Tuesday 30 September 2008

Big Spock

Have you always wanted a(n Ultimate) quarter scale pet Mr. Spock? Perhaps to keep your lonely quarter scale Captain Kirk company? Then you're in luck! - One is on the way from DST, and on the Art Asylum blog there are several pictures of him, like these:

See some more at the gallery and original blog post.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Pocket catalogue blurbs

Time has come again when Pocket Books releases it's solicitationy catalogue sort of thing. In light of the controversy this particular release has stirred up over at the TrekBBS I give you this warning/disclaimer: Use your common sense, the books described are months away from being published and still in production, such early pre-release info is of course subject to change.

Not many new covers in this one as most have already been released. One that is new (though very likely to change as it's even marked as not final) is for the Crucible trilogy hardcover omnibus. No other new details for this release:

There's also a new cover for the next New Frontier novel, Treason:

Jumping ahead three years from the events depicted in Missing in Action, tensions within the New Thallonian Protectorate are at a fever pitch following the murder of Prime Minister Si Cwan. The sudden power vacuum will have far-reaching ramifications for Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, the crew of the USS Excalibur, and all of Sector 221-G itself....

A Singular Destiny
The Destiny trilogy changed the Star Trek universe, devastating worlds and lives from every series. Now, the fallout of that apocalyptic saga is viewed through the eyes of an all-new character: Sonek Pran is an outsider, a man who can go places and get things done that no one else can. When events threatening to undermine the galaxy’s attempts to heal itself become increasingly widespread, Sonek’s investigation leads him to uncover a challenge to the Federation and its allies utterly unlike anything they have faced before.

Author Keith R.A. DeCandido has described this blurb as "[not] inaccurate, but it isn't 100% accurate, either......."

Titan: Over a Torrent Sea
In the aftermath of the shocking crossover trilogy Destiny, Titan’s return to its mission of exploration leads to the discovery of an astounding new world with a complex ecosystem unlike anything Captain Riker and his crew have encountered before. At the same time, while one father mourns the tragic loss of a child, another looks for hope as a long awaited birth draws near.

Voyager: Full Circle
Following the events of Destiny, the broken and weary crew of the starship Voyager is reunited to spearhead a mission they are uniquely qualified to undertake. But even the efforts of its new Captain to revitalize this wounded crew may not be enough see the mission through, for the journey is paved with blood and deep scars that will not fade...and populated with ghosts from the past.

Author Kirsten Beyer commented that "It sounds like it was written long before the story or novel were anywhere near a final form" (ie, this one is quite inaccurate)

Vanguard: Open Secrets
Following the events of Reap the Whirlwind, this new novel takes the ongoing saga to a whole new level as a new commander assumes control of Starbase 47—while the old one stands trial for treason. Meanwhile, the station’s intelligence officer fights for her life and her very mind, as tensions with the Klingons escalate into all-out war.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Water world

TrekBBS user makcalhoun has posted an interview with Christopher L. Bennett which was apparently conducted for the German star Trek website, TrekZone.

Bennett talks about his life, influences and interests, and also gives some details on his next Titan novel, Over a Torrent Sea:

"It's another story exploring exotic alien life forms and environments, but on a different scale from Orion's Hounds. It's mostly set on a type of planet that was only theorized four years ago: an “ocean planet,” a world that's mostly water and ice by volume. No continents, no islands, just an endless ocean that might as well be bottomless too, since at around 90 kilometers down, the pressure becomes so crushingly huge that the water itself is forced into ice even though it's boiling hot. It's a planet full of exotic and unusual life forms that shouldn't even exist there. And it's grounded in cutting-edge planetary science.

Naturally, since it's an ocean world, the story focuses heavily on Aili Lavena, Titan's water-breathing navigator. She's even on the cover of the book, in an impressive painting by Cliff Nielsen. This is the first time we've really had a chance to get to know her, and she won't have many secrets left by the end. Heck, the cover alone leaves practically nothing to the imagination."

