If you like my work, buy me a virtual cup of coffee at Ko-Fi.
I’ve had a number of my works published by Starry Eyed Press before, but this one is different. A little while ago, they announced an open submission of a series called “Galactic Treks” The title is on purpose.
The general theme is “space opera,” but the word count can be anything from 5,000 up through novel length.
Wow. To be able to plot a story without worrying about exceeding a word count.
But that’s not all. Here are the specifics:
It should come as no surprise to hear that Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek franchise is one of the most endearing and enduring pieces of quality space opera in the world.
There was even a time, many years ago, when anybody was allowed to write a Star Trek novel and submit it to Simon and Shuster for review!
Sadly, those days are long gone and Paramount would prefer to work only with authors and writing staffs of their choosing in developing Star Trek novels, comics, episodes and films.
So where does that leave the rest of us aspiring Trek writers? We’re glad you asked.
The Galactic Treks line is your time to shine. We’re seeking novels, shorts and series that center on space exploration, optimism, a protagonist or a crew as members of something bigger (a fleet perhaps), and an emphasis on thinking one’s way to final resolve over simply blowing everything up.
So write a “Star Trek-type” story without literally writing Star Trek.
I was twelve years old in September 1966 when the very first broadcast episode of Star Trek called The Man Trap aired. I was hooked and have been a Trek fan ever since.
I didn’t want to just copy the Enterprise, warp drive, phasers, transporters, Vulcans and all that jazz. I already had an idea for a new way to travel faster than light and built a universe around that.
I ended up with a finished product (barring publisher edits) of around 42,870 words, for a work of science fiction, that’s either a long novella or a very short novel.
According to the publisher, the “Galactic Trek” series launches this summer, but I have no idea where my book will end up in their queue. However, I’m very excited for this work to see the light of day, and I hope it will be warmly received by readers. I tried to capture the hope and enthusiasm of early (or retro) Trek while not creating a perfect world or perfect people.
To give you an idea, here’s a short preview from “The Aliens”
“Velocity off my scale, Captain.” Brian’s hands were shaking on the controls with that ship’s vibration. “I can barely hold our course.”
The Shiloh lurched. “Captain, we’ve lost one secondary thruster. Inertial dampeners down to 80%. Drop in structural integrity field to 90%. Gravitation is holding at 0.85 of standard.” Marta called out the readouts knowing they could be the Shiloh’s obituary.
“Everyone, stay with it,” said Green.
“Three minutes, seven seconds until we clear the vortex,” said Owusu.
An auxiliary control panel just to Bridget’s right exploded in a shower of sparks. She screamed but as Bobby and Megan started to get out of their seats… “I’m alright.”
“Maintain your posts,” the Captain ordered. “Do not attempt to leave your seats. We’ll be out of this in just a few minutes.”
“Captain, engineering reports secondary ventral nav vanes are offline. Their power couplings have blown.”
Sir, torsional stress is increasing in the linkup with the aliens. They seem to be taking some damage, but not as much as we are. If the repeller merge breaks up, both ships will be destroyed.”
“Acknowledged, Second. Navigation, time to exit.”
Jamar yelled as several sections of his own console burst into flame. He was waving away the smoke as the unit’s fire dampening system put out the fire.
An engineering panel in the pit exploded right in front of specialist Bernard Henry.
“Man down, Captain.”
“Steady, Bobby. Only a few more seconds.”
“Maintain position, Bobby,” the Captain yelled.
“Less than thirty seconds,” Rao said. “Another report from Carlson. The sphere’s breaking up!”
“Captain, the vortex is collapsing. External pressure on repellers…they’re buckling.”
Shiloh shuddered like a dog shaking off water. They lost the signal from the aliens. The ship moaned as the repeller grid crashed and the hull took the full brunt of the contracting vortex.
Several primary power junctions exploded in the forward starboard bulkhead and the bridge went dark.
Seconds later, emergency lights came on.
“Velocity is decreasing,” Brian reported.
“Back up systems still intact, Sir,” Jamar said. “We did it. We’re in a conduit. Captain, we’re free.”
“Status of the alien ship.”
“Sir, Bernie is…”
“The alien ship, Bobby.”
Yes, Captain. They’ve pulled ahead of us about a thousand, no make that eight-hundred kilometers. They are intact and as far as I can tell, their power output is at 72% of what we believe is standard. Seems to be coming back up slowly.”
“Captain to sickbay. We have a man down in the pit. Request medics on the double.”
A static-laden voice replied, “As soon as possible. We’ve got injury reports from all over the ship.”
“XO, dispatch damage control parties to all affected areas.”
“Aye, Captain.” She started giving orders across her comm remembering what Rao said about how she didn’t know shit.
“I want reports on ship’s status as they come in, XO.”
“Yes Sir.” She wished the Captain would be quiet long enough for her to comply with his commands. Her board was being flooded with those updates and they didn’t look good.
