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 novels with David Mack and the Inglorious Treksperts!

I admit it: While I’m always happy to talk Star Trek, I really do enjoy talking about Star Trek novels, particularly when they’re not the one I wrote and I’m trying to promote.

StarTrekBlish1Many if not most fans know – even if they’ve never read a single one – Star Trek novels enjoy a rich history, stretching all the way back to the days when the original television series was still in production. Star Trek, the first collection of original series episode adaptations written by noted science fiction author James Blish, was published by Bantam Books in January 1967. It would later be renamed Star Trek 1 once it was obvious that the program of translating the original series scripts to prose form would continue, and indeed it did for eleven more volumes. Blish would also pen one of the very first original Star Trek novels, 1970’s Spock Must Die! 

AgentsOfInfluence-CoverSince then, there has been at least one Star Trek novel or novelization (and in most cases, way, way more than one) published every year. In addition to novels and short stories based each of the spin-off television series and films, Captain Kirk and the crew of the original Starship Enterprise continue to have adventures on the printed page (book and comics!) decades after their televised exploits ended in 1969 (or 1974, if you’re counting the animated series, and we that here.). Indeed and as I write thist, the most recent novel to feature yet another tale set during the historic “five-year mission” Captain Kirk talks about in the show’s famous opening narration is my own Agents of Influence, published in June. Meanwhile, friend and fellow wordsmith David Mack is making sure the “rebooted” crew introduced in the 2009 Star Trek feature film is treated well in written form with his own new novel, More Beautiful Than Death, which was just published on August 11th.

MoreBeautifulThanDeath(Okay, I suppose a little shameless promotion is inevitable. My kids like to eat. Sue me.)

So, it seems fitting that Mr. Mack and myself recently were guests for a fun discussion about the topic of Star Trek novels with the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. Hosts Mark Altman and Daren Dochterman, both Hollywood veterans and acknowledged Star Trek gurus, gathered Dave and myself along with writer/producers Ashley E. Miller and Robert Meyer Burnett, the latter of whom may very well be an even bigger nerd for Star Trek novels than I am. It’s a distinction I’m not inclined to dispute, because for one thing this was a conversation he’d been wanting to have for a while and we ended up recording it pretty much as a birthday present for him. So, there’s no way I’m harshing that mellow.

SpockMessiahThe resulting discussion covers a lot of ground in just a little over an hour’s time, tracing our earliest encounters with Star Trek novels from those early gems of the late 1960s/early 1970s right up to the most recent publications. Our respective experiences with these books during our formative years are largely in step with one another, as we all came to Trek more or less within the same era: watching reruns of the original show in the 1970s and latching on to whatever Star Trek merchandise there might be here and there. Those early James Blish novelizations and the handful of original novels along with other publications like the Star Trek Poster Books was what kept us interested during those years before the first feature film came along and elevated the franchise to new heights of public awareness it enjoys to this day.

EntropyEffectOf course we had to discuss some of our early favorites, which for me include Vonda McIntyre’s The Entropy Effect, Ann Crispin’s Yesterday’s Son, Margaret Wander Bonanno’s Strangers from the Sky, and Diane Duane’s The Wounded Sky.

(I’m gonna stop there because seriously…I could do this all day.)

There is also plenty of discussion about how one actually goes about writing such books, both for shows like the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as novels based on the shows currently in production, Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard.

Vanguard1Dave and I also get to take a bit of a trip down Memory Lane as we revisit our own past endeavours. This included the absolute blast that was, along with Kevin Dilmore and Marco Palmieri, writing the Star Trek Vanguard novels, which still rank as one of the most fun and creatively fulfulling Star Trek projects with which I’ve ever been involved. 

Star Trek novels have been around for over 50 years, and there’s no sign they’ll ever be stopping soon. I don’t know how many more I have in me or how much longer I’ll even be able to do so, but it’s been a privilege contributing to this wondrous little sandbox and to be a part of such an amazing publishing legacy. So, for those of you who await the next Star Trek novel to show up on bookstore shelves or your eReader device, spend an hour with us as we wax nostalgic about some of those that came before.

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Inglorious Treksperts: “Book ’em Danno with Dayton Ward & David Mack

Many thanks, to Mark, Daren, Rob, and Ashley for having us on the show. It was tremendous fun!

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 do most definitely do consider it the worst of the 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 and the ending is hampered by budget issues and perhaps director William Shatner’s being a bit too ambitious and failing to account for all the difficulties surrounding 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!

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!

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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!

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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.

I went and Trekked myself…again!

Again, with the babbling. Again, with someone recording it for playback by unsuspecting innocents.

It’s been many months since my first virtual sitdown with Darrell Taylor and J.K. Woodward for their Go Trek Yourself podcast. Back in November, we chatted about my Star Trek: Discovery novel from last year, Drastic Measures, as well as a smattering of other topics such as my longtime writing partnership with my best bud, Kevin.

AvailableLight-coverThis time, the main topic is Available Light, my Star Trek: The Next Generation novel from earlier this year. We also cover a bit of ground so far as what the novels have been doing over the past several years. This includes plotty-plot threads which have brought us to where my book is in the “Star Trek novel timeline,” and what’s next when I had the baton to David Mack next month for his own TNG novel, Collateral Damage.

The “too long, didn’t read” version of what you might want (but don’t necessarily need) to read to prep yourself for reading this whole plotline:

  • TNG: A Time to Kill, by David Mack
  • TNG: A Time to Heal, by Dave
  • Section 31: Control, by Hey! Dave
  • TNG: Hearts and Minds, by me
  • TNG: Available Light, by me
  • TNG: Collateral Damage, by Dave (coming in October)

Unlike last time where I think we talked for something like a week, this installment comes in at a more reasonable running time of 45 minutes. Wanna listen? Go here:

Go Trek Yourself Episode 57: Dayton Ward

Many thanks to Darrell and J.K. for having me back on to hang with them for a while. We did talk about doing this again in the near future, so stay tuned!

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“Hey, Dayton! Why don’t you have a podcast?”

No, the headline isn’t some oh-so clever way of announcing my new podcast. Far from it, actually.

So, yeah. Podcasts.

Lots of people have podcasts. I mean…a lot of people have podcasts. I should know, because I’ve been a guest on my share of them over the years. It’s too bad it’s not a paying gig, because that sort of thing totally beats donating blood or other body fluids for money, or being one of those guys who stand on the Strip in Las Vegas handing out cards with hooker phone numbers on them.

solicitorsYep. It’s totally a real thing. Totally.

Alas, I do such things for the glory and the fun…oh, and to talk about my writing or promote a new book or some such thing. I occasionally show up on a podcast for reasons other than self-promotion, and those are their own special brand of fun. Indeed, I tend to enjoy those situations more than the “Let’s talk about my new book,” shows, as I’m not the focus of the episode and instead we’re just talking about something we all love. For example, I “guest co-hosted” several episodes of Cyborgs: A Bionic Podcast for just this reason, and I’ve popped into other shows like UnderDiscussion and the Sci-Fi Diner to talk about various geeky subjects. Then there are the podcasts I listen to just for my own entertainment. There are quite a few of those, actually, and I know I’m certainly not an outlier when it comes to this kind of thing.

BREAKING NEWS: Podcasts are pretty darned popular, by golly.

Continue reading ““Hey, Dayton! Why don’t you have a podcast?””