I would add also Una McCormack's The Never-Ending Sacrifice
. I have asked this question before on the boards: whilst I enjoy treklit, I have sought where its more high art elements are. This book my wife read - she really dislikes Trek, is rather snobbish (like me?) - and she loved it, she assessed it, she even critiqued it. It's the book I recommend anyone I know who is interested and who wishes a more ... interesting read. McCormack's style in TNS
is very Pasternak-esque, it feels like ... beautiful. I find it has a very lyric, very considered, very allusivie quality to it. It also doesn't feel like 'science fiction' at all, and even doesn't feel like a 'Trek' book, but instead, something - as Sci and Sho each wrote above - divorced from most conventions of this genre. Just wonderful. The author also did do a phd (though I don't know if she finished), and perhaps that level of intention and writing shows through in books like this one.
I would also recommend Ford, and perhaps Robinson's book, A Stitch in Time
, again another book that doesn't feel at all like a Trek book really. Though it is hevaily entrenched, perhaps, in knowing the character the author played.