I first encountered Margaret Wander Bonanno through her fiction, specifically the novel Dwellers in the Crucible. This was when I was in high school and devouring Trek novels at a great rate. I was a bit put off by Dwellers at first, as it focused primarily on two original characters, but by the time I reached the end of it, I was overwhelmed by the brilliance of it. More than any other story, this novel showed me the breadth of the Trek universe, how it didn’t need to be limited to the same batch of characters on the same ship. (Given the Trek novels I would later write, particularly The Art of the Impossible, Articles of the Federation, and the Klingon and S.C.E. stories, the notion obviously stayed with me….)
I got to meet Margaret when we were doing The Chronic Rift as a public access show in the 1990s. She was on our Star Trek 25th anniversary panel in 1991, and appeared a bunch more times on the show, too.
We remained friends over the years, and when she came back to writing Trek fiction in the 2000s, I got to work with her a few times: I served as the line editor on her Christopher Pike novel Burning Dreams, I was the continuity editor on her Lost Era novel Catalyst of Sorrows, and best of all, I commissioned her to write the conclusion to the Mere Anarchy eBook series that celebrated Trek‘s 40th anniversary in 2006. Margaret did a superb job with the conclusion of this miniseries, which was entitled Its Hour Come Round, and which included one of my favorite scenes in any work of Trek fiction, a conversation between Raya elMora (one of the recurring characters in Mere Anarchy) and Klingon Chancellor Azetbur (from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country).
Margaret was a good soul, a fun person, a nifty human being, and a great writer. Her bibliography of Trek fiction includes some of the best Trek works committed to prose, from the first-contact tale Strangers from the Sky to the Saavik-focused Unspoken Truth, and she also wrote the Preternatural trilogy for Tor that was a New York Times notable book, and she collaborated with Nichelle Nichols on Saturn’s Child.
She was a wonderful person, and I will miss her a lot.