"Since Titan's adventures take place far beyond the Federation, there was very little overlap between OaTS and the other post-Destiny books. Mainly what I dealt with was the personal toll of the trilogy's events, how Titan's personnel deal with tragedy and move forward with their lives. Still, Dave, Keith DeCandido, Bill Leisner, Kirsten Beyer, and I have been staying in touch and sharing our manuscripts with each other to make sure all our books fit together. Marco is overseeing it all on his end, but he doesn't micromanage."

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Too Many Presidents

...is the title of the fifth and final issue of Assignment: Earth, which is out this week, and which Comic Book Resources have posted a five page preview of. Here's a two-page spread:

And go, here, for the rest.

Meanwhile on John Byrne's forum the writer and artist has divulged that the second Assignment: Earth miniseries wont be starting until next September (too long! *rocks*).

Monday 15 September 2008

Mirror Images 5 cover

On his myspace blog, Joe Corroney has released his cover for the fifth and final issue of the Mirror Images miniseries:

IDW December

Comic News International has posted IDW's solicitations for December. This will be the first time there has been only one miniseries running since the first few months IDW's Star Trek run...:

The Last Generation #2
On a Klingon-run Earth, a desperate rebellion led by Jean-Luc Picard has found the key to restoring the fractured timeline: the android Data, who has scrutinized the past and unraveled the key to their broken history. But the Resistance must get Data to Earth—and that means plunging directly into the dark heart of the Empire…

Assignment: Earth omnibus
The 1968 TV episode “Assignment Earth” had been the Season Two finale for the original Star Trek series, and was intended by Gene Roddenberry as the pilot for a spin-off series that never came to pass. Now, acclaimed writer/artist John Byrne delivers the series 40 years after it would have debuted, recounting the adventures of interstellar agent Gary Seven and his Earth-born assistant as they covertly confront threats to the past so that they can save Star Trek’s future.

Sunday 14 September 2008

The Last Generation Woodward covers

Andrew Steven Harris has made a new blog post revealing J.K. Woodward's covers for the second and third issues of The Last Generation. Woodward will apparently be doing a cover for each issue of the series. Here's the third issue:

And here's the second (as posted on Woodward's website):

See the original article for pencil sketch versions of both covers, and lots of info on Woodward, including some info about his artwork for Keith R.A. DeCandido's Klingon Alien Spotlight.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

The Hollow Crown preview

Newsarama have posted a five-page preview for issue one of Romulans: The Hollow Crown (out this week). Here's one page:

See the rest, here.

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Reviews: Recent reads

I’ve been catching up on my Trek reading recently, and trying to keep up with new releases that most interest me too, so I’ve got through a stack of books, and offer a mini review/reflection of each:

Ahead of the release of Fearful Symmetry I felt it would be useful to refresh my memory of Warpath, as I read it far too fast the first time, and enjoyed it a lot, so was not begrudged to read it a second time. After the period of reflection for the DS9 relaunch in Worlds of DS9, Warpath threw us into full throttle again. It also gives us a nice continuation/resolution to the ongoing Vaughn/Prynn tensions. I loved this book the first time, and still do, it’s fast paced, full of action, with a bunch of soul too, a really enjoyable read which set us up eagerly anticipating whatever came next.
Fearful Symmetry
And what came next was this. I enjoyed this book, but was also a little disappointed, it did not have enough payoff after Warpath, both seem like bridging novels between what came before and whatever is next and I’m disappointed Fearful Symmetry didn’t move the overall DS9 story forward more. However a part from that the book was great, the Iliana Ghemor side was particularly compelling – I found the new revelation about Dukat’s character a particularly interesting twist. Fingers crossed this next instalment in the sage has more payoff, the Kira side of this book didn’t really seem to get very far.
Day of the Vipers
The first book in the Terok Nor trilogy – I was a little nervous about this series, as I’ve not always found the Cardassians and Bajorans the most interesting races, so a story with them and little else was something I was unsure about. Well this book cast aside any such doubts. There are very few familiar characters here, and even the setting of Bajor and Cardassia is unfamiliar, coming from an earlier time, but nothing alienated me, the book grabbed me instantly and pulled right to the end, you obviously know where the story is going, and it’s a tragedy for Bajor, but a beautiful piece of writing – I think this book will be remembered as one of the Star Trek greats, and it made me much more eager to read the rest of the trilogy (but I put it on hold to catch up with other books first)

