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.

It’s coming from the multiplex…in September!

The 1980s is a decade you had to experience in order to fully appreciate.

MaxHeadroomSure, you can listen to the music or watch TV shows or movies of the era and get a sense of what it was like, but unless you lived it — with the crazy fashion (much of which I eschewed) weird generational politics as the Baby Boomers made their mark while we young, developing Gen-Xers tried to figure out how best to sneak our Walkmans into school or infiltrate the theater and the R-rated raunchy comedy flicks after purchasing tickets to Explorers or The Goonies or whatever — you’re simply missing some key context and flavor. Attempts at recreating that aesthetic and vibe are all over the place so far as their levels of success, and I admit I enjoy shows like Stranger Things or comics like Paper Girls as examples of how to it right. I mean, it’s hard to explain to somebody why you thought you wanted to be Don Johnson or Max Headroom when you grew up.

(Okay, Max Headroom may not be the best example. You know what? Screw it. I’m leaving him in there.)

Continue reading “It’s coming from the multiplex…in September!”

Talking all kinds of Trek with Trekpod!

Yep, you got it. I’m babbling again.

This time, I sit down with host Tony Robinson for a chat on Trekpod, a Star Trek-themed podcast which aims to interview writers, artists, and other creative sorts from all corners of the ever-expanding Star Trek universe.

For this installment, Tony and I discuss my “secret origin story” and how I came to be someone who writes Star Trek stories on a weirdly regular basis. We also talk about other writing projects with which I’ve been involved over the years, collaborating with the various writers in the Star Trek writing stable, and working as a consultant for CBS. There’s also some time spent chatting about my early days as a Star Trek fan, my military background and how it informs my writing, and even the time I spend volunteering at the National World War I Museum and Memorial here in Kansas City. The interview runs about 45 minutes, if you feel like sticking it in your ears:

Trekpod Episode 004: Dayton Ward

TrekPod-Dayton
Many thanks to Tony and the crew at Trekpod for having me on the show. I had a nice time chatting and look forward to doing it again sometime.

Neil Peart, 1952-2020.

It’s rare for me to want to write at length about the passing of a celebrity. I’ve really only done it a few times: in 2012 with the passing of Neil Armstrong, in 2015 when Leonard Nimoy left us, and it was just over a month ago that we said goodbye to the great Dorothy Fontana.

However, it came as a true gut punch earlier this afternoon when I learned Neil Peart, drummer and lyricist for Rush for more than 40 years, passed away earlier this week after battling brain cancer for the past three years. Given his reputation as a very private person who tended to eschew the trappings of fame, I can honestly say I wasn’t surprised to learn he’d seen fit not to share this struggle with anyone outside his very small circle of family and close friends.

Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity,
Dead at 67

– RollingStone.com

Continue reading “Neil Peart, 1952-2020.”

December writing wrap-up.

And just like that, 2019 is in the books. No more “Year of Blade Runner.” No more “Year of Akira.” We’re on to 2020, fellow cyberpunks!

:: Ahem ::

As with previous months, I’m happy to report that my consulting duties with CBS continue to occupy a sizable chunk of my time. December’s reviews of “things in gestation” included material from both Simon & Schuster and IDW Publishing, as well as a few things outside these realms which are currently being considered by the Star Trek Brand Development arm of CBS Global Franchise Management. Lots of neat stuff in the offing, y’all.

In and around all of that, I still managed to tend to a few writing-related chores. Here’s the December rundown:

Continue reading “December writing wrap-up.”

2019 in review: “My job is weird.”

Dayton-BeatYep. I think the headline says it all.

2019 was definitely a year of new and exciting things, on several fronts. There was much change here at Ward Manor, but in reality the more things changed the more they stayed the same. This is a good thing.

First, I’m happy to report that Clan Ward is doing well. Our daughters, now in 7th and 6th grades, continue to amaze me. They’re both excellent students, involved in extracurricular activities in and outside of school, and generally just awesome kids in every way worth measuring. I’d like to think my wife and I had something to do with that, but one can’t discount the value of the teachers from whom they’ve learned as well as the friends they’ve made along the way. We’re fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is rather close knit in many respects, and the friends we’ve made since moving here have been amazing. I don’t make new friends all that easily and for far too long I was pretty okay with that, so there are times when I’ve had to take a pause and reflect on just how big my social circle has grown in the past few years. That’s thanks in large part to meeting and hanging out with the parents of the kids our daughters call friends. Now we’re to a point where our family vacations with a few of these other families. If you’d told me even five years ago that would be a thing, I’d have given you severe side-eye.

Yet here we are, and I’m pretty damned cool with that.

Continue reading “2019 in review: “My job is weird.””

2020 convention calendar…so far.

With 2020 along with its slew of Barbara Walters jokes and vision quips looming ahead, I’ve started looking to the new year with respect to the work I hope to be doing and projects that excite me. Part of that is figuring out which conventions I’ll attend in my role as “Guy Who Writes Things.”

On that front, a couple of events are pretty much locked in as they are every year. First, there’s the Starfest Convention held annually in Denver. Kevin and I make a point never to miss this one, and 2020 will mark our 17th consecutive appearance as guests of the show. This year it’s set for the weekend of May 1-3, and of course Kevin and I are already keen to start that drive west.

Later in the year is Shore Leave, the other con I try to never miss. This year it’s the weekend of July 10-12, and unlike previous years there’s enough of a gap between this one and Comic-Con International and the big Star Trek con in Las Vegas convention that his work requirements for those shows aren’t as much a concern. At last report he’s hoping he can make the trip.

Closer to home, Planet Comicon is once again shaping up to be even bigger and better than previous years. It’s slotted for the weekend of March 20-22 and Kevin and I are already confirmed as guests, with table space in the exhibitor area and plans to participate in programming. As always, we’re totally down with supporting our hometown show!

Gearing up for its second annual con after a successful inaugural outing last year is ArtCon. Sponsored by the Neosho Arts Council, it’s set for Saturday, February 8th. Several creators from the region have been invited to attend, including Kevin and moi. Readers with sharp, long memories may think Neosho rings a bell, and that’s because a significant chunk of The Last World War takes place there. How ’bout them apples?

ArtCon2020 ArtCon-Kevin-Dayton

Meanwhile, Kevin’s work at Hallmark sees to it he attends several shows I likely won’t get to, such as the aforementioned Comic-Con and Vegas Trek con as well as New York Comic Con. It’s possible I may also attend a couple of these, and I’m considering a couple of shows that would be new to me this year. Details on this if and when things firm up.

As is always the case, you can keep tabs on our con schedule by visiting my Appearances page. Stay tuned for more updates!