Posts tagged “Star Trek

Finding me at Shore Leave

Ah…another year, another Shore Leave at the Hunt Valley Inn outside Baltimore. My favorite con, hands down, and once again I have a really full plate. But if you’re going too, and you want to find me, and you’re not the one who put the tracking chip in my head, here’s my schedule next weekend to make things easier:


8pm–9pm, Hunt Ballroom: Ray Bradbury: Author’s Retrospective
I join David Mack, Scott Pearson, Michael Jan Friedman, Steve Wilson, and Kathleen David to celebrate the work, influence, and legacy of one of the true giants of the genre.

10pm–Midnight, Hunt/Valley Corridor: Meet the Pros
All the attending authors and editors, together in one room at one time.


11am–1pm, Concierge Room: Story Development Workshop
Two bestselling authors—David Mack and David R. George III—and I will strive to impart some of the fundamentals of the craft to aspiring writers. What could possibly go wrong?

1pm–2pm, Concierge Room: Editors: Forging Partnerships with Writers
Veteran editors Greg Cox, Scott Pearson, and I delve into the responsibilities editors and writers have to each other, and talk about the ways to make those relationships work.

2pm–3pm, Salon E: Kira Nerys: The Heart and Soul of DS9
David R. George III, Rigel Ailur, and I take a look back at one of my favorite Star Trek characters, her relevance to the mythos as a whole, and her unique place in SF television history.

4pm–5pm, Salon A: Star Trek Vanguard: The Finale
Join Dave Mack and me as we close the book on the Star Trek novel series we developed together eight years ago, and discuss hows and whys of bringing that saga to its ultimate conclusion.


11am–Noon, Salon A: Tor Books, New and Upcoming
Greg Cox and I, together with author guest Christopher L. Bennett, present highlights from Tor’s extensive list of original Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Nerdity Alert: The Dauntless

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!

Getting the Band Back Together

I’m back from Shore Leave, where I had an utterly fantastic time, as usual. Kara Bain took this photo of Dayton Ward, me, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack our first night there. We may not be Ocean’s Eleven, but as Los Amigos de Vanguard, we do all right.

Final Bookwatch Winner!

The third and final winner of the Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified Bookwatch is Julio Angel Ortiz, who sent me this photo from the Barnes & Noble book store in Salisbury, Maryland. Like the winners before him, Julio gets a free copy of Declassified signed by all the authors. Congratulations, Julio!

And to all the winners, I hope you enjoy the book.

Shore Leave 33: Where’s Marco?

The annual Shore Leave F/SF media convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland is just a week away, and as most of my nerd brethren have already posted their preliminary programming schedules for that weekend, I figured it was time I did the same.

To my surprise, my name appears on more panels this year than in than any previous Shore Leave I’ve attended in the last decade.  So if you’re interested in where I’ll be, here’s the 4-1-1:

Friday, July 8

7pm-9pm, Hunt/Valley Room: The Third Annual Shore Leave Comedy Roast For Charity 

Benefitting the American Red Cross, this year my fellow roasters and I pile on my friend Bob Greenberger—all for a good cause, natch. You can find out more about it here.

10pm-Midnight, the Hunt/Valley corridor: Meet the Pros

Meet and chat with the Shore Leave author guests–including me! Previous years I was always here purely as an editor. This year I get to be an author as well, celebrating the publication of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, which will be available for sale all weekend at the con. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, July 9

10am-11am, Chase Room: What Makes a Villain Great?

Insights and analysis of the ingredients that go into truly awesome antogonists. With David Mack and Alan Kistler

11am-Noon, Salon E: You Maniacs! The Enduring Appeal of Planet of the Apes.

All right, I admit it, I specifically requested this one. Beware the beast Man…and pass me the bananas. With Dayton Ward, Greg Cox, Dave Galanter, and Alan Kistler

1pm-2pm, Salon A: Star Trek Magazine

I join editor and Shore Leave virgin Paul Simpson, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Scott Pearson, and David George III as we talk about all the cool stuff that goes into the mag, what’s coming up, and why you should be reading it.

4pm-5pm, Belmont Room: Myriad Universes and Alternate Timelines

A book concept I launched in 2008 about Star Trek alternate realities recently published its third collection of novellas, and I reunite with several of the authors (Scott Pearson, David R. George III, and Bill Leisner) to talk about bending Trek history.

5pm-6pm, Derby Room: Bring Back Janeway

I’m not officially on this panel, but I volunteered to join my pal, acclaimed Star Trek: Voyager novelist Kirsten Beyer as she invites an open discussion of Pocket’s controversial decision to kill a canonical Star Trek captain, and what that means for Voyager fiction.

Sunday, July 10

11am-Noon, Salon F: The Making of a Reboot

What old show would you want to see updated?  We all have a favorite. Find which ones Kevin Dilmore, Bill Leisner, Scott Pearson, Paul Simpson, Amy Sisson and I think are rife with potential.

Noon-1pm, Derby Room: Writing for Cancelled Shows

Believe it or not, there really is an art to this, and it’s my honor to share this hour with some of the artists: Kirsten Beyer, Greg Cox, Keith DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack, and Dayton Ward.  

