Thursday 28 June 2012

New TNG Season 1 bluray trailer

CBS have released a new trailer for the not so far away TNG Season 1 bluray release. Enjoy:

Star Trek Her Universe

I'd never heard of Her Universe before (not quite the target market I suppose), but they make geeky sci-fi clothes for girls - Batttlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and Star Wars based stuff so far (including a slightly weird Princess Leia hoodie). They are were also founded by Ashley Eckstein, aka the voice of Ahsoka in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who is below modelling the first wave of their new range of Star Trek stuff, available in a couple of weeks, with more tops and hoodies to follow. They also get their very own Star Trek label!:

Since it's the 25th anniversary of The Next Generation, we wanted to honor this iconic series with this new top! Using the opening monologue to form the Starship Enterprise, Boldly Go and show that you are a Star Trek fan!

Honor this iconic female character and show that you're an expert at communicating in this super soft and flattering costume top! Turn this top into a costume or style it as an everyday outfit and you can inspire others.

If you were a child of the 80's, chances are you had a crush on Wesley Crusher! With the 25th anniversary of The Next Generation we wanted to honor the boy that made many fangirls geek out with this "I've Got A Crush On Crusher" tee!

Can't wear a logo t-shirt to work but want to show your fangirl pride in a subtle and professional way? Now you have your wish with this women's polo top. Featuring the Vulcan hand symbol and the acronym LLAP you can tell others to Live Long and Prosper.

We love Mr. Spock and we thought the logical way to show our love was to make this I Grok Spock top! Forming a heart with the Vulcan hand symbol, you show others that you know how to dress logically.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Alan Gratz on The Assassination Game

Out this week is The Assassination Game, the fourth book in Simon Spotlight's new timeline Starfleet Academy series. A year since the last book in the series, fans of the new timeline must be itching to read the new book from first time Star Trek writer Alan Gratz, who has kindly agreed to tell me a bit about the book and how he came to write it:

The Assassination Game is the fourth book in the new Starfleet Academy series. Where does it fit into the timeline of our heroes education at the academy, and what is the book about?
The Assassination Game is about a series of terrorist events on the Starfleet Headquarters/Starfleet Academy campuses, either caused by, or in reaction to, the arrival of the Varkolak, an antagonistic alien species I invented for the book. Meanwhile, Kirk and Bones are participating in an underground student event called The Assassination Game, which sees cadets trying to "kill" each other by catching each other alone and tapping each other with a cafeteria spork. The two storylines cross, naturally, culminating in a rousing climax with a spork. :-) As to when this occurs, I was less specific about that. Let's just say it's not the characters' first year at the academy, nor their last--assuming they were there for a year or two before the events of Star Trek XI. That was one of the tricky things about writing this book, of course: trying to fit it in with what we know--and don't know--about the new alternate timeline continuity.
ThinkGeek's spork back in Trek lit!
The use of a spork wasn't inspired by Think Geek's real Starfleet styled spork was it? That will be the second literary reference to that particular quirky Trek product if so!
It was, in fact, a deliberate reference! ThinkGeek saw that in the description, and e-mailed me to see if that's why I had done it. I admitted I had, and they were so pleased they said they're going to order some to carry on the web site.

My wife bought me one of the engraved Starfleet Academy sporks from ThinkGeek to celebrate the publication of the novel.
This is your first Star Trek story, but you're an established writer of young adult and childrens' books. How did you find yourself writing a Star Trek book?
So, funny story: My dream was always to become a professional author, and I studied writing as an undergrad and a graduate student. I was also a longtime Trek fan, and enjoyed reading Star Trek novels. (Particularly Peter David's.) It wasn't long before I put my two passions together and tried to write a Star Trek novel. I wrote a story about Worf, while still an officer on the Enterprise, being sent to the Gamma Quadrant to bring back a rogue Vulcan anthropologist, ala Marlow going after Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. But Pocket Books wouldn't look at your Star Trek book unless you were agented, and no agent I approached wanted to take on a writer with a novel that could only be sold one place. (And probably for not very much money.) So my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I got an idea: she would open shop as a literary agent and submit my Star Trek novel as my agent! We printed up agency letterhead and everything.

