Tuesday Trekkin’: Leaf’s 1967 Star Trek card set!

Welcome to this irregularly appearing latest installment of my irregular recurring blog feature, “Tuesday Trekkin’.” Basically, it’s a place for me to wax even more nostalgic than usual about some older, perhaps little known or even wholly unknown aspect of Star Trek, Trek fandom, Trek collecting, and whatever other Trek-related thought tickles my fancy. For this latest excursion down Memory Lane, we’re going back – waaaaaaaaaaaay back – all the way back to 1967, but first? A bit of set up.

When I was a kid in the 1970s and early 80s, I collected all sorts of trading cards. Baseball and football cards, for sure, but also a ton of “non-sports” cards. Star Wars had major representation in my house, of course, due in no small part to the three…four…six bazillion sets Topps produced just for the first film, followed by multiple sets for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Then there were all manner of sets for a variety of films and TV shows of my childhood: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Space: 1999, Planet of the Apes, Alien, The Six Million Dollar Man (actually a set of card-sized stickers) to name just a few, along with…naturally, Star Trek.

I don’t have much in the way of card sets, anymore. However, Topps in recent years has seen fit to release special books revisiting some of the more popular non-sports sets. The 1976 Star Trek set along with Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, for example. These have proven to be an inexpensive means of revisiting these fondly remembered cards from yesteryear, as finding original sets can be challenging…and pricey.

One set I never expected to see in the flesh is the very first collection of Star Trek trading cards. Produced by Leaf in 1967, they were apparently distributed in limited quantities and were of course long gone from store shelves by the I time was wandering around with loose change in my pockets. I’d seen a few individual cards, sold by dealers at cons over the years, and suffered sticker shock when I saw how much a complete 72-card set might cost me.

Leaf-967-Star-Trek-Wrapper
Wrapper for a pack of Leaf’s Star Trek trading cards. Groovy!

Like so much other Star Trek merchandise from the late 1960s and early 70s, this card set is fun and more than a little hokey. The card images are black and white, which by itself is rather retro and cool. Publicity photos — including a few which had to be taken before the show’s premiere — are mixed in with what look to be stills taken during filming of various episodes. Most if not all of the images are naturally from Star Trek‘s first season, including a good number from the pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

What kills me about this set are the captions on many of the cards. They only rarely have any connection to the image or the episode from which said image was taken, and a few have no link to any episode at all. For example:

I know, right?

Flash forward to the 2017 Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. I’m wandering the exhibitor hall and come across a dealer selling stacks of card sets. Sitting on the table was a set of the Leaf cards for a rock-bottom price. I was informed this was a reprint set, and that was good enough for me, as I just had to have it.

I’ve since learned Rittenhouse created a different reprint set back in 2006 for Star Trek‘s 40th anniversary, and even included a special subset of “new” cards to go with the originals. One of these days, I’ll have to see about hunting those down.

If you’re a Star Trek or card collector and don’t have these, I’d recommend tracking down a set. They’re like a wacky little time capsule from a period when the original series was still in production, and therefore hold a charm forever lost to card sets that came years later.

In the meantime, call me “Big Joker.” I have no idea why.

July writing wrap-up.

So, July was here for a minute.

It was a busy month on multiple fronts. We had the second half of our neigborhood swim league which consumed the first three Wednesday evenings (and one final Saturday for championships). There were also volleyball practices and matches, music lessons, and another family excursion. I’m also still doing my volunteer thing at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and now that we’re back from vacation I’m eyeing my August schedule with some anticipation, as there are some fun things happening this month.

Elsewhere, there were a couple of interviews and this year’s virtual edition of the annual Shore Leave convention. Here’s hoping we get to do that in person next summer.

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And of course there was the consulting and the writing. What happened in July?

Continue reading “July writing wrap-up.”

Talking Trek writing and other things with the Divine Treasury podcast!

So, hey! It’s been a minute since the last time I babbled incoherently on somebody’s podcast, and we all know I can’t go too long without falling into that particular sort of trap.

