Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Star Trek novels

Posted by Hello
TV Tie-ins (books based on television shows). Love 'em. Hate 'em. Actually, most of the time I dislike them. Yet, you just can't stay away - especially when your favourite television series is on a hiatus and you can't wait for more stories.

Of all TV tie-ins out there, the Star Trek novels are near-legendary. Not only has the television series spawned the spin offs Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Enterprise, the enterprise (no pun intended) has spawned hundreds and hundreds of books as well.

[For the uninitiated, Star Trek is the tale of explorers who have gone where no man has gone before. You know, humans travel in a space ship for this organisation called the Federation and meet aliens with funny foreheads/skin. Gotta apologise - non Trek followers could be a tad lost in this review.]

I started reading Star Trek novels way back in my teens, and my first Star Trek novel was bought by my dad who knew I had a taste for sci-fi. It was a good one, though I have forgotten the title. Essentially, it was Kirk is in peril, Spock is in peril - and a bit of murder on the side.

That book was the best Star Trek novel I've read, and I hate to say this - but its descendents have been inferior in quality: flimsier in plot and detail, sometimes characters are out of character and worse - the authors mess up their back history! The publishers also have a tendency to split what should've been one book into two (or more) so that we hapless, addicted Trekker fans would spend more $.

Posted by HelloHomecoming and The Farther Shore is a great example. The books continues the story of USS Voyager after after they returned to the Alpha Quadrant from the Delta Quadrant (or rather, what happened after the series ended after seven seasons). I was surprised at how hard it was to finish the book, which surprised me since Christie Golden is one of the better Star Trek Voyager writers. I just did not have any interest at all in the fates of the crew. I think it was the use of the Borg plot device (TM) yet again. We've seen how humans beat the poor ol' Borg on the show a gazzilion times - must we see it in print?

Enterprise, the newest spin off, does not fare too well in the books department. The little I've read of Daedalus did not entice me. The only hope I have is that it'll improve with age. Also, dividing the flimsy book (depth-wise) into two smacks of exploitation and does not help me fall in love with it at all. Hmph.

Posted by Hello
Only Star Trek: Deep Space Nine books seem to have quality these days. I personally thought the "relaunch" of the novels, which continues the tale after Star Trek Deep Space Nine ended its run, was fantastic. It started out very strongly with the usual politicking we're fammiliar with in the series, and fammiliar faces like Ro Laren from TNG are introduced. It's rich in intrigue and the characters develop - what more can you ask for?

My favourite ST:DS9 book is Section 31:Abyss - strong on character development and advancement, it's one of the better Star Trek books out there.

And oh yes, how can I not mention books based on Star Trek: The Next Generation? Well, most of the time it was great, and definitely they had great sparks, like the utterly hilarious Q-in Law. Well, at least that was true nearly ten years ago! I've not been reading TNG for a long time, and so do not know how it fares now in the quality department.

Still, despite my current displeasure with the exploitative methods of the publishers and the generally poor writing in these books, I still return to them for some Trek fix. We Trekkers are a sad lot sometimes.

Next post: My favourite Star Trek novels.

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