Helpful Mr. Bear — a blast from my childhood

On a recent visit north to see my family, Kara and I returned with a box of my childhood books given to us by my parents, who were clearing out their house in preparation for a big move south.

The books are all vintage children’s story books of the 1960s and 1970s. Some were originally mine, some were passed down to me from my brother. The reason Kara and I took the books is to make a gift of them to her younger sister, who just gave birth to identical twin boys.

While flipping through the yellowed tomes, I found myself smiling as I saw old favorites from childhood: The Monster at the End of This Book; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Puff the Magic Dragon.

Then I saw that my wife had set aside one book that she said I needed to look at: Helpful Mr. Bear, written by Chizuko Kuratomi and illustrated by Kozo Kakimoto.

It’s the story of a big friendly bear who gets lonely on his mountain, and so he goes down to the bunny town to bring gifts to the bunnies. Hijinks ensue.

It would seem that the key elements of my adult psyche were imprinted far earlier than even I had ever realized.

47 is a Magic Number in Star Trek: The Engage Podcast (#SFWApro)

47 is a magical number in Star Trek. The number “47” shows up again and again, across all of the 24th-century series. It has even spread to other genre series.

ENGAGE Official Star Trek Podcast Logo - Episode 47

I and host Jordan Hoffman discuss what makes the integer 47 so special in Star Trek and beyond on Episode #47 of ENGAGE, The Official Star Trek Podcast.

We lay some of the blame at the feet of former and current Star Trek producer Joe Menosky, and then we go off on a bunch of tangents before grudgingly circling back to the episode’s premise.

I must confess that I’ve played my part in this phenomenon, with the titular starbase of my Star Trek Vanguard saga also being known as Starbase 47.

(Bonus trivia point: this episode was taped just a few days before my birthday, so I was 47 years old when we recorded it.)

At any rate, if you’ve ever noticed the proliferation of the number 47 throughout Star Trek, Alias, and Fringe (among other series and films), this is the podcast you’ve been waiting for. And if not, well, it’s still a pleasantly diverting hour of geekery.

Give it a listen, Trek fans.

#SFWApro

 

Cover Reveal: The Midnight Front, coming in January 2018

It has been revealed on tor.com so now I can share it here: the cover of The Midnight Front, the first volume in my new Dark Arts secret-history series for Tor Books. (See the Official Cover Reveal on Tor.com)

The art is by Larry Rostant, and the design is courtesy the amazing team at Tor Books, from an idea hatched by my awesome editor Marco Palmieri.

Scheduled for publication on January 30, 2018, The Midnight Front is now available for pre-order in hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, and/or digital audio formats from many fine retailers, as well as directly from the publisher.

You read that correctly: If you’re a collector who loves hardcover first editions (and who doesn’t?), Tor has you covered (pardon the pun). If you’d rather save a few bucks and get the book in trade paperback, you don’t have to wait a year. Is that awesome or what?

Now get busy pre-ordering!

Tragedy in Section 31: Control (#SFWApro)

Some literary philosophies hold there are only two kinds of stories, tragedies and comedies. I crafted my new Star Trek novel Section 31: Control as an unapologetic tragedy. In this podcast I explain why.

Literary Treks #186 - "A Tragedy in Every Sense of the Word"

I joined Literary Treks co-hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson to talk about the inspirations and implications of my novel, the rationale for writing an entire chapter of the novel in computer code, and the rather polarized response it has garnered from fans of the Star Trek books. Also on the agenda was a conversation about the roles played in the story by androids Data and his daughter, Lal.

We conclude our discussion with some teases concerning what readers can expect from my next two Star Trek novels, Titan: Fortune of War and Discovery: Desperate Hours. I also tacked on a reminder that roughly ten months from now my new Tor Books original trilogy Dark Arts will debut with my long-awaited World War II fantasy epic The Midnight Front.

So point your browsers toward Literary Treks and check out episode 186, “Tragedy in Every Sense of the Word,” and get a peek behind the curtains that conceal my creative process.

#SFWApro

TrekMovie Interview, Part 2: New Novels & More

TrekMovie.com has published part two of a recent interview of yours truly by Anthony Pascale, in which I talk about my upcoming new novels based on Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Titan. We also talk about works that might have been and might yet be.

