📚 Cadet Kirk by Diane Carey

16/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The final and best of this YA series. The main trio finally end up all adventuring together, as a simple shuttle hop gets sidetracked by mercenaries. Overall, while all of the books have a certain amount of overly-convenient happenstance to get the characters together, they’re a quick entertaining read as one “what if?” version of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy’s Academy days.

A note on the illustrations: Oddly, it kind of felt like the illustrator just skimmed the plot, if that, particularly with this book. Much of the action takes place aboard a shuttle, clearly described as an early version of the TOS “box on two cylinders” shuttlecraft, but the cover and one of the interior illustrations shows a more angular, TMP-style shuttle with warp sled (but the sled is outfitted with the cylindrical TOS nacelles rather than the flatter TMP style). And towards the end, a character described in the text as human (at least in appearance) is drawn as a TOS-style Klingon, complete with gold sash. Odd mistakes to make (and while the target audience for these books might not notice these things, they do stand out to me).

Me holding Cadet Kirk

📚 Aftershock by John Vornholt

15/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A few years after the first book in this TOS Starfleet Academy trio, McCoy is at the Academy’s medical program and ends up being paired with cadet Spock for a disaster relief mission. But somehow these earthquakes don’t seem to be entirely natural…. Not bad, though both McCoy and Spock perhaps felt a bit too much like their adult selves rather than less mature versions.

Me holding Aftershock

📚 The Prisoner of Vega by Sharon Lerner and Christopher Cerf

12/2024 – ⭐️⭐️

Another late-70s children’s book. The Enterprise arrives at a planet to sign a trade treaty, only to find the planet captured by Klingons! Only apparently the illustrator had never watched Star Trek; the main character likenesses are shaky, and the Klingons look hilariously unlike Klingons (and much more like 1950s Sci-Fi villains).

Me holding The Prisoner of Vega

Year 50 Day 281

Me tucked in bed, reading an old Star Trek children’s book.

Day 281: Just a little light reading before going to sleep. Read both of the two Star Trek children’s books (exclusively produced for libraries in 1977) in my Christmas haul tonight; they were just as good as you’d expect. As long as your expectations weren’t very high, at least. One of them at least had decent artwork; I’m not sure the illustrator of the other had ever actually seen Star Trek.

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📚 Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds

10/2024 – ⭐️⭐️

This is not a good Star Trek book. The Enterprise, with a crew at risk of what’s essentially violent cabin fever, is dispatched to the Horatius system to investigate a distress call. There, they find three planets: one with a stereotypical Native American civilization (“backward savages”, of course), one with a mid-20th century American civilization, and one with space Nazis. Oh, and there’s a “B story” involving a plague-infested rat loose on the ship. So, no, as a Star Trek adventure, there’s not much to recommend it.

However: It’s the first officially licensed Star Trek novel, and therefore gets a bit of leeway…or at least recognition that the treklit landscape was far different (nonexistent, actually) in 1968 than it is today. Not really recommended unless you’re a collector, but if you are and can track it down (especially if you can find an original rather than the 1999 reprint), it’s a quick read and kind of fun to see where the print side of Trek began.

Me holding Mission to Horatius

Year 50 Day 244

Me sitting at the top of a staircase, wearing a retro bowling shirt style shirt that's Star Trek gold and has the delta shield on the breast pocket. I'm giving the Vulcan salute. Arrayed across the stairs to either side and below me are a lot of Star Trek books.

Day 244: The books under the tree this Christmas got me to an exciting (for me, at least) milestone: I now have a complete* collection of Star Trek: The Original Series novels, as tracked by this spreadsheet based off of Wikipedia’s List of Star Trek novels page. From 1968’s Mission to Horatius to 2022’s Harm’s Way, and with 2024’s Lost to Eternity pre-ordered. (“Save the whales! Collect the whole set!”) I haven’t read them all yet, though it likely won’t be terribly long before I hit that milestone as well.

