Resolved: media tie-ins are real novels

I laughed when I happened across this post by Vonda McIntyre over at Book View Cafe.

“Back in the 1980s, I wrote a bunch of Star Trek novels,” she begins, “I thoroughly enjoyed writing them. Pretty much the only drawback was that some of my colleagues took exception to my polluting my precious bodily fluids with evil tie-in novels. You’d’ve thought they believed they had to save my soul . . .”

Actually, back in the 80s, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Star Trek novels. The best of them were as good as — wait! Actually much better than — the show itself. Of course some of them were dreadful, but lots were good and some were truly excellent. When I cleared out my shelves a year or so ago, I dumped about half of them — but I kept the other half.

Some of my favorites:

Diane Duane wrote some great Star Trek tie-in novels! MY ENEMY, MY ALLY is a wonderful book, very Romulan-focused.

John M Ford wrote THE FINAL REFLECTION, a fine story which developed Klingons rather than Romulans. He also wrote HOW MUCH FOR JUST THE PLANET, which is actually a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta disguised as a Star Trek novel; it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

I loved Barbara Hambly’s ISHMAEL and still go back to it from time to time.

Janet Kagan wrote UHURA’S SONG, introducing Dr. Evan Wilson as a fantastic supporting character. Great humor in a fairly serious first-contact storyline. I still laugh when I think of Evan’s command: “Eyebrow on obliterate, Mr. Spock!”

And of course Vonda McIntyre wrote the novelizations of the movies, plus other stories outside the show’s canon, like ENTERPRISE: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.

One problem for me today is that while I’m sure Star Trek tie-in novels are still being written, I’m not that interested in any that are based on the spin-off shows, and anyway I have no idea which ones are really good. Here’s a category where Amazon just cannot come close to browsing in a bookstore; if you don’t see the book on the shelf and pick it up and read three pages, how are you supposed to know it even exists, much less whether it’s any good?

So. First, anybody else enjoy tie-in novels? And second, anybody got a recommendation or two for really good Star Trek tie-ins? Even if they’re from other shows, if they’re extra fabulous I’d be interested.

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2 thoughts on “Resolved: media tie-ins are real novels”

  1. It sounds like you read Star Trek books around the same time I did, so you are probably familiar with most of my favorites. Up until a certain age, I would go out each month and buy the new star trek books.
    My favorite star trek author is Diane Carey. Dreadnaught and Battlestations are among my favorite books period. As far as I know they were one of the few ones where the Enterprise crew wasn’t the main characters. Carey’s Final Frontier and Best Destiny are excellant. I like Diane Duane as well, though Romulan Way is my favorite. Peter David wrote some excellant Next Generation books. His way with snappy dialogue is a delight. He did a spin off series Star Trek New Frontier which is quite good. Michael Freedman (I think?) wrote some good next gen books too, Imzadi being one of them.
    As far as other tie ins go, Timothy Zahn’s starcwars Thrawn trilogy is excellantr

  2. Christy —

    I didn’t mention DREADNAUGHT and BATTLESTATIONS because they’re so out of continuity — but I always wished ST: TNG had been based off them! They’re wonderful, with great characters and a new spin on the captain-Vulcan dynamic. Plus, the bunny-hop scene alone was priceless.

    I’ll have to pick up one or two of Peter David’s novels; snappy dialogue sounds great.

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