Peter David's Writing Style

O. Deus wrote:

[Peter] David doesn’t do nice stories. He’s the one writer assigned to doing R-Rated ST stories which is pretty much his function. If he didn’t keep shoving in the violence and sex and betrayals, readers might begin to notice that he’s no better a writer than any of the other franchise’s pens for hire.

Despite my repeated criticisms of New Frontier and Peter David’s apathetic writing in the New Frontier recent novels, I have to take issue with this.

“assigned to doing R-Rated ST stories…”? Not true. No Star Trek novel would, if filmed, rate an R-rating by the MPAA. Most Trek novels would rate a PG; at worst, some would rate a PG-13. The Star Trek novels don’t feature graphic violence or sex. Even when the characters in New Frontier are engaging in sexual acts, they are described either as having happened or in such a way that little attention is drawn to them. (I’m still in awe of the humorous sexual metaphors used in describing the Robin/Nik encounter in the simulation ride in Renaissance; funny and accurate.)

Admittedly, Peter David gets latitude because he’s the best-selling author in the Trek writing stable and because New Frontier is his series, no one else’s. He has written some brilliant Star Trek books in the past–Imzadi, Q-Squared, A Rock and a Hard Place. New Frontier doesn’t represent his best work, however; only Once Burned approaches the heights of those previous books. At best, New Frontier is diverting. At worst, it’s dull.

Particularly with the Excalibur trilogy, his New Frontier writing is marred by sloppy plotting and poor characterization. These are either stylistic quirks or evidence that PAD’s taken on too many writing assignments. (Six novels in one year is a bit much.) But I don’t find his work gratuitously violent or sexually graphic.

Your mileage may vary, however.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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