I finally had the opportunity to meet Peter David, at Salt Lake Comic Con, a couple of weeks ago. After what I thought was a rocky beginning, I was able to have a nice time, and he chatted with me about some of his work. I was honored to meet PAD, as he’s been one of my favorite authors, since, back-in-the-day; I’m talking about his comic-book days. Peter David has written some very entertaining books during his career, for Star Trek in-particular: ‘The Rift’, ‘Q Squared’, ‘Imzadi’, he even killed-off Captain Janeway, in ‘Before Dishonor’. Besides that, he’s only-one, (of a very-distinguished few), that has the distinction of having a series that hasn’t been on TV: Star Trek: New Frontier; behind Deep Space Nine, that’s my favorite series out of the bunch. Mackenzie Calhoun rocks! I love his unorthodox crew aboard the U.S.S. Excalibur, too.
I must say, Peter David looked good, and – after introducing myself, I asked him about his health; in-fact, I asked him twice. “How are you?” I asked him. “I’m fine,” he replied. I tried again. “How are you?” I asked, making it clear that I meant his health, since-his stroke last year. “I’m fine,” he said, with a bit of acid in his tone. “Everyone is so concerned about my health.” “Well, you gave us all quite-a-scare,” I told him; (which, he had). “Well, I’m sorry.” I knew, I had upset him, and – he me, so, I asked if he would sign my copy of ‘The Captain’s Daughter’ (which is signed by George Takei, as well,); then, I left him there and went home for the day. I was pretty upset about our first encounter, even posting on Facebook that he’d been a jerk. Fortunately, some of our friends talked some sense into me and told me to give him another chance. I found out, that Peter was upset about his placement at our ‘little’ comic con (he was in Artist’s Alley, which was set off in the back of the Salt Palace); they didn’t even have the right name placard for him, (which – I think is pretty-lame, considering who Peter David is, and what he represents to his loyal fans).
The second-encounter went much better… I made the effort to apologize for the previous day’s events, as I thought I’d done something wrong; funny, Peter said he didn’t feel the way I did: he didn’t even remember me. “I’d have remembered you, had you been a dick, and I don’t remember anyone being a dick.” That broke-the-ice, as – I admitted, that I can be a dick. I shook Peter’s hand and I began to ask him a couple of questions, while he signed the items I’d hauled in. I told him that New Frontier is my favorite series and I asked him who he had based Mackenzie Calhoun on. (I didn’t bring a recorder, or take notes, but I tried to remember everything he told, so I hope I don’t misqoute). “I based Mackenzie on William Wallace (from Braveheart) who led his people in the uprising against Edward I,” Peter told me, (hence, the uprising on Xenex, M’k’n’zy of Calhoun’s native planet, against its Danteri oppressors). I asked Peter if there were any new adventures in-the-works and he responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” He has a storyline worked-out and it’s going through the process of being approved and written. I asked him if there were any plans for any new comic stories from IDW and he told me there were none. Well, that sucks. I had brought with me, that day, my hardcopy-volume of the first-four books and the comic-book ‘Double Time’, which Peter was only-glad to sign for me. While there, I also, picked-up a copy of his vampire comedy ‘Pulling Up Stakes’, which, is uproariously funny. I highly recommend it, (and – its sequel), as they had me laughing out loud; plus – they blow-the-lid off of all of those ‘myths’ about vampires. He signed that, as well, then Peter allowed me to take a selfie of the two of us, together.
I wasn’t finished with Mr. David, though, as I had decided to seek him out, one-last-time, on the con’s final day. (I brought a few-more things for him to sign, too…) This turned-out to be the best day yet, ‘cause, I had the privilege of sitting-in on one of his panels. The panel dealt with comic-books and the casting of the actors in superhero roles in the movies. Peter ambled-in and joined the rest of the group (Jeff Vice, ‘Cinephiled.com,’ JM Bell ‘The Left Show,’ JC Carter, ‘Hold 322 Podcast,’ and Jimmy Martin, ‘Big Movie Mouth-Off.’), and he got everyone laughing right-off-the-bat. Peter recounted a story about how he was booed out of the room, when he agreed with the decision of Michael Keaton to play ‘Batman’; then, when ‘Batman Returns’ was being produced, Peter was vindicated; at some event someone said something along-the-lines of, “If they’re casting for this new ‘Batman,’ it better damn-well be Keaton, ‘cause, he’s the only-one who can do it…” I agree. Needless-to-say, this was a terrific hour of hijinks and everyone had a really-good time; we learned a few-things, as well. It’s one of my great comic con moments.
With the panel finished, I headed-over to Peter’s table, where I began to pepper him with questions; (in- between him conversing with his other fans, that is; I mean, the Salt Palace Convention Center was packed with geeks, from all walks of life). I had brought a copy of ‘The Rift’ and Peter told me, that out of all of his books, he gets asked about it, more-than all of them. He told me a great story about how the story got approved, by an editor who didn’t like Peter very-much (in-fact, “…I know, absolutely hated my guts,” Peter told me). Peter submitted three stories, one better than the other and an agglomeration; the editor knew one of them was written by Peter, but he ended-up choosing the latter. I’m so glad, because ‘The Rift’ is one of my all-time favorites; I’ve read it numerous times. When I first got my NOOK app, ‘The Rift’ was one of the first books I downloaded.
I went on to ask Peter if he had ever considered doing a Q/Calhoun story: “I have,” he grinned. “I haven’t ruled-out a Q story with Calhoun and if one comes up, I’d do it.” That would be a fantastic book, I think. I, also-asked him, who he pictured playing Calhoun, and if there was a possibility of a TV series. He told me that TV shows cost a lot of money to create and produce, and that no one had approached him about a ‘New Frontier’ television series. So-far-as who he pictured in the role of Mackenzie Calhoun: “I can’t think of anyone. I’m sorry, I can’t help you out.” I asked him where he saw the “New Frontier’ stories going, and, again-he said, “There’s a new story in-the-works,” and he didn’t elaborate further.
Finally, I asked him about writing Janeway’s death, and how he felt about it. He said that he’d been approached by Margaret Clark (which, you can hear more about in The Captain’s Table podcast, where Michael and Roz have an incredible, funny and insightful conversation, with the current editor of all-things Star Trek), who asked him to write a book Janeway’s demise. “All the feminist groups accused me of being a woman hater,” he opined. “It was asked at a convention how they would feel about killing Janeway, in the books, and it got a resounding ‘NOOOO!’ – that’s why I wrote the Q taking her off at the end, so she could be brought back, if they needed to, in the future.” And, wow -what a rebirth she’s had; Kirsten Beyer has written some fantastic stuff (as-usual); she’s brought Captain Kathryn Janeway back to us, in grand style, and with spectacular flair.
Feeling I had taken-up enough of Peter’s time, my loaded-case of books autographed (I now have 8 signed Peter David’s, the ‘New Frontier’ comic-book, a selfie and some fabulous memories), I shook Peter’s hand and thanked him for a great conversation. I learned some interesting facts I didn’t know, before, and I had had the opportunity to talk to one of the greats in the industry. I’m so glad I put my butt-hurt aside, so that I could get to know the man, if-only for a brief time. I hope Peter David returns to Salt Lake City, so that I can meet-up with this tremendous talent, again. I have nothing, but-the utmost respect for him, and – I wish him all the best.
“Til, next-time, I’ll see ya ‘out there’…
Lt. Eric Cone