My name is Steven Howell Wilson, and I do a lot of different things…


I’ve written fan fiction and published fanzines. I’ve assumed the role of custodian for my friends who created a fanzine called Contact. I founded a convention called Farpoint, which has run for over two decades. I’ve been a comic book writer for DC Comics (Star Trek and Warlord) and a comic reviewer. I run Prometheus Radio Theatre, and we put out a (mostly) weekly podcast. I’m publisher for Firebringer Press, and a contributor to Crazy 8 Press. Finally, in the mundane world, I’m a recovering librarian, an IT Director and a consultant. And yes, I do all this because I’m allergic to work. I figure as long as I look busy, I won’t have to perform actual labor. It’s worked for nearly half a century so far…

Announcing Sacrifice Play – An Arbiter Chronicles Novel

Sacrifice Play - A Tale from the Arbiter Chronicles - Promotional Art

Sacrifice Play is the third novel in The Mark Time and Parsec Award-winning Arbiter Chronicles series, picking up where Unfriendly Persuasion left off.

Imagine a technology so dangerous that you could be killed just for knowing it exists…

Lieutenant Terrence Metcalfe and his team combat a starship captain so driven to complete his mission that he sets his ship to self-destruct and kill everyone on board.

Sacrifice Play – A Tale from the Arbiter Chronicles premieres at Shore Leave 38, and will be the eighth book released by Firebringer Press. It’s also one of two Firebringer Books slated to premiere at Shore Leave, alongside Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity.

Sacrifice Play will be released simultaneously in trade paperback and audiobook, and will be the focus of the first-ever crowdfunding effort by Prometheus Radio Theatre and Firebringer Press. Details will be announced soon. Stay tuned to this link!

Arbiter ship design by Ponch Fenwick.

Alan Dean Foster’s The Force Awakens – Part Two – The REAL Review this time

The Force Awakens Novelization CoverI explained last week why I’m so excited that Alan Dean Foster is back to novelize a new Star Wars film. The Force Awakens comes at a time when film novelizations aren’t as much of a thing as they used to be. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, we weren’t a culture that went to see a movie multiple times, and there was no such thing as Blu-Ray, or its older brethren DVD, VHS or Beta. From the time a film went out of the theater, until it was bought for lots of money (and shown heavily edited) by a TV network, there was no way to enjoy the story and characters from your favorite film, other than by buying the novelization. Back in the day, even comedy films got novelizations. Now, it’s pretty much confined to SF films, and that’s pretty much because fans of those films tend to be both collectors and readers.

I still like novelizations because, if I really get into a film’s story, it’s a way to go back and enjoy that story in detail and at a slower pace. And a really good author can enrich a film as he adapts the screenplay. (Or she adapts it–Vonda N. McIntyre, D.C. Fontana and Joan D. Vinge have all written enjoyable film adaptations.)

Foster steps into the world of Star Wars as if it hadn’t been almost 40 years since his first novel in this universe was published. He fleshes out the new characters and makes them feel completely real. Under his hand, these are not merely retreads of Luke, Leia and Han; but meeting Rey, Fin and Poe does rekindle the feelings I had the first time I met Luke Skywalker in the pages of The Washington Star. (See last week’s entry for an explanation of that.)

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Review – Alan Dean Foster’s Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Part One – Why this book matters to me

Force Awakens novelization coverSo, before talking about The Force Awakens, let me tell you a little bit about my introduction to Star Wars. A lot of fans my age will tell you they saw it on opening day, or at the advance world premiere. They camped out in line, or they stood that morning for hours, or they snuck in the side door with their friend, who was the adopted child of a great, forgotten film director, because they couldn’t pay, because they were orphans who lived in train stations…

Wait, that’s another movie, isn’t it?

Anyway, I didn’t see the film under any of those circumstances. I saw it, oh, sometime after it premiered in regular release. It might have been the first Saturday. But my first exposure to Star Wars was not the film.

You see, in 1977, none of us knew the word “spoiler” other than as it referred to something that went on the front end of a car. Studios were not paranoid about plot leaks, and no special measures were being taken to keep audiences from finding out in advance what happened in a film. That’s because, until 1977, there had never been a film like Star Wars. Indeed, except for the James Bond series, and things like Tarzan, Bulldog Drummond or the Thin Man, there hadn’t really been–well, damn. There really had been a lot of movie series, hadn’t there? I just named a bunch. But those series were all pretty episodic. No film really left you hanging on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out if Tarzan would find a son, or if Drummond would get married, or if Asta would chew off William Powell’s mustache.

