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Posts Tagged ‘Seek a Newer World’

STAR TREK 2020 book line-up announced!

Today at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention, there was a panel announcing the upcoming novel line-up for most of 2020. TrekCore covered it live on their Twitter feed:

https://mobile.twitter.com/TrekCore/status/1156992574671867904

The big news for me is my next novel: Star Trek: The Original Series — The Higher Frontier, scheduled for a March 2020 release. (How the heck is it almost 2020 already??) This is the novel I was busy finishing up during Shore Leave last month, and as it happens, I’m in the midst of manuscript revisions for my editor right now. Apparently the description is slated to go out to book sites with the “metadata” this weekend, so I guess I’ll wait until then to post it — stay tuned. But it’s a book I’m rather excited about, because it lets me do something TOS-wise that I didn’t think I’d get the chance to do again.

Another very surprising bit of news is that the lineup for next year includes two Kelvin Timeline novels, The Order of Peace by Alan Dean Foster and More Beautiful than Death by David Mack. These are two of the four Kelvin novels (before it was called that) which Alan, David, Greg Cox, and I wrote a decade ago for a 2010 release, and which were cancelled for arcane reasons at the start of 2010 — although Alan’s was originally called Refugees. Now, I incorporated much of my cancelled novel Seek a Newer World into TOS: The Face of the Unknown once I became convinced these novels would never be published, and Greg cannibalized parts of his The Hazard of Concealing for TOS: No Time Like the Past, which presumably is why they aren’t being released with the other two. But that’s fine. We all got paid in full for our books back then, and I feel that TFotU is a far better, richer novel than SaNW would’ve been. And maybe this opens the door for doing another Kelvin novel sometime, one written with knowledge of the later films, so that it can be more substantive. Anyway, I’m glad Alan’s and Dave’s books will finally see the light of day.

Other interesting bits of news: Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture novelization (which I drew on in Ex Machina) is getting a 40th-anniversary re-release in trade paperback form in October of this year, along with its first-ever audiobook edition. It’s also commemorating the 40th anniversary of Pocket/Simon & Schuster’s ST publishing program, which began with the TMP novelization. October will also see David Mack’s Collateral Damage, culminating a storyline that’s been developing in the novels since the A Time to… miniseries 16 years ago. In November, IDW Comics will begin publishing a Star Trek: Picard — Countdown miniseries by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson, and in February 2020, Uma McCormack delivers the first Picard prequel novel, The Last Best Hope. Dayton Ward’s TOS novel Agents of Influence arrives in April. We’ll also see a Discovery novel from John Jackson Miller, and Kirsten Beyer’s Voyager: To Lose the Earth (which has been delayed due to Kirsten’s work on the writing staffs of Discovery and Picard) will reportedly be out at last in 2020.

I’ve been so immersed in the TOS era for the past couple of years that I haven’t really sought out information about what my fellow authors were doing in the larger Trek narrative, so all these announcements come as something of a surprise to me. It’ll be interesting to see what develops going further, and what my part in it will be. But 2020 is going to be a remarkably diverse year for Trek literature.

Chronological order?

September 16, 2010 1 comment

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.

How many words? (UPDATED)

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:

ORIGINAL FICTION

  • “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

MARVEL NOVELS

  • 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

All told:

  • 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.)

New article in ST Magazine Movie Special (UPDATED)

I kinda forgot that I had an article coming up in Star Trek Magazine #26 (aka #153 in the UK), until I came upon a post about the issue on Allyn Gibson’s LiveJournal.  I then saw the issue on the shelf at the grocery store this afternoon, so I figured I’d better update my homepage and my blog to announce it.

ST Magazine 26 regular coverRegular cover

The issue is billed as “The Ultimate Movie Guide” and has features on all eleven ST films.  My article is the last one in the bunch, covering the 2009 J. J. Abrams Star Trek film.  It’s called “The Remaking of Star Trek,” as a nod to Stephen E. Whitfield’s seminal book The Making of Star Trek, about the production of the original series.  The thrust of the article is to evaluate the movie as a movie, and to address its place in the context of the ST franchise’s history and in the context of the era in which is was made.

So this is some consolation for the shelving of my Abramsverse novel, which would’ve been out within the next month if plans hadn’t changed.  This way I still get something in print based on the new movie.

Star Trek Magazine‘s site is here, though it hasn’t been updated to issue 26 yet.

ST Magazine 26

Alternate cover

EDIT: I’m disabling comments to this post, because for some reason it’s attracting tons of spam.

