Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Ebook Hiatus

The four or five people reading this have probably already read most of the following post on the TrekBBS, but the blog needs content and this is worth saying twice. It's a response to the recent announcement that the original Trek ebooks are going on hiatus after the end of Slings and Arrows. That means, unfortunately, no new Starfleet Corps of Engineers stories in the foreseeable future. That's bad enough in itself, but the fact that some of the key folks involved in the ebook line have known about this since last May and not been able to say anything until recently... that must have sucked.

I may be way behind in reading SCE/COE, but imho it's been an important part of the Trek books mix. Not only because it's had its share of great stories (and it has); not only because it introduced and developed some great new characters and allowed some more familiar characters a chance to shine (Sonya Gomez, to name an obvious example); not only because it was a great way to bring new writers into the mix; not only because it allowed some interesting tie-in stories to other book events (Gateways, DS9R, Vanguard); not only because it had the flexibility to tell a wide variety of stories with a wide variety of tones; not only because it lived up to what a Star Trek series should be -- character-driven science fiction stories true to the Trek universe, from a slightly different perspective... but for all those reasons.

Here's hoping this is a temporary setback.

There's a lot to be said about ebooks, but there's also a lot we don't really know yet. Though the form has been around for some time, there's still no real standardization in anything from pricing to features to copy protection. With luck, in another couple of years, there will have been some industry developments that will make original ebooks a worthwhile proposition for Pocket again.

In the meantime, I'll still think fondly of the never-tried format I've always wanted to see: a paperback Trek fiction magazine that allows for stories of differing lengths that for whatever reason might not be appropriate for a novel. Lower decks stories, or stories featuring all-new characters, or series lacking a more prominent spot in the publishing schedule. Like SCE/COE, for instance. If the idea had a chance of working someone would have made it work by now, and a couple of past general SF attempts (Destinies and Far Frontiers, both created by Jim Baen) had disappointingly short lifespans. But I can dream, right?


At 9:26 AM, Blogger 8of5 said...

I'm afraid I never got into ebooks, but I shall still miss them I think. The fact they've gone for now means twelve less Trek stories a year, that's quite an impact and I hope something (like a magazine, nice idea) will fill that void.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Have you read the paperback reprints of the SCE/COE stories? They're definitely worth checking out.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

Thank you very much for the kind words.

At 1:14 PM, Blogger 8of5 said...

They are on my too-read list, not right up the top so it will be a while before I get round to them still, but not too far down.

I read "Here There Be Monsters" (and thus have the omnibus with it in) when I read the rest of the Gateways books, and I read "The Light" when it came out because it had a Borg cube on the cover :P

"The Light" was my first (and so far only) ebook and I definitely prefer paperbooks. But that wouldn't put me off if there was something released as an ebook I really wanted to read. For instance if they did DS9 relaunch, Captain Pike era stories, Articles of the Federation spin off, etc stories as ebooks I would snap them up instantly.

Which makes the timing of this most unfortunate, just as the ebooks were starting to diversify (and not saying I wouldn’t enjoy SCE I just havn’t got round to it yet) they get cancelled. A real shame.


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