All Access Star Trek Explores The New Extended Literary Universe With Author James Swallow

All Access Star Trek podcast episode 27 - TrekMovie

[James Swallow discussion starts at 15:12]

Tony and Laurie give a production update on season two of Star Trek: Picard, discuss why Jeri Ryan prefers playing Seven on the new show, ponder Alex Kurtzman’s latest cryptic hints about Discovery season 4, catch up on how the new shows are doing this award season, and take a look at the growing Paramount+ promotional campaign.

After the news of the week, they talk to author James Swallow about the extended universe of Star Trek books and comics, how they tie into current Star Trek shows, and his latest tie-in novel, Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil.

Links to topics discussed in the pod:

Jeri Ryan Prefers Playing Seven On ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ Confirms Season 2 Production Delay

‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’ And ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Nominated For NAACP Image Awards

Alex Kurtzman Teases Villain And More For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 4

Watch: Spock Demonstrates His Golf Clap In Latest Paramount+ Ad

Michael Burnham Joins Paramount+ Expedition As Campaign Heads Toward “Mega-Stunt”

Watch Patrick Stewart Greet The Expedition In Paramount+ Super Bowl LV Spot

Other mentions:

Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil by James Swallow

Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow

The Romulan Way by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood

Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack

The USS Titan arrives to save the day on Lower Decks

Ghost by James Swallow

Day Zero by James Swallow and Josh Reynolds

Star Trek: Voyager  – “One

Star Trek: Voyager – “Memorial

Trekbits: 

Tony: Joseph Gordon-Levitt on auditioning to play Alexander on TNG when he was 10

Laurie: Patrick Stewart moderating Schitt’s Creek panel

Let us know what you think of the episode in the comments, and please post your suggestions for topics we should cover in the future as well as guests you’d like us to have on.


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Really appreciate having a full interview audio as part of the podcast now that we’re without new episodes of Star Trek series for a bit.

James Swallow was fascinating, and you covered so many of the questions that I would have wanted to ask him. I’m reading “The Dark Veil” now and got answers on several things that tweaked my interest in reading in, including the crosswalk between Lower Decks Titan and Picard-era Titan.

Here’s a couple more general questions in case you get to interview other authors down the line.

1) Is there a working restriction for the novels coming from television production constraints, on the number or proportion of alien regular characters?

In the novels, Titan is one of the most diverse ships in terms of species. Many of the characters that didn’t make it into the new Picard novel version of Titan are non-human. Many of the new characters are human. While a Trill bridge character stayed and a Denobulan helm officer and Vulcan CMO were added, the new version of Titan has lost that — most mixed crew — dimension that came across as a constant reminder of a really positive aspect of Riker’s leadership.

So, while we understand Beyer was wanting a different ensemble, it does raise the question whether there are some limits on the proportion of non-human characters and to well-established species.

2) Has there been opportunities for the tie-in writers to pitch scripts for Short Treks or SNW?

The WGA contract requires that shows that aren’t serialized accept a certain proportion of scripts or story ideas from outside the writers room. Short Treks and SNW would fall into this category.

While some of the tie-in writers are on contract as consultants on some series, it seems logical that they might be well placed to provide spec scripts and stories at this stage.

Last edited 24 days ago by TG47

Thanks for your feedback as always.

By the time you are done with DARK VEIL you will have your answer RE: the more alien crew version of the Titan from previous Trek Litverse

Last edited 24 days ago by Anthony Pascale

Thanks Laurie and Tony. That was a brilliant listen and an education to boot. I always wondered about the process of writing Star Trek novels and your in depth interview answered many of my questions. Great job. It’s nice that you have an hour plus for these interviews as you can really do the subject justice. I think it would also be equally fascinating to do similar, with those who have written or been involved in the production of any of the past or present television series

Couldn’t agree more. I would really like that too. And James was a great guest. More to come!

Fascinating. I’m an avid reader but it never occurred to me to read a book about the Star Trek universe.

There’s a lot of good ones across every era of the franchise, and Swallow isn’t the only tie-in-novelist to have sold stories (and even scripts) that were used in television episodes.

The books coming out for the new series have been written by several of the stronger tie-in novelists from the past 20 years. My suggestion would be to give a few of those a try, and then look at the backlists of the authors that you like.

We have a ton of reviews of different books on the site, take a look and see if something sparks your interest. When I was a kid I started with the James Blish TOS adaptations and then moved into the short stories and novels. Lots to choose from over the past 50 years, and quite a few about the new shows already.

Tony and Laurie,

That was a great interview! Bravo!

I have never read trek novels until Discovery came along and I wanted to learn more about the characters, and they came out with these books focused on the characters. I loved Fear itself and Way to the stars. Both James Swallow and Una McCormack were able to add new layers to Saru and Tilly.

I also enjoyed The Last Best Hope but haven’t ordered Dark Veil yet. I just got Discovery’s Die Standing and downloaded Janeway’s autobiography on audible. Couldn’t pass up hearing Kate Mulgrew as Janeway again.

Looking forward to your interview with Mary Chieffo next weekend.

Live Long and Prosper!

Thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoyed it.