Here's a question for David Mack:
Were you influenced at all by the movie The Fountain
in writing Hernandez's story? Not only does she name a new-found planet (star?) Xibalba, but Iynx speaks about death as a disease, using language very similar to words spoken by Hugh Jackman. Both stories also deal with different aspects of immortality. Or is this just a case where both your story and The Fountain
's story just happen to be sharing similar themes? Certainly, the Mayan afterlife, curing death, and immortality aren't exclusive to The Fountain
... but the similarities did catch my attention.
Also, I think this may be the first Trek story to reference masturbation, when Fletcher is needing a good shag, Hernandez mentions something like "going into your room and being your own best friend" or such like that. I was wondering how four humans in isolation would deal with their relationships. Libido is certainly a powerful drive in the human experience, and it was good to see that addressed in this situation.
In any case, excellent writing. It's kind of sad that Trek novels are relegated to a small shelf space in the back while other properties get greater exposure, especially since the writing has been so top-notch lately! Reading a Trek novel isn't just reading another media tie-in. There are times when I know I'm reading quality writing and very thoughtful and imaginative science-fiction. Destiny
is capturing one of the core parts of Trek—and indeed of literature in general—where the most epic journeys are the interior human ones.