1pm-2pm, Derby Room: Star Trek Vanguard: Still Going Strong

Dave, Dayton, Kevin and I talk about our latest collaboration, Declassified, and the guys drop some hints about their next two novels in the series, What Judgments Come and Storming Heaven

Nerdcore art by Chris Whetzel

Another Bookwatch winner!

Congrats go out to Tim Clarke, the second winner of the Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified Bookwatch! Tim snapped off this shot of himself picking up the book at the Borders Books, in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

There’s still one more chance to win a free copy of Declassified signed by all four authors. Just go to your favorite bookstore, take a photograph of the book, and email it to

First Bookwatch Winner!

The first winner of the Declassified Bookwatch is Joe Giannetti, who spotted copies of the new Star Trek Vanguard book on display at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  Joe is the first person to send me a photo of the book for sale in a brick-and-mortar store, and for that, he wins a free copy of Declassified signed by me, Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, and David Mack.

There’s still two more chances to win, so get to your favorite bookshop, get clicking, and email those photos to

And congratulations to Joe!

got book?

Scored this on a visit to Simon & Schuster today.

Feeling very jazzed!


It’s June 2, the bound-book date for Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified! This means the initial run of the book has been printed and will shortly be shipping out to all points civilized. Over the next week or two, it may even start appearing on bookstore shelves in advance of it’s “official” June 28 street date.

So Vanguard fans, please take note: the Bookwatch begins now. The first three people to email me a photo showing Declassified available in a bookstore will each receive a free copy of the book signed by all four contributing authors: Dayton Ward, Kevin DilmoreDavid Mack, and myself. The winning photos will be posted on my blog and my Facebook wall, and the autographed books will be mailed out during the month of July.

Book photos should be emailed to Don’t send me your mailing address unless I’ve notified you you’re one of the first three. Good luck!

Familiar Strangers

Back when I acquired and edited books on staff at Simon & Schuster, I was frequently struck by how different the reading experience was, going from manuscript to galley pages. Seeing the text designed and formatted, as it would look to paying readers, was always sobering. It crystallized the book, giving permanence to what had previously been fluid.

Flash forward to today, when I face the same experience, squared: The first-pass pages for Vanguard: Declassified are in, and here before me, currently spanning pages 187-277, is the story I wrote, The Ruins of Noble Men, as it will look when (hopefully) others read it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my own words make this sort of journey. Yes, I’ve written plenty of back cover copy that was published, and every six weeks I still get to see the pieces I write for Star Trek Magazine make it into print. But this is different. Crafting fiction is an act of intimacy, and what comes of it is at once revelatory and misleading. Stories are reflections of their tellers, to varying degrees, but what readers may infer from one about the other is anyone’s guess.

But that’s not really what this is about. My thoughts as I revisit Ruins with fresh eyes have less to do with what the reactions to my novella may be than with managing my instinct to pick nits…and just how odd my story now looks.

In pages, Ruins suddenly seems both familiar and very strange. I know I wrote the words, but they’ve taken on new dimension. It’s a little like seeing my kids today and recalling what they were like when they were much younger, and realizing that while I take joy in how they’ve grown, part of me wonders if I’ve shaped them as well as I could have. Intellectually, I know those doubts are natural, and second-guessing my choices at this stage—well, that way lies madness. Still, I wonder.

Then again, maybe that’s the point. It’s not about what I may have done right or wrong in writing The Ruins of Noble Men, but how that experience has affected me. I’m the familiar stranger…standing on the other side the editorial divide with a renewed appreciation for what storytellers go through in trying to spin tales they’re proud to put their names on.

Vanguard: Declassified — the cover!

The final cover of Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified has been, well, declassified!

As with the previous Vanguard covers, the art is by the awesome Doug Drexler. And yes, for those die-hard fans with long memories and a love for the work of the late great Franz Joseph, that is indeed a Ptolemy-class tug depicted in the foreground, as seen of FJ’s seminal Star Fleet Technical Manual from 1975. Specifically it’s the U.S.S. Al Rashid, alphabetically the first on FJ’s list of ships in that class.

The novellas included herein are:

Almost Tomorrow by Dayton Ward

Hard News by Kevin Dilmore

The Ruins of Noble Men by Marco Palmieri

The Stars Look Down by David Mack

And lest I forget to say it, it’s absolutely thrilling for me to see my name among those of talented authors who are not only close colleagues, but dear friends.

The Ruins of Noble Men

It’s been a zany couple of months, and with the New Year already three days old, it feels like it’s about time I started posting again.

November was stressful and invigorating, as I spent most of the month completing my novella for next July’s Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified, the new chapter in a book series I launched, in collaboration with writer David Mack, back in 2005 as a senior editor at Simon & Schuster. The series is about events that were taking place parallel with the original adventures of the Starship Enterprise, with new characters, locales, and situations. In a nutshell, the idea was to offer readers a broader perspective on that era of the Star Trek mythology.

