Attention Trekkers: Pocket Books has recently published a detailed reference guide to Star Trek books. It's called Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion (by Jeff Ayers) and features descriptions and commentary on every Star Trek novel ever published. Aside from being an interesting and well researched project, how does this interest Wing Commander fans? The book includes an interview with WC novelist Dr. William Forstchen about his experience writing a Star Trek book. Forstchen authored (or, apparently, co-authored) Star Trek The Next Generation #57: The Forgotten War. Here's what he says -- including a reference to his previous contract writing experiences (which includes Wing Commander and Magic: The Gathering):
Bill remembered, "I'm old enough now that I actually remember the running of the first episode of the original series and was totally hooked."
He continued, "I was contacted by [Pocket] in 1995 to do a Next Generation novel. Actually, I first turned it down, since I was no longer current with the series but on the day I took that call I had a remarkable student in my office. I'm a professor of history at Montreat College near Asheville, North Carolina and this student was doing an independent study with me on writing for the commercial marketplace. She heard me turn the offer down and sat there wide-eyed. Then announced that she was a major Star Trek buff and couldn't believe I had passed on the offer. I had done some contract writing for a couple of other series and the experiences went from OK to miserable. Well, one thing led to another -- this student was, without a doubt, the finest I had ever worked with in years, so I finally called back and said I'd give it a shot if she could be my coauthor.
"I confess: That issue does still bother me today. Her name is Elizabeth Kitsteiner Salzer, a really remarkable talent, and she was a major force behind the story. There was a lot of debate about her name being on the title. I kept insisting it should be, but [Pocket] kept saying they preferred not. There were some other major problems as well in terms of author-publisher relationship, but I'll skip most of those. Originally I was given a lot more carte blanche in terms of doing the story 'my way' rather than fit a standard format. That was why I was approached by one of the editors to bring in some new blood to the series and a different perspective. Unfortunately, in the end Elizabeth's name did not appear on the title page where it should have been nor did she even get the acknowledgement she deserved. So I do hope you set the record straight and list The Forgotten War with her as my coauthor.
"The idea? It came to me when reading an account of Japanese soldiers who were still being found in the jungles of remote islands as late as the 1980s, never surrendering or giving up, still loyal to the Emperor. The thought hit that with the early days of exploration, the time of Christopher Pike, ships would be frequently lost and just 'disappear'. Suppose there had been a battle, with survivors on both sides getting down to a planet's surface and they're continuing their war across hundreds of years. They are cut off, have no idea of the progress made, and in survival, retrofit to a primitive level, our early twentieth century.... What would both sides say to discover that we have been at peace for [so long]? The questions it presented were fascinating to me and in discussion with Elizabeth we worked out the story line for The Forgotten War and the female character of the historian who gets caught up in this conflict."