For Your Approval
Trek to Madworld
Frederik Pohl was the editor at Bantam Books in the late 70s, and was looking for writers to create Star Trek novels. He had bought a couple of my short stories when he was editing If and Galaxy, and he knew I'd just recently agreed to write the Family d'Alembert series, so he asked whether I'd be interested in writing a Star Trek book as well. I'd watched the show and enjoyed it so, after just a bit of thought, I said yes.
In trying to decide what to write, I looked over what had already been written. This was before the floodgates had been opened, and there were only a select number of the books being published. Just about everything to date was serious, yet I knew that people's favorite episodes were almost always the comic ones -- The Trouble With Tribbles, Shore Leave, I, Mudd and so forth. I decided to do a humorous Star Trek novel (the first, as far as I know). Inspired by the delightful book and film, Trek to Madworld is a sort of "Star Trek Meets Willie Wonka."
David Gerrold did me the great honor of writing an Introduction to the book, explaining to all and sundry my secret life as a werekoala. Even if you don't care for my writing, David's Introduction is worth the price of the book.
Surprisingly, this turned out to be one of the hardest books I ever wrote. For one thing, a novel is classically about someone or something undergoing change, yet it is the nature of a series like this that the principal characters and their situation can't fundamentally change. For another thing, I like working with characters who surprise me every once in a while, because that proves they're not just puppets of the plot -- but so much had been written about Kirk, Spock and McCoy that you knew what they'd do under almost any conceivable circumstances. I solved both problems the same way the writers did in the show -- by introducing "guest stars" who could change and develop over the course of the story.