Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

My semi-obligatory awards-eligibility post

As we come to the end of a calendar year, it’s that magical time of year when authors remind folks which of their books published in the last 11 months are eligible to be nominated for various industry literary awards.

I had two novels published this year, and while I think both are extreme long-shots to win any awards, I’m enough of a glutton for punishment to put them out there for your collective consideration.

The first book is THE SHADOW COMMISSION.

Book three of my Dark Arts series from Tor Books, it was published by Tor on August 11, 2020.

Its subgenre is “secret history,” but for awards categories it can fit into “alternate history” or “urban fantasy.”

The Shadow Commission is technically eligible to be nominated for the following awards, in these respective categories:

The Dragon Awards, in Best Alternate History Novel (it’s free to sign up to nominate and vote for this award)
The World Fantasy Award, Best Novel (nomination and voting open only to World Fantasy convention members)
The Nebula Award, Best Novel (nomination and voting open only to SFWA Members)
The Hugo Award, Best Novel (nomination and voting open only to WorldCon members)
The Sidewise Award, Best Long-form Alternate History (I think my publisher has to submit my book for this)

 


The second book is STAR TREK: MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH.

It’s a story based on the version of the Star Trek universe and characters as depicted in the three feature films produced by J.J. Abrams.

My novel was published by Gallery Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) on August 11, 2020.

Its genre is science fiction, and its subcategory would be “media tie-in.”

Star Trek: More Beautiful Than Death is eligible to be nominated for the following awards, in these respective categories:

The Dragon Awards, in Best Media Tie-In Novel (it’s free to sign up to nominate and vote for this award)
The Nebula Award, Best Novel (nomination and voting open only to SFWA Members)
The Hugo Award, Best Novel (nomination and voting open only to WorldCon members)
The Scribe Award, Best Long-form Alternate History (My publisher has already submitted my book.)

 


And that’s it. That’s what I have for your consideration this year. Do with this information what you will.

#SFWApro

 

Feliz quinceañera, Star Trek Vanguard

Fifteen years ago saw the premiere of Harbinger, the first book in the Star Trek Vanguard series, which I co-created with Pocket Books senior editor Marco Palmieri.

What was Star Trek Vanguard? Dayton Ward sums it up thusly:

Vanguard as created by editor Marco Palmieri and author David Mack is a series of books that served as a “literary spin-off” of the original Star Trek television series. Running in parallel with the original show, Vanguard was set aboard a space station in a hotly contested area of space called “the Taurus Reach.”

In the years that followed, I wound up alternating writing privileges on the series with Dayton and his hetero life-mate and frequent writing partner Kevin Dilmore. This, among other things, led to them becoming two of my closest friends, with whom I shared the most artistically satisfying creative endeavor of my career to date.

Photo of Dayton Ward, Marco Palmieri, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack
The Vanguardians of the Galaxy: from left, Dayton Ward, Marco Palmieri, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack. Taken at Shore Leave Convention, July 2011.

Marco, who left Simon & Schuster after editing the fourth Vanguard novel, subsequently returned to the saga as an author, contributing the novella “The Ruins of Noble Men” to the Vanguard anthology volume Declassified. And acclaimed international best-selling thriller author James Swallow took Vanguard into the Mirror Universe with his short story “The Black Flag,” in the anthology Shards and Shadows.

Furthermore, we had the amazing good fortune that all of our series’ cover art was created by the brilliantly talented Doug Drexler. Every single one of his covers is worthy of being enlarged to billboard size and plastered onto the side of a skyscraper.

Dayton has done an amazing write-up about Vanguard — what it is, how it came to be, and what it has meant to all of us who were fortunate enough to work on it. I doubt I could improve upon it; I would only end up paraphrasing it. So I’ll just say, go read his excellent tribute to this series we built with love, sweat, and imagination.

If you’ve never read the Star Trek Vanguard saga, here is your guide:

Star Trek Vanguard Bibliography

Harbinger – David Mack
Summon the Thunder – Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Reap the Whirlwind – David Mack
Open Secrets – Dayton Ward (story by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore)
Precipice – David Mack
Declassified – four novellas by: Dayton Ward; Kevin Dilmore; Marco Palmieri; and David Mack
What Judgments Come – Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (story by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and David Mack)
Storming Heaven – David Mack (story by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and David Mack)

There also are a few additional stories that, while not essential to enjoying the main “saga,” might be of interest:

Distant Early Warning – Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers story and Vanguard prequel)

In Tempest’s Wake – Dayton Ward (sort of a coda to the Vanguard series)

The Black Flag” – James Swallow
(Included in the anthology Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards & Shadows)

You can also load up on SPOILER-FILLED, behind-the-scenes goodness with my Vanguard Finale page.

Dayton, Kevin, and I have agreed that we have no intention of ever re-opening the toy box that was Star Trek Vanguard. From the outset, the saga had been planned with a clear beginning, middle, and ending, and ultimately we hewed fairly closely to that original plan. What’s more, we ended the saga on our own terms, by design rather than by necessity, a privilege one is rarely afforded in the world of media tie-in writing.

Sometimes I daydream of seeing Vanguard as a new Star Trek TV series. But then I remember that it likely would never be as good on the screen as it is in the theater of my imagination, and I’m content to leave it where it is.

As Pennington wrote at the saga’s end, “Let the world forget; I’ll remember.”