Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Prose updates from Swallow and Mack

Some prose updates, all coming via author interviews on the excellent new Literary Treks podcast on TrekFM. Their two latest interviewees have been James Swallow and David Mack, and as ever they talked at length about their entire Star Trek histories, including a few hints of things to come.

James Swallow used his interview to give a detailed outline of what to expect in his forthcoming TNG ebook, The Stuff of Dreams:
After seeing Star Trek Generations I thought to myself - You remember at the end of the movie, when everything's kind of brought back to the way it was, and the nexus just goes floating off into space. And I thought, what, they're just going to leave that out there? This is a pretty serious thing here, we're talking about something that's like a temporal gateway; and you wouldn't just leave that lying around for any bad guy species to use. So I starting thinking, logically what would happen, maybe Starfleet would send a survey vessel to follow it, they'd track it, look at the science, it would be their job to see where it's going, make sure nobody tried to use it for evil deeds, and they'd try and analysis it and figure out how it works.

Once I had that idea about this ship that's tracking the nexus through space I thought that's the start of a really great ideal. Flash-forward several years, I was asked by Pocket to come up with an idea for a TNG story. I thought, I've got this really interesting thing here, this interesting place to start a story. The moment I started thinking about it in terms of narrative I thought, this has to be a Picard story - Because the nexus that we see in that movie is very much a crucible of fire for Jean-Luc Picard. He's taken in there, and he's shown this alternate reality, this beautiful place where he can live his life. When he's at that point in the film, he's lost his brother and his nephew and he's at a very low place emotionally, he doesn't really have any close familial ties, apart from his crew; he's not got any family of his own. If we look at the way that Picard's evolved in the novels; now he's married to Beverly Crusher, and he has his own son. I thought, what would he go through if he went through the nexus now? What would he see this time? Because he has a pretty nice life now, he's got a wife and a kid; would that change things? So I wanted to construct a story that examined that question. The action plot is that somebody decides to use the nexus to do something untoward, and Picard gets caught up in that, and he eventually ends up having to revisit this place. When he gets there he finds something very different, and very unexpected, including a familiar face.
Swallow also made a crystic remark about the continuation of the Andorian secession arc in the 24th century novels:
There's some interesting stuff coming up with the Andorian question, shall we say.
Hopefully this will be part of the story of new crossover miniseries, The Fall (I can't think where else it would fit into books currently on the schedule). He did also talk about The Fall, and how he's been enjoying the collaborative developement of the series.

David Mack also spoke about The Fall in his interview, giving an amusing account of how the series got its name:
The miniseries was named "the fall miniseries", because it was scheduled for the season of fall, and it was only as we began batting around ideas, and someone said, "this is all turning pretty grim maybe we should call it The Fall, that's kind of ominous". We all thought it was a good laugh and a good joke. Then the editor said, "actually that's not bad, we'll go with that", and we're like, "what have we done?"

Mack also spoke about the development of his recent Cold Equations trilogy, including an outline of one of the earlier ideas for the structure of the trilogy:
Originally I was thinking books two and three would be focused on completely different characters, and that the unifying theme to the trilogy originally was going to be family. It was going to be all about fathers and sons; book one was going to be about Soong and Data, book two was going to be about Worf and Alexander, and book three was going to be about Picard and a grown up Rene.
Mack explained that he purposefully left the door open for where Data's story will go next, and while he hasn't pitched an idea for a follow up yet, mentioned such ideas as Data returning to Starfleet in some fashion, or going in a completely different direction, and using his new knowledge to create a whole new race of androids.

Looking further ahead than The Fall, Mack seems open to ideas, and mentioned a desire for further collaborations with his Vanguard writing opposites Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. He did however characterise the success of Vanguard as "lightning in a bottle" when asked about the idea of another series following in that style.

Despite a hint of a follow up to Rise Like Lions in Silent Weapons, he also seems content to let the mirror universe rest for now, commenting:
I don't currently have any plans to write any more mirror universe books. I feel like, with Rise Like Lions, I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in the mirror universe. I feel like the saga that I set in motion with The Sorrows of Empire reached an organic conclusion. While it's certainly not impossible to imagine the story could go forward form there, there's nothing I feel a burning need to do in the mirror universe beyond Rise Like Lions; I told the story that I set out to tell.

James Swallow's The Stuff of Dreams is out in March. While he, and David Mack will be joined by David R. Geogre III, Una McCormack, and Dayton Ward, for the five-part, The Fall series, starting in, the fall.

Meanwhile you can listen to the full interviews with Swallow and Mack on TrekFM's Literary Treks.


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