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Treksphere interview on THE CAPTAIN’S OATH

Robert Lyons of Treksphere interviewed me recently about Star Trek: The Original Series — The Captain’s Oath and some of my other upcoming projects. You can read it here (and, wow, the link self-embedded):

The Christopher L. Bennett Interview

It’s on a British site, so it has me saying stuff like “aeroplane.”

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STAR TREK: THE CAPTAIN’S OATH has arrived!

When I headed out to do my laundry this morning, I found a package from Simon & Schuster sitting outside my apartment door. Inside were my author copies of Star Trek: The Original Series — The Captain’s Oath, 15 substantial trade paperbacks. Here are a couple of copies on my bookshelf, so you can see how they compare in size to the old mass-market paperbacks:

Star Trek TOS The Captain's Oath

Sorry it’s a bit blurry — it was a choice between that and one that was in focus but with Kirk’s face washed out by the flash.

And hey, there’s a bit of my old stand-up/poster for Ex Machina peeking in at the corner. My first and most recent covers side by side — an appropriate pairing in some ways, given that both books fill in overlooked periods in Kirk’s career, and have a couple of other elements in common as well.

This is my first full Star Trek novel in trade paperback; all my previous Trek TPB appearances have been in multi-author anthologies and collections. But it seems that mass-market paperbacks are a dying breed; their place in the market has been largely supplanted by e-books. But I like the larger size. It makes it feel more prestigious and hefty. The price is higher, but that means I get a bigger royalty for each copy sold, which hopefully improves my chances of earning out my advance on the novel (something that, to date, I’ve only done with Only Superhuman). And really, the odd thing is that MMPB prices managed to stay fixed at $7.99 for about a dozen years, defying inflation. If their price had continued to increase at the same rate it did during the previous dozen years, they’d now cost nearly as much as a currrent trade paperback anyway.

For the rest of you, it’s still a few more weeks before the book goes on sale (May 28 is the official release date), but you can pre-order it at:

Note that there will also be an audiobook adaptation of the novel, read by Robert Petkoff. They consulted me about the pronunciation of alien and foreign-language names/terms in the book a couple of weeks ago, and they let me send them a recording of me pronouncing them aloud as well as a text file.

I’m currently reviewing my annotations for the novel, confirming that the page numbers match and making final tweaks; I should be able to post those not long after the book is released.

(In the meantime, please check out the Kickstarter for eSpec Books’ new anthologies including Footprints in the Stars, containing a new Troubleshooter story by me!)

Almost there (book sale)

Sorry, I haven’t quite finished shipping out books yet, since I came down with a bug of some sort over the past couple of days. But I felt somewhat better today, and I now finally have all the remaining books packed up and addressed, ready to be driven to the post office tomorrow. I feel bad about it taking so long for me to fill the orders, but we’re almost there at last.

To the person who ordered one of everything, you’ll be getting the Trek books and the original books in separate packages, since I couldn’t find a box the right size to fit all of them. So don’t worry if you don’t get them all at once.

Books starting to ship!

I’m pleased to report that, now that I have my bills paid up and my life starting to settle down, I’ve finally begun mailing out the books that you guys bought from me last month. Sorry it took so long, but I’m finally catching up. Today I sent out more than half the orders; what remains are my overseas orders and the order for the guy who bought one of everything. Those will take a bit more work to get done, but hopefully I’ll get those out within the next day or two.

Checking in, belatedly

Hi, folks. I just realized I’ve been neglecting the blog again. I’ve been working on an original fiction project the past couple of weeks, something I’ve been wanting to write for a long time now and finally had a window to get started on, and it’s been taking up a lot of my attention. I don’t want to go into specifics yet, but it’s a return to a familiar setting in a new way.

Anyway, to those of you who’ve made donations and book orders in response to my last post, thank you very much. You’ve been extremely generous once again, and your contributions have helped me pay a slightly overdue health insurance bill and stay afloat for the month. Luckily, I’ve had a new book contract come in recently and will hopefully be seeing a substantial advance check any day now, but just in case it’s a bit late, your generosity has ensured I’ll be able to cover my rent for next month.

Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever sold so many books in one sale, though that’s largely thanks to one person who ordered one of everything. I’ve run out of a lot of my stock — I still have 19 copies of Only Superhuman, but only one left of Among the Wild Cybers, and in Star Trek I’ve only got a few copies left of Rise of the Federation Books 2-5, five copies of Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows, and one each of Mere Anarchy and The Sky’s the Limit. See the previous post for the updated list and ordering instructions if anyone’s still interested.

As for shipping, don’t worry, I’ll begin mailing out the books once I get my advance check, which hopefully will be within the week. And I’m keeping a list of the Tuckerization requests, of course. Surprisingly, only one of you has asked to be killed off horribly in the book. Well, maybe you know that’s more up David Mack’s alley than mine.

