Sunday, August 12, 2012

R.I.P. Gene DeWeese


Awww. Sad.

I just heard that "Star Trek" and science fiction novelist, Gene DeWeese, passed away last March.

If I recall correctly, Margaret Wander Bonanno (garamet on the TrekBBS message board) was a friend of his. Certainly, Gene himself briefly joined several conversations on the old Psi Phi bbs if/when anyone began discussing his books, sometimes only minutes after someone mentioned his name.

I swapped a few email exchanges with him about his contribution to "Star Trek" over the years. Always witty and chirpy. I'd really enjoyed the early "The Peacekeepers", the second orginal novel featuring "The Next Generation" characters, although "Chain of Attack", an original series novel, felt a little too techy to me; I was thrilled to notice it was actually a followup to Lee Correy's "Abode of Life". I know that, for many fans, "Chain of Attack" was their first original ST novel experience, being part of a major design rejig by Pocket Books - the first on shelves after the release of the much-hyped, international hit, "ST IV: The Voyage Home". "Chain of Attack" was released in the UK as Book #1 of a new publishing program (Titan Books).

For many ST fans, "Chain of Attack" is as revered as Vonda McIntyre's "The Entropy Effect". Or James Blish's "Spock Must Die!" Or Mack Reynolds' "Mission to Horatius".

The most memorable aspect of Gene's "The Final Nexus", a direct sequel to "Chain of Attack", was the feisty female guest character depicted on the cover, plus his very welcome reuse of Ingrit Thomson, the non-canonical female security officer shared by several other TOS writers of the day. "Renegade" I read, but don't really remember much about it now.

I do recall expressing my frustration, once, on Psi Phi, with how frustratingly dull and slow "Into the Nebula" was - so slow that I'd quite forgotten any details of the plot. To my initial embarrassment, Gene suddenly popped up - from a long bbs absence - to admit that he, neither, could remember anything about that novel's plot, except that the Enterprise-D crew went into a nebula.

Discussions by the regulars on Psi Phi and TrekBBS about the mysterious "Engines of Destiny" (listed in Steve Roby's online "Lost Star Trek books" archive after someone noticed several unpublished draft manuscripts that Gene had donated to a public library's reference collection), led to garamet summoning Gene to the bbs again to tell us more about it - and, ultimately, to then-Pocket editor Marco Palmieri reactivating Gene's contract to publish it.

R.I.P. Gene.

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