Two things arrived via the post today. First, the UPS guy delivered a box from my publisher. Inside it: my author’s copies of the just-released anthology Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified —
The other item arrived with the day’s regular mail: a plain yellow envelope, also from my publisher. Inside it, an unopened fan letter, addressed to me courtesy of Simon & Schuster. Now, I receive a decent amount of fan e-mail and Facebook messages and tweets, but it’s been a long time since I received an actual piece of fan mail.
My wife stood by and watched while I opened the envelope, which was soggy from its passage through the day’s rains. Inside was a single, folded sheet of yellow notepad paper, and upon it a handwritten letter:
As I suspected, the sort of passion that would animate someone in this day and age to send an actual letter was not of a kind intended for flattery. Though I am withholding the sender’s name and place of residence, the letter is simply too fabulous not to share. Omitting the headers, here is the body of the missive, complete with curiosities of punctuation, word choice, et al:
Re: Star Trek Destiny trilogy
Dear Mr. Mack,
I have read many Star Trek novels. Some were good; some were excellent; some bad and some that never should have been published.
Your trilogy, however, doesn’t fit into those categories. It is the most depressing, despairing, fatalistic books-trilogy I ever read. I kept hoping that something positive would render the books readable.
It was extremely difficult to peruse the story. Everything was so doomed, damned, lifeless. No hope. After all, this is merely a science fiction story book. It should not be so lifeless, so death-like.
I wish now that I had never purchased your 3 books. During the time I read these I was full of despair—and a story book shouldn’t do that! Especially Star Trek.
These 3 books are the last ones I’ll buy about Star Trek. Death and despair I can watch on the 6pm world news.
P.S. Paint a better picture of our future world—right now it’s the only one we have!
Sigh. Another satisfied customer. I suppose I should just be grateful that no white powder fell from the envelope when I opened it.
Believe me when I say I’m going to have this letter tastefully framed and that I will display it prominently in my office, if for no other reason than to respect the time and effort it took to set those words to paper by hand.