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Topic: Star Trek: The Original Novels Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 March 2018 at 11:11am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Interesting read:


I'm ashamed to say that, as far as TOS is concerned, I have only read the novelisation of TMP. 
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 06 April 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I got a book when i was a kid that adapted some of the
first season eps such as Charlie X. Also, at school when
we had to bring a book in to read i used to bring the
Alan Dean Foster `Captain`s Logs` which adapted the
animated series episodes. I really enjoyed them! In the
90`s i had a habit of reading Next Gen novels, Imzadi
etc
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 April 2018 at 12:39pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I read the first few James Blish adaptations, and his TOS novel. That was in my teens. A decade later I dipped into a few of the novels, and found them cringe inducing (as no doubt some find ST:NV). Many read like the worst kind of fanfic.

Please note that I am not seeking recommendations.

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Ted Downum
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Posted: 06 April 2018 at 1:23pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Bill Collins:  "...the Alan Dean Foster `Captain`s Logs` which adapted the
animated series episodes. I really enjoyed them!"

*****

I enjoyed those too, Bill! Haven't thought about them in years.

With very few exceptions, the Trek tie-in novels I've read have ranged from mediocre to embarrassing. (I've found that to be the case across franchises; I found most of the Star Wars EU books basically unreadable.) Even some of the exceptions merit a big asterisk. Diane Duane's books, for example: great reads, deftly written, familiar characters well-handled, etc., but she also--to take just one of many possible examples--portrays a Starfleet full of non-humanoid alien officers, something that doesn't jibe with anything we ever actually saw onscreen. I like her Trek stuff on its own merits, but it's far enough off-model that it verges on being its own thing, as it were.

One of my favorite qualities of New Visions, JB, is how you manage to keep your stories on-model, while still using your "bigger budgets" to expand their scope. It's a tightrope that a lot of tie-in creators, from the Gold Key comics right to the present day, haven't managed to walk.


Edited by Ted Downum on 06 April 2018 at 1:34pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 06 April 2018 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

James Blish, yes J.B. i remember now! I also remember
the cover of the book was in pretty poor condition, so i
createe my own with a pretty crude Enterprise.As for the
Next Gen novels, i liked the Peter David ones!
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 7:36am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The movie adaptations were fair to meh treatments. The Star Trek logs weren't bad for what they were - novella-izations (???) of the TV episodes.

As for the new treatments, I read a LOT of Star Trek novels. Some were good, but so many, as noted by Mr. Byrne, were just fan fiction that some editor probably thought was better than no Star Trek at all (and sales on them must have been good enough... they kept publishing them.)

There were also two collections - Star Trek: The New Voyages (1 and 2) which had short stories. Again, these varied from good to yuk.

The two books I remember best were "The Fate of the Phoenix" and "The Price of the Phoenix", which seemed to REALLY stray into fan fiction, touching ever slightly on slash, but using the characters to tell a story that was just wild. Let's start with clones of Kirk and Spock and take it from there... 

For my tastes, I like the novels by Peter David and by Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens; they get the idea and are pretty honest to the Star Trek core (both TOS and TNG.) And "Federation" may still be the best Star Trek novel ever written - YMMV, of course.
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 10:58am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Hello Ted Downum

I would love to talk with you one day about which Star Trek books you liked and what books you did not.

I have also read Star Trek books for several years and not all of them set during the original series. But as I grew disinterested in Pocket Books  TNG/DSN/VGR line as I felt that the stories became more and more dragged out and did not care for all the long running story threads in their Relaunch series (basically having to pick up every book to keep up) I eventually decided to just stick to Original Series stories, and self contained books at that even though I don't mind a story consisting of multiple books.

I actually started out reading older Star Trek books before I also bought the latest releases in the series, using Amazon's review section to determine which books I should check out.

Through that I discovered some classics such as Ford's "The Final Reflection" which IMO is still one of the best Star Trek books written despite barely having any Kirk and Spock.
I also enjoyed Ford's "How much for just the planet" which is definitely in the realm of fan fiction but doesn't take itself serious.

Other books I enjoyed were Peter David's "The Rift" and "The Captain's Daughter" I really wish he had written more Original Series stories. I liked his New Frontier books but at some point the energy in those seemed to be gone.
But I think one of the serious problems with his stories that they can be way to much "fan service" sometimes with various characters and plot devices from episodes and movies being brought back.
I also notice that he is perhaps better suited for character writing than plot devices because he has a very limited or repeating repertoire of main storyline ideas.

