Thirty years of Star Trek: The Next Generation novels. Wait... really?
(Warning: Completely self-serving post ahead!)
Thanks to an unrelated post I happened across on Facebook, I was reminded that 2017, in addition to marking the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, means that novels based on the show are also sharing in that milestone.
Unlike those based on the original Star Trek series, TNG novels published by Pocket Books were hitting shelves even while the show itself was still very minty fresh. The first novel, Encounter at Farpoint, written by David Gerrold, is a novelization of the show’s 2-part premiere episode. The first original TNG tie-in novel, Ghost Ship by Diane Carey, wouldn’t hit shelves until the following summer, but hey, Farpoint totally counts, as it definitely started the clock so far as books tying into this new era of Star Trek.
(This copy of Encounter at Farpoint is the very book I bought at a Waldenbooks in late September 1987, as I along with fellow Trekkies eagerly awaited the series' premiere. This was also right around the time Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was showing up on VHS that was cheap enough to buy rather than just rent, and the tape included a trailer for the new show. Those were the days, amirite?)
I have to be honest... I quit counting the number of Star Trek novels a long time ago, so I can’t tell you how many TNG books there’ve been. However, I can list some of my all-time favorites:
Survivors – Jean Lorrah – January 1989
Strike Zone – Peter David – March 1989
Metamorphosis – Jean Lorrah – March 1990
Vendetta – Peter David – May 1991
Q-In-Law – Peter David – October 1991
Requiem – Michael Jan Friedman & Kevin Ryan – October 1994
The Romulan Stratagem – Robert Greenberger – May 1995
Crossover – Michael Jan Friedman – December 1995
Intellivore – Diane Duane – September 2000
Diplomatic Implausibility – Keith R.A. DeCandido – February 2001
I’ll cut it off at 10, but that’s just a sampling. Because of their ties to The Original Series, I also am a fan of books like Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, as well the episode novelizations for “Unification” and “Relics,” both penned by Mike Friedman. I’m also not forgetting about more recent entries, such as David Mack’s A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal or his Destiny trilogy, or Bill Leisner’s Losing the Peace, or...
(All right, I’ll stop, now….otherwise, we’ll be here all day. Feel free to offer your favorites in the comments.)
And now here we are, almost 30 years later, and TNG novels are still going strong. It’s been a lot of fun tinkering with Captain Picard and his merry Enterprise band. I just hope they keep letting me do it for a while.
Okay, then. Shameless nostalgia and salesman mode disengaged. We return you to your lives, already in progress.
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Dayton Ward is the New York Times bestselling author or co-author of numerous novels and short stories, including a whole bunch of stuff set in the Star Trek universe, and often working with friend and co-writer Kevin Dilmore. He's also written (or co-written) for Star Trek Communicator, Star Trek Magazine, Syfy.com and Tor.com. As he’s still a big ol' geek at heart, Dayton is known to wax nostalgic about all manner of Star Trek topics over on his own blog, The Fog of Ward. His latest Trek novel, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Headlong Flight, is available now via Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books as a mass market paperback, unabridged audio download and eBook priced at $7.99 (and $10.99 in Canada). Go to www.simonandschuster.com to purchase it.