Star Trek… Fifty Years

Star Trek: Fifty Years

Couldn’t let this day go by without a comment or two, since I wrote so many Star Trek books and edited it over the years as well.

I was a sophomore in high school in Boise, Idaho, fifty years ago and was home that night to watch that first show that first Thursday night. We had just bought our first color television. And I was hooked. Instantly.

And for the next three years I watched every show I could, including during my senior year going home on a Friday night to watch Trek. Yeah, I had that good a social life. (grin)

It never once occurred to me in those years that I would end up writing Star Trek, or sitting in an office in Paramount studios talking Star Trek, or editing stories for Star Trek, or writing comics for Star Trek.

If someone had walked up to me and told me that was in my future, I would have laughed. I was a snow skier and a golfer. I hated writing. And Star Trek was a wonderful escape place I got to go to get away from my life in those years.

To a young kid watching a show in Boise, Idaho in the 1960s, any idea of working in Star Trek was just not a thought. And when it was cancelled, my life went on.

So then as decades went by, I woke up one morning in the early 1990s and found myself writing Star Trek. (The very first one with Kris we wrote under our pen name Sandy Schofield.) And then a few years later I found myself with a massive pile of Star Trek manuscripts to read for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

I did some wonderfully fun projects in Star Trek. I did the only Star Trek: Captain Proton book filled with a short novel and three short stories that I wrote. I did a mystery Star Trek novel called “A Hard Rain” that fans either loved or hated. And I wrote the original script and then did the novelization for Star Trek: Klingon, directed by Jonathan Frakes.

I also invented, with John Ordover, The Captain’s Table and Kris and I wrote the DS9 book in that crossover.

And Kris and I did the very first original Star Trek: Voyager novel and the very first Star Trek: Enterprise novel, both books written long before the first episode of either series aired. (We wrote them from cast pictures and the first script of the first episode.) I also write the very first story in Star Trek: Core of Engineers.

I wrote numbers of novels in every Star Trek series and ghosted for a number of other Star Trek writers when they couldn’t finish a book. A total of 26 Star Trek books.

And that’s not counting the ten volumes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds I edited for ten years, finding some really great writers.

Now, in this new world of Star Trek, because Kris and I have moved on, all the books and things we did in Star Trek are pretty much forgotten, which is fine.

But at this fifty year mark, I had to say something because I have always been a Star Trek fan, right from that first night fifty years ago, and to this day. I was stunningly lucky to get to work in Star Trek.

Stunningly lucky.

Happy 50th.


  • Russ

    Dean – It was so fun to read about your adventures with Star Trek. We are big Trekkies in our house and are re-watching DS9 for about the 5th time on Netflix. Thank you for sharing. I heard there will be a new series next year. We are excited about that.

  • Gretchen Rix

    The Star Trek novels remain some of my favorite “comfort food” type of books. They always make me feel good. I’ve still got about twenty of them around the house, including all of them from Enterprise.

  • Mark Kuhn

    That’s some cool stuff to share, Dean. So you went from hating writing to who you are today? That’s outstanding.

  • Annie Reed

    I grew up with Star Trek too, never thought I’d get a chance to write it, and then bam! I’m in Strange New Worlds. *g* Three times. Thank you for that!

  • David Anthony Brown

    I read the Captain Proton book a few years ago, the local public library has a copy. Fun, goofy adventure story… very much something you’d come up with 🙂

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, David. Each of the four stories in there I patterned after a major sf pulp writer. The short novel was Doc Smith, of course. And I really had fun doing a Harry Harrison rift. That was a fun project. Nothing at all to do with Trek except that Captain Proton was a holideck character on Voyager. I wrote two characters that weren’t on Trek outside of the holideck, the second being the Dixon Hill mystery.

  • Sheila

    I always envied those who got to watch the series when it originally ran. We had to wait until it came out in reruns, as my father had heard it was “too adult”, so he didn’t want us kids watching that stuff.

    I’ve read every Trek book I could get my hands on over the years, even ones written in recent years. Enjoyed them all, for the most part.

    Writing for Star Trek was something I dreamed of doing. The closest I ever got was the fan fiction for my brother’s club magazine, and a novelette I wrote for one of his class assignments (I hope the statute of limitations as run out on that! 😀 ).

    I’m watching the BBC marathon right now, enjoying all those episodes I loved so much. Long live Star Trek!