Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Trek Lit 2019: Year in Review

2019: Almost a Return to Form!

As the decade draws to a close, we once again look back on the year that was in Star Trek novels!

2019 was the ninth year that I have done Trek Lit Reviews, and thankfully, the novels keep on coming. 2018 was a scary year that saw a tiny number of releases, but 2019 almost brought us back up to pre-contract renegotiation levels.

There were seven new Trek novels released by Simon & Schuster this year, plus one re-release of a classic novel, all in the trade paperback format favored by the publishing industry in recent years. This is a huge improvement over 2018's paltry three novels from S&S.

The year started off with a Star Trek: Discovery novel from one of my favorite authors, Una McCormack: The Way to the Stars, exploring the backstory of fan-favorite character Sylvia Tilly.

April saw the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Available Light by Dayton Ward, continuing the mission of the Enterprise-E and her exploration of the distant Odyssean Pass.

Then in May, we got a new TOS novel: The Captain's Oath by Christopher L. Bennett. This book explored James T. Kirk's first command, the U.S.S. Sacagawea, prior to his taking command of the Enterprise.

At the end of July, we experienced John Jackson Miller's take on the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of Christopher Pike in Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War, in which we learned what the storied vessel was up to during the first season of Discovery.

In August, we returned to The Original Series for The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox, exploring a 23rd century "gold rush" and a close encounter with a dangerous region of space.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first foray of Trek into the cinemas, Simon & Schuster re-released the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry in October.

Just one week later, the TNG novel Collateral Damage by David Mack was released, tying up a story line which has been wending its way through Trek lit for the better part of two decades, ever since the groundbreaking A Time To... series of novels!

And finally, December saw the release of Dave Galanter's Star Trek: Discovery: Dead Endless, exploring the relationship between Paul Stamets and the mysterious mycelial network, traveled through by the U.S.S. Discovery and her revolutionary spore drive.



As for Star Trek as a whole, 2019 continued to build upon the gains that were made by the franchise in 2018. Season 2 of Discovery was widely praised, and made Captain Christopher Pike a household name thanks to the tremendous performance from Anson Mount. Anticipation for Star Trek: Picard continued to grow as well, and we are on the cusp of its premiere in January of 2020.

Star Trek: Short Treks also continued, with six episodes this season instead of last year's four. The first three featured Captain Pike and various adventures in the 23rd century (including a dubious origin for the tribbles), while the most recent two to have aired marked Star Trek's return to animation for the first time since the 1970s with "The Girl Who Made the Stars" and "Ephraim and Dot." One more episode is to air in early January, "The Children of Mars," which is billed as a sort of prequel to Star Trek: Picard. 2020 will not only see that new take on Sir Patrick Stewart's iconic character, but also a return of Star Trek: Discovery for its third season, and Lower Decks, an animated comedy series from Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan.


For me personally, 2019 started strong with an increased production both on this website and on my YouTube channel, Kertrats Productions. I made great efforts in getting caught up and keeping up to date on my book reviews, and generally did a good job until, unfortunately, the end of the year.

Early November saw me laid off from my job and, having to search for work, I found my ambition to keep everything updated flagged quite a bit. I once again dropped behind in my book reviews, and the content on this website definitely suffered. Thankfully, however, I was able to find a new teaching position for the new year, and will once again be gainfully employed as of January 6th!

As for next year, I once again have the goal of getting caught up on book reviews on Trek Lit Reviews. As for Kertrats Productions, I have a few ideas for what I want to do with that channel which I will get into more in the new year. Plus, I also have another special project in the works with my Literary Treks co-conspirator, Bruce Gibson. This is the first I have mentioned of this anywhere, so there's not a lot to tell yet, but more to come as the plans get worked out... Stay tuned!


As always, what follows is 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, and the links lead to my reviews. Enjoy!


January

The War of the Prophets by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Millennium, Book II of III)
Ship of the Line by Diane Carey (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
A Good Day to Die by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon, Book One)








February

A Time to Kill by David Mack (Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Time To, Book 7)
Requiem by Michael Jan Friedman and Kevin Ryan (Star Trek: The Next Generation #32)
Inferno by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Millennium, Book III of III)
The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman (Star Trek: The Next Generation)







March

A Time to Heal by David Mack (Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Time To, Book 8)
Honor Bound by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon, Book Two)
The Pandora Principle by Carolyn Clowes (Star Trek #49)
A Time for War, A Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Time To, Book 9)
Mutiny on the Enterprise by Robert E. Vardeman (Star Trek #12)
The Sundered by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels (Star Trek: The Lost Era)






April


Enemy Territory by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon, Book Three)
* In the Heart of Chaos by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg (Star Trek: Prometheus)
Wagon Train to the Stars by Diane Carey (Star Trek #89: New Earth, Book One of Six)
Belle Terre by Dean Wesley Smith with Diane Carey (Star Trek #90: New Earth, Book Two of Six)




