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Star Trek novels

bionicbob

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I must admit, I am no longer a massive devouring of Trek novels the way I used to be, I probably only read two or three new ones a year.

For those who do not follow the Trekverse novels, I sort of break them up into three categories.....

Pre-2002 Nemesis -- the continuity between the various novels is very loose and even contraditory.

Post-2002 Nemesis -- The Trek books began to create/follow the EXPANDED UNIVERSE model, starting with the series "A TIME TO..." which filled in the gap between INSURRECTION and NEMESIS and set up all the spin-off and relaunch series for TNG,VOY and DS9.

Outside Canon -- these are the novels that are clearly outside the new established Novelverse continuity (the William Shatner Kirk Lives novels) or are in a vague grey zone like Peter David's NEW FRONTIER series.

My favorites are probably the novels of the 1980s, the adventures of Kirk and crew were extremely popular, attracting many top up and coming writers. Again there is no real attempt at continuity between these novels, the biggest example each author creating their own Chief of Security. But any Trek novel written by AC Crispen, Howard Weinstein, Vonda N. McIntyre, Margaret Wander Bonanno or Daine Carrey I would highly recommend without hesitation.

In more recent years, I do admit to loving most of the Shatnerverse novels as they read like widescreen blockbusters.
Though the last set, the Captain Trilogy was pretty horrible and forgetable. But his last book about Starfleet Academy was fun.

Peter David's NEW FRONTIER series is entertaining, loaded (or is it OVER loaded?) with Trek lore. It is definitely TOS is terms of style but with a comic book kind of styling and structure.

I have not read many of the Expanded Universe novels... I do enjoy the VANGUARD series. TITAN has many interesting elements, particularly the exotic alien crew. Have not read Voyager relaunch, and the DS9 relaunch started out strong but has fizzled in recent years as changes behind the scenes in editorship. Probably the biggest Trek story in the last 10 years was David Mack's DESTINY trilogy, which really rocked the status quo of the Trekverse.

So do you have a favorite Trek author or novel?

Let's talk Trek!!!!;-)
 

Gaith

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Have read and loved Carey's Ship of the Line, bridging the gap between Generations and First Contact. Also read and very much enjoyed Shatner's Dark Victory and Preserver (never read that trilogy's first book, IIRC), but all of this was very long ago - a decade, maybe, though I've thumbed through parts of Ship of the Line since then.

And then, of course, there's Timothy Zahn's absolutely indispensable Thrawn trilo - wait, never mind. :p

To be honest, I've never been that big of a sci-fi or fantasy book guy. And heck, I barely watch any Trek any more, not more than 3-4 eps per year for the past few years, though it was such a huge part of my childhood it'll always be a significant part of who I am. But as far as books are concerned... dunno, the visual media was pretty much always enough sci-fi/fantasy for moi. ;-)
 

bionicbob

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The interesting thing about the novels now is the writers have far more freedom to develop the characters in ways they never were in the television series, which I find interesting and entertaining.

For example,

Picard and Bev Crusher are now married and have a baby!

Riker is Captain of the Titan, with Troi at his side, and I believe when I last read, Troi was pregnant too, though she may have had the baby by now.

Janeway is dead.

Sisko has returned from the Prophets and Bajor is part of the Federation.

And the Borg... well, don't get me started on the Borg...:-D
 

Mark Moore

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The only Trek novel that I've ever read in full was Shatner's "The Ashes of Eden", which was good.

I've read parts of an early TNG novels called "Survivors" and even worked some of it into my Tasha-lives fanfic.
 

DANLAV05

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I confess I'm not really a novel reader, but contrary to my message I have heard some audiobooks.

Of note are the 'prequel' stories such as Diane Carey's Final Frontier, of course it's an area a lot of people are interested in, with the JJ movie and the upcoming Phase II episode.

I have heard all of the Shatnerverse novels of course, and it's a damn pity they're in their own bubble. Although Kirk is the hero in all of them (Shatner's ego!) i loved The Ashes of Eden (aand the graphic novel - in fact one could sync the audio and the comic as a 'motion comic'?) and The Return. Avenger was ok, for me it didn't have that punch, Spectre was brilliant. Finally I loved the last one Captain's Glory - as it was all about Kirk and friends post-Nemesis on a ship once more. A perfect ending.