“Sir, we’re maintaining our position behind the alien at 850 kilometers,” said Bobby.
“Captain,” Rao’s tone sounded conspiratorial. “Do you think the alien ship is making course for their home?”
“It’s what I would do if our positions were reversed, Second.”
“If our positions were reversed, would you show an alien species with unknown technology and military might how to find your home planet?”
The bridge hatch opened and two medics with full gear, Marta recognized them as June Sherman and Olivia Vasquez, ran in. Green pointed in the direction of Henry in the pit. They ran down and got to work.
“Captain, engineering reports reactors five and seven scrammed during transit. Two secondary engines are still down. Ventral vanes offline but their power systems are under repair. Estimating 68% efficiency in subspace navigation,” Marta reported.
“I can make that work, Captain,” Owusu added.
“Where are we?”
Marta consulted the sensor readouts. “A lower conduit, much deeper in subspace than we were before entering the void.”
“Any idea where we would come out into normal space? How far have we traveled, XO?”
“There’s no way to tell right now. I have no recognizable reference points. We’re in unknown territory, Captain.”
“Here there be monsters,” Green murmured.
“Captain, Appelbaum reports having to take the mains offline. The ship is now on aux power. Except for five and seven, the reactor system is nominal, but over fifty percent of the power conduit system has been compromised. We could blow the entire network if we try to drive the ship on primary power.”
“Understood, XO. Any estimates as to when the repairs will be complete?”
“Engineering is unsure. Best estimate is at least two days, probably longer.”
“Well, damn,” the Captain said, and then issued more curses under his breath.
An audio message came in from the alien ship. “Captain Green and starship Shiloh. We are free of the void. Ship linkage dissolved. Your status shows damaged. In need of repair. This vessel also in need of repair but not as compromised.”
“Anything you could do to further assist us would be appreciated.”
“Assistance provided in escaping void. Information shared. This ship will now return to origin point.”
“Do you intend that we follow, learn more about you and your planet?”
“An option is approaching,” the alien Captain replied.
Vasquez and Sherman had Henry secured to a field stretcher, one that used a small graviton field to make it and the patient light enough to move. They were carrying him toward the bridge doors.
“Specialist Henry is still unconscious, Captain. He’s got second degree burns to his face and chest, damage to his lungs. He’s stable and we’re taking him to sickbay.”
“Acknowledged, Vasquez. Take good care of him.”
The medics ushered Henry’s stretcher off the bridge.
“Captain, we’re approaching a confluence. Actually, it’s a junction. There’s the conduit we and the aliens are currently within, and then the entrances to three different conduits. Fifty-seven seconds to contact.”
“Thanks, Bobby. Any indication the alien is changing course? They said an option was approaching.”
Two damage control people entered the bridge and Owusu waved them over to his station.
“No, but something else just happened.”
The ship shook again.
“We’re caught in some sort of force field emanating from the alien ship. It’s pushing us off course, out of this conduit.”
Jamar motioned the two technicians aside, “Later.” Then he said, “The secondary panels read our course now directed at one of the three conduit confluences.”
“Subspace coordinates are in flux. I can’t…”
Marta jumped in. “Reading the three. Thirty-eight seconds to entry…the one in the center if you’ll forgive me being casual about subspace geometry.”
“Sending to alien vessel. Captain, what are you doing?”
“We cannot allow you to know location of point of origin. You will be sent elsewhere. Information shared. Assistance being rendered. Obligation fulfilled.” The signal cut off.
“The aliens have activated thrusters and are pulling away,” Bobby said. “We’re still being directed to the same aperture. Entry in twenty seconds.”
“Pilot, break away from the alien ship’s field. Get us out of here.”
“Controls non-responsive Captain. We can’t break free.”
I’ll let you know more when I do. Stay tuned!
2 thoughts on “My Book “The Aliens” Has Been Accepted Into the Starry Eyed Press Series “Galactic Treks””
Regrettably, most of the above sample has become cliche, after decades of televised and cinematic space operas. One such cliche which has always bothered me particularly, though, is the instrumentation panels that spout fire and sparks or which simply explode. Controls and instrumentation simply do not employ sufficient power to do such things, and they contradict entirely the practices of design safety. There was a time, long ago, when raw power was employed to drive some controls, which then could contain enough energy to do harm to users. But this has not been so for almost a century — certainly not since the advent of electronic instrumentation, and control actuators and effectors that are separate and remote from the user interfaces that activate them.
Sparks and explosions are all very dramatic, but their use is so often just a cheap and unrealistic trick. Weapons activation between enemy combatants and their vessels can be just as life-threatening and dramatic with much more subtle and realistically-likely effects.
I readily admit that I deliberately used a number of these tropes to create a recall to the original time. In fact, I viewed selected portions of several original ST episodes just to get the “feel.”