Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido
kradical

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thoughts on novels

So in this thread, deyaniera asked:

So which ones [of your novels] are you most proud of? And which are the closest to your heart?

I pointed out that this was like asking me to choose among my children, but I thought of a way to answer the question -- by saying what I enjoyed or was most proud of or was happiest about regarding each of those 34 novels.


Gargantua (as "K. Robert Andreassi")

"It's an amphibian -- but it also can live on land!" While novelizing this dreadful movie had its moments of lunacy (like the quoted line, which was in the script, though it was neither in the final aired version, nor in my novelization), doing this book was a huge step for me, because it was after doing this book quickly and on time that I realized that I could make a go of this freelance-writer thing. Ten years later, I'm still doing it....


Spider-Man: Venom's Wrath (w/José R. Nieto)

My first novel, featuring my favorite super hero, and I'm still damn proud of it. You never forget your first, and this one had several bits that I still look back on and say, "I'm glad I did that," like Detective Hawkins's discourse on the effectiveness of Spider-Man's disguise, or Lieutenant Golden's lamppost story.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Xander Years Volume 1

My first Buffy novel. I was Xander in high school, so this was a particular joy. Plus, y'know, big-ass Buffy fan...


Young Hercules: Cheiron's Warriors
Young Hercules: The Ares Alliance


I was a massive fan of the so-called "Xenaverse" that included Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules. The best part of these two books, though, was getting to write Kevin Smith's magnificent Ares, especially as I was able to give copies of the books to Smith, who later told me that he read The Ares Alliance with his eight-year-old son, which is still one of the thrills of my career.


Star Trek: The Next Generation: Diplomatic Implausibility

My first Trek novel, and indeed, first Trek writing assignment (while Perchance to Dream and Fatal Error were published first, this one was contracted first), this started me on the fulfillment of a childhood dream of being one of those guys who wrote Trek novels.


Farscape: House of Cards

My first lobby. I was like the donkey in Shrek, jumping up and down screaming, "Pick me! Pick me!" I fell hard for this show, and was very hot to write a book based on it.


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Gateways Book 4: Demons of Air and Darkness

I remember first meeting with Marco Palmieri over drinks at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2000, where he told me his plans for post-finale DS9 fiction, and I was honored to be asked to be part of the launch. A chunk of this book was also written while serving on jury duty for five weeks....


Star Trek: The Brave and the Bold Book 1
Star Trek: The Brave and the Bold Book 2


Originally pitched to be one of the six-book crossovers that were all the rage at Pocket in the late 1990s, it wound up being the first single story to encompass all five Trek TV shows, and also gave me the chance to do something else I always wanted to do, to wit, flesh out the character of Commodore Matt Decker in Book 1. As for Book 2, I got to do the Worf/Spock mind-meld, still one of my all-time favorite things to write ever.


Darkness Falls

Of all the movie novelizations I've done, this was the one that had the most cooperation from the studio, who worked very closely with me and my editor to try to make the product as good as possible, going so far as to invite us to their New York office to see the rough cut of the re-shot ending so it would be in the book.


Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions

This was the first time an editor came to me and said, "I loved your other work, would you be interested in doing this book?" And it wound up being huge fun to write, as I got to focus on my favorite parts of Andromeda.


Star Trek: The Lost Era: The Art of the Impossible

I'd never done anything like this before, and to some extent I still haven't: this novel spanned eighteen years of history, had a huge cast of characters, no real protagonist, and combined Klingon, Cardassian, Federation, and Romulan cultures. It was my most ambitious novel to date, and may still be. I think of all the books I've written, this is the one where I accomplished the most.


Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon Book 1: A Good Day to Die
Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon
Book 2: Honor Bound
Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon
Book 3: Enemy Territory


With so many prose-only series cropping up in the Trek line since the successful debut of New Frontier in 1997, it was a huge thrill to be able to launch one of my own about a Klingon ship. The characters in this series have become very near and dear to my heart, and writing them has been some of the easiest writing of my career. Every time I've chronicled Klag and the gang, the words have come with consummate ease. It's like the characters already know what they're doing, and just channel it through my hands....


Dragon Precinct

I don't have to explain this, do I? My first (and so far only) non-tie-in novel, featuring two characters who'd been roaming around in my head since I was a teenager, and also combining two of my favorite genres, high fantasy and police procedural.


Resident Evil: Genesis
Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Resident Evil: Extinction


The first two of these were done back to back and were fun to do, especially since in a novel I could tie together the two films more closely. With the first film, in particular, I was able to flesh out a great deal of the backstory that led into the main part of the movie. The third film was a spectacular experience, as I got to do a bit of experimental storytelling, doing extensive gap-filling between the second and third films and do an entire subplot for a character from the second who wasn't in the third -- all with the blessing and support of the studio.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Time for War, a Time for Peace

Probably my most intimidating assignment: I had to conclude a nine-book miniseries, and bring closure to it, lead into the movie Star Trek Nemesis, set up various bits of post-Nemesis fiction, and, oh yeah, tell a compelling novel. On top of that, the two books immediately prior to mine were David Mack's amazing A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal, giving me the toughest of acts to follow.


Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed (in Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Volume 3)

A very gratifying task, this, as not only did I get to return to the post-finale DS9 fiction, but also attempt to avoid being completely pigeonholed as "the Klingon guy" by doing a story about the species that's 180 degrees from the Klingons, the Ferengi. Plsu, this was just fun...


Star Trek: Articles of the Federation

Many years elapsed between when I was first approached to do a Trek version of The West Wing and when I actually did it, and it was worth the wait. Of all the characters I've created for the Trek universe, I think the one I'm proudest of is President Nan Bacco.


Spider-Man: Down These Mean Streets

I've been a fan of Spidey since I was a wee tot, so getting to write him again was an opportunity I wasn't about to pass up. I'm just generally pleased with pretty much everything about this book, to be honest. It's a Spidey story, a New York story, and also a Marvel Universe take on The Wire in many ways (certainly I thought of Hector Diaz as my D'Angelo Barksdale character).


Serenity

Another one I lobbied hard for. The cancellation of Firefly was a huge blow, and I wanted to do my part in its being resurrected. Many of these novels have exposed me to new fan bases, but I want to single out the Browncoats as a particularly nifty bunch o' folks, many of whom I only got to meet because of this novelization.


World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
StarCraft: Ghost: Nova


These books kicked off a good working relationship with Blizzard Games, one that should continue into the future. (More on that in a few months, if all goes well.) In particular, I enjoyed writing the character of Nova. (I just wish the Ghost game had actually been released....)


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Blackout

The novel I'd wanted to write since "Fool for Love" aired in 2000, this is one of the novels I'm proudest of. I always love writing my home town of New York City (Venom's Wrath, Down These Mean Streets, Nevermore, Four Walls), and this had the added bonus of revisiting my childhood by taking place in 1977. I was fascinated by the potential of Nikki Wood back when that episode of Buffy aired, and more so when more was revealed about her in the seventh season, and I loved fleshing her out and making her a full-on Slayer in her own right.


The Mirror-Scaled Serpent (in Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Obsidian Alliances)

This is my goriest book (though Bone Key may come close), and it also continued my streak of only doing Voyager stories that don't take place in the Delta Quadrant. *laughs* And besides, the Mirror Universe is always good for a romp....


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Deathless

An object lesson in not abandoning ideas. This was originally something I pitched as a Buffy novel in 1999. The editor didn't like it. Fast forward to 2006, with a new editor in place, and she asks me for a pitch for a Buffy novel to fill the spring 2007 slot, and I dust The Deathless off and send it along. She loves it.


Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars

One of the most surreal writing experiences of my life, as I had to write a novel about a game that was being written at the same time that I was doing the book, which made for some interesting story dynamics. Oh, and I only had three weeks to write the first draft, and two to write the second (which involved a huge makeover to the plot).


Supernatural: Nevermore
Supernatural: Bone Key


Another new franchise, and one I've become very fond of. This show is particularly well suited to tie-in fiction, and I got the added bonus of sending the Winchester boys to my two favorite cities, New York and Key West.


Star Trek: The Next Generation: Q & A

For years, I'd been batting around in the back of my head the notion of tying all of Q's appearances together. Then Margaret Clark offers me the chance to do the follow-up to Resistance. Suddenly, it moves to the front of my head. As an added bonus, I get to create a new second officer and security chief of the Enterprise. Just a thrill all 'round.


Star Trek: Klingon Empire: A Burning House

The disappointing sales for Enemy Territory led me to think that I'd never visit the Gorkon again, but Marco found a way to make it work, for which I am grateful. This novel really got to explore the intricacies of Klingon culture in a way that hadn't really been done since John M. Ford's seminal The Final Reflection back in 1984 (and still the gold standard for Klingon books that the rest of us just aspire to). Now let's just hope we get some readers....


CSI: NY: Four Walls

I was brought in to do this after Stuart M. Kaminsky was unable to do a fourth CSI: NY book, and I found myself completely taken in by the characters on this show. Getting into their heads proved irresistible, and I now love the show, for all that it drives me nuts with its inability to capture NYC's flavor.


A Gutted World (in Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions)

Quite possibly the most unpleasant story I've ever written, certainly the most depressing, it was nonetheless quite enjoyable to take one event, change it, and see how the Trek universe would've differed in ways both great and small. I'll be curious to see how folks respond to this come summer.....
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