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Copyright 1996-2002 Steve Krutzler and All Rights Reserved.
Interview: DS9 Relaunch Update With Author David R. George on MISSION GAMMA and His New Novel, TWILIGHT!

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Typhon Station is a very fastpaced PBeM RPG with skilled, experienced players and a warm sense of bonding and community. We play at the turn-of-the-century, 2400, and are located in the Typhon Expanses, bordering the Neutral Zone, proximate to the Romulan Empire, and near the Iconian Digs, and are on the first warning route of the original Borg Incursion.
We have three stations to post from, SB 185, USS Odyssey, and USS Wraith. They all have general and particular storylines and all interact. This game is not for the faint of heart! The writing is superb and comes hot and heavy. We have some open spots and also we will consider character suggestions. So, longtime RPGers and novices, check us out. See if you want to make Typhon Station your home away from home.

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Posted: 00:28:02 on August 05 2002
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: TrekWeb Features

Written by Steve Krutzler

Later this year Pocket Books will continue the relaunch of its STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE novel series with the four-book project MISSION GAMMA. Since the series finale of DS9 aired in 1999, the story of what happens to the station and its crew after many of the characters departed for varying assignments has continued in just four novels and one short story.

TrekWeb caught up with David R. George III, the author of the first book in the new series, TWILIGHT, to get an update on the DS9 Re-launch and the novelist's thoughts about all things TREK. George previously penned the DS9 novel THE 34th RULE and will also be writing a novel in THE LOST ERA series, a novel collection telling TREK tales in the years between the feature STAR TREK VI and THE NEXT GENERATION.

Buy now to support TrekWeb!TW: Tell us about the story for Twilight and what's been going on in the world of DS9 since the on-screen finale.
DRG: Twilight picks up the continuity of the so-called "Deep Space Nine" re-launch. Since the last episode of the series, "What You Leave Behind," Pocket Books has published four novels and one short story--Avatar, Books One and Two, Abyss, Demons of Air and Darkness, and "Horn and Ivory" in What Lay Beyond--that continue the "DS9" saga forward. Kira now commands the station, and four characters new to "DS9" have been created--a new first officer for the station, a new science officer, a new chief of security, and an observer from the Dominion.

Twilight is a character-oriented novel that pretty much touches on everybody, although some characters--and one in particular--have bigger storylines than others. Twilight is the first novel of a four-book series entitled Mission: Gamma, which details a three-month exploration of the Gamma Quadrant by Defiant's crew. While each of the four novels--Twilight; This Gray Spirit, by Heather Jarman; Cathedral, by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels; and Lesser Evil, by Robert Simpson--is a part of a larger story, they each also have a definite beginning, middle, and ending. In many ways, each of the Mission: Gamma books are two novels in one, dealing with events aboard both Defiant and DS9. And all of this under the direction of Marco Palmieri, a very creative and talented editor at Pocket.

TW: Do you think the finale of DS9 allows for much ongoing story?
DRG: I absolutely do. Plenty of "loose ends" were tied up by the last episode of "Deep Space Nine," but in my opinion, one of the aspects of the show that made it so successful was the level of character development. That being the case, there are still plenty of stories to tell about Kira, Bashir, Ezri, Nog, and even Quark (perhaps especially Quark). And of course, there are new characters as well, begging for development of there own.

On top of all that, there are significant storylines that were not completed on the show. Will Sisko ever return from being with the Prophets? Will Kasidy have her baby, and what impact will that have on her and on Bajor? Will Bajor ever join the Federation, or will it remain on its own? I'm not sure when, or even if, the novels will answer these questions, but there's certainly plenty of stories left to tell in the "DS9" universe.

TW: The characters on DS9 were far more developed than on most STAR TREK series. The novels usually fill in these blanks. Consequently, what's different about writing a DS9 novel and a novel about say, the relatively open-ended characters of some of the other series?
DRG: For me personally, I'm not sure how much difference there would be in writing a "DS9" novel versus, say, a "TNG" novel--or any novel, for that matter. When I sit down to come up with a story, and then to actually write a novel, my goal is simply to write a good book, apart from it being a "Trek" book. I want somebody who knows nothing about "Trek" to be able to enjoy a good read (even though it's unlikely that many non-fans will read it), and I want "Trek" fans to be able to enjoy a good read too.

But I do understand your point about the level of character development on "DS9." I have recently been watching the show again, seeing many episodes for only the second time. I am astonished at how really good it is, at how real the characters are by virtue of their development, and at how human and therefore accessible most of the episodes are. So in that regard, I suppose, "DS9" offers a ready stage on which you can continue to explore the characters in depth. I think that such character development and exploration can be done in the other series as well, although perhaps not as easily. That may seem paradoxical, in that the "DS9" characters are already so well developed, but I think it may be easier to write for such characters; it's easier to know how they would react when confronted with a particular situation.

TW: Which DS9 character is your favorite to write for?
DRG: That's kind of a tough question, because when you find the right story for any character, it's fun to write for them. Somehow, I've grown fond of writing Quark, probably because his character, among all those on the show, saw the least change from the beginning of the series to the end. During the writing of The 34th Rule, and certainly during the writing of Twilight, I found myself wanting Quark to become, not more human, but a more mature Ferengi, a more mature person. I tried to bring him forward in Twilight, and once the novel is published in September, I guess we'll see how successful I've been. I also enjoy writing Kira, and I am quite fond of Elias Vaughn, one of the new characters.

TW: Which book in The Lost Era series will you be penning and what's the general story?
DRG: I am writing the second novel in the Lost Era series; my novel will involve Enterprise, NCC 1701-B, under the command of John Harriman. I can't say too much about the story at this point because I haven't entirely decided, but I suspect that we'll see plenty of new characters, as well as some familiar faces from the "Trek" universe.

