Monday 27 July 2020

Star Trek book updates from Comic Con

A smattering of panels from the the virtual San Diego Comic Con this weekend touched upon Star Trek books, with either dedicated discussion on the series, or mentions from publishers. While there were no big formal announcements, news of several new series, books, and authors did get a mention. Continue below for all the details of novels and comics revealed.

From the world of Star Trek novels, new books were framed with in the exciting promise of a real push for greater diversity in the pool of writers producing Star Trek books - Much as I like the works of the regular writers, there is a really noticeable lack of voices that are anything other than male or white, so this is a very welcome move. Simon and Schuster publicity manager Lauren Jackson broached this subject in the All the Starfleet Ladies: Then and Now panel:
I was trying to do some promotions for Women's History Month, Black History Month... And I went to Ed [Schlesinger]'s office, Ed is the senior editor who works on, and I guess brand manager of Star Trek too. And I was like "Dude, what are we- We've got to like, work on this", and he's like "I've been working on it for so long", and I was like "let's get it underway, let's really try to diversify this list, and get the perspectives of these authors".
We dug deep, and a bunch of us got together in a room - I'm not even kidding you, it was like a war-room - And we were like "Ok, what's the strategy? Who are we looking for?". And I'm super proud, I'm super proud that Ed went out of his way, and he approached Cassandra, and we have another author under contract now.

The Cassandra mentioned was Cassandra Rose Clarke, a writer of several sci-fi and fantasy adult and young adult novels, as well as a couple of Halo tie-in books. She was also part of the panel, and revealed she's working on a TNG novel, focused on Crusher and Troi:
The book has kind of two story lines, and one features Crusher, and one features Troi. It's given them a chance to really kind of be leaders, and to lead the adventure along. Which is something felt like like they never really got to do in the show a whole lot; I always felt like they were kind of there to sort of be like, the girls; and they would do the girl stuff. So that was something I was really excited about; was to really kind of dive into them and give them a chance to really kind of step forward.
The other author was also revealed to be Alex White, a non-binary person, and author of original novels, including The Salvagers trilogy, and a couple of Alien tie-in books too. Details of their new Star Trek book weren't revealed, but they did appear on another panel themselves: Picard 2020: A Literary Retrospective, discussing Picard, and Trek in general, from, well, a literary perspective. During that discussion the question was asked, "no spoilers, but what character would you write?", and White's instant response was:
I would definitely write a Dax book. I need more Dax in my life. I love Dax because first of all you have such an interesting kind of relationship between the lives. And a character whose identity kind of transcends any particular body they're in, but doesn't. It's such an unusual dichotomy, and so I loved that about Dax, and found Dax fascinating. I always loved this "oh I have this wild skill because of past life kind of stuff".
Also appearing on that latter panel with no obvious Trek connection was author Stephen Graham Jones. Could that be another new voice for the Trekverse?

IDW revealed some new information in their own IDW in 2020 and Beyond panel, where they gave the first news of a new Voyager series is in the works. The series will focus on Seven of Nine, and be coming "pretty soon" as described by IDW's John Barber; but no other details were discussed - This will be IDW's first ever Voyager series, with the series having been represented previously by just a single one-shot mirror universe story Mirrors and Smoke, plus elements in crossovers WaypointThe Q Conflict, and Flesh and Stone.

Also hinted at in the panel are plans for what comes after the current TOS maxiseries Year Five, which is about half way through its run so far. Barber teased at the series continuing beyond the confines the current last-year-of-the-five-year-mission premise:
So I'm really excited with what's coming up in the last half of Year Five - I say last half, but I don't mean that with a sense of finality, because as we have some very cool ideas of where to go after that, that, that I think people that like Year Five are going to be very please with. I, as a Star Trek fan, since I was like maybe eight or nine, I'm very excited to see what this next thing is.
I am delighted at the prospect of Year Five being able to continue in some fashion, it's been one of IDW's best ever Trek series.

If you want to enjoy more general chat around Trek and books in general, check out all the original panels:
  • All the Starfleet Ladies: Then and Now - With authors Una McCormack and Cassandra Rose Clarke, writer Swapna Krishna, Simon and Schuster's Lauren Jackson, and moderator Kendra James, editor of
  • Picard 2020: A Literary Retrospective - With authors Una McCormack, David Mack, Stephen Graham Jones and Alex White, and moderator Lauren Jackson of Simon and Schuster.
  • IDW in 2020 and Beyond - With IDW's Chris Ryall and John Barber, and moderator George Gene Gustines, a New York Times editor.

Thanks as ever to TrekCore for their amazing screencap galleries providing an illustration above.

To keep track of all the latest releases, hit the books button on my 2020 schedule page. You can also find series reading lists and author bibliographies on my dedicated Star Trek lists site.

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