Your Moment of TrekZen*.

Because your off-brand landing party cosplay attempt isn’t complete without a little 2-way comm action.

Remco_Star_Trek_Astro-Wrist_Radios(Click to Biggie Size…if you dare.)

Ah, Remco. Gone, but not forgotten.

We are, of course, talking about that toy manufacturing king of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Particularly in that last decade before it closed its doors in 1971, Remco was (in)famous for toys tying into various popular television shows of that era such as the Adam West Batman, Lost In Space, The Munsters, and Star Trek. Many if not most of their toys bore little or even no resemblance to anything you might see on any of the actual shows, you understand, and often were actually the same toys across the different lines…just painted different colors and featuring show-specific decals. In this case, the Star Trek wrist radios might be yellow, whereas Batman and Robin sported their own semi-cool blue ones.

Among those items bearing the Star Trek label were the Astro-Helmet (with non-shattering lenses!) as well as my personal favorites, the Astro-Buzz-Ray Gun, and…of course, the notorious Space Fun helmet.

I mean, come on….

dayton-spockhelmet(I make this shit look good.)

Back in December, StarTrek.com convinced the awesomely good sport Ethan Peck to participate in an “unboxing video” in which he took an original Space Fun helmet out of its box (much to the horror of collectors across the known universe and perhaps other planes of existence) and actually placed it atop his own Spock-portraying head. I am forced to admit Mr. Peck looks far better in his helmet than I do in the one I borrowed from friend Nick Duguid for the above photo.

Much attention and discussion centers around the screen accuracy of any product – toy, replica, or whatever – tying into a film or television series, and that attention and discussion is multiplied times a bazillion when we’re talking about Star Trek. There are those among the fan contingent who want all knowledge of knock-off products such as these purged from all human memory. Then there are anarchists like me, who constantly lobby for some courageous would-be licensing partner to take up the mantle of producing sacrosanct reproductions of these off-kilter toys of yesteryear.

That’s right. Some days, I just want to watch the world burn.

Trek-Never Let Normal-Interfere-With-Awesome

(* = with acknowledgments–and apologies–to The Daily Show)

Happy Birthday, Stars and Stripes!

One of the cool fringe benefits of volunteering at the National World War I Museum and Memorial here in Kansas City is that as I continue my learning journey about the war itself, I pick up bits of knowledge and trivia about all manner of subjects. Some are directly tied to the conflict, of course, and others have only tenuous connections. Even those serve to increase my understanding not just of the war but also the world and events which spawned it.

Among the little infonuggets I’ve happened across while perusing one of the many artifacts and didactics filling the museum’s galleries is this: Today, February 8th, marks the 102nd anniversary of Stars and Stripes, the first officially sanctioned military newspaper to carry that storied name.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Stars and Stripes!”

January writing wrap-up.

So, January 2020.

That was a hell of a year, wasn’t it?

The new year has started off in the fast lane. Lots of stuff going on at Ward Manor, and as you’ve likely guessed a good bit of that involves Star Trek in some flavor or another. My consulting duties with CBS continue apace, and a good chunk of the month was devoted to reviewing or weighing in on assorted things in various stages of development. This primarily includes material from both Simon & Schuster and IDW Publishing but a couple of other things wormed their way into the mix. Lots of sausage being made, you know.

Meanwhile, on my own writing front, things are in a bit of a “moving things around the board” mode. Here’s what moved around in January:

Continue reading “January writing wrap-up.”

Back cover copy for my upcoming Star Trek novel Agents of Influence!

Those of you who frequent this space have likely read my occasional babbling about Agents of Influence, my upcoming Star Trek original series novel that’ll be out in June.

I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for quite a while to be able to share the book’s back cover description and at long last I have a green light to do just that. Therefore and without further ado, read on:


For years, Starfleet Intelligence agents have carried out undercover assignments deep within the Klingon Empire. Surgically altered and rigorously trained in Klingon culture, they operate in plain sight and without any direct support, while collecting information and infiltrating the highest levels of imperial power. Their actions have given Starfleet valuable insight into the inner workings of Klingon government and its relentless military apparatus.

After three of Starfleet’s longest serving agents fear exposure, they initiate emergency extraction procedures. Their planned rendezvous with the U.S.S. Endeavour goes awry, threatening to reveal their activities and the damaging intelligence they’ve collected during their mission. Tasked by Starfleet to salvage the botched rescue attempt, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must discover the truth behind a secret weapons experiment while avoiding an interstellar incident with the potential to ignite a new war between the Federation and one of its oldest adversaries.


