Resistance is Futile and Amusing (Part 1)
I grew up watching Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew roam the Milky Way aboard NCC-1701-D, expertly balancing inter-personal drama with the mind-shredding horrors of an infinite vacuum. A young child with an overactive imagination for all things malevolent, I couldn’t hope for more powerful nightmare fuel. Whether it was an animate blob of evil striking the life out of Tasha Yar, the entire ship going balls-crazy from lack of dreaming (and the equally horrifying realization that the Enterprise‘s salvation rested in Counselor Troi’s
cleavagehands), or Riker’s sanity peeling away layer by layer during play rehearsals, the show always gave me something new to imagine laying in wait for me in the dark.
One of my favorite episodes featured the dynamic, inspiring Captain Picard falling prey to the Borg, becoming an agent of their unfeeling cybernetic consciousness. The sickly, grayish hue of his skin, the tubes erupting from his skull, and his sporadic laser pointer were all equal parts horrifying and awesome. Repeated viewings at older ages diminished the former part but not the latter. To this day, becoming a cyborg remains one of my highest aspirations.
Thus, when I first received the email from Angry Robot Books
editorRobot Overlord Lee Harris saying that they wanted to publish The Dead of Winter, my reaction puzzled me. There I was, accepted into a collective of furious positronic life-forms. It was the realization of a boyhood fantasy and an adult (or megaboy) dream condensed into a single paragraph. In the scenarios I had played out in my head (usually by the minute), I pictured myself whooping, hollering, heaving small objects skyward, and committing petty crimes.
Instead, I simply leaned back in my chair, looked up at the ceiling, and smiled. Of course I was excited; I’ve only ever wanted a few things in my life more than I wanted that email. The laughing and hugging and crying, they all came, but in that precise moment, I was transported. Untethered and weightless, I floated, second to second, breath to breath, torn from my place in time. Soft grey light filtered through my closed eyelids as I drifted. The world was cool and blue and silent, and I was a fallen leaf on its surface. My time of anxiety, of keeping one Firefox tab open to my inbox all throughout the day, of tirelessly calculating and recalculating my odds, was over.
Coming soon: …And what happened after.