Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda fiction
"DeCandido adroitly fleshes out the back-stories established onscreen for the characters in a tight well-paced plot. ... Each and every character and event in Destruction of Illusions is keenly and skillfully portrayed allowing the reader to lose themselves in the story right up until you turn the last page."
---Jacqueline Bundy, Sci-Fi Pulse, 18 February 2003

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: Destruction of Illusions cover

by Keith R.A. DeCandido
on sale now in hardcover and paperback from Tor Books

In an odd sort of way, I'm writing the first novel based on Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda because my parents were between cars when they attended the wedding of my mother's best friend from college.

See, my parents went to the wedding in question, and sat at the same table as my mother's friend's next-door neighbors, who happened to be James Frenkel (who lists Consulting Editor at Tor Books among his many titles) and Joan D. Vinge (renowned SF author). My parents are huge fans of the genre (their love of same having been imparted to their son), and they got along famously with Jim and Joan, who went so far as to give them a lift home. When they arrived home, I got to meet them (I was a teenager at the time). I stayed in touch with them both. In 1990, when we needed guests for the nascent public access TV show on genre issues, The Chronic Rift, for which I was co-producer and co-host, I called Jim, who served as a guest on more than one of our Roundtable discussions, and also put me in touch with other authors.

"DeCandido proves an expert at capturing the feel and dialog of the Andromeda series and its characters. Snappy dialog and strong storytelling make this title a good choice for sf or popular culture collections."
---Library Journal, 15 March 2003
Jump ahead eleven years. The Chronic Rift has long since gone off the air, and I have carved out a fairly successful career as an author of media tie-in books. Jim, who has remained both a friend and colleague, has added novels based on Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict to his editorial résumé at Tor. We see each other at the World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia in 2001 and Jim tells me several things in rapid succession:

1) He's very close to signing a deal with Tribune Entertainment to do a line of novels based on another SF show they produce that is based on the work of Gene Roddenberry, to wit, Andromeda.

2) Jim was quite impressed with my work on Farscape: House of Cards, also published by Tor.

3) How would I like to write an Andromeda novel?

I thought it over for a few minutes. My watching of Andromeda had been scattershot. I liked the overall premise, and I was a big fan of star Kevin Sorbo's previous vehicle Hercules, but I thought Sorbo was being ill-used to a degree on the show and that it wasn't entirely living up to its potential. Having said all that, the show had a very intriguing structure, and there was also one story I was especially interested in telling -- one that the show wasn't likely to get into in any kind of depth. Better still, it was a story I knew the licensor would be amenable to.

The third of the E:FC books that Jim edited was by my good friends Debra Doyle and Jim Macdonald. Called Requiem for Boone, it told the story of William Boone prior to the first episode of the show -- a prequel. I wanted to do something similar for Beka Valentine and the Eureka Maru crew and for Tyr Anasazi and his band of mercenaries, and what led them to the audacious salvage operation of the Andromeda Ascendant in "Under the Night," the show's pilot episode.

"Although I'm sure that fans of the television series are going to thoroughly enjoy this novel, I hope that science fiction fans in general give Destruction of Illusions a try. DeCandido knows how to tell a great story, and I couldn't put this book down until the very last page."
---Paul Goat Allen, The Barnes and Noble Review
Jim loved the idea. I wrote a proposal. Jim loved the proposal. So did Tribune. I wrote the book. Jim and Tribune liked that, too, with Tribune specifically saying that they thought the show's fans would love it. Now those fans can judge for yourself.

I came to appreciate the show more as I started watching it more intently in preparation for writing Destruction of Illusions. For one thing, the show's writing and visuals improved tremendously as the first season wore on, and the early second season in particular provided some bravura work. ("Una Salus Victus" is an episode I can happily watch over and over again.)

"DeCandido ... exhibits his usual dry wit. This is better than average franchise fiction, and bodes well for the series."
---Publishers Weekly, 27 January 2003
Writing the book proved to be an absolute blast, picking up on the bits of backstory the show had given us about Beka, Tyr, Harper, Rev Bem, and Trance. I endeavored to show the kind of life the Maru crew led before Dylan took them on his crusade to restore the Commonwealth, and show what drove Tyr to do what he has done in his quest to restore the glory of the destroyed Kodiak Pride. Along the way I also got to flesh out the twice-mentioned character of Vexpag, Trance's predecessor on the Maru -- mentioned in "Under the Night" and "Be All My Sins Remembered," all we know is that he died because the seal on his EVA suit failed. (Among other things, I got to give the character a first name: Fred.)

The book has action, adventure, Nietzschean politics (the title is from a Friedrich Nietzsche quote), humor, a dramatic heist, character development, betrayal, manipulation, and an appearance by Charlemagne Bolivar, the Nietzschean so charismatically played by Buffy's James Marsters in "Into the Labyrinth." And, status as a prequel notwithstanding, Dylan and Rommie are in it as well.

Oh, and you'll all be especially pleased to know that, in the style of the show, each chapter begins with a relevant quotation.

"DeCandido captures the world and characters of the show perfectly, giving fans much to enjoy here."
---Kristine Huntley, Booklist, 15 February 2003
The book is presently on sale both as a hardcover (my first solo hardcover) and in mass-market paperback. The second and third books are also out: The Broken Places by Ethlie Ann Vare, a former producer on the show, with Daniel Morris; and Waystation by Steven E. McDonald. Subsequent books will be by Josepha Sherman and Jeff Mariotte. My book can be ordered from the good folks at Amazon.com in either hardcover or paperback. You can also read an excerpt.

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