STAR TREK novels I’ve written

I started writing books for Star Trek in 2000, when I was hired by Pocket Books editors Margaret Clark and Jessica McGivney to write The Starfleet Survival Guide. My first prose fiction for Star Trek was the two-part Star Trek: S.C.E. (aka Corps of Engineers) novella Invincible,” which I co-wrote with series editor (and my pal) Keith R.A. DeCandido. Shortly after that saw publication, I undertook my first solo work of prose fiction, the two-part short novel Star Trek: S.C.E. #23/#24 – Wildfire.

The success of Wildfire led to me being invited in 2003 to write a pair of back-to-back full-length mass-market paperback novels for a 9-volume The Next Generation miniseries called A Time to…. Those two novels — A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal — earned me a lot of critical acclaim, and the latter title landed a spot on the USA Today extended bestsellers list.

Nearly all of the 29 novels I’ve written for Star Trek have been part of its shared, serialized literary post-finale continuity. (You can read more about that in this other blog post.) In a little over two months’ time, Gallery Books will publish my newest Star Trek novel, CODA, Book III: Oblivion’s Gate — which will be the last novel in that 20-year-long serialized continuity.

For those who are generally interested in immersing themselves into that massive creative undertaking, I recommend using the Trek Collective’s Trek Lit Reading Order Flow Chart as a guide.

However, for those who are merely curious about where and how my 29 Star Trek novels (plus 3 novellas and one non-narrative book) fit into this ambitious, multi-author shared universe, I present here a brief primer (i.e., introduction) to my oeuvre in the universe that Gene Roddenberry built.


THE STARFLEET SURVIVAL GUIDE (2002)
This was developed internally at Pocket Books, and I was hired to draft the manuscript. This was, in a sense, my tryout for the Star Trek books.

STAR TREK: S.C.E. #7/#8 – “Invincible” (2001)
I share the writing credit on this two-part novella with Keith R.A. DeCandido. I drafted the outline, and he wrote the manuscript.

STAR TREK: S.C.E. #23/#24 – WILDFIRE (2003)
My first work of solo-written narrative prose. At 52,000 words, it’s technically my first novel. It’s also my most autobiographical work to date.

STAR TREK: S.C.E. #40 – “Failsafe” (2004)
I wrote this big action-adventure as a warm-up for my first time writing back-to-back full-length paperback novels.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – A TIME TO KILL (2004)
My first full-length, direct-to-paperback novel. I got hired to write this and its companion volume when another author abruptly quit the gig. This novel is the origin of the now-infamous “Tezwa incident.”

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – A TIME TO HEAL (2004)
I wrote this novel as a blatant critical commentary on the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. It’s been called one of the darkest and most violent Star Trek novels ever written. Not coincidentally, it implies that Section 31 assassinated a sitting Federation president, Min Zife.

STAR TREK: S.C.E. #49 – “Small World” (2005)
My last S.C.E. eBook is also my first Star Trek story in which none of the characters die. I wrote this more hopeful tale as a warm-up for the more introspective tone of Star Trek Vanguard.

STAR TREK: VANGUARD – HARBINGER (2005)
I created this 23rd-century-era series with editor Marco Palmieri, who wanted to call it NO MAN’S LAND. Conceived as a multi-author series, it ended up being written in alternating turns by me and the writing duo of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore.

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – WARPATH (2006)
Editor @mxpalmieri hired me to write WARPATH for his post-finale DS9 novel series, but wouldn’t tell me his long-term plans, so much of my story was developed without knowing its context.

STAR TREK: MIRROR UNIVERSE – THE SORROWS OF EMPIRE (2007, 2009)
The novel so nice, they published it twice! It was released first as a short novel in the anthology Glass Empires. I was hired two years later to expand it into a full-length, standalone novel. This chronicled the rise and fall of Emperor Spock in the Mirror Universe — and the beginning of his long-term plan to bring freedom to his dimension’s Milky Way.

STAR TREK: MIRROR UNIVERSE – SATURN’S CHILDREN (2007)
The only Star Trek fiction I’ve ever written under a pseudonym. I wrote this short novel as “Sarah Shaw” because the editors accidentally double-booked me on two concurrent Mirror-Universe anthologies. It’s about the 24th-century Terran rebellion, first seen on Deep Space Nine.

STAR TREK: VANGUARD – REAP THE WHIRLWIND (2007)
My favorite of my Vanguard novels; it’s packed with action, heartbreak, and consequences. I think Vanguard would make a great sequel series to the Strange New Worlds series, but alas, no one at Secret Hideout has asked me.

STAR TREK DESTINY, Book I: GODS OF NIGHT (2008)
This epic trilogy, which rocked Star Trek‘s literary shared universe, was inspired by Pierre Drolet’s painting of the wreck of Columbia NX-02, found in the Gamma Quadrant in the 24th century. The big idea: it’s the Federation’s final showdown against the Borg — two civilizations enter, but only one will survive.

STAR TREK DESTINY, Book II: MERE MORTALS (2008)
Many folks don’t understand this book’s epigraph. It describes the book’s central theme: self-imprisonment, and self-emancipation through adaptation.

STAR TREK DESTINY, Book III: LOST SOULS (2008)
Some folks are thrown by the book’s ending, especially for Picard. Picard is the trilogy’s main character, but not its hero; Erika Hernandez is the hero. And it’s not a story of victory—it’s a tale of deliverance.

STAR TREK: VANGUARD – PRECIPICE (2009)
This was the first Vanguard novel I wrote after the departure of Marco Palmieri from Pocket Books. Its tone was influenced by classic monster movies, like the Hammer Films creature features.

STAR TREK: TYPHON PACT – ZERO SUM GAME (2010)
The start of my “Bashir’s mid-life crisis” arc, in which I mire him in real espionage and reunite him with his lost love, Sarina Douglas (DS9: “Statistical Probabilities” and “Chrysalis”). This is the source of Bashir’s “Salavat incident,” a mission that plagues him with guilt for years after its completion.

STAR TREK: MIRROR UNIVERSE – RISE LIKE LIONS (2011)
I pay off my setup from THE SORROWS OF EMPIRE and SATURN’S CHILDREN: the Terran rebellion becomes a revolution. I wish the shows had taken the Mirror Universe concept this seriously.

STAR TREK: VANGUARD – STORMING HEAVEN (2012)
A bittersweet triumph. A strong ending to a series that turned out every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped. But still sad to see it go. The book’s final lines were inspired by the ending of THE GREAT GATSBY.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
– COLD EQUATIONS, Book I: THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY (2012)
I saw other writers’ clumsy attempts at bringing Data back from the dead and decided to prove I could do it better. This book was the result.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
– COLD EQUATIONS, Book II: SILENT WEAPONS (2012)
Here’s where my work starts getting “meta.” This novel links to the Vanguard and Mirror Universe sagas, and plants seeds for my future Section 31 books. It also gives us a close-up look at Orion society and the tensions inside the Typhon Pact alliance powers.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
– COLD EQUATIONS, Book III: THE BODY ELECTRIC (2012)
One of the hardest things about writing a novel is finding a good motivation for the bad guy. I won’t spoil it, but I remain proud of The Machine’s core objective. This was also a fun reason to bring Wesley Crusher back into the mix as an older adult with some truly awesome Traveler powers.

STAR TREK: THE FALL, Book III — A CEREMONY OF LOSSES (2013)
My Bashir-in-crisis arc continues. Plagued by guilt for things he did in ZERO SUM GAME, Bashir atones by defying Starfleet and the Federation to save the Andorian species. His reward: incarceration in a Starfleet Intelligence “black site.”

STAR TREK: SEEKERS, Book 1 – SECOND NATURE (2014)
The first sequel to the STAR TREK VANGUARD saga, SEEKERS followed two of Vanguard‘s “hero” ships, the scout vessel Sagittarius and the Constitution-class cruiser Endeavour, as they explore the newly opened Taurus Reach. The series (and its covers) were inspired by some modernized takes on the cover art of the classic Blish novelizations, by digital artist Rob Caswell (who also created all four Seekers covers).

STAR TREK: SECTION 31 – DISAVOWED (2014)
More of Bashir-as-spy with a mid-life crisis. Freed from prison by a presidential pardon after A CEREMONY OF LOSSES, he is now a civilian with a private medical practice on Andor. He and Sarina Douglas are recruited by Section 31 to go to the Mirror Universe, to prevent enemies of the Federation from stealing top-secret ultra-tech from the other universe’s newly formed Galactic Commonwealth. For those who were paying attention while reading COLD EQUATIONS, Book II, this book’s ending sets up that book’s macguffin — two years in the past.

STAR TREK: SEEKERS, Book 3 – LONG SHOT (2015)
More pulpy fun adventure in the 23rd century, with the crew of the scout ship Sagittarius. This was just a lark of a story, a one-off meant to be enjoyed without needing to worry about continuity or anything else.

STAR TREK: LEGACIES, Book II – BEST DEFENSE (2016)
My contribution to the 50th-anniversary trilogy was its middle volume. The big challenge here was keeping readers interested without giving away too much about the ending or repeating stuff they already learned from book one. The most fun I had with this book was writing scenes involving McCoy and his adult daughter.

