Interview with “Gambit of Chance” author Craig Michael Curtis

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As some of you may have heard already, the Voyage Trekkers novella, ‘Gambit of Chance’, comes out this Saturday December 22nd!  We’re really excited to expand on the universe of Voyage Trekkers, giving the fans who want to dive deeper an opportunity.  We sat down with the author, Craig Michael Curtis, who also writes for the web series, to ask him a few questions about ‘Gambit of Chance.’

What is the story of ‘Gambit of Chance’?

‘Gambit of Chance’ follows the crew of the GSV Remarkable on a mission to evacuate a moon colony that is about to be conquered by rival usurpers.  Naturally, Sunstike and his crew are ready to defy their orders and try to save the colonists instead, with a hair-brained scheme or two.  All this, while the rest of the Galactic Union is battling some planet-devouring monster in some far corner of space, and Sunstrike is disappointed that he’s not involved in the ‘battle to save the galaxy’ going on elsewhere.  Typical Voyage Trekkers!

Where does this story take place in the Voyage Trekkers canon? 

It should fit in between Seasons 1 and 2, so it’s pretty much coming out at the perfect time with the big Second Season coming out next year.

How long did the novella take to write?

Nathan approached me with the idea of writing the novella over the past summer, and I started the early stages of writing a draft in July.  A couple months later, the first draft was done, and after a few more weeks of editing it, it was ready to go.  The only reason we couldn’t meet our nebulous October release time was because of the amount of time it took to clear the e-book through the online booksellers’ systems.  But at least it’s out just in time for Christmas!

With Season 2 of the web series coming up, is there anything new that’s introduced in the novella that we might see in the show?

Oh yes, lots of things.  For one, we get to ‘see’ (through the power of the written word) our first glimpses of the GSV Remarkable.  We also now know for sure that ‘The Remarkable’ is the name of their ship, since it was never mentioned during the first season!  But more than that, we get to meet a number of new characters that’ll be in Season 2.  There’s Admiral Grissom, Sunstrike’s cantankerous superior officer (who also appeared in our VT shorts earlier this year), as well as several new crew members of the ship.  Along with our three heroes Sunstrike, Powell and Rena, as well as the fan favorite Lt. Jayda, there will by sassy young Ensign Adams at the navigations station, a somewhat befuddled Chief Engineer Beauregard and his pal, the ship’s designated robot INFO.  It also introduces a few other characters like Nurse Vega and Marine Sergeant Chan who make cameo appearances in Season 2, but you’ll see them here first!  Like Boba Fett in the Star Wars Christmas Special!

What challenges did you have expanding on the world of a web series into a novella?

One issue I think we’ve always had from the outsider’s viewpoint was that, with Voyage Trekkers, we are mocking Star Trek and other science fiction.  I don’t think that’s true, really.  Obviously, it’s a comedy, and we’re poking some fun at some of the Trek-esque tropes of the genre, but I don’t really find it a ridiculling experience.  For the most part, it’s not this space-age universe that is the farce of the series, but our lovably inept crew.  I’d like to think that Voyage Trekkers doesn’t make fun of Star Trek any more than Seinfeld made fun of New York.  There’s a genuine love of the genre in this series, and that as much as anything, I really wanted to put into the novella.  I wanted to make it, on many levels, like it was a real Star Trek episode, but that it’s been handed to a far less capable crew than your usual Star Trek heroes, and they end up taking things on some strange and hilarious tangents.  On that note, making a novella genuinely funny has been a real challenge because I didn’t have our brilliant cast of actors there to bring my glib dialogue and overwrought descriptions to life.  Hopefully though, the reader will be able to picture our heroes in their minds’ eye as they cavort around with only the words on the page (or rather the iPad or other portable tablet device) to guide them.

Your previous books were original concepts, what was it like adapting a story from an existing world like Voyage Trekkers?

Well, with my other works, the ideas and concepts which I use to write the stories come from a single source in my own head.  But for something like Voyage Trekkers, these same conceptual notions end up coming from various sources.  Not just from Nathan and the other people involved in developing the series, but from what Adam and Gabby and Logan and all the other actors do with the characters, both onscreen and off.  One of the great joys of Voyage Trekkers in particular is how the project has taken on a life of its own, and evolved with the combined input from the creators, the actors, the crew, and the fans, who have all put their hopes and aspirations for what the series could be into it.  Writing my own stories from scratch certainly requires a degree of vision to pull it through, which is an experience I genuinely enjoy.  But it can also be exhillarating guiding and adapting a series like Voyage Trekkers,  because you’re really pulling that single vision through a prism of ideas.

Did you have a favorite character to write?

I suppose my favorite character to write in this story was the robot INFO, whose keen wit and philosopher’s soul make him the true heart of the Remarkable.  I think there’s a lot of me inside INFO.  I’d go so far as to say that in INFO, there’s a Craig, screaming to get out!

What is Logan Blackwell (Commander Powell) really like?

NEVER mention that man in my presence!  This interview is over!
(author yanks off microphone and kicks over chair as he storms out of the studio sobbing)
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Craig Michael Curtis writes for Voyage Trekkers and also plays the characters General Kang and the upcoming robot INFO.  He is the author of the novels Elephante Bianco, The Other Side of the Gate, and recently released Famous Adventurers Correspondence School, all which can be purchased on his blog http://craigmcurtis.blogspot.com.
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