The world of publishing, like other businesses, has been affected by the current economic crisis, with layoffs and cutbacks, but fans of David Mack need not fear a dearth of stories from the prolific Trek author.
Four books written by Mack are either in bookstores or will arrive next year; Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice, The Sorrows of Empire, More Beautiful Than Death and Zero Sum Game.
Mack has had to adapt to working with several different editors, due to layoffs by Pocket Books, which included Star Trek: Vanguard series co-creator Marco Palmieri, who was let go last December. “My editor on Precipice was Margaret Clark,” said Mack, “who prepared for the task by reading the entire series up to that point, which at that time included Dayton Ward‘s manuscript for Open Secrets, fresh from the laser printer. But sadly, that wasn’t the last change in the editorial side of the series. In July of 2009, after I’d finished writing Precipice, Margaret met with me, Dayton and Kevin [Dilmore] to plot out the next two epic installments of the Vanguard saga. She subsequently gave me feedback on the finished manuscript of Precipice before she, too, was unfortunately laid off from Pocket Books at the end of August 2009.”
Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice, released several weeks ago, is the fifth book in the Star Trek: Vanguard series, which is set aboard Starbase 47, or Vanguard. In Vanguard: Precipice, Mack took a different approach to writing the story. “Precipice…represents a temporary change of pace in the series,” said Mack. “I chose to take a more intimate look at the lives of just a few of the principal characters, to examine the effect that the saga’s events to date have had upon them. At the same time, I sought to include the action-and-adventure elements that have been a staple of the series. What I ended up with were two parallel main narratives plotted on a collision course, as well as a few ancillary subplots.”
Next up is Star Trek Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, which will release at the end of the month. The Sorrows of Empire is the expanded version of Mack’s short novel from the 2007 Mirror Universe: Glass Empires anthology. “The reasoning [for publishing an expansion of an existing story, instead of an all-new novel] was partly logistical, partly budgetary, and partly a matter of editorial preference,” said Mack. “To get a finished novel into a slot for which there was little lead time (and for which another project had, I think, fallen through), Margaret [Clark] asked me to expand my well-received Mirror Universe short novel into a full-length mass-market paperback. This worked well for Margaret, because it required paying less than the cost of an all-new novel; the project was half written, meaning I would be able to finish the expansion in less time than it would take to write a new book; and she and I both felt there was more that could be done with the story if I had the time and the word count to attack it. So she gave me that chance.”
The expansion of The Sorrows of Empire allowed Mack to explore plot elements and characters in more depth than in the short story. “I’ve plumbed deeper into characters other than Spock,” Mack explained, “and I’ve detailed at least one event from each of the twenty-eight years spanned by the story. Marlena’s point of view is given greater examination, and I’ve worked to better integrate the characters who previously had made only cameos, in particular, Saavik and, to a lesser degree, T’Prynn from the Vanguard series.”
2010 will see the publication of Star Trek: More Beautiful Than Death. In More Beautiful Than Death, set in the Abrams’ Star Trek universe, the Enterprise crew is escorting Ambassador Sarek to dilithium-rich Akiron, which has sent a distress signal. A young Captain Kirk must hold out against Sarek’s efforts to end the mission.
Another Mack book to be published in 2010 will be Star Trek: Zero Sum Game. Zero Sum Game, part of the Typhon Pact miniseries, will be “a tense, action-packed science-fiction spy thriller that focuses on the Breen Confederacy,” explained Mack, “and that it will feature Captain Ezri Dax and her crew aboard the U.S.S. Aventine, as seen in my Star Trek Destiny trilogy.”