There's also Spock Vs Q, two very entertaining duologues performed live by Leonard Nimoy & John DeLancie , they are highly recommended.

I admit I am both curious and skeptical about Pocket's post-NEM storyline. The early TNG relaunch book are apparantly shocking, but I've seen nothing but praise for Destiny. At some point I'd like to read/hear the Titan stoyline as it sounds good.

I am actually following an alternative to this arc, and have been for the last two years:

http://dreamers.com/actiontales/secstartrek.htm

No, I don't speak Spanish, but that's where Babelfish comes in! It starts chronilogically with Voyager shortly after Endgame - some elements (and covers) are clearly taken from the books.

Differences include

- A VOY?DS9 crossover story featuring Worf teaming up with the VOY crew
- A different crew for the Enterprise, using mostly familiar characters from DS9 (Dax) VOY (Icheb) and New Frontier (Kebron)
- A Borg War arc spanning Voyager and the Next Generation
- Encounters - set between GENERATIONS and FIRST CONTACT

The recent/current stories kind of crossover - an alternative to IDW's Countdown called 'Time of Penbumbra' crossing TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY with a Klingon series and a couple of their own. Basically it's about the desruction of Romulus and Nero in the background, rising as the villain. Voyager has been destroyed and a new one has been built; Chakotay is dead and a new captain is in charge. They've just started Deep Space Nine too.

Here's a reading order for anyone interested so far:

THE ORIGINAL SERIES
- Issues 17-18

TIME OF PENUMBRA
- Prologue

EL EMPIRIO DEL GUERRO [Empire of Warriors]
- Issues 9-13

THE NEXT GENERATION
- Issues 5-6

VOYAGER
- Issues 26-30

DEEP SPACE NINE
- Issue 1 onwards basically !!

SPOTLIGHT
- All issues - directly ties the arc.

A Titan series is starting soon apparantly. The cover on Facbook looks good. I think after watching Hidden Frontier I was hungry for the familiar characters, even though obviously the continuties contradict it's great to have an ongoing story with classic characters. The Penumbra are a race of 5 species, however the Nero/Spock arc will continue. Note also for the covers the STAR TREK ONLINE uniforms are now in use.
 

bionicbob

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Thanks for pointing out that fan fiction site Dan! Very interesting stuff.

So my ABSOLUTE top three Trek Novels of all Time are....

THE LOST YEARS by J.M. Dillard. Chronicling the end of the First Five Year Mission, explaining why Kirk becomes an Admiral, Spock's return to Vulcan and how the crew struggle to start new lives. A really great read. A must for TOS fans.

FINAL FRONTIER by Diane Carey. The first adventure of the starship USS Enterprise featuring Kirk's dad George Kirk and Captain Robert April. Trust me, this a wondeful read. Carey would go on to write a sequel called BEST DESTINY, but IMO it does hold up as well.

FEDERATION by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. In my mind, this is the BEST TREK NOVEL EVER WRITTEN. Telling the story of Zefram Cochrane and the birth of the United Federation of Planets, this story is rich in character and steeped in Trek lore. While this story is rendered null and void by FIRST CONTACT and ENTERPRISE, it is still a MUST READ and how I prefer to think the Trek Universe should have evolved. Judith and Garfield would go on and co-write the SHANTERVERSE novels.

Other top notables include,

Vulcan's Glory by DC Fontana. Fontana was Roddenberry's assistant and writer on TOS and is credited with development of Vulcan. Here she explores Spock's career while serving under Captain Pike.

Strangers from the Sky by Margart Wander Bonanno-- again null and void continuity wise, it explores first contact between Vulcan and Earth.

Enterprise The First Adventure by Vonda N. McIntyre -- well the title says it all does not? Kirk assumes command of the Enterprise and meets his crew.

hhhmmmm.... I just noticed all my favorites are stories that explore the missing history of the Trek Universe.:p
 

Gaith

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^ Indeed... and they also all explore the series' "past"!

Look, I love Trek as much as anyone... well, maybe not as much as anyone, but as I said above, I'm a lifelong fan, even if I barely partake in official canon-stuff any more. That said... gulp...

Maybe there's a natural time and endpoint to more or less wrap up the saga?

