Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

2018 Scribe Awards nominees announced

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) has announced its slate of nominees for this year’s Scribe Awards. Among the nominees are several authors who I’m proud to call my friends and colleagues. I’m also excited to say that I have a work on this year’s short list, my Star Trek: Discovery novel Desperate Hours is a nominee in the Best Original Speculative Novel category.

My best wishes to all of them, and my heartiest congratulations to my old friend Greg Cox, who has been chosen as this year’s recipient of the IAMTW’s Faust Award, which recognizes his outstanding career of achievement and elevates him to “grandmaster” status within the organization.


This year’s list of nominated works:

Short Story
Planet of the Apes: “Banana Republic” by Jonathan Maberry
Joe Ledger: “Ganbatte” by Keith DeCandido
Planet of the Apes: “Murderers’ Row” by John Jackson Miller
Planet of the Apes: “Pacing Place” by Bob Mayer
Deadworld: “Rear Guard” by Sarah Stegall
Predator: “Storm Blood” by Peter Wacks and David Boop

Adapted Speculative and General
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter by Tim Waggoner
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Christie Golden
Kong: Skull Island by Tim Lebbon

Original Speculative
The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox
Interface Zero: Solar Singularity by Peter J. Wacks, Guy Anthony Demarco, and Josh Vogt
Halo: Legacy of Onyx by Matt Forbeck
Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden
Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack
Supernatural: The Usual Sacrifices by Yvonne Navarro

Original General
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Fatal Prescription by Michael A. Black
The Will to Kill by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet: A Jesse Stone Novel by Reed Farrel Coleman

Young Adult Original
Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space – The Cold  by Cavan Scott
Warriors Three: Godhood’s End by Keith R. A. DeCandido
X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate by Jonathan Maberry

Audio
Doctor Who: Across the Darkened City by David Bartlett
Doctor Who: Cold Vengeance by Matt Fitton
Warhammer 40,000: Agent of the Throne, Blood and Lies by John French
Torchwood: Cascade by Scott Handcock
Torchwood: The Dying Room by Lizzie Hopley


The Scribe Award winners will be announced in July, at the San Diego Comic-Con International.

Star Trek Mirror Universe eBooks on sale in April

A new month means a new Star Trek eBooks promotion. This month’s featured deal is the Mirror Universe books!  There are five titles on sale for $0.99 each during the month of April. Here they are in original publication order:
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Glass Empires
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Obsidian Alliances
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows
 
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions
 
If you haven’t read these before, there are a few things you should know.
 
First, they were written to sync with the depiction of the Mirror Universe as it had been shown through the end of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, and to coordinate with the ongoing Star Trek literary continuity. Some recent changes to canon on Star Trek: Discovery won’t jibe with these books.
 
Second, The Sorrows of Empire is a greatly expanded and revised version of my original short novel in the first anthology, Glass Empires. For the novel version I nearly doubled the length of the book and made a number of changes and edits to improve upon the original.
 
Third, I contributed to all of these volumes.
In the second anthology, Obsidian Alliances, I wrote the DS9 short novel Saturn’s Children under the pseudonym Sarah Shaw. My short story For Want of a Nail concludes the short-story anthology Shards and Shadows.
 
Fourth (and finally), the events of The Sorrows of Empire, Saturn’s Children, “For Want…”, and Rise Like Lions all have continuity links to my other Star Trek novels (especially my Section 31 books and my TNG trilogy Cold Equations), so get ready to spot some Easter eggs!
 
 

I Take Another Turn on Enterprising Individuals

It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for me to make my annual appearance on the Enterprising Individuals podcast, which invites a variety of guests to select and offer critical commentary about episodes of the various Star Trek television series.

For this installment, I opted to discuss The Schizoid Man,” a decidedly problematic season-two episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As the show’s host Kaliban sums up so pithily:

“[The episode] starts with a dirty grandpa and ends with targ underwear wrestling. From casual sexism, to marginalization, to troubling implications for the Soong family, this early bit of TNG fluff has it all.”

Why did I want to dissect this episode? Because it’s a vital piece of canon that provides part of the foundation for the saga of Dr. Noonian Soong, his android creation/son Data, and the interconnected history of artificial intelligence in the Star Trek universe, as so eloquently stitched together by author Jeffrey Lang in his 2002 novel Immortal Coil.

Go and listen to our discussion of “The Schizoid Man” on Enterprising Individuals now!

