Armada

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: Armada
Author(s): Robert J. Sawyer
Date(s): 1984 (first four chapters), July 14, 1984 (another chapter), 2002 (first four chapters printed in Voyageur, November 27, 2014 (posted online)
Length: 20,000 words written, 60,000 words were planned
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links:

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Armada is a gen Star Trek: TOS unfinished story by professional science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer.

He includes this disclaimer: "No violation of CBS Paramount's copyright or trademarks is intended. I never signed a contract for this work, and was never paid for it, so I offer this material here as fan fiction."

The fic's long journey to publication illustrates the byzantine maze of tie-in book publishing, something that includes restrictions on content, the vagrancies of ever-changing personnel, the determination for an author to see their work read by fans, and much more.

Some of this fiction was published in the Canadian Star Trek zine Voyageur.

Online

"The five sample chapters... — representing about one-third of the planned 60,000-word book — are all I wrote. But below is the brief 1,300-word outline for the entire novel. Thirty years on, I'm sorry I never finished writing Armada. As Commander Kor once said, 'It would have been glorious.'"

Chapters and a complete outline are here

Some History

On January 4, 1984, I queried Mimi Panitch, then the editor of Star Trek novels at Pocket Books, with an idea for a Star Trek novel of my own, a book to be called Armada (this was long before there was a Trek computer game by that name).

I knew my idea was controversial so I wanted to run it past her before I invested much time in writing it. She liked the notion and suggested I develop sample chapters — which I did, beginning on February 11, 1984 (making them the first fiction I'd written on a computer: my Osborne 1, acquired in December 1983, using the word-processing program WordStar). I worked on those chapters in and around my freelance nonfiction writing (including a full-time contract with The Rosewell Group until the end of June 1984).

I submitted the chapters and an outline for the whole book to Ms. Panitch on on November 27, 1984. The next day, the trade journal Locus arrived with the news that she had resigned. Sigh.

I tried submitting the material again in March 1985 to Karen Haas, who was briefly Ms. Panitch's successor — but she thought the core idea, a religious one, wouldn't work for her version of the Star Trek line.

But soon enough she, too, was gone, and Locus announced that yet another person had taken over the Star Trek novel line, David Stern. On September 24, 1985, I sent him a revised version of my four sample chapters (the first four chapters of the book), totaling 20,000 words, and a 1,300-word outline for the entire novel.

Dave Stern liked the submission very much, and asked me to finish it — but I was advised by a friend, the famed editor Judith Merril, not to do so without a contract, since, of course, there was nowhere else one could sell a Star Trek book. So I screwed up my courage and, on July 23, 1986, asked Dave for a contract (this was two and a half years before I landed my first literary agent). Dave said he would hand my submission over to Paramount's approval office, and, if they gave the go-ahead, he would indeed issue a contract for me to finish the book.

On October 27, 1986, Dave wrote back to me, saying, "Paramount Pictures, though tentatively approving your novel, have in that approval rejected unequivocally one of the central tenets of your book (to my way of thinking): the idea of the great Being actually being (no pun intended) the creator of life on Earth. They have also asked that all references to religion be severely abbreviated. As I stated above, to me this robs the novel of its heart — not to mention a great deal of its marketing potential. I'm returning herein your material with a reluctant rejection."

And that was the end of that — although three years later, the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier premiered with a strikingly similar premise. Paramount might say no to God, but never to William Shatner.

Armada predates the last three classic Star Trek movies, as well as The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Much of what follows is contradicted by material presented in those later works. Still, I'm very proud of Armada, and offer it here for those who share my fondness for classic Trek.

Attentive readers of my work will recognize in Armada the seeds for the Waldahudin from my Hugo Award-nominated novel Starplex; some of the themes that ultimately ended up in my Hugo Award-nominated Calculating God; and an early version of Chapter 6 (Afsan at the Hunter's Shrine) of my novel Far-Seer. Meanwhile, Trek trivia buffs will recognize that the chapter titles are all lines of dialogue from the original Star Trek television series.

In 2002, the Canadian fanzine Voyageur, put out by by the Toronto-based Star Trek club USS Hudson Bay, published the first four chapters of Armada in four consecutive issues starting with #137, January–February 2002; my thanks to then-editor Karen Bennett for that opportunity.

Here, on November 27, 2014 — thirty years to the day after Armada was first submitted — I'm adding a never-before-seen bonus: the 1,700-word fifth chapter, "Is Truth Not Truth for All," written July 14, 1984, which I didn't include in either my submissions to Pocket Books or in the Voyageur version. Enjoy!

References