So I've updated my TMP-era 5 Year Mission reading order. I've added notes about placement. These notes are according to writer's intent and story content.
The Second 5-Year-Mission Reading Order
Night Whispers (immediately before TMP)
The Motion Picture
Renewal (immediately follows TMP-version 1)
Shadows of the Machine (immediately follows TMP-version 3)
Ex Machina (immediately follows TMP-version 2)
Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again
Forgotten History part 2 (Spock on leave)
Worlds Collide (Spock on leave)
Forgotten History part3 (Spock has returned)
Home is the Hunter
Firestorm (5 years after Elaan of Troyuis)
Ice Trap (8 years after Chekov joins the crew)
The Wounded Sky
Rihannsu: My Enemy, My Ally
Spock's World (halfway point of 5 year mission)
The Better Man (2 years into mission per author's intent)
Covenant of the Crown (18 years after Kirk was a Lt. Commander)
Rihannsu: The Romulan Way (1 year after My Enemy, My Ally)
Rihannsu: Sword Hunt
Rihannsu: Honor Blade
Rihannsu: The Empty Chair
Pandora's Principle (6 years after Spock's leave)
Rules of Engagement (near final mission)
Deep Domain (final mission- version 1)
Odyssey's End (final mission- version 2)
A. I used the Pocket Timeline, then tweaked it per comments here.
B. Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again and Forgotten History are placed per Christopher Bennett's comments.
C. Home is the Hunter is included even though it contradicts In the Name of Honor because that isn't an issue for the time frame of this reading order.
D. I included the Untold Voyages comics.
Past Imperfect was intended as a second year story, so I placed it just before the L.A.Graf stories.
E. Silent Cries focuses on Sulu, Chekov and Uhura so I placed it with the L.A. Graf stories which tend to have the same focus. I placed it after them because it was intended to be a fourth year story and the L.A.Graf stories are placed in the third year.
F. The first 4 Rihannsu novels are included because they were "tweaked" to be post-TMP in the Blodwing Chronicles Anthology. The Wounded Sky and Doctor's Orders are kept with them even though they haven't been tweaked from being 1st 5-year-mission stories. Inconsistencies just have to be overlooked to make it work.
G. Christopher prefers The Better Man has an earlier placement but also notes it was intended as 2 years after TMP. The year is not stated in the book so I left it where the Pocket Timeline placed it which is around 2 years after TMP.
The Better Man introduces the new Starfleet uniforms. Their color is never stated but the fact that they include a jacket is mentioned repeatedly. I prefer the TMP uniforms to be used as long as possible, so this is another reason to keep The Better Man where it is. Actually, if possible I would prefer this story to be one of the last to further extend the use of theTMP uniforms.
H. Pandora Principle should be 6 years after Spock's discovery of Saavik and subsequent leave. However, this places it in 2280, making the 5-year-mission 7 years long. This could be reconciled by disregarding the "6 years later" aspect or by placing the final missions in 2280 and assuming the 5-year-mission was extended.
I. I've excluded the Prometheus Design and Triangle because I don't care for the "shipper" aspects I've heard they include.
This timeline doesn't imply that these stories are all part of the same continuity or that they should be. This is just an attempt to create a reading order/ timeline representing the 2nd 5-year-mission with the least inconsistencies due to story placement.
Let me know what you guys think and if there are any additions or changes I could/should make.