INFINITE DIVERSITY IN INFINITE COMBINATIONS
The United Federation of Planets is back! To celebrate, we are hosting a Star Trek book club. Anyone with an internet access is welcome to join!
As an introduction post, what you are about to read will probably be a little bit long-winded, just like Jean-Luc was in the first few seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but we love him anyway. You will be rewarded if you read the entirety of this post, and make it to the end where you can vote on our first book choice.
The TL;DR version of this post is every other month, we will be reading a Star Trek novel that was suggested and voted upon by the people in the preceding month. Each week during the reading month, we will have a mission briefing, aka, we will discuss the assigned chapters in the United Federation of Planets’ discussion forums. Don’t worry about the mission contents; a reading schedule will be posted at the beginning of each reading month. Each book will have its own forum, within the Book Club forum. To participate in the discussions, and to receive special rewards, ranks, and badges, you must register and become a member of the United Federation of Planets. Some of the rewards are automatic. Others, such as ranks and receiving the special book club badges, are awarded manually. Participants will receive the special book club badge after I see their first response in any of the weekly “mission briefings.”
That is the short version. I’ll try my best to not speak in one, long, incredibly unbroken sentence. Moving from topic to topic. So that no one had the chance to interrupt… while I give you the longer version of the schedule, and then present the poll.
- December 1 – 14, 2013 — Participants vote to select January’s book.
- December 15, 2013 — January’s book will be announced.
- December 15 – December 31, 2013 — Purchase, or borrow from your local library, a copy of the selected book. You can begin reading and get a head-start, if you choose.
- December 31, 2013 — Discussion and reading schedule will be posted on this website, both as a post and in the discussion forums.
- January 2014 — Weekly discussions about the book on the discussion forums.
- January 15, 2014 — Time to start inputting suggestions for March’s book in a Google Drive spreadsheet.
This schedule will repeat, with one month dedicated to voting and acquiring the book, and the following month dedicated to reading and discussing the book. This schedule is also subject to change.
If you have any questions about any of this, please ask them in the comments. I may have unintentionally overlooked a details about which you are curious, or would like clarified.
Now, to vote! Choose one of the following book. They are ordered according to series. Book descriptions with links to Amazon so you can preview the book in question can be found below the poll. Poll closes at 23:59 PST on December 14, 2013.
Strangers from the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno – The Original Series
In the twenty-first century: Years before the formal first contact that would be recorded in Earth’s history, a Vulcan space vessel crash-lands in the South Pacific, forcing humanity to decide whether to offer the hand of friendship, or the fist of war. Complicating matters is a second visitation: a group of people from two hundred years in the future, who serve on a starship called Enterprise….
In the twenty-third century: A new novel called Strangers from the Sky reveals the truth about this heretofore unknown first contact. Reading the novel leads to nightmares that torment Admiral James T. Kirk — dreams of his dead comrades, Gary Mitchell, Lee Kelso, and Elizabeth Dehner, from his earliest days aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise™; visions of a forgotten past in which he somehow changed the course of history and destroyed the Federation before it began.
Sanctuary by John Vornholt – The Original Series
The planet Sanctuary — A fabled world in unexplored space which is thought to be the last refuge of the persecuted, home to both the justly and unjustly accused. Though its name has been translated into every language in the galaxy, Starfleet has never known its exact location.
When the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise™ is assigned to capture a dangerous criminal named Auk Rex, their pursuit takes them to an unexplored sector of space. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy continue the pursuit in a shuttlecraft, following Auk Rex to the surface of the planet, Sanctuary. Soon, Kirk and his crew are locked in a life and death struggle on the mysteriouus planet, which harbors deadly secrets and never releases its visitors.
Spock’s World by Diane Duane – The Original Series
It is the twenty-third century. On the planet Vulcan, a crisis of unprecedented proportion has caused the convocation of the planet’s ruling council — and summoned the U.S.S. Enterprise™ from halfway across the galaxy, to bring Vulcan’s most famous son home in its hour of need.
As Commander Spock, his father Sarek, and Captain James T. Kirk struggle to preserve Vulcan’s future, the planet’s innermost secrets are laid before us, from its beginnings millions of years ago to its savage prehistory, from merciless tribal warfare to medieval court intrigue, from the exploration of space to the the development of o’thia — the ruling ethic of logic. And Spock — torn between his duty to Starfleet and the unbreakable ties that bind him to Vulcan — must find a way to reconcile both his own inner conflict and the external dilemma his planet faces…lest the Federation itself be ripped asunder.