A bit of info about Abramsverse novels

Over on TrekMovie.com, there’s an interview with John Van Citters of CBS Licensing, talking about all the stuff coming up in Star Trek merchandise and tie-ins.  It includes a little bit about the status of Abramsverse tie-in fiction:

A few weeks ago Pocket Books announced that it was postponing four books planned for 2010 that were tied into the 2009 Star Trek movie. All were stand-alone stories set after the movie. And it appears that it was the time setting of these books that was the issue. Van Citters explains:

“It was decided that the upcoming sequel is best served by having JJ [Abrams] and his team tell the stories of what happens next for these characters. That doesn’t mean we wont have stories taking place in this timeline, and that doesn’t necessarily mean we wont have stories taking place in the alternate timeline before the next movie is released.”

According to Van Citters, CBS, Pocket Books and Bad Robot are currently working together on a plan for books tied to the movie universe. As for the four books that have already been written, Van Citters noted that their status is “on hold” and there was still no determination on when we will see them.

So it sounds like they may have decided it’s a better idea to go with prequels to the movie for now, rather than the followups that Alan Dean Foster, David Mack, Greg Cox, and I were hired to do.   As for those books, including my own Seek a Newer World, there’s no real news, but at least there’s no bad news.  “On hold” is still better than “cancelled.”  And at least this offers some clarification on why the books were suspended.  It suggests that, as many have speculated, the books were postponed for fear of contradiction with the next movie.  And that suggests that maybe once the next movie is done, it’ll be possible to publish these books after all (with whatever tweaks are necessary to be consistent with it).  Let’s hope so.

Seek a Newer World solicitation cover

SEEK A NEWER WORLD has been shelved

January 14, 2010 13 comments

This is out of the blue… this morning I was notified by my editor at Pocket Books that the decision has been made not to publish the four Star Trek novels set in the new movie continuity that were slated for summer 2010.  The only explanation is this brief statement:

With last summer’s blockbuster STAR TREK movie, JJ Abrams created a new vibrant, layered version of the Star Trek universe. After careful consideration, we decided to hold off on telling new stories while JJ and his team continue to develop his vision.

My only guess for why this was done is that it was felt best to avoid publishing stories that might conflict with the next movie in the series.  Hopefully that means these books could still see the light of day in a couple of years.

For now, though, Seek a Newer World is on indefinite hold, along with the other three books in the set: Refugees by Alan Dean Foster, More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack, and The Hazard of Concealing by Greg Cox.  The shelving of Refugees is particularly disappointing, because that would’ve been Alan Dean Foster’s first fully original Trek novel, something that would’ve been really cool to see.  (Although his last several Star Trek Log volumes adapting the animated series were more original than adapted material, particularly Log Ten, in which the adapted episode made up only 3 of the book’s 16 chapters.)

What my friend and colleague Dave Mack said on his own blog about this development is worth repeating, since it goes for me too:

Before anyone writes to me looking for more information, I’ll just tell you that I don’t have any. And, although the book was written and had been copy edited, I cannot and will not share it online or via e-mail. The nature of work-for-hire is that while I am entitled to compensation and credit for my labors, the final product is not my property. In other words, even though I wrote the book, it is not mine to share, sell, or give away, so please don’t ask.

Again, though, hopefully this is just a postponement, though there’s no telling for how long.

Oy, what a week.

Tentative cover to STAR TREK: SEEK A NEWER WORLD

Simon & Schuster’s advance solicitation catalog for summer 2010 is out, and it contains preliminary covers and blurbs for the four Star Trek novels set in the new movie’s continuity, including my own Seek a Newer World.  The catalog’s technically meant for book vendors only, not for public distribution, since its contents are often very tentative.  But it always gets out on the Internet anyway.

I’m not going to bother posting the catalog’s blurb, which is far from accurate and far from the final version of the blurb.  But here’s the low-res black-and-white rendering of the preliminary cover art:

Seek a Newer World solicitation cover

Not bad, and it’s along the lines I expected — using photos of the movie cast and ship to make the connection to the movie clear.  It’s a fairly generic image, but that’s understandable.  This early in the game, the most important thing to sell is the fact that this is a new series tied into the movie, as distinct from the other books in the traditional (“Prime”) Trek continuity.

