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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds VII Paperback – June 29, 2004
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About the Author
Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, USA TODAY bestselling writer, Dean Wesley Smith published far over a hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds of short stories across many genres. He currently produces novels in four major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the old west, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, and the superhero series staring Poker Boy. During his career he also wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds.
John J. Ordover previously edited and oversaw the Star Trek franchise licensed novels. He is also the co-creator of many Star Trek spin-off series.
Paula M. Block (with Terry J. Erdmann) is a co-author of the ebook novella Star Trek: Deep Space Nine—Lust’s Latinum Lost (And Found). She has also written the non-fiction books: Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek Pop-Ups; Star Trek The Original Topps Trading Card Series; Star Trek The Next Generation 365; Star Trek The Original Series 365; Star Trek 101; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion; The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection; The Magic of Tribbles; and Star Trek: Action! Her additional titles include Monk: The Official Episode Guide and The 4400 Companion. As a licensing director for Paramount Pictures, Paula was co-editor of Pocket Books’ short story series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dean Wesley Smith
Every year for the past seven years I have looked forward to October and reading Star Trek® short stories by the very talented, very smart fans of the shows. I have often said that as a Star Trek fan, I have the best job in the world, and the hardest. And again this year, that proved to be true. I had to pick just twenty-three stories out of the boxes and boxes of wonderful stories that poured into the contest. The wonderful part was reading them all, the hard part was picking just twenty-three.
But now this book of stories is in your hands, and I need help from all you Star Trek fans out there. I need you to write one or two or three or more Star Trek short stories, following the rules in the back of this book, and send them in by October 1, 2004. Why am I putting out a call for even more stories than I normally get? Simple. Many of the fans who have been sending me stories and trying to get into this contest for the last six or seven years have sold too many stories. This contest, by its rules, has a limit of only three professionally published short stories by the deadline of the contest. That's why you might see the same name two or three years running, or scattered over the years, and then that author is disqualified from sending in any more. As you might have noticed, many of them are still writing Star Trek, only over in the novels. Authors like Ilsa Bick, Dayton Ward, Christina York, and others. They started here and then eliminated themselves with too many sales, leaving room for new writers to join the fun.
On a few Star Trek boards in different locations, people have pointed out to me this year that a very large number of the writers I have bought once or twice can no longer be in the book again. And this includes this year's Grand Prize winner, Julie Hyzy, who has been sending in stories regularly for five or six years now. She and many others have "graduated," as they say on the boards.
And as an editor, that scares me, which is why I need all of your help. Come on, haven't you been watching an episode, seen a detail, and thought, "Wow, that would make a wonderful story?" Well, I need you to write that story this next year and send it in. I give every story the exact same chance at being in the book, and if you write a great story, it will make it in.
What kind of stories am I looking for? My best suggestion on that question, which I get a lot, is to read this volume, and then go find copies of the previous volumes of this anthology. Not only will you have a wonderful reading experience, but by the time you are done reading all seven of the books, you will have a very good sense of the stories that have made it into Strange New Worlds over the years.
So pass the word. Tell other Star Trek fans that the cutting edge of the Star Trek world is right here, in the short stories in these volumes, stories written by fans like you. Tell your friends, tell the other members of your starship crews, maybe challenge other writers in your writers' group, then sit down and write a story or two and send them in. You'll discover that the writing is a lot of fun, and if one of your stories makes it into the book, you'll have added to the Star Trek universe and be a Star Trek author. And trust me, the only thing more fun than reading Star Trek is being a Star Trek author.
This is your chance. Enjoy the reading, then get to the writing.
Copyright © 2004 by Paramount Pictures
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Top Customer Reviews
My two faves -
"Barclay Program Nine" - a reminder of probably the funniest Star Trek episode ("Hollow Pursuits") of all time. ("The Trouble With Tribbles" doesn't count...)
"Forgotten Light" - one wonders how the Borg have managed to escape assimilation by the novel publishing collective for so long. Tales of the precursor race might make a viable product. But one can imagine the obstacles inherent in such an adventure - opinions on the Borg are as common as red diode lasers at a sci-fi convention, yet fan rejection would probably not pose the greatest problem. The big question remains -- Who would (or more importantly could) write a Borg-centric series?
