learned at 1-Con 18)

Why Sci Fi? It’s a question I’ve asked myself occasionally over decades of fandom, and after a painfully disappointing weekend at I-Con 18, I was stumped for an answer.


6) Goodbyes

In a double-whammy for Trek fans, Deep Space Nine ended, and then DeForest Kelley died. A dark time indeed.


7) Insanity Begets Tranquility

July 1999 marked the 30th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which led to a timely and surprisingly introspective rant on my part. BAD TASTE BONUS: See if you can spot the reference to JFK Jr., who never made it to the moon either.


8 ) In Defense of Spock’s Brain

Once Star Trek TNG and DS9 demonstrated the potential for big audiences and bigger success in the first-run syndication arena, a flood of genre shows followed. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t any good. So there was a ton of SF&F themed programming on TV, and still nothing to watch. WARNING: There’s more of Lucy Lawless in this posting than some viewers may be comfortable with.


9) Me, Sans Crap

On Halloween you can’t go far wrong mixing Hamlet, Mr. Magoo, The Shining, alien abduction and ghosts. Long live Flute Girl, even though she’s dead.


10) Paving the Road to Hell

Combat ignorance and corrupt the children in your life with books, books and more books! Plus, a hot picture of Tyra Banks.


11) Of Popes and Paradox

Y2K fever is forcing us to confront impending millennial anarchy. Some people may turn to the Rapture or New Year’s Rockin’ Eve for comfort. Me, I’m finding a flying DeLorean.


12) Greater Awakenings

Turning 30 sucks, but at least I’m that much closer to freezing my head and waking up to immortality.


13) The Best (and Worst) Reads of 1999

Here’s the second annual Best Reads column; cringe along with me reading lines like, “Straight from the era when SF was great…” and “…colored by the spectrum of the human condition.” Absurd.


14) A-Hunting I Will Go

I undertake a ghost hunt in my uncle’s old house. That place was just plain wrong.


15) Up, Up and Away!

Chronicles of my forays into the world of comic books, from childhood forward.


16) Illusions Shattered

It’s fine to explore Science Fiction in terms of genre history within a broader social context. But to be honest, much Golden Age SF is just flat and dated.


17) Don’t Read This If You Don’t Care About First Light Coming to an End or Good SF Television or Anything Like That

The First Light editor announces the end of the zine, and my novel Foreknowledge gets props on Sci-Fi Channel’s Quantum Leap episode of Sciograpy! Download it here!


18) In Defense of Dead White Males

Fighting back against the politically correct, misery-loving Cult of Oprah, which is clogging the arteries—and bookshelves—of America with dysfunction, self-pity and bullshit. (NOTE: This is, hands down, the most well received and highly commented on DeFlip Side I’ve ever written.)


19) Exercises in Fear

Celebrating Halloween with dreamscapes and nightmares, DeFlip Side style!


20) I’m Telling You for the Last Time

Asking that age-old SF fandom question “2001: A Space Odyssey—Love it or Hate it?” followed by some unabashed wallowing in Sci-Fi elitism.


21) The Best (and Worst) Reads of 2000

A different kind of Y2K disaster: Too many good books!


22) Through the Looking Glass

Dr. Samuel Beckett never returned home. Get over it already. So I say to my fellow Quantum Leap fans in this, my magnum opus deconstruction of the Quantum Leap series finale “Mirror Image.” Scroll down to watch the full episode!


23) I Pissed Off Captain Galaxy (and other tales from I-Con XX)

My adventures at the Northeast’s largest Science Fiction convention, from chats with Sir Arthur C. Clarke to rants with Harlan Ellison and all the Richard Herd-y goodness in between.


24) This Is My Brain on Sci-Fi

First Light is almost history, and to revisit the places this journey has taken us, I present the DeFlip Side top five, a rundown of my favorite DeFlip Side columns.


25) I Am Sci-Fi

This column is especially hard to post, as it deals with our failed attempt at In Vitro Fertilization (which spoils the optimistic ending, I guess). My wife did eventually have a hysterectomy and we’ll never have biological children. And though keeping my Dad’s advice in mind helps, I still get choked up thinking about the five who may have been. So this is dedicated to the memory of my peeps. How I wish I could have known you.