ten milestone Trek novels on What Culture

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by KRAD, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Over at What Culture, Ian Coomber has provided a list of ten milestone Star Trek novels. It should be emphasized that this is a list that's more about importance than quality. I'd say it's a strong list, and I'm not just saying that because I'm at #3. :)

    For those too lazy to click, they are:

    #10: Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds
    #9: The Romulan Way by Diane Duane & Peter Morwood
    #8: Imzadi by Peter David
    #7: the Invasion! miniseries by Carey, Smith, Rusch, Graf, and ab Hugh
    #6: House of Cards by Peter David
    #5: Avatar Books 1-2 by S.D. Perry
    #4: The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh by Greg Cox
    #3: Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido
    #2: The Good that Men Do by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin
    #1: Before Dishonor by Peter David
     
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  2. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Never read Mission to Horatius and have no intention of ever reading The Good that Men Do. Really need to get started on the Eugenics Wars books one of these days.

    I thought Avatar was rubbish. In point of fact I feel that way of the vast majority of DS9-R books. The Romulan Way was fantastic, Imzadi is of course one of the best trek books ever. The Invasion! miniseries is of varying quality but at best is mediocre. House of Cards is short but sweet, and started up a brilliant series of books, which at its heights includes a couple of top-ten-trek-ever contenders. Articles of the Federation was a great followup to ATFW,ATFP and I'm only sorry it never grew into a series. Finally, Before Dishonour was one of PAD's weakest books and suffered from inconsistent characterisation due to an editor snafu. Still fairly fun, and killing off Janeway was a great move which has sadly been reversed recently.

    Reasoning behind those ten being on the list is sound.
     
  3. Ethros

    Ethros Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Great article, thanks for posting it.
    I've only read 4 of those, but I don't read much Trek Lit these days I'm afraid, but I still like reading about them :)
     
  4. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for posting, as my mouse can only click once per hour :)

    I like the list, and will need to read the 10,9 and 6. I can understand the impact Before Dishonor had with the death of Janeway, but shouldn't the Destiny trilogy be at the top?
     
  5. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I saw that, and the first thing I thought was, damn, why didn't I think of that?

    It's a good list, though, even I haven't read all of them. I might quibble and say that the Blish or Foster adaptations deserve to be on there, but I'm not sure which ones I would swap them out for.
     
  6. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yes, Destiny should really be on there, but otherwise awesome list.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    That was a cool list, thanks for sharing. I think that's one of the only times I've come across that kind of an article that wasn't on a Trek site, or written by a Trek author, that actually included that many recent books, and references to ones that weren't on the list.
    Although I do agree with the other posters who said Destiny should be on there somewhere.
     
  8. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Count me as another person who thinks Destiny, if not the whole trilogy, but just Lost Souls is a landmark novel and should have been included on that list and not Before Dishonor. To be honest, Janeway dying isn't that big a milestone now (not even back in late 2007) as her return was pretty well telegraphed in the novel and she has returned fourteen months later in universe and six years later for us.

    I say that as someone who really enjoyed Before Dishonor, of the early relaunch novels (Death in Winter through Greater than the Sum) it is the standout novel for me followed by Q&A.

    I also think Unity should have been included as two major landmarks occur, Sisko returns from the Wormhole and Bajor joins the Federation after eight years of waiting, which was a storyline that ran through the whole series.

    As for the list itself, I've read Articles and really enjoyed it even though I've not watched much more than the West Wing in little youtube videos. The Khan novels way back when and from I remember, Cox weaved the Eugenics war(s) into the shenanigans of the eighties and nineties very well. I wasn't mad on Imzadi and the less said on The Good that Men Do, the better, it is one of multiple novels by those two I've given up on.

    Oh and I've read Avatar back in the day and really enjoyed it.
     
  9. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    Wow. I haven't read all these books but that ranking makes no sense to me whatsoever. "Destiny" should without a doubt be number one.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, as Keith said, it's not a list of best books, just milestone books. I can understand the thinking behind the list: Each book was the first to do a certain thing or set a precedent that had a lasting impact on what followed. So it's a chronological list, not a ranking from least to greatest.

    That said, I'm not sure I'd agree with all the justifications. Okay, Mission to Horatius was the first original novel, that's undeniable. But it says The Romulan Way was the first book to continue a storyline from a previous book, and that's not true, since that would be The Fate of the Phoenix from Bantam. It was also preceded by Battlestations!, a direct sequel to Dreadnought! And both Demons and My Enemy, My Ally continued character threads from earlier books.

    And Imzadi wasn't the first book to delve into characters' backstories; arguably that was Planet of Judgment, which told the story of McCoy's divorce for the first time. And Demons and Spock's World had both delved into Sarek and Amanda's backstory. The one thing that makes Imzadi distinct is that it came out while the series was still in production -- but that just meant it ended up being contradicted when "Second Chances" came along and presented the chronology of the Riker-Troi relationship in an incompatible way.

