Star Trek is the everest of successful television. While mostly known in the mainstream for its low-budget-yet-lovable Original series (Ft. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy) and massively successful reboot movie franchise (Ft. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto), Trek is far more massive than that. As an entertainment franchise it has spanned: six television series at 725 episodes, 13 feature rank films, 407 official comic books issues, a bare minimum 100 official games, 39 technical manuals, two magazines, two theme parks, and two exhibits.
And, perhaps surprising to many, hundreds of novels.
800+ novels, in fact.
The books (roughly) fall into the categories of the main series: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Kelvin timeline. There are also novels about Starfleet Academy and Star Trek Corps of Engineers.
There is also plenty of nonfiction, though far less that are officially syndicated. If you’re more interested in the show, titles such as The Making of Star Trek or Star Trek Compendium would be worth checking out. Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years or Star Trek: The Starfleet Survival Guide are two books out of a collection that focus on books that would be non-fiction within the Star Trek universe.
The novels sell surprisingly well: as a compendium, they comprise the most popular paperback series in publishing in history. Thirty-five titles have been best-sellers.
Not sure where to start for fiction? Never fear! Here are my recommendations, with the caveat that these of course are just personal opinions.
Star Trek novelization recommendations are difficult for the sheer expansiveness of the universe. The storylines interweave and affect each other, and there are hundreds of books that, while in universe, don’t have an influence on the overarching plotlines of each ‘series.’ Many don’t have to be read in order, while others do. For the beginner to get you started, I will suggest the first two novelizations of each series that follow the basic linear plotline.
The Original Series: Mere Anarchy: Things Fall Apart by Barr and The Captain’s Table: Where Sea Meets Sky by Oltion.
The Next Generation: A Time to be Born and A Time to Die by Vornholt.
Deep Space Nine: The Left Hand of Destiny pt. 1 and 2 by Lang and Hertzier.
Voyager: Homecoming and Farther Shore by Golden.
Enterprise: The Good that Men Do and Kobayashi Maru by Mangels and Martin.
– Katherine Eckenwiler