Agents of Influence will be published by Gallery Books on June 9th in trade paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats. Pre-order links appear to be a little jacked up at the moment, but once it’s straightened out I’ll be sure to post those details.

Meanwhile, it’s possible the blurb may prompt some questions. 🙂

February 1, 2003: Columbia.

Seventeen years ago this morning, the Space Shuttle Columbia, returning to Earth after a successful 16-day mission, broke apart during re-entry and disintegrated, killing its seven-member crew.

I spent the rest of that afternoon and the ensuing days watching the news coverage as new information came to light, and possible explanations and causes for the disaster began to emerge. To this day, it’s hard to believe something so seemingly simple as a few damaged heat tiles could wreak such unchecked destruction.

On the other hand, the tragedy served to reinforce the harsh reality of the incredible dangers inherent in manned space flight, and nothing about it is “simple” or “routine.” I did and still believe our exploration of space is a worthy and necessary endeavor, and I hope the sacrifices made by men and women such as Columbia‘s crew always will be heeded when taking our next small steps and giant leaps.

Generations from now, when the reach of human civilization is extended throughout the solar system, people will still come to this place to learn about and pay their respects to our heroic Columbia astronauts. They will look at the astronauts’ memorial and then they will turn their gaze to the skies, their hearts filled with gratitude for these seven brave explorers who helped blaze our trail to the stars.

– Sean O’Keefe, NASA Administrator
Arlington National Cemetery, February 2nd, 2004

 (l-r, blue shirts): David Brown, William McCool, Michael Anderson.
(l-r, red shirts): Kalpana Chawla, Rick D. Husband, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Ilan Ramon

Let’s do an “Ask Dayton” thing. Just because.

I have things to read, review, and comment on today, but I’m really only killing time waiting for my kids to get home as it’s an “early release” day from school and there are shenanigans on the docket for the afternoon. Still, this allows for a bit of our own peculiar kind of mischief, and it’s something I’ve not done in a while.

So, here’s the deal: Ask me anything, if you’re so inclined, and I’ll do my best to provide a brief yet thoughtful answer. If I’m unable to accomplish this seemingly straightforward feat, I’ll instead craft a wiseass comment, tailored and customized especially for you! It’s sort of like an “AMA” over on Reddit, but without the lingering need for me to bathe in a vat of Mountain Falls after we’re finished.

Asker’s choice, so far as the topic goes. We can talk about writing, pop culture bullshit, deep thoughtful musings on the duality of man and the blurred line between good and evil, how science has finally proven to all those whiny shits that using two spaces after a period isn’t the global calamity they think it is, why KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park deserves to be reimagined with Steel Panther, or how we so desperately need a Deadpool or Star Trek musical, whatever.

I reserve the right not to answer anything I deem too personal or inappropriate for this particular venue, but this is a rule I’ve only rarely had to invoke. Still, it never hurts to make such things clear up front.

Okey-dokey, then. Who’s got a question?

horshack

Where never lark or even eagle flew.

73 seconds after launch on a particularly cold Florida morning 34 years ago today, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, killing astronauts Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

On March 21st, 1987, a permanent marker paying tribute to the crew was placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The marker’s face features likenesses of the crew and the following dedication:

In Grateful
and Loving Tribute
To the Brave Crew
of the United States
Space Shuttle Challenger
28 January 1986

Inscribed on the back of the marker is this poem:

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings,
sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things
you have not dreamed of
wheeled and soared and swung
high in the sunlit silence hov’ring there.
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
where never lark or even eagle flew
and while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space
put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

– John Gillepie Magee, Jr.

challenger-crew

L-R: Ellison S. Onizuka, Michael J. Smith, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Francis R. Scobee, Gregory B. Jarvis, Ronald E. McNair, Judith A. Resnik

Talking Trek with the Worst. Comic. Podcast. EVER!

Hey! I babbled again, and this time I brought my cohort along with me!

Or, maybe he brought me along with him. Hell, I don’t know, anymore.

The important thing to take away from this is Kevin and I ended up doing a joint interview, something that hasn’t happened in a long while. Fate and circumstances see to it I end up doing a lot of these things to promote my solo work, but this time we’re not even pimping anything. Turns out a couple of local friends who happen to have a podcast wanted to talk Star Trek and what do you know? We’re right here in the same time zone. The result? Kevin and I as guests on the latest episode of the….

WORST. COMIC. PODCAST. EVER!

WCPE-Logo

And if that logo maybe stirs up some memories from your childhood, go with that feeling.

