Eaglemoss I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, with words by me!

Though most of my writing is found in novels or short stories, I occasionally get the opportunity to step outside my wheelhouse and try something new. First it was magazine articles (often working with Kevin) and website content or essays about various pop culture topics (ditto). Then came really fun projects like the Vulcan and Klingon travel guides and IncrediBuilds kits, and we certainly can’t forget things like our first comic collaboration. And hey, there are even a few things still in the hopper that I can’t yet talk about.

Eaglemoss-ISSenterprise-DBut here’s one I can talk about because it’s out in the wild and I even have one in my hot little hands!

Back in February, I was contacted by Ben Robinson, supreme overseer of everything Star Trek and various other things over at Eaglemoss, a UK-based purveyor of models and other collectibles representing various popular franchises. He and his team were prepping a new entry for their Star Trek Official Starships Collection and asked if I was available for some fast-turnaround work providing material for the magazine that was to accompany the model.

For those who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, when you order one of these slick little jobs from Eaglemoss, each highly-detailed model comes with a companion magazine with all sorts of information and a few short articles about the ship the model represents, interviews with or articles about its designers, and so on. If you’re into the ship/tech side of Star Trek, these are fun additions to your collection.

MirrorEnterprise-01For this latest entry, Ben and the gang were tackling something a bit different: a ship seen not on movie or TV screens, but instead the pages of a comic! After Captain Kirk and his crew encountered the “Mirror Universe” in the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of the original Star Trek series way back in 1967, it wasn’t until 1994 that the premise was revisited on screen, in the form of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Crossover” from the show’s second season. Hardcore fans know DS9 would revisit the Mirror Universe several times, and sequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery would have their own kinds of fun there, as well.

MirrorEnterprise-02However, numerous comics, novels, and games have also explored this aspect of the Star Trek mythos in various ways. For example, the I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D as pictured here was introduced in Mirror Broken, a Star Trek: The Next Generation miniseries from IDW Publishing and focusing on the “Mirror Universe” versions of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and other TNG characters.

As for me? Ben asked if I could come up with a 3,000 to 3,500-word essay highlighting the different times Star Trek has visited the Mirror Universe in the pages of a novel or comic. So, to my bookshelves and archives I went! While the internet is always a nice way to help dial in when conducting research, I still enjoy pulling references from my library so I can paw through them while writing. All of that came to the fore as I wrote in rather rapid fashion the requested essay.

What didn’t I know until I received my copy of the model and its magazine? The article I wrote wasn’t just a feature of the magazine; instead, it was pretty much the whole thing. Ben and editor John Ainsworth took my pithy words and dressed them up all nice and pretty with loads of awesome cover art to accompany the text. For the comics we also get a few choice panels from some of the more memorable “4-color adventures.” As with the model itself, the magazine turned out really nice, if I do say so myself.

Apparently, subscribers to the Official Starships Collection don’t automatically get sent this one as their next offering. Instead, the I.S.S. Enterprise-D is a “shop exclusive.” Of course, those without subscriptions can also buy one if they want. Example? Such a person could just click on this linky-type thing right here:

Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection – I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

When it comes to the books and comics and other “expanded universe” media, I’ve always enjoyed pulling together this sort of material and presenting to a part of the Star Trek fan base who might not be familiar with these corners of the franchise. Who knows? Maybe somebody buying this model will read the essay and decide they need to check out a novel or comic or three. I’d be all right with that.

This was my first time working with Eaglemoss, and I enjoyed working with them. I don’t know if I’ll get to do it again, but I’d certainly be up for it if the planets align in favorable fashion. Until then, many thanks to Ben and John for the opportunity!

Talking about Available Light with Literary Treks!

AvailableLight-coverSo, I’m babbling again.

This time it’s about my still minty fresh Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Available Light, and the thankless task of not only enduring my blatherings but also recording them for others to hear fell to the inimitable duo of Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther, they of the Literary Treks podcast.