The first topic of interest, naturally, is my Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours, which so far does not have an official publication date, but which I have been told will be released sometime shortly after the series’ premiere.

We touch briefly upon my Star Trek: Titan novel Fortune of War, currently scheduled for publication on November 28, 2017. Then we seguéd into a short conversation about More Beautiful Than Death, a Star Trek novel I write years ago but which was mothballed by the powers than be, and whether it or another novel like it might ever see the light of day.

As usual, I had to play my cards close to my vest during this interview, but here’s hoping it will whet some appetites for my works already in the Star Trek pipeline.

Last but not least, I tease once again Dark Arts, my upcoming original book series from Tor, which is scheduled to debut in February 2018 with my World War II fantasy epic, The Midnight Front, and continue in 2018 and 2019 with the novels The Iron Codex and Shadow Commission.

I’ve got a big year ahead of me, folks. Here’s hoping it leads to bigger and better things.

#SFWApro

How the U.S. surveillance state inspired Section 31: Control

Yesterday my latest Star Trek novel, Section 31: Control, was published by Pocket Books. Today I answered a few questions for Anthony Pascale over at TrekMovie.com about the inspirations behind Control, and how I think Section 31 fits into the fabric of the Star Trek fictional universe.

Here’s a brief snippet from our in-depth exchange:

Mack on Section 31 and Julian Bashir’s Quest

TrekMovie.com: As noted on the back cover description for Control, Section 31 is as an “amoral” organization working on behalf of the Federation. It was yet another dark and controversial introduction into Trek lore from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a show which you worked on as a writer. What do you say to those who feel Section 31 doesn’t fit into the more utopian Roddenberry vision of the 24th century as seen on Next Generation and Voyager?

David Mack: I can’t speak to what Gene Roddenberry would have thought of Section 31. What I do know is that while humanity has often aspired to live in utopias, in fiction they tend to be deadly dull. Even one of the most famous utopias, the Garden of Eden, wasn’t terribly interesting until the Serpent arrived to bring temptation and crash the whole thing down.

That said, I can certainly understand the objections of Star Trek fans who feel that the mere existence of Section 31 undermines all that the Federation stands for — and that’s a view shared by many of the principal characters of the various series, particularly Doctor Julian Bashir.

One thing I’ve never understood is why even a small subset of Star Trek fandom would want a Star Trek: Section 31 television or film series. If there’s one thing the show and novels have always been clear about, it’s that Section 31 are not the heroes, and they do not deserve to be presented as people for whom we should desire success.

There’s a lot more at the link, so go check it out!

#SFWApro

Be afraid — SECTION 31: CONTROL has arrived | #SFWApro

Good morning, Star Trek fans! It’s the last Tuesday of a month, and you know what that means. A new Star Trek novel has been published by the fine folks at Simon & Schuster imprint Pocket Books! This month’s new Star Trek adventure is one of mine: the harrowing thriller Section 31: Control.

Star Trek - Section 31 - Control - cover image of Julian Bashir

Here is the description from the back cover:


SECTION 31

NO LAW.
NO CONSCIENCE.
NO MERCY.

Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, and answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group pledged to defend the Federation at any cost.

The discovery of a 200-year-old secret gives Doctor Julian Bashir his best chance yet to expose and destroy the illegal spy organization. But his foes won’t go down without a fight, and his mission to protect the Federation he loves might end up triggering its destruction.

Only one thing is for certain: this time, the price of victory will be paid with Bashir’s dearest blood.


In a perfect world, tens of thousands of you would have pre-ordered this book months ago. However, since I can’t count on that, I’m going to urge you to buy one or more copies of Section 31: Control for yourself and/or the Star Trek fan in your life.

Trust me — this is one action-packed, blood-soaked adventure you won’t want to miss. It’s the alpha-and-omega of Section 31 stories, and there’s a good reason I asked my editor to make sure its cover was the color of blood….

Control is available now from all your favorite retailers, and directly from the publisher. Signed copies will soon be available through my website’s online store, so be on the lookout for that. Until then, happy reading!

#SFWApro