A couple of months ago, I sat down with Mike Bovia and Jamie Rogers, hosts of The Divine Treasury podcast, to talk about my lifelong affection for Star Trek and the collectibles I’ve acquired over the years. As I explained during that interview, my interests have always leaned toward the books (both fiction and non-fiction/references tomes), comics, and other forms of storytelling we’ve been given over the years. That might include computer games, roleplaying games, and so on.

As you might imagine, all of that certainly played a part in helping me along to where I am now, a writer of Star Trek stories of my own as well as someone who helps other Star Trek stories get from writers to readers.

Yeah, it’s quite a fun job, and all of that is what Mike and I talk about about on this follow-up installment of the podcast. We actually recorded this segment the same evening as the other interview, but it’s only now making its way to your ears through the wonder that is recorded media. Have a listen:

The Divine Treasury Podcast, Episode 18: “Paperback Writer, Part Deux”

Thanks again to Mike and Jamie for having me on the show!

Star Trek: Coda – Moments Asunder back cover description!

Was it really just yesterday that I finally was able to share the cover for Moments Asunder, the first book the epic Star Trek: Coda trilogy, on which I’ve been working with friends and fellow word pushers James Swallow and David Mack for pretty much two years, now?

Why, yes. Yes, indeed, it really was just yesterday, but for those who don’t feel like clicking the link up there, here’s the cover again because why not?

(Click to Biggie Size.)

For today, however, I now can add other treats, like this tasty morsel of back cover description:

STARFLEET’S FINEST
FACES A CHALLENGE UNLIKE ANY OTHER

TOMORROW IS DOOMED
Time is coming apart. Countless alternate and parallel realities are
under attack, weakening and collapsing from relentless onslaught. If left
unchecked, the universe faces an unstoppable descent toward entropy.

WANDERER, ORACLE, ALLY
Scarred and broken after decades spent tracking this escalating
temporal disaster while battling the nameless enemy responsible for it,
an old friend seeks assistance from Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew
of the Starship Enterprise. The apocalypse may originate from their
future, but might the cause lie in their past?

EVERYTHING THAT WILL BE
Identifying their adversary is but the first step toward defeating them, but
early triumphs come with dreadful costs. What will the price be to achieve
final victory, and how will that success be measured in futures as yet undefined?

MOMENTS ASUNDER

The book is due in stores on September 28th and is available for pre-order from all of the usual haunts in trade paperback and eBook editions, as well as a digital audiobook download version. Star Trek: Coda continues on October 26th with James Swallow’s Book II: The Ashes of Tomorrow, and the senses-shattering conclusion arrives on November 30th with David Mack’s Book III: Oblivion’s Gate.

Come, join in our reindeer games.

Star Trek: Coda – Moments Asunder cover!

Awwwwwwwwww Yissssssssss.

At long last, we have the cover for Moments Asunder, the first book of the forthcoming Star Trek: Coda trilogy on which I’ve been collaborating with friends and fellow wordsmiths James Swallow and David Mack. It’s been a long road these past two years – getting from there to here, as the song goes – but we’re finally nearing the end of our writing journey and preparing to unleash this epic and dare I say unprecedented adventure not just for Star Trek but indeed media tie-in writing in general.

It’s one thing to be granted such wide latitude for Star Trek novels and comics to go boldly in all sorts of directions over lo these many years while there was little to no “new” Star Trek appearing on television or movie screens. But it’s something else entirely for those same publishing ventures, once Star Trek “woke up” and started producing new TV episodes (and, if rumors are true, more movies) to be given the chance to “re-align” themselves in what we consider rather grand fashion to better conform with those new stories in this ever-expanding universe. On behalf of Jim and Dave, I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to our editors at Gallery Books and the good folks at ViacomCBS Consumer Products for affording us this rather unique opportunity.

(Here’s hoping we don’t screw it up.)

Okay, enough of that, because I know you’re here to see the cover, a creation of acclaimed and award-winning science fiction artist Stefan Martiniere. Check this out:

Cover for Star Trek: Coda Book I
Moments Asunder
(Click to Biggie Size)

As some folks have asked and others have suspected, this image is designed to work in concert with what will grace the covers for Books II and III, forming a triptych that’s gonna melt your brain. So, you’ve got that going for you…which is nice.

