Tuesday 24 April 2012

CLB on new TOS DTI novel

StarTrek.com have posted an interview with Christopher L. Bennett, regarding his new DTI novel, Forgotten History. I recommend reading the full interview, as it's a rather witty piece by Bennett in which present him talks to his past self, complete with cameos from Dulmur and Lucsly when the interview threatens temporal integrity. But if you only want the highlights: Bennett talked a bit about how the new novel came into being:
We knew from Deep Space Nine: “Trials and Tribble-ations” that James T. Kirk had seventeen separate temporal violations listed in the DTI’s files, so surely there must be an unchronicled one worth writing about.

The suggestion sparked a bigger idea in me, though. Watching the Clock and earlier stories had established the DTI’s founding date as 2270, right around the end of the famous five-year mission. So why not tell the origin story of the DTI itself? I could have Lucsly and Dulmur—the DTI agents featured in “Trials and Tribble-ations” and the lead characters of Watching the Clock—encounter a temporal mystery tying into the origins of their own department, a mystery suggesting that Kirk and the Enterprise played an even more integral role in the DTI’s formative years than history recorded, and use their investigation as a framing sequence for that story. Not only could I do for the original series’ time travel episodes what I did for various twenty-fourth-century ones in Watching the Clock—tell the stories behind the stories and explore their background, connections, and consequences—but I could extend the tale forward into the DTI’s early years and finally get to write that follow-up to Star Trek: Ex Machina that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
As well as noting some of inspiration and opportunities he took in doing a TOS-era DTI novel:
I’m getting to address a lot of things I’ve often wondered about Kirk’s time travel adventures: how did Starfleet react upon learning time travel was possible? How to explain the coincidence that the same starship made two accidental time journeys and discovered the Guardian of Forever within a single year? What led Starfleet to risk sending the Enterprise back to 1968 for historical research in “Assignment: Earth,” or using the Guardian for research in “Yesteryear”?

But that’s just part of it. The timeframe of the book lets me fulfill some long-standing wishes: telling a story employing characters and concepts from Star Trek: The Animated Series (and not the characters one would expect); exploring the internal layout of the Enterprise based on what was revealed in Star Trek: Enterprise’s “In a Mirror, Darkly” as well as the original and animated series; elaborating on the end of the five-year mission and the process of the Enterprise refit; and most of all, carrying forward the post-TMP adventures of the Enterprise and advancing some of the major character arcs that Ex Machina set in motion. All of this is secondary to the saga of the DTI’s formative years, of course, but it’s all in there, and then some.
Bennett also noted how the book was initially planned as a TOS branded title, and how he has written it to be accessible to TOS fans:
Although its frame sequence does feature the DTI characters from Watching the Clock and takes place after it, I’ve tried to treat them the same way I’d handle brand-new characters, so that TOS fans picking up this book can learn all they need to know about the DTI team without needing to read anything else. I’ve even tried to make the 2383 portions understandable for TOS fans unfamiliar with the later shows, for instance pointing out that relations with the Klingons are better in Lucsly’s time than in Kirk’s. Although Forgotten History is the second DTI book, it’s my hope that it can work equally well if you read it first—appropriately, for it is the origin story of the department.
You can read the whole interview, here. Forgotten History is available now in paperback and ebook.

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