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.
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 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. 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.