TW: With ENTERPRISE continuing the franchise on television, will The Lost Era books make any nods to this newest series and some of the new STAR TREK history that it has established throughout its first season?
DRG: Since the Lost Era novels have yet to be written, I can't say for sure, but I'd guess that we're likely to see some continuity from "Enterprise." Continuity is a tricky thing, though. Not only is it far more difficult to maintain than I think most readers and fans realize (since there's so much continuity, as well as contradictory "facts"), but I am also of the opinion that nods to continuity are easy to overdo. I certainly throw in my own nods to the other series--there's a quick wink for "Enterprise" in Twilight--but I prefer to do it in a subtle fashion. There are some references that only a serious "Trek" fan will get, and only if the way I've written a sentence happens to click with them.

TW: Many people who follow the latest books from Pocket Books over the last couple of years have criticized the publisher for embarking on too many multi-volume series that lack fleshed out and superior content and oftentimes seem like they could've been contained within a single volume. What are your thoughts along these lines?
DRG: I have not read all of the multi-volume series (I tend to avoid reading "Trek" novels when I'm writing one, unless I need to read for continuity), so I cannot speak to that criticism in general. The only such series that I have read in its entirety is Invasion!, which I thought did a fine job of bringing the various television series together. Those four novels could not reasonably have been condensed into fewer books. The series also included one of my favorite "Trek" novels, Time's Enemy, by L.A. Graf. I can say that, in working with Marco Palmieri on Mission: Gamma, there was a concerted effort on both his part and the writers' to craft a rich, complex sequence of tales that could not be told in only a single volume, that actually had to be told in at least four novels. If we've done our jobs well, then that will be easy for the readers to see.

TW: MISSION GAMMA is the latest in a trend for STAR TREK novel series with entries penned by different authors. How difficult is it to write only one portion of an overarching story?
DRG: It can certainly pose difficulties not present in a standalone novel. In the case of Mission: Gamma, the writers all had to keep in mind not only the continuity of all the series, but also of the "DS9" relaunch and of the other MG novels. We all worked together to attempt to make it all consistent, with Marco providing direction. One thing that helped, I think, is that each of the MG novels tells a complete story, in addition to carrying forward the relaunch threads.

TW: Who presents PB with the original concept, authors?, or do the editors come up with the idea for a series and then try to get various authors on board?
DRG: Various "Trek" book series have arisen in various ways. With respect to Mission: Gamma, Marco originated the general premise of the series, then selected writers for it. The writers, in turn, created outlines for their prospective books, and Marco worked with them to finalize the details, particularly those involving the "DS9" relaunch arcs.

TW: How much are you constricted when writing a novel of this type and do you think the differences in ideas and writing styles ultimately benefit the books or weaken them?
DRG: I did not feel very restricted when writing Twilight, although there were of course some constraints. But it's sort of like writing a specific type of poem. If I set out to write a sonnet, for example, I am constrained to write a fourteen-line verse in iambic pentameter, with a particular rhyme scheme. Does that mean I can't write a good poem, or that my creativity is limited? I don't think so. In some ways, it focuses the creative mindset.

In Twilight, I had certain responsibilities--this had to happen on the station, and that had to happen on Bajor--but there were a great many ways I could have made those things happen. So I'd say that I didn't feel limited, but focused.

TW: What is the creative process once work begins; how do the various authors keep the stories straight amongst each other? Do you have collective writers' meetings, and how is it determined which author will pen which portion of the series?
DRG: Although we never met as a group, the Mission: Gamma writers did keep in communication with each other throughout the writing of the novels. For major issues, we worked through Marco, and for smaller issues, we worked directly with each other. For example, throughout MG, Defiant was off in the Gamma Quadrant with a crew of forty for three months, so we all had to make sure that we kept the crew consistent, and that every writer's needs were fulfilled by who we had aboard.

As for who was going to write which book, Marco made that call.

TW: December's STAR TREK: NEMESIS will be the first TREK feature to prominently feature the Romulans and introduce a sizeable amount of heretofore unknown backstory. Are there any post-NEMESIS-era novels on the table now and would you be interested in perhaps visiting the Romulans or Remans in a novel?
DRG: Actually, I haven't spoken to the editors at Pocket about their post-Nemesis plans, so I don't know what they're cooking up. My interest in penning a novel with the Romulans or the Remans would depend solely on what story I wanted to tell and whether their presence in it would serve that story.

TW: One of the last TREK novels I read personally was Andy Robinson's A Stitch in Time. I thought it was particularly interesting because it took place from the perspective of a non-Starfleet character and really presented a mini-universe outside even what DS9 had presented. Perhaps more TREK novels that take place entirely on STAR TREK's alien worlds and entirely among alien races are in order. What do you think of that approach and would you like to write one?
DRG: I have to say that I thought Andy Robinson's A Stitch in Time was wonderful, especially since it was his first novel. I think Andy crafted a powerful, compelling tale that was incredibly well written, and it impressed me a great deal. I think the novel succeeded not necessarily because of it's setting beyond the usual "Trek" universe, though, but because of Andy's superior writing skills.

As for my interest in writing a novel outside the normal "Trek" setting, I actually pitched an idea for a short series of books along these lines a while ago, but it sort of got lost in the shuffle. I mention it to Marco every now and then, but both he and I have been very busy with other things, so nothing's taken root yet.

You can read a sample excerpt from TWILIGHT here at Psi Phi. The novel hits store shelves next month and you can pre-order now from Amazon to help support TrekWeb.

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