Besides, generic or not, it works.  I like how it almost comes off as a shot of Kirk and Spock on the bridge, even though it’s clearly put together from different images.  And the image has more relevance to the story inside than you might expect.  The choice of characters is fitting, since the tale focuses heavily on Kirk, Spock, and their developing relationship in the wake of the film.  And the bridge setting on the cover dovetails nicely into the opening scene of the novel.  Indeed, this image could almost represent a particular moment in that scene, if they were “standing” on the other side of the bridge.  Moreover, I think there are reasons why a focus on the bridge — and command chair — of the Enterprise is symbolically relevant to the novel.

More on all four covers and the catalogue can be found here:

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=111934

And of course the book is available for preorder at Amazon.com and elsewhere.

So what are the “written worlds?”

November 29, 2009 2 comments

Basically, the title of this journal is meant to refer to the various universes of my written fiction.  So far there aren’t too many of those that have actually seen print, but I’m hoping that number will increase over time.  Let’s start with the licensed universes, since they’re what I’m currently most known for:

  • Star Trek. Pretty much self-explanatory.  But one could say it actually constitutes multiple “worlds.”  Not only have I written fiction for many of the series set in Pocket’s main book continuity — The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Titan, SCE/Corps of Engineers — but I’ve also written in three alternate Trek timelines: one of the Myriad Universes (VGR: Places of Exile, an alternate-history short novel), the Mirror Universe (“Empathy” in Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows), and now the Abramsverse (Seek a Newer World).  So technically that’s several realities right there.
  • Marvel Comics. Only two entries here, X-Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder.  Strictly speaking, these books could be counted as two separate universes.  WotW is intentionally in a continuity slightly different from the comics canon, since it was the only way to get the mix of characters I wanted and avoid certain story complications from the comics (the mandate was to tell stories that worked as standalones, like movies).  But DiT is as entirely faithful as I could make it to the Spidey comics continuity as it existed when the book was written (though that continuity has now been rendered moot in the comics).  There’s actually a passing allusion to WotW in DiT, though, so that complicates the delineation of universes.  DiT is also assumed to be in the same continuity as the prior two Marvel Spidey novels (see previous post), and contains passing allusions to both.

So far, that’s it for licensed universes.  Now on to my original written worlds:

  • The Default CLB-verse. Okay, I don’t have a good name for this yet.  That’s because there’s no single thing unifying it.  It’s just the continuity in which I’ve always chosen to set most of my original fiction, including the first two novelettes I sold to Analog: “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” and “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele.”  I have a couple of stories currently on the market that are also in this universe, and if I sell an original novel anytime soon, it will be as well.  Over the years, I’ve thought of this continuity by various different names.  The first was “Future Prime,” which had various meanings: it was the primary future in which I wrote, it was an optimistic future, and it was also “prime” in the sense that x and x’ (x-prime) are alternate values of a single variable; I wanted it to be plausible enough that it could count as a valid alternative to the real future.  Look, I was younger then.  Subsequently it’s been through various names that would only be meaningful if I’d gotten more of my fiction published by now, like Geminga Universe and Bardic Universe.  But for now let’s just call it the Default-verse (a term I stumbled upon while writing this post).  There are times when I’m tempted to split this continuity into two separate universes, since in recent years it’s kind of coalesced around two rather different series ideas, one set in the colonial age of the Solar System, the other a sweeping warp-era space opera with plenty of aliens.  Splitting them might allow each one to have its own distinct “branding.”   But I suppose different series can still have that even if they’re in the same overall reality, like Asimov’s Robot and Foundation sequences (before he merged them).  Although it’s a moot point unless I get them published.
  • The Hub. This is the universe of my upcoming Analog story “The Hub of the Matter.”  I’m hoping to do a series of stories revolving (pun intended) around the Hub.  This is a humorous universe, but a credibly constructed one.  That is, the world itself is relatively believable, even hard-SF, but the focus is on humorous characters and situations within it.   Unlike the Default-verse, this universe has a single strong core idea, the Hub, from which everything else springs.  Not sure how much more I can say now, but Analog‘s January/February issue is now out, so the March issue containing THotM should be out in just a couple more months and I’ll have plenty to say then.
  • To Be Announced. I can’t talk yet about my most recent sale, but it’s in a universe all its own.  It was written to fit a particular set of guidelines, and though I would’ve liked to put it in the Default-verse, it didn’t quite fit.  No telling if I’ll ever do more with this universe, but it’s always struck me as a waste to create a whole reality and only do one story in it.  Which is why I have a Default-verse.

