Today was the Books by the Banks festival for authors from the Cincinnati region, and I spent six hours at the convention center downtown hawking my wares. In addition to a big pile of Only Superhuman, the bookstore providing merchandise for the event also had a bunch of copies of Forgotten History, a small supply of Watching the Clock, three copies of the Mere Anarchy trade paperback, and one lonely copy of Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder — which wasn’t lonely for long, since it was the first book I sold. By the end of the event, I’d sold out of Mere Anarchy as well and was down to one WtC, and I’d moved seven copies of OS and at least a few of FH. Plus a few people who didn’t buy OS then and there nonetheless indicated they intended to buy it online or as an e-book. All in all, while I could’ve wished for better, it was a pretty decent performance considering that this was a general book festival, not specifically SF-oriented. I seem to recall that at my first BbtB, where they only had Titan: Over a Torrent Sea for sale, I didn’t sell that many copies. So I’m satisfied with how this event turned out. Plus I made a couple of new contacts and set things in motion for a book signing event that will hopefully materialize fairly soon.
I’ve finally been getting back to work on the third story in my Hub universe, and in reviewing the first two, I’ve discovered I made a really major continuity error that I somehow managed to overlook. In “The Hub of the Matter,” I referred to the character of Mokak Vekredi as a member of the Zeghryk species — yet in “Home is Where the Hub Is,” I called him a Verzhik instead! Worse, Verzhik is a name I’d already used three years earlier for an alien species referenced (but not seen) in Star Trek: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again.
I have no idea how this happened. I mean, the names are similar enough that I can certainly see how I might’ve gotten them confused… but I know I re-read the first story repeatedly to refresh my memory for writing the second. And the correct name for the species is right there in my series notes too. Maybe the problem is that I reviewed THotM and the notes before writing HiWtHI and not so much during or after.
Now the question is, what do I do about it? I’m tempted to come up with a rationalization in the third story that explains away the two different names. After all, how many dozens of different names in different languages do we have for humans? But given that I already used the name “Verzhik” elsewhere — and in work I don’t own, no less — I should probably avoid using the name again in the Hubverse. I should probably just go back to using “Zeghryk” and pretend it was always that way, and fix the error should I ever get HIWTHI reprinted.
Oh, well. These are the pitfalls of series writing. Heck, Dr. Watson’s war wound location and marital status were famously variable in the Sherlock Holmes canon. And Stan Lee forgot some of his iconic characters’ names in early Marvel Comics issues — Bruce Banner was sometimes called Bob Banner (hence the “Robert Bruce Banner” fix), and Peter Parker was Peter Palmer once or twice. Still, it’s embarrassing, and I apologize for the error.
I’ve just written a scene in Forgotten History that was a lot of fun to write. It was an action scene, but the kind of action scene I like, that’s more about clever problem-solving and finding imaginative ways to do things with available physical and technological resources than it is about shooting things. And all the Mission: Impossible I’ve been watching lately had an influence on it as well.
But a lot of why it was fun is because I got to use workbees! Workbees are cool. They’re these little yellow maintenance vehicles — designed by Andrew Probert — that fly around ships in drydock, and they can be connected to grabber sleds or cargo trains or any number of other specialized attachments, like little one-person truck cabs that can be outfitted as various different types of truck. But in space. They’re one of those ideas introduced in the brilliantly conceived and designed world of Star Trek: The Motion Picture that unfortunately fell by the wayside in later Trek, even though the production and FX teams loved them and even managed to slip one into the Deep Space Nine main titles. One of the things I’ve tried to do in my post-TMP fiction — Ex Machina, The Darkness Drops Again, and now this — is to use all those nifty designs and aliens and ideas that were glimpsed in that movie and never again. One cool thing about getting to return to that milieu is the opportunity to reference things I didn’t get around to using in ExM or TDDA, like the observation lounge glimpsed only in miniature when Spock’s shuttle docked. Or the workbees, which are just so darn cute.