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that Trek as a franchise should end. Though Abrams' XI wasn't perfect, I 100% endorse the decision to go back to the TOS days and then branch out into the alternate reality, and I look forward to more media in that reality. All I'm saying is, once humanity's deep-space exploration becomes de rigeur, as it had in the post-TNG/Voyager era, you lose part of the adventurousness that made Trek special in the first place. Sure, you can go out even farther from Earth, and see more weird stuff. But eventually, as Voyager showed, weirdness upon weirdness eventually gets repetitive, and then what? Introduce badass new aliens, and do a big war story? Both DS9 and Enterprise did that... but that gets old after a while, too. How do you top the Borg? Species 8472? Okay, maybe. But how do you top them? Sure, you could go apocalyptic, and have the Federation all but wiped out post-Nemesis, but is that somewhere you really want Trek to go?

So, by all means keep exploring the past, I say, and keep branching into new timelines if necessary. I could even see a whole miniseries or series set in the reality from "Parallels" where the Borg have conquered pretty much everything, though that might be a rehash of BSG? (I have no idea. I know nothing about BSG.)

But... do I really want to hear about old-ass Picard and Crusher marrying, or Riker and Troi patrolling the Neutral Zone after the Reman uprising? Frankly... not really. I'd rather feel the rush of wilder days with Kirk and Spock... at least for now.

Just some food for thought. :)
 

bionicbob

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Nope.

Completely disagree.;-)

I mean, I agree exploring the missing chapters of the Trekverse is fascinating and has great appeal,
and I would love to see/read more, but I strongly believe the current Trekverse has lots of life in it yet.

The current run of what I call Expanded Universe Post-Nemesis novels are excellent for a number of reasons...
one, I am enjoying the new adventures of "old-ass Picard and Crusher marrying, or Riker and Troi patrolling the Neutral Zone after the Reman uprising" -- for the first time these characters are feeling more real, dealing with age and the changing universe around them and are being developed in ways the television regime would never allow.

Two, the new generation of writers truly get was Star Trek is about, both in terms of history,character and philosophy and in many ways these new novels feel more like STAR TREK than many of the tv episodes.

If anything, these new novels continue to prove how much life Trek has in it and how much potential there is still left unexplored.

For me, the reason for Trek Fatigue on television was not that there was nothing new left to be explored,
but because the same producers (Yes, I am looking at YOU Mr. Rick Berman) were in charge of the show for way tooo long and no longer knew how to look outside the box or even take full advantage of the toys within the box.
Star Trek simply needs new blood behind the scenes to push the franchise boldly forward where it has not gone before.:)
 

bionicbob

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So one of my FAVE xmas gifts this year was STAR TREK: FEDERATION THE FIRST 150 YEARS



Here is a series of interviews with book author, I found it is FASCINATING. ;-)

index=1[/video]
 

Uncanny Antman

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bionicbob said:
Post-2002 Nemesis -- The Trek books began to create/follow the EXPANDED UNIVERSE model, starting with the series "A TIME TO..." which filled in the gap between INSURRECTION and NEMESIS and set up all the spin-off and relaunch series for TNG,VOY and DS9.
The newer, 'continuity-minded' novels don't actually start with the "A Time To..." books. They came out in 2004, (when it was obvious that their screen adventures were over for good) after the DS9 relaunch was already in full swing (starting in 2001). The post-Nemesis TNG books started several years after that, I believe.

Anyway, enough of that :) ...a few thoughts:

A Stitch in Time by Andrew Robinson is excellent. I can't recommend it enough for anyone interested in learning more about DS9's tinker, tailor, soldier, spy.

One half of Fearful Symmetry by Olivia Woods explores Dukat's demented obsession with Nerys to excellent effect.

The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack is the book I almost didn't read, and would have been wrong not to. It explores the life of a Cardassian orphan raised by Bajorans and forced to leave his family and return to Cardassia. (The character was shown in the season 2 episode Cardassians.)

I've tried and failed to really get into the Titan series. Just not for me I guess. :(
 

bionicbob

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Uncanny Antman said:
The newer, 'continuity-minded' novels don't actually start with the "A Time To..." books. They came out in 2004, (when it was obvious that their screen adventures were over for good) after the DS9 relaunch was already in full swing (starting in 2001). The post-Nemesis TNG books started several years after that, I believe.

