One of the bigger ‘gaps’ in Trek history is the one between the end of Enterprise and the beginning of The Original Series. Before J.J. Abrams and his band of merry men take a crack, Simon & Schuster are planning their own Enterprise sequels and TOS prequels in this period. Margaret Clark is the editor in charge of the Enterprise series at S&S and tells TrekMovie.com that she wants to make it all make sense. "I have taken a lot of what [Enterprise show runner] Manny Coto started and am taking it forward in such a way that it will make sense to Star Trek fans. So they will go "oh this is how we got to Kirk’s era" says Clark. To that end she has taken on the pos-ENT books like an executive producer and laid out an arc and an end point. The first of these novels (the recently released "The Good That Men Do") starts off by tackling the much maligned "These Are The Voyages" series finale of Enterprise. The good news for fans is that Clark feels she has ‘fixed’ it, saying "For the first time I am being allowed by CBS to contradict an aired episode."
Making it all make sense
In the Enterprise finale one of the main characters died, but it was all shown in a holodeck recreation from the TNG period point of view. The logic Clark uses to ignore the events of the holodeck recreation from the series finale is simple "it was 200 years in the future, do you ever think there may be some historical inaccuracies?" The plot for "The Good That Men Do" (in book stores now), takes that premise and explains why there are inaccuracies. "Why is it that Trip isn’t known in Starfleet history, and why did he have to die and stay dead," explains Clark. One of the areas that people most malign Enterprise for is how the look and the technology for show does not seem to easily lead to the Original Series, but Clark feels she has that covered : "There has to be a logical reason the NX-01 looks the way it looks and the NCC-1701 looks the way it looks. If you look at some of Enterprise’s later season episodes with the Romulans, you will see them set up something that by the time we hit the Wrath of Khan there is a logical explanation why Starfleet Ships had to ‘de-evolve.’ Clark seems to have an answer for everything…well maybe not everything. "I can explain everything but the mini skirts," she jokes.
Exploring the Kobayahshi Maru and the Romulan War
Clark doesn’t like the term ‘relaunch’ that is often used for the popular post season finale DS9 books, preferring to think of the new Enterprise books as being from the 5th, 6th and 7th seasons that never were. The next book in this series tells the story of how Captain Hernandez (of the USS Columbia) and Captain Archer are patrolling the Klingon border and come to the aid of a merchant ship in trouble. That ship and the name of the book are "Kobayahshi Maru" due out in 2008. "There is a reason why every Starfleet cadet takes the Kobayashi Maru simulation as a character test in Kirk’s time. It has to be an important event in Starfleet history," says Clark referring to the famous opening scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Next up will be a 3 book series covering the Romulan War. These books should lead up what would have been the second half of the 7th season of Enterprise in 2009. "Manny [Coto] gave me the clues so I can take Archer, his ship, Starfleet and the Coalition of Planets into the Romulan War and into the founding of the Federation" enthuses Clark.
Shatner has his own prequel
While one set of writers works the post-ENT end of Trek history, William Shatner himself is weighing in on the pre-TOS era (with the help of co-writers Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens). "Star Trek: The Academy – Collision Course" is the first of a two novel series chronicling James Kirk and Spock’s life at Starfleet Academy. Due out this October, Shatner originally pitched the Starfleet Academy story as a series to Paramount in 2003. The books will feature other well known Trek characters such as Spock’s parents Sarek and Amanda. Editor Margaret Clark points out that there is no relation to these books and Star Trek XI, saying "this is Mr. Shatners own interpretation of how James Kirk got into the Academy." The second book in the series is due in late 2008.
MORE: this is the first of two articles from our interview with Margaret Clark. Part 2 on TNG novels here