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Podcast Interview on DoddleTalks TECH – Fans and Copyright

The Doddle logo

I sat down with James DeRuvo this week to talk about copyright issues, the Axanar lawsuit, and the general world of fan-produced works. James’s intro to the show:

“If you raise over $1.2 million through crowdfunding to create a professional-grade film for the Internet, you’re going to grab headlines. But, if you do it to make a fan film based on someone else’s copyright and trademark, you’re going to get sued. That’s the subject of this episode of doddleTALKS TECH. Join me and sci-fi author and podcaster Steven Wilson as we discuss the Star Trek: Axanar copyright debate.”

Listen here.

Get a FREE Audible Edition of Peace Lord – while supplies last!

Peace Lord of the Red Planet cover by Bob KeckA copy of Peace Lord of the Red Planet, unabridged and read by the author, is yours for the asking–if you ask before everyone else does! I have download codes available for a free copy of the new Audible audio book. No need to use your hard-earned credits! Of course, to use one of these, you will have to join Audible or already be a member. If you want a free download code, just let me know–via email, via reply to this blog, via Facebook message–get me an email address and I’ll send you your code.

But remember, when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Peace Lord is now on Audible!

Peace Lord of the Red Planet cover by Bob KeckPeace Lord of the Red Planet, my 2010 novel of mythology, pacifism and cultural mores is now available on If you’re not an Audible member, they offer your first book free. AND, if that first book is Peace Lord, I get a $50 royalty bonus for bringing in a new member. You just have to stay a member for at least six days. And, if you can afford to, I’d recommend staying a member. You get one new audiobook every month with your membership.

Even at His Worst He’s Still the Best – Robert A. Heinlein’s I Will Fear No Evil

Robert A. Heinlein's I WILL FEAR NO EVIL late 1970s Paperback CoverI Will Fear No Evil was Robert A. Heinlein ‘s 26th novel, published in 1970. At this point, the Grandmaster was 62 years old that year, and had four Hugo Awards for best novel to his credit. IWFNE is widely regarded by science fiction fans (and there are no higher authorities on everything) as the worst thing he ever published.

I love this book. I’ve read it a half dozen times since high school (as I’ve read all of RAH’s later novels repeatedly) and will probably read it a half dozen more if I live long enough.

But, before I tell you why I love it, let me heap a little more evidence on the other side of the scales, because I love a challenge. Heinlein was a pantser, not a plotter. That is to say, he wrote by the seat of his pants, without an outline. He also did not like to rewrite–although he did substantial re-writing on his most problematic and best-known work, Stranger in a Strange Land. He preferred to write and write and write, and then cut out the chaff.

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Do Star Trek Fans Just Not Understand Copyright?

Clarification: There’s been a misunderstanding to the effect that I felt Star Trek: Axanar had derived their story from my work. That is not the case. The fan film referenced below, in which some fans have noticed similarities to my novel, is not Axanar.

Intellectual Property–copyright–is the topic at hand right now in Star Trek circles. The high profile Axanar team has been hit with a lawsuit for violating CBS’s copyright in making an independent Star Trek film. Meanwhile, on one of the Trek-related bulletin boards, some fans have noticed similarities between a fan film and my 2006 novel Taken Liberty. I blogged about those similarities last year, saying I saw several points of plot overlap between the film and my book. Several of those commenting on the topic had read my blog. Apparently, not many had read my book.

The discussions on both topics have shown that a startling amount of ignorance and irrational thinking pervades modern Star Trek fandom, and that many fans have no concept of the law, much less of right and wrong.

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What Drives Kylo Ren? The Psychology of a Poor Little Fascist Boy

“You,” she heard herself saying clearly, “you’re afraid. That you’ll never be as strong as–Darth Vader!” –from Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Spoilers. See the movie first. Blah, blah, blah.

Think about it—a kid raised to privilege. He’s the son of a princess who’s also a senator and a general. She may be on the run from enemies sometimes, but this is a lady who has access to entire planets to spread out and live on, and who commands a large, imposing fleet of space fighters. He’s also the heir to two generations of Jedi Knights, elite warrior monks who have control over the Force which binds the universe together.

Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens Continue reading

Ultraman Manga Action Figure – Guest Review on The Figure in Question

Ultraman Manga Action Figure of SH Figuarts

Photo by The Figure in Question –

So I was happy to get an Ultraman Manga figure for Christmas. As a companion piece to my review of the trade, I wrote a guest-review of the figure on my son’s action figure blog, The Figure in Question.