Friday 2 August 2019

2020 Star Trek novels announced, and other book bits

At the Star Trek books panel at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention yesterday the authors and editors revealed details of several new books coming in 2020 - Thankfully TrekCore were there live tweeting the news. Here's the novel line-up so far (from the present):

  • February - Picard: Last Best Hope, by Una McCormack
  • March - TOS: The Higher Frontier, by Christopher L. Bennett.
  • April - Kelvin: The Order of Peace, by Alan Dean Foster.
  • June - TOS: Agents of Influence, by Dayton Ward.
  • August - Kelvin: More Beautiful Than Death, by David Mack
  • To be scheduled - Discovery novel, by John Jackson Miller.
  • To be scheduled - Voyager: To Lose the Earth, by Kirsten Beyer.

There's a lot to take in there! The cancelled Kelvin timeline novels are back at last, new Picard tie-ins (a comic was announced too), and there were also hints at efforts to keep the novel continuity as we know it in play somehow. It also looks like we're almost back to one novel a month. hurrah! Continue below for a closer look at everything.

Working back from the furthest ahead, we don't know much more about the next Voyager novel and John Jackson Miller's 2020 Discovery novel, other than that they will exist. But the return of the Kelvin timeline books is a welcome treat. David Mack wrote a little about this news on Facebook:
Ten years ago, I wrote a Star Trek “Kelvinverse” novel set after the 2009 feature film, showcasing the new characters and situations of that movie. For behind-the-scenes reasons unrelated to my work, my book and three others in that setting were abruptly cancelled.

It was announced today at Star Trek Las Vegas that my novel, MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN DEATH, will be published next year, in August 2020, as a trade paperback.

I’m very excited by this news, because I have always been pleased by how that book turned out. I felt that it was a faithful continuation of those characters’ stories, one that could not be possible in the original series incarnation of Trek. Next year, fans of the films and the books will get to decide for themselves whether I succeeded, and if the book was worth the wait.
These books were first announced way back in 2009, but were abruptly cancelled not long before the expected publication. There were four originally, but two of the authors have subsequently canibalised their stories into other novels - Greg Cox's he Hazard of Concealing became the Seven of Nine meets TOS book No Time Like the Past, and Christopher L. Bennett's Seek a Newer World became the brilliant First Federation focused TOS novel The Face of the Unknown.

That leaves Alan Dean Foster's Refugees, which has now been retitled The Order of Peace, and David Mack's More Beautiful Than Death. Writing about the news, Dayton Ward has suggested the author's have had a chance to make tweaks - After all there have been two further Kelvin timelines movies, loads of comics (if the authors care to factor those in), and new prime timeline influences since they were originally written - So I'm sure there will be updated details for both, but here are the blurbs and covers released back in 2010:

The Order of Peace (aka Refugees), by Alan Dean Foster
In this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Star Trek movie tie-in, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise must decide if a group of refugees are actually a menace—or just misunderstood.

When a strange distress call comes in and Kirk orders the Enterprise to answer it, they encounter a large colony ship of refugees under attack. Unable to convince the Dre’kalk to cease fire, Kirk engages them and drives off their ships. The refugees—the Perenores, a race of furry bisymmetrical people—are starving, battered, and many are injured. Their ship wandered off course and their fuel and food is running out, so Kirk and the crew find a place for these displaced refugees. But just two months later, the Barran are threatening the Federation with war for protecting the Perenore menace. But Kirk and Spock are puzzled, the Perenores are peaceful people, what could have happened?
More Beautiful Than Death, by David Mack
An all-new adventure featuring the new Enterprise crew on a mission to broker a Federation trade agreement, from critically acclaimed Star Trek author David Mack.

Captain Kirk leads the crew of the Enterprise on a mission to Akiron, a world known for its rich dilithium deposits and isolationist government. Aboard is Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek, who is hoping to set up a trade agreement for the Federation with the planet. Pleased that the Federation has entrusted him with this mission, Kirk pledges everyone on Enterprise will grant the ambassador their full cooperation. Spock is happy to see his father and his Vulcan staff putting the destruction of their world behind them. But Sarek, however, has a secondary agenda while on board Enterprise….
Both Dayton Ward and Christopher L Bennett are keeping mum about their 2020 TOS books at the moment, awaiting official information releases. Bennett did tease this little hint that he'll be revisiting something he's done before though:
But it’s a book I’m rather excited about, because it lets me do something TOS-wise that I didn’t think I’d get the chance to do again.
Two Picard tie-ins were announced, a novel, and comic series. The Hollywood Reporter has brief descriptions of both. Una McCormack' novel, Last Best Hope (the mysterious book listed as "LBH" for some time)
...a novel that will lead directly into the Picard television series proper, and introduce new characters appearing in the show.
That's preceded by Star Trek: Picard - Countdown, a three issue comic miniseries from Disco regulars Mike Johnson and Kirsten Beyer (no artist announced yet). It will be released from November to January, and will: around a single mission that would change the life of Picard. 
That brings us to the end of this year. There were no new details on David Galanter's Dead Endless, but a cover was shown for David Mack's Collateral Damage, which TrekCore got a shot of (and I've straightened up):

