Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by tmclough, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. tmclough

    tmclough Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I need some recommendations on novels to buy and read, or at least put on my Amazon wishlist.

    First, some background on what I currently own and have or have not read, and what I liked or disliked about them. So far I have read TOS's Spock's World (a library copy), TOS's Dreams of the Raven, the first two volumes of New Frontier, The Eugenics Wars (vols. 1 & 2), TNG's Encounter at Farpoint; and am currently reading Star Trek: The Motion Picture (novelization). Of those books, my favorite is probably Dreams of the Raven, because it's the closest to the original mission of the Enterprise: "To explore strange new worlds; To seek out new life and new civilizations; To boldly go where no man/one has gone before." Except for that, however, it was fairly ordinary. I also enjoyed Encounter at Farpoint, and am enjoying TMP a little less, because I can picture the original episode/movie in my mind. That said, I would like a little more than just novelizations.

    After TMP, I plan on reading DS9's Emissary (after rewatching it on DVD). After that comes TNG's Q-Squared. Other Star Trek novels I currently own are vols. 3 & 4 of New Frontier, as well as novelizations of movies II through VI (to be read in order, after watching their respective movies).

    About New Frontier: I read vols. 1 & 2, but kept getting more and more confused over who was who, which race they belonged to, "Are they the good guy or the bad guy?", etc. Some day, I'll try to reread vols. 1 & 2, as well as 3 & 4 for the first time. Some day, just not today.

    As for what I like, I'm familiar with TOS, TNG (first 3 seasons, so far), and DS9 (first season, so far). I'm currently in the process of watching TNG and DS9 on DVD, so I'll eventually be familiar with more seasons. This is important to me with regard to character changes and major development (see New Frontier, above). Also, I'd prefer more TNG and DS9 novels, basically to broaden my horizons. (So far, I've never watched anything on VOY or ENT. Eventually I'll get to them, just not right away.)

    I prefer novels that deal with technology over relations, but even more than technology I prefer science and exploration (the original mission, again). Humor is always good, as long as it doesn't need to be explained to me. (Spock vs. Bones is one type of humor that is always good; so is Data rambling on ("Thank-you, Data!"); but they're by no means the only types.) Also, since I'm still getting into DS9, a story that gets me "into" a regular character more--what they were like before DS9, their role on DS9, etc.--would be nice.

    Also, as I'm a slow reader, I generally prefer older, shorter novels over newer, longer ones. However, if it's easy to read and engaging....

    So, what books would you recommend for me? If you have any questions or need more info about what I like or prefer, feel free to ask.

    (Boy, that was longer than I thought! :eek:)
     
  2. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    The DS9 numbered novel Fallen Heroes is a great read, as is The 34th Rule. Both are early-seasons stories, although I don't recall exactly when they're supposed to fall. Doesn't matter too much in either case.

    A Stitch In Time is the definitive Garak novel. If you've only seen DS9 season 1 you've only encountered him once (?) so far, so you may want to hold off on that for a bit, but put it on your list.

    Truly standout TNG novels seem to be fairly uncommon, but Q-Squared is certainly one of them. Good pick. Q-in-Law is pretty good as well.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Fallen Heroes is set in DS9's second season. The 34th Rule is in the late fourth season.
     
  4. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Christopher's Ex Machina, a TOS book set after The Motion Picture, might also be a fun read, but his writing style is pretty dense, so it might be too much for you if you prefer the shorter ones.

    Q Squared is an excellent call; I'd actually recommend pretty much anything by Peter David before he wrote New Frontier, with other highlights being Vendetta (read after The Best Of Both Worlds) and Imzadi (long, but worth it). Diane Duane's Dark Mirror is also a lot of fun, even though flatly contradicted by more recent Mirror Universe continuity.

    Good standalone DS9 novels are pretty uncommon; in addition to the two mentioned so far, I think for my money the only other one that's much worthwhile is The Siege, also by Peter David (I may be something of a fan of his).

    So:

    Ex Machina - tough but brilliant

    Vendetta, Imzadi, Q-In-Law, Q-Squared - Peter David's TNG books
    Dark Mirror, by Diane Duane, for an older look at a possible mirror universe

    The Siege, Fallen Heroes, The 34th Rule - for my money, the only really good DS9 standalones.

    That's good for starters.
     
  5. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    If shorter is your thing, you might want to try the short story anthologies. The Lives of Dax is a collection of tales that will give you all the character background you could ask for on everyone's favorite Trill, and The Sky's the Limit and Constellations offer an overview of the entire run of TNG and TOS, respectively.

    And of course, there's always the Strange New Worlds volumes -- collect all ten!!
     