Off the submission went, and...we heard nothing. Of course, a real agent would have called to poke them, but Wendi wasn't a real agent, and we didn't know any better. Months and months went by, with no response whatsoever, and we let it go. I was moving on to writing books for young readers by that time anyway, and though I still dreamed of writing for Star Trek, that vision was quickly disappearing in the rear view mirror. Cut to a year and a half later, and Wendi and I are hanging out at her house when, lo and behold, an editor from Pocket Books calls. Stunning! It turns out the submission had been overlooked in some way (I suspect someone used it to prop up a wobbly table) and they had just found it. The editor liked the writing, particularly the humor, but I had made Worf stop over at DS9, and unplanned crossovers were deal killers for the books. I'm not sure why it was never asked if I could just resubmit if I took that part out; perhaps it was because I had moved on. For whatever reason, my brush with Star Trek publication had passed me by.

Or so I thought. I subscribe to a Simon & Schuster e-newsletter that alerts me to new Trek books, and in late 2010 I saw they were introducing a young adult Star Trek series, set at the Academy. Young adult! Star Trek! My current work and my old passion were connected! I immediately got on the phone with my agent (a real one this time, not my wife) and asked him to find out how I could write for this series. He's of the geek tribe as well, and he jumped on the case. Within the week, he had put me contact with the editor on the series, and within a month I had submitted an idea that was approved. I was going to write a Star Trek novel! And it was all because I had now what I had lacked back when I subbed my TNG novel: a real agent. (That and five published books under my belt.)

I suppose you could say I've come full circle--though I hope its an ever-widening circle.
Book four in the Starfleet Academy series was first listed for publication more than a year ago, and has been pushed back several times, and changed listed authors, until eventually seeing light now. I understand this is at least partly down to the intricate approvals tie-ins to the new Star Trek timeline have to go through, via both CBS and Bad Robot. What was that process like for you as the author? Was there much you had to change?
I was hired to write this novel at the end of 2010, with an expected publication date, I was told, of September 2011. Not much time to write a book! But I knew the world and the characters very well, and I was enthusiastic. I also had a nice gap in the non-Trek projects I was already working on, so I could do it. I banged out an outline, which had to be approved, and waited. And waited. And waited. The problem wasn't the publisher, it was the film production company, JJ Abrams' Bad Robot. Every time something had to go through them for approval--which was everything--it took far longer than anticipated. To be fair, their real business is making movies and TV shows, not reading through Starfleet Academy tie-in novels. But those delays torpedoed the original on-sale date.

Writing a novel set in a universe that is, even as you write your story, changing and evolving, is a tricky business. I would put something into the book (a race, a Trek institution, a ship), and word would come back that Bad Robot wanted that part out in case they decided to use it later. This book also had to exist in a particular moment in this evolving timeline. In the movie, Kirk and Spock only truly meet one another during the confrontation over the Kobayashi Maru test at the Academy. Right after that, they launch into space to battle Nero. But this whole series takes place BEFORE those events. So here I am writing a story with one of the best duos ever created--Kirk and Spock--and I can't ever put them in a scene together! At one point, I had a jokey moment where one of them passes the other in the hall and asks who the other was, but I had to take it out. Kirk and Spock must never meet each other in these books. Period.