I always enjoy talking with Bruce and Dan. They’re longtime supporters of the Star Trek novel line, and the interviews they conduct are fun and even a little challenging, as some of the questions go beyond the usual sorts of topics we might cover while discussing this sort of thing. I also love that they always seem able to dial in on some of the subtler things I might try to sneak into one of my books when I think no one’s paying attention.

In the course of talking about Available Light, we also discuss the rather expansive “24th century continuity” the novels have built across multiple series and more books than I can count over the course of many years. It’s quite something, for whatever my opinion’s worth, and I’m rather proud to be a part of it. We also tease (Just a little!) about what might be next, particularly with the forthcoming Collateral Damage, David Mack‘s follow up to my book that’s due to hit bookstore shelves in October.

In the meantime, have a listen to our little chat:

Literary Treks #266: Bringing the Truth Out of the Shadows

LitTreks266

Thanks as always to Bruce and Dan for having me on. I’m sure we’ll do it again at some point! 🙂

The first AVAILABLE LIGHT interview!

So, yeah. I’m babbling again. It happens, every so often.

AvailableLight-coverThe last time writer Paul Semel caught up with me, it was back in early 2018 for an interview about my Star Trek: Discovery novel, Drastic Measures. With the release of Available Light earlier in this week, Paul found me again for a fresh set of questions about the book as well as its development, collaborating with my editors and other Star Trek novel writers like my occasional partner in literary mischief, David Mack, and a few other lines of inquiry designed to keep me on my toes. 🙂

Paul has published my latest yammering responses to his questions, and the complete interview is now available for your perusal. Check it out:

PaulSemel.com: Exclusive Interview – Star Trek: The Next Generation – Available Light Author Dayton Ward

Thanks very much to Paul for the invitation to chat!

Available Light

AvailableLight-coverStar Trek: The Next Generation

Section 31, the covert organization which has operated without accountability in the shadows for more than two centuries, has been exposed. Throughout the Federation, the rogue group’s agents and leaders are being taken into custody as the sheer scope of its misdeeds comes to light. Now Starfleet Command must decide the consequences for numerous officers caught up in the scandal—including Admirals William Ross, Edward Jellico, Alynna Nechayev, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, along with many others, are implicated in the forced removal of a Federation president.

Meanwhile, deep in the distant, unexplored region of space known as the Odyssean Pass, Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must put aside personal feelings and political concerns as they investigate a massive mysterious spacecraft. Adrift for centuries in the void, the ship is vital to the survival of an endangered civilization which has spent generations searching for a world to sustain what remains of its people. Complicating matters is a band of marauders who have their own designs on the ancient ship, with only the Enterprise standing in their way…


Welcome back to the 24th century! It’s been a long road, getting from there–

“SHUT UP, DAYTON!”

:: ahem ::

Sorry.

After an extended hiatus thanks to forces beyond the control of mere mortals, Simon & Schuster is ramping up its publication of Star Trek novels, continuing an effort they’ve shepherded since 1979 and the release of their novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Since then and even with the occasional bump in the road, S&S through imprints such as Pocket Books, Wallaby Books, and now Gallery Books has continued to publish Star Trek novels, short story collections, and a broad spectrum of reference books and other cool things.

I’ve been privileged to contribute to that effort for what is fast approaching 20 years, either working solo or in partnership with my bud and frequent co-writer, Kevin Dilmore, and often collaborating with other writers and editors to varying degrees depending on the needs of a particular project. Available Light is my 21st Star Trek novel and 26th novel overall, with about half of those written with Kevin. Then there are the novellas, short stories, magazine articles, and funky things like the Vulcan and Klingon Empire travel guides. Yes, Star Trek has been pretty good to me these past two decades and in some ways, I feel in some ways like I’m really just getting warmed up. I think I may be able to keep doing this for a while longer.

Anyway…..

So, for those wondering, Available Light picks up the ongoing Star Trek: The Next Generation post-film/novel-focused narrative a bunch of us have been spinning for a good number of years now. More specifically, it picks up the action after we left you hanging back in the summer of 2017 with David Mack‘s Section 31: Control and my own Hearts and Minds. Dave dropped a big bomb right into the middle of our breakfast table with Control, and the effects will quickly start to become apparent first with this book, and then Collateral Damage, Dave’s own ST:TNG novel coming later this year.

