My Shore Leave 2021 schedule

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


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.


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:

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:

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.


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:


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.

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)



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.



Story Teaser: “Fiasco” from Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021

giant snake in fire pit threatens man and woman
Art by Gary Carbon

Now that the Kickstarter campaign for Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 has passed $5,000 (on its way to its first goal of $6,000), I am making good on my promise to share the first scene of my new crime-noir short story, “Fiasco,” which I wrote for this new anthology of short fiction written in the classic pulp style.

As I explain in my segment of the campaign’s promo video, my story was inspired by the role-playing game FIASCO. I used one of its Los Angeles-themed playsets to randomly generate story elements until my imagination took over.

Two of the eBook add-on packages will contain reprints of my original short stories Midnight Rider and Our Possible Pasts,” so if you’ve not had a chance to read those yet, this would be a good time to remedy that.

Because I’d really love to have art on my story’s title page, we need to get this campaign past its baseline goal and into stretch-goal territory.

So, if you enjoy this little taste of “Fiasco,” please consider helping us by spreading the word about the campaign or, even better, adding your own pledge (if you’ve not already done so).

‘Nuff sales pitch. Enjoy the preview!


David Mack

MARCH 1956

I’m six whiskeys into a Friday night at The Blue Moon, basking in the club’s nicotine fog and grooving to a jazz sax that sounds like a rusty hinge, when two apes with crew cuts and cheap suits step in front of my table and block my view of the band.

One of them shows me his badge. “Detective Jack Halligan?”

I take a drag off my Lucky. “Y’askin’ me? Or tellin’ me?”

His pal brushes open his suit coat, casually, and rests his hand on the grip of his holstered revolver. The one doing the talking leans down and fills my face with his sour-milk breath. “I’m Walker. He’s Morris. Internal Affairs. You need to come with us.”

I hoist my drink and my half-finished coffin nail. “I’m busy.”

Walker snatches my Lucky, snuffs it in my rye. “You’re done. Get up.”

So much for professional courtesy. I drop a sawbuck on the table and nod at my waiter as I follow the rat squad dicks outside.

It’s a cool night, dry as a bone. Somewhere above downtown Los Angeles the stars are shining, but good luck seeing them through this ceiling of pink smog. Walker and Morris march me back to my car, which is guarded by a pair of patrolmen. The passenger-side window has been smashed in, and the glove compartment is open. Lying on the passenger seat is a brick of heroin that I’ve never seen before in my life.

Morris points at the kilo and looks at me. “Care to explain that?

“If you’re too dumb to know a frame-up when you see it, I can’t help you.”

Walker steps toward me. Jabs my chest with his meaty index finger. “Wise up, Halligan. That brick’s just one of three that went missing from Hollywood Station’s evidence lockup two days ago. Where are the other two?”

“With whoever’s framing me would be my guess . . . you fuckin’ mook.”

I never see the punch that sends a sickening jolt through my right kidney. All I know is one second I’m standing, the next I’m on my knees in the gutter, seeing purple and tasting sour bile. I take a few deep breaths and fight to keep my shit together as I get back on my feet.

Walker tells the patrolmen, “Bag and tag the brick, have the car towed.”

Morris pushes me back against my car. “Jack Halligan, you’re under arrest for theft of evidence and possession of narcotics. We’ll need your badge and your weapon.”

As I reach inside my jacket, Walker adds, “Slowly.”

I hand Morris my badge. Then I use two fingers to remove my Smith & Wesson .38 from its holster. As I hand the pistol to Walker, I do a sleight-of-hand trick a skel once taught me, and with a flick of my wrist I open the revolver’s cylinder.

All six bullets fall out. The bright sound of brass on pavement is like music.

Walker bends down to retrieve my bullets. I knee him in the face.

Blood pours from Walker’s broken nose as he sprawls on the sidewalk.

Morris reaches for his weapon. I still have my empty .38, so I clock the bastard in the temple with it. He hits the street like a 230-pound sack of flour.

On the other side of my car, one of the uniforms clumsily starts to draw his sidearm. I throw my empty roscoe at him. It smacks him in the forehead as his steel clears leather, and he fires a wild shot—into his partner’s foot.

I run like my ass is on fire. I’m half a block away when the stunned rookie opens fire. He hits a store window and a random citizen on the sidewalk before he puts a slug through the bulge of fat beneath my ribs. I press my hand over the bleeding exit wound and lunge onward.

Distracted by the burning pain on my right side, I dart down Skid Row side streets. Weave through a dark trash-strewn alley where scabby hookers blow their johns against brick walls, hidden behind garbage bins that reek of rotten fish and a hundred things far worse. At the far end of this urban slice of hell, I pay a bum twenty bucks for his tattered gray overcoat, which smells like he’s been using it to wipe his ass for a year, and I snatch a grease-stained beige trilby from a pile of trash behind a Chinese restaurant.

Wrapped in my disguise of filth, I stagger onto San Pedro as a fleet of LAPD radio cars races past, lights flashing and sirens screaming. None of the cops in those cars spares me even half a look. I’ve rendered myself invisible to their eyes. To them, I’m just one more bum in the night, another ghost in the City of Angels.

Time’s against me now. Doing my best not to look like a man on the run, I keep my head down and my hand over my wound as I turn my steps toward a place I used to call home.

© 2020 David Mack

That’s scene one; to find out where the story goes from there, you’ll need to make a minimum $10 pledge to the Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021 Kickstarter (though I strongly recommend upgrading to the trade paperback or cloth hardcover editions).

Thanks for reading, and remember to spread the word!

— David Mack