For a while now, on various social media platforms and in Star Trek literature-related discussion forums, I’ve been dropping hints about a new Star Trek book project I have in the works. Having just unveiled the project to the audience at Shore Leave 35 in Hunt Valley, Md., I can now post the news here for the rest of the world to enjoy.
Coming next summer, Star Trek: Seekers will be an all-new sequel series to the Star Trek Vanguard saga. I will alternate writing privileges on this new series with my Vanguard creative partners, writing duo Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore.
Seekers will feature ships, characters, settings, and situations from the Vanguard saga, but it will also chart a very different course from its predecessor. Whereas Vanguard was described by many as “Star Trek meets the new Battlestar Galactica,” Seekers represents a return to the more classic style of Star Trek adventure: “strange new worlds, and new life-forms.”
The inspiration for this series came from two sources. Last year, as Dayton, Kevin, and I were awaiting reader reactions to the end of the Vanguard saga, we started brainstorming ideas on which we could work together once again, to keep our creative partnership going. During a visit to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., I showed Dayton something that had caught my eye and sparked my imagination: a series of mock book covers created by artist Rob Caswell.
Rob had conjured an imaginary series called The Seekers, a sequel TV series to the original Star Trek. His book covers were inspired by the 1970s-era anthologies of James Blish episode adaptations. Part of their aesthetic was the use of large, stylized numbers rather than titles for each volume, as well as a distinctive use of graphic overlays and hyperbolic taglines.
Because Dayton, Kevin, and I had all grown up reading the Blish anthologies, Rob’s labor-of-love mock covers spoke to our inner fanboys and made us yearn to spin Trek tales in a retro style, yarns that would feel at home behind the covers Rob had crafted. Then I made my pitch to Dayton:
“Why don’t we actually make Seekers happen? Do it for real?”
Once we looped Kevin into the conversation, our shared enthusiasm for the notion made it impossible to resist. Within a week of that first discussion, we wrote up a brief proposal and sent it to our editors at Simon & Schuster. They liked the idea, and after we showed them our new series bible, they and the licensor gave us a green light to proceed.
As soon as the project was confirmed, I was allowed the privilege of making the phone call to Rob to let him know that it was in the works, and that it’s due in large part to the inspiration his work gave to me, Dayton, and Kevin. It’s our hope that Simon & Schuster will be able to strike a deal with Rob to acquire (with a few minor tweaks) his original mock covers that inspired this new series, so that they can serve as the covers for our new retro-flavored Star Trek adventures.
Book 1 will debut next August at Shore Leave 36, and there’s a good chance Book 2 will also make its premiere at that show. The two books will constitute a single two-part story to kick off the new series and acclimate readers to the alternating format — the books I write will focus mostly on the crew of the scout ship Sagittarius, and the books by Dayton and Kevin will focus on the crew and officers of the Constitution-class cruiser Endeavour.
We all hope you’ll be as excited to read these new stories as we are to write them.
(Note: Neither of the cover images shown in this blog post are actual, approved covers for the series. The first is a promotional mockup that I created, using one of Rob’s illustrations. The second is one of the original mock covers Rob made that ignited our writerly imaginations.)