Star Trek: the Novels

While I do read a lot, I don’t usually read much in the way of tie-ins to movies or TV. Oddly I have no problem watching and enjoying a movie or TV show that’s based (sometimes loosely) on a book I’ve read, but somehow the reverse never works out well. Recently, I’ve started to read some tie-ins though and for the most part been pleased, for example the excellent Mass Effect books. So when I saw there was a book tie-in for STO called Needs of the Many, I ordered it from Amazon.

I was late getting started on reading it, so I did end up reading Adventure Historian’s and MMO Gamer Chick’s reviews before I started. That might have caused me to drop my expectations a bit, but overall I enjoyed the book. I thought that the interviews with well known characters like Janeway, Seven of Nine, Quark, and Worf were done very well and stayed very true to their TV portrayals. The interviews with Maddox and La Forge alone were worth the read though. Data was my favorite character from Next Generation. I always wondered after watching Nemesis, if the foreshadowing that was done with Data and B-4 would ever be explored, so it was really good to see that finally happen. The timeline appendix included in the back was pretty nice too, but I think it’s more useful as a reference than entertainment.

Besides connecting the game to the TV and movie timeline, the other thing that reading Needs of the Many has done is generate some interest in reading more of the Trek novels. I recently discovered that there’s a series of novels that follow the Enterprise crew between Insurrection and Nemesis. Since there’s no Star Trek on television right now, this is the next best thing.

14 Comments

  1. I liked Needs of the Many well enough, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I had the connection to the characters that you did. I literally watched my first Seven of Nine episode the other day, when Voyager came on. I think I would have appreciated her interview a lot more if I had watched these shows first.

    Also, I have never seen Insurrection or Nemesis so I had no idea what had happened to Data so I was clueless during the La Forge interview involving B-4. The author did a good job sort of summarizing it a bit in the form of dialogue though, which is sort of impressive now that I think about it. The fact that even I, someone who is somewhat unfamiliar with Star Trek lore, can enjoy that one chapter so much really speaks to the quality of that interview. That was a really well-written segment.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      That’s a good point, I’m sure having seen the shows and the movies helped me connect much easier with the book. I know when I was reading the Janeway and Seven interviews that I was almost hearing the actors voices in my head doing the dialogue. I’m sure that’s behind my interest in reading more or the Trek novels as well, it just felt nice to reconnect with some of the characters. It also allows me to continue with the Enterprise series, even though it was cancelled.

      • I’m enjoying Enterprise so far, I just started the third season. I thought the earlier episodes were a lot better though, now I’m just a little confused and getting a bit tired of the thing with the Xindi.

        When you mean reading books to allow you to continue with the Enterprise series, do you mean like these books? http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trek-Enterprise-Books/lm/2NYY6YSRDYUO0

        If these are novels that take place after the series ends then I might be interested in looking into them as well.

        • BrianNo Gravatar says:

          Yeah, the Xindi season (little big to be called a story arc) gets pretty tedious and then gets exciting right at the end. Unfortunately that was also when the series ended too. But, yes, there are some novels that pick up where the show ended. The two I bought are: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743440013 and http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1416554807, but I don’t recommend you look at the summaries before you finish the TV series, there’s a pretty big spoiler from the end of the series.

          The big things I enjoyed with Enterprise were seeing how things got started. First meetings with Andorians, their original reluctance to use transporters, etc. That got lost with the Xindi episodes, but get’s revived a bit towards the end. I hate to say too much though, don’t want to spoil the series for you. 🙂

          • Actually, there was a fourth season, right? There’s a Mirror Universe episode and everything! Not to mention the coolest episode every (GeeCee, you’ll have to watch First Contact to appreciate it.)

          • BrianNo Gravatar says:

            You are correct, there was a fourth season which I totally forgot about. I think I need to rewatch them myself, although I may skip the Xindi season.

          • Those are the things I liked about the first season too. I love how it links our modern era (where we are now) to the TOS future era of Kirk and Spock. The little details like the way they still use calendar dates instead of stardates, the way the warp 5 is the fastest speed they can handle, the way a lot of the equipment designs are very subdued even though the series was created in the early 2000s so it would match up a little more with the other series. Even the opening montage and theme song is appropriate, the history of human exploration starting with the image of the HMS Enterprise ship and then the development of flight and space travel etc. And of course, there’s the whole story of the Vulcans holding humans back. I thought it was really campy before, but now I really like it.

            I felt it was also keeping with the spirit of TOS in a lot of ways, the whole exploration, first contact, dilemma of the week kinda thing. I like those episodes the most…I don’t like it when they over dramatize things and try to make it into this epic story line. Every time a Xindi heavy episode comes on now, I find I just zone out. I’m also not a huge fan of the three main characters, T’Pol is there to look pretty, Trip is annoying and I think Scott Bakula overacts. I’d much rather them focus more on Dr. Phlox or Hoshi, who are my favorite characters.

            And I also like Enterprise because of Porthos 😛 I have a beagle too, she lives with my parents now though, and I miss her.

            Anyway, I’ve rambled long enough. I got The Good That Men Do for my Kindle as well. I’ll wait until I finish the entire series to read it.

          • BrianNo Gravatar says:

            I really need to go back and watch the 4th season again. I’ve started reading The Good That Men Do and I can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten.

            GC – I do enjoy Dr. Phlox, but I’m a fan of Archer too. Bakula has been a favorite ever since the Quantum Leap series, though. The opening montage is great but I really hated the theme song from the first couple of seasons, I much prefer the classical music themes for the other shows.

  2. YeeboNo Gravatar says:

    I wish they would put all the old Star Trek episodes on Netflix instant cue. Of course I have the last season of Highlander and every season of Buffy and Angel to get through before I’d likely get to it.

  3. The book was… ok. My favorites were indeed the interviews with Maddox and LaForge; B-4 came across as a real hero – which was completely unexpected, because I considered him an idiot just like everyone else.

    But I thought “the narrator” (Sisko/the author) put themselves far too much into the story. World War Z was so good because it let the interviews tell so much of what happened. In The Needs of the Many, Sisko resorted to info dumps all the time, and then felt it was really necessary to pound in story morales (“violence changes people,” “long periods of fear and war change society,” “George Bush was bad.”)

    Lastly, I just couldn’t figure out how these stories related to the game timeline. On paper, all of these interviews seem to have occurred right before the game began – or even far before, like in the case of LaForge just about to get command of the Challenger. So the events the interview refer to would have to happen even earlier – which is strange, because the MMO doesn’t treat the Undine War as if it has been going on for a generation. Not to mention that war should prevent Worf and Sisko from talking.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      The narrator stuff didn’t bother me, but I didn’t have any prior experience with the documentary style like World War Z so that may account for the different. The info dumps were a bit much in places, it reminded me quite a bit of reading pen & paper RPG source books, more so than a real story. I think reading your review helped set my expectations enough to make the read more enjoyable than if I had started it expecting more of a narrative story.

      On the timeline, I think some of these interviews took place prior to the game start in 2409 and some during or after the time covered by the game. I’m assuming the “publish date” is around 2423, since that’s the date from the forward by Sisko. The LaForge interview must’ve been around 2397 based on the timeline in the appendix, although the talk about an Undine rift being sealed isn’t mentioned in the timeline anywhere.

      It is confusing though, but it felt like the book was more of an examination of the changes to the Federation regarding the Undine and holographic/android rights than it was a narrative to link the last movie to the game.

      I do agree that the book overall was just ok, it’s not something I’ll be re-reading except if I’m trying to link something I’m writing to the game background.