Order the Star Trek Prey trilogy here!

January 17th, 2017

Dispatches from Ice Planet Wisconsin!

Winter is in full swing here in the wilds of Wisconsin, along with a pretty hairy ice storm that's hours old as I write this. Fortunately I'm inside, writing away — and speaking of hairy, I have new reading material in the new Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone anthology from Titan Books!

Edited by Rich Handley and Jim Beard, the book draws upon the original five Apes movies plus the TV material. In the case of my own story, "Murderers' Row," television plays a part, inspired as it was by Escape from Planet of the Apes, in which Cornelius and Zira travel to 1973.

It's The Player meets Planet as a TV producer works to try to get the apes into a series — while only slowly becoming aware of the dire situation that they're in. Folks who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know what a fan of TV trivia I am; this story really gave me the chance to have fun, which is really what writing — and reading! — should be all about.

The book includes stories by Kevin J. Anderson and Jonathan Maberry, as well as fellow Star Trek fiction alums Greg Cox, Robert Greenberger, and Dayton Ward.  You can get Tales from the Forbidden Zone in trade paperback or ebook form; it releases generally on January 24.

Speaking of Kevin Anderson, I appeared for his Wordfire Press outfit at Paradise City Comic Con in Fort Lauderdale in early December. One of the highlights there (besides the warmer weather!) was a nice conversation with Tim Russ, whose Tuvok character plays a major role in the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Another was being inducted into the 1701st Fleet, a costuming organization devoted to Star Trek. Live long and prosper!

I also closed out 2016 with a return trip to Wisconsin Public Radio's Route 51 show, where I got to talk about Star Trek, Star Wars, and science fiction in general. You can hear the archived interview here.

And finally, I at long last launched my newly redesigned Comichron website, the world's largest public database of comic book sales figures for the North American market. Tables on new pages have searching and sorting capabilities, something which has been on my wish list for a very long time. Be sure to pop over and take the site for a spin!

There'll be more news as the year progresses — just as soon as I can get to my mailbox without ice skates!


December 27th, 2016

Of royalty lost: Remembering Carrie Fisher

We all learned a few hours ago that Carrie Fisher passed away today, following a heart attack on Friday.

Photo by Riccardo Ghilardi
My initial response — on social media and off — was that I had no words. In fact, I probably have too many. I will try to organize a few now. It probably won't help, but it's better to do something than nothing.

This has been a trying year for many people I know on a number of scores; the seemingly large number of well-known people dying has been salt in the wound. It's easy to reason intellectually about that: we're now more than sixty years out from the spread of television across the country, and with it, a vast explosion in the number of entertainers, sports figures, and others who are Household Names. But understanding where storms come from doesn't do much to assuage your feelings about those they sweep away.

An hour out from learning the news — and knowing that we're in the end-of-December period for the news media during which canned articles on the year past are everywhere — I'm already dreading seeing headlines about how 2016 claimed both a Prince and Princess. It's the sort of coy cleverness that repackages grief into something snappy for a news-network chyron or soundbite. It also gets at me because I had a harder time with Prince's death than any celebrity passing to date — and I can see what's coming in the days and weeks ahead. It might be the same — or it might not. I'll tell you why.

People didn't know how big a Prince fan I was. Purple Rain was the album playing on my first date, Prince's songs the ones the cover band was playing at my junior prom. For the Generation X'er with an MTV subscription, he was ever-present; Touré has written a great book about that. Losing someone so young — just two days older than my sister — wrecked me for a good while, and I know why: All my other fandoms I live out publicly, but when it comes to music, I've always kept my tastes to my headphones and the inside of my car. In part, that's because I like so much eclectic stuff that as a kid I figured I'd get hassled; my comics and science fiction fandoms were similarly under wraps for a long while.

Eventually those wrappings did come off for comics and science fiction, with me able to celebrate my likes in fanzines and at conventions — and later by writing my own material professionally. Music, however, I kept personal; apart from one article for Comics Buyer's Guide deconstructing Prince's Batman album and the comics he'd licensed — how delighted I was that he not only did something related to my other world, but took it seriously! — I never wrote anything about his music, or the man himself.

I never wrote Leia Organa as a character, either — nor did I ever meet Carrie Fisher, whom I saw many times at conventions, always across the venue, surrounded by a crowd of her admirers. But by contrast, I feel like I've expressed my thoughts about her Star Wars performance plenty of times, in a lot of different ways.

Certainly through my writing: has anyone not noticed that in all the Star Wars stories I've done — from Knights of the Old Republic through New Dawn, the female leads are tougher than all the guys? That comes from somewhere, from the strength and attitude Carrie gave to Leia. Even Rae Sloane — ostensibly a villain — trades on the archetype of confidence and competence that Carrie Fisher created. I'm thankful to have had that example.

So to an extent, I've had at least some opportunity to put my feelings about the character she played into words. I haven't had the same chance when it comes to talking about the woman herself and her other work, though — and I'd like to rectify that. I'm big into Hollywood history, as a lot of people know, and as Debbie Reynolds' and Eddie Fisher's daughter, Carrie lived a life surrounded by it and part of it. Practically every other entertainment biography I've read covering the 1970s forward has her in it somewhere, being fascinating around other fascinating people, in fields from comedy to music. (Just look at the wide range of reactions from names you know here.)

She's everywhere on screen as well — the kids and I watched When Harry Met Sally just the other day — and her own writing is terrific. I've been meaning to watch Postcards from the Edge again for a long time. I have several of her books on my shelves.

