I went and Trekked myself YET AGAIN.

Because it’s been a minute since the last time I babbled incoherently into a microphone and someone recorded it, I sat down a couple of weeks ago with Darrell Taylor and J.K. Woodward, hosts of the Go Trek Yourself podcast. I’ve been a guest on their show a couple of times already, and it’s always fun to catch up with Darrell and J.K. as our conversations bounce from topic to topic.

Such was this case this time. Things started off well enough, with the guys asking me about my “secret origin story” and how being a childhood Star Trek fan eventually put me on the path to being someone who gets to write Star Trek novels and other fun stuff for something resembling a living. We also spent some time talking about my most recent Star Trek novel, Agents of Influence (available at fine brick-n-mortar and online booksellers everywhere, you know), as well as a little bit of teasing about Star Trek: Coda, the trilogy on which I’m working with friends and fellow word pushers James Swallow and David Mack. Our discussion focused on how the project came about as an outgrowth of the “Star Trek novel continuity” that’s been a real thing for the last 15-20 years. Don’t worry, though! No spoilers lay within. Additionally, I’m a big fan of J.K.’s comic work including his numerous contributions to Star Trek via IDW Publishing, so of course we have to chat a little about that. It’s easy to get lost in these sorts of discussions when there’s a great shared affection for this thing from which we’ve derived such immense enjoyment and which has been responsible for so much of our individual successes.

And if that’s not enough? We even manage to talk about sports a little. Because of course we did.

So, if that sounds like something you’d want to stick in your ears for an hour or so, just go right ahead and click on the handy link I’ve provided:

Go Trek Yourself Episode 91: Dayton Ward and the Agents of Influence

Many thanks to Darrell and J.K. for having me on yet again to shoot the breeze and have some fun talking about our shared nerd love. I’m sure we’ll find a reason (excuse?) to do it again sometime down the road!

Talking Kirk Fu and whatnot with the Funny Science Fiction podcast!

Because I know what you’re thinking: “Wait. How can anybody talk funny about Starfleet’s most feared martial art? Isn’t that blasphemous or illegal or something?”

Turns out, it’s neither.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I sat down with Drayton, Deb, Josh, and Tim, AKA the hosts of the Funny Science Fiction Podcast. That’s right. There were four of them, trying to gang up on me. Good thing I was able to whip out some signature Kirk Fu moves like Rolling Thunder and the Jimmy Wall Banger in order to make my escape.

Okay, not really. Instead, we just ended up chatting for a bit because that’s what geeks do.

The thrust of the interview/fireside chat/plotting global takeovers was Star Trek: Kirk Fu, the odd little tome I wrote and which was illustrated by artist Christian Cornia and published by Insight Editions back in March. Indeed, the book started hitting bookstore shelves riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight about the time everybody was holing up to comply with stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 protocols that came down what seems like 300 years ago, now. We talked about how the book came to be and how I pitched it to my editor while I was in the midst of working on a different project and figuring this new idea had no real legs. Once my editor called my bluff, I described the process of figuring out exactly how to explain Captain Kirk’s admittedly quirky fighting style, and how to diagram that in a manner one might see in hand-to-hand combat manuals like you’d find in the military. As I’ve discussed before, I’d always intended for the text to play the joke completely straight while allowing the illustrations to sell the fun and even absurdity of the premise. I think it came out great, and pretty much everyone I’ve come across who’s read it or written about it seems to feel the same way, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Along with talking about the book, the topics opened up to include how I approach writing Star Trek stories, what would I do if gifted with one of Star Trek‘s holodecks, being a Rush fan, what “ups and downs” I’ve faced during my writing career, and they even subject me to a little trivia gauntlet. How did I do? You’ll have to listen to the interview to find out.

“But wait, Dayton,” I can hear someone saying. “How does one do such a thing?”

ANSWER: You can hear the entire interview by clicking on this linky-type thing highlighted right here:

Funny Science Fiction Podcast Episode 7: Trekking the Stars with Dayton Ward

Something else we did: I donated a signed copy of Kirk Fu along with a signed promo poster for the book to be put up for auction on eBay, with 100% of the proceeds going to Wish Upon A Teen. The auction is set to end the afternoon of Friday, November 26th, so if this sounds like something you want to get in on, follow this link!

Click me to see the auction!

Many thanks to Drayton, Deb, Josh, and Tim for having me on their show. Maybe we can do it again sometime down the road!

Talking Agents of Influence with the Captain’s Table podcast!

:: checks watch ::

So, hey! It’s been a minute since my last interview. Indeed, it’s been a bit since I last talked to someone about my most recent Star Trek novel, Agents of Influence, and I’ve rather enjoyed chatting up this one, so why not do it again?

Enter the Captain’s Table podcast.

It’s been an even longer, more stretched-out and interminable minute since I last spoke with show hosts and friends Michael Clark and Roslyn Scholarios, so this was definitely part interview and part catching up.

Sure, we spend a fair amount of time talking about the new book, but we also cover a lot of ground relating to adjacent subjects like the state of Star Trek with all these new shows coming at us. Part of the conversation focuses on what it’s like to write characters introduced more than 50 years ago with a modern sensibility while staying true to their original portrayals. We also talk a bit about my consulting duties for CBS, which tend to evolve pretty much with the changes in wind direction. No two days are the same, that’s for sure…but I ain’t complainin’.

It’s Star Trek, yo. Life is good.

Spoilers about Agents of Influence abound during the interview, so if you’ve not yet read the book but are planning to do so, proceed with caution. Otherwise? Head on over to the Captain’s Table and give the new interview a listen:

The Captain’s Table: Dayton Ward and Agents of Influence

Many thanks to Michael and Roslyn for having me on the show! We’ve already talked about return visits somewhere down the road. I guess we’ll see what we see. 🙂

Talking Star Trek V with the Trek Geeks!

TrekGeeksLogoBecause sure, two interviews posted in as many days isn’t annoying. At all.

To be fair, this really isn’t an interview so much as it is three fans sitting around, yakking about Star Trek. In this instance, it’s me joining Trek Geeks hosts Bill Smith and Dan Davidson to talk about – and even to defend to a certain degree – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

“Wait….what?” I can hear some overeager Star Trek fan starting to utter. I can hear the frothing and even the drawing of lines in the sand as they stand ready to die on the hill that is proclaiming this film as the worst Star Trek movie EVER. To those folks, I say, “Yo, simmer down a minute.”

StarTrekVposterTo be fair, Star Trek V holds a not undeserved reputation as being very flawed, and there are those who most definitely consider it the worst of the Star Trek feature films. I tend to dismiss such easy, kneejerk criticisms the same way I give sideeye whenever somebody bellows, “‘Spock’s Brain‘ is the worst episode of Star Trek!” It’s low-hanging fruit. It’s the one non-fans and casual passersby can point to because it has that rep and let’s them get in on the action. Meanwhile, those of us over here in the fan circle know things like “And the Children Shall Lead” and “Code of Honor” exist and they suck the sort of donkey balls “Spock’s Brain” couldn’t find with two hands, a flashlight, and Siri guiding them in from the interstate.

TrekV-cupWith all of that said, I’m actually not here to tell the Star Trek V haters they’re wrong. First, I really don’t care that much, and second……there is no second. I simply don’t care. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like, we all shake hands (or bump elbows in the world of COVID-19…or offer matching Vulcan salutes) and move on with our lives. In the case of Star Trek V, I acknowledge its flaws but at the same time I’m not one to dwell on discussions about things I hate. With that in mind, what I came to do with Bill and Dan is talk about what there is to like about this flick.

Why? Because you’re not hard core unless you live hard core, which is why I still have that Star Trek V tumbler pictured above. Go big or go home, amirite?

Turns out, there’s plenty to like about this movie while still agreeing it’s got its share of problems. Yes, the special effects are a marked step down from previous installments. Bill, Dan, and I came down on similar spots with respect to how the story treats the characters of Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov. While they were “merely” supporting characters portrayed by contract day players during the time of the original Star Trek series, with the feature films they were elevated in stature at least to a degree and deserved more time in front of the camera.

To be fair, each of the films struggles with this problem but it’s very obvious here, coming as it does after the events in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home where everyone gets their moment to shine a bit. Here, the focus is more on “the Big 3” of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and while there are certain scenes that might make a fan wince, I will say without hesitation this film contains some of my very favorite moments between these three characters.

On the visual side of things, Industrial Light & Magic’s absence is keenly felt throughout the film. However, director William Shatner Shatner does some pretty slick things with the camera in this film, particularly during tha action sequences on Nimbus III that bring a sense of freshness to what we saw in the previous films. The ending is hampered by budget issues and perhaps Shatner’s being a bit too ambitious and failing to account for all the difficulties that hampered him realizing his big climax the way it was originally envisioned. That said, I’m never gonna fault a guy for swinging for the fences.

Another aspect of the film I will absolutely defend is Jerry Goldsmith’s score. The music he wrote for Star Trek V revisits some motifs which had become familar by the time this movie was released. The main theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture – later modified for use as the title theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation – gets a few new bells and whistles, and cements what will become a staple of Goldsmith’s future Star Trek film scores: wrapping this signature theme around music unique to each movie for its respective end titles sequence. He would do this three more times – Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection, and Star Trek: Nemesis – but the end title theme for Star Trek V is my favorite variation on this particular theme. Another fan-favorite cue is the “Klingon theme,” which Goldsmith also created for The Motion Picture and gets its own new take here, as well. The new material he wrote for this outing is some of my favorite Star Trek music, across the board.

We get into all of this and so much more during a chat that runs something like 98 minutes in length, but it goes pretty fast as the three of us found ourselves getting caught up in the spirit of things. No, our “fresh assessment” isn’t going to make Star Trek V: The Final Frontier a better film and maybe it won’t change anyone’s rankings when they list their favorite (and not so favorite) Star Trek films, but if we can convince even one person to appraise the movie and find something to like they may have dismissed the first (or tenth) time around, then it was worth the effort. Even if we don’t get that kind of response, I still had fun. Check out the results of our nerdfest right here:

Trek Geeks Episode #225 – The Final Frontier

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Many thanks to Bill and Dan for having me back on the show. As always, I had a blast hanging with them and I’m sure I’ll find a reason to wander back over to their sandbox somewhere down the road.

Kevin and me…talking Trek with the Positively Trek podcast!

PositivelyTrek-logoAnother interview? Really?

Yes, really, but take heart, reluctant listeners! This time it’s not just me and my signature style of babbling and yammering. Nope! For this latest outing I’m accompanied by my best bud, hetero lifemate, and occasional co-writer Kevin Dilmore as we sit down for a virtual confab with Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther of the Positively Trek podcast!

If the names Bruce and Dan sound familiar, it’s because I’ve been a frequent guest of theirs on another podcast, Literary Treks, where they usually have me on to discuss my latest Star Trek book. Positively Trek casts a wider net, where the world of books and comics is just one aspect of various Star Trek-related conversations. For this discussion we move away from such things and instead talk about topics of interest to a larger segment of Star Trek fandom. The format is also easier so far as finding excuses to partner up with Kevin so we can have some fun. Either one of us are fully capable of filling whatever pocket of time a podcaster wants to allocate, but both of us together? Buckle up, y’all.

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The conversation starts with reactions to the recently released trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Lower Decks animated series before we move to a larger discussion about “Star Trek canon.” Does this new show fit with and honor the existing canon? Is it just a jokefest, or is there a Star Trek heart beating beneath this thing’s skin?

