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Catching Up with Trek Novelist Dave Galanter

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Dave Galanter has a day job, doing IT, but he’s found time over the years to write a number of Star Trek books. Among his contributions to the Trek literary galaxy: TOS: Crisis of Consciousness, VOY: Battle Lines, the TNG duology Maximum Warp, and The Original Series novel Troublesome Minds, plus several works of Star Trek short fiction. StarTrek.com sat down to chat with Galanter his Trek output and upcoming projects, during a visit to the Star Trek: The Original Series Tour in Ticonderoga, New York. Here’s what he had to say…

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How many Trek books have you actually written?

I don't even know. I think there's been six or seven different Star Trek novels, three of them Original Series, three of them Next Generation, a Voyager book, and also various short stories and anthologies and things like that.

Talk a bit about writing TOS characters…

When I write a classic Trek novel, a TOS novel, I like to do it like you're watching an extended episode of the show. So, every chapter end is a commercial break, as best as I can make it, and that you feel the characters are hopefully saying the things that they would say on the show.

Do you hear the music in your head?

I do. I hear the music. I hear the actors. You can't get out of Nimoy's head and voice when you're doing his character, and that's my goal and the highest compliment anybody ever pays me, is that the characters (in his books) sound like the characters that they've seen on TV.

If there's someone listening who for whatever reason has not yet sunk their teeth into one of your Star Trek books, what’s the one you’d recommend to them?

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I would say Troublesome Minds, which is a very Spock-centric novel. Or Crisis of Consciousness, which is another Spock-centric novel. So, if you love Spock, pick up one of those books. They’re at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, all over.

What is it you personally appreciate most about Star Trek?

It's a positive view of the future. It's not necessarily fully utopian, but it's not dystopian and it is, in fact, the future that I believe eventually we on this planet will have. I really still have hope for mankind that we will work out our kinks and… not be perfect, but be out there doing the sort of things that they are doing in Star Trek.

What is your view of what you do when you write Star Trek? Is it a complementary piece of the puzzle? Do you think, “Hey, this is what I never got to see on a show or movie, and I want to put it into words”?

It's the last one. It's, “Wouldn't it be cool if…?” And then following that and saying, “All right, I'm in 1969. I'm in the writers’ room. I'm working for Star Trek, and what would I write?” Hopefully, Roddenberry wouldn't say no to it. So, that's what's in my mind.

How different is it to get into the mindset of TOS versus TNG versus Voyager, all of which you've written?

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You just watch a little bit and you can get into it and get the voices, and I try to be a good mimic. When I'm writing Worf, I even do the deep voice, believe it or not. You just can switch the mindset. I'll have (episodes) on in the background when I'm writing because I also want to get their mannerisms down. If Kirk does the whole thing with his thumb on the side of his nostril to wipe away blood, I want to write that, you know? That's a William Shatner sort of thing. The actors are the characters, in a way.

What are you working on now?

I'm actually working on something that's my own little universe, which is a detective series with a time-travel conceit, written from the perspective of a geek mindset. So, here's a time-travel person who has seen a lot of time-travel movies, and knows Doctor Who and so on and so forth, and there's a person from the future who comes back in time and together they fight crime.

What was the most recent Trek story you wrote, and will you be writing more that you're aware of?

It was Crisis of Consciousness. I haven't had a recent idea to pitch them yet, and I don't want to just pitch and say, “Hey, what about this idea?” I want to have a good idea. A lot of my fellow writers, quite frankly, do this as their day job. I have a different day job. I work in IT. Let them do the constant thing and I'll write one every few years. I'm happy with that.

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