Got my own copies of Mike Resnick's Starship: Pirate this weekend, the second book in his five volume military SF series that began with Starship: Mutiny, and as hot as this book looks, I'm going to brag on a number of very talented people - beyond Mike himself, of course - who have all come together to help make this into something really special.
First, it's just a great looking book, thanks to illustrator John Picacio for the cover, and to our interior layout genius Bruce Carle, both of whose work consistently blows me away. Both of them continue the great art & design of the first book, and isn't the purple just a gorgeous color choice here?
However, in each of the Starship books, we include a meaty appendixes of ancillary information - Mike calls them "DVD extras" - and this one in particular incorporates several things I've wanted to do for some time. In addition to the background article on Mike's Birthright universe and his timeline (which will be included, and updated, for each book in the series), this time out we've run a number of unique extras.
First, there are two fully playable games. In Starship: Pirate, Mike references a popular pastime in his future history called "bilsang," said to be "a game that makes chess and toprench look like kid's games." He sketches out a few loose rules, though not enough to actually play. So, last February we held a contest in which we invited fans to create the rest of the game according to Mike's criteria. Alex Wilson won, though Mike Nelson's runner up was so good that we included it as well, as the other fictional game Mike mentions, the "toprench" referred to above. So, rules for both games are included in the appendixes. Seen on the left, a page from the bilsang appendix, as conceived by Mike Resnick & Alex Wilson and crafted by the wonderful Bruce Carle.
Then, working from Mike's descriptions and photographs of the physical model John Picacio constructed for his cover illustrations, actual aerospace engineer Deborah Oakes has created six pages of detailed technical schematics of the interior of the starship Theodore Roosevelt. One of Deborah's pages is seen on the right. Seen with the other five pages, the ship really comes to life as a physical entity. (Can an RPG be far behind?)
Starship: Pirate is out in December, right in time for a Pirate Christmas, but I see that it's already available for shipping from Amazon right now. When you get a copy - because, how could you resist it, really? - drop in and let me know what you think. Running starship schematics in the book fulfills an ambition I've had for years - ever since (I confess) I read the Starfleet Technical Manuals as a kid, really - so I'm really proud of everyone's efforts. John, Bruce, Alex, Mike, Mike & Deb - you've all done amazing! Now, Mike, what the heck are we going to do for an encore?