  6. My2tailwaggers

    My2tailwaggers Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I just finished the 3 book Terok Nor series.. which provides background on DS9 when it was Terok Nor, how the Cardassians came to be on Bajor.. it will give you a great base of how things came to be. I thought the series was excellent... one of my favorites!
     
  7. Anika Hanson

    Anika Hanson Captain Captain

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    The Next generation:
    Imzadi parts 1 and 2
    The Genesis wave parts 1,2 & 3
    Nemeis (much better than the film , gies more in depth and gives a lot of background)
    All good things


    Voyager:
    Pathways
    Mosaic
    Home comming
    The father shore
    Before Dishonour

    DS9:

    The Search
    The Dominion wars parts 1-4
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    "Ex Machina" is the ideal book to follow up TMP with!

    "Uhura's Song" by the late Janet Kagan is also a very good "mission" novel of TOS era. Perhaps longer than you prefer but it moves fast.

    A great Data whodunnit novel is "Immortal Coil" by Jeffrey Lang, especially if you've already seen "Datalore", "Brothers", "The Offspring" and "Inheritance". There are cameos of numerous AI and androids of TOS, but knowledge of them isn't essential.
     
  9. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    But just to warn you Immortal Coil does take place between 2 of the TNG movies, so it's several years after the end of the series.
     
  10. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nemesis... back when the movie came out I tried to get my hands on a copy of the novelization, but was a bit confused because I read somewhere that there are different versions: one that goes beyond what's shown in the movie, and another that just sort of recounts the movie without any further details...

    I'd really like to read "Nemesis", at least the "extended" version because I enjoyed the premise of the movie, if not the execution. So I'd be grateful if anyone of you could shed some light on this.

    As for the OP's request:

    TOS:

    Yesterday's Son, Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin - a continuation/what-if story that follows up on the events of "All Our Yesterdays"

    I also enjoyed "The Entropy Effect" and "Ishmael" very much. But then, I'm very fond of stories focusing on Spock and/or the triumvirate. "The Pandora Principle" is another one of those.

    If you like some background on Kirk, I'd recommend the "My Brother's Keeper"-trilogy set right after the second pilot "Where no man has gone before".

    Right now I'm reading the novelization of "Wrath of Khan", my favourite of the movies - and gosh, the novel so far is even better than the movie... so I'd say you should move that up on your book pile!

    TNG:

    From early TNG, I'd recommend Jean Lorrah's "Survivors" focusing on Tasha and Data, and its sequel "Metamorphosis". Peter David's "A Rock and a hard Place" is in some ways a predecessor of his later New Frontier, in that the main original character has quite a few similarities to Calhoun. (Make no mistake, it's an independent story and has no connection whatsoever to the NF, just the similarities in the main characters!)

    DS9:

    I second the recommendation of "Fallen Heroes".


    Well, that should do it for a few weeks/months. *g*
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    No, all copies of the "Nemesis" novelization are the same, but they do included scripted and extended scenes (eg. Wesley at the wedding, mentioning he'd just joined USS Titan) dropped from the movie. When the two-disk DVD of the movie came out, this scene was in the bonus footage section. Furthermore, Wesley is seated at the far end of the bridal table in the movie as screened, but people who avoided buying widescreen DVD versions missed noticing him.

    Then came the "A Time..." mini-series of seven books. In these, a different career path for Wesley (and for Dr Crusher) was explained, overriding the (non canonical) DVD bonus scenes.

    ST novelizations that exist in different versions:
    * TMP: the UK and Australasia printings have several brief, extra explanations about Vice Admiral Lori Ciana. And a set of captioned colour photos in the middle.

    * ST II/III/IV: The Signature Edition reprint omnibus ("Duty, Honor, Redemption") fixes Sulu's rank to reflect the rest of the film series; ST II had originally made his captaincy imminent, but the scene was dropped as unusable footage. McInytre had continued this rank chance as a minor character arc through all three books

    * Generations: The hardcover has Kirk's original death scene (now a bonus feature of the GEN two-disk DVD.) The mass market paperback has the chapter rewritten to reflect the movie as released (ie. the revised death scene.)
     
  12. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for your quick reply, Therin!

    I did notice Wesley at the wedding, but apparently I missed out on the part of him on the Titan (not surprising, since I only bought the single-DVD-version of Nemesis...). I don't know the publication details about the "Time to" series and the Nemesis-movie and of course Titan (i.e. which came earlier, the concept for ATT or Titan) - but was it ever considered to include Wesley in the Titan-novels?
     