Obsidian Alliances
Overall I found this book less successful than Glass Empires, but I think that could be entirely the responsibility of The Sorrows of Empire, which was a fantastic story that made the first anthology shine.

The Mirror-Scaled Serpent – There were a lot of interesting elements to this story, I sort of liked the separate parts, but I didn’t find the story altogether that special. There’s nothing wrong with it, it makes good use of all the Voyager elements, and puts some nice mirror–twists on them, it sets up Kes to be something exciting in the future, and pays off on what The Sorrows of Empire established a bit. I look forward to a greater payoff to the bigger stories in the Mirror Universe at some point.

Cutting Ties – To my great surprise this story was my favourite in the book. Surprised because I’m not a New Frontier reader (yet) and therefore expected to be thrown off by having to understand not just unfamiliar characters, but mirror versions of them. But I wasn’t at all, I just found the story enjoyable through and through.

Saturn’s Children – I found this story a bit forgettable. Though upon refreshing my memory it wasn’t too bad. I found the Terran Rebellion side of the story the more interesting element, it had a coolness factor of all the Defiants and the deeper philosophical musing over the redeemablity of the terrans.

Greater Than the Sum
The TNG relaunch has had a bumpy ride so far, but this novel irons everything out and tells a lovely story to boot. The book sorts out all the mess with the crew, though regrettably disposed of T’Lana (she had such a good setup in Resistance that despite her being a pain in the arse I was hoping she’d stick around to redeem herself) and thankfully also disposed of Leybenzon (in a nice permanent way). It also fleshed out the crew, the highlights of the newbies being the quirky and refreshing take on a half Human/half Vulcan T'Ryssa Chen (who the story somewhat revolved around) and the beautifully characterised new chief of security Jasminder Choudhury. Beyond the crew the story also neatly tied up some loose ends with the Borg (and not just the ones left over from previous relaunch stories) and introduced a glorious new lifeform. I loved this book, easily on par with Q & A as the best of the TNG relaunch to date.

Orion’s Hounds
I found the first two Titan novels less satisfying than I hoped, so hadn’t rushed to continue the series, but with Destiny on the horizon I thought I should catch up. Thankfully Orion’s Hounds was a much more satisfying tale, new life and new civilisations on an incredible scale. I really enjoyed the exploration of the galactic ecosystem, I really enjoyed getting to know the diverse crew, and I really enjoyed this book. The benchmark for future Titan novels I hope.
Sword of Damocles
I found the start of the this next Titan book almost irritating, the author conveyed a little too well the tense atmosphere on the Titan. Thankfully once the story got off the ship and onto the featured planet it got much more interesting and enjoyable. Another wining entry in the Titan series.

Kobayashi Maru
What I really liked about this book: It felt big, interstellar politics spread across Earth, Vulcan, Romulus Qo’noS and beyond. I like that the story doesn’t restrict itself to tightly to Enterprise herself, but explores every facet of the universe the series set up (here’s hoping for a Worlds of DS9-like series for Enterprise at some point). This book seemed quite strongly like a sequel to The Good That Men Do, and that’s fine, I’m glad they’ve found a convincing way to use Trip’s new position – I was concerned his storyline might seem like a distraction from everything else for the sake of keeping him about, but he’s well used. The new Romulan weapon was nicely used too, though with Margaret Clark’s hints that they plan to fix the apparent discontinuity of TOS having more primitive computer systems I’m a little worried the ultimate defence will be a little too like Battlestar Galactica. But overall good book, I await the Romulan War.