May

A Burning House by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: Klingon Empire)
Triangle: Imzadi II by Peter David (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Vulcan's Glory by D.C. Fontana (Star Trek #44)
Old Wounds by Christie Golden (Star Trek: Voyager: Spirit Walk, Book One of Two)








June

Rough Trails by L.A. Graf (Star Trek #91: New Earth, Book Three of Six)
Enemy of My Enemy by Christie Golden (Star Trek: Voyager: Spirit Walk, Book Two of Two)
* The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack (Star Trek: Discovery)
Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels (Star Trek: Titan)
Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Flaming Arrow by Kathy Oltion & Jerry Oltion (Star Trek #92: New Earth, Book Four of Six)
Burning Dreams by Margaret Wander Bonanno (Star Trek)





July

The Red King by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin (Star Trek: Titan)
Thin Air by Kristine Kathryn Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith (Star Trek #93: New Earth, Book Five of Six)
Available Light by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Resistance by J.M. Dillard (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
* The Captain's Oath by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Orion's Hounds by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Titan)
Challenger by Diane Carey (Star Trek #94: New Earth, Book Six of Six)




August

Q & A by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The IDIC Epidemic by Jean Lorrah (Star Trek #38)
Dyson Sphere by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski (Star Trek: The Next Generation #50)
Sword of Damocles by Geoffrey Thorne (Star Trek: Titan)
The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller (Star Trek: Discovery)









September


A Flag Full of Stars by Brad Ferguson (Star Trek #54: The Lost Years, Book Two)
Before Dishonor by Peter David (Star Trek: The Next Generation)








October

Greater Than the Sum by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Antares Maelstrom by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Original Series)












November

Gods of Night by David Mack (Star Trek: Destiny, Book I)









December

Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry (40th Anniversary Edition)










2019 was also, as always, a great year for the Literary Treks podcast, thanks to all of the wonderful listeners! I host this podcast with Bruce Gibson over on the Trek.fm network. We covered a great number of Star Trek novels and comics, plus we had some great discussions with Trek authors and creators! Here's a list of the episodes we did in 2019:


Literary Treks Podcast Episodes




Best Trek novel of 2019:

Unfortunately, thanks to the loss of my job in November as well as a bout with the flu towards the end of December, I didn't get the reviews of all of the new releases done before the end of the year. However, I have read them all, and while there were a number of contenders, one novel in particular floated to the top. My favorite read of 2019, and in my opinion, the best Trek novel of 2019 is...

Star Trek: Discovery: Dead Endless by Dave Galanter!

This novel is one that is really easy to spoil if you haven't read it, so I won't go deep into the particulars of the plot or setting here, but suffice it to say that I completely floored by this novel and where it ended up was completely unexpected. An incredible story with moving character moments that gave me chills. Dave Galanter is one of my favorite Trek authors, and he definitely doesn't disappoint here! Thank you so much for this wonderful story, a moving masterpiece that even Wilson Cruz, Hugh Culber himself, has taken to Twitter to praise. Wonderful stuff!




As per usual, let's wrap up by taking a look ahead at what we can expect from Trek Lit in 2020.

This past summer, at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, we got a few announcements for new books coming in 2020. Plus, there have been a few other announcements since then. Let's break them down.

Kicking off the 2020 book year is February's release of The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack, the first Star Trek: Picard novel! This book promises to introduce new characters featured in the life of Jean-Luc Picard, likely providing backstories for characters appearing in the series.

March sees the release of a TOS novel: The Higher Frontier by Christopher L. Bennett. In this novel, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise face an extradimensional threat. This book is said to take place during the TMP time period, a setting with which Bennett has a great deal of experience.

In April, the first of the "Kelvin Timeline" novels is released. Originally written back in 2009/2010, four Kelvin Timeline novels were held from being published, with none of them seeing the light of day until now! The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster is the first of these.

June features another TOS novel, this one by Dayton Ward: Agents of Influence. Not much is known
about this title yet, but we'll bring you news of it as soon as it is available!

In August, the second Kelvin Timeline novel is released: More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack. I'm very excited to read this one, as the author has mentioned how proud he is of it on a number of occasions.

Also coming sometime in 2020 is Kirsten Beyer's Star Trek: Voyager: To Lose the Earth, a much-delayed followup to her recent Voyager novels. We are also reportedly getting a new Star Trek: Discovery novel from John Jackson Miller, although the title and details have not yet been revealed.


2019 certainly marked a return to a more "normal" schedule of Star Trek novel releases, and we can only hope that 2020 continues the trend. With the Star Trek universe opening up to possibilities never before explored, one can only imagine that the horizon for new Trek fiction is just as limitless. As a well-known Vulcan scientist once said, "There always are... possibilities."

Wishing you and yours the happiest of new years, with all of the success and happiness you can possibly imagine in 2020! Stay safe out there, my friends, and always remember to live long... and read on!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Literary Treks 292: More of a Culmets Book

Star Trek: Discovery
Dead Endless
Exclusive interview with author Dave Galanter!


Purchase:
Trade paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

While Stamets leads the U.S.S. Discovery through the mycelial network, an error occurs, and the starship becomes trapped within the network. A mysterious stranger, calling out to Stamets, appears to be a human Starfleet officer, but the crew can't be sure. With the starship's hull suffering under the onslaught of the inhabitants of the network, can Stamets and the rest of the crew of Discovery escape in time?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by author Dave Galanter to discuss his new Discovery novel Dead Endless. We talk about how the story came about, the setting of this story, the relationship between Hugh Culber and Paul Stamets, the mysterious Ephraim, the secondary characters in the story, the bond between a trio of great characters, and end with where Dave can be found online and what he is working on now.

At the top of the show, we review the new Voyager mirror universe comic Mirrors and Smoke, and respond to your feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 290: I Want All the Spock.


Literary Treks 292: More of a Culmets Book
Discovery: Dead Endless - Exclusive interview with author Dave Galanter!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 291: Get People Laughing While They're Squatting
Next episode: Literary Treks 293: And Then What Happened?

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Literary Treks 291: Get People Laughing While They're Squatting

Star Trek: Body By Starfleet
A Fitness Guide
Exclusive interview with author Robb Pearlman!


Purchase Body By Starfleet:
Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Let's face it: as Star Trek fans, our primary way of enjoying this franchise is by sitting and watching the hundreds of hours of television shows and films that make up our favorite science fiction universe. But now, thanks to a book that recently hit store shelves, we can use Star Trek to inspire us to get up off the couch and get more active!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther welcome author Robb Pearlman on the show to discuss his new book Body By Starfleet: A Fitness Guide. We talk about where the idea for the guide came from, the real exercises within its pages, the fantastic illustrations, some of our favorite exercises, how non-humanoids can get in on the action, an amusing tie-in video on startrek.com, and wrap up with where Robb can be found online and what he's working on next.

At the top of the show, Bruce and Dan review Star Trek: Year Five #8 from IDW and respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 289: It Is Better to Heal Than to Harm.


Literary Treks 291: Get People Laughing While They're Squatting
Body by Starfleet: A Fitness Guide - Exclusive interview with author Robb Pearlman





Previous episode: Literary Treks 290: Give Me All the Spock
Next episode: Literary Treks 292: More of a Culmets Book

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Release Day! DSC: Dead Endless by Dave Galanter

Star Trek: Discovery
Dead Endless
by Dave Galanter

It's new Star Trek book day again, with today's official release of Star Trek: Discovery: Dead Endless by Dave Galanter.

Lieutenant Paul Stamets, Discovery's astromycologist, uses the displacement activated spore hub drive to propel the starship at incredible velocities, much faster than conventional warp drive. However, things don't always go as planned, and the Discovery finds itself trapped in the mycelial network and cut off from the rest of the universe!

I'm a big fan of Dave Galanter's Trek novels, so I'm excited to get my hands on this one!

Check out below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.




Publisher's description:
An all-new novel based upon the explosive Star Trek TV series!

The U.S.S. Discovery's specialty is using its spore-based hub drive to jump great distances faster than any warp-faring vessel in Starfleet. To do this, Lieutenant Paul Stamets navigates the ship through the recently revealed mycelial network, a subspace domain Discovery can briefly transit but in which it cannot remain. After responding to a startling distress call originating from within the network, the Discovery crew find themselves trapped in an inescapable realm where they will surely perish unless their missing mycelial fuel is found or restored. Is the seemingly human man found alone and alive inside the network the Starfleet officer he claims to be, or an impostor created by alien intruders who hope to extract themselves from the mycelial plane at the expense of all lives aboard Discovery?

Purchase Star Trek: Discovery: Dead Endless:

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Next Release: Picard: The Last Best Hope

Monday, December 9, 2019

Literary Treks 290: Give Me All the Spock

Star Trek: Discovery
Aftermath


Pre-order/Purchase the Aftermath omnibus:
Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

At the culmination of season two of Star Trek: Discovery, the titular starship has traveled through a wormhole into an uncertain future. However, the century they left behind is uncertain as well. A tenuous state of peace exists between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, a situation that both Captain Pike and Chancellor L'Rell are eager to capitalize on. But will they manage to maintain that peace with the forces of chaos doing all they can to disrupt it?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by The Edge's Brandi Jackola to discuss the Discovery comic trilogy Aftermath. We talk about the surprise return of Kor, Spock's coming to terms with the aftermath of season two of Discovery, L'Rell's ability to play politics, The Shadows of Kahless, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings for the trilogy as a whole.

In the news segment, we talk about the release of Star Trek: Picard: Countdown #1 from IDW and Body by Starfleet by Robb Pearlman. We also respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 288: The Golden Girls in Space.


Literary Treks 290: Give Me All the Spock
Star Trek: Discovery: Aftermath





Previous episode: Literary Treks 289: It is Better to Heal Than to Harm
Next episode: Literary Treks 291: Get People Laughing While They're Squatting

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Motion Picture: 40th Anniversary Edition

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
by Gene Roddenberry
40th Anniversary Edition
Release date: October 1st 2019
Read October 7th 2019


Previous book (The Original Series): The Antares Maelstrom
Next book (The Original Series): The Higher Frontier


Purchase:
Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Publisher's description:
The original five-year mission of the Starship Enterprise to explore strange new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations has ended. Now James T. Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and the rest of the crew of the Enterprise have separated to follow their own career paths and different lives. But now, an overwhelming alien threat—one that is ignoring all attempts at communication and annihilating all opposition in its path—is on a collision course with Earth, the very heart of the United Federation of Planets. And the only vessel that Starfleet can send in time to intercept this menace is a refitted Enterprise, with her old crew heeding the call to once again boldly go where no one has gone before….

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, or click play on the embedded video below!



Final thoughts:

A unique novel in the Star Trek book library! A peek into the mind of Gene Roddenberry that is equal parts enlightening and terrifying. I think any Trek fan should pick up the book for the insights into the film that kicked off the Star Trek movie franchise.

More about The Motion Picture:


Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next up is my review of book 2 of the Destiny trilogy: Mere Mortals by David Mack!


Monday, November 25, 2019

Literary Treks 289: It is Better to Heal Than to Harm

Star Trek: Destiny
Book II: Mere Mortals
Exclusive interview with author David Mack!


Purchase Lost Souls:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


The Destiny trilogy is also available in an omnibus containing all three parts!

Purchase:
Trade paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk



Vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the relentless Borg advance, the United Federation of Planets faces its final hours. Captain Erika Hernandez, formerly of the Columbia, may be all that stands in the path of the insatiable hunger of the Borg Queen for the destruction of the Federation. She and the mysterious Caeliar, with their unlikely link to the Borg, may hold the secret to ending the threat from the Collective once and for all. But will victory come in time for the people of the Federation?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by the author of the Destiny trilogy, David Mack, to discuss the final book, Lost Souls, and the trilogy as a whole. We talk about the genesis of this epic story, the various character issues that are confronted, Picard's link to the Borg and how it has affected him these many years, Erika Hernandez's part in the story, hope vs. fear, the origin of the Borg Collective, the legacy of Star Trek: Destiny, and wrap up with where David can be found online and what he has coming out in the next year.

At the top of the show, we respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 287: Fear Usually Leads to Chaos.


Literary Treks 289: It is Better to Heal Than to Harm
Star Trek: Destiny, Book III: Lost Souls - Exclusive interview with author David Mack!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 288: The Golden Girls in Space
Next episode: Literary Treks 290: Give Me All the Spock

Monday, November 18, 2019

Literary Treks 288: The Golden Girls in Space

Star Trek: Destiny
Book II: Mere Mortals
by David Mack


Purchase Mere Mortals:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


The Destiny trilogy is also available in an omnibus containing all three parts!

Purchase:
Trade paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk



The Borg continue to threaten the Federation with extinction, and its up to the crews of the Enterprise, Aventine, and Titan to stop them! On New Erigol, the Titan crew find themselves stranded, at the mercy of the mysterious Caelier and their centuries-old companion, Captain Erika Hernandez of the Columbia. Meanwhile, the Enterprise and Aventine explore the subspace tunnels that fill the Azure Nebula. Will they be able to determine which of them the Borg are using to enter Federation space and close it in time?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson discus the second book in the Destiny trilogy by David Mack: Mere Mortals. We talk about the Enterprise and Aventine's attempts to scout the subspace tunnels, the plight of the Titan crew, Captain Hernandez's experiences with the Caeliar, President Bacco's attempts to win the Federation allies in their struggle against the Borg, Pazlar and Ra-Havreii's psychological issues, Deanna's ill-fated pregnancy, the shocking ending, and wrap up with our final thoughts.

At the top of the show, we respond to listener feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 286: The Wrong Thing for the Right Reason.


Literary Treks 288: The Golden Girls in Space
Destiny, Book II: Mere Mortals by David Mack





Previous episode: Literary Treks 287: Fear Usually Leads to Chaos
Next episode: Literary Treks 289: It is Better to Heal Than to Harm