Library Computer: Crossover Mini-Series Retrospective | TrekMovie.com
jump to navigation

Library Computer: Crossover Mini-Series Retrospective September 24, 2008

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Books,Review , trackback

Over the past two decades, the writers and editors at Pocket Books have treated us to several crossover series. In honor of David Mack’s new Destiny crossover trilogy, TrekMovie’s John Tenuto and Robert Lyons are looking back at a sampling of the (for better or worse) more memorable crossover series that have made it to print.

 

NOTE: Not every book is for every person, so its natural for there to be some differentiation among readers and reviewers when it comes to how a work of prose is received; or if it is received at all. Some readers find crossovers to be nothing more than gimmicks, while others eagerly await them, searching out the new dynamics that develop when two sets of familiar characters begin to interact, or looking at the variations that develop when differing people are faced with similar situations. Looking back at the crossover stories that have been told, we definitely have some thoughts on how well these principles have worked out in practice.

Also not every ‘crossover’ is the same. Some cross-over series tell a single intertwined story (like with the new Destiny series), while others are individual books loosely associated with a single theme. We have included both types here.

 

TREKMOVIE RETROSPECTIVE ON CROSSOVER MINI-SERIES

Invasion! (1996)

Novels: 4

Series: TOS, TNG, DS9 & VOY

Authors: Diane Carey, L.A. Graf, Michael Jan Friedman, Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Dafydd Ab Hugh.

Summary: One book for each of the series, all tied together around an invasion from aliens named ‘Furies.’

John’s Thoughts: Not to be confused with the video game from 2000 of the same name, these crossover books includes narratives from the then four eras of Star Trek. An alien invasion fleet known as the Furies (not to be confused with Furbies) challenges each of the crews. The Kirk era is the most interesting because it also involves the Klingons and their reactions to the Furies. Unlike many of the later sets, this one nicely interweaves a single narrative. (B+)


Invasion (Omnibus)

 

Day of Honor (1997)

Novels: 6

Series: TOS, TNG, DS9 & VOY

Authors: Diane Carey, L.A. Graf, Michael Jan Friedman, Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Diana G. Gallagher.

Summary: Klingon themed series loosely tied together through stories around the Klingon Day of Honor. Each novel is set entirely within one series.

John’s thoughts: Klingons are always interesting, and this set of books is no different. The biggest problem is that these really are very independent narratives, although readers learn more about the Day of Honor and the Klingons in each book. What is interesting about any Klingon narrative set in the Kirk era now is that writers need to make them less villainous than their TV show appearances because the Klingons were redrawn as honorable in the TNG era. If done properly, as in Wil Wheaton’s comic book story from Uchu, then it can be a good narrative. In "Treaty’s Law" (the TOS Day of Honor Book) utilizing Kor is probably the best idea because he was the most complex and honorable of the original Klingons and learning more about him during the TOS era is engaging. The best book of the set, ironically, was the adaptation to Voyager’s episode "Day of Honor" which added many original situations and good character ideas. (Grade: B)


Day of Honor (Omnibus)

 

The Badlands (1999)

Novels: 2

Series: TOS, TNG, DS9, & VOY

Author: Susan Wright

Summary: Four stories (two in each