STAR TREK: SECTION 31 – CONTROL (2017)
Okay, I admit I was in an angry place when I conceived this dark, violent story, which reveals that a malevolent artificial super-intelligence named CONTROL runs Section 31, and has been secretly orchestrating killings and wars behind the scenes to rig history in the Federation’s favor … for over two centuries. This is the conclusion of my Bashir-as-spy arc — he succeeds in his mission, but destroys everything and everyone he loves in the process, and winds up in a catatonic state, in Garak’s care.

STAR TREK: TITAN – FORTUNE OF WAR (2017)
My follow-up to the third-season TNG episode “The Survivors.” Sure, the Husnock are all dead, thanks to one grieving Douwd — but that doesn’t mean all their technology vanished. Starfleet has spent decades searching for the native sectors of the Husnock, so they can contain their fearsome arsenal before it falls into the wrong hands. Unfortunately for the crew of the Titan, many sets of wrong hands have beaten Starfleet to the prize, and now Admiral Riker and his people must stop a new arms race before it starts. (I also moved the ball forward on the Dalit Sarai/Admiral Batanides story arc started by James Swallow in Titan: Sight Unseen.)

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – DESPERATE HOURS (2017)
The first tie-in based on the series, I wrote it based on a suggestion from series creator Bryan Fuller, and with tremendous cooperation from the series’ producers. Many details and character names I invented for this book were later incorporated into the series itself — but the show’s second season superseded several assumptions I had made for this story. C’est la vie.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – COLLATERAL DAMAGE (2019)
The follow-up to CONTROL sees Picard on trial for his role in the Tezwa Crisis (see 2004’s A TIME TO KILL and A TIME TO HEAL), while Worf gets a taste of command, dealing with Nausicaan raiders whose desperation stems from the fact that their homeworld was obliterated by the Borg (see 2008’s STAR TREK DESTINY, Book III: LOST SOULS) — and years later, no one has ever come to help them. (This was my allegory for the Trump Administration’s disgraceful abandonment of Puerto Rico after it had suffered massive damage from a hurricane.)

STAR TREK: MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH (2020)
Fun story: I wrote this book in 2010. For political reasons (a struggle between the publisher and Bad Robot), it and three other titles like it were shelved after they were written and edited.Star Trek Coda, Book 3, Oblivion's Gate, by David Mack Fast-forward nine years: the editors say the book is finally being published. So I do a fast pass of clean-up rewrites, and voilà — here at last is my fast-paced, light-hearted take on the J. J. Abrams version of the Star Trek universe and its characters.

STAR TREK: CODA, Book III – OBLIVION’S GATE (2021)
And that brings us to the latest addition to my oeuvre. I can’t really tell you much about this one, yet. Most of its plot is still considered top-secret. All I can tell you is that if you’re really dying for some kind of clue as to what awaits our heroes in the trilogy’s final volume, you should listen to its Spotify playlist, Big Mood – Oblivion’s Gate. I hand-picked the songs on the list because some or all of the lyrics of certain songs represent (in my mind) some of the book’s major story arcs.

As for what will come next … only time will tell. But here’s hoping that Star Trek isn’t done with me quite yet.

STAR TREK: CODA – The End Is Nigh

Star Trek Coda - Moments AsunderThree weeks from today, STAR TREK: CODA, Book I – MOMENTS ASUNDER by Dayton Ward will be published, marking the beginning of the end of more than 20 years of shared, serialized continuity in the Star Trek novels.

The beginning of the “post-finale” continuity in the Star Trek novels generally is considered to have begun in 2001, with the Deep Space Nine novels Avatar, Book I, and Avatar, Book II, by S.D. Perry. Once the shared-continuity books began to grow in popularity, a number of pre-2001 Star Trek novels were retroactively incorporated into it, including the TNG novel Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman.

Before long, the shared literary continuity expanded to encompass nearly all new Star Trek book titles, except for those based on The Original Series. It also helped fuel the creation of several literary-original Trek series, including Stargazer (about Picard’s first command); The Lost Era (stories set between the TOS and TNG eras); S.C.E. (aka Starfleet Corps of Engineers, a monthly eBook novella series); Titan (Riker and Troi’s post-TNG careers); Section 31; Department of Temporal Investigations; and Vanguard (a gritty 23rd-century series set parallel to The Original Series).

For more than 20 years, the editors wrangled over 25 authors, most working alone, some in partnerships, to weave a complex web of Star Trek narratives that explored consistent storylines across two centuries of story time. One reason our publisher and licensor (aka Star Trek Licensing at CBSViacom) let us do this was that, at the time, it seemed unlikely that there would be new Star Trek films or TV series set in the 24th century anytime soon.