The Never Ending Sacrifice details

On the Trek BBS Marco Palmieri has revealed the first details of next year's Cardassian focused novel The Never Ending Sacrifice:

On how the book ties into the DS9 relaunch and specifically Fearful Symmetry, where the in-universe book The Never-Ending Sacrifice was quite prominently referenced: "It's really just a happy coincidence. The references to TNES (which was first mentioned in DS9's "The Wire") in Fearful Symmetry predate the decision by Una to title her novel The Never Ending Sacrifice."

And on the setting: "It actually begins in Season 2 of Deep Space Nine, and continues through the current post-TV novels, moving some months beyond Fearful Symmetry and The Soul Key." "What I can tell you at this stage is that the decision to begin the story in Season 2 is not a random one, and that readers will learn for the first time what it was like to be on the ground on Cardassia in the years before, during, and after the Klingon invasion, the destruction of the Obsidian Order, the rise of Dukat as Union leader under the Dominion, the Dominion War itself, and the postwar years--all from the perspective of someone who isn't Garak."

Read the original post, here.


The Art Asylum blog has posted the results of a recent DST: Star Trek Q & A session. Some of the highlights from their responses include:

The first details on a new tribble toy: "the Tribble will have sound and motion. When you first pick it up it will shake slightly and purr after 5 seconds or more shaking it will “scream” and shake more violently, as if a Klingon had picked it up."

On the next starship models they want to produce; they are aiming for about one ship a year, the Defiant is in their top five to-do list, but not one of the next two. The Reliant is also in the top five and they would like to do a "bad guy" (Klingon, Romulan, etc) at some point. Voyager is unlikely to happen.

On action figures; They'd like to fill out the sets they've started, with Quark for DS9 and Rand and Chapel if they ever do another TOS wave, but no commitments as yet.

What they do have plans for in figures: "We’re going to keep going with the movie 2 packs until sales slow down so there is every chance we could get all the way to the TNG movies, we’d certainly like to." and they have plans for some Voyager figures, but not the whole crew.

For the full questions and answers, see the original report, here.

Friday 5 September 2008

Shards and Shadows story list

On the TrekBBS Pocket Books editor Marco Palmieri has announced the full story list for next year's Mirror Universe short story anthology Shards and Shadows:

"Nobunaga", by Dave Stern (Enterprise)

"Ill Winds", by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (pre-TOS/April)

"The Greater Good", by Margaret Wander Bonanno (TOS)

"The Black Flag", by James Swallow (Vanguard)

"The Traitor", by Michael Jan Friedman (Stargazer)

"The Sacred Chalice", by Rudy Josephs (TNG)

"Bitter Fruit", by Susan Wright (Voyager)

"Family Matters", by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Klingon Empire)

"Homecoming", by Peter David (New Frontier)

"A Terrible Beauty", by Jim Johnson (DS9)

"Empathy", by Christopher L. Bennett (Titan)

"For Want of a Nail", by David Mack (TNG-ish)

Palmieri and Keith R.A. DeCandido have also explained the lack of a Corps of Engineer story on that list. They initially planned to release a CoE Mirror Universe ebook along side the anthology, but after the ebooks were put on hiatus that plan had to be cancelled, and there was no space for an extra story in the anthology due to budget and contract issues.

Gods of Night excerpt (number 3!)

TrekWeb have released another excerpt from Destiny, book one: Gods of Night. Chapter three (on the Titan) can be found, here.

Thursday 4 September 2008

Andrew Steven harris on his Last Generation

TrekWeb have posted a (huge) interview with Andrew Steven Harris, discussing his forthcoming Myriad Universes miniseries, The Last Generation, and his tenure at IDW as Star Trek editor.