Ah, Bailey.….

Oh, right. Podcast.

Guided by our hosts, John Holloway and Jerry McMullen, we discuss a variety of Trek-related topics. We bounce around from our writing to our takes on the recent generation of series (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard) and various fannish pursuits like conventions and visits to the super awesome Star Trek Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, New York. But you know it is a podcast focusing on comics, so the conversation does make its way around to the story Kevin and I wrote for the Star Trek: Waypoint comics miniseries back in 2016, and the tons of fun we had working on that.

So, if any of that sounds like an interesting way to wile away an hour or so while you’re sitting in traffic or in line for one of those sweet chicken sandwiches from Popeye’s or whatever, give this a listen:

Worst. Comic. Podcast. Ever! Episode 291:
Talking Trek Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

Many thanks to John and Jerry for having us on their show. We’ll see these guys again in March at Planet Comicon here in Kansas City, and maybe one of these days we’ll find a decent excuse reason to head back to their den of nerdity for another exciting installment!

WCPE-Approved

God speed to the crew of Apollo 1.

Each year, January 27th marks the beginning of a somber week of remembrance for NASA.

On the evening of this date in 1967 while conducting a routine test of their spacecraft’s power systems, astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White, and Roger B. Chafee were killed when a fire broke out inside the Apollo 1 capsule.

Grissom had been with NASA almost from the beginning, flying missions for both the Mercury and Gemini programs, and White also was a Gemini veteran. The Apollo 1 flight was to be Chaffee’s first space mission.

Their sacrifice, though tragic, ultimately played a monumental role in NASA’s effort toward bettering the machines which soon would fly to the Moon, and ensuring the safety of the men who would take them there.

apollo1-crew

(L-R: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee)

 IN MEMORY
OF
THOSE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
SO OTHERS COULD REACH THE STARS

AD ASTRA PER ASPERA
(A ROUGH ROAD LEADS TO THE STARS)

GOD SPEED TO THE CREW
OF
APOLLO 1

More Star Trek IncrediBuilds action. This time: the Klingons!

Regular followers of this space know I’ve been writing various things and bits for Insight Editions for the past few years. It started with the Vulcan and Klingon Travel Guides before I was asked about writing for another of their imprints, IncrediBuilds. My mission: write “guidebooks” to go with special, eco-friendly wood model kits they were creating for the 10+ age bracket. I started with books for the original U.S.S. Enterprise and its counterpart from Star Trek: The Next Generation. These were followed with a deviation to another licensed property, Toy Story, for which I wrote the books to go with models of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Both of these were fun because I got to go for an audience that was slightly younger even than that for which the Star Trek kits were intended.

Oh, and it’s possible you may have heard about my coming Kirk Fu book.

Another project I did for Insight/IncrediBuilds last year and which is getting set for release is a return to the Star Trek realm, and this time we’re doing the Klingon Bird- of-Prey!

IncrediBuilds-BoP(Click to Biggie Size)

As with all IncrediBuilds kits, this little guy is designed to be assembled without the need for glue or tape or anything else holding it together. Even though it’s meant for slightly smaller hands, the model has a few itsty-bitsy parts, and the guidebook also includes tips on painting and customizing the model. Once you put it all together and maybe slap some paint on it? For my money this may be the best of their three Star Trek offerings to date.

KlingonBOP-IncrediBuild Model(Click this pic and you’ll get a nifty pre-order link!)

As for the book I wrote, I cover a general history and lineage of this ship class, notable Klingons who’ve commanded such vessels, and battles and other encounters which have involved Birds-of-Prey. There’s even a section about the “H.M.S. Bounty,” the ship captured by Admiral Kirk and his crew in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and used so extensively in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Finally, I step out of the box a bit for an overview of the ship’s design for the films and how it was used in later movies and TV series episodes, as well as how it inspired designs seen in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery.

As with my previous IncrediBuilds collaborations, I had a lot of fun writing this one, thanks in no small part to my editor at Insight, Holly Fisher, with whom I’ve worked on all of these to date and who’s been awesome from the jump. It’s always fun to delve into a bit of Star Trek lore and present it in a way younger readers might enjoy. There are already plans afoot for more of these book/model kits, and I’m obviusly hoping Insight will see fit to bring me back for more IncrediBuilds action.

In the meantime, the Star Trek: Klingon Bird-Of-Prey IncrediBuilds kit will be released on or about March 23, and you can pre-order your very own copy (or six) by clicking on this little linky-type thing right here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here putting one of these together. For the children, you understand.