And, we’ve had conversations about what happens after that. Mwuah-ah-ah.

Available Light is now available at bookstores everywhere, in trade paperback, e-Book, and both digital and CD audiobook editions. If you’re still one of those folks who loves going to an actual store for your reading material, I humbly suggest patronizing your local independent bookseller. If that sort of thing isn’t feasible for whatever reason, then of course we have other options:

Simon & Schuster
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
IndieBound

In addition to providing a permanent home for links to find and order the book, this blog entry also will serve as our book’s “official” Q&A thread. Those of you who want to chat about the book, feel free to post your questions/etc. to the comments section. For those of you who’ve found this page and perhaps not yet read the book, BEWARE SPOILERS ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS POINT FORWARD.

Happy First Contact Day, Trekkies!

April 5th, 2063: We’re only 44 years from this most excellent of events, yo.

While we wait, we continue to look to the future with hope and excitement. After all, we know that this monumental meeting between humanity and intelligent beings from a world beyond our own will usher in a new era of peace, optimism, prosperity and collaborative spirit as the people of Earth take their first tentative steps into a larger universe.

first-contact

So, grab yourself the first Vulcan (or other non-terrestrial biological entity) you meet, wriggle to the left, wriggle to the right, and do the Ooby Dooby with all of your might. Let’s get this party started, all while living long and prospering in forthright, logical fashion, of course.

It’s William Shatner’s birthday, everybody!

Today we’re celebrating the 88th birthday of the Man himself. Captain Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Rescue 911 Guy, Denny Crane, Priceline Negotiator, and CAPTAIN JAMES TIBERIUS BY GOD KIRK.

:: ahem. ::

The one and only William Shatner: 88 years old, and still running circles around people half his age. I’ll have what he’s having.

insp_captkirk

Happy Birthday, sir. May you enjoy many more.

Your Moment of TrekZen*.

Given the recent revelations about Spock on Star Trek: Discovery, this page from an old Star Trek coloring book might take on new meaning. It looks like periodic experiments with facial hair are something of a family thing, hmm?

Spock-ColoringBookPage

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Come on, Dayton. This picture is just silly. It’s obvious it comes from one of those quickie coloring books done in the late 1960s or early 1970s, right? You know, the ones that look like they just repurposed art from the old Gold Key comics?”

StarTrek-AlienColoringBookWell, this is where it gets interesting. After doing some digging I found this page in a copy of The Star Trek Alien Coloring Book, which was one of (at least) four published in 1986 by Wanderer Books, at the time an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Each of which carries the “Star Trek 20 Years: 1966-1986″ logo. A couple of those books actually do use what looks to be recreations or repurposing of artwork from different Gold Key Star Trek comics from back in the day, but the other two feature what looks to be fairly new art. At least, I didn’t see it during a quick perusal of other such publications. Maybe they were anticipating Sybok three years later in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier?

“Wait,” I can hear someone saying. “How were you able to research Star Trek coloring books? Coloring books? Really?”

Look, people: I’m a professional, and professionals tend to amass a broad spectrum of research material. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, I think we can all agree that I’ve already spent too much time thinking about this. Just take the page and get to coloring, all right?

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

Listen to me talking Trek on ODYSY Radio’s Trek 360!

That’s right, you read that correctly. I’ve been babbling again.

This time, I sit down with Jarrod Cooper, host of Trek 360, a new Star Trek-themed podcast on the ODYSY Radio network which takes a look at things beyond the television episodes and movies. Though the program’s just getting started, Jarrod plans to interview all manner of folks involved with Star Trek in some form or another, including writers such as…well…me.

Yep! For the program’s second episode, Jarrod corralled me to yammer for a bit about writing Star Trek novels, including the new wrinkles being introduced in the last couple of years now that there’s a new television series in production (and more on the way!) and constantly adding to the vast “Star Trek canon.” It’s been a long time since that was a serious consideration, after all, but hey! Times, they are a’changin’, amirite?

