Back in 2004, Pocket Books launched a rather ambitious “mini-series” focusing on Captain Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise-E and designed to fill in some of the time gap between the last two Next Generation feature films, 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection and 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.
Conceived by then-editor John Ordover, the original plan was for twelve books, released one per month for the entire year, and lending detail and context to several of the notable changes we see in the status quo that are evident at the start of the latter film. For example: Worf, who at the end of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television series, had taken up the duties as Klingon ambassador to the Federation, was now inexplicably back in a Starfleet uniform and with Picard and the gang. Commander Riker was about to be promoted to captain before assuming command of the U.S.S. Titan, which would be bound for a new region of unexplored space. He also was getting married to Counselor Deanna Troi, with whom he had rekindled a romantic relationship as a result of the events of Insurrection. Beverly Crusher was bound for Starfleet Medical (again)…or was she? And why the hell was Wesley Crusher there (in a deleted scene), in a Starfleet uniform when he was last seen as having evolved into a cosmos-hopping “Traveller?”
These and other questions and changes were worth exploring, right? John certainly thought so, and the result of that idea hatching was a little something he decided to call Star Trek: A Time to…
What began as an idea encompassing twelve novels eventually was whittled down to nine. After a couple of authors from the original roster had to bow out, John contacted me and my writing partner, Kevin Dilmore, and asked if we were interested in participating. At that point in time, I’d only published three Star Trek short stories (in the first three Strange New Worlds anthologies), two Star Trek: Corps of Engineers novellas (co-writing with Kevin), and one full-length Star Trek novel. For us, getting invited to partake of this high-profile project was the Star Trek writing equivalent of being called up from the minors to play Major League Baseball. The A Time to… series marked our “promotion” to the starting lineup in Pocket’s Star Trek writing stable, which is where we’ve been ever since.
(He says, knocking on any and all wood within reach.)
Now, after more than a decade, Unreality SF columnists Jens Deffner and Daniel Tostevin have decided to take a long, hard look at the mini-series and its eventual, lasting impact on Pocket’s entire Star Trek fiction line. We didn’t know that was going to happen at the time, of course…it just sort of snuck up and surprised most if not all of us. Here we are, all these years later, and the continuity that “began” with these and other novels published during that same period is still expanding, almost with each new book. It’s been a hell of a ride to this point, I must say.
So, wanna see what all the fuss was about? Check out this three-part retrospective penned by Jens and Daniel, over at Unreality SF:
Many thanks to Jens and Daniel for putting this together. It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to really talk about these particular books, and what it ended up meaning for my writing career. Besides, it gives me another reason to drag these gag cover mockups out of mothballs…..