Pocket Books Keeps the Dream of Star Trek Alive
Good day, everyone. Thanks for stopping by! I’d like to thank David and everyone else at Comparative Geeks for inviting me to take part in this.
That said, I’d like to begin my run here with a little piece about Star Trek. I’m going to be honest with all of you—I’m concerned with where the franchise is headed. The latest batch of movies is largely a special effects-laden explosion-fest with little of meaningful interest. CBS has effectively squashed attempts by fans to outdo them at their own game. The new TV series teaser (though admittedly only a tiny glimpse of something likely much greater) fails to thrill. For an old-school Trekkie like me whose favorite series are Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation, there’s not much left with my favorite characters outside of the ongoing book series still being released by Pocket Books.
I know; these books aren’t considered official canon by any means. But, then again, neither is Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Sometimes the errant thought experiment can outdo and replace the classics.
There are LOTS of places you can start reading, depending on your preferred when or where, and which characters you wish to follow. I’ll detail a few jumping-on points that I’ve enjoyed below.
Do you miss Data? Same here. One of the best post-Dominion War/pre-Nemesis TNG novels is the Data-centric Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang, which acts as a prelude to David Mack’s Cold Equations trilogy, set roughly two years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. Here, you’ll witness Dr. Noonian Soong’s final sacrifice to save his lost son, and you’ll be whooping for joy by the end of the first book in the series.
The Cold Equations books also build off several events from the past couple of years in the wider Star Trek book universe involving the formation of the Typhon Pact (a topic for another post all its own) whose roots lie in another trilogy by David Mack, Star Trek: Destiny. These books are simply wonderful. They focus on four captains—Erika Hernandez of the NX-02 Columbia, Picard of the Enterprise, Riker of the Titan, and Ezri Dax of the Aventine. The relationship shared by all of them has at its center an all-out invasion by the Borg, and the final revelation of the ancient beings that originally created them.
Destiny is a wonderful blend of character growth, space adventure, and even high concept science fiction. Here you see the introduction and/or further development of much of what many fans have yearned for, presented here in book-created characters—more strong female (and non-white) characters like Jasminder Choudhury of the Enterprise, openly gay characters like Ranul Keru, the Trill security chief on the Titan, and explorations of alien culture and biology, such as the confusing four sexes of the Andorians, all of which are required for reproduction.
All in all, the expanded continuity formed by these novels holds together very well, and there is a far better grouping of talent on them than one might say about previous decades of these book series’ existences. Indeed, approaching just about anything by David Mack, David R. George III, Una McCormack, Peter David, or Christopher L. Bennett (among several others) won’t be a wasted trip.
And there’s my snippet of what’s out there for Star Trek fans looking to whet their appetites on more TNG content (for more Original Series try here). Expect more from me on this topic in the near future. Live long and prosper!