Star Trek Reader's Reference to the Novels

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Desert Kris, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    I've been making my way through Vonda McIntyre's novel Enterprise: The First Adventure, and trying to keep track of details that carry over between McIntyre's other ST novels. One small detail that I thought I recognized was that Spock has a meditation stone in his quarters, that he sits on for meditation. I peaked back into the pages of The Wrath of Khan novelization and found it there, too (haven't gone further back to Entropy Effect yet.

    Just for fun I googled "Spock's Meditation Stone" to see if any online ST references were attentive enough to document it. I ended up stumbling on a series of hardcopy guide books to ST novels instead, called Star Trek Reader's Reference to the Novels. It's a series of books in several volumes that compiles information from the novels, and included Spock's meditation stone as part of the inventory of items he keeps in his quarters.

    There are several volumes to this reference series, seeming to start with a volume that covers all the 1970's, then the next early one covers 1980-'83. After that they cover ranges of 2 or 3 years. I poked around on one volume through google books, and it seemed pretty comprehensive. The excerpt samples on amazon show what seems to be an extensive glossary/encyclopedia section, then a listing of stardates of significance within a given novel, and then there's a section where a selection of quotes directly from a given novel are singled out.

    Has anyone else come across this series of reference guides? I like Voyages of Imagination a great deal for it's behind the scenes, but this looks like a deep dive into the contents of the novels. Like the Star Trek Encyclopedia, except for the novels. I know we have very handy online resources like Memory Alpha and Memory Beta, but they didn't catch information about Spock's mediation stone. How much luck would I have if I tried to google obscure stuff like Rumaiy or Kumburanya? Does anyone have any volumes of the series, are they good/helpful? I've been having fun compiling my own home-made compendium for TOS novels I've been reading through, but I'm wondering if these books would be easier?
     
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  2. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I’ve got at least some of them; I hadn’t realized that I missed a few. Alva Underwood has put a lot of work into them, but the chronological approach means that if you’re looking for something, you may have to check several volumes, to look up entries from books from different years.
     
  3. tgiokdi

    tgiokdi Ensign Red Shirt

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  4. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I’ve got these. I might take a look at them again.

    It’s been a good long time since the last one was published (2012). I wonder if they’re done?
     
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  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, this is an insane amount of information mined from the novels. I think only James Dixon's epic Fandom Chronology comes close to the depth of info collected here, but of course that's all skewed through his very specific vision of Trek.

    Of course, that work was free and this... is not. And it's in parts.
     
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  6. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    Great, let me know! As for why they stopped, I imagine the internet and online resources would put a damper on carrying on, and in great detail.

    It's impressive that they seem to go more in depth than, say, Memory Beta. I think I will snag one of them covering the middle 80's, where I'm at right now in my reading, as a test of their level of detail. If I like it enough, I'll bookend it with the volumes that cover the rest of the1980's.
     
  7. tgiokdi

    tgiokdi Ensign Red Shirt

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    The author of these was in her 70's back when she started, so she may have moved on to greener pastures by now.
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Okay I just ordered the first part.
     
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  10. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    I hope you like it! I hope I do, too.

    Looking at some of the online previews, it appears that the later volumes covering the late 80's and into the 1990's stick with TOS exclusively, even though TNG would have started. I didn't see any indicators of coverage for TNG novels.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    From what I gathered reading a preview of one of the later volumes, they only cover TOS/TOS movie Trek.
     
  12. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Yeah, I think Underwood was only interested in TOS.
     
  13. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, so I received two volumes in the mail last night, covering 1984-85 and 1986-87, and had time to make a preliminary assessment. It looks like there's a lot of good information here. Some of it Memory Beta has been able to document, but there are some small stuff that MB didn't catch as well.

    There are entries for things that I thought would be a good idea, but would have been too lazy to include in my own informal compendium. There are a couple of ideas and concepts that I feel the book missed, that I wanted to have notes for. An example is JM Dillard's concept of the Vulcan mind rules, the understanding of which helps to define the nature of a head injury Spock receives in the novel Mindshadow. On the other hand, there is an entry about that injury from the same book.

    Some information that I feel should be in a single entry are a little scattered. So, since I'm reading through Enterprise: The First Adventure, I looked to confirm information I had compiled about the Rumaiy and Kumburanya Klingon cultures. The entry on Rumaiy cultural practices did not include information about how some members of that ethnicity/culture of higher station veil their faces and do not deign to provide their name to someone they deem unworthy. The entry for the individual character, Koronin, does elaborate further and gives those added cultural details. It's a small point, but I'm glad the information is there.

    There's a little bit of inconsistency about information included in the given volumes. Some entries have counterparts, so there's always an entry for Hikaru Sulu and James T. Kirk. The inconsistency arises in information beyond the scope of a volume. So, for example, the entry on Hikaru Sulu in the volume for 1986-87 includes information about having lived on a world called Ganjitsu, but the entry goes on to include information about Sybok and a zoomed in flashback that Sulu experiences in the novelization of The Final Frontier movie, which was published in 1989. I also spotted a reference to information about Memory Prime from 1988. I don't know if this is meant to be a complaint, per se, as the extra information is a nice bonus. It feels just a little bit disorganized.

    The books are supposedly developed as a resource for professional and amateur writers crafting Star Trek fiction. The ones I received have publishing dates in the early/mid 2000's, and the internet exists to help start compiling information online.

    Minor quibbles aside, I'm finding them fun the same way the authorized Star Trek Encyclopedia is fun. A blast to flip around, a terrible risk to get lost in for more time than one intends. The books do include a lot of information. As a random test, I came across a scientific theory that Spock mentions he favors in E:TFA having to do with "the local unconscous" and just to test these reference guides out, I looked that one up, and was impressed to find that this, too, has an entry.

    Anyway, just a little feedback from my initial impressions. I think I will complete the set for the 1980's decade.