Thursday, August 29, 2013

My interview with David R. George III

Earlier this month, I caught up with David R. George III, author of this month's Revelation and Dust, which kicks off a new five-book story entitled The Fall. In the interview, David talks about his experience writing with four other authors to craft The Fall. In addition, he drops a few hints about what he's working on at the moment. Check out the interview on by clicking here!

Revelation and Dust has just been released, and can be purchased from,, and! Review: coming soon.

Click the titles below to be taken to my reviews of previous novels by David R. George III:

Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night

Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn

The Original Series: Allegiance in Exile

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

These Are the Voyages - TOS, Season One

These Are The Voyages:
TOS, Season One 
by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn
Release date: August 1st, 2013
Published by Jacobs Brown Press

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From the back cover:
Author, Marc Cushman, had the great honor of befriending both Gene Roddenberry and Robert H. Justman. As a result of that friendship, Marc was given access to all the Star Trek® production documents from the three years the series ran, which are currently housed in the UCLA Archives under a bequest by Roddenberry and Justman. These documents are private and viewing is restricted and supervised. This work is derived from eight months spent researching the details of the production. These books reveal, for the first time, the truth behind all the politics and behind-the-scene machinations of the productions. Rod Roddenberry, said: "This is going to be the bible to STAR TREK® and how it was made. This is a book that I'm going to keep near and dear and utilize throughout my life." These are the Voyages, TOS, Season One contains hundreds of previously unpublished insights and recollections from actors, directors, producers, and production crew, capturing what went on from every perspective, including memos dictated by Roddenberry while reading drafts to the series scripts. The book offers a unique look behind-the-scenes in the form of original staff memos, contracts, schedules, budgets, network correspondence, and the censor reports from NBC. These are the Voyages creates the opportunity for readers to transport themselves back in space and time to witness the true history of Season One of Star Trek®: TOS. Go behind the closed doors of NBC, Desilu/Paramount, the producers' offices, the writers' room, the sound stages and shooting locations, and learn the actual facts behind all the blood, sweat, tears, politics, and spellbinding creativity that brought Star Trek® into being...and changed the Sci Fi world. This book looks behind the scenes in the form of original staff memos -- including Gene Roddenberry's own memos, contracts, schedules, budgets, network correspondence, censor reports and other newly-uncovered documentation.

My thoughts:

Ordinarily, this site concerns itself mainly with books from Pocket Books' Star Trek fiction line. However, I recently had the opportunity to review a unique book: These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One, the first entry in a three-volume series of in-depth, comprehensive books detailing the production of Star Trek: The Original Series.

As a fairly knowledgeable Star Trek fan, I have read a great deal about the history and production of Star Trek. Like many other fans, over the years I've gleaned a lot of information and "inside stories" about the events that brought my favorite science-fiction franchise into being. Having said that, the sheer amount of information in These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One absolutely blew me away. The book itself, already not small, is packed from cover to cover with every bit of information you could possibly want about the production of The Original Series.

Gene Roddenberry and the Enterprise

The first chapter talks all about the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry. Most Trek fans know a lot of the broad strokes about his life, but These Are The Voyages goes even deeper. In what would become a familiar theme during my reading of this book, I was endlessly fascinated and amazed by the amount of detailed information about Roddenberry's life. Page after page revealed a new tidbit of information that I had not previously known. From there, the book goes on to talk about the conception and realization of what would come to be known as Star Trek.

However, the author takes a broader view than merely chronicling the birth of the series. Rather, he goes into great depth describing the situation on television at the time, providing useful information such as the histories of the major television networks and studios, setting the stage for the emergence of Star Trek. The breadth of the information provided makes for a fascinating read and provides insights about Star Trek's beginnings that would otherwise remain unknown to a younger fan such as me, who was not yet alive during this period.

Production of the fan-favorite and critically-acclaimed "City on the Edge of Forever."

The majority of the book features the episodes that make up Star Trek's first season. It is in these chapters that the book really shines! The in-depth coverage for each episode begins with the original NBC press release followed by a brief critique of the episode. The real treasure comes with the recounting of the inception of the idea for the episode, followed by the back-and-forth process of writing, pre-production, and production. The insights into the industry as a whole and the early days of Star Trek in particular are very eye-opening.

