Many readers will be familiar with Michael Jan Friedman’s work as an author of more than sixty novels, ten of which have been on the New York Times Best Seller list. Star Trek fans will also be familiar with his work within the Trek Universe, in which he has written at least thirty Star Trek related books over the years.
Currently, however, Michael is working on a multi-authored shared anthology, with some amazing authors, and he was kind enough to talk about this latest literary adventure with SciFiPulse’s Tye Bourdony, who is also a long-time fan of Michael’s Trek novels.
1. Thank you for agreeing to talk with SciFiPulse about your multi-author shared-world anthology. Can you tell me who the other authors are who are working on this anthology with you?
There are 19 of us, all established in print, some also established in television. It’s the best group I could hope to put together for a project like this one: Ilsa J. Bick, Michael A. Burstein, Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert Greenberger, Glenn Hauman, Paul Kupperberg, Ron Marz, Aaron Rosenberg, Lawrence M. Schoen, Geoffrey Thorne, Tiffany Trent, Marie Vibbert, and Dayton Ward.
2. What is the title of this third book in the anthology and can you tell us a little more about this world in which humanity lives on a single super-continent and the perils they face?
For now, we’re just calling it Pangaea III, but it will have a longer title before it’s published. We’re still working out some of the fine details so we don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner. In the first two books, we saw an ancient race, thought lost, rise again in an attempt to make this world it’s own again. In this third and final book, we see this problem become even more complicated.
We’re talking about a world that’s similar to us but necessarily different. For instance, there’s been no colonization because the entire landmass is contiguous and the level of available technology is pretty much the same all over. Another difference is that the Neanderthal have survived as a distinct subspecies. Also, there’s no fossil fuel development; wind, water, and solar are so accessible that there’s been no need for dirty energy.
3. What has the response been to the previous two installments and when will this last installment be released?
The first two installments have been very well received. As I note, they were both supported by successful Kickstarter campaigns, with almost every backer from the first one returning for the second one. Pangaea III will be released to backers by March 2020, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter.
4. As an artist and author, what is it about working cooperatively with these other authors as well as promoting your work via Kickstarter campaigns that are most satisfying?
Well, writing is a lonely business. It’s fun to share a project with people whose work I respect and also for whom I have a fair amount of affection. What’s more, I think by taking part in an indie project, we’re working to preserve the relationship between reader and writer despite whatever may befall traditional publishers and retailers.
As for Kickstarters–I have to confess, I enjoy running them. Not throughout the entire process, in that they tend to have dead spots, but in the beginning and in the end there’s a rush of support that’s just intoxicating.
5. I remember first being introduced to your writing from reading the terrific Star Trek novels you are also very well known for. While this current anthology seems to be in a different vein than Trek-related science fiction, do you have any plans to work in the sci-fi realm again in the future?
I still have a soft spot for Trek-style space opera. Recently, that’s manifested in two ways. One is a graphic novel called Empty Space, which is presently available from Comixology in the form of five e-issues. I kickstarted that project as well. Also, I recently published a book of my short fiction called Headless and Other Improbable Excitations of the Muse, the e-version of which is available from Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com; the title story in that one, Headless, is very much in the Star Trek mold.
6. If you know, where do you see your next projects taking you with respect to the worlds you will be immersing yourself in next?
After Pangaea, I’d like to revisit a world I call Aztlan, in which Cortes never conquered the Aztecs and they went on to conquer everything from what we call Baffin Bay to what we call Tierra del Fuego. In the 21st century of this Earth, a noir-style detective named Maxtla Colhua pursues murder mysteries as an Investigator for the Empire. I’m thinking a full-length novel to go with the shorter stories I’ve told about Maxtla in the past.
7. So for your fans, as well as those new readers interested in your current anthology and Kickstarter program, where can they go contribute and bring this new world alive?
They can go to Kickstarter and search for “Pangaea III” or use this link:
8. Lastly, do you see a part of the future of literature and/or artists taking more control of their work in the same way you are doing with this project?
I definitely see authors taking more control of their work as time goes on. With increasing competition, traditional publishers have to work harder and take fewer risks in order to remain viable. If writers are going to maintain their relationship with their readers, they’re going to have to take the kind of chances publishers used to take–chances like shared-world anthologies in the mold of Pangaea.
Thanks so much for your time Michael, I have always loved your work and look forward to reading your current project. Best of Luck!
Thanks a bunch, Tye. It’s been a pleasure “talking” with you.