McIntyre: Writing Early Star Trek Novels

Vonda McIntyre, author of The Entropy Effect and several other Star Trek novels, ran into an unexpected problem when writing The Entropy Effect.

She had created a first name for Hikaru Sulu, but Paramount wasn’t happy about the idea at first.

“The only potential glitch in the Star Trek books came about because I couldn’t figure out how to write a love scene where the protagonists called each other by their surnames,” said McIntyre. “So I gave Mr. Sulu a first name, ‘Hikaru,’ which is from The Tale of Genji. I was blissfully unaware of the glitch till long after the fact; someone at Paramount objected to the idea of the character’s having a given name, for reasons unclear to me. David [Hartwell] had the good idea of asking Gene Roddenberry and George Takei their opinion, and both of them said ‘Go for it’ or words to that effect. And so Mr. Sulu has a first name.”

McIntyre cleared up a misconception about her early Trek writing. “There’s a reference book that says I started out writing Star Trek fanfic,” she said. “I don’t know where they got that idea. I had sold and published a number of stories and three novels and won two Nebulas and a Hugo before I ever wrote a Star Trek novel. Perhaps the reference work’s editors misunderstood the fact that I wrote several Star Trek screenplays, one of which got as far as Gene Roddenberry’s desk before the show was canceled. One of my screenplays evolved into The Entropy Effect. I found it an interesting process to collaborate with myself at the age of eighteen from the age of thirty. But the screenplay wasn’t conceived, written, or handled as fanfic.”

Source: IO9

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