Beyond that, I have ideas for several other universes I hope to do something with someday.  Which is kind of my problem; I’ve generally been better at worldbuilding, creating environments, than at coming up with specific stories within them.  Perhaps it’s telling that, after years of failing to make a third sale in the Default-verse, I’ve sold two stories set in new universes just over six months apart.  Maybe the Default-verse is too weighed down by worldbuilding baggage and I should focus more on fresher, more streamlined worlds.

Or maybe it’s just that, after years of gaining experience writing licensed fiction, I’m simply a better writer now and have a better chance of writing publishable work in whatever universe.

We’ll see.  I’m just starting in on a new story set in the Default-verse.  It’s actually a prequel to the unsold spec novel set in the colonial Solar System.  I figure I might have a better chance of selling that one if I create some interest in the main character first.

(And please, if anyone is thinking of updating my Wikipedia entry or anything like that, please, please don’t treat “Default-verse” as anything like an official name for that continuity.  For one thing, it’s silly and ugly, and for another, it’s really pretty much hypothetical.  Most of the original fiction I’ve written has been set there, but only 50% of what I’ve sold — exactly two stories — goes there.  Hopefully over the years to come I’ll sell enough fiction in that universe that a good name will become evident.)

And I suppose that there’s another written world I could count:

  • The Real World. Or at least my interpretation of it.  I majored in world history in my second college career, and many of my papers are available on the History Papers section of my website.  So I guess you could say this world counts as part of my body of written work.  And of course I’ll be discussing various aspects of real life here on my blog.  (Yeah, I don’t care for “blog,” but “journal” sounds a bit pretentious.)

First Details on Abramsverse Novels (TrekMovie) (UPDATE: Link fixed)

November 29, 2009 7 comments

From TrekMovie.com, a brief item about the descriptions for the four Abramsverse Star Trek novels that are now up on Amazon.com:

http://trekmovie.com/2009/11/29/first-details-on-novels-set-in-new-movie-universe-star-trek-online-novel-tie-in-announced/

The summary for Seek a Newer World reads:

Enterprise under attack escapes and discovers an entire civilization also hiding as is the ship. Kirk decides to find out what are they hiding from.

Amazon’s description is about as accurate as it is grammatical.  Let’s say it’s in the ballpark.  But at this point, with the book still over half a year away, it’s too early for any better information to become available.  Including here, alas.

What can I tell you about SaNW?  Well, it was originally going to be the first original Abramsverse novel; indeed, when I was hired, it was the only one being planned, kind of a way of testing the waters.  So I approached it as pretty much a direct followup to the movie.  But Alan Dean Foster’s novelization did so well that Pocket decided to do more, and they wisely decided to lead off with a novel by Mr. Foster himself, whose name is bound to sell more copies than mine would.  (Though that’s good for me, since more bookstore orders for the book preceding mine means more orders for mine.  I’ll probably sell more copies in Mr. Foster’s wake than I would’ve on my own.  I’m also looking forward to Refugees because it will be the first full-length original Star Trek novel Mr. Foster’s ever written.)

I’m not sure how well SaNW would work as a chronological followup to Refugees, but that’s not really an issue, since the books are all standalones.  There will probably be no reason the books can’t take place in any order.  Mine doesn’t strictly have to come chronologically first, but I wrote it assuming it would be, so… well.  I haven’t read the others yet, so I guess I’ll find out along with the rest of you.

Anyway.  The mandate for these novels is to tell entertaining, self-contained adventures that are distinctly part of the Abrams film continuity.  These aren’t ordinary TOS stories with Pine and Quinto slapped on the cover.  These tales are designed to follow the 2009 movie’s lead, to portray the characters and the world in the same way, to capture the same style and attitude and energy as the film.  SaNW is more action-packed than most of my prior work.  The characters are younger, more inexperienced, still getting to know each other and their starship.  The descriptions of the Enterprise match the movie: the bridge has a clear viewport in front, there’s an airlock as well as a turbolift on the bridge, the corridors are gleaming cylinders, the engine room is more industrial and brewery-like, the ship is huge and has a crew of over a thousand.  Kirk is cocky and arrogant, and his lightning-fast promotion to captain hasn’t helped matters.  Spock and Uhura are an item.  Keenser is climbing all over things in engineering.  And most importantly, the characters are still dealing with the emotional fallout of the film’s events.

But it’s still a CLB-style science fiction novel, with plenty of worldbuilding and exotic vistas and exotic aliens and science that’s more or less grounded in real concepts and the occasional bad pun.  I hope it will appeal to my existing fans as much as it does to the new readers who pick up the Abramsverse novels.

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