I understood the reason for all the rules and stipulations put on the novel. In fact, I kind of enjoyed them. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. But because the book took place in a current continuity AND had like 40 years of prior backstory to reckon with, it had to go through three separate steps at every stage: first, through my editor at S&S, then through the Star Trek major domo at CBS/Paramount, and finally through the folks at Bad Robot. That's a lot of cooks! I'm happy to say that all those cooks didn't spoil my broth, however. Though I had to make changes along the way, the story and dialogue are all my own, and I'm very proud of the whole book.
A familiar scene, but the tables will be turned
You're also one of just a handful of authors so far to have written the new timeline versions of the TOS characters. What sort of experience did you have thinking about these as both new and familiar characters?
I knew the Original Series versions of these characters very well, of course. I owned a copy of Star Trek XI too, and I watched it a few times in succession before working on this novel to get the new characterizations down. That said, I wanted to pull in as much of TOS and its characterizations as I could. If you read The Assassination Game, you'll find: a parallel to the dressing-down Kirk gives his crew in "The Trouble With Tribbles," only in reverse; the origins of the Corbomite Maneuver; and some explanation as to why Kirk wants to punch a guy named Finnegan in the face in the original series episode "Shore Leave," among other TOS nods. As to the new movie, I was particularly intrigued by the relationship between Spock and Uhura, so I explored that more in my book. I also got to introduce Sulu to the book series! I was pretty stoked about that, as Sulu is one of my favorite characters from TOS. In every case, I tried to imagine I really was writing for the same old characters in a new, alternate timeline: how would the events of Star Trek XI have changed them from what we already knew? And in what ways would they still be the same? It was a fun challenge.
The Starfleet Academy books preceding your own have featured a few familiar faces, including something rather Borg like, and the Romulans native to the timeline (who have subsequently also appeared in the ongoing comics series). Did you get to work in any familiar Star Trek friends or foes in your book?
I tried. There is a secret society at Starfleet Academy in my book, and originally they were called "The 31." This wasn't an origin story, as ENT already established Section 31 was around pre-Kirk. But my idea was that Section 31 had begun as a secret society at school, and since grown into something more widespread. For whatever reason, I was asked to separate my secret society from that one, and so the name changed. In my heart, it's still Section 31. Like the other authors in the series, I had wanted to take what is now a key, canon Trek institution and work it into this new timeline in a novel way, but it was cut out in the editorial process.
Gratz knows his baseball, but it didn't make the cut this time
I see several of your previous books have been based on baseball, which is of course a familiar game in the Trekverse, did you manage to sneak in any references to the game?
Ha. You know, I don't think there's a single baseball reference in this book! I do get a mention of Parrises Squares in there, and Kirk and an alien play a game of Velocity, which I borrowed from VOY. I should have put baseball in there somehow. I still play on a weekly Star Trek sim, and part of my character's backstory is that he was the third baseman on the Starfleet Academy baseball team, which I dubbed "The Starfleet Redshirts." (An homage to the Red Sox, and, of course, to everyone's favorite fall guys.) I also think "The Deep Space Nine" is an awfully funny old-schoolish name for a Star Trek baseball team.
Starfleet Academy's Alan Gratz
And finally, what's next for you? Do you hope to revisit the Star Trek universe, and if so would you be hoping to stick with the young adult books, or maybe dabble in the adult prose too? Or maybe something in the prime timeline?
Next up is the radically different Prisoner B-3087, a novel based on the true story of a man who, as a boy, survived ten different Nazi concentration camps. I'm not sure I could have done two more dissimilar books in subject or tone. That comes out in spring 2013. I don't have any plans right now to write another Star Trek novel, but that's not for lack of wanting to. I'd love to write another YA Trek novel in this universe, or write an adult novel in the on-going Trek continuity. DS9 is my favorite of the shows; if I had my pick, that's what I would write. If you'd pass the word along to the editors on the adult side, I'd appreciate it...
Thanks to Alan! I'm waiting for my own copy of the new book to arrive! You can find out more about Alan's books on his website, and find a list of the Starfleet Academy series so far, here. Screencaps above via the ever useful TrekCore.

TNG 25th anniversary T-shirts

Entertainment Earth have added listings for five new Trevco T-shirt designs, coming in August to celebrate TNG's 25th anniversary:


Assimilation2 #2 covers and preview

Also out this week is the second issue of the TNG/Doctor Who crossover Assimilation2. has revealed the plethora of covers for this issue, here are the new ones:


Meanwhile Comics Continuum have posted (readable) previews of all this week's IDW comics. Seven pages of this issue can be fund after the jump:

Return of the Archons part 2 preview

Star Trek (ongoing) #10, The Return of the Archons part 2, is out this week; here's a seven page preview (via Comics Continuum):


Tuesday 26 June 2012

TNG screening trailer, plus extended cuts?

Here's a trailer for next month's cinema screening of two TNG episodes, to mark the release of TNG Season 1 on bluray. It includes a new look at the new CGI crystalline entity:

UPDATE: have announced the screenings wi;ll now be occurring in Canada and Australia and well as the US. Fingers crossed for Europe following soon!

Meanwhile, looking ahead to season 2, Trekmovie's eyes in the twitterverse have glimpsed something exciting. The writer of Measure of a Man has revealed a 20 minute longer version of the episode may be released!:

More treats like that please CBS!

Sunday 24 June 2012

MORE Trek reference books!

I think it's safe to say that the time when it could be said Star Trek non-fiction doesn't sell enough to justify new books must be well and truly over. In the next year we have Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, Federation: The First 150 Years, the Klingon Bird of Prey Haynes Manual, Star Trek: The Next Generation Classic Quotes, and Stuck on Star Trek (whatever that is). And now Amazon have added listings for two more books in the near future!

Hope for content from Build the Enterprise?
Coming in October this year is Star Trek On Board the USS Enterprise, by Michael Okuda. It will be a hardcover book, and at the moment that's the only detail I can find. One might assume form the name it's a new technical manual, even though the Haynes USS Enterprise Manual hasn't been out that long. However the name is pretty open, it could a guide to ships, crews, or even something behind the scenes. The most exciting potential for me comes form the release date, which is pretty much right on top of TNG's 25th anniversary; would it be too much to dream this is the book form of the cancelled Build the USS Enterprise-D part work magazine?

