1979: The human adventure – on the screen and on the page – really was just beginning.
For those of you new to this neck of the woods, you may or may not know I write – among other things – Star Trek novels. A bunch of ’em, in fact. Been doing it for a long time…long enough I’m beginning to feel a little self-conscious about how many years we’re talking.
(Narrator: “It’s something like 20. Damn. This dude is old.”)
Shut up, narrator.
Anyway, yes. I’ve been writing Star Trek novels for a long time but it’s compared to how long Star Trek novels have been getting published, I’m just getting warmed up. Indeed, Star Trek publishing has been active in one form or another since the days of the original series being in active production in the 1960s. Several publishing houses have added various tomes to the Final Frontier’s ever-expanding library, but one publisher in particular stands apart from the rest, as much for the longevity of their relationship with Star Trek as the width and breadth of the titles they’ve offered: Simon & Schuster.
Now, sure, I’m here to be a bit of a cheerleader for S&S, because after all I’ve had a lengthy and prosperous relationship with these folks. The house’s Pocket Books imprint, which for decades oversaw the publication of hundreds of Star Trek novels and other books, gave me my start. The Strange New Worlds writing contests were responsible for my first paid professional stories. The first novel I wrote for publication was a Star Trek novel, and Pocket was also the publisher of my first original science fiction novel, The Last World War. Those initial successes paved the way for numerous other opportunities, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to ride that wave ever since.
And all of it thanks to Simon & Schuster and a publishing program which began forty years ago.
Okay, so it began more than forty years ago…these things take time to get up and running, you know. However, the fruits of that labor started showing up in stores in the fall of 1979 as part of the leadup to the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. S&S had acquired a publishing license which would take over from rival Bantam Books, who to that point had been publishing their own Star Trek novels as well as adaptations of original series episodes. Though new original novels would not begin hitting shelves until 1981, owing to the remaining time on Bantam’s existing agreement, S&S was still able to kick things into gear by rolling out an ambitious publishing effort designed to capitalize on the new, big-budget Star Trek movie. While Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of the film’s script was arguably the highest-profile item on a slate featuring fifteen titles, there were quite a few really coooooool books released as part of this package.
Looking at you, Spaceflight Chronology.
So, as fans celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture this month, I thought it would be appropriate to also take a look at the beginnings of Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek publishing program. The results of my latest stroll down Memory Lane can be found in this new piece just published over at the official Star Trek website:
Launching as a tie-in to the film, S&S’s Star Trek publishing efforts continue to this day. Indeed, Dead Endless, the latest Star Trek: Discovery novel and written by Dave Galanter, will be published by S&S’s Gallery Books imprint on December 17th.
Shameless aside on our way out: Star Trek books make great gifts for that Trekkie on your holiday shopping list. Just sayin’.