Anybody who follows me on social media or who’s engaged me on this topic at cons or elsewhere knows I loathe “canon arguments.” I’m not interested in debates about whether this or that is or isn’t “canon,” particularly when the word is so often incorrectly used when the person really means “continuity.” This stuff is supposed to be fun, and those who insist on sucking the fun out of everything in service of lording over other people their perceived superior knowledge of a fictional universe tend to annoy the shit out of me. I’m as hardcore a Star Trek fan as any you’re going to find, but I don’t hesitate to tell or share Star Trek jokes – especially on social media where my shenanigans occasionally draw fire from “purists.” I can absolutely laugh along when Star Trek embraces a bit of whimsy or even absurdity. Meanwhile, I actually got hate mail for this, which only makes me laugh harder. I mean, come on, people. Lighten up a little, eh?

After a fun, multi-threaded conversation about the whole “Star Trek canon” thing, Kevin takes the wheel and discusses the latest round of awesome new Star Trek Storytellers” ornaments from Hallmark. Seven figure ornaments – one each for Captain Kirk and his command crew – along with a gorgeous U.S.S. Enterprise tree-topper to tie it all together – bring you a condensed version of the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror Mirror” using dialogue, sound effects, and music direct from the show. Kevin brought be the Enterprise and the first two character ornaments – Kirk and Sulu – and we goofed with it long enough to put each individual ornament through its paces along with tying them together. The Uhura ornament is coming in October and the remaining characters will come out in 2021 and 2022. This set is AMAZEBALLS, y’all.

Wait…do people still use “amazeballs” to describe things? Screw it! I’m bringing it back.

Anyway, the edited and family-suitable version of our converation is ready and waiting to fill your ears. You can find it here:

Positively Trek #22: Is It Canon?

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Thanks very very much to Bruce and Dan for hosting such a lively discussion, and to my bud Kevin for coming out to crank up the fun to 11. Maybe we can do it again sometime soon!

Talking about Agents of Influence with Literary Treks!

LiteraryTreks-LogoA new book means new interviews!

They vary in number from book to book, but one show you can pretty much always count on to reach out about an interview is Trek.fm’s Literary Treks podcast. I mean, talking about Star Trek books is baked right there into the name!

Those rascals, Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther, always manage to nab me for an hour or so in order to talk about my newest Star Trek publication. This time, our chat revolved around Agents of Influence, my Star Trek original series novel which was released back on June 9th.

To be honest, I always feel like I’m fumbling through these discussions because by the time I’m talking with people who are reading the book, it’s been at least several months since the last time I revisited the story, and there usually have been any number of things I’ve written or are in the midst of writing by the I start doing interviews for a newly published book. However, Bruce and Dan did a fine job hitting me with good questions and observations which made for a fun, thoughtful conversation. I some ways, chats like this allow me to enjoy a story I wrote all over again.

For those pondering having a listen but who haven’t yet read the book, please be aware that SPOILERS ABOUND IN THIS INTERVIEW. You’ve been warned.

Otherwise? Head on over to Literary Treks and stick this in your ears:

Literary Treks Podcast #306 – There’s Shag Carpet On This Ship Somewhere

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Many thanks to Bruce and Dan for having me on again. I’m sure our paths will be crossing again somewhere down the road!

Star Trek IV movie watch party…with me!

“Dayton, we want to ask you some questions about your writing and other stuff, before we all sit down to watch a movie together, and then we want you to keep talking all during the movie.”

I’ve trained my whole life for this moment.

Okay, so here’s the deal: Friend David Weiner is – among other things – a writer and documentary filmmaker. His In Search of Darkness: A Journey Into Iconic 80s Horror made quite the splash when it was released last year. I highly recommend checking it out, but bring a lunch as it’s over 4 hours long and you’re not going to care. As I write this he’s in the midst of assembling a similar project, In Search of Tomorrow: The Definitive 80s Sci-Fi Documentary which is at this moment in the final days of its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and promises to be as epic as its predecessor.

FamousMonsters286-CoverI “met” David several years ago thanks to the wonder that is the internet. At that time he was working as the editor for Famous Monsters of Filmland, and in that capacity he contacted me and my best bud Kevin about writing a couple of articles for the magazine as part of its celebration of Star Trek‘s looming 50th anniversary. Write for one of the magazines that fueled my interest in movies and TV in that oh-so innocent pre-internet era? Yeah, you know that had to happen.