For most people, the information in these chapters will lead to a whole new appreciation of each episode. The analysis of each episode is appropriately critical and in-depth. The tendency in a lot of publications is to fawn over the wonder that was Star Trek and to gloss over the rough patches. Not so here. These Are The Voyages is an uncompromising look at the steps (and sometimes missteps) that went into creating The Original Series. A great example is the chapter on the creation of the episode "Court Martial." At each step, the production ran into difficulties, and while the finished episode isn't terrible, there are a number of flaws that survived from writing through to post-production. Although I had to read quickly in order to do this review, I have plans to go back and slowly read through each episode chapter while simultaneously doing a TOS season one re-watch. I have a feeling that the experience would be pretty rewarding!

The cast pretends to shave with their phasers between takes during the filming of "Operation: Annihilate!"

Final thoughts:

Meticulously researched and lovingly presented, the amount of work put into this book is apparent on nearly every page. To a serious fan of Star Trek, These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One will serve not only as an interesting reference, but as a time capsule of sorts. This is the sort of supplementary material that will not simply sit on one's shelf for years; rather, many people will find themselves consulting it often to learn more about their favorite (or not-so-favorite) episodes. This appears to be the definitive account of the first season of Star Trek, and I for one cannot wait to get my hands on volumes two and three.

My next read:

Unfortunately, I've gotten behind, and my reviews of the stories in the second S.C.E. omnibus will have to wait for a little while. I've recently been reading the first book in The Fall series, David R. George III's Revelation and Dust. Review coming soon!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Interview with Kirsten Beyer, Part 2

Part two of the interview that Aaron Nadler and I conducted with author Kirsten Beyer has now been published over at Click here to read it!

Kirsten Beyer has the helm for the continuing missions of the U.S.S. Voyager in her mission of exploration of the Delta Quadrant as part of the Full Circle fleet.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Interview: Kirsten Beyer, Part 1

Kirsten Beyer, author of the current incarnation of the Voyager relaunch series.

Over at, part one of the interview that I and TrekCore co-editor Aaron Nadler conducted with Kirsten Beyer has just been posted. Click here to check it out

Kirsten's newest novel, Star Trek: Voyager: Protectors, is scheduled to be released early next year. You can pre-order it now from,, and! And click the books below for my reviews of the three previous novels in the Star Trek: Voyager relaunch: Unworthy, Children of the Storm, and The Eternal Tide.

Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy

Star Trek: Voyager: Children of the Storm

Thursday, August 15, 2013

From History's Shadow

Star Trek: The Original Series
From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward
Release date: July 30th 2013
Read August 11th 2013

Previous book (The Original Series): The Shocks of Adversity
Next book (The Original Series): No Time Like the Past
Next book (From History's Shadow-related): TOS: Elusive Salvation

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Spoilers ahead for From History's Shadow!

From the back cover:
2268: Following the encounter with the mysterious Gary Seven in the twentieth century, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is startled by two intruders who have transported through space and time from Earth circa 1968. Incredibly, one of the infiltrators is a Vulcan, who asserts that he’s lived among Earth's population for over a decade. The other represents a little-known race, and reveals to Captain James T. Kirk that she has spent that last twenty years working to bring about humanity’s destruction. It is then that Gary Seven’s young protégé, Roberta Lincoln, arrives seeking Kirk’s help...
1947: In the wake of the infamous “Roswell Incident” involving a crashed alien craft and beings from another world, Captain James Wainwright finds himself recruited as one of the first members of Majestic 12, a secret organization with two goals: Collect evidence of extraterrestrial activity on Earth, and develop strategies to combat alien invaders. And it is this very mission that will consume Wainwright’s life for the next two decades, driven by the knowledge that the danger is as real as the aliens living among us...

My thoughts:

From History's Shadow is certainly not your typical Star Trek novel. While there is a significant part of the story that takes place in the 23rd century aboard the Enterprise, the majority of the novel is set during the mid-20th century. The central character during this period is James Wainwright, last seen in the Deep Space Nine episode "Little Green Men." Since the army's encounter with the Ferengi in that episode, the U.S. government has taken an interest in investigating sightings and encounters with unidentified flying objects, or "U.F.O.s," which may represent the vanguard of a new invasion by the Ferengi or another hostile extraterrestrial species. Captain Wainwright, recruited into "Majestic 12" and later "Project Blue Book," is responsible for many of these investigations, as well as debunking alien encounters so as to keep the existence of alien beings from becoming public knowledge. We follow his life and career through much of the 20th century as he works with his partner, Allison Marshall, to fulfill the directives of Majestic 12 and Blue Book.