First, a pretty extensive summary of the miniseries: "Last Generation spirals out of the finale of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, in which an assassination plot threatens the historic Khitomer peace conference between the Federation and the Klingons, their homeworld now dying after an ecological disaster. In the movie, of course, Kirk derails the conspiracy just in time. In Last Generation, for reasons that become apparent later on, Kirk's rescue comes a moment too late; the conspiracy succeeds, the peace talks collapse, and the Federation and Klingons slide inexorably toward war. But, because the Klingons now find themselves in a battle for their very survival, they fight even more ferociously than ever before, leading to their eventual conquest of Earth.

The series itself begins seven decades after the failure at Khitomer; the Klingons now rule the planet, while Jean-Luc Picard champions a rebellion against them, struggling to liberate Earth. But for the Resistance, the situation has grown increasingly desperate-Worf, the Terran warlord, begins tightening his grip, and it's quickly becoming now-or-never, do-or-die. The rebellion's final hope lies in the computer brain of an android named Data, invented for the sole purpose of scrutinizing the Empire for weaknesses.

Instead of potential weaknesses, however, Data discovers a single, fundamental flaw underlying the entire foundation of Empire: It was never meant to conquer Earth. History has fractured, and the Empire, as it is now, was never meant to exist. When Picard recognizes that the cracks in the timeline all converge on Khitomer, he realizes that their only chance for survival has become to travel back to the past and repair the damage.

But this isn't as philosophically obvious as it sounds-the members of his Resistance have all lived inside the fist of the Empire's brutality for years, losing countless friends and family to unrepentant Klingon bloodlust. To some, the idea of changing time-even correctly-to transform their occupiers into trusted allies remains unthinkable, virtual madness.

So, with the Resistance racing against what may be its final days, Picard must contend with the splintering dissent that infects all guerrilla movements, holding his insurrection together by sheer force of personality, all while struggling against an overwhelmingly superior enemy and searching for a way to rethread history itself. It is, shall we say, not exactly a stroll through the vineyards."

On the characters: "in addition to alternate versions of Picard, Worf, and Data, you'll see a character from the Original Series, a character from Voyager, and a few other nifty surprises along the way. (A fan of "Yesterday's Enterprise"? You'll be happy here.) There's also a character who's only ever appeared in a Pocket Books novel". Plus an extensive role for Wesley Crusher apparently.

Harris reassures readers that despite all the timelines and time travel stuff hinted at he will not be utilising the "reset button" to wipe the story out of existence at it's conclusion

On the relationship between IDW and Pocket Books which led to the series falling under the Myriad Universes banner Harris commented that when he took on the Star Trek editing job he was sceptical about trying to tie to two companies work together, seeing it as limiting to be tied down to a whole other extended continuity. However as time went on he saw the light and started to forge a relationship with Pocket, starting with the New Frontier miniseries and continuing now in Myriad Universes.

Commenting on his successor as Trek editor, Andy Schmidt: "I think Andy's a stellar choice (no pun intended) for the Trek editor spot, a consummately skilled writer and editor who's extremely well-connected with high-level professionals in the industry. So I think we'll see some top-notch projects coming off his desk, whatever they may be". Harris notes that Schmidt has already indicated a greater effort to tie in with Pocket, and also notes IDW and Pocket have good relationship from shared projects on other franchises, so the future is bright for further collaborative efforts.

Read the full interview, at Trekweb.

History of Star Trek Online, 2379-2380

Cryptic Studios have released ther first of their history summaries leading into Star Trek Online (set a couple of decades after the current chronological final frontier).

In summary: 2379-2380 following Nemesis, Romulan space is in political disarray with factions led by Donatra and Tal'aura at odd and the Remans making demands. The Enterprise is repaired and relaunched on it's mission of exploration, while half the crew is reassigned in the months long refit, including those who now serve on the Titan. (an oddly long time after the Dominion War) The female changeling is put on trial and detained at the maximum security facility on Ananke Alpha, and Ro Laren is also tried for defecting to the maquis a decade earlier and is sent for rehabilitation on Earth. On Cardassia Keiko O'Brien leads an agricultural project in Andak, which is opposed by "xenophobic groups such as the True Way and Gul Macet's conservative bloc" but supported by the likes of Elim Garak. Memory Alpha predicts that without more similar projects the Cardassian Union could fall in three years.