I rather liked Oltion's "Mudd in your eye" as well. Not a story in which the galaxy is at threat again, just Mudd causing problems while looking for something of great value and the crew having to intervene and getting caught in a bizarre alien conflict.
Until Discovery brought Mudd back, but with its own twist on him, I don't think Harry Mudd has had any appearance in Star Trek spin off media until New Visions.

Last two books I also rather liked was "Ishmael" but which is really fan fic material because of all the crossovers with various Western and other shows, and "The Starship Trap" which may be a bit longer than was necessary.

One thing I have noticed in a lot of Star Trek books but especially in books by either Diana Duane or Diane Carey is their sometimes overdone adoration for the main characters, how fantastic and awesome they are and anything in that line, and quite frankly it can be nauseating.
Praising Kirk's courage is one thing but it borders sometimes way to much on "Look how good Kirk is and humane". Enough!

As for the modern Original Series Star Trek books, I find that the quality of the stories has been declining.
It has either been a mix of stories that are follow ups to old episodes, or stories that while involving new characters, worlds, etc. have plotlines that have already been used so many times before in Star Trek stories.
The crew also barely does any exploring any more, it is often going from one crisis to another or doing some diplomatic mission that quickly turns into a crisis.

My main frustration with these stories is that they drag on too long. A story that could perhaps be told in a hundred pages or less is made instead to fill up a  book of 200+ pages.


As for Star Wars books, I decided only to read a couple of them that sounded interesting and that are mostly self contained because a lot of the other books either tie in to the storylines of the movies (stories that for example took place during the Clone Wars) or were part of some long term ongoing conflict such as the Yuuzhan Vong war.

I don't know about the quality of writing of these books, but based on the description blurb I just don't find them interesting enough to read.

Eventually I think the books became to much Jedi vs Sith focused, oh and Traviss Mandalorians which became such an overhyped concept.

The poor quality of licensed books in general has made me develop a distaste for it.
In the last two years I have been reading books based on Indiana Jones and so far I have only come across two books that I somewhat like.
The rest was sometimes such a boring drag and filler, with Indy acting completely out of character.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 11:06am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I have enjoyed the Peter David books i have read, mind
you that was over 20 years ago!
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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

You bring up a good point Bill Collins

Several of the books I have been praising I read a decade ago or even longer. I don't know if they still hold up these days to be honest.

Nostalgia can play serious tricks on one's memories and taste.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 1:20pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Yes Marten, rose tinted spectacles!
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 07 April 2018 at 6:57pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Trek novels that I can recall enjoying include Blish's "Spock Must Die!," David's "Imzadi" and "The Rift," Diane Duane's "The Wounded Sky" and "Captain's Orders," Sonni Cooper's "Black Fire," Roddenberry's "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," and Vonda McIntyre's "Wrath of Khan" and "Search For Spock" adaptations. 

Diane Carey's novels were fannish in the extreme as I recall, and Margaret Wander Bonano's "Dwellers in the Crucible" took the odd tack of replacing Kirk and Spock in a by-the-numbers torture-and-suffering fanfic with two women playing their roles instead, presumably to make the homoerotic nature of their relationship more palatable to Trek's male fanbase. The Reeves-Stevens books I've sampled plod with a numbing lack of action or momentum. I think we're just supposed to be excited that this is Star Trek and the fact that they are doing and saying nothing of any interest at all is going to be forgiven when the plot actually does begin. I have not tried "Federation" yet, but I'm not looking forward to making the attempt. 

Kathleen Sky's "Vulcan" had an odd ending that was specifically reminiscent of a later issue of Gold Key's Star Trek comic, and just didn't land right for me. I remember that my Mom really enjoyed Barbara Hambley's "Ishmael," but then, she was familiar with the Mark Lenard's role as Aaron Stemple in the TV series "Here Come the Brides." As I recall, she also liked John Ford's "Final Reflection" and "How Much For Just the Planet?" She stopped reading the series altogether once the publishers began tying the books into sprawling, contrived trilogies and quadrilogies. None of the other Trek shows ever did anything for her, so she did not take kindly to all of the "To Be Continued..." nonsense. She was never a fan of Trek comics that did that, either. 

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