The other book is much more obvious, and rather exciting: Star Trek the Visual Dictionary, coming in February next year will be the first Star Trek book in Dorling Kindersley's always richly illustrated and well presented Visual Dictionary series. Also in hardcover, the question here is what exactly will the book cover? New timeline or prime, and if the latter, could it include stuff from the new movie; it might seem a slightly to early release ahead of the film for that though. Whatever it covers I'm sure it will be a pleasing addition to our Star Trek libraries.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Latest from Westland

Westland Giftware have added some new products to their range of Star Trek apparel. This time it's mostly salt and pepper shakers. There's an Enterprise and Klingon D7 pair, similar in style to the previous Enterprise and shuttlecraft couple:

Uhura and McCoy figurine shakers, again much like the previous Kirk and Spock couple:

Then there's the Kirk in shaker shaker set (no idea where the salt and pepper come from):

And finally if seasoning isn't your thing there's a new clock:

Finally a cover for The Assassination Game. Plus Harbinger reprint?

The latest book in the new timeline Starfleet Academy series, The Assassination Game, is supposed to be out in a week, but it's only now that the Simon and Schuster listing has finally been updated with a cover for the book! Here it is, with everyone in red; perfect assassination colour!

You can also read an excerpt, chapter one from the book, here.

The Simon and Schuster online catalogue also has a new entry; under the Gallery Books imprint there is now a listing for the first Vanguard book, Harbinger. Gallery Books normally do the larger format Trek books (plus the new ebook releases, but this is listed as paperback), so one assumes this will be a trade paperback reprint. It's listed with an August release.

Inside the Trill have posted a sample from the forthcoming, Federation: The First 150 Years; Jeff Carlisle's anatomical art of a Trill with symbiont:

J.K. Woodwards TNG/Doctor Who art for sale

J.K. Woodward is selling his original painted artwork for the first issue of the TNG/Doctor Who crossover Assimilation2. You can see what he currently has on offer, here. Even if you don't care to splash out on the art it's interesting to see the artwork without those pesky word balloons. See:

There are covers on offer too, like the flashback cover for issue 3:

Plus it's interesting to see how some of this stuff was constructed:

The latest from DST

Diamond Select Toys have officially announced their new Star Trek Minimates USS Enterprise vehicle (first spotted back in February). Here's how they describe it:
A Diamond Select Release! Designed and Sculpted by Art Asylum! Star Trek Minimates return! After a long absence, DST is bringing back Trek Minimates with their most spectacular Minimates vehicle yet -- the starship Enterprise! With an opening cockpit and a hidden Jeffries tube in the engineering section, the ship measures 10 inches long and includes an exclusive Minimate of Captain Kirk.

Meanwhile Forbidden Planet have added a listing for DST's latest Star Trek prop, the Klingon disruptor, which has been working it's way from DST since at least 2010! Forbidden Planet suggest a December release, just shortly after DST's new Klingon Bird-of-Prey.

Star Trek cycling jerseys on the way has released the first images of Retro's new Star Trek cycling jerseys. The first off three TOS designs will be available from August:


Monday 18 June 2012

Fantastic First Contact poster for Assimilation2 #3

Elena Casagrande has posted in her DeviantART gallery a new cover for issue 3 of the TNG/Doctor Who cross over Assimilation2; a variant of the First Contact poster featuring The Doctor and co. The cover was coloured by Ilaria Traversi.

This isn't IDW's first take on a Trek film poster, for The Last Generation they did a variation of The Undiscovered Country's poster, swapping in Picard, Sulu, and the Excelsior. And of course for Countdown, Nero and the Movie Adaptation they played with the format used in early teaser posters for the 2009 film.

Thanks to TrekBBS user NickyBoy for pointing out the new First Contact cover to me.

New cover for Ships of the Line 2013

Amazon have posted a new cover for Ships of the Line 2013, finally replacing the cover art from Reap the Whirlwind. Tying into all the TNG love in this 25th anniversary year the new cover features the Enterprise-D running away from Q's net thing from Encounter at Farpoint:

Look closely at the "Star Trek" it has an awesome starship hull texture. I hope that's one of Universe Publishing's new additions to the Ships of the Line series going forward, as it looks great. Amazon are still using the old stand-in backcover art, but worry not, the actual calendar features all new images (not the reuses suggested on the stand in), you can see it, here.