I also like writing about workbees because I like saying the word “workbees.” Go ahead. Try it. “Workbees.”
(Yes, I managed to write a post that has tags for Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Freakazoid! all at once.)
I’ve just finished rereading my two Marvel Comics novels (the ones I wrote, that is, X-Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder), and I realized that for some reason I like to reread them a lot more than I do my Trek fiction. Maybe because I’ve usually got a new Trek project in the works and that holds my attention. Anyway, I’ve been giving some thought to rereading my Trek stuff, just to keep my memory fresh about it, and I thought it might be nice to read it all in chronological order. So I thought I’d put together a list of the chronological order for my fiction (going by the main portion of the work as opposed to any flashbacks or prologues or what-have-you). And I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone if I made the list here, since I haven’t done much posting lately.
So here goes, the chronological order of all published Star Trek fiction by Christopher L. Bennett, based on the assumptions I make in my own chronology, and numbered in the order they were published:
- 6: TOS: “As Others See Us”: August 2269
- 3: TOS: Ex Machina: October-November 2273
- 7: TOS: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again: January 2274; November 2279; December 2282; September 2283
- 8: TNG: The Buried Age: May-August 2355; October 2358-May 2360; June 2363-January 2364
- 9: TNG: “Friends With the Sparrows”: October-November 2371
- 2: DS9: “Lov’d I Not Honor More”: January 2374
- 10: VGR: Places of Exile: January-February 2374; August-November 2374; June-September 2375; February 2376 (alternate timeline)
- 4: VGR: “Brief Candle”: February 2376
- 1: SCE: Aftermath: August 2376
- 12: TTN: “Empathy”: October 2376 (Mirror Universe)
- 5: TTN: Orion’s Hounds: February-March 2380
- 11: TNG: Greater Than the Sum: September 2380-January 2381
- 13: TTN: Over a Torrent Sea: (Prologue) February-April 2381; (body) July-August 2381
I didn’t include Seek a Newer World because it hasn’t been published and I can’t know how it might change if it ever does get the go-ahead; however, the version I wrote is set in October-December 2258, which would put it at the beginning of the list. As for DTI: Watching the Clock, I don’t want to give too much away yet, but the main portion of the narrative takes place overlapping and after Over a Torrent Sea, in 2381-82.
So the most recent thing I’ve had published is also the most recent chronologically, and that will still be true once DTI comes out. However, if SaNW had come out on schedule, then my most recent published work would’ve been set the earliest.
Some interesting patterns there. I’ve got a block of three works, from #7 to #9, where the writing order and chronological order match up. Moreover, of the first three things I wrote, each took place earlier than the last, and everything from #6 to #11 was moving forward chronologically.
In the coincidence department, my chronology lists Places of Exile as starting two days before “Lov’d I Not Honor More” begins and ending two days after “Brief Candle” ends. Other than that, the shortest gap between two works set in the same timeline is between GTTS and OaTS, with only seven weeks separating them. To date, I have no overlaps between works set in the same timeline, but that will change when DTI comes out.
So am I going to reread all my stuff? I don’t know. If so, probably not all in one clump. But if anyone out there wants to read it all in chronological order, there’s your reading list.
Today in a thread on the TrekBBS, someone asked my colleague David Mack whether his published word count to date had topped one million words. That got me wondering how many words I’ve gotten published (i.e. stuff I’ve been paid for). It might also just be useful for my future reference to have a list of all my word counts. So here goes:
- “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide”: 12,000 words
- “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele”: 9400
- “The Hub of the Matter”: 9300
- “The Weight of Silence”: 7600
- “No Dominion” (upcoming): 7900
- “Home is Where the Hub Is” (upcoming): 9800
Total original fiction count: 56,000 words
- X-Men: Watchers on the Walls: 83,500
- Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder: 71,000
Total Marvel novel count: 154,500 words
STAR TREK 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
- Seek a Newer World (sold but unpublished): 82,000
Total ST novel count: 651,500 words
STAR TREK SHORT FICTION
- “Aftermath”: 26,000
- “…Lov’d I Not Honor More “: 12,000
- “Brief Candle”: 9800
- “As Others See Us”: 9100
- Mere Anarchy: “The Darkness Drops Again”: 28,900
- “Friends With the Sparrows”: 10,300
- “Empathy”: 11,000
Total ST short fiction count: 107,100 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
Total article count: 5260 words
- Novels: 806,000 words (724,000 to date)
- Short fiction: 163,100 words (145,400 to date)
Total fiction: 969,100 words (869,400 to date)
Add in nonfiction and the total goes to 974,360 words sold, 874,660 published to date. Include everything but Seek a Newer World and I’ll have at least 892,360 words in print by the end of the year, probably more.
