Monday, December 31, 2018

Trek Lit 2018: Year in Review

2018: A Pause to Catch Our Breath

Well, here we are again. The end of yet another year of Star Trek novels, and the eighth year that Trek Lit Reviews has been providing you with reviews of those novels. How did 2018 compare to other years? Well, in the realm of Star Trek novels as a whole... not good, I'm afraid.

Carrying over from 2017, 2018 saw a huge delay in the finalizing of an agreement between Simon & Schuster and CBS with regards to the contract for Star Trek novels. The exact reason behind this delay has not been revealed, but thankfully, both parties came to an agreement this year, which bodes well for 2019.

However, this has meant that in 2018, we saw very few new Star Trek novel releases. There were only five Trek novels released this year, of which only three came from Simon & Schuster!

In February, we got the second novel in the Star Trek: Discovery series: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward, dealing with the massacre on Tarsus IV by Kodos the Executioner (see: TOS - "The Conscience of the King").

In late March, the long-awaited next book in Kirsten Beyer's Voyager relaunch was released: Architects of Infinity, in which the Full Circle fleet encounters a strangely engineered artificial world.

And in June, the latest book in the Discovery series was released: Fear Itself by James Swallow, a story featuring the Kelpien Saru played by Doug Jones, in a prequel story set aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou.

From Titan books, we got the final two Prometheus novels, translated from the original German: The Root of All Rage, and the conclusion, In the Heart of Chaos, both by German authors Bernd Perplies and Christian Humberg.


In the Star Trek universe at large, 2018 was a big year. The first season of Discovery finished up early in the year, and by all indications was a rousing success for CBS. So much so that, at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Patrick Stewart himself took the stage to announce that a new Star Trek television series featuring Jean-Luc Picard was in development.

A new Star Trek animated series was also announced, spearheaded by Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan. A comedy series featuring a focus on areas of Starfleet not typically featured in other Trek, Star Trek: Lower Decks will prove to be very different from anything we've seen before.

Star Trek: Discovery season two is gearing up to return to television screens in the new year, but in the meantime Short Treks has made a splash, featuring characters and situations from Discovery to tide us over until then. Unfortunately, Short Treks has not been made available outside of the U.S. and Canada, so many international viewers have not gotten the chance to see them. Hopefully this will change soon!


In my own life, 2018 was a very productive year for this website, and while I am still behind on many of my reviews, I feel like I made great strides in getting caught up! I'm hoping to keep that momentum going in 2019, as it looks like it is going to be a great year for Star Trek novels and the franchise as a whole!



In addition to my output of book reviews on this site, my YouTube channel, Kertrats Productions, made several significant gains this past year. While the subscriber count isn't spectacular, I did gain many new followers to the channel, and I tried my best to put out a video every week. Sometimes I didn't reach that goal, and sometimes I surpassed it. Hopefully my efforts will yield a bit more consistency in 2019!

Here's a list of the Trek novels I reviewed this past year on Trek Lit Reviews sorted by month. New releases are marked in bold and with an asterisk! Links lead to my reviews. Enjoy!


January

Best Destiny by Diane Carey (Star Trek)
Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations)











February

Prime Directive by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Star Trek)
Enigma Tales by Una McCormack (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Spectre by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)











March

Hidden Universe Guide to The Klingon Empire by Dayton Ward
The Siege by Peter David (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #2)
Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Enterprise)













April


By the Book by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Enterprise)
Desperate Hours by David Mack (Star Trek: Discovery)







May


The Escape by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Star Trek: Voyager #2)
Dark Victory by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)















June

Gamma: Original Sin by David R. George III (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Q-Squared by Peter David (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard: The Story of One of Starfleet's Most Inspirational Captains by David A. Goodman












July

I, The Constable by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre (Star Trek #2)
Fortune of War by David Mack (Star Trek: Titan)
Ghost Ship by Diane Carey (Star Trek: The Next Generation #1)
Fire with Fire by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg (Star Trek: Prometheus)










August

Preserver by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)
Mudd in Your Eye by Jerry Oltion (Star Trek #81)
Sarek by A.C. Crispin (Star Trek)
Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: Discovery)
Echoes by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, & Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Star Trek: Voyager #15)
A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #27)