    But most of the others make sense as firsts or precedents. Invasion! was the first crossover miniseries. House of Cards began the first book-original series. Avatar began the "relaunch" era. I guess The Eugenics Wars is there as the first novel based on reconciling Trek history with real history (although there haven't been that many others since -- basically just From History's Shadow). AotF is there as the first true "standalone" novel and the start of the cycle of books about the Bacco administration (although I'd argue that The Best and the Brightest was an earlier standalone despite its TNG branding). TGTMD was the first book that "corrected" a failed part of canon, as well as beginning the Romulan War saga. And Before Dishonor killed off a TV-series lead for the first time in prose.

    But yeah, I agree that some of those are less major milestones than Destiny was. It should be on the list after BD. Maybe the "top ten list" format constrained the author.
     
  11. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Sorry I'm late in only just finding this, but wanted to say thanks to @KRAD for sharing my article, and the rest of you discussing. Figured I'd also reply to some of your comments.

    I did mention them in the articles intro, but essentially likened them to pre-home video releases of the episodes themselves, and didn't include them on the list itself as I wanted to focus on original fiction stories.

    As noted before, the list is chronological in terms of publication rather than having a particular book "at the top". I did consider adding it, but as @Christopher also mentions, limiting it to 10 books(/duologies/miniseries) wasn't easy. As much as the events certainly have a big imapct narratively, (which I mentioned when discussing Before Dishonour) but felt that Janeway's death was bigger in terms of the lives (or not) of the original TV characters.

    I started really getting into Trek lit thanks to the relaunch, and my knowledge of pre-90s novels isn't the best. I did try to do what research I could to fill in the blanks (mostly from Memory Beta, and Voyages of Imagination) but obviously didn't delve deep enough, and so will hold my hands up and admit, and apologise for, my error.

    See above about the admission and apology. It may look professional, but What Culture is more just a blog that gets a wider readership, which I wrote for in my own time rather than being a fully paid up journalist. That said however, I did specifically mention it was written during the show's run, and that Roddenberry himself gave it his blessing, which I still believe goes someway to making up for this particular error and justifying its inclusion.

    Yep, although it isn't a feature which has been followed up alot, I still felt the connection between the two histories was something worth including. Looking back now however, I can also see some parallels between this and Watching the Clock, (and to a lesser extent The Never-Ending Sacrifice) in that different strands from so many different stories are woven together as a single narrative, so I guess it could be argued it was also a mile-stone in that regard?

    Yes, but also more than just the Bacco administration, I also wondered if later novels wouldn't have had such an emphasis on politics (including the Romulan division, Typhon Pact, Andorian seccesion, etc) without Articles leading the way? I also felt the fact it was written as just a "Star Trek" novel without any specific branding was important, but regardless of which I figured The Best and the Brightest was more along the episodic lines of Lower Decks rather than setting up further plot threads, like Bacco.

    PS, If you wanted to go back and reread the article, the new link is http://whatculture.com/tv/10-milestone-star-trek-novels although I can only apologise for WhatCulture's lack of upkeep on older articles....
     
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  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I suspect that's more to do with the reaction to the respective books than to the authors' intentions. I always felt The Best and the Brightest was meant as a "pilot" for further stories about its main characters, but that it didn't get the same kind of response as A Time for War, a Time for Peace and Articles of the Federation, so it never got a sequel. Susan Wright's interview about the book in Voyages of the Imagination doesn't confirm my "pilot" idea, but she does say that she always wanted to bring the characters back in a DS9 novel.
     
  13. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    I thought about that too, but if it was meant to be a pilot for new characters, I didn't know why it didn't follow New Frontier's lead by being its own series?
     
  14. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    I tried reading the article, but after three "Next" clicks on my phone all the site wants to do is launch scripts that send me to the App Store.

    :censored:
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Maybe the marketing department didn't think the idea was strong enough to warrant that. The fact that it had a TNG label even though it had a fairly even mix of elements from TNG, DS9, and VGR makes it pretty clear that the branding was a marketing decision.

    Besides, there have been other "backdoor pilots" before. Diplomatic Implausibility was branded as a TNG novel, but it was really the first IKS Gorkon novel. And the last book of the TOS New Earth miniseries was a pilot for the Challenger spinoff.

    I'm honestly a bit surprised that my own Watching the Clock got its own DTI series heading, since it was essentially meant as a standalone. I'm also surprised Forgotten History got a DTI branding, since I was led to expect it would get TOS branding.
     
  16. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Yep, that sounds like WhatCulture :s
     
  17. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Yeah, at least from my perspective as a fan it's always difficult to combine the creative and branding aspects into a single entity. There are some packaging and DVD/Blu-ray bonus features that really show no knowledge of the series.

    As much as I'd love to know more about the intentions behind novels and branding etc, from writers and the corporations/big desks who make the decisions, I can only really go on what's presented.

    Also I had no idea about the DTI books. Personally they're some of my favourites (I've always been a sucker for time travel), and have to say I'm glad they're still a continuing series. As a very traditional page turner, I never would have tried any Star Trek ebooks if it wasn't for DTI.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Honestly, I've done each one of the DTI tales with no plans for any further continuations, with the exception of the last 2 e-books, since I was asked to do 3 in all. I keep deciding "That's it, I've said all I have to say about time travel," but they keep asking me to do more.
     
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  19. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Hey, it worked for SG-1. :D
     
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  20. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Captain

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    Well, all I can say is that I'll keep reading them as long as you keep writing them....