Get all of Star Trek Vanguard for under $9 until March 31

If you’ve been putting off trying the Star Trek Vanguard saga, which I developed with editor Marco Palmieri and on which I alternated writing duties with the team of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, you can get the whole saga now in eBook form for just $8.91!

As part of a Kindle Monthly Deal, Amazon is offering all nine works that together constitute the Star Trek Vanguard saga for just $0.99 each:


VANGUARD: HARBINGER

VANGUARD: SUMMON THE THUNDER

VANGUARD: REAP THE WHIRLWIND

VANGUARD: OPEN SECRETS

VANGUARD: PRECIPICE

VANGUARD: DECLASSIFIED

VANGUARD: WHAT JUDGMENTS COME

VANGUARD: STORMING HEAVEN

VANGUARD: IN TEMPEST’S WAKE


This is an amazing offer, and there’s no telling when it might come around again, so snag it while you can!

 

Tuckerizing: How Much Is Too Much?

Most writers have done it at some point in their careers. Fan-fic writers do it quite often. Most authors will even admit to doing it if asked and pressed for an honest answer. I’m talking, of course, about Tuckerization, the practice of naming characters in fictional works after real-life persons. The practice is named for early American science-fiction author, fan, and fanzine editor Wilson Tucker, who earned a reputation for basing minor characters in his stories and novels on his friends and colleagues in the literary community.

Write Who You Know

In the majority of instances of Tuckerization, the namesake is someone the author either knows personally or with whom he or she is at least acquainted. This is what differentiates Tuckerization from simple homage. For instance, in the 1968 novel Black Easter by James Blish, the author named his story’s sorcerer Theron Ware as an homage to the titular character of Harold Frederic’s novel The Damnation of Theron Ware, which was published in 1896. Because of the thematic overlap of the two stories, this is a classic example of homage.

By contrast, the second and subsequent seasons of the CW television series iZombie feature an FBI missing-persons investigator named Dale Bozzio. Not only is this a Tuckerization, because Dale Bozzio is a real person, it’s also a wonderful in-joke for fans of early 1980s pop music: the real Dale Bozzio was the lead singer of new-wave band Missing Persons.

Now and then, I name and model a character after someone I know simply to save time: it’s easier to work from memory than to concoct a whole new person from scratch for what might amount to no more than a single appearance.

Honor vs. Revenge

There are as many reasons for Tuckerizations as there are authors who have committed them. I do it sometimes merely as a nod to my friends or peers. At other times it might be an act of subtle revenge, depending upon how the namesake character is defined in the story.

I’ve Tuckerized someone I know in nearly every work of prose fiction I’ve ever written. The one for which I take the most flak was my decision to include the name of my wife (at that time, my girlfriend) on a list of casualties in my first Star Trek novel, Wildfire. Her character was dead before anyone had a chance to meet her. I’ve since protested in my defense that if I had known for certain at the time that I was going to marry her, I might not have killed her off.

I once named an incompetent twit of a character after a work supervisor I despised (with some adjustments to give myself plausible deniability) and I delivered that character to a gruesome, pointless demise. I’ve christened a space station with a name derived from a friend’s nickname, split another friend’s surname into two pieces as a name for an alien, and committed my share of anagrammatical Tuckerization (e.g., veteran Star Trek writer-producer Ronald D. Moore became, in my Star Trek Destiny trilogy, the Caeliar leader Ordemo Nordal).

In my more than two dozen published Star Trek novels, one would find the names of many of the New York publishing community’s more prominent editors, authors, art directors, publishers, and agents. For the most part I do it as a token of affection or respect for my peers, because I’ve noticed that many of them get a kick out of seeing themselves cast into unexpected roles in the Star Trek universe. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to the surprise that he or she is a starship captain? Or a member of Kirk’s crew?

The Dark Side of the Name-Drop

Not everybody likes Tuckerization, though. Some industry professionals think it debases a work by sullying it with an in-joke. Others have voiced the valid concern that many readers have come to recognize the names of industry professionals thanks to interactions on social media, and that seeing those names in a fictional context might serve to jolt them out of a story by confronting them with evidence of its artifice. These are valid concerns, to be certain.