September


Captain's Peril by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)
Architects of Infinity by Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Voyager)
The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman and David R. George III, from a story by Armin Shimerman & David R. George III & Eric A. Stillwell  (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #23)
Captain's Blood by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)
Captain's Glory by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)



October


Academy: Collision Course by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Shatnerverse)
The Root of All Rage by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg (Star Trek: Prometheus)
Fallen Heroes by Dafydd ab Hugh (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #5)
A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Surak's Soul by J.M. Dillard (Enterprise)






November

A Time to Harvest by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Farther Shore by Christie Golden (Star Trek: Voyager)
A Time to Love by Robert Greenberger (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Lost Scenes by David Tilotta & Curt McAloney (Non-fiction reference)
Across the Universe by Pamela Sargent & George Zebrowski (Star Trek #88)
Diplomatic Implausibility by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: The Next Generation #61)




December


The Peacekeepers by Gene DeWeese (Star Trek: The Next Generation #2)
The Fall of Terok Nor by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Millennium, Book I of III)
A Time to Hate by Robert Greenberger (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Fear Itself by James Swallow (Star Trek: Discovery)







2018 was also a great year for the Literary Treks podcast, which I host with Bruce Gibson over on the Trek.fm network. We covered tons of Trek novels and comics, and had some great discussions with Trek authors and creators! Here's a list of the episodes we did in 2018:


Literary Treks Podcast Episodes




Best Trek novel of 2018:

Unfortunately, there were very few new Star Trek novel releases in 2018. In fact, only five novels qualified as new Trek novel releases in this calendar year: Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward; Voyager: Architects of Infinity by Kirsten Beyer; Prometheus: The Root of All Rage (English translation) by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg; Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow; and Prometheus: In the Heart of Chaos (English translation) by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg. It was very close, as all of the novels released this year scored high marks with me. The Discovery novels offered us a glimpse into the lives of the characters brought to life in the new show, and the Prometheus series gave us a fresh perspective on the Star Trek universe with a unique cast of characters and a fun, new voice in the litverse. However, one novel edged out the rest in my opinion. The best new Star Trek novel of 2018 is, in this blogger's opinion:

Star Trek: Voyager: Architects of Infinity by Kirsten Beyer!

The Voyager relaunch novels have consistently been among my favorite Trek novels, and Kirsten Beyer knocked another one out of the part with this story. Tackling some difficult issues, the characters that make up the Full Circle fleet face a new mystery beyond their comprehension. Architects of Infinity ends up being a cautionary tale, an environmental parable, and a fascinating character study all rolled into one terrific novel!




As always, let's finish up by taking a look at next year in Trek Lit.

With the new contract in full force, things are back on track for Trek Lit in 2019! There are already a few novels on the schedule, with news and rumors of other novels coming as well!

Right at the beginning of the year, Discovery is back with a new novel by Una McCormack: The Way to the Stars, with a release date of January 8th. I already have my hands on my review copy, so I'll be sure to bring you a review shortly after that date! The Way to the Stars is backstory for fan-favorite character Sylvia Tilly, the young cadet who bunked with Michael Burnham in season one of Discovery.

In early April, we have a new Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Dayton Ward: Available Light. Readers who are concerned that the upcoming Picard television series will negatively impact the continuity of the post-Nemesis novels should note that this novel takes place in that continuity, continuing story elements from Section 31: Control, TNG: Hearts and Minds, and the A Time To series!

May sees the release of a new TOS novel by Christopher L. Bennett: The Captain's Oath. According to Bennett, the novel involves Kirk's early Starfleet career, before he took command of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

And in August, we have TOS: The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox, centering around the region of space referenced by Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Also in August is the latest of David A. Goodman's Star Trek autobiographies: The Autobiography of Mr. Spock: The Life of a Federation Legend. This was originally supposed to come out this year, but was delayed. No official reason has been given, but there is speculation that it was delayed to incorporate Spock's story from Discovery's second season.


2018 was a bit of a sad year for Trek Lit, but it did give readers a chance to take a breath and catch up on older novels. However, with things back in motion for 2019, I can't wait to crack open new Trek novels and catch up with the adventures of old friends in the Trek universe!

Happy new year everyone, and all the best in 2019! Stay safe, make good choices, and don't forget to be awesome!