Michael Jan Friedman is familiar with rejection. When he submitted the manuscript for his first science-fiction book, several agencies passed it over.
“Don’t you want the next Stephen King?” Friedman recalls asking. “And they said, ‘Actually we’re very happy with the current Stephen King.’”
In the end, Warner Books published “The Hammer and The Horn,” based on Northern European mythology, in 1984.
Nearly 30 years later, the 58-year-old Long Island resident is no worse for the wear — he’s a best-selling author of 69 books, with more than 30 written for the “Star Trek” line.
And he’s stayed with science fiction.
“To me, it was always the literature of ideas,” Friedman said. “It was the fact that I could pick up a science-fiction story and come across something I’d never thought of before, or never thought of in that light. (It) was really exciting.”
It was Friedman’s agent who first introduced him to the editor of the “Star Trek” line, who was looking for professional writers. As someone who’d grown up watching “Star Trek,” Friedman jumped in with enthusiasm.
“I would go to them and say, ‘Hey, we’ve heard about Captain Picard’s first command, the Stargazer, but we’ve never seen it. How about a book that harkens back to a crew of that ship?’” he said.
Friedman will talk about his Star Trek novels and other writings in York June 15 as part of The York Emporium’s Sci-Fi Saturday.
York Emporium owner Jim Lewin — a self-proclaimed huge fan of “Star Trek” in general — said he’s wanted to bring Friedman in for a while.
“Anybody who has any kind of ‘Star Trek’ books on their shelves, they’re probably going to find a couple of his,” Lewin said.
Part of the day’s offerings — in addition to book signings by Friedman and several other science-fiction authors — include a viewing of “Resistance,” a “Star Trek: Voyager” episode Friedman wrote the story for in season 2.
In the past few years, though, Friedman has re-focused on original fiction. In 2011, he started a self-publishing company with several other writers, Crazy 8 Press.
“Times have changed in the publishing word,” Friedman said. “At one time, publishers had everything — productions, distribution, marketing. Now those things are no longer exclusive to those companies. Anybody can do anything.”
Crazy 8 Press publishes projects that editors might have loved but rejected in the past, for fear of the novel not selling well, Friedman said.
“Fight the Gods,” a contemporary fantasy based on Greek mythology, and “Aztlan,” a two-book series that takes place in the 21st-century Aztec empire, are Friedman’s most recent novels.
Several of his books will be available for purchase and signing at Sci-Fi Saturday, in addition to copies Lewin has in stock at The York Emporium. But Lewin said people are welcome to bring their own copies.
As for Friedman, he’s prepared for his most-asked question: Where do you get your ideas?
“They’re easier to come by than you might think,” he said. “It’s not so much the idea as it is the execution.”
If you go
What: Sci-Fi Saturday
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 15
Where: The York Emporium, 343 W. Market St., York
Details: Several authors, including Michael Jan Friedman, will sign books. There will also be appearances by the Capital City Jedi Knights, a display of NASA hardware, a presentation of science-fiction ideas that have come true and a Space Invaders tournament. Read more about the event at FlipSidePA.com.