Well, last winter, the authors behind the series, David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore, informed me they were planning a collection of tales to fit between the most recent Vanguard novel and the next one, and they graciously invited me to write one of the stories. Once I recovered from the surprise and overcame my initial hesitation, I gave some thought to what my story might be about and ended up signing on enthusiastically. My contribution, entitled The Ruins of Noble Men, is one of four novellas that will reveal previously undisclosed aspects of the Vanguard backstory, and also propel the series forward.

I had great fun writing Ruins, and I feel pretty good about how it turned out . . . enough that I’m dusting off an original fiction project I reluctantly put on hold last year. My goal is to work on it between editorial projects in 2011, and I’m feeling optimistic.

I’ve got the itch. It feels good to scratch.

I’m Going To Be On TV!

Earlier this year I was asked, together with a whole pack of Star Trek luminaries, to take part in a Biography Channel Special focusing on Trek‘s Captains. Well, the word is out, and the two-hour Captains of the Final Frontier is set to premiere next week on Wednesday, November 3 at 9pm Eastern Time, with followup showings on Thursday and Sunday. The above link has all the details, so please watch it and let me know what you think!

The other folks interviewed for the special include actors Vaughn Armstrong, Denise CrosbyDominic Keating, Anthony MontgomeryKate Mulgrew, Robert PicardoTim Russ, and Nana Visitor; production people Ira Steven BehrRick Berman, Manny CotoRené EchevarriaNicholas Meyer, Michael & Denise Okuda, and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens; authors Kirsten BeyerKeith R.A. DeCandidoDavid R. George IIIDavid MackLarry Nemecek, and Geoffrey Thorne; comics creator Ken Penders; and Rod Roddenberry, the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

I still have no idea how I ended up in such august company, but it was a great experience and fun to do, thanks in no small part to the special’s producer, the awesome Laura Marini.

New York Comic Con

Comic Con has come and gone, and I am at once exhausted and invigorated. The weather in NYC was beautiful, which made for a fantastic turnout—they should hold the convention in October every year. Meetings, panels, and introductions were the order of the weekend, and judging from the sudden uptick in inquiries about OE in my inbox, it was time well spent. Also got to do some business on behalf of Star Trek Magazine—never a bad thing—and I still managed to reconnect with old friends and even geek out from time to time.

As always, the DC Comics booth kept drawing me in, as if it had its own gravity. Partly this has to do with the fact that I still have a soft spot for the DC Universe, and I get a real rush out of seeing what’s new, but mainly it’s because I still have a number of friends there from the days when I wrote its catalog, not the least of whom are folks like Syndee Barwick, Georg Brewer, Mike Carlin, Ivan Cohen, Vince Letterio, and Bob Wayne. I also got to hang with fellow DC alumni Bob Greenberger, Andy Helfer, Charlie Kochman, Maureen McTigue, and Stuart Moore. You’d think being immersed in that much deep history would make me feel my age, but honestly, it was just the opposite.

My buds, Keith DeCandido and David Mack, were rockin’ the BOOM! Studios booth, pushing their respective Farscape comics. In the Random House corridor, I learned that Dallas Middaugh, to whom I was introduced at Comic Con in San Diego something like sixteen years ago, now lives two blocks from my last apartment. (How’s that for small universe syndrome?) Also spent time catching up with Christopher Bennett, Greg Cox, Peter David, Mike Friedman, Glenn Hauman, Jennifer Heddle, and Aaron Rosenberg.

The costumes were impressive, though I didn’t have time to photograph nearly as many as I would have preferred. Some of the ones I especially liked are here for your enjoyment.

That was Friday and Saturday. Sunday I stayed home. There was no avoiding it, really. I was on deadline for Titan, which I’m happy top say I met. Now it’s back to work on my current round of editorial jobs, and my novella for Simon & Schuster. I can hear the clock ticking already….

Nerdity Alert: Star Trek Magazine #29

Yesterday I received my advance copy of the new issue of Star Trek Magazine, #29. As some know, in addition to doing consulting work for authors and book publishers, I also have a regular gig as the magazine’s Contributing Editor. Besides featuring a cool new interview with actor Patrick Stewart by Calum Waddell, this issue includes two good-sized articles by me. The first is  “Building the Aventine,” my exclusive interview with CG modeler Mark Rademaker, who designed the newest “hero ship” in the Star Trek book universe. The interview takes readers through the thinking that went into the design, and showcases more than two dozen never-before-seen development images, as well as a new beauty shot of the U.S.S. Aventine, which pulls double duty in this issue as a pull-out poster.

My second article is “Unmasking the Breen,” offering an overview of one of Star Trek‘s most mysterious alien civilizations, as well as their role the Star Trek Online massively multiplayer online roleplaying game and the development work they receive in my buddy David Mack‘s new novel, Star Trek: Typhon Pact—Zero Sum Game. David also previews the Typhon Pact miniseries in this issue, which includes a teaser excerpt from ZSG. (Not coincidentally, ZSG also makes good use of the Aventine.)

In addition, Star Trek Magazine #29 has news, reviews, rare photos, and other cool stuff to feed your inner nerd. Check it out!