Ringo and Carrie
Whenever I meet actors I always try to ask something new, something they don't always hear about, so as not to be the thirty millionth person to ask about their best-known project. In her case, I've long been struggling to pick out just one thing to ask about when I got to meet her. I was leaning toward the 1978 Ringo TV special, where she costarred with Ringo Starr (playing a double role as his twin Ognir Rrats) — or perhaps asking about her and Penny Marshall's adventures. I wish now I had figured something out, and made a point to cross the room and simply thank her for being herself — in addition to playing Leia and so many other characters. You always think there's time.

She'll be getting many memorials written over the next few days, many far more personal and informed than this. I urge you to read them. I can't describe the anguish on my social media feeds right now; hopefully, those pieces will help. For myself, I'm hoping the fact that I've been able to celebrate Star Wars and her performance in print will make this easier this time around — but I just don't know. I'm just thankful I had her inspiration to draw from. I'm also thankful she came back for the sequel films, and that hopefully we'll have another performance to see.

But there should have been many more.


November 29th, 2016

Star Trek Prey concludes! Enter... The Hall of Heroes!

http://bit.ly/STPrey3The quest is complete! The third book of my monthly trilogy for fall, Star Trek: Prey - The Hall of Heroes, is now on sale everywhere in paperback and e-book form.

I've written a lot about the trilogy — including, most recently, on the official Star Trek blog, where I discussed the "Emperor without Victories: The Case of Kahless the Clone. I've also done quite a lot of podcasts in recent days, including the latest one, with JediBrian. But here's the cover copy as a quick summation:

Continuing the milestone 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek—an epic new trilogy that stretches from the events of The Original Series movie The Search for Spock to The Next Generation!

The Klingon Empire stands on the precipice. In the wake of violence from the cult known as the Unsung, paranoia threatens to break Chancellor Martok’s regime. Klingons increasingly call for a stronger hand to take control...one that Lord Korgh, master manipulator, is only too willing to offer.

 

But other forces are now in motion. Assisted by a wily agent, the Empire’s enemies secretly conspire to take full advantage of the situation. Aboard the USS Titan, Admiral William T. Riker realizes far more than the Federation’s alliance with the Klingons is in danger. With the Empire a wounded animal, it could either become an attacker—or a target.
Read more »


November 16th, 2016

My first Halo comics appear in Tales from Slipspace!

http://bit.ly/TFAWHaloHalo turned fifteen on November 15 — so it's fun to be right there kicking off Year 16! I'm delighted to announce that my first Halo comics story has just arrived in comics shops.

The Halo: Tales from Slipspace hardcover contains "Undefeated," a post-Halo: Guardians story by myself and artist Eric Nguyen — with colors and letters by my Knights of the Old Republic colleagues Michael Atiyeh and Michael Heisler. 

You can find the book at your local comics shop — or at Things from Another World. It will also be available on November 29 from Amazon and in your local bookstore. And you can get signed copies from me now at my shop.

http://bit.ly/MassEO1Fractures: Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon. Now available as well in audiobook!
And don't miss my first Halo prose story, in

One more video game comic offering to report on: while it releases two weeks later in the mass market, comics shop patrons today can get the Mass Effect Omnibus Vol. 1, which contains the first three graphic novels I did for the series, Redemption, Evolution, and Invasion. That one's also from Dark Horse Comics.

Next signings for me are at House of Heroes in Oshkosh, Wis., on November 19 from 1-4 p.m. Then I'll be in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. December 9-11 for Paradise City Comic Con. Look for me at the Wordfire Press booth.


October 25th, 2016

Trick or treat! STAR TREK: PREY Book 2: THE JACKAL'S TRICK now on sale!

http://bit.ly/STPrey2Trick or treat — or trick and treat! The second part of my novel trilogy, Star Trek: Prey Book 2 - The Jackal's Trick has just released from Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books as a mass-market paperback and in e-book format.

The second act of our Klingon opera ramps up the tension significantly, with the Klingon-Federation alliance in peril as never before. Lord Korgh has seized control of the House of Kruge, executing a plot one hundred years in the making. The Klingon cult known as the Unsung rampages across the stars, striking from the shadows in their cloaked Birds-of-Prey. And the mysterious figure known as Buxtus Cross launches a scheme that will transform the Klingon Empire forever.

Into danger flies Admiral William T. Riker and the USS Titan, charged with protecting the peace forged nearly a century before during the Khitomer Accords. Aided by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the USS Enterprise, Riker and his officers scour the stars, seeking to find the Unsung and uncover the truth behind the conspiracy before time runs out.

Yet even as Commander Worf departs on a deeply personal mission of honor, hidden sinister forces seek to turn the crisis to their advantage. And the conspirators plans threaten to spiral out of control, jeopardizing the very empire they aspire to rule.

You can find The Jackal's Trick at your local bookstore — and also here:


You can also order signed copies of the book from my online store.

And don't forget that the first book of the trilogy is on shelves now — and at Amazon — and then book three, The Hall of Heroes, out on November 29, is accepting preorders.

And here's a bit of news that's also welcome: Simon & Schuster plans an unabridged audio presentation of the entire trilogy, due on February 7, 2017. I'll post order links for it once they're available.

I have a couple of shop signings in Wisconsin coming up: I'm at Powers Comics in Green Bay from 1-4 on Saturday, October 29 for the Halloween Comicfest event. Then on November 19 I'm at House of Heroes in Oshkosh from 1-4 for Local Comic Book Store Day. Plus I have a whole bunch more podcasts online — check out my Twitter at @jjmfaraway to see as they're posted.




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