Oblivion’s Gate nominated for 2022 Dragon Award

The Dragon Awards

The 2022 Dragon Award ballot has been released, and I’m proud to share that Star Trek: Coda, Book III – Oblivion’s Gate is up for Best Media Tie-in Novel.

Star Trek Coda, Book 3, Oblivion's Gate, by David MackIt shares this honor with four other excellent novels by some of the best tie-in authors in the business:

Star Wars: The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray

Star Trek: Picard – Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller

HALO: Divine Wind by Troy Denning … and

Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil by Timothy Zahn

Man, that is some MAJOR competition.

I won’t lie to you — I’d really love for Oblivion’s Gate to win this thing, but looking at that list even I have to admit my book is one of this year’s underdogs.

If you previously nominated Oblivion’s Gate for the 2022 Dragon Awards, check your email for a link to the final ballot, and vote for Oblivion’s Gate to win!

If you missed the nomination phase, you can still vote on the final ballot for free! All you need is a valid email. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO VOTE.

VOTING ENDS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2!

My schedule at GenCon Writers’ Symposium 2022

If you’ll be attending the GenCon Writers’ Symposium this week in Indianapolis, from Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, August 7,  here’s my schedule of panels and signings.

All GCWS panels take place in the meeting rooms on the second floor of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown hotel on W. Maryland St., across from the Indiana Convention Center.

Author signings are taking place next to the Half-Price Books table in the rear of the Main Exhibit Hall, at the end of the 1100 aisle.


THURSDAY, 4 AUGUST

10:00 a.m. – Ballroom 1
“Plot It Out” — How do you plot out a novel, anyway?
[Howard Andrew Jones, Jerry Gordon, Bryan Young, Dan Jolley, David Mack, Steve Diamond (M)]

3:00 p.m. – Austin/Boston
“Author Horror Stories” — Hear about some of our worst writing/publishing experiences.
[Dan Jolley, Toiya Kristen Finley, Mary Fan, David Mack]

5:00 p.m. – Ballroom 1
“Blank Page Blues” — Tips and tricks for getting past that dreaded blank first page.
[Jennifer Brozek, Bryan Young, Toiya Kristen Finley, Jerry Gordon, David Mack]

 


FRIDAY, 5 AUGUST

1:00 p.m. – Ballroom 1
“Who Cares? It’s Magic!” — Does using magic in a fantasy story mean no rules need apply?
[Dan Jolley, Chris A. Jackson, Erin M. Evans, David Mack, Paul Weimer, Steve Drew (M)]

2:00 p.m. – Austin/Boston
“My Book Has a Soundtrack” — How does music inspire our panelists’ literary efforts?
[Toiya Kristen Finley, Gini Koch, David Mack]

5:00 p.m. — Austin/Boston
“Hang With the Authors” — A chance to hang out and ask what YOU want to ask.
[Bryan Young, Cat Rambo, Matt Forbeck, David Mack]

 


SATURDAY, 6 AUGUST

2:00 p.m. – Ballroom 1
“Working With Editors” — What should you know and what can you do to improve the process?
[LaShawn Wanak, Katherine Monasterio, David Mack, Patrick S. Tomlinson]

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Exhibit Hall, end of 1100 aisle
AUTHOR SIGNING: David Mack and Patrick S. Tomlinson

5:00 p.m. – Austin/Boston
“Defining Traits” — How to distinguish one character from another without overdoing it.
[Jennifer Brozek, Erin M. Evans, Dan Jolley, Jason Sanford, David Mack]

 

My Shore Leave 2022 Schedule

Howdy, folks. If you’ll be attending this weekend’s Shore Leave Convention in Hunt Valley, Md., here is a quick summary of where and when to see me on panels, get me to autograph stuff, etc. As usual, when in doubt as to my whereabouts, check the hotel bar.


FRIDAY, JULY 15

4PM–5PM, Salon F — “The Latest and Greatest New Books”
I and several other author guests will discuss what we’re currently working on, what we have coming out in the months ahead, and more. (David Mack, Richard C. White, Russ Colchamiro, Sherri Cook Woosley, Danielle ACkley-McPhail, Heather E. Hutsell, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christopher L. Bennett, Christopher D. Abbott)

7PM–8PM, Salon A – “Small Screen Dominance”
A discussion of how the new emphasis on long-form storytelling in serialized, streaming television compares to the storytelling styles of feature films, especially with regard to Star Trek and Star Wars. (Dayton Ward, David Mack, Laura Ware, Robert Greenberger)

10PM–Midnight, Hunt-Valley Corridor – “Meet the Pros”
Come meet the author guests of Shore Leave, buy their books, chat about whatever, and get autographs.


