William Rotsler (3 July 1926 - 8 October 1997) was an American writer, artist, and filmmaker who wrote several works featuring Star Trek: The Original Series characters, all of them promoted as tie-ins to either Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Star Trek III: The Search for Spock from Wanderer Books.
Rotsler's most lasting contribution to Star Trek was devising a first name for Nyota Uhura, used for many years in licenced works before being made canonical in the 2009 feature film Star Trek. In "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Star Trek Books, or What Uhura's First Name Really Is" (The Best of Trek #13, 1988), Rotsler recounted the process of coming up with the name (from the word "star" in Swahili) for Star Trek II Biographies, checking it with Gene Roddenberry, and obtaining the enthusiastic approval of Nichelle Nichols.
In the same article, Rotsler said he had pitched Pocket Books on the idea of a three-book reference series, The Starfleet Quartermaster Manuals, only to have that idea get "lost in the shuffle" due to frequent changes in editorial staff. He also confessed that his two Star Trek interactive books were only "semifun" to write but described the overall experience of writing Star Trek books as "a good one" he would do again, though he did not do so after the release of his two titles tied to Star Trek III.
Beyond Star Trek, Rotsler wrote for numerous other tie-in properties, including adaptations of Arachnophobia, Grease 2, Return to the Planet of the Apes (as William Arrow), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (as John Ryder Hall), and Vice Squad; original prose fiction based on characters from DC Comics and Marvel Comics along with series as diverse as Joanie Loves Chachi and Tom Swift (as Victor Appleton, with Sharman DiVono); and "Plot-It-Yourself Adventure Stories" based on The A-Team, The Goonies, The Love Boat, Magnum PI, and Staying Alive. All of these were written for various imprints of Simon & Schuster.
Rotsler was also active in other areas of science fiction and its fandom, inspiring the title of the Harlan Ellison short story "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and winning five Hugo Awards for Best Fan Artist. The annual Rotsler Award for graphic art was named in his honour.
Star Trek Bibliography
- Star Trek II Short Stories (1982)
- Star Trek III Short Stories (1984)
- William Rotsler at The Internet Movie Database.
- William Rotsler article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.
- William Rotsler article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
- William Arrow article at The Sacred Scrolls, the Planet of the Apes wiki.
- William Charles Rotsler: A Celebration
- The William Rotsler Virtual Museum
- About the Rotsler Award