A sizable portion of “The Ruins of Noble Men,” my novella in Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, is set nearly a decade prior to the current series continuity, when some of the characters served together aboard the Federation starship Dauntless. Because I wanted something to visualize while I was writing, I looked to the work of fan starship designer Masao Okazaki for inspiration.
Masao’s web site, the Starfleet Museum, is his personal interpretation of the design lineage for the ships that were first seen in the original Star Trek TV series. Because of the clear influence his work draws from Star Trek Production Designer Matt Jefferies, as well as the work of Franz Joseph Schnaubelt—the man behind the Star Trek Blueprints and the Star Fleet Technical Manual, two publications that fed my geek needs back in the early ’70s—I’m a longtime fan of Masao’s work. When David Mack and I developed the Vanguard series for Simon & Schuster, Masao was the guy I hired to design the space station, as well as the scoutship Sagittarius. Those interested in finding out more about Masao’s Vanguard work, as well as his aforementioned influences, Matt Jefferies and Franz Joseph, should be sure to check out Star Trek Magazine #35, which is out right now. In addition to containing features about those talented individuals, it also has some great articles by my friends and fellow Vanguard conspirators, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, and an excerpt from my story, “The Ruins of Noble Men.”
Which brings me back to my original reason for this post. To visualize the Dauntless while I was writing the story, I fixated on one of Masao’s designs from the Starfleet Museum, the Pyotr Velikiy. In addition to Masao’s various elevations, the ship page also had some great CG images, rendered by another fan artist, Thomas Pemberton. And when I was handed the honor of having my story previewed in Star Trek Magazine, I thought it would be fun to illustrate the excerpt with one of those renders, renamed and renumbered for the Dauntless. So I contacted Tom Pemberton, and to my complete surprise, he not only agreed to do it, he actually created an entirely new render of the ship from scratch, completely different from the ones on Masao’s site! How cool is that?
Star Trek Magazine published the image in monochrome to fit their overall design for the spread on which the excerpt appeared, but I wanted to share it here in all its original glory. Enjoy!
I’m not going to offer up a list of his many awards, honors, and editorial credits. If you don’t know who he is, I urge you to look him up. What I really want to say is that it was Marty, together with then-Bantam editor Robert Simpson, who bought my first story, back before I got my first job with a publisher. That was in the late ’80s, when I was just a grunt at the now-defunct 59th Street branch of Forbidden Planet in Manhattan. Marty visited New York City around that time, and I got to meet him in person. He even took me to lunch to discuss some editorial opportunities he had for me. To this day, I have no idea what he saw in me, but I never forgot his kindness. And when I became an editor myself, I always tried to pay it forward.
I remember Marty as a vibrant, enthusiastic gentleman with great patience and great vision, speaking with pride and excitement about his new baby daughter. I remember the chance he took on me, a novice, and I remember that he was one of the people who gave me my first big break in my chosen profession.
Marty’s passing makes the publication of my new story bittersweet. And when I start the new week at Tor on Monday morning, I’ll remember it was Marty who opened the first door.
I had intended to post an update sooner, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks. The new job has been great, my coworkers are awesome, and I even found a great place for gyoza. I also picked up two new OE clients during this time, celebrated my oldest son’s acceptance to the arts program of his first-choice high school, and joined my youngest for the start of his first season of little league. In summary, life is good.
Below are some shots I took of my new professional digs, the truly amazing Flatiron Building. The first shot is the building as seen from the Northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.
Below is what it looks like from the Southwest corner of of Fifth and and 22nd Street.
This last image shows the Broadway side.
Earlier this week, I accepted a position on the editorial team at Tor Books.
For those who may not know it, Tor is a leading publisher of speculative fiction and fantasy, headquartered in Manhattan’s landmark Flatiron Building. I’ll have the privilege of working with David G. Hartwell and Stacy Hague-Hill, two luminaries in the field. I start Monday.
I’m very excited. This is an incredible opportunity for me to broaden my horizons and grow as an editor, doing the work I love.
There’s an interesting conversation about self-publishing going on at The Practical Free Spirit, a blog by Amy Sundberg. Definitely worth checking out. I tend to agree with the comments made by my esteemed friend and colleague, author, small-press publisher, and all around Renaissance Man Lawrence M. Schoen, which he reposted on his blog. I’m curious to know what others think. What say you?