SATURDAY, JULY 16

1PM–2PM, Salon F – “Always Submit Your Best Work”
Let the pros of prose tell you why a doing polishing draft on your manuscript before submission to an agent or editor is in your best interest. (David Mack, Joshua Palmatier, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Phil Giunta, Ian Randal Strock, Christopher D. Ochs)

2PM–3PM, Derby Room – “Truly Alien Beings”
A look at good (and not-so-good) depictions of the truly amazing possible varieties of alien life in science fiction. (Rigel Ailur, Christopher L. Bennett, David Mack, Laura Ware)

3PM–4PM, Salon E – “What’s Coming in Star Trek Fiction”
Our panel will tell you whatever they can about what’s coming in long- and short-form fiction from Star Trek through the end of 2022 and into 2023, and then will open the floor to questions about the last few years’ worth of Star Trek books. (David Mack, Kevin Dilmore, Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Scott Pearson)


SUNDAY, JULY 17

10AM–11AM, Belmont Room – “Writerly Accessories”
Come see me try to speak at this ungodly hour of the morning. We’ll be discussing which things no writer should have to do without — such as strong coffee at 10AM panels. (Keith R.A. DeCandido, Greg Cox, Scott Pearson, David Mack, Christopher D. Ochs)

12PM–1PM, Salon A – “It’s All Been Done Before”
There are only so many truly unique plot ideas in the world of storytelling, and they’ve all been done. So if the story you’re telling has already been done (and it has), how do you make it worth telling (again)? (Andrew Hiller, David Mack, Rigel Ailur, Derek Attico)

 

I’ll be signing at Comic-Con Int’l 2022

IAMTW Logo on Blue Background

Surprise, folks! A last-second addition to my summer convention schedule —

If you’ll be at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Thursday, July 21, come see me on the epic 2-hour panel “The Writers’ Coffeehouse” in Marina D from 2:30PM – 4:30PM, during which I’ll probably sit mute while Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Peter Clines, and Henry Herz expound on the current state of the speculative-fiction industry.

After that panel look for me and the other panelists at the signing table in the Sails Pavilion: AA09, from 5PM–6PM. (“AA” means “Autograph Area,” a large area on the upper level of the pavilion.)

With luck there will be copies for sale of my latest Star Trek novels and my Dark Arts series from Tor Books. If there aren’t, I’ll happily autograph most non-obscene body parts.

I’ll also be at Comic-Con on Friday, July 22, from 2PM–3PM PDT to attend IAMTW‘s annual Scribe Awards panel in Room 32AB, to accept my Grandmaster award.

Stick around after the panel on Friday for a book signing with me and the Scribe Award winners and nominees, from 3:30PM–4:30PM at the Sails Pavilion: AA09.

On Being Named a Grandmaster…

IAMTW Logo on Blue Background

Over the weekend, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) issued press releases announcing the nominees for its 2022 Scribe Awards (a list that includes my novel Star Trek: Coda, Book III: Oblivion’s Gate in the Best Novel-Speculative category) and its 2022 Faust Award, which recognizes outstanding career achievement in the writing of media tie-in works by naming the recipient a Grandmaster.Star Trek Coda, Book 3, Oblivion's Gate, by David Mack

Much to my surprise, I was told late on Saturday night after a long day of driving home from vacation with my wife that I had been named as the IAMTW’s 2022 Grandmaster.

Part of me thinks, “How can I be getting this award?” and “Might this have been a clerical error?”

Then the other part of my brain shushes the insecure half and whispers, “Relax, it’s not a mistake.”

It feels strange to receive an award honoring my “career achievement” when I still consider my career as a work-in-progress. But I imagine that’s also how past recipients of the award have felt. Most of them — including my friends and fellow Star Trek scribblers Greg Cox, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Kevin J. Anderson, and Peter David — went right on working after winning the Faust Award. Which is exactly as it should be.

As writers we all learn not to rest on our laurels. Experience teaches us not to dwell on the work we’ve done, much of which takes months or sometimes years to be published after our share of the work is done. By necessity we are always looking ahead, beyond the project we’re writing now, and asking, “What am I doing next? And after that?”

No award changes that, but I have to admit it feels good to be recognized among such luminous company as the previous recipients of the Faust Award. Who wouldn’t want to share such an honor with Timothy Zahn, Alan Dean Foster, Diane Duane, Ann C. Crispin, Donald Bain, Nancy Holder, Terrance Dicks, William Johnston, Jean Rabe, and the venerable Max Allan Collins?

