Non-Trek recommendations for Trek readers

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by trampledamage, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    This struck me as a useful idea for a thread - I know a lot of you are voracious readers of everything!

    If you know of non-Trek novels that you would recommend to a Trek fan, please post these ideas :)

    (if there's been a thread like this in the past, please link to it as well - thanks!)
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Just off the top of my head:

    UNWILLINGLY TO EARTH by Pauline Ashwell. (Full disclosure: i edited this back in the day.)

    THE REALITY DYSFUNCTION by Peter Hamilton. Big chewy SF adventure, full of big ideas and exotic aliens and technology.

    And at Shore Leave a few weeks ago, Anson Mount was enthusing about DIASPORA by Greg Egan, which is apparently his favorite SF novel.
     
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  3. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Things I like in Trek novels:

    Interstellar politics and intrigue
    World-building
    Good character work
    The occasional great sci-fi concept

    Things I don't care about:

    Groups of people or aliens who are hostile just for the sake of being a thorn in the side of the protagonists
    A story where the main goal or problem is fixing the ship or getting the regulars out of jeopardy

    My favorite Trek novels:

    Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
    Taking Wing by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin
    Sarek by A.C. Crispin
    Serpents Among the Ruins by David R. George III
    Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer
    The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane

    Other novels I love, sci-fi or otherwise:

    The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
    The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
    2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
    Dune by Frank Herbert
    Ubik by Philip K. Dick
    The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
     
  4. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm, I'll have to keep an eye on this thread. As far as fiction I only read Star Trek currently. Now part of that is because I fell woefully behind in the 1990's when I was in college. I think I read maybe 2 Star Trek novels during those 4 years---and of course that was when Pocketbooks was releasing 2 Star Trek books/month. So needless to say I had piles of Star Trek books to read and am only just now coming to the end. I plan on re-reading some early Star Trek novels that I haven't read in some cases since the late 1980s early 1990s. But it'd might be nice to have some other books to read.

    The only other thing I read currently is Presidential biographies. For whatever reason I've always been interested in US Presidential history. I read the biographies on John Adams and Harry Truman, a very old biography on James Garfield written not long after his assassination and am currently reading a biography on George H.W. Bush. In some ways biographies can almost read like a novel, if they are written in a certain kind of way. But I digress.
     
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ringworld is probably top of my list.
     
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  6. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Anything by Neal Stephenson. Especially Seveneves or Cryptonomicon. Really well-done hard science fiction.
     
  7. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Robert J Sawyer's worth checking out. Some highlights include the Quintaglio trilogy about a society of sentient dinosaurs and Red Planet Blues, about a detective on the first colony set up on Mars. One of Sawyer's more popular works is his Neanderthal trilogy, about a parallel Earth where Neanderthals evolved to become the dominant race. Star Trek fans should also check out Starplex, basically Sawyer's take on how Star Trek should be done.
     
  8. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye is a solid first contact novel. The Second Empire of Man is very different than the Star Trek universe, but the book hit the "strange new worlds" buttons for me.

    Roger MacBride Allen's The Ring of Charon and The Shattered Sphere were awesome. Aliens steal the Earth in the near-ish future. Much wackiness ensues. I wish he'd return to the series.

    One obscure one that I really liked (obscure, in the sense that I've yet to talk to anyone who's read it, except for one of the authors) is William Barton and Michael Capobianco's Fellow Traveler. It's almost like a Soviet version of Michener's Space or Baxter's Voyage -- the Soviet manned space program embarks on an interesting mission/stunt in the 1990s, to visit an asteroid in interplanetary space.
     
  9. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    I can't yet recommend the Hornblower series, because I haven't read any of them yet. However I've recently felt that I want to prioritize them. They've been cited as a partial inspiration for Star Trek. For me that's part of why I want to give them a try. The other reason is the set of books that I own were passed on to me by my father, and I want to have the opportunity to read some of the series and be able to connect and talk with him about them, for fun. Anyone tried Hornblower and like the books? I plan on starting with The Happy Return/Beat to Quarter, the first book (in publication order). Anyone have any thoughts on the Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey series (Master and Commander)?

    For some books that I have actually read, I like The Hunt for Red October. I like it for reasons similar to why I like Diane Carey's Final Frontier, and Dreadnought!

    Also, kind of random, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one of my favorites of the Narnia series (I know about objections to aspects of the Narnia series, and agree broadly). Dawn Treader was good fun, though. They visit many islands that have strange things happening (exploring strange new worlds and new civilizations) and it makes that very short book seem more full of incident that one might think.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the Hornblower series. I read them, almost twenty years ago, after A&E broadcast the first Ioan Gruffudd series. I read them in chronological order, but I think that publication order would be best.

    Alas, no. I have read Master & Commander, and I keep wanting to read more, but they never bubble up on my TBR pile.
     
  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm really happy this thread popped up, I've actually been wanting to expand my reading to more non-tie-in sci-fi.
    I've picked up a few things, but haven't read any of them yet.
    I've got the first The Expanse book, Leviathan Wakes, which I actually started a while back but set aside to focus on other stuff and never got back to.
    I've also got Consider Phlebas by Ian M. Banks, Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Champers, and Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Shoen.
    EDIT: I forgot I also got a All Systems Red by Marth Wells as a freebie from Tor.com, and On Basilisk Station by David Weber, and A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo as freebies from the Baen Free Library.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  12. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By the same authors I would add Lucifer's Hammer which is their take on the earth-shattering disaster sub-genre, and Footfall where they take the aliens-invade-earth trope.
     