Moments Asunder is due in stores on September 28th and is available for pre-order from all of the usual haunts in trade paperback and eBook editions, as well as a digital audio download version which as of this writing I’m fairly certain will be read by frequent Star Trek audiobook narrator and all-around cool guy Robert Petkoff.

And in case this bit of trivia has somehow escaped you to this point, Star Trek: Coda continues on October 26th with James Swallow’s Book II: The Ashes of Tomorrow, and the senses-shattering conclusion arrives on November 30th with David Mack’s Book III: Oblivion’s Gate.

As always and if you are at all able to do so, I hope you’ll consider purchasing your copies through your favorite independent bookseller. You can find one close to you by utilizing the “Indie Bookstore Finder” feature of IndieBound.com. This includes features for supporting your favorite indie bookseller even if you opt to buy eBook or digital audiobook editions of new titles.

Welp. There you have it. All that’s left to do at this point is wait for September 28th, and awaaaaaaaaaaay we go!

Shore Leave 41.6 panels via the Tube of You!

For those of you unable to join us during this past weekend’s Shore Leave 41.6 Convention, you probably know the whole thing was conducted virtually. One of the upsides of this online undertaking is that all of the panels were recorded, which makes them available for future viewing long after the con itself is over and we each meander back to our regular lives.

The fine folks involved with supporting the con this past weekend have done a whole truckload of extra good deeds by uploading videos from the various panels to the Shore Leave YouTube page. That’s right, folks! Come see what all we talked about. And there’s also bonus content with each video in the form of awkward pauses, scratched noses, extreme closeups of beverage consumption, wandering eyes as attentions are distracted by other screens, phones, pets, or family members moseying past cameras, and whatever else happens when you do these things live and leave everything to chance.

And although I suspect at least some of the various panelists participated in their respective discussions while not wearing pants, I was not one of them. Or, was I?

Speaking of my panels, here are links to each of the four discussions in which I took part:

“The New Age of Star Trek – Moderated by Keith R.A. DeCandido, and featuring fellow authors Derek Tyler Attico, Kirsten Beyer, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and David Mack.

“40+ Years Later: Is Star Trek: The Motion Picture Better Than We Recall?” – Moderated by Howard Weinstein, and featuring Derek Tyler Attico, T.A. Chafin, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack.

Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game Update” – Moderated by Jim Johnson, and featuring fellow STA contributors Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher L. Bennett, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Scott Pearson.

“What’s New In Star Trek Literature” – Moderated by Scott Pearson, and featuring Christopher L. Bennett, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, John Jackson Miller, and James Swallow.

And of course there are so many other awesome panels featuring these amazing friends of mine along with so many other wonderful people I wish I’d gotten to see at some point over the weekend. Be sure to check out the Shore Leave YouTube page for all of those.

I can’t say it enough, but I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to Aaron Rosenberg, who helped wrangle me and other writer guests into little herds for our panels, Inge Heyer for doing her usual bout of heavy lifting to make sure we all got where we needed to be, and to the rest of the Shore Leave technical support team and other volunteers for all of their tremendous hard work over the weekend.

Here’s hoping we all get to gather next July in Hunt Valley and make up for all of this lost time!

My Shore Leave 41.6 schedule!

“41.6?” I can hear someone calling out from the nosebleed seats. “What the heck is that about?”

So, it’s like this. The annual Shore Leave convention has been navigating some tricky obstacles over the past…what? Fifteen or sixteen months? At least? The 2020 show was supposed to have been Shore Leave 42 but when it morphed into a virtual event thanks to COVID restrictions on mass gatherings, the online edition of the con was dubbed “Shore Leave 41.5,” with the expectation that this year’s show would be given the official “42” designation, and we could celebrate Life, the Universe, and Everything as originally intended.

With COVID restrictions and guidelines lingering far enough into 2021, a decision had to be made at some point a few months back, and with the information available to them at the time the valiant members of the con’s committee made the hard decision to keep things within the virtual realm again this year. Hence, “Shore Leave 41.6,” and we all hope we can be back together in the real world for 2022’s show, where we really can celebrate, Life, the Universe, Everything, and everything else we’re not getting to do this year.

