From the very beginning, ‘Star Trek’ has had a tradition of courting well-regarded writers. The original series alone featured contributions from some of the luminaries of mid-twentieth century science fiction, including Richard Matheson, Theodore Sturgeon, and no less a figure than Harlan Ellison himself. It had the effect of lending the show a certain street cred among sci-fi fans when it first aired, assuring them that this was serious science fiction.
The franchise’s latest such coup (and certainly its biggest in many years) is the involvement of Michael Chabon. Best known for his seminal 2000 novel ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’, Chabon’s myriad accolades include a Hugo award and a Pulitzer Prize. His first ‘Star Trek’ contribution came last fall with ‘Calypso‘, an acclaimed installment of ‘Short Treks’. More exciting, though, is his involvement with the untitled Picard series, to which he will be contributing scripts.
So just how did ‘Star Trek’ coax a Pulitzer-winning author into the writers’ room? Turns out all they had to do was ask. As franchise overseer Alex Kurtzman explained to ComicBook.com:
“It came about because he’s a crazy ‘Star Trek’ fan, and he knows absolutely everything there is to know, and he happens to be one of the greatest novelists of all time. And I am completely and totally obsessed with ‘Kavalier and Clay’. I read it on my honeymoon cover to cover, and I have not stopped thinking about it since, and I’ve been married for almost twenty years, so it’s very present for me still. So the second I heard he was interested, I kind of stalked him. And to my great delight, found that he didn’t require any stalking. He was already in, and I talk to him every day. I talk to him several times a day as we build this thing. His voice has been really critical, and he’s so brilliant. He’s so thoughtful. He truly understands the core of what ‘Trek’ is and what Picard and ‘Next Generation’ is specifically. So, he is one of the many wonderful voices we have in the room.”
And as exciting as it is to have a writer of Chabon’s stature working on ‘Star Trek’, it’s also worth noting that prior interviews have given us every indication that Kurtzman isn’t blowing smoke when it comes to the man’s ‘Trek’ cred. In particular, an interview with CNET last fall saw the author describe Picard as “the hero we need right now,” and “an exemplar of everything that is best about ‘Star Trek’s vision for the future.” This, it must be said, came in the immediate wake of some pontification on not only the value of the optimistic future that ‘Star Trek’ represents but of the sense of responsibility that comes with writing for the franchise.
Be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Star Trek’ news – including the latest on the second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and other upcoming shows and movies – as it becomes available!.