Essential Star Trek Novels That Even Non-Trekkers Should Read

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JWolf, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    One thing I think non-trekkies would want to go for at first would be characters they already know from the TV series and/or movies. That's also another reason to leave out any books that take place after the TV series and/or the movies and are mostly new characters.

    No Voy-R, no SCE/CoE, No Vanguard, no New Frontier, no Klingon Empire, no DS9-R, no TNG-R, no Ent-R, no Myriad Universes, no Mirror Universe and no AoTF
     
  2. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    They're BETTER than the Klingon's from TNG onward.
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That really depends on what expectations that person has going into things.

    If that reader expects that a Star Trek novel will focus on canonical characters in relatively familiar types of situations, yeah, sure.

    If, on the other hand, that reader has been primed to understand that some Star Trek novels focus on original characters in original settings and scenarios, that reader may well be more intrigued by the idea of something different than what is familiar types of fare.

    To make a comparison:

    I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to the Star Wars Expanded Universe of novels. But I'm far more intrigued by the stories that sound like they go off the beaten path and do something a bit different than a typical Star Wars movie -- Darth Plagueis by James Lucino, for instance.

    At the end of the day, I think the goal should be to give the prospective reader a representative sample of the best of the different kinds of Treklit out there -- both stuff that covers more traditional paradigms, and stuff that goes in other directions.
     
  4. Deano2099

    Deano2099 Commander Red Shirt

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    On the other hand, there's no guarantee that said 'non-trekkie' will have seen any of the TV series or movies. Indeed, the original article seems aimed at people whose sole experience is the Abrams movie.

    And so in those cases, the books with established characters are less accessible (oh hang on, Data is a robot?) than books which include entirely new characters.

    That's why Articles... works. Because arguably having watched The West Wing does more to make that book more accessible than having watched any Star Trek.

    It's stuff like that, Vanguard, New Frontier and so on that I recommend to friends who aren't really Trek fans but just like reading. And when I say "aren't really Trek fans" I'm talking about most people who maybe saw a few episodes of some of the shows when they aired, or maybe watched TNG when it first aired and have never gone back to it, who will barely remember the TV characters. But nevertheless enjoy a good read.
     
  5. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    But, you cannot guarantee the readers have seen or liked West Wing. AoTF is a good book, but not an appropriate book for this list.
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I'd never seen The West Wing, or read the ATT books when I read and I loved it. I think KRAD did a pretty good job of giving you all of the necessary info to enjoy it.
     
  7. Deano2099

    Deano2099 Commander Red Shirt

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    No, but you also can't guarantee the readers have seen or liked Star Trek, so any book reliant on knowledge of characters from the TV show/films is not an appropriate book for this list either.
     
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In that case people will have only met Spock from the main universe, so maybe the Shatner Mirror Universe or Totality books would be a better way to open up the universe to new readers, since those books feature Spock, but also have Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and members of the TNG, DS9 and Voyager crews interacting with them.
     
  9. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    If people have not seen or liked Star Trek, then the list is not for them. So that doesn't count.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I suggest you read the thread title again. The whole point of the article was to recommend Trek books for people who are not Trek fans.
     
  11. Deano2099

    Deano2099 Commander Red Shirt

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    Says who?

    That a far bigger bunch of people than 'those that really like Star Trek but never read the novels' which would be a totally different list.

    In the case of the former, I was simply pointing out that Trek books based around new characters do, in general, assume less prior knowledge, not more. Whenever a Titan novel first mentions Lavena, it always takes a sentence out to explain the Pacifican/breathing apparatus thing. When a TNG novel first mentions Data, it doesn't stop to explain he's an android with no emotions, or that Worf is from a warrior race obsessed with 'honor'. Yet for someone that's not seen much Trek (or maybe watched one series, but not another, or has just forgot), it's the same issue.

    The writers always ensure their books are accessible to new readers by re-introducing and explaining certain things, but they assume basic knowledge of the TV shows. So the fewer links to the TV shows, the more accessible the novel becomes.
     
  12. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    I read the synopsis of Haldeman's Planet of Judgement, and it sounds like an interesting read. Just ordered a used copy as it is not an ebook yet (bummer). Any thoughts on this novel?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's my second-favorite of the Bantams, after David Gerrold's excellent but horribly titled The Galactic Whirlpool. Haldeman clearly knew his Trek pretty well, but he also filtered the universe through his own style and perspective as an SF author and a military veteran, and gave the landing parties somewhat more advanced procedures and equipment than they were generally shown to have on TV (like body armor, for one thing). There are some interesting ideas and nice bits of characterization of a sort that wasn't too common in the early novels, including a flashback to McCoy's divorce which featured the first appearance of Joanna McCoy in a work of professional fiction (though two previous Gold Key comics had given McCoy a daughter named Barbara).

    Its main problem is that it introduces a trio of guest characters who have a bit of a romantic triangle going on (one of whom is a roman a clef of James Blish), but then pretty much forgets about them in the second half and never gives them any resolution.
     
  14. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    ^Thanks for sharing your insight Chris, sounds like I picked a solid read. I'm also going to look into The Galactic Whirlpool, as I too would like to read the best of the Bantam books:D
     
  15. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, the body armor in "Planet of Judgement" could've been a test run by Starfleet before they fully implemented it in the "Motion Pucture".