We pushed the limits of the Star Trek literary universe. Shattered the status quo again and again. Moved characters’ lives forward. Brought others to an end. Returned others from the grave. We threw out Trek‘s “reset button.” It made for an exciting era in which to be a Star Trek novel author or reader.

Alas, as TNG warned us long ago, “All good things must end.” The harbinger of our experiment’s ending was the announcement of Star Trek: Picard.

We knew that once a show featuring Jean-Luc Picard went into development, it would almost inevitably establish events and character actions that would be irreconciable with our literary continuity. Which put us in a tough spot. Star Trek tie-in fiction, like that of most other licensed properties, is required to be consistent with the canon version of the property, as it exists at the time the tie-in material is written. The more we learned about the back story of Picard, the more we realized there was no way to reconcile or retcon our 20 years of narrative with what was coming. One way or another, our communal literary project was soon to end.

I and others behind the scenes knew we had to make a choice. Either let the story be abandoned in medias res — or steer into the wave and craft an ending worthy of two decades of work.

We chose the second option.

Star Trek Coda - The Ashes of TomorrowI began scheming and daydreaming about the story that would become the spine of the STAR TREK: CODA trilogy at about the same time that my friend and frequent partner in literary mischief Dayton Ward was doing the same thing. During the July 4th weekend of 2019, I persuaded the initially reluctant James Swallow to team up with me in pitching the idea. We hashed out the story in broad strokes over BBQ with Trek-author pals Keith R. A. DeCandido and Glenn Hauman.

When I shared our pitch with Dayton the following week at Shore Leave Convention, his idea and ours were eerily similar. Except, because of his new job with CBS Licensing, he was privy to details about Picard that James and I were not. After hearing me out, Dayton summed up the challenges we faced because of Picard with a chilling caution: “Dude. It’s so much worse than you think.”

As it turned out … he was right.

Star Trek Coda, Book 3, Oblivion's Gate, by David MackDayton, James, and I hammered out a story that we felt was a worthy swan song to two decades of work, an encomium to our fellow authors, and an act of gratitude to the readers who had stuck with us all these years.

Coda proved to be the hardest writing experience of my life. While working on it in 2020, I was shaken by three deaths: the first, in January, was that of my longtime idol Neil Peart of RUSH; the second, in April, was the loss of my mother; and in December, the death of my friend and fellow Trek writer Dave Galanter.

This trilogy was a difficult and emotional project for all three of us writing it, each of us for our own reasons. But just as the application of pressure over time can turn coal to diamonds, I think our hardships have made Coda shine.

All three books of the STAR TREK: CODA trilogy are available for pre-order in trade paperback, eBook, and digital audiobook formats, from most book retailers. Trust me, Trek fans, this is an epic story you won’t want to miss.

STAR TREK: CODA, Book II – THE ASHES OF TOMORROW by James Swallow is scheduled for publication on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.

STAR TREK: CODA, Book III – OBLIVION’S GATE by yours truly will be published on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

#TheEndHasBegun

My Shore Leave 2021 schedule

Where to see me this weekend during the Shore Leave 41.6 virtual convention!


SATURDAY

11AM ET — “The New Age of Star Trek
I’ll be talking about Discovery, Picard, Short Treks, Lower Decks, and Prodigy alongside Dayton Ward, Keith DeCandido, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Derek Tyler Attico, and Kirsten Beyer.

5PM ET — “Star Trek: The Motion Picture … 40+ Years Later”
Does the first Star Trek feature film still hold up? Did it ever? I’ll debate this with Howard Weinstein, Dayton Ward, Derek Tyler Attico, Alan Chafin, and Kevin Dilmore.


SUNDAY

3PM ET — “What’s New in Star Trek Literature”
Come, see your favorite Treklit authors tell you what new works they have coming out in the next several months. This spoiler-ific panel will feature me, Scott Pearson (moderator), John Jackson Miller, Christopher Bennett, Kirsten Beyer, James Swallow, and maybe a late cameo appearance by Dayton Ward himself!
— NOTE: This panel was originally listed at 10AM; it has been moved to 3PM ET.

 

The full Shore Leave 41.6 schedule is here: https://www.shore-leave.com/schedule/

More Beautiful Than Death nominated for Scribe Award

I’m happy to share the news that the judging panel of The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers has nominated my Star Trek (Kelvin Universe) novel MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH for a Scribe Award in the Best Original Novel – Speculative category.

This is always a hotly contested category, featuring excellent works by some of the industry’s best tie-in novelists. This year is no different.