In my new World War II epic fantasy novel The Midnight Front, I tried to strike a balance between outright Tuckerization and semi-Tuckerizing, which is a practice that comes closer to homage. I named a few characters explicitly after people I know, but I limited most of my hat-tips to friends and peers in this book to surnames only. Sharp-eyed readers might wonder about the science-fiction and fantasy pedigrees of such characters as Sergeant Sykes, Corporal Brett, Colonel Abraham Corey, Warrant Officer Gallo, and Sergeant Ward.

The thing to remember about this kind of homage is that the subtler it is, the better. Tuckerization is a strong flavor to mix into your narrative stew. A little goes a long way, so sprinkle in those names that are famous or familiar with care.

 


The Midnight Front is now on sale: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Powell’s

Read an excerpt from The Midnight Front. Follow David Mack on Facebook and Twitter.

Eating the Fantastic with Me & Scott Edelman

In mid-February 2018, while visiting Baltimore for the Farpoint Convention, I sat down with my old friend and former (pre-Syfy) SCI FI Channel coworker Scott Edelman to enjoy a delicious meal and record an episode of his podcast Eating the Fantastic.

For those of you not familiar with Scott, he is a veteran newsman and journalist specializing in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and entertainment. He also is a prolific author of short fiction, ranging from short stories to novellas, and he has been nominated eight times for the horror genre’s vaunted Stoker Award.

This was a sit-down long overdue, for reasons best expressed in Scott’s own words:

David Mack and I have known each other for nearly two decades, ever since I started working with him at the Syfy Channel (though back then it was the SCI FI Channel). But since he worked in the Rockefeller Center office and I was a remote employee, we never got to have the lunches two coworkers would usually have had, so I’m glad we were able to have a long, leisurely meal together recently when he was in the Baltimore area attending the annual Farpoint convention.

David’s written more than 30 novels, including the Star Trek Destiny and Cold Equations trilogies. He was also responsible for several episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His newest novel is The Midnight Front, a World War II-era epic fantasy which is the first book in the Dark Arts series of secret-history novels.

The venue for our dinner was Orchard Market and Cafe, a wonderful Persian restaurant recommended by recent guest of the show Norman Prentiss. Norman had told me that the Chicken Fesenjune was one of his favorite things in the whole world, and now that I’ve been there, I can can tell you—he had good reason to say that. Believe me, the food there was wonderful, and I’ll be going back whenever I can.

David and I discussed the weird ways his life entwined with the famed comic book artist who shares his name, how worrying about the details of Star Trek canon helped him when it came time to unravel the secret history of WWII, the way a near-death experience led to him working for the Syfy Channel, why it was so important for necromancers to pay a heavy price for the magic they choose to wield in his new novel The Midnight Front, how not making a pitch to a book editor resulted in him selling TV scripts to Star Trek, his unabashed love for the Beat author Richard Brautigan, the reason that after 27 Trek novels and a ton of other tie-in work he’s chosen to publish his non-franchise breakout book now, and much more.

Head on over to Scott’s website for information about how to subscribe to his Eating the Fantastic podcast (61 episodes and counting!), how to watch an embedded video feed of the podcast, and more. But this is one of the best, most-in-depth interviews of yours truly ever recorded, and I have to think its quality stems from Scott’s genuine love of, and interest in, the lives of others. Give it a listen.

Vanguard eBooks just 99 cents through end of March

Of all my contributions to Star Trek literature, the one I had the most fun creating, and remain proudest of, is the STAR TREK VANGUARD saga. It spans seven novels, one anthology, and one novella coda.

The series offers readers a look at what was going on in other parts of the Federation during the time of the Enterprise‘s on-screen missions in The Original Series. The idea was to show that events off-screen precipitated situations that Captain Kirk and his crew encountered, and that actions they took had consequences beyond what was shown on-screen.

I developed the Star Trek Vanguard saga with editor Marco Palmieri and alternated writing privileges with the super-duo of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. It was a strange way to collaborate on a series, but it worked for us, and we all had a blast doing it. Working on this series with these wonderful guys was an experience for which I’ll always be grateful.

Now I’m thrilled to report that the entire Star Trek Vanguard saga is on sale in eBook format for just $0.99 per title through the end of March 2018. Get the complete saga—which tells a self-contained Star Trek epic tale—for just $8.91!

Here they are, in reading order and everything:

Harbinger
Summon the Thunder
Reap the Whirlwind
Open Secrets
Precipice
Declassified
What Judgments Come
Storming Heaven
In Tempest’s Wake

Tell all your friends who love Star Trek (especially The Original Series) to get in on this.

#LiveLongAndProsper