Sunday 17 June 2012

More details from Hive press release

IDW have put out a press release to further announce their new Borg TNG series, Hive. Here's what it tells us:
There’s no easy way to say it… the Borg are back. The cubes, the Queen, Locutus, and their intractable stance on resistance have reared their ugly heads once again to jeopardize the fate of our Galaxy. With all evil, though, must come good, and who better to thwart the Borg’s steely agenda than Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise?

For the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Hugo Award-winner Brannon Braga, one of The Next Generation’s key writers, is joining forces with fellow Trek scribe Terry Matalas and artist Joe Corroney to bring Captain Picard and the Enterprise’s crew back for a dynamic new journey.

"It’s a thrill and privilege to be writing in the Star Trek universe again,” said Braga. “This graphic medium will provide the narrative ambition and visual scope this story deserves -- the final chapter in The Borg saga!"

In a distant future, where the deadly Borg have assimilated the entire Galaxy, Picard, his crew, and some unexpected allies must prove once and for all that resistance is not futile! Packed with mind-bending twists, time-jumping action, and revered, genre-defining characters, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: HIVE promises to be a must-read event for fans of the TNG’s intrepid legacy.

TNG Pez on the way

TrekMovie report that the TOS Pez candy dispenser set released a few years ago will this year be joined by a TNG edition, as part of the series' 25th anniversary. There will be 150,000 made, available from September. Here's what they will look like:

Saturday 16 June 2012

An exciting September from IDW have posted IDW's Star Trek solicitations for September, which is looking like an exciting month! A new TNG series featuring the Borg, titled, Hive, will be starting; the series recently hinted at be Joe Corroney will be written by no less than Brannon Braga! (And it sounds more like IDW's own Alien Spotlight: Borg than Destiny.) The month also sees a new Redshirt focused story in the ongoing series, the next issue in the TNG/Doctor Who crossover (covers released yesterday), plus a new large format edition of John Byrne's Romulan comics.

Star Trek (ongoing) #13: The Redshirt's Tale
By Mike Johnson, with art by Stephen Molnar and cover by Tim Bradstreet, plus sketch and photo covers.
...even the crew members wearing the dreaded color are in on the joke. Yes, the story is told from the point of a view of a redshirt on the Enterprise. It was nice knowing you!

Assimilation2 #5
By Scott and David Tipton with Tony Lee, with art and cover by J.K. Woodward, and alternate cover by The Sharp Brothers.

As the covers and blurb for this were released yesterday, here's the awesome Sharp Brothers cover artwork (without all the titles), from their DeviantART gallery:

Hive #1
By Brannon Braga and Terry Matalas, with art by Joe Corroney and “Famous Borg in History” cover by David Messina.
IDW will join in the celebration of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s 25th anniversary with a four-part mini-series entitled Star Trek: The Next Generation: Hive... Hive #1 posits that in the distant future, the Borg and their king, Locutus, have assimilated the whole galaxy. The only hope can be found in the past, with Captain Picard and his Enterprise crew.

Star Trek: Romulans Treasury Edition
By John Byrne
Star Trek: Romulans Treasury Edition, comes from Uncanny X-Men and Next Men veteran John Byrne. And when we say it comes from him, we’re not kidding. Byrne wrote Romulans Treasury Edition – which compiles three TOS stories featuring the Romulans – and also drew the art and cover. It will run 72 pages, measure 9.25” x 14.25.
This is a larger size omnibus of three of John Byrne's Romulan comics (presumably his original Alien Spotlight, and the two part Romulans: The Hollow Crown, but missing out on the three part Schism, or the Balance of Terror comic from the existing omnibus)

Assimilation2, Volume 1
By Scott and David Tipton with Tony Lee, with art and a cover by J.K. Woodward
...the first few several titles in the landmark Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover featuring Captain Picard and the Doctor, the Borg and the Cybermen.
While this listing still doesn't officially confirm it, the page count and release date would suggest this will comprise the first half/four issues, of the eight part series.

Friday 15 June 2012

First peak at Assimilation2 #5

io9 have released the solicitation blurb and covers for the fifth issue in the TNG/Doctor Who crossover, Assimilation2. Here's how the describe the September issue:
The two greatest science-fiction properties of all time cross over for the first time in history, in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION²! Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces one of the most difficult decisions of his life, but the fate of the galaxy may depend on it! Can the Doctor convince him to make the correct choice?
And here are two of the very awesome covers, from the series' artist J.K. Woodward, and the Sharp Brothers - The latter frustratingly appears to be a retail incentive cover:

Find Star Trek comics, toys, statues, and collectibles at!