And so it goes.

Anyway, a pretty stuffed schedule has been put together to fill out the con’s two days of programming for this coming Saturday and Sunday (July 10th and 11th), and I glance at the doc sent my way tells me I’ll be on four discussion panels – three on Saturday and one on Sunday. These and all of the other panels will be available for viewing via Zoom, Discord, or other “webinar” platforms, with links and such to be provided as we get closer to the con. I’d suggest bookmarking the Shore Leave Programming Page so you don’t have to keep hunting for such things, as that’s where you’ll find all the juicy deets.

Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of the mischief and shenanigans for which I’ve enlisted this weekend:

(All Times Eastern)
Saturday, July 10th

“The New Age of Star Trek” – 11am-12pm: Join the authors as they discuss the new age of Star Trek we’re living in, and talk about Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, Strange New Worlds, and Prodigy, and how these new series connect to the legacy series and carry the torch for new generations of fans. Moderated by Keith R.A. DeCandido, and I’ll be joining fellow authors Derek Tyler Attico, Kirsten Beyer, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and David Mack.

“40+ Years Later: Is Star Trek: The Motion Picture Better Than We Recall?” – 5pm-6pm: The Motion Picture: Better than we recall, or worse? The answer is “Yes,” but sure; let’s talk about it for an hour. Moderated by Howard Weinstein, and I’m hanging with fellow guests Derek Tyler Attico, T.A. Chafin, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack.

Star Trek Adventures Roleplaying Game Update” – 7pm-8pm: Modiphius Entertainment’s Star Trek Adventures RPG heads into its fifth year. Check in for the latest news on current and upcoming releases and Q&A with the STA project manager and several STA writers. Moderated by Jim Johnson, and I’m joining fellow STA contributors Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher L. Bennett, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Scott Pearson.

(All Times Eastern)
Sunday, July 11th

“What’s New In Star Trek Literature” – 3pm-4pm: Authors of current and upcoming Star Trek titles discuss their work. This is where we’ll chat about the various novels and other publications coming out over the next several months, and also discuss what was published since last year’s show. Moderated by Scott Pearson, I’ll be there along with Christopher L. Bennett, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, John Jackson Miller, and James Swallow.

One programming note for this Sunday panel: I’m also doing my volunteer thing at the National World War I Museum and Memorial that morning, so I’ll be racing home to get back in time for the panel. Worry not, though: the team sitting in for this one can more than cover for my silly ass if I happen to be running a few minutes late.

And there we go! Many, many thanks to the good folks at Shore Leave – in particular, Inge Heyer and Aaron Rosenberg – for navigating the thankless task of organizing the programming and making sure the rest of us make it to our appointed places at the proper time. If any of us show up without pants or whatever, you can rest assured that won’t be Inge or Aaron’s fault.

(Okay, we might still blame Aaron, but not Inge. Never Inge.)

I hope to “see” a bunch of your smiling faces sometime during the coming weekend, and I’m very much looking forward to an in-person con next summer!

June writing wrap-up.

BOOM! 2021, halfway done.

Not really sure where all the time’s going, but at least things have been busy and fun the past month or so. The kids are out of school and deep into summer vacation mode. Swim meets, volleyball camps, music and art stuff, and so on. We took our first family vacation in over a year back in May, and later this month we’re heading out again. Somewhere in and around all of that, there’s work, the odd interview, and even a (virtual) convention. Shore Leave 41.5 will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 10th and 11th, and I’ll be participating in a handful of discussion panels over the course of both days. Stay tuned for official schedules and stuff as all of that is finalized.

Oh, and the writing. There was a bit of that going on in June, too.

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Continue reading “June writing wrap-up.”

2021 Scribe Awards announced!

Last evening, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (IAMTW), in the form of the organization’s president, the inimitable Jonathan Maberry hosting via video conference, announced this year’s crop of Scribe Award winners. These awards celebrate excellence in the field of writing licensed works that tie into other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in these other formats, and which include every genre from mainstream police procedurals to science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance just to name a few of the heavier hitters.

