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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old December 21 2011, 09:47 PM   #1
The Trekster
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What to Read: The Challenge

I'm trying to find a good Star Trek book. I've never read any of them before but I've read some excerpts and so far they all seem extremely poorly written. I mean, really bad. I've tried googling things like 'best tng books' and all I get are lists which I don't find really helpful since no one ever goes into why they are the best, or describes how they are written or what they are about.

So I put it to you, my fellow Treksters, which book should I read? Which books are well written and how and why?

Challenge Parameters:
  • Let's stick with Next Gen or Voyager;
  • My Favorite Authors include Robert Heinlein, Tom Robbins, Terry Pratchett;
  • Favorite books include: Stranger in a Strange Land, Jitterbug Perfume, Thief of Time, Time Enough for Love, the Harry Potter series.

If anyone can solve this, I know it's you guys! Thanks!
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Old December 21 2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Could you give us some examples of the excerpts you didn't like? That way we know which ones to avoid.
As for recommendations, my top ones would be the DS9 Relaunch, Vanguard, and Titan. They are the three most consistantly well written series, with interesting plots, great characterizations, and they do a really good job of building their own unique identities, while still using elements from the Trek shows.
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Old December 21 2011, 10:10 PM   #3
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

If you like Voyager you should read Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer. It takes place after Voyager is home for about a year and goes on for several years afterward. I wont spoil you what its about but I will say it is very emotional and really puts the characters in situations that provides them with alot of growth. It also sets up stoylines and characters that will allow Voyager to continue for many years to come. Its really the best written Voyager novel as far as the quality of liturature is concerned.

For TNG I'd say Imzadi. Again very emotionally involving and written on par with real liturature, not just tie-in fiction. Involves time travel too.
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Old December 21 2011, 10:13 PM   #4
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Gulliver's Fugitives.
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Old December 22 2011, 01:52 AM   #5
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
I've read some excerpts and so far they all seem extremely poorly written.
Perhaps you have transcended Star Trek?

Really, since the hundreds of ST books are written by hundreds(?) of professional authors, all with varying styles and tastes, saying "extremely poorly written" seems to be a very sweeping, if inaccurate, statement/judgement. The marketing people do put some thought into presenting each "hook" excerpt, and if these all seem to be "extremely poorly written" to you, I'm not sure why you'd still even be curious to read a whole ST novel.
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Old December 22 2011, 02:23 AM   #6
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
The marketing people do put some thought into presenting each "hook" excerpt, and if these all seem to be "extremely poorly written" to you, I'm not sure why you'd still even be curious to read a whole ST novel.
The blurbs (in a lot of cases) have nothing to do with how good or not a given Trek book is. If the marketing people put in some thought to the blurbs, why is it that the blurbs can be awful when the book itself is good?

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
I'm trying to find a good Star Trek book. I've never read any of them before but I've read some excerpts and so far they all seem extremely poorly written. I mean, really bad. I've tried googling things like 'best tng books' and all I get are lists which I don't find really helpful since no one ever goes into why they are the best, or describes how they are written or what they are about.

So I put it to you, my fellow Treksters, which book should I read? Which books are well written and how and why?

Challenge Parameters:
  • Let's stick with Next Gen or Voyager;

If you like Voyager, go for all the books written after the series ended. Read them in published order. Yes, some are not good, but they do lead into the really good ones written by Kirsten Beyer.

Those are all the ones written by Christie Golden and are not so good but should be read so you better understand the books that follow from when Christie stopped writing Voyager.

01. Homecoming
02. The Farther Shore
03. Spirit Walk: Old Wounds
04. Spirit Walk: Enemy of My Enemy

These next books are by Kirsten Beyer and are very good.

05. Full Circle
06. Unworthy
07. Children of the Storm

There is another due out September 2012.

08. The Eternal Tide

So there you go for a recommendation.
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Old December 22 2011, 02:33 AM   #7
Therin of Andor
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

JWolf wrote: View Post
The blurbs (in a lot of cases) have nothing to do with how good or not a given Trek book is. If the marketing people put in some thought to the blurbs, why is it that the blurbs can be awful when the book itself is good?
The original poster didn't say "blurbs", VulcanLoveSlave said "excerpts". Generally these are several pages long, appearing in places such as Amazon, "ST Magazine" and various BBSs, and are intended to provide enough of a hook to send the person to locate the whole book.

