After the century that was March, here we are at April.
April 1st, to be exact.
I wish I could proclaim “April Fools!” and the first quarter of 2020 has been nothing more than some sick joke perpetrated by that one asshole in your office, but alas…it just ain’t so. It’s all real, and we’re still stuck with it.
I hope as you read this you and your friends and loved ones are taking care of yourselves and weathering the situation as best as you’re able. If you or someone you know is what we now call “essential personnel” during these trying times, I wish them well and that they remain healthy and safe.
We here at Ward Manor are fine. The kids are doing virtual learning for school, and my daily work routine hasn’t changed much at all. The big difference is, of course, on what you can and can’t do outside the home, and the varying degrees of challenges one encounters when shopping for household needs. We’re doing our best to remain in place as much as possible, venturing into the world for groceries and takeout from various local eateries we’re doing our best to support. The weather’s warm enough I can at least work in the yard, take walks, and so on.
As for “April Fools Day,” my big reason for abstaining this time around is that I simply wasn’t able to come up with something that fit the criteria I try to follow when conjuring such things. I don’t tend to go for pranks that are mean or hurtful, or target people or try to humiliate them in some way. I just like goofy things that elicit a chuckle or the occasional belly laugh if I can manage it. The gag products the team at ThinkGeek used to concoct are prime examples of the sort of April 1st shenanigans I prefer.
For example, there was that one time a bunch of us Star Trek novel writers each sent our editor a pitch for an erotic Star Trek story. Everything from Harlequin romance-level stuff to Hustler reader letters.
One year, I decided to write my first-ever review for a Star Trek fan film.
And, of course, who could forget the time Kevin and I decided we were going to write a Star Trek rock-n-roll musical.
One year, Kevin and I broke up. Yes, I wrote this piece and convinced StarTrek.com to run it. Don’t worry, though; we got back together.
My favorite gags usually involve coming up with nutso book ideas. If we’re being honest, there’s a lot of inherent humor to be found within Star Trek. Long time fans know it has its own set of tropes, good and bad, which can be mined for laughs. The key for me is remembering to laugh with these things, not at them.
I went a bit overboard one year, when I pitched “The Quotable Captain Pike.” When I came up with the idea (which I revised with a snappy new cover last year…eyes left), our view of the good captain was dominated by how he was portrayed in the original series episode “The Menagerie.” Since then we’ve had Anson Mount’s top-shelf portrayal of Pike before the character’s tragic fate befalls him.
Other cover ideas were far more simple and cheesy. Last year, along with the Pike cover I also threw out one for Return to Horatius, my proposed sequel to the very first Star Trek novel ever written and which was published way back in 1968. That was just something I did on the spur of the moment and it shows, but it was enough to get a few giggles from my friends on Facebook, which is all I really wanted.
My favorite of these, though, was the one I could not have done without the artistic awesomeness of my friend Aaron Harvey, who created what ended up being one of my absolute favorite covers for anything I’ve ever done, real or imagined, when I decided what the world needed was a novel-length story to bring to life one of the craziest Star Trek toys of the 1970s, Mego’s Mission to Gamma VI playset.
Of course, then there are the occasions when what probably should be nothing more than a quickly forgotten April Fools joke gets a little traction and before you know it there’s an actual book.
Sorry, y’all. I couldn’t help it. I’ll try to do better in the future. Nah, not really. On the other hand, it only came out a month ago, so maybe we just count Kirk Fu as my contribution to this year’s April Foolery, and call it a day.
Yeah. That sounds good.
2 thoughts on “No April Fools gag this year.”
My best April Fool’s joke was in ’03, when I sent my boss an email convincing him (maybe a little too well!) I was about to quit my job at Caterpillar, move from Illinois to LA, and join the writing staff of Enterprise. As the story went, I’d been to LA for a wedding in November 2001 (true) where I’d met a producer for the show (false), and after the trip sent them a spec script (also false), thus leading to a job offer (definitely false). Quite concerned, he called me into his office to dissuade me, urging me to consider the impact on my wife and our daughters. He missed the lines in the email stating that they’d wanted me to start as early as April 1 and that I’d be a FOOL not to pursue my dream. 🖖
I could only hold on to the charade a few minutes before I started laughing. Sadly, I no longer have a copy of the email, but he and I laughed about it at my 30th-anniversary party before I retired. Good times!
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I dug through my collection looking for this Horatius novel of which you speak (which I didn’t know about) and couldn’t find it. Then I figured out it is the Whitman edition of Mission to Horatius (or the Pocket facsimile). Now I’m on the hunt….
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