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Robert Greenberger

STAR TREK


09-27-07: MilSciFi.com interviews Robert Greenberger author and editor of numerous Star Trek novels and anthologies and the military science fiction short stories.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. What is it like writing tie-in novels for a series that has become a cultural icon?"

Greenberger: "First of all, having grown up with most of these media properties, itís an absolute thrill and honor to be allowed to play in these particular sandboxes.  That weíre being allowed to do original stories and not just adaptations is a bonus."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming projects in the Star Trek universe?"

Greenberger: "Iím well into writing book five of a six part eBook mini-series that is part of Pocket Booksí salute to Star trek: The Next Generationís 20th anniversary.  The overall title for the event is Slings & Arrows.  My one contribution is entitled A Weary Life.  The focus of the mini-series is on Picard and company aboard the Enterprise-E during that critical first year.  In the films, we first see the E in Star Trek: First Contact weíre told they were aboard for a year already so we wondered, what occurred during that period?  My particular focus will be on a mission involving Riker and the Maquis.  Itíll be out in the first quarter of 2008."

MilSciFi: "What would your ideal project be if you could plan your own anthology?"

Greenberger: "Great question.  Iíve never imagined my very own original anthology so let me think."

MilSciFi: "What other upcoming works are on the horizon for you?"

Greenberger: "Speaking of anthologies, I have three short stories completed for Moonstone Books.  Again, theyíre all media tie-ins and focus on classic adventures characters.  Should their recently released Phantom book do well, I have a story in and approved for the second volume.  I have also contributed stories to their forthcoming Tales of Zorro and 2008ís Captain Midnight.  Beyond that, I have pitches out to people and a completely written project I cannot discuss as yet because the publisher has yet to release the news themselves."

MilSciFi: "How would you describe your experience working on the Star Trek books?"

Greenberger: "No two projects in the Star Trek universe have been the same, partly given that some were collaborations and some were solo; some were short stories and some were novels.  And of course there are all the different franchises and time periods.  My relationships with the various Pocket Book editors, from Kevin Ryan to John Ordover to Marco Palmieri and to Keith DeCandido have all been strong and positive.  Paula Block at CBS Consumer Products and I are old friends from way back which makes the give and take very comfortable. 

There days there are so many authors, most of whom have become good friends, that we often kibbutz back and forth, supporting one another."

MilSciFi: "If you had a chance to write one story/novel just because you wanted to, and didn't have to worry about if it would sell or not, what would it be about?"

Greenberger: "For what feels like five years now, Iíve had two original novels kicking around in my head.  The theme to the mainstream one has to do with how college really doesnít prepare you for the real world and the other is an urban fantasy that is about halfway outlined.  I also have one or two ideas that could make interesting books but see them more as movies; however, I donít think I have the facility for screenplays so they just rattle around my head."

MilSciFi: "What is your favorite story/novel you have ever written and why?"

Greenberger: "Oddly, I donít think I have a favorite single piece of work.  I remain amazed at authors who can quote their works from memory going back through the years."

MilSciFi: "What are you working on next?"

Greenberger: "After I complete A Weary Life, I have some short essays for a non-fiction anthology and then Iím waiting to hear back on pitches that editors are reviewing.  I have some open call anthologies to write for.  Ideally, Iíll get something approved and someone will also reach out with an offer for something."

MilSciFi: "Give us the details on your upcoming author appearances."

Greenberger: "Right now, I have nothing booked between now and Farpoint next February in Baltimore.  That may change depending on my day job status."

MilSciFi: "What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction or franchise writer?"

Greenberger: "Do your homework.  The military stuff is tricky because you have fans of the properties or the era or the ordinance and you have to get the hardware and science down.  There will be those who love all war all the time and could care less about the characters Ė if thatís what you like to write, only pitch to those lines.  If you like character mixed in, that sends you down different avenues and you need to know the difference.

If youíre creating your own military SF world, make certain there is something that sets it apart from what else is readily available.  Make it your own, not just a David Weber knockoff."

MilSciFi: "Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?"

Greenberger: "Another good question.  The first real adult SF I read was Isaac Asimov and thereís a sparseness to my own writing that may have come from him although we write nothing alike."

MilSciFi: "What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"

Greenberger: "Military SF is a tough category in that you need to work with tech and people and usually choreographing battles or campaigns.  Itís less about theme and character development and more about the nature of war (on a planet, in space, in virtual reality).  When I wrote two stories for Keith Laumerís Bolo Universe (one saw print),  each generation of Bolo had different capabilities and they were tough to keep track of so I went more for a character and technology approach and a little less about the war itself.

The BattleTech story I did two years ago for Loren Coleman (may he one day edit and pay for it) was even tougher given the scope of the BattleTech universe.  Again, it was trying to find a way to tell a story about character inspired by the technology or the battles."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any awards you would like to tell us about?"

Greenberger: "As a writer, I have never been nominated.  I guess Iím a mid-list journeyman sort who entertains and I can live with that."

MilSciFi: "Do you have a website where our readers can go to fine more information about your work?"

Greenberger: "I tend to blog 4-5 times a week at www.bobgreenberger.com.  At some point, I intend to evolve the site to be more robust, with bibliography, appearance calendar and the like.  Come visit, I donít bite."

MilSciFi: "Do you write under any other names?"

Greenberger: "Twice Iíve written under house names.  First, I was one of the many Xavier Einsteins for Zebra Booksí Trivia Mania line of books.  I did the one on comic books and comic strips in 1984. The second was a few years later when Ace released three books in a nascent series that failed to sell.  It was called Time Station and mine was set in Berlin and was written under a very tight deadline and really isnít very good, under-researched and in need of more plot."

MilSciFi: "Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?"

Greenberger: "I have written a small number of original SF and Fantasy short stories that go beyond your traditional definition of military SF.  One, for an anthology called Mob Magic, had a world and set of characters and writing style that I look forward to getting back to.  Should the fall be a fallow one, thatís my first port of call.

Iíve also written 14 or so non-fiction young adult books for Rosen Books, part of a series of titles sold as sets to libraries, both public and school.  They range from the Nature of Energy to the History of Pakistan to biographies of Lou Gehrig and Will Eisner.  Those are all fun and appeal to the historian in me.

I continue to write articles, essays and interviews for other publications such as Marvel Spotlight and ComicMix.com plus uncredited work for other websites.

I certainly know how to stay busy."

 


Robert Greenberger's website is:
www.bobgreenberger.com

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Copyright ©2007 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.

 

The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
do not necessarily represent the views of MilSciFi.com.