📚 The Face of the Unknown by Christopher L. Bennett

27/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A “year four” adventure that serves to both bridge the gap between TOS and TAS (and explain some of the changes to the ship and crew between the shows) and to take a much deeper dive into the First Federation as first introduced in The Corbomite Maneuver. Along the way, we get to learn more about Balok’s threatening puppet, Spock gets some introspective assistance, and Kirk…well, Kirk does his thing with impassioned speeches and eyeing alien women. The exploration of the First Federation is obviously the core theme, and it’s done well, extrapolating well from what little we learn in the TOS episode. One of the better TOS novels.

Me holding The Face of the Unknown

📚 Star Trek II Biographies by William Rotsler

23/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Something of a historical curiosity now, these “biographies” of the principal characters have since been nearly or entirely overwritten by later films or more official pseudo-canon works. Still, it’s a fun artifact of this point in Trek’s real-world history, and as the first published material giving Uhura’s first name of “Nyota”.

Me holding Star Trek II Biographies

Year 50 Day 312

Me wearing a black t-shirt with the Norwescon logo in green, standing in Maxi's Lounge at the DoubleTree hotel, holding three old Star Trek LPs.

Day 312: Today was the final planning meeting before Norwescon 46 kicks off in just about two and a half weeks! Lots going on, but this is looking to be another good year.

Plus, more Star Trek goodies being passed my way from friends! (Gotta say, I’m definitely enjoying being the person people think of when they dig up old Trek stuff.) Three old LPs (1976’s Inside Star Trek, and two of the Star Trek Story Records, Record 1 from 1975 and Record 8 from 1976) and a neat little “Star Trek Lives” commemorative medallion from 1974 that I don’t have any further information on…yet.

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📚 Firewall by David Mack

20/2024 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

While Picard is (imho) overall the weakest of the modern Trek series, its literary side is doing quite well. This does a great job of filling in some of the time between when Seven returns to Earth with Voyager and when she appears as a Fenris Ranger, and exploring how the character changed in those years. It’s unfortunate that some are upset that this book discusses Seven discovering her identity as a queer woman; it’s neither propagandistic nor heavy-handed, but simply experiences that wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if they were heterosexual. Also a lot of very pointed commentary about what happens when a major power that had been providing very necessary support for a region just up and disappears when something else catches its attention. Definitely worth reading if you’re a fan of the Picard series or (and especially) of Seven as a character.

Me holding Firewall

Year 50 Day 304

Me wearing a light blue t-shirt with a Star Tek delta shield with an asterisk. I'm making the Vulcan salute, only with my hand held sideways and with the back of my hand to the camera, and I'm kind of smirking.

Day 304: Somehow, Mariner’s sarcastic back-handed Vulcan salute just seems appropriate when wearing my Swear Trek t-shirt.

Side note: I actually had to think about the least-icky way to link to Swear Trek, since my choices seem to be either the X/Twitter account (which, well, obvious) or the Tumblr account (who just announced they’re selling all their user data for AI training, on an opt-out basis, of course). I went with Tumblr, but I wish there was a non-ethically-horrifying place to link to.

📚 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