  13. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, it's been said that there were plans to include Wesley's return to Starfleet and assignment to Titan in the A Time to... series, and then carry that over to the Titan series, but it was later decided not to as it made more sense for him to remain a Traveller.
     
  14. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure all the possibilities were considered.

    It's not as if all the thousands of now-older TNG Wesley fans (he got the most fanmail during the first four years of TNG on TV) would come flocking to the new Titan novels if Wes was aboard. Coming back to Starfleet after many years as a Traveler would probably make him very tricky to write, and maybe he'd be in better company over on Excalibur or Trident!

    Similarly, the new Enterprise-E first officer, Martin Madden - who appears in the NEM script, novelization and the DVDs' bonus scenes - was also ignored by the events of "A Time...", although KRAD did give him a salute in "Q & A".

    "A Time..." was originally conceived as a twelve-part novel mini-series (or six duologies) to explain all the changes audiences may have noticed between the canonical adventures INS and NEM. The mini-series (Feb - Oct 2004) was scaled back to a nine-parter. The Titan books (April 2005 - ) were being developed about the same time.
     
  15. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    When we were initially developing A Time to..., the original plan was to have Wesley no longer being a Traveller and being back in Starfleet be part of the overall storyline. Then when all his dialogue was removed from the final cut of the film, we dropped it, as we all thought that it was patently ridiculous that Wesley would go back to Starfleet after spending that much time as a higher being.

    The Titan novels were planned separately (different editor), but since the final cut of Nemesis also removed the line about Wesley going to Titan, Marco didn't feel particularly beholden to it, either.
     
  16. tmclough

    tmclough Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks to all of you who have provided suggestions for future readings. After reading about them on Memories Alpha and Beta, the books that sound interesting and readable have been added to my Amazon wish list. Now, I have the dreaded task of making up my mind as to where to start. :confused: Also, to find out which ones are available at the local used books store. (Great Star Trek section, BTW. :))

    One question, though:
    From what I have read about these two novels on Memories Alpha and Beta, they seem to me to be quite independent from each other, except for their author. Is this analysis correct, or is their something I'm missing?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The basic plots are distinct, but Metamorphosis brings back several guest characters from Survivors and continues some of its character arcs, so there's a definite continuity. Survivors is mainly about Tasha Yar, but it has a major Data subplot, and Data's arc from there continues in Metamorphosis.

    A caution, though: Keep in mind that these books were written in seasons 1-2, and it wasn't until the start of the third season that Data was codified as being emotionless. Originally, the idea was that his emotional awareness was underdeveloped, but present on a subdued level. And this is the premise explored and developed by Lorrah's novels. So the Data who appears in those books may not seem like quite the same character we know Data as today, but it was entirely consistent with what had been established about the character when the books were written. (Also, Tasha Yar's backstory in Survivors differs in some details from what was established in "Legacy.")
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    "Metamorphosis" was/is one of my favourite early TNG novels, but I recommended it to a few ST friends who bought it, read it - and detested it. It does have a strong soap opera element, perhaps? tmclough did say: "I prefer novels that deal with technology over relations...", so I didn't list it earlier.

    Certainly, author Jean Lorrah was put through the wringer getting the final draft passing muster. Her Andorian character had to be rewritten (as a "related" Theskian) at the insistence of the then-ST Office, she had to switch Crusher for Pulaski (IIRC) and she didn't get her wish for the cover art (Data staring into a mirror and seeing Brent Spiner).
     
  19. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thank you all for your comments about ATT, Titan and Wesley. I've always been fond of Wesley and I always wanted to know what happened to him after he left with the Traveller.

    Of course, I picked up the first ATT-novel back when it was released, but it just didn't work for me, and I put it down at about the halfway mark. That's also why I never read any of the other ATT-books, even though some of them come highly praised. But then, I'm not a huge fan of Titan, either (so far couldn't finish book 4), and I doubt that even the inclusion of Wesley would change that.

    But then again, I think my tastes in ST-books just changed - or rather didn't develop in the same direction as the editors'. Right now, I'm trying to obtain copies of the older numbered TOS-books. I've found that I enjoy the episode-like and more or less independent adventures more than the story arcs of nowadays. On the other hand, I think I've read all the Spock books out there already... *sighs*

    Also, I'd love to have seen the cover art for Metamorphosis that you described, Therin...
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, Jean Lorrah described her dream cover for "Metamorphosis" in the old newszines of the day - but Brent Spiner had already made a promise to himself that, to preserve some mystery about Data, he wouldn't permit photos of himself out of makeup to accompany ST interviews or publicity. (However, "Starlog" had already printed a pic when casting had been announced and, of course, the fans at large had started to research his body of work and other pics did emerge.)
     

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