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  13. DrCorby

    DrCorby Captain Captain

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    I'm surprised you didn't list "Spock's World" by Diane Duane. It checks all of the elements you listed as liking in a Star Trek novel. I highly recommend it!
     
  14. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you like smart people working together to solve science problems, I highly recommend Inherit the Stars by James Hogan. How can there be a corpse of a human being on the moon from thousands of years ago? It's involving and clever. (Don't read the sequels.)

    If you like first contact stories and multi-species space utopias, I highly recommend Constellation Games: A Space Opera Soap Opera. Aliens come to Earth, but the book follows the videogame designer who volunteers to port alien videogames for human consumption, and how he has to wrap his mind around alien ways of thinking to do so.
    I read books 1-8 of Hornblower chronologically a decade ago, and then (re)read all of them in publication order earlier this year. I think chronologically works fine if you've seen the show, but would recommend publication if you're a Hornblower novice. Despite not being sf, I think they appeal to sf fans for their immersive worldbuilding. Hornblower is a great captain in the Kirk/Picard mold, in that his big strength is often seeing the clever way out of a problem, but he can fight when he has to. (I have Master and Commander, but haven't read it yet.)

    Dawn Treader is my favorite Narnia book as well. I like fantasy novels where people go from place to place in a new land; I'm a big Oz fan, for example.
     
  15. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I’m seriously loving John Scalzi’s Interdependency series (The Collapsing Empire, The Consuming Fire, with a third book due in April.) Great worldbuilding, and great characters. Trekfen should enjoy it.
     
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  16. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Alan Dean Foster, especially his Humanx Commonwealth novels. Sure, ADF has a well-deserved reputation for slow starts, but most of the people on this board have already learned that slow starts can be worth it (and I've invariably found that his are worth it). And ADF has a knack for opening lines. "The Flinx was an ethical thief, in that he stole only from the crooked" (The Tar-Aiym Krang, ADF's first published novel); "It's hard to be a larva" (Nor Crystal Tears).
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  17. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have read and loved Spock's World. I kept my favorites list short and sweet, and I didn't want to list every book by Diane Duane on there. Thanks for the recommendation.
     
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  18. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I will also note that I read The Mote in God's Eye some decades ago (I was probably about 12-14 years old at the time); it was a gift from a British-born cousin-once-removed-in-law). It didn't do much for me at the time, and I eventually unloaded it on the used book market without, so far as I can recall, ever re-reading it.

    I also have (and recommend) the canonical Oz books of L. Frank Baum (I have them in the Ballantine/Del Rey MMPB edition, with the original illustrations, and new [and stunningly beautiful] cover paintings). I especially recommend them to anybody whose only contact with the Oz milieu was the 1939 movie, which I consider to be grossly inferior to the book, to the point that I consider it to be a hatchet-job.

    More recently, I read A Wrinkle in Time, and ultimately ended up reading all seven sequels. Marketed as YA fiction, but definitely of interest to adult SF readers (and indeed, of the sequels, I would personally give A House like a Lotus the equivalent of at least a "PG-13" rating, if not "R"; then again, I'd apply the same to David Gerrold's When HARLIE Was One, as well as to a number of ST novels).
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  19. Trek66

    Trek66 Ensign Newbie

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    Great thread. I'll binge read several Trek novels but then I 'll need to take a break for a bit. Right now I'm reading the Renegade Star series by J.N. Chaney and the "Star Wars --not Star Wars" series , Galaxy's Edge, by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole. I love both but I'm really intrigued by the Renegade Star universe. It sort of reminds me of Firefly mixed with Trek mixed with the show, Dark Matter.
     
  20. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks for the feedback about the Hornblower series. That's a definite immediate priority in the next month or so. I've read somewhere that there is something about the mannerisms of Horatio Hornblower that are only really present in Beat to Quarters, characteristics that aren't really carried on as Forrester continued the character's story on. Thank you @Stevil2001 for sharing that link, I skimmed through the reviews for the first three books that are kind of the Hornblower "trilogy" as it were. Nice to see a shout-out to Russell T. Davis's A Writers Tale. I like seeing how you include older reviews of the books, from the chronological perspective, incorporated into the newer reviews that gauge the books from the publication order perspective. I'll look forward to revisiting them after I've read Beat to Quarters/Ship of the Line/Flying Colors.

    Nice! I like the way the book is structured. There's a link between all the adventures (seeking out exiled Lords who have scattered far), but the adventures within are separate and somewhat disconnected. The last part of the book does move them toward a clear endpoint, but the focus remains on exploring into stranger and stranger areas and beyond.

    I've been meaning to try out the Oz books, too; got started with the original and ready to go with The Marvellous Land and the books beyond that. I enjoyed learning about how the original story is different, the extra details and additional challenges they deal with that the movie doesn't touch on. I remember liking the Return to Oz movie, it should be interesting to see how the original books are compared to that.

    I recently read A Wrinkle of Time in the lead-up to the new movie, and I enjoyed it again in a different way (I've read it 3-4 times throughout my life). Much to my surprise, after they get through the early introduction and stopovers, when they get to the "main" planet where things really start to happen, Camezotz, it actually became a bit "Star Trek." It was the most unexpected thing. Part of it may be that I had finished a production order viewing of TOS around the time, or maybe was watching through it at the time I re-read it. The society that exists on Camezotz has that whole parallel Earth/parable about an extreme form of social structure. Very Star Trek. I considered branching out and reading beyond the 4 or 5 sequels to read her other tangentially connected books, but I think I'll stick with the Murray family and their more bombastic adventures for now.