It would be the height of hubris to claim I earned this honor all by myself. I have come as far as I have only thanks to the support and encouragement of my wife, Kara; the wise business counsel of my agent of 20 years, Lucienne Diver; the camaraderie of my many peers and fellow travelers, including (but certainly not limited to) Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Glenn Hauman, Aaron Rosenberg, James Swallow, Scott Pearson, Kirsten Beyer, and John Jackson Miller; the abiding faith of editors Ed Schlesinger, Margaret Clark, and Marco Palmieri; and those wonderful folks out there who have been buying and enjoying my stories for the past twenty-odd years. My love and respect goes out to you all.

What else is there to say, really?

Time to get back to work.

 

Musical Inspirations of Star Trek: Coda

No one has shown the least bit of interest in guessing at the inspirations/connections between my recent novel Star Trek: Coda, Book III – Oblivion’s Gate and its hand-curated Spotify playlist. I am, therefore, going to blather on about it anyway.

But before I dig into the tracks on the public Spotify playlist, I want to share an unreleased track that, for me, has been the unofficial “theme song” of the Star Trek: Coda trilogy: Cue the Violins,” by my pal Friday’s Child front man Tom Walker.

Star Trek Coda - Moments AsunderNow, onward to the Spotify playlist tracks. Leading us off is Goodnight, Saigon by Billy Joel. For me this song served as a tribute to all of the story’s redshirts and other characters slain in the line of duty (or as collateral damage).

Entry two on the playlist should be easy to understand: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult alludes, obviously, to the story’s main villains and their engineered temporal apocalypse.

Now we get into the character-specific inspirations on the playlist: Against the Wind by Bob Seger felt like a great summary of the life of middle-aged Traveler Wesley Crusher, reflecting on centuries of chasing an unknown enemy.

Next up is Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game,” which for me evokes Worf’s angst and conflicting emotions over meeting an alternate K’Ehleyr in the Mirror Universe in Oblivion’s Gate.

Continuing the playlist is Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms,” which for me feels like a perfect distillation of Benjamin Sisko’s spiritual journey in this heartbreaking trilogy.

Life is a Long Song by Jethro Tull, for me, captures the optimism and kindness of spirit of Geordi La Forge, as well as the sadness of dying in one’s prime.

Hurt by Johnny Cash brings a more somber note to the playlist. In this context, its lyrics feel to me like an eerie commentary on the story of the time-madness-stricken Admiral William Riker, and his desperate plea to his wife Deanna Troi.

Star Trek Coda - The Ashes of TomorrowFeel-good music? Not for this trilogy (not yet, anyway). Next up is Dust in the Wind by Kansas, which on the Star Trek: Coda playlist is meant to evoke the deep despair felt by Vedek Kira over the terrible sacrifices she has been compelled to make.

Ramping up the drama and tragedy of the playlist is Queen & Michael Kamen’s iconic ballad from Highlander, Who Wants to Live Forever? (Heather’s Demise). For me, this is the theme of Mirror K’Ehleyr’s story, including its heroic/tragic end.

Have courage. We’re almost done. Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce felt like a great song to represent the sort of timeless POV of the functionally immortal androids Data Soong and his resurrected daughter Lal.

The most inspirational song on the Star Trek: Coda playlist is The Garden by Rush. It set the tone for Chapter 40, and it established themes & motifs throughout Oblivion’s Gate, which is meant as an homage to the late Neil Peart.

Oblivion’s Gate ends on an epilogue that I call a “Grace Note.” Its title is “What Remains to Be Seen,” an allusion to a lyric from “The Garden” — “Hope is what remains to be seen.”

The Grace Note of Oblivion’s Gate, which occurs on the date of Star Trek‘s 1966 TV premiere, on W. 136th St. in Harlem (“Far Beyond the Stars” was the 136th episode of DS9) is represented by Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.”

Finally, if a novel trilogy could have ironic end-credits music, Star Trek: Coda would conclude with a hat-tip to the franchise’s newly expanding canon, with (Just Like) Starting Over by the great John Lennon.


Postscript: If you’re just looking for suitable background music for reading, check out my Star Trek: Coda – Reading Music playlist on Spotify.

Enterprising Individuals – Star Trek III : The Search for Spock

I join host Ka1iban (aka Aaron Coker) on a new episode of his podcast series Enterprising Individuals, this time to discuss our thoughts about the feature film Star Trek III : The Search for Spock.

Ka1iban and I covered a lot of ground about the film (after a brief catching-up chat about the toll the pandemic years have taken on us and the world around us). In spite of its flaws, this is one of my favorite Star Trek movies, and one that I think is unfairly maligned and better than most fans remember.

Listen to our conversation here:
http://enterprisingindividuals.com/blog/2022/03/30/season-7-episode-3-star-trek-iii-the-search-for-spock-with-david-a-mack/