In addition to works by James Lovegrove and Greg Keyes, my book shares space in that category with two other Star Trek novels, both written by very talented friends of mine: Star Trek: DiscoveryDIE STANDING by John Jackson Miller and Star Trek: AGENTS OF INFLUENCE by Dayton Ward.

This really is a case of “it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

This is my 8th nomination in the Scribe Awards and my 7th in the Best Original Novel – Speculative category.

I’ve won the Scribe Award twice: Best Original Novel – General for 24: ROGUE, and Best Original Novel – Speculative for Star Trek: TNGCOLLATERAL DAMAGE.

Other friends of mine on this year’s list of Scribe Awards finalists include Monica Valentinelli and Christie Golden (in the Short Fiction category), Mike Johnson (Graphic Novel), James Swallow (Best Original Novel – General), and Matt Forbeck (in the YA/MG category).

Learn more about The Scribe Awards and this year’s nominees at the link:

https://www.comicmix.com/2021/06/08/iamtw-announces-2021-nominees/

Also, if you’d be so kind, please nominate More Beautiful Than Death for this year’s Dragon Awards, in the Best Media Tie-in category. It’s free to sign up and to vote, but nominations close July 19, 2021.

#SFWApro

Kickstarter: The Four ???? of the Apocalypse

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a Kickstarter.
 
The Apocalypse is coming, but who bears the mantle of Earth’s doom depends upon who you ask, in Whysper Wude’s new anthology of Biblical proportions, THE FOUR ???? OF THE APOCALYPSE.
 
Edited by my longtime friends Keith R.A. DeCandido and Wrenn Simms, T4OTA will feature stories by such New York Times best-selling literary luminaries as Jonathan Maberry, David Gerrold, Peter David, Jody Lynn Nye, Michael Jan Friedman, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, and … um, me.
 
Also ready to mount up and ride are Adam-Troy Castro, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Laura Anne Gilman, Robert Greenberger, and Aaron Rosenberg — and many others!
 
As with most Kickstarters, there are early-backer incentives waiting to be snagged. For my part, I’m offering free signed copies of my Star Trek novels Discovery: Desperate Hours, Titan: Fortune of War, and TNG: Collateral Damage to the first 10 backers who pledge $35 or more and choose this reward. (Backer’s choice of title; limit one book per pledge.)
 
And for up to five generous souls who pledge $100 or more, I’m offering signed trade-paperback copies of all three books in my Dark Arts trilogy from Tor Books.
 
If you want to get your hands on my new original short story “The Apocalypse Will Be Televised,” which I wrote specifically for this anthology, please pledge and help this Kickstarter blaze past its funding goal like a meteor streaking down from the uncaring heavens to lay waste to human civilization.
 
This Kickstarter runs through Sunday, June 20, 2021, 12:09PM EDT.

Nominate my books for the 2021 Dragon Awards

Nominations are open for the 2021 DRAGON AWARDS! Hosted each year by the fine folks at Dragon Con in Atlanta, The Dragon Awards are given to recognize popular support for outstanding work in various media and genres of science-fiction and fantasy entertainment.

Free to Sign Up, Free to Vote

All you need to vote in the Dragon Awards is a valid email address! You do not need to purchase a membership to Dragon Con or attend the convention. It is free to sign up and free to vote. You may nominate only once per email address, and for only one work per category, so your nominations are especially valuable.

The eligibility period for each year’s nominees begins the following year on July 1, and ends during the award year on June 30. So, for the 2021 Dragon Awards, works published or released between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, are eligible.

My Eligible Works

This year I have two novels that are eligible for nomination in The Dragon Awards.

The first is my Star Trek novel More Beautiful Than Death.

The second is my third and final Dark Arts novel, The Shadow Commission.

I’d be honored if you would please nominate my Star Trek novel More Beautiful Than Death in the BEST MEDIA TIE-IN NOVEL category.

Also, on the same ballot, I’d ask that you please nominate my third and final Dark Arts novel, The Shadow Commission, in the BEST ALTERNATE HISTORY NOVEL category.

You can sign up here to nominate works:
http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

 

Farpoint Convention 2021 – My Virtual Schedule

For those of you taking part in next weekend’s virtual Farpoint Convention, I’ll be on two of their Zoom-based virtual panels:
 
SAT 2/20 at 1PM–2PM ET
“Got Enough Science?”
with Christopher Ochs and Phil Giunta
 
SUN 2/21 at 1PM–2PM ET
“How Does Star Trek Thrive?”
with Derek Tyler Attico and Keith R.A. DeCandido
See the convention’s full schedule here.