Diane Duane, author of three previous bestselling Star Trek novels and an episode of the new Star Trek: The Next Generation® television series, as well as countless other bestselling science fiction and fantasy novels, has crafted a tale of unprecedented scope and imagination, at once a generations-spanning historical novel and a thrilling science fiction adventure.
Yesterday’s Son by A.C. Crispin – The Original Series
The Romulans attack the planet Gateway, where Federation scientists are studying the Guardian of Forever — the mysterious portal to the past.
The Starship Enterprise™ must protect the Guardian — or destroy it. But Spock has already used the portal to journey to the past. On the planet Sarpedion, 5,000 years ago, Spock knew a beautiful, primitive woman. Now he has gone back to meet his son!
Q Squared by Peter David – The Next Generation
In all of his travels Captain Jean-Luc Picard has never faced an opponent more powerful that Q, a being from another continuum that Picard encountered on his very first mission as Captain of the Starship Enterprise™. In the years since, Q has returned again and again to harass Picard and his crew. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes merely obnoxious, Q has always been mysterious and seemingly all-powerful.
But this time, when Q appears, he comes to Picard for help. Apparently another member of the Q continuum has tapped into an awesome power source that makes this being more powerful than the combined might of the entire Q continuum. This renegade Q is named Trelane — also known as the Squire of Gothos, who Captain Kirk and his crew first encountered over one hundred years ago. Q explains that, armed with this incredible power, Trelane has become unspeakably dangerous.
Now Picard must get involved in an awesome struggle between super beings. And this time the stakes are not just Picard’s ship, or the galaxy, or even the universe — this time the stakes are all of creation…
Imzadi by Peter David – The Next Generation
Years before they served together on board the U.S.S. Enterprise™, Commander William Riker and ship’s counselor Deanna Troi had a tempestuous love affair on her home planet of Betazed. Now, their passions have cooled and they serve together as friends. Yet the memories of that time linger and Riker and Troi remain Imzadi – a powerful Betazoid term that describes the enduring bond they still share.
During delicate negotiations with an aggressive race called the Sindareen, Deanna Troi mysteriously falls ill and dies. But her death is only the beginning of the adventure for Commander Riker, an adventure that will take him across time, pit him against one of his closest friends, and force him to choose between Starfleet’s strictest rule and the one he calls Imzadi.
Intellivore by Diane Duane – The Next Generation
The Great Rift lies between the Sagitarius and Orion arms of the galaxy. Stars are scarce there, beyond the authority of the Federation, and legends abound of lost civilizations and of ancient monsters that prey on those who dare to venture into the vast darkness between the stars.
When several ships and colonies mysteriously disappear into the Rift, the U.S.S. Enterprise leads an expedition to investigate various disturbing reports. Accompanied by two other Federation starships, Picard and his fellow captains discover a bizarre menace of unimaginable power. And the only way to trap this destructive entity is to use the Enterprise as bait.
Blaze of Glory by Simon Hawke – The Next Generation
The U.S.S. Enterprise™ is assigned to the planet K’Trall — a planet just coming out rom under the heel of barbarous suppression. When the planet’s newly emerging freedom is threatened by a rouge ship attacking Federation shipping, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew put their lives on the line to protect K’Trall from the raids.
But the planet itself holds a deadly secret, one that could lead to a ressurgence of the despotic cruelty they have suffered for centuries. With time running out, Captain Picard must see his way past a maze of deadly deception, with billions of lives hanging in the balance.
Vendetta by Peter David – The Next Generation
The Borg — half organic being and half machine, they are the most feared race in the known galaxy. In their relentless quest for technological perfection, they have destroyed entire star systems, enslaved countless peoples, and, in a single brutal attack, decimated Starfleet’s mightiest vesels. Only a final desperate gambit by Captain Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise™ crew stopped the Borg from conquering the entire Federation. And now they have returned.
In the bestselling tradition of Metamorphosis and The Lost Years, here is the newest Star Trek® Giant Novel, a story of vengeance and obsession.
