For whatever reason, I’m mentioned Star Trek tie-in novels several times recently. Well, since this seems to be a post I want to write:
Top Ten Star Trek Tie-In Novels:
1) The Final Reflection by John M Ford
I don’t even like Klingons, especially. Not only that, but I prefer tie-ins where the main characters of the show play a major role. And yet, this is my favorite of all ST tie-in novels. Ford did a fantastic job here.
2) My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane
I generally like Romulans better than Klingons. I’m going back and forth between (1) and (2) for which is really my favorite.
3) The Romulan Way by Diane Duane
Honestly, I think Duane’s ST tie-ins are actually her best novels. At least the Rihannsu series. Wonderful story. Dr. McCoy gets to shine in his secondary role, too. It’s tough to write Dr. McCoy really well, imo.
4) Ishmael by Barbara Hambly
This is the one that uses a fairly trivial frame story to throw Spock back in time and drop him into the Western “Here Come the Brides.” It’s wonderful.
5) Uhura’s Song by Janet Kagan
The Original Character who’s the foundation of the story — Evan Wilson — is a bit over the top. However, I enjoy over-the-top characters from time to time, so she worked well for me. Good job writing the series characters, too.
6) Doctor’s Orders by Diane Duane
Another good one from Duane. The frame story is a little unbelievable, but so what? The story that takes off from leaving Dr. McCoy in command is a lot of fun.
7) Dreadnaught! and Battlestations! by Diane Carey
This one and the sequel, below, made me resistant to The Next Generation when that series started. I liked the new young characters Carey created and would have been happier to see a series featuring Ensign Piper and her friends.
8) Fallen Heroes by Dafydd ab Hugh
This is one of the very few Deep Space Nine tie-in novels I’ve read. As you can tell from this list, I prefer tie-ins from The Original Series, which because of my age I will always think of The Real Star Trek.
But it’s a good one. I disliked Quark in the TV show — I always dislike comic characters — but I liked him here; the Odo/Quark subplot was my favorite part of the story.
9) The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane
The plot struck me as over the top and kind of silly, but the writing is good, so that was tolerable.
10) How Much for Just the Planet by John M Ford
Not exactly a Star Trek novel — this is actually more of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta disguised as a Star Trek novel. That’s why it’s down here in tenth place. For sheer quality and fun, it’s right at the top! For Star Trek, it’s … well, Ford is not exactly keeping a straight face as he tells this story.
I haven’t tried a new Star Trek tie-in novel for a loooong time. If you have, and you’ve got a favorite, I would welcome recommendations. As you can see from the above, I haven’t read many tie-ins from anything but the original series, but I’d be happy to try really good novels from any of the series.
7 thoughts on “Best Star Trek tie-in novels”
I definitely agree with your picks… Carolyn Clowes’ Pandora Principle is also really good. In the next tier down, I would put
Sherman and Schwartz’s 5 book series (Vulcan’s Forge, Vulcan’s Heart, Exodus, Exiles, Epiphany)
Jean Lorrah’s IDIC Epidemic & The Vulcan Academy Murders
A. C. Crispin’s Time for Yesterday and Sarek,
Jerry Oltion’s Mudd in Your Eye,
L.A. Graf’s Janus Gate trilogy,
and (this one was a big surprise to me) William Shatner’s Collision Course.
These are all Original Series.
Read and enjoyed them all immensely except for Fallen Heroes which I will now have to track down and read so thanks for the suggestion! Concur with you and Kathryn in your choices. Dreadnought and Battlestations were great, and even more so because a smart and competent (but not perfect) woman was the main character and the leader of her group.
I didn’t read many Trek tie-ins (more Star Wars), but I really enjoyed Peter David’s New Frontiers series – contemporary with Next Gen, but takes place on another ship. Extremely pulpy, pretty silly, but still grounded in the character work. Revisits a lot of the more outlandish aliens and phenomenon from the original series.
The books are really short and mostly end on cliffhangers (part of the pulpy aspect), but have an interesting overall arc.
Well, I would never have tried Collision Course without a recommendation, so thanks! Maybe I’ll try the New Frontiers series too, though I do enjoy having familiar characters at least take cameo roles.
Picard recruits the captain for the New Frontiers series into Starfleet, but after that there isn’t a ton of crossover. (Maybe something with Quark? It’s been a while)
The first officer on New Frontiers was on TNG for a little bit I think… there were a few episodes when Riker wasn’t around and she filled in as XO on the Enterprise, to everyone’s dismay. New Frontiers is fun. It’s pretty romance-forward for a Trek series, and uses the “ship of mavericks” trope (only the XO can be bothered to pay any attention to regulations or normal military discipline). It reads more like Trek fan fiction than Trek canon.
New Frontiers does sound like fun. I’ll have to give it a try.