"Blurbs" are intended to make a reader curious enough to open the book and read an excerpt.

Those are all the ones written by Christie Golden and are not so good but should be read ...
And now you're confirming all of VulcanLoveSlave's fears. Read four sub-par books before they can read a good one? Huh?
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Old December 22 2011, 04:58 PM   #8
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
The original poster didn't say "blurbs", VulcanLoveSlave said "excerpts". Generally these are several pages long, appearing in places such as Amazon, "ST Magazine" and various BBSs, and are intended to provide enough of a hook to send the person to locate the whole book.
My mistake. But it's not always easy to pick out an excerpt that is both interesting, not a spoiler and understandable to what is going on. A lot of books start off slow and build to were they get to be quite good.
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Old December 22 2011, 07:52 PM   #9
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Most Trek books I tried I didn't like and did not finish.

I finished this one and have no regrets.

Section 31: Shadow Bk. 4 (Star Trek: Voyager)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Section-31-S.../dp/0671774786

It is not great by sci-fi standards but better than most Trek books.

Bujold is better.
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Old December 22 2011, 11:33 PM   #10
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

JWolf wrote: View Post
But it's not always easy to pick out an excerpt that is both interesting, not a spoiler and understandable to what is going on.
I seem to recall an overall positive response to the regular excerpts chosen for previewing in the "ST Magazine". And much testiness if an issue failed to carry an excerpt. That response does not correlate to VulcanLoveSlave's comment of "I've read some excerpts and so far they all seem extremely poorly written", hence my curiosity.

"Extremely poorly written" is downright insulting to TrekLit in general. Even I, a Completist Extraordinare, wouldn't bother with ST novels if they were all "extremely poorly written".
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Old December 23 2011, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock is not just a great Star Trek book, but a great science fiction book full-stop.

Articles of the Federation is basically Star Trek's take on The West Wing --whether you like it or not will largely depend on how you feel about political potboilers. Some people love it, but I've heard people say it turned them off Treklit forever.

And if you're a fan of Terry Pratchett, you might want to look into Peter David's Star Trek oeuvre, especially the New Frontiers series (an original novel-only saga that he built from the ground up). It can be a bit cartoony, but it's sarcastic and wry like the best of Pratchett.
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Old December 23 2011, 08:11 PM   #12
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Cybersnark wrote: View Post
Articles of the Federation: I've heard people say it turned them off Treklit forever.
Really? People let one book do that? Then they were never going to have any staying power. We can't save them from themselves.

Tie-in books, and even episodes of the shows, are written (and edited) by a such a huge variety of people with varying styles. If one can't rise over the occasional "Warped", "The Laertian Gamble", "Into the Nebula", "The Prometheus Design", "Spock's Brain", "Plato's Stepchildren", "Shades of Gray", "Move Along Home", "Threshold", "A Night in Sickbay", or "ST V: The Final Frontier"...

And every ST item out, even those listed above, there still has its fans. I recall rather liking "A Night in Sickbay", for example, and that episode of ENT got an unusual ratings spike in Australia and garnered some great TV critic reviews at the time.
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Old December 23 2011, 08:28 PM   #13
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

FWIW, I've never been gripped by an excerpt from any book. Books are big huge epic things. A little slice doesn't do it justice.

Try "Metamorphosis", where godlike aliens grant Data his wish to become human. Also, "The Devil's Heart", where an ancient artifact begins to affect Picard. The characterizations were excellent in that one. They'll be available for barely anything more than the cost of shipping on Amazon or eBay.
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Old December 23 2011, 09:53 PM   #14
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

Articles of the Federation

A Singular Destiny

Watching the Clock

The Buried Age

Imzadi

Full Circle

Unworthy

Vanguard (series)

Unspoken Truth


To name but a few...
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Old December 26 2011, 10:47 AM   #15
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Re: What to Read: The Challenge

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