Answering a distress call from a planet under attack by the Borg, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew meets Delcara, the lone survivor of an alien race the Borg obliterated. Blinded by hatred, Delcara seeks the ultimate revenge — the complete destruction of her race’s executioners. But the U.S.S. Enterprise crew learns that Delcara’s vengeance carries a terrible price, for once unleashed, the destructive force she commands will annihilate not only the Borg, but countess innocents as well…
Masks by John Vornholt – The Next Generation
The Enterprise™ journeys to Lorca, a beautiful world where the inhabitants wear masks to show their rank and station. There, Captain Picard and an away team begin a quest for the planet’s ruler and the great Wisdom Mask that the leader traditionally wears. Their mission: establish diplomatic relations.
But Picard and his party lose contact with the ship, and Commander Riker leads a search party down to the planet to find them.
Both men are unaware that their searchs are part of a madman’s plan. A madman who is setting a trap that will ensnare both landing parties, and leave him poised to seize control of the awesome Wisdom Mask…
And the planet Lorca itself.
The Belly Of The Beast (Starfleet Corps of Engineers Series) by Dean Wesley Smith – The Next Generation
When ancient alien technology is found on a colony world, when robot soldiers from an eons-old interstellar battle restart their war in a highly populated sector, when a global computer system starts to break down or take over, in goes the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. Overseen by Captain Montgomery Scott from his office at Starfleet Headquarters, the S.C.E. can build, rebuild, program, reprogram, assemble, reassemble, or just figure out everything from alien replicators to to doomsday machines. Just don’t expect them to perform miracles — unless they have to.
The U.S.S. Enterprise has defeated a gigantic marauding starship from parts unknown. Now that the immediate threat has been neutralized, the S.C.E. has been called in to probe the vanquished hulk in search of both new technology and the secret of its origin. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge has temporarily transferred from the Enterprise to assist Captain David Gold and the crew of the S.C.E. ship, the U.S.S. da Vinci, on this fascinating mission. La Forge works with Gold and his top-of-the-line group of technical specialists to unravel the high-tech mysteries of the supposedly dead alien vessel, only to discover that the real danger has just begun!
A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson – Deep Space Nine
For nearly a decade Garak has longed for just one thing — to go home. Exiled on a space station, surrounded by aliens who loathe and distrust him, going back to Cardassia has been Garak’s one dream. Now, finally, he is home. But home is a world whose landscape is filled with death and destruction. Desperation and dust are constant companions and luxury is a glass of clean water and a warm place to sleep.
Ironically, it is a letter from one of the aliens on that space station, Dr. Julian Bashir, that inspires Garak to look at the fabric of his life. Elim Garak has been a student, a gardener, a spy, an exile, a tailor, even a liberator. It is a life that was charted by the forces of Cardassian society with very little understanding of the person, and even less compassion.
But it is the tailor that understands who Elim Garak was, and what he could be. It is the tailor who sees the ruined fabric of Cardassia, and who knows how to bring this ravaged society back together. This is strange, because a tailor is the one thing Garak never wanted to be. But it is the tailor whom both Cardassia and Elim Garak need. It is the tailor who can put the pieces together, who can take a stitch in time.
The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack – Deep Space Nine
Continuing the post-television Deep Space Nine saga, this original novel shows the fall of the Cardassian empire as seen through the eyes of a young man with a foot in two worlds.
Rugal is an orphaned Cardassian who has been raised by the people his race once conquered, the Bajorans. Reluctantly repatriated to Cardassia as a teenager, Rugal becomes the living witness to the downfall of the proud people to whom he was born, first by the invading Klingons, then during the Cardassians’ unholy pact with the Dominion—a partnership that culminated in a near-genocide. Through it all, Rugal’s singular perspective illuminates the choices that brought the Cardassians to their ruin…even as he learns that the Cardassian soul is not as easy to understand as he imagined.
Destiny: Gods of Night by David Mack – Deep Space Nine (first book in a series of three, covering Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation, and Voyager)
Half a decade after the Dominion War and more than a year after the rise and fall of Praetor Shinzon, the galaxy’s greatest scourge returns to wreak havoc upon the Federation — and this time its goal is nothing less than total annihilation.
Elsewhere, deep in the Gamma Quadrant, an ancient mystery is solved. One of Earth’s first generation of starships, lost for centuries, has been found dead and empty on a desolate planet. But its discovery so far from home has raised disturbing questions, and the answers harken back to a struggle for survival that once tested a captain and her crew to the limits of their humanity.
United Federation of Planets book club logo designed by Matt Schubbe.
Book cover credit: Pocket Books/Star Trek