Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

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/

Star Trek: Picard’s Temporal Mechanics

Because I need a shorter link to which I can direct people when I try to explain why the temporal mechanics in season two of Star Trek: Picard are actually quite well done, I am making this blog post. It is an updated version of content I have previously posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Some fans I’ve seen talking about the latest developments on STAR TREK: PICARD seem confused about the temporal mechanics of the whole thing. (SPOILERS follow)

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Nominate Oblivion’s Gate for a Dragon Award

Star Trek Coda, Book 3, Oblivion's Gate, by David MackHello, everyone. This post is just a quick note to let y’all know that nominations are open for the 2022 =DRAGON AWARDS=.

It’s free to sign up and nominate works for the Dragon Awards. All you need is a valid email address!

I’d feel truly honored if you’d nominate my novel Star Trek: Coda, Book III:Oblivion’s Gate for BEST MEDIA TIE-IN NOVEL.

The URL for nominations is here: https://application.dragoncon.net/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

The nomination period ends July 19, 2022 at 11:59pm EDT.

STAR TREK novels I’ve written

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. (more…)

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

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.