You are right sir. The DS9 relaunch was promoted as Season Eight. Though it seems to me the notion a definitive novel wide continuity did not come into play until "A Time To...", as I remember there was a lot of discussion where DS9 fit in as it was out of sync timeline wise with the other new Trek novels like TNG and Titan.

I read the first two Titan novels, and they did not really appeal to me either. But I did enjoy the Titan elements in the Destiny trilogy.

Vanguard was a great 7 book series.

So I am half way through Federation 150 Years, it is a fun read. A very interesting connect the dots and fill in the blanks to Trek Universe history. Though there is some Small Universe syndrome that is a little too coincidental even for me. For example, the Vulcan who lands on Earth and meet Cochrane is Spock's great grandfather.

One of the big things I like is it respects all of Trek established history. It even explains how Khan and the other superman conquered the world in the 1990s and WWIII. Spoiler alert: Essentially it all happens as depicted, then years later after time travel was discovered, some rogues stole a starship in attempts to go back to stop Khan but were never heard from again. The theory beginning these rogues created an alternate timeline, the one WE live in today while the Trek Universe continues to exist as the original timeline. A very simple and perfect Trek explanation. I like it much better than Greg Cox's Khan trilogy.

One thing I wonder is will any the material in this book will be reflected in the novel series continuity? As I know Simon Shuster is launching a new Enterprise sequel series (having just wrapped up the Romulan War) that will follow the rise of the Federation over a period of several years and the role Archer and other played in its formation.
 

Uncanny Antman

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bionicbob said:
You are right sir. The DS9 relaunch was promoted as Season Eight. Though it seems to me the notion a definitive novel wide continuity did not come into play until "A Time To...", as I remember there was a lot of discussion where DS9 fit in as it was out of sync timeline wise with the other new Trek novels like TNG and Titan.
Ah, a good point I didn't consider. You're right. The DS9 relaunch was the beginning of the "official new adventures" angle, but it was a while before the rest of the 24th century joined them. DS9 jumped ahead a few years to synch up with TNG if I remember correctly? But the recent Voyager novels are still stuck a few years behind from what I gather. (Never been much of a VOY fan, so have skipped the books.)

I am reading the TNG Cold Equations books right now (on book 1 at the moment.) Really enjoying it. As usual, I wasn't totally sold on the idea (Which I won't mention as it is a spoiler), but it turns out the execution works for me just fine. And the previous Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn DS9 books were great too. AGAIN, they had major plot elements I don't like in theory, but enjoyed in context. Never judge a book by its cover indeed. :)
 

bionicbob

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Uncanny Antman said:
I am reading the TNG Cold Equations books right now (on book 1 at the moment.) Really enjoying it. As usual, I wasn't totally sold on the idea (Which I won't mention as it is a spoiler), but it turns out the execution works for me just fine. And the previous Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn DS9 books were great too. AGAIN, they had major plot elements I don't like in theory, but enjoyed in context. Never judge a book by its cover indeed. :)


That is good to know, as I enjoy David Mack's Trek writing and the book cover blurbs have definitely intrigued me. I guess I will be heading down to the book store tomorrow. :lol:

I don't enjoy Voyager and have never read any of the novelizations. Though I did enjoy when Peter David killed Janeway in Before Dishonor. Not that she stayed dead long, I hear they brought her back to life in The Eternal Tide.
 

bionicbob

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Just read THE ROMULAN WAR chapter of Federation, which makes it very clear there is no attempt to connect this Trek History with the continuity of the current novels, as the events depicted during the War and the final fate of Columbia differ vastly.

So on the one hand, still a very entertaining read, but on the other, very frustrating that Paramount does not seem interested in creating a unified franchise.
 

DANLAV05

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I get what you mean - the Pocket Books seem to be the main ongoing series, and I like how they are now using Destiny/Typhon Pact/The Fall to weave together the 24th Century series

Online broke away from book continuity before Destiny, however there is reference to 'alternate' concepts such as Crusher on the Pasteur and LaForge on the Challenger in it's timeline.

Again, IDW broke away with their TNG Hive series by Brannon Braga, which I thought was very good (until I read the last issue!)

If anything CAN unify the versions is the Titan - all seem to use Tourangeau's design and the same crewmembers.

