That SFX article looks interesting, but I can't read the little blurb under the Horatius cover.
Seems to say: "The wide-open nature of the core material allowed writers to tell pretty much any story they wanted."
Yep. It's a pull-out from the main article. The little caption under the cover of MtH is the bit that says, "WELL, IT
Trek's first spin-off novel was terrible - fortunately, the range didn't stop there."
The author, Tom Holt, is obviously a fan of the David Hartwell & co.'s 80s output ("professionally-written fanfic by authors who'd loved Star Trek
for years", who were "writing as much for love as for money") and is quite scathing of what he perceives as the shift to novels by "tie-in professionals (practically full-time Trek
novelists)", John Ordover's linked mini-series, "New Frontier" descending into self-parody, and Marco Palmieri's introduction of original characters into DS9: "a huge army of new people the readers hadn't heard of and had no reason to care about, populating a universe that was rapidly ceasing to be relevant" (ie. as reflected by ever-falling TV ratings).
He does go on to say that "recent trends are more hopeful" and "there's life in the old targ yet."