Illustration for article titled How Vonda McIntyre Overcame The Star Trek Novelist Stigma

One of the best reasons to be a Star Trek fan in the 1980s was Vonda McIntyre's tie-in books. She's blogged about her Trek experience - including Wrath Of Khan's original title.


I've become a huge fan of McIntyre's non-Trek writings, but I first discovered her through her novelizations of the second, third and fourth movies. McIntyre added an extra dimension of awesomeness to her novelizations of TWOK and The Voyage Home, and managed to make Search For Spock seem like an interesting story. In her blog post, she recounts how TWOK was originally called Demon Warrior, and then The Revenge Of Khan (but the producers worried it would clash with the then-forthcoming Star Wars: The Revenge Of the Jedi.) And she talks about taking an actual whale-watching trip to help her research her novelization of Trek IV.

But even better than her movie novelizations are her original novels. McIntyre talks about how she wrote The Entropy Effect as a spec script for the original series, and it got as far as Gene Roddenberry's desk before he left the show.

Years later, the opportunity to write a Star Trek novel came along The folks who invited me to write it knew I'd been fond of the series and they trusted me to treat the characters with some respect.

The deadline was very tight and I never would have been able to manage it except that I'd just bought, with my two housemates, a computer: A tan-case Osborne I with a four-digit serial number. It had 64K of memory and you could fit a whole chapter on a 5.25″ floppy disk - nearly thirty pages! And the disks only cost $10 each!

Thanks to my housemates, who not only didn't kill me for monopolizing the new machine during all my waking hours for six weeks, but also occasionally took me away and fed me and sent me to bed, I hit the deadline for The Entropy Effect. (It was very interesting to collaborate with myself between the age of 18 and the age of 30.)

My editor happened to be coming to a convention in Seattle just before the book was due, and asked me to give him the manuscript there, so I did.

(It was on paper; writers might have begun creeping into the computer age, but publishers hadn't yet, very few people had email, and once rudimentary email did come along, sending anything but plain ASCII that way was a triumph of binhex and encoding and I forget what-all.)

To my surprise (and not a little discomfort), my editor sat himself down in the middle of a small party and started reading. After he'd read fifty pages or so, he said, "Paramount will either love this, or they'll really, really hate it."


She also talks about how her friends and colleagues scolded her for sullying her career with media tie-in books, and suggested she work as a waitress instead. It's well worth reading all of McIntyre's Trek novelization memories. [Book View Cafe]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter