Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Star Trek Book

The Star Trek Book
Strange New Worlds Boldly Explained
by Paul Ruditis, Sandford Galden-Stone, and Simon Hugo
Release date: June 7th 2016
Read July 9th 2016

*Note: The text of this review was first published on

Publisher's description:
Who was the captain of the first Starship Enterprise? In which galactic quadrant is planet Earth located? And just what is the trouble with tribbles? Covering several centuries of intergalactic history, The Star Trek Book answers these questions and many more. 
This comprehensive guide contains in-depth explanations of technological advances and key events in the Star Trek universe. It also includes detailed profiles of memorable characters, such as Starfleet personnel as well as their allies and enemies. 
Packed with informative graphics, memorable quotes, and stills and props from the television series and movies, this book boldly explores and explains everything you need to know about 50 years of thrilling adventures across the final frontier. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that 2016 is Star Trek's 50th anniversary. With that milestone occasion, we have seen an increase in the number of tie-in media and products being released. One such tie-in, The Star Trek Book, promises to be a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the Star Trek universe. Does this title meet those expectations? Can it possibly rise to the occasion of being a "comprehensive" overview of this franchise that spans 50 years and boasts a fanbase that is singularly critical of all incarnations and knowledgeable about all aspects of said franchise? Read on to find out!

My thoughts:

First off, this book is laid out very well. It is divided into a number of sections that highlight various aspects of Trek. A general overview starts out the book, introducing the reader to the broad strokes of the setting of Star Trek. Next comes "Starfleet," in which each of the main characters from the various series is profiled. Most of the characters get a two page spread, except for the TOS characters who get four: two for the prime universe, and two for their "Kelvin Timeline" counterparts.

Each character gets a section highlighting their role in Star Trek.

"Federation Allies and Enemies" is next, showcasing various species, groups, and individuals from throughout Star Trek history. These are the main ones, like the Klingons, the Cardassians, Khan, and the Maquis. After that comes "Science and Technology," in which Star Trek staples like warp drive, the transporter, and holodecks are explored. Finally, "New Life and New Civilizations" concludes the book, with a look at a few of the "leftovers"; aliens that are somewhat important to Star Trek as a whole, but maybe didn't quite make the bar for the previous section. V'Ger, The Guardian of Forever, and the Pah-wraiths are a few examples of topics in this category.

"Federation Allies and Enemies" contains information about the many races we see in Star Trek, including the Cardassians and the infamous Gul Dukat.

This surprisingly effective layout makes it really easy to find the particular section you're looking for, especially with the clear table of contents as well as an extremely thorough index. Can't quite remember what species Kes was? It's easy to look it up in seconds.

If you are a casual Star Trek fan, or even a newbie, this book is a really great introduction to the franchise. There is a lot of information here, but it is organized quite effectively. The broad overviews serve as a terrific way for a new fan to quickly get up to speed, while at the same time presenting information in a new and interesting way so that even the most hardcore fan can get enjoyment from the book. The graphics are often fun, illustrating concepts like the Vulcan mindmeld or Kirk's doppelgangers throughout the years.

Given the limited space in the book, I often found myself impressed with just how much information the authors managed to include. While hardly near the scope of the Star Trek Encyclopedia (of which we will soon have an updated version), the amount of research and information crammed into this book is impressive. You won't find an episode-by-episode guide, but you will also be hard-pressed to think of a crucial piece of the Star Trek tapestry that the authors of this books missed!

Final thoughts:

Even for a hardcore fan like myself, who has basically every fact from every series and film in the Star Trek universe memorized, The Star Trek Book nonetheless will have a place on my bookshelf. Beautifully laid out and featuring gorgeous full-color photos and illustrations, this book is perfect for the newbie to Star Trek, as well as the more seasoned fans. A few years ago, a friend of  mine who had seen the 2009 Star Trek film wanted to get into the rest of the Trek universe. I gave her a copy of Star Trek 101 by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block. While I still really like that book, I think that if it were around at the time, I would have included The Star Trek Book as well. The overview of the Star Trek universe that it provides is simply unparalleled. A great gift for trekkies, trekkers, and trek-curious alike!

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Playing a bit of catch up here! Next review is for Dayton Ward's latest, The Original Series: Elusive Salvation, a sequel to his excellent novel From History's Shadow. Coming soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Release Day! Legacies, Book 2: Best Defense

Star Trek: Legacies
Book 2 of 2
Best Defense by David Mack

The epic Star Trek 50th Anniversary trilogy continues today with the official release of book 2: Best Defense by New York Times Bestselling Author David Mack!

Check out below for the cover art, back cover blurb, and links to purchase from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
Just in time for the milestone 50th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series, an epic new trilogy that stretches from the earliest voyages of the Starship Enterprise to Captain Kirk’s historic five-year-mission—and from one universe to another!

A debt of honor: One brave woman ventures alone into a parallel universe to save her old shipmates, exiled there decades earlier by a mysterious device called the Transfer Key. She soon learns the alternate universe harbors not just an alien invasion force, but a secret that underpins its very existence.

A mission of peace: A long-awaited Klingon-Federation peace conference convenes, led by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and Councillor Gorkon of Qo'noS. But both sides have enemies who would prefer the two great powers remain at war—and who will do anything to make certain hate wins the day.

An errand of justice: Captain Kirk and his crew seek the stolen Transfer Key that opens a door between universes, but their hunt is cut short by Ambassador Sarek’s plea for help. The Enterprise crew soon becomes targets in a deadly crossfire—one whose outcome will decide the fate of two universes.

Purchase Best Defense:

Next Release: The Original Series: Legacies, Book 3: Purgatory's Key

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Release Day! Travel Guide to the Planet Vulcan!

Hidden Universe Travel Guide:
Star Trek: Vulcan

by Dayton Ward

A fun new release officially hits bookshelves today: The Hidden Universe Travel Guide ot the Planet Vulcan! Done in the style of a typical travel guide for a trip you might take here on Earth, this guide is beautifully illustrated by some amazing artists, and wonderfully written by the very talented Dayton Ward. I managed to pick this one up a little early at the Shore Leave convention this year, and it is well worth grabbing! Check out the cover art and links below to purchase from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
Set in the Star Trek universe, this Hidden Universe travel guide explores all that Vulcan—Spock’s home planet—has to offer in an interactive guidebook.

Plan your next trip to the planet Vulcan! Find restaurants that serve the best fried sandworms and Vulcan port. Take a trip to the Fire Plains or experience spring break at the Voroth Sea. Learn all about the native Vulcan people and their unusual customs. Discover how to correctly perform the traditional Vulcan salutation (you really don’t want to get this wrong). Learn key Vulcan phrases such as Nam-tor puyan-tvi-shal wilat: “Where is your restroom?” Find out what to do if you suddenly find yourself host to a katra—a Vulcan’s living spirit—at an inconvenient moment. All this and more can be found within the pages of this essential travel guide to one of the most popular—and logical—destinations in the known universe.

This Hidden Universe travel guide draws on 50 years of Star Trek TV shows, films, and novels to present a comprehensive guide to Spock’s iconic home world. Modeled after real-world travel guides, the book will explore every significant region on Vulcan with fascinating historical, geographical, and cultural insights that bring the planet to life like never before. Also featuring a dynamic mixture of classic Star Trek imagery and original illustrations created exclusively for the book, Hidden Universe Travel Guide: Star Trek: Vulcan is the perfect way to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek and will thrill pop culture fans and hardcore Star Trek fans alike.

Purchase Hidden Universe Travel Guide: Star Trek: Vulcan:

Monday, July 4, 2016

Release Day! DS9: Rules of Accusation

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Rules of Accusation by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann
An e-book exclusive release!

In addition to the regular novel release, we get a bonus this month: an e-book exclusive novella by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann, Deep Space Nine: Rules of Accusation! Look below for the cover art, publisher's description, and links to order from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
On the space station Deep Space 9, Quark's Public House, CafĂ©, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy can't legitimately be called an embassy until the Grand Nagus — namely, Quark's brother Rom — dedicates it as such. Not that Quark really cares about Ferengi protocol, but a well-publicized dedication ceremony will naturally draw people to the bar. Everybody loves a good open house — free appetizers, half-price drinks, door prizes, etc. — all of which Quark can write off as Embassy expenses. It’s a win-win situation, with him on both sides of the win. There's even a plan to display the original scroll of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition — which no one has seen for decades given that it’s been held in protective storage — and charge patrons by the minute to look at it up close. Nothing, of course, could possibly go wrong with this big plan. Absolutely nothing at all…

Purchase Rules of Accusation:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Release Day! Legacies, Book 1: Captain to Captain

Star Trek: Legacies
Book 1 of 3
Captain to Captain by Greg Cox

New this month, and already finding its way to bookstores everywhere, it's the first book in a new 50th anniversary trilogy: Legacies: Captain to Captain by Greg Cox!

Check out the cover art and back-cover blurb below, as well as links to order Captain to Captain from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
An epic new trilogy begins—a tie-in for the milestone fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series—that stretches from the earliest voyages of the Starship Enterprise to Captain Kirk’s historic five-year-mission…and from one universe to another!

Hidden aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise is a secret that has been passed from captain to captain, from Robert April to Christopher Pike to James T. Kirk. Now the return of the enigmatic woman once known as Number One has brought that secret to light, and Kirk and his crew must risk everything to finish a mission that began with April so many years ago…

Nearly two decades earlier, April and his crew first visited the planet Usilde, where they found both tragedy and a thorny moral dilemma. Today, the legacy of that fateful occasion will compel Kirk to embark on a risky voyage back to that forbidden world—which is now deep in territory claimed by the Klingon Empire!

Purchase Force and Motion:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Live By the Code

Star Trek: Enterprise
Rise of the Federation
Live By the Code by Christopher L. Bennett
Release date: March 29th 2016
Read April 6th 2016

Previous book (Enterprise): Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic

Next book (Enterprise):

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): |

Spoilers ahead for Live By the Code!

Publisher's description:
The “fifth season” saga of the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series continues with this action-packed original novel!

Admiral Jonathan Archer has barely settled in as Starfleet Chief of Staff when new crises demand his attention. The Starfleet task force commanded by Captain Malcolm Reed continues its fight against the deadly Ware technology, but one of the task force ships is captured, its Andorian crew imprisoned by an interstellar Partnership that depends on the Ware for its prosperity. Worse, the Partnership has allied with a renegade Klingon faction, providing it with Ware drone fleets to mount an insurrection against the Klingon Empire. Archer sends Captain T’Pol and Endeavour to assist Reed in his efforts to free the captured officers. But he must also keep his eye on the Klingon border, for factions within the Empire blame Starfleet for provoking the Ware threat and seek to take revenge. Even the skill and dedication of the captains under Archer’s command may not be enough to prevent the outbreak of the Federation’s first war!

My thoughts:

Ever since the Rise of the Federation series started back in 2013 with A Choice of Futures, I have been a fan. Christopher L. Bennett has managed to craft an expansive story from the many threads left unexplored from the early days of the Federation. The first three novels have allowed us a glimpse into this fascinating period of Trek history and the stories have not failed to entertain. Live By the Code is no exception.

The novel, like its predecessors, juggles a myriad of storylines, and I feel like a lesser author would not have been able to keep it all straight and coherent like Bennett is able. We have a lot going on here: Reed and the Pioneer are joined by T'Pol and the crew of the Endeavour in their attempts to defeat the Ware, Klingon internal politics come to bear against the young Federation, and Archer and Phlox deal with racist attitudes on Denobula and Antara.

Live By the Code does something that I really wish the series Enterprise had done more of. In this book, we see the fallout of a cavalier attitude towards exploration and interference in extraterrestrial cultures. In an attempt to liberate planets from the influence of the Ware, the officers of Starfleet must come to terms with the fact that they may have left these worlds in worse shape than when they found them. Bennett is unafraid to confront this idea head-on, while with a few exceptions, the television series tended to shy away from the idea that humanity might cause some mayhem out among the stars. However, in order for the Prime Directive to evolve into what we see in later series, there must be some inciting events that lead to its adoption.

Racial tensions between the Denobulans and the Antarans play a critical role in Live By the Code.

I also really enjoyed the story surrounding Phlox's daughter's marriage to an Antaran. The Antarans have had a very troubled history with the Denobulans, as outlined in the Enterprise episode "The Breach." The marriage ignites tensions in a Denobulan hate group, of which Phlox's son Mettus has become a member. This storyline feels very relevant to a lot of what is happening in the world today. Prejudices and racism are things that must always be fought against, and this idea is very much in keeping with the principles for which Star Trek has traditionally stood.

Final thoughts:

With Live By the Code, it is clear that Christopher L. Bennett has his eye on the big picture. Not only is he continuing the stories of the individual characters we know and love from Enterprise, he is revealing the origins of many things that will shape the future of the Federation in the centuries to follow. I very much look forward to what he has in mind for the next Rise of the Federation adventure.

More about Live By the Code:

Also by Christopher L. Bennett:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Playing a bit of catch up here! Next review is for Dayton Ward's latest, The Original Series: Elusive Salvation, a sequel to his excellent novel From History's Shadow. Coming soon!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Release Day! DS9: Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang

Already showing up in bookstores and now available for download from e-book retailers, it's this month's newest Star Trek novel release: Deep Space Nine: Force and Motion by Jeffrey Lang!

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

Publisher's description:
A thrilling original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: The Next Generation / Deep Space Nine!

In 2367, Captain Benjamin Maxwell of the starship Phoenix ordered the destruction of a Cardassian warship and a supply vessel, killing more than six hundred crew members. Maxwell believed that the Cardassians were arming for a new attack on the Federation, and though history eventually proved he was probably correct, the Federation had no choice but to court martial and incarcerate him.

Almost twenty years have passed, and now Maxwell is a free man, working as a maintenance engineer on the private science station Robert Hooke, home to crackpots, fringe researchers, and, possibly, something much darker and deadlier. Maxwell’s former crewmate, Chief Miles O'Brien, and O'Brien’s colleague, Lieutenant Commander Nog, have come for a visit. Unfortunately, history has proven that whenever O’Brien and Nog leave Deep Space 9 together, unpredictable forces are set into motion…

Purchase Force and Motion:

Next Release: The Original Series: Legacies, Book 1: Captain to Captain