I remember reading C.S. Lewis describe his agony while writing through his famous Screwtape persona - and Screwtape at least kept his sense of humor. To become humorless, relentless, and mechanical in thought and deed would probably kill the story, if not the author.
But greater "heresies" have been perpetrated. Witness the Second Foundation trilogy published a few years back.
The stories are divided by the television series they are attached to, with another section called "Speculations." These are stories that are too broad to be tied to just one of the series. Perhaps it's something that spans almost all the shows. Or maybe they bring together elements from more than one series. The other two stories in this section of Strange New Worlds VII don't really fit this concept, however, as one deals with a Dax, from Deep Space Nine (though it is a future Dax) and one deals with Picard and the history of the Borg. Still, the stories are a bit broader than just "another adventure with the crew of the Enterprise," so maybe that's why.
The grand prize winner was the Next Generation story, "Life's Work," by Julie A. Hyzy. This is the story of Data's creator, Noonian Soong, and the time when his wife finally left him because he was too wrapped up in his work. He was working on a final emotion chip that he would be able to put in Data when a crisis in his marriage happens. His wife, Juliana, has determined to leave him because he's more married to her work rather than to her. The weird thing is (as established in one of the Next Generation episodes), Julianna is actually an android that Noonian fashioned after his real wife died, because he couldn't bear to be without her. He made her a perfect copy of his wife, so much so that she doesn't even realize she's an android. He's understandably shocked when she tells him she's leaving, and it's a testament to his craftsmanship that he created her so perfectly that she has enough emotions to actually leave him. Hyzy captures the characters perfectly, especially during a poignant scene where Noonian has deactivated her to examine what's happening, and carries on the conversation with her that he knows he would have if she were currently activated. It's a touching story, compelling despite the fact that it doesn't have any of the regular Trek characters in it. Definitely worthy of the grand prize.
The second prize entry is "Guardians," by Brett Hudgins, one of the "Speculations" stories. This story travels a *long* way into the future. It's about the Horta and how they've interacted with the Federation throughout the 50,000 year lifetime of the mother Horta. Eventually, humans leave the Horta home planet of Janus VI, and leave them alone (though the former head of the mining colony there does make regular visits to his new Horta friends). However, when a scientific station on the planet containing the Guardian of Forever (an ancient time portal discovered by Kirk & the Enterprise) is wiped out, an ancestor of the original mining colony head remembers the Horta and thinks that they would make great protectors of the guardian. The rest of the story is various vignettes through almost 50,000 years, as various races come to the Guardian planet. Some to try and conquer it (like the Borg) and some to just look at the past (like a certain founder who is remembering his past Bajoran lover many, many years in the future). At times, this story seems to gloss over events a little too quickly, but all of the vignettes are good in their own way. Some are just little snippets (such as a couple of visits by Q, complaining about how humanity is suddenly becoming equal to the Q as they move on to the next level) and others are a bit more detailed. I did have a little trouble with some of the future history (the Federation is still around, virtually unchanged politically and socially, thousands of years in the future, though they have obviously improved technologically), but overall, the story was quite good.
Finally, the third prize winner is "Adventures in Jazz & Time," by Kelly Cairo. This is the story of a gift that Wesley (still a futuristic Traveller, and disguised as a Federation professor) decides that he wants to give something back to one of his role models, Commander Riker. He gives him a truly interactive jazz holoprogram containing the jazz great Stan Kenton. Even better for Riker, Kenton asks him to sit in with him and is willing to give him some lessons. This is a dream come true for Riker, who has idolized Kenton for a long time. Cairo captures Riker's love of jazz wonderfully, and the story, while pretty short, covers all the bases. Wesley leads Riker to the program and then dutifully bows out of the picture. While I don't know anything about Kenton, she manages to capture the feel of a jazz great as well. There's no conflict in this story. Just a young man wanting to do something nice for one of his mentors, and the love of jazz. Just poetic.
The rest of the stories in the volume are hit or miss. Some have some glaring errors (one has Seven of Nine, from Voyager, speaking with a lot of exclamation points, something the rather monotone Borg woman wouldn't do). Others are decent but don't carry that spark that carries them over the top. Still, it's an interesting read, and a number of the current Trek authors got their starts in Strange New Worlds collections, so it may be something to pay attention to if only for that. It's worth a looksee.