I didn’t originally have this as an actual goal. I’m just a Star Trek fan who reads a lot and tends to keep his books, and at first, the amount of books out there was so overwhelming that on the few occasions I considered trying to get them all, it didn’t seem realistic. But then the years went by, and I realized it was getting harder and harder to find books on the shelves that I didn’t already have, and turned to ordering more online…. Until this year, when I realized as we were doing our annual pre-Christmas book buying binge that I was surprisingly close to having them all. And so, here we are.

(I also have complete collections of Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, and Prodigy novels. However, those are new enough and there are few enough that that’s less notable of an accomplishment. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and the various spin-off series are in various states of completion, but all slowly working their way forward.)

* A few caveats for the hard-core collectors: I’m counting “complete” by the content, not by the various editions.

  • Mission to Horatius I have as an original 1968 edition, not the 1999 re-issue.
  • I have James Blish’s episode adaptations only in the 1991 “Classic Episode” three-volume collection, not in their original 12-volume versions.
  • I have Alan Dean Foster’s animated episode adaptations in the original Log One through Ten versions, not the 1993 three volume or the 1996 five volume editions.
  • I have the 2006 Mere Anarchy series as the single-volume omnibus, not the original six standalone volumes.

While I have no great drive to go out and get the “missing” editions listed above, I have to admit, if someone out there were to send them my way, I wouldn’t be terribly put out. But I’m not going to go chasing them down.

(Thanks to my wife for taking the photo, for the shirt, and for putting up with my hobbies and my monopolizing the staircase today.)

Here’s a closer look at the collection:

  • The earliest releases (1968-1978): Mission to Horatius is the first original novel, and was deemed “dull and poorly written, in addition to containing offensive descriptions of both Sulu and Uhura”. James Blish adapted the TOS episodes, here collected into three volumes, but did so (especially for the earlier episodes) without actually seeing the episodes and working from shooting scripts that often had not been finalized, resulting in some interesting deviations from the final broadcast versions.
    The three-volume Classic Episodes set of James Blish's episode adapations, and Mission to Horatius.
  • The Star Trek Adventures (1970-1981): Bantam’s sixteen original novels. These were long before the Star Trek Powers That Be were exercising much control over the content, and vary wildly in quality and characterization over what we’re used to today.
    The sixteen Bantam Star Trek novels.
  • The Star Trek Logs (1974-1978): Alan Dean Foster’s adaptations of the animated series episodes.
    The ten Star Trek Log books.
  • The Gibraltar Library Binding books and movie adaptations (1977-1992): Only two Gibraltar middle-grade books were published, exclusively for libraries. The movie adaptations shown here include the novelizations, the tie-ins for children, and a couple others that I’ve found (photo novelizations of TMP and TWOK and a Marvel Comics adaptation of TMP).
    Movie novelizations of the six TOS movies, related children's books, and the two Gibraltar library books for children.
  • The numbered novels (1979-2002) and original novels (1986-present): The main body of Trek literature. The first photo includes a “Which Way Books” (a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series competitor) Star Trek adventure.
    Fourteen TOS novels, plus one 'Which Way Books' Star Trek adventure.
    Eleven more Star Trek novels.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 30 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    The last seven books in my TOS collection.

📚 Foreign Foes by Greg Brodeur and Dave Galanter

72/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It felt rather rushed and busy for a good portion of the book, as there were several different threads going on that the authors switched among rather quickly, and while the details took some time to come to light, the basic mystery as to what was going on wasn’t all that mysterious, being obvious to the reader (if not the characters) within the first couple chapters. Not a stinker, but not a standout, either.

Me holding Foreign Foes.

📚 Sins of Commission by Susan Wright

67/2023 – ⭐️⭐️

Much of the plot revolves around an alien race that broadcasts emotions that affect everyone around them, which means nobody is acting the way they should, so it’s hard for me to tell whether people acting out of character and making decisions that don’t make sense was intentional or not. But by the end, I wasn’t really sure what the reasoning or motivations were for many of the actions taken. Plus, some of the key points (like a small breakthrough in understanding the new aliens) were far too obvious to not be thought about by the characters until halfway through the book. This one is quite forgettable.

Me holding Sins of Commission