Let’s see, what else has been going on with me? Nothing great, I’m afraid. I’ve been dealing with a persistent throat irritation of some sort that feels at its worst like something’s stuck in my throat or choking me, which is pretty nasty. (My breathing is unaffected, though.) The doctor thought it was from sinus irritation and prescribed something that didn’t help. I eventually figured out that the best thing to relieve it was deep breathing and focusing on relaxing the throat and neck area, so I suspect it’s mainly an anxiety symptom — probably an initially mild irritation that I made worse by repeatedly clenching my throat in response to it and by being mentally preoccupied with the discomfort. (Even writing about it right now is making my throat uncomfortable. I’m so suggestible.) Relaxation exercises have been the one pretty reliable way to ease the symptoms. But it still hasn’t entirely gone away, and I’m still not sure what might trigger a recurrence; some of the things I’ve thought were causative factors turned out not to be correlated with it at all. (I thought coffee, orange juice, and acidic foods might be doing it, but fortunately they don’t seem to have been.) I think it’s become closer to the exception than the norm, at least, and it’s usually milder and shorter-lived when it does happen.

I also learned last week that someone I knew had passed away suddenly — Frank Johnson, who hosted the same WGUC-FM afternoon radio show that my father hosted for most of his career, and whom I was casually friendly with through occasional social gatherings in recent years. I didn’t know him that well, but he was a nice guy and I felt sort of a connection through my father (we were both inheritors of his in a way) and through WGUC. And I didn’t even know he was battling cancer; apparently he was very private about it. So this came as unexpected news. My condolences to his family and close friends.

There’s also a good news/bad news situation where I’ve nominally sold a story I’ve been trying to sell for a while, yet there’s a surprising delay in seeing the actual contract. Although that’s less worrisome than it was because that much bigger contract has come through, so there’s no longer a rush. Still, I hope that gets resolved soon so I can talk about it. I have a couple of other major original projects that are close to landing as well, but they’re also unexpectedly delayed. Everything in publishing seems to be moving so slowly these last few years, at least for me.

Well, I’ll feel better once that check comes in and my financial worries diminish (at least for now). Then I’ll finally be able to see Captain Marvel and maybe one or two other movies, get out into the world more again. Plus it’s spring now, so the weather will be improving and I can get more outdoor exercise. Although I won’t have too much time for that, since I’ll be very busy writing that new book.

Two million words!

February 15, 2019 2 comments

It’s time to do another one of my overview posts of the word count of my published works, since it’s been nearly three years since the last one and I’ve gained a significant number of original published works in the interim. Plus, as you can tell from the title, I’ve just achieved another milestone! With the recent release of my second Star Trek Adventures game campaign The Gravity of the Crime, I have now surpassed 2 million words of paid, published fiction!

The list below includes all my paid fiction that has been published as of February 2019, plus two upcoming releases that have already been copyedited so that I have final word counts, namely Crimes of the Hub and Star Trek: The Original Series — The Captain’s Oath. It excludes the sold stories “The Melody Lingers” (Galaxy’s Edge magazine) and “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of” (the Footprints in the Stars anthology) because they haven’t been copyedited yet, but they should be around 4400 and 5000 words, respectively. There’s another story for which I’m currently waiting for a contract and copyedits, so I may update this list once that or the others come together. I’ve left out the unpaid essays I’ve contributed to various sites, since it’s hard to keep track of them all, and I do so much unsolicited blathering online as it is.

ORIGINAL FICTION

Default/”Only Superhuman” universe:

Novels:

  • Only Superhuman: 118,000 words

Stories:

  • “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” (revised): 12,100
  • “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele”: 9400
  • “The Weight of Silence”: 7600
  •  “The Caress of a Butterfly’s Wing”: 8900
  •  “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad”: 8200
  • “Twilight’s Captives”: 10500
  • “Aspiring to Be Angels”: 7900

Total story count: 64,600 words

Additional material:

  • Among the Wild Cybers Historical Overview, Glossary, and Afterword: 6500

Total default universe: 189,100 words

Hub universe:

  • “The Hub of the Matter”: 9300
  •  “Home is Where the Hub Is”: 9800
  •  “Make Hub, Not War”: 9800
  •  Hub Space: Tales from the Greater Galaxy: 33,300 (preceding stories + 4400 words new material)
  • “Hubpoint of No Return”: 12,400
  • “…And He Built a Crooked Hub”: 12,500
  • “Hubstitute Creatures”: 14,200
  • Crimes of the Hub: 45,600 (preceding stories + 6500 words new material)

Total: 78,900 words

Other:

  •  “No Dominion”: 7900
  • “Abductive Reasoning”: 4100

Total: 12,000 words

Total original fiction count:  280,000 words

MARVEL FICTION

  • X-Men: Watchers on the Walls: 83,500
  • Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder: 71,000

Total Marvel novel count: 154,500 words

STAR TREK FICTION

Novels:

  • Ex Machina: 110,000
  • Orion’s Hounds: 105,000
  • The Buried Age: 132,000
  • Places of Exile: 55,000
  • Greater Than the Sum: 78,500
  • Over a Torrent Sea: 89,000
  •  Watching the Clock: 125,000
  • Forgotten History: 85,500
  • A Choice of Futures: 81,000
  • Tower of Babel: 84,000
  • Uncertain Logic: 109,000
  • Live by the Code: 106,000
  • The Face of the Unknown: 95,000
  • Patterns of Interference: 85,500
  • The Captain’s Oath: 106,000

Total ST novel count: 1,446,500 words

Novellas:

  • Aftermath: 26,000
  • Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again: 28,900
  • Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within: 25,400
  • The Collectors: 35,400
  • Time Lock: 26,500
  • Shield of the Gods: 28,700

Total: 170,900

Novelettes:

  • “…Lov’d I Not Honor More “: 12,000
  • “Brief Candle”: 9800
  • “As Others See Us”: 9100
  • “Friends With the Sparrows”: 10,300
  • “Empathy”: 11,000

Total: 52,200

Total ST short fiction count: 223,100 words

Star Trek Adventures RPG campaigns:

  • “Call Back Yesterday”: 8200
  • “The Gravity of the Crime”: 10,500

Total ST RPG count: 18,700

Total ST fiction count: 1,688,300 words

STAR TREK MAGAZINE ARTICLES

  •  “Points of Contention”: 1040
  •  “Catsuits are Irrelevant”: 1250
  • “Top 10 Villains #8: Shinzon”: 820
  • “Almost a Completely New Enterprise”: 800
  • “The Remaking of Star Trek“: 1350
  • “Vulcan Special: T’Pau”: 910
  • “The Ultimate Guide: Voyager Season 3″: 1170 (not counting episode guide)
  • “Star Trek 45s #11: Concerning Flight”: 1000

Total article count: about 8350 words

All told:

  •  Novels: 1,719,000 words
  • Short fiction: 385,100 words
  • RPG campaigns: 18,700 words
  • Nonfiction: 8350 words

Total fiction: 2,122,800 words

Total overall: 2,131,150 words

 

(And just a reminder — if you enjoy any of my books, please post reviews of them on Amazon or other sites where books are sold. The more reviews they have, the more notice they can attract.)

More STAR TREK ADVENTURES coming this year (and one just released)!

February 9, 2019 1 comment

I just noticed this item on the TrekCore news site:

http://trekcore.com/blog/2019/02/star-trek-adventures-continues-to-expand-in-2019/

It’s an announcement of several new Star Trek Adventures publications slated for 2019 release, including a couple of new sourcebooks, but at the bottom, it mentions the August release of Strange New Worlds: Mission Compendium Vol. 2:

STA Strange New Worlds Mission Compendium

In August, Star Trek Adventures will begin to explore Strange New Worlds with its second mission compendium of the same name. The book will contain 10 original missions to play through, exploring the strangest and most challenging away missions on dangerous planets and weird environments.

Strange New Worlds follows These Are the Voyages in providing fans with adventure material for the game from both Star Trek fiction writers such as Christopher L. Bennett (The Captain’s Oath, Greater Than the Sum) and roleplay gaming luminaries like Jason Bulmahn (Pathfinder).

My contribution to this volume is the fifth adventure scenario I wrote, but it’ll be my first to be released in print instead of PDF form. At this point, only one of my PDF campaigns has been released, but hopefully more will come out in the 6 months before Strange New Worlds: Mission Compendium Vol. 2 comes out.

Hmm. Twenty years ago, I tried to break into Star Trek writing by submitting a few stories to another thing called Strange New Worlds, the annual contest anthology that Pocket ran for 10 years to discover new authors. As it happens, the first one I submitted to was the second volume of SNW. I never got into that SNW (although some of my Trek Lit colleagues got their starts there, including Dayton Ward and William Leisner), but now I finally get into another Trek collection of the same title, more or less.


EDIT: Thanks to Bernd in the comments, I now know that my second PDF game, The Gravity of the Crime, was released just two weeks ago:

https://www.modiphius.net/collections/star-trek-adventures/products/star-trek-adventures-the-gravity-of-the-crime-pdf

STA_The_Gravity_of_the_CrimeWill you violate the Prime Directive?

Welcome commander…  Your orders are go undercover on the pre-contact planet of Kalmur to investigate the accidental death of a Federation observer.

When a Kalmuri experiment into artificial gravity goes wildly wrong, an experimental device explodes crushing everyone within the test lab, including a Starfleet scientist, Lieutenant Li, who had infiltrated the project as an observer.

Sent to investigate this apparently accidental death, your team is confronted by a Kalmuri detective, Lanox, who is convinced the deaths are the result of sabotage.

Can you solve this classic locked-room murder mystery without violating Starfleet’s Prime Directive?

Set during the TNG era, this adventure also contains advice for adaptation to other eras including The Original Series.