"Little Green Men" was an extremely fun episode, and one of my favorites upon first seeing it years ago. The B-movie campiness and general silliness of the episode really made it stand out. However, I felt that the character of Captain Wainwright was very flat and one-note: a military man who only sees threats wherever he looks and automatically resorts to threats of torture in order to gain information. Thankfully, the Wainwright presented in the pages of From History's Shadow is much more fleshed-out and likable. We see his motivations and can empathize with the threats he is dealing with, as opposed to the one-note villain-ish character we saw in "Little Green Men."

Clockwise, from top left: Mestral from "Carbon Creek" (ENT),
Roberta Lincoln and Gary Seven from "Assignment: Earth" (TOS),
Captain John Christopher from "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (TOS),
and Captain Wainwright from "Little Green Men" (DS9), 
Dayton Ward does a superb job linking many different parts of Trek lore together, from the 1947 Roswell incident, to T'Mir and Mestral's visit to Earth in "Carbon Creek" (ENT), and the "Aegis" agents operating on Earth such as Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln from "Assignment: Earth" (TOS). His "continuity stitching" is reminiscent of Christopher L. Bennett's work, and the linking together of events in Trek history with real-world historical events is very much in the style of author Greg Cox, who penned The Eugenics Wars series, a superb set of tales which also used the characters of Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln. According to the acknowledgements in From History's Shadow, the attempt to write in the style of Greg Cox was wholly intentional, and Ward even sought Cox's blessing before going ahead with the novel.

Just a few of the "UFO sightings" that occurred during the 20th century.
Clockwise from top left: Quark's Treasure, Roswell, New Mexico, 1947 ("Little Green Men" - DS9),
Vulcan survey ship, Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania, 1957 ("Carbon Creek" - ENT),
U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701, over Omaha, Nebraska, 1969 ("Tomorrow is Yesterday" - TOS),
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656, Los Angeles, California, 1996 ("Future's End" - VGR).
If I have one very minor complaint about From History's Shadow, it's that at times it seems as though the novel is too full, and that Mr. Ward attempted to cram too much information into its pages. The book is certainly dense with plot and can seem confusing at times with all of the jumping around in time. The only part where I kind of lost the thread of the story was towards the end, but the author included a pretty cool reveal that made everything make sense again. For the most part, I enjoyed the complexity of the story, but I see where some people may not appreciate it as much.

Final thoughts:

From History's Shadow is a fun romp through our history as depicted in Star Trek, masterfully stitching together the many temporal incursions and alien visitations that Earth experienced in the 20th century. I also appreciated the links to other aspects of the Trek novel continuity, most especially the mentions of Commodore Delgado and the experiments he conducted with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise as depicted in Christopher L. Bennett's novel, Forgotten History. I was hugely impressed with this novel, and as a fan of Greg Cox's Eugenics Wars novels, I would love to see more stories such as this one. Is it too hopeful to want a follow-up to this novel by Dayton Ward himself? Personally, I would love to see more novels following the exploits of Wainwright, Carlson, and Majestic 12. I feel as though this novel covered a lot of ground, so I don't know what's left to tell. But if a story such as this could happen again, I'd be all for it!

More about From History's Shadow:

Also by Dayton Ward:

My next read:

I think it's time for another Corps of Engineers week! Look for reviews in the coming month for the four novellas that make up the S.C.E. omnibus, Miracle Workers. Up first is Interphase, Part Two by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Interview with Dayton Ward!

For those of you who don't know, I have recently accepted a position at as the Star Trek Literature Editor! I'm very excited to be working with the site, and look forward to providing reviews and other content. Have no fear, however: reviews of Star Trek novels, both old and new, will continue to be posted here at Trek Lit Reviews!

One exciting opportunity that this new position has allowed me is the privilege to have a closer relationship with the authors who bring us Star Trek fiction. I recently conducted an interview with author Dayton Ward, whose new novel, From History's Shadow, was recently released. Click here to check out the interview on TrekCore, and stay tuned for my review of From History's Shadow, coming soon!

Dayton Ward, author of many Star Trek novels, the most recent of which is From History's Shadow, available now!
From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward
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