Geoffrey Thorne is an American novelist and screenwriter.
Thorne was born in the United States, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. After winning Second Prize in Simon & Schuster’s sixth annual Strange New Worlds anthology with his story “The Soft Room,” he went on to publish more stories in several media tie-in anthologies as well as the Star Trek: Titan novel Sword of Damocles.
I first encountered Geoffrey Thorne online, via a couple of website message boards that we both posted on, & over the years I have had the chance to read some of his writing, and I can say that he is very talented. So this post will give you my impressions of some of his work.
Sword of Damocles (Star Trek: Titan, Book 4)
This is the first book of his that I bought, several years ago, and I think it’s his first published full-length novel. One thing about Thorne is that he is a hardcore Trekker, and it shows. This book takes place after the events of the last Star Trek The Next Generation film, and details an adventure that Will Riker has, as the Captain of the Starship Titan. This book reminded me of some of the best episodes of Star Trek, both TOS and TNG, as it had the crew truly exploring a “strange new world” with “new life, new civilizations,” etc. They come to a planet whose citizens have, for centuries, been watched over by a mysterious object in the sky above them, not sure if it is friend or foe. What I noticed most about this book was Thorne’s strong characterization. In addition to Riker and his wife Deanna Troi, and Tuvok, having joined the Titan, after the events of Star Trek Voyager series, there are several new characters among the crew whom I was not familiar with. I’m not certain how many, if any, were created just for this book or if they had been introduced in earlier Titan novels, but Thorne makes sure that the readers are quickly familiarized with the important characters so that by the end of the book they were as “real” to me as the characters that I already knew from TV and movies. I enjoyed this very much. Although I’d mainly recommend it to Star Trek fans, specifically. I’m not sure if a non-fan would be as interested in this book. That’s not a fault of the writing, just an acknowledgement that this book fits extremely well within the Star Trek Universe, which I do think you’d need more than a passing familiarity with to really appreciate this story.
Speaking of Star Trek, a few months ago a story started appearing across the net about Bryan Singer’s rejected pitch for a new Star Trek TV series. It was to be called “Star Trek: Federation”, and Anthony Pascale of Trekmovie.com posted some details from the proposal HERE. And I have to say that, in my opinion, the concept sounds absolutely fooking brilliant. I would have loved if this show got made. Well, a few weeks later, Thorne revealed in a post on his blog that he was the sole writer of that pitch, and that Bryan Singer had virtually nothing to do with it, despite getting most of the credit for it online. You can read Thorne’s side of the story HERE
In the comments I suggested that he should rework the pitch to remove the “Star Trek” elements, and use it for his own work. He told me that he had been doing that, using some of the concepts for some short stories that he had published in some sci-fi anthologies. So I immediately ordered those books.
Space Grunts: Full-Throttle Space Tales #3
This anthology contains 18 short stories, all within the same theme of military sci-fi tales. Geoffrey Thorne’s story is called “Truth Metric”. It’s 22 pages and is the story of an event that happens on a spaceship called APEX, as they come face to face with a truly horrifying alien race called the Mercanti, who are kind of hard for me to describe. They’re almost like a living virus, they infect humans and transform them into mindless multi-tentacled beasts. The story is primarily told from the point of view of a female crewmember (referred to as a “Spaceman”) named Crystin Boylan, but it also breaks several times to reveal a series of messages from the Apex Captain, Tsao Chan, as he composes a message (dubbed a “hypercast”) to the father of a deceased crewmember and explains to him how his child died. What I like most about this story is not only the characterization and the action, but also that Thorne fills it with enough info-dumps that you get the feeling that this all part of a much larger established sci-fi universe, one that I think readers will definitely want to learn more about. I sure do!
For the record, many of the other 17 stories in this book are also very good. I’ll try to do a review of the whole book on Amazon sometime. I’d recommend this to any sci-fi fan.
Words to Music (Volume 1)
This anthology has an interesting premise: each story is based on the title, or lyrics, of an obscure song. Geoffrey writes a story called “Thanks To Captain Go,” (I’m not sure what song it’s based on). Anyway, the story is told first-person POV by a soldier named Phil who works on planet far out in the solar system, which revolves around a black hole. For various reasons, people come to this place to, I guess, formally commit ritual suicide. They’re called “Divers” and Phil is an “Usher” who helps them prepare for their “dives.” Truthfully, some of the explanations for exactly what this ritual was flew over my head, but it’s really not about that as the main focus. It’s primarily about Phil and his connection to one of the newest Divers, a woman whom he remembered encountering years earlier when he helped rescue most of her family from a Mercanti attack. We get some great action scenes described by Thorne in this story, which is the high-point for me. There is also a passing reference to the crew of the spaceship Apex which, once again, places this story into the context of a much larger fictional universe. Thankfully, Thorne told me he’s working on another short story for a future anthology, which will deal with the Apex again. I, for one, can’t wait.
Unfortunately, unlike Space Grunts, I can’t say that the rest of this particular anthology interested me as much as Thorne’s story, so it’s hard for me to recommend the whole thing just for this one tale, @ least not in print (which is how I bought it). Thankfully, Words To Music can be downloaded as an ebook for the Amazon Kindle (if you don’t have one already, GET IT, it’s the Greatest Invention of the 21st Century, IMO) for only $2.99.
Then Thorne put together a collection of 9 of his previous published short stories.
I probably should have reviewed this book separately, and gone over each story within (heck, maybe I will still do that, another time), but this post is getting kinda long. So let me just say that the stories are a sci-fi and fantasy tells that feature characters ranging from human to superhuman, and beyond that. My favorite is probably the opening story, Eshu and the Anthropic Principle, in which a group of immortal deities contemplate life, the universe, and everything. It’s good stuff. Highly recommended.