We also talk a little about my involvement with the early development of the “living campaign” for Star Trek Adventures, the role-playing game produced by Modiphius and which is continuing to take the tabletop RPG world by storm. This ends up being a nice segue for Jarrod, as he swivels from talking to me to interviewing my good friend Jim Johnson, who as we speak is neck-deep in the game while working as a line editor helping to develop new products for it. He’s got a lot of cool news and juicy details to share, so if you’re into the game be sure to check that out.

Have a listen, whydontcha?

Trek 360, Episode 2 – February 18th, 2019

Many thanks to Jarrod for having me on the show. Maybe we can do it again some time!

Your Moment of TrekZen*.

Today we celebrate the incredible prescience of Star Trek merchandising, which anticipated this very scenario nearly 35 years in advance. Remember this scene from the 2009 Star Trek film?

Or maybe it was by only 20 years or so, if we include the deleted scene from Star Trek Generations depicting Captain Kirk doing some orbital skydiving:

Now, if we could just get those groovy helmets officially on screen at some point….

(* = inspired by the “Your Moment of Zen” segments from The Daily Show)

Available Light *AND* Hearts and Minds: Comin’ at ya soon as old-school CD audiobooks!

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine.

Doc Brown, punch in the destination date.

Doctor, do whatever weirdness it is you do with that TARDIS thing.

Guardian, show me the history of the planet Earth.

Etc.

We’re heading back to the grand old days of physical media!

In late 2005, while Kevin and I were still writing Purgatory’s Key, our book in the Legacies trilogy celebrating Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, our editor hit us with the news that all three novels would be receiving audiobook adaptations. Star Trek audiobooks had been a thing from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. They were all but extinct after that, with only the novelizations of 2009’s Star Trek reboot film and its first sequel, 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, getting the audio treatment. The Legacies trilogy marked a new attempt at taking a bite out of the growing market and popularity of audiobooks, particularly those delivered digitally to smartphones, tablets, and so on.

Sales of these new Trek audios apparently were strong enough that Simon & Schuster decided to further the experiment, and most of the Star Trek novels released after the Legacies books featured audio adaptations, all released as digital downloads. That streak continues now that S&S is ramping back up to speed with publishing new Star Trek books but there’s now a new wrinkle: in addition to the digital download version, the audiobooks are being made available in CD format through an arrangement with Blackstone Audio.

The first of these was James Swallow’s Star Trek: Discovery novel Fear Itself, released last summer along with the trade paperback, eBook, and digital audiobook editions. Two other Discovery novels, David Mack’s Desperate Hours and Una McCormack’s The Way to the Stars, also have CD audiobook editions, as will John Jackson Miller’s forthcoming The Enterprise War.

I have no idea what happened to Drastic Measures, which has its own digital audio version, as well. Maybe it’s just far enough out on Blackstone’s schedule that it’s not listed yet. That’s okay, though, as a check of their site shows not one but two titles from Yours Truly coming down the pike.

First up? Available Light, with the CD audio edition releasing the same day as the trade paperback, eBook, and digital audiobook versions. As I write this, I haven’t yet heard who will be handling the narrating duties, but I suspect it will be frequent contributor Robert Petkoff lending his smooth, silky sounds to the production.

Next up? We’re backstepping a bit to 2017’s Hearts and Minds, which had a digital audiobook release narrated by Mr. Petkoff. Somebody somewhere at Blackstone things it’s a nifty idea to dig into Pocket’s catalog a bit. Of course, it’s a more attractive proposition when dealing with audiobooks which have already received a digital audio release. The CD edition will be available on May 14th.

I can only hope this effort on Blackstone’s part yields positive results and sparks the idea of going even farther into Pocket’s Star Trek backlist, and perhaps even commission new audio versions for novels which never enjoyed an audio adaptation the first time around. That would be something, wouldn’t it? I may have to start saving money up for that, just in case, because I’ve got a list of Star Trek novels as long as my arm that I’d like to see receive such a treatment.

Until then? We’ve got all sorts of new Star Trek audiobook goodness to stick in our ears, don’t we?