Love the graphic design, and interesting that the classic TNG logo returns. Here's a reminder of the blurb, which connects not just to Mack's recent Section 31: Control, but the much older A Time to Heal:
The past returns to haunt Captain Jean-Luc Picard—a crime he thought long buried has been exposed, and he must return to Earth to answer for his role in a conspiracy that some call treason. Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise is sent to apprehend pirates who have stolen vital technology from a fragile Federation colony. But acting captain Commander Worf discovers that the pirates’ motives are not what they seem, and that sometimes standing for justice means defying the law….
This book is currently the leading edge of the Star Trek novels continuity, which of course is starting to feel somewhat imperilled with the world-changing specifics of Picard on the horizon. That was something editor Ed Schlesinger remarked on carefully, as TrekCore report:
We are taking [the status of the books] very seriously, and we are not looking to do anything to jeopardize our relationship with the fan base… stay tuned.
John Jackson Miller also commented on how closely the TV and tie-ins teams are working now:
We have a lot more opportunities to integrate things [between books and television] now… you guys want it to work, and WE want it to work. The stories that matter to you will still matter in some form [even if it may not be neat and tidy]…. keep in mind Star Trek is a multiverse.
However by far the most encouraging comments came from Dayton Ward, author and tie-in consultant, who post on his blog: of the very first things I was asked to help tackle when they hired me - was to work with S and S *and* CBS and figure out a path forward for the novels as they pertain to the new Picard series.

From the minute this came up, I've approached it as one thing and one thing only: the most epic fucking #StarTrek storytelling challenge ever.

There have already been several discussions on this topic, going back more than a year - even before I started developing the storyline for what became my TNG novel AVAILABLE LIGHT - about how we might proceed. A lot of the earlier conversations didn't have the benefit of knowing just what the new show was going to do, so we ended up with a lot of talk about pretty much anything you can think of with respect to these books.

Well, it's a year later, and we know a whole lot more than we did then.

As our editor, Ed Schlesinger, and John intimated, it's a complicated process with ongoing conversations (David Mack and I had a pretty drawn-out talk about this very thing at the recent Shore Leave con, and that was basically "part 1"), and everyone involved is taking it very seriously because we all want to do it right.

So, as has been said in somewhat joking fashion before now but which I'll re-iterate with absolutely no snark: We're working on it. Honest.
Another new cover was revealed at the panel, the anniversary edition of The Motion Picture novelisation. Again via TrekCore's reporting:

Away from novels, Robb Pearlman's forthcoming Body by Starfleet: A Fitness Guide, from Running Press, due out in December, also got a mention, and a couple of previews, giving us a look at the art within. So via TrekCore (who also shot a video of Pearlman demonstrating the Gorn walk!):

One other bit that came out of the panel was that Ed Schlesinger noted there are "active discussions" going on regarding tie-ins to the new animated shows.

In other books news, Simon and Schuster Audio shared this preview of Robert Petkoff recording the audiobook edition of John Jackson Miller's just released Discovery: The Enterprise War:

SyFy Wire also posted an interview with Miller recently discussing the novel. Among other discussion points he outlined the book's setting:
The duration of The Enterprise War is specifically keyed to the first season of Discovery. It spans Pike's activities in this nebula, and you know when it starts because he misses the first shots fired during the first declaration of [the Klingon] war. From there, the book goes right up to the moment when you first see Pike in Season 2. So it's a very specific amount of time.
The book was also discussed in it's own panel at Star Trek Las Vegas. TrekCore were there too and gathered a few interesting factoids: The book will featuring Pike's crew from numerous sources, including Early Voyages comics (yay!), previous Pike books, and of course TV, including the forthcoming Short Treks episodes on the Enterprise. Lurians make an appearance. Jackson managed to reconcile some inconsistencies between Discovery season two and the previous Discovery novel Desperate Hours, which also featured Pike's Enterprise, a couple of years before the TV series.
And that's all for today! Looks like we'll have plenty more covers and blurbs to look forward to very soon though!

To keep track of all the latest releases, hit the prose or books buttons on my 2019 schedule page. You can also find series reading lists and author bibliographies on my dedicated Star Trek lists site.


Fox said...

So only one book in the litverse timeline? Can't say I'm surprised to it killed off, but I'm disappointed all the same.

Rotten said...

Some really quality folks writing now. Ward and Bennett are really great TOS writers.

8of5 said...

Fox, give it time, better for them to know how the entire first season of Picard, and indeed Lower Decks, plays out before trying to draw up plans to wiggle the litverse into the new reality. Even with the closeness of the TV and books teams these days, any book announced now would be based on only the start of Picard; look how the odd detail in the first Disco novels has already been contradicted because of that.

Fox said...

I dunno, I think trying to shoehorn the litverse continuity into the "new prime" continuity is going to be a losing battle. What made the litverse so appealing in the first place is that they had the freedom to go off in bold new directions.

Kristen said...

I'm always excited for new Trek books, and I REALLY REALLY hope the new Disco one by JJM will be about the person teased in the very back of the book Drastic Measures. Please? :-)

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