With the wars and all I guess it's impossible to count Hidden Frontier & Intrepid's fan film continuity in any of the above versions, although they (with the Odyssey/Helena etc spin-offs) cover the period up to the destruction of Romulus. That's a great version because as well as reintroducing guest characters from TNG, it of course created and very-well developed it's own characters - despite being an amateur production (yes, it does seem a vicious word!) it really moved things forward in the 24th Century. Regulars like Kira, Sisko and Picard (in the upcoming The Stone Unturned - out IN MAY!) do appear, but one can't help but wonder what the TV characters are doing these days.

So I guess it's a case of choosing your favourite version if you want a definitive one?!
 

darth_ender

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I've never read a single Trek novel, though I've read several Star Wars. But as I've grown more cynical in my view of Star Wars EU, I'm starting to open up more to the idea of Trek EU because of its less binding nature. I really like the thought that I can read a Trek book and accept it as continuity or disregard it without having to worry about it contradicting other Trek elements. In fact I just purchased a few books two days ago to try out. I'm kind of interested especially in stuff that expands on barely touched aspects of Trek, such as Pike or April, or the years between TOS and TMP.

BTW bob, I love your edits. I've only watched V'ger Incident and Perdition's Flames so far, but they are wonderful!
 

bionicbob

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darth_ender said:
I really like the thought that I can read a Trek book and accept it as continuity or disregard it without having to worry about it contradicting other Trek elements. In fact I just purchased a few books two days ago to try out. I'm kind of interested especially in stuff that expands on barely touched aspects of Trek, such as Pike or April, or the years between TOS and TMP.

BTW bob, I love your edits. I've only watched V'ger Incident and Perdition's Flames so far, but they are wonderful!

Just curious what books you picked up?

The 24th Century novels are definitely more tightly connected these days continuity-wise, though every year they seem to publish one that is clearly outside the currently established novelverse.

For TNG fans, the recent Cold Equations trilogy by David Mack was a lot of fun.

But for me, the 7 book VANGUARD series was one of the best Trek stories ever done.

And don't forget the Star Trek comics! The past collections by DC and current run by IDW, there are some true gems out there to read. :)
 

Uncanny Antman

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bionicbob said:
And don't forget the Star Trek comics! The past collections by DC and current run by IDW, there are some true gems out there to read. :)
Just so long as you avoid Hive. Ghastly.
 

darth_ender

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I purchased Enterprise, Log 1, and the novelizations of TMP and TSFS. My dad also just loaned me Best Destiny and Federation. He used to have a bunch more, but seems to have donated or lost them. I was really interested in Probe and Vendetta, which I know he had for years when I was a child, but which didn't turn up at my most recent visit. Do you have any specific recommendations from the timeframes I mentioned?
 

bionicbob

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Uncanny Antman said:
Just so long as you avoid Hive. Ghastly.

I agree. It is typical Brannon Braga; in the worst sense of the word. One has to wonder if he has unresolved hostility issues towards his ex-wife Jeri Ryan considering the way he ended the story. David Mack's DESTINY is far superior for a definitive final Borg story, even though I really did not care for the origin reveal.

I purchased Enterprise, Log 1, and the novelizations of TMP and TSFS. My dad also just loaned me Best Destiny and Federation. He used to have a bunch more, but seems to have donated or lost them. I was really interested in Probe and Vendetta, which I know he had for years when I was a child, but which didn't turn up at my most recent visit. Do you have any specific recommendations from the timeframes I mentioned?

All the Trek movie novelizations are great, particularly Khan.
VENDETTA is a fun, blockbuster read, a very cool sequel to Best of Both Worlds and Peter David introduced lots of characters/concepts that he would follow up on in future novels, especially his Hidden Frontier series.

Probe and Best Destiny are mixed for me. Best Destiny is a sequel to FINAL FRONTIER (not to be confused with the movie LOL) which is more fun read for me.

The Log series are adaptations of the Animated Series scripts. They are okay reads. They were more fun when there were no other Trek novels out there being produced, but there are definitely better reads out there.

FEDERATION is one my absolute favorite Trek novels ever! Though the events depicted have now been rendered obsolete by the tv series Enterprise, I still think it is essential reading for any Trek fan.
 
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