Thanks to social media we’ve managed to keep in touch even after David left Famous Monsters. A lot of his writing time is focused on his own site, It Came From Blog, an ongoing celebration of all things nostalgic from a childhood and early adulthood that in many ways very eerily resembles my own experiences from the 70s and 80s.

Star Trek IV, Dayton,” I can hear someone saying. “I saw Star Trek IV in the title and that’s why I’m here. Get on with it.”

Okay. Cool.

A few weeks back, David invited me to do a virtual sit-down/Q&A as a bit of pregame prior to a virtual watch party for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, just one of the many awesome 1980s science fiction films which will be highlighted in the aforementioned In Search of Tomorrow (ISOT). The plan was for me to do the interview online before everybody cues up/streams their copy of the movie. I’d then get out of everybody’s way so the group of people who’ve been assembling for the other films in this series of get-togethers could enjoy the movie in peace.

But wait! There’s more!

They actually invited me to stay with them while everybody’s watching the movie, and continue our dialogue in some manner. Whether that’s me pointing out things about the film or offering up trivia or other Trek nerdity, or me participating in a dialogue with David and others as things move merrily along, I’m honestly still a bit fuzzy on. However, I’m told all will be good and fine and it’s about the communal experience….less movie theater and more living room as we all enjoy each other’s company and a shared love of the flick itself.

I admit I was hesitant at first. As I told them, I didn’t want to come off like that jackass who can’t shut up while people are trying to watch the movie, but I’m assured that won’t be a problem and is indeed part of the draw. All righty, then. Also, I wasn’t even sure I could hang around for the whole thing, but with our current and common situation and  stay-at-home advisories being what they are, I realized there was nothing keeping me from sticking around and seeing how things went once the movie starts.

So, here’s how (I think) it’s going to go: The fun is scheduled for this coming Sunday, May 10th, beginning at 3:30pm Eastern Time/12:30pm Pacific Time. The Q&A/Watch Party is being hosted via the Discord app. The ISOT group has a community within the service, and those interested in joining the festivities are encouraged to visit this link I’ve highlighted with these words and things right here. They’ll put me through the wringer for a half-hour or so, and then we all push “PLAY” and get on with the movie. Sounds easy, right?

Yeah. I’ll find some way to dork it up.

If you’ve got time to chill-ax and watch one of the better Trek movies with a bunch of virtual friends old and new, come on out (virtually speaking). Maybe I’ll “see” you there!

STIV-WatchParty

New interview with the Trek This Out podcast!

What’s that? Another interview? Why, yes. Yes, it is.

TrekThisOut-logoThis time, I sit down for a virtual confab/interview with Andrea Davies and John Aitken, hosts of the Trek This Out podcast. As you can probably guess from the show’s title, we talk a little Star Trek during this conversation. Specifically, we talk about my recently released Kirk Fu Manual because that’s all the rage this month. It’s like everybody is Kirk Fu fighting as their minds become fast as lightning even though the future is a little bit frightening and it’s the book of their lives that they’re…..

:: ahem ::

Sorry. Distracted for a sec, there. Where were we? Oh, right. Podcast. Confab interview thing. Got it.

Anywho, in addition to Kirk Fu, we bounce around a bit, talking about other Trek projects I’ve worked on over the :: mumble mumble :: years I’ve been doing this whole writing thing, my “duties” as a consultant for CBS Global Franchise Management. Describing what I do in that role is a lot like Chandler trying to tell the other Friends what he does for a living. We also talk about Tom Brady leaving the Patriots to join the Bucs, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Discovery, and a speed round of questions about favorite this and favorite that. Then we pick a redshirt death for another host who wasn’t there. Good times.

Check it all out here: Trek This Out Podcast – “The Dayton Ward Tapes”

Thanks very much to Andrea and John for having me on, and for the fun discussion. Maybe we can do it again sometime!

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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

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

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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.