The list of nominees and winners includes several people I’m proud to call friends and colleagues, so without further ado:

(Winner in each category boldly listed!)

Audio Drama
Doctor Who: The Enemy of My Enemy by Tracey Ann Baines
Doctor Who: Out of Time by Matt Fitton (tie)
Torchwood: Tropical Beach Sounds and Other Relaxing Seascapes #4 by Tim Foley (tie)
Torchwood: Save Our Souls by Scott Handcock
Doctor Who: He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Carrie Thompson

General and Adapted Novel
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker  by Rae Carson
Masquerade for Murder by Max Allan Collins
Mindgame by David J. Howe
Watch Dogs Legion: Day Zero by James Swallow & Josh Reynolds

Graphic Novel
Blade Runner 2019 by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Doctor Who: Two Doctors by Jody Houser
Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1 – Dark Heart of the Sith by Greg Pak
Horizon Zero Dawn by Ann Tool
Life is Strange by Emma Vieceli

Original Novel – Speculative
Marvel’s TheAvengers: The Extinction Key by Greg Keyes
Firefly: The Ghost Machine by James Lovegrove
Star Trek (Kelvin Timeline): More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack
Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing  by John Jackson Miller
Star Trek: The Original Series – Agents of Influence by Dayton Ward

Short Story
Overwatch: “Stone by Stone” by Christie Golden (tie)
Warhammer 40,000: “A View from Olympus” by Gareth Hanrahan
KeyForge: “Useful Parasites” by M. K. Hutchins (tie)
KeyForge: “Extermination Examination” by Robbie MacNiven 
Wraith: The Oblivion: “Scritch, Scratch” by Monica Valentinelli

Young Adult/Middle Grade
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel by Sheela Chari
Minecraft Dungeons: The Rise of the Archer-Illager by Matt Forbeck
Marvel’s Xavier Institute: Liberty and Justice for All by Carrie Harris
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Michael Kogge
Clue: In the Study With the Wrench by Diana Peterfreund

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!

Also, Max Allan Collins was named as this year’s winner of the IAMTW’s Faust Award, adding him to the roster of impressive writers elevated to “Grandmaster” status within our little corner of the writing realm. Max along with fellow writer Lee Goldberg founded the IAMTW out of a desire to elevate the visibility of this often misunderstood genre of publishing, and he exemplies everything it means to be a contributor to this genre not just as a writer and editor but also a mentor to other writers of every stripe.

And finally, Jonathan presented Deborah Stevenson with the first-ever IAMTW Service Award. For whatever the heck my opinion’s worth, I can think of no individual more deserving of such recognition. Her contributions to the IAMTW cannot be overstated, and she’s just an awesome lady, to boot. Congrats, Deb!

It was an honor to be nominated again this year, and to stand next to friends and colleagues in what is an extremely competitive category year after year. It drives me to work ever harder, and for that I can never sufficiently thank my comrades for continuing to provide that inspiration.

Happy 122nd Birthday, Indiana Jones!

Today marks the birth date of Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., famed archaeologist and obtainer of rare antiquities, renowned professor, traveled adventurer, and all around nice guy.

If ever you need an historical artifact or object of the occult located and liberated from uptight French rivals, scheming Nazis or commie graverobbers, he’s your man.

If you’re starving in some backwater village and worried about some ancient voodoo rocks rather than finding a decent sandwich shop, this is the dude you call.

If you’ve got alien bodies that need studying before they’re whisked away to secret military warehouses, he’s good at that, too.

If you want someone to show you the folly of bringing a sword to a gunfight, he’s got it covered.

Indiana Jones: July 1, 1899 – ???

Smart, tough, resourceful, and ruggedly handsome. There are so few of us.

Were he still alive today, he’d be 122 years old.

On the other hand, he did drink from the Holy FREAKIN’ Grail. Maybe he really is still out there, crackin’ his whip and chasin’ after fortune and glory. Hmmmmmmm?

IndianaJones-1992
Indiana Jones, circa 1992

You just never know about these things. So, just in case…Happy 122nd Birthday, Dr. Jones!