A rather odd mix of closely following details from prose works (lots from the DS9 relaunch, TNG relaunch, Titan, Articles of the Federation, etc) yet also utterly rejecting elements from the same works: The fate of Ro and classifying Macet as xenophobic. A curious mix, I wonder what's next... Read the full report, here.

David Mack on Destiny

Two of my fellow Trek-news sites have posted interviews with David Mack, discussing the soon to start Destiny trilogy. Here are highlights and summaries from TrekMovie and Unreality SF's reports:

Firstly, Mr Mack sums up the trilogy for us: "In terms of its story, the trilogy is about Starfleet, the Federation, and our heroes facing their greatest threat, the Borg, in an all-out clash of civilisations. As far as its theme, it’s about the need for hope."

"Within that framework, each book also has its own thematic idea. The first book, Gods of Night, is about the way that violence often seems to be self-perpetuating — or, as expressed in the words of Bertolt Brecht, ‘Der Krieg findet immer einen Ausweg.’ (‘War always finds a way.’) The second book, Mere Mortals, is about the way that we are each our own prison, and the way that we reflect and eventually personify the qualities of our confinement. The final book in the trilogy, Lost Souls, is about finding nobility in the very struggle of life itself."

And also explaining the some of the setting: "It is a major crossover event, but it principally involves series set during the 24th century: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Titan, New Frontier, Corps of Engineers, Klingon Empire, and more. The parts of the story that take place in other timeframes don’t have a direct link to the 24th-century plotline…At least, not at first."

"Different parts of the trilogy take place during different timeframes. The primary story, which features our major characters, transpires over the course of approximately seven days. In the first book, "Gods of Night," the flashback story covers several months during a different century. Book two, "Mere Mortals," has a flashback storyline that covers more than 850 years. The last book of the trilogy, "Lost Souls," features a flashback tale that covers a period of a few months in the distant past."

He also talked about the development process, just getting the outline for the whole trilogy done took six months. When Mack and his editors finally approached Paula Block for approval she asked for no changes, but ominously asked "Are you sure you really want to do this?"

Once that was done tying in the trilogy with the rest of the Trek-litverse took some effort, two editors were involved; Marco Palmieri (who oversees DS9, Voyager, Titan and Klingon Empire) and Margaret Clark (TNG and Enterprise). Mack also made the effort to coordinate with the writers of works set before and after the trilogy to keep everything consistent: "In many ways, we have begun treating the writing of Star Trek novels like running a writers’ room on a television series, with the editors serving as showrunners and each of us doing our part to tell the individual stories while safeguarding the continuity and narrative cohesion of the franchise as a whole."

The Unreality SF interview also went into some depth on Mack's other work, including quite a lot on the development of the Vanguard series, particularly how the series managed to develop it's back and forth rhythm of authorship (between Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore): "Marco, Dayton, Kevin, and I met over lunch one day during Shore Leave a few years back and discussed the notion of turning it into a back-and-forth game of one-upmanship. The idea appealed to all of us. It was an approach that hadn’t been done much before that, and we all felt that we worked well together. And so, this crazy little conspiracy was hatched."

He also mentioned that James Swallow's Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows short story "The Black Flag" will be a Vanguard story. And on that note Marco Palmieri recently made a post on the TrekBBS detailing which series will be in the anthology, in addition to that Vanguard tale and a mirror-captain April story there will be: "Enterprise, the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, New Frontier, Stargazer, Gorkon, Titan, and one more that's outside those classifications, but which may be considered TNG" One of which will be by David Mack.

For lots more detail on Destiny and David Mack see the articles at TrekMovie and Unreality SF.