Over on Facebook today, artist Mike Collins has been posting pictures of artwork he’s done over the years for various Star Trek projects. Among the cover art and concept sketches he’s posted are several items from his tenure as the “cover artist” for the series of Star Trek: Corps of Engineers e-Book novellas, which were published monthly (for the most part) from 2000-2007.
The series premise: In the 24th century, the U.S.S. da Vinci is a Saber-class ship with a contingent of very talented, very unorthodox Starfleet and civilian engineers, whose job is pretty much whatever Starfleet and circumstances say it is. Building or destroying something, figuring out alien technology, cleaning up after some other starship captain turns off a planet’s all-powerful autonomous computer and leaves the populace to wallow about without anyone or anything for guidance, whatever. Conceived by John Order and Keith DeCandido back in 2000, the series was one of Pocket’s first forays into “exclusive content” for electronic book readers. I think we may have missed our window by about a decade or so, but the series was tremendous fun.
Mike created artwork for all but a few of the installments. Since, at the time, such cover art mostly was seen at thumbnail size if at all, Mike’s job was to make something look eye-catching at that size yet still able to hold its own if magnified a bit. I think he managed to pull that off rather well. When he cited his art for Foundations, Book 3 as being his personal favorite of the likenesses he’s rendered, I realized I had blog fodder, in that I could showcase the art he created for the novellas Kevin and I wrote for the series. So, behold, yo:
(The series originally was titled Star Trek: S.C.E., for “Starfleet Corps of Engineers,” but apparently that was lost on a lot of folks, so they changed the name when the series was “re-launched” late in 2006.)
#17, 18, and 19, from 2002. The “origin story” of the S.C.E., which really was just our excuse to write in the 23rd century. For this story, Kevin and I created the U.S.S. Lovell and her crew, which might sound familiar to readers of other Star Trek fiction series….
#39, from 2004. The da Vinci team is assigned as “weapons inspectors” for a pair of planets vying for Federation membership, even though they can’t really seem to get along with each other. Hilarity ensues.
#44, also from 2004. Another tale starring the Lovell crew in the 23rd century, this story has the distinction of being Pocket’s first direct sequel to an an episode of the animated Star Trek series. It also features the character Moves With Burning Grace, the chief engineer of Pike’s Enterprise from Marvel Comics’ Star Trek: Early Voyages. And if that’s not enough, there’s even a reference to the 1980s Sega arcade game in there.
The first of the “relaunched” series, from 2006. This, sadly, would be our last time writing for the series, though we’d continue to use the gang from the Lovell in our subsequent Star Trek: Vanguard novels.
In addition to his work for Star Trek: Corps of Engineers, Mike also provided cover art for both of the e-Book novella mini-series Keith edited, Mere Anarchy (TOS) and Slings and Arrows (TNG). Kevin and I always looked forward to seeing the art he’d provide for our stories, and the “Scotty” trio he created for Foundations is among my favorites. I even have a signed copy of the three (sans text) hanging in my home office.
So, here’s to you, Mike! Thanks for all of your hard work over the years, and here’s hoping our paths will cross again one day soon.