So I’m within 110,000 words of my million-word mark. As it happens, I’m aiming for 100K with my Star Trek DTI novel, and I have stories on the market that could add another 12K if they sell. So there’s a very good chance that DTI could put me over the top.
EDITED TO ADD: What about breakdowns by word count? It comes out to 9 novels (over 40,000 words), 2 novellas (over 17,500 wds), 11 novelettes (over 7,500 words), and 0 short stories. I guess “The Weight of Silence” is right on the borderline, though; the magazine it appears in, Alternative Coordinates, technically has a cutoff of 7,500 words, but I guess it’s not absolutely rigid. So TWoS might end up being classed as a short story in bibliographies, if anyone considers it worth cataloguing. The two stories I currently have on the market are both short stories, at 6900 words and 5200 words. Another I’ve been shopping lately is 4200 words, but a recent rejection letter suggests that the opening could use some revisions which might add to that. (I’ve been trying to produce shorter fiction lately because there are more markets for shorter works.)
Every year, the Ohioana Library Association holds a reception honoring authors from Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and the latest one was held yesterday afternoon at the Main Library in downtown Cincinnati. I was one of the invited guests, for my second year in a row. (Well, it’s been more than a year, since they used to hold the events in November but decided this time to move it to March.) It was a nice reception. I got a Certificate of Recognition for my work (this year it was Over a Torrent Sea that was nominally being honored, but I also brought a copy of Mere Anarchy to donate to the Ohioana collection), and I got to chat with a couple of local authors, including a fellow SF author who’s also been in Analog. So I might’ve made a new connection or two within the local writing community, which is good.
There was also a buffet table with punch and cookies and hors d’oeuvres and such. The best ones were these little cookie-ish things filled with a pumpkin puree, kinda like bite-size pumpkin pies. Yum.
I’m dropping prices once again, but I feel this is as low as I can reasonably go and still get any decent return on this.
You can buy these books from me through PayPal (via the “Send Money” tag with payments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply use the PayPal button on my homepage) for the prices listed below. Please use the PayPal “instructions to merchant” option (or e-mail me) to let me know which book(s) you’re ordering, provide your shipping address, and let me know if you want the book(s) inscribed to anyone in particular (or not autographed at all, as the case may be).
Mass-market paperback novels: All now $5 each
- Star Trek: Ex Machina (15 12 copies)
- Star Trek The Next Generation: Greater Than the Sum (13 copies)
- Star Trek Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (13 12 copies)
- Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder (20 17 copies)
Trade paperback collections: All now $10 each
- Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Prophecy and Change (5 4 copies)
- Star Trek Voyager: Distant Shores (8 7 copies)
- Star Trek: Constellations (6 copies)
- Star Trek The Next Generation: The Sky’s the Limit (8 7 copies)
- Star Trek Myriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism (contains Places of Exile) (4 3 copies)
- Star Trek Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows (7 copies)
- Star Trek: Mere Anarchy (contains “The Darkness Drops Again” (6 4 copies)
I’ll try to keep this list updated with regard to availability, but if you have doubts, query first. For buyers in the US, postage is $2 if you buy only one mass-market paperback, free for trade paperbacks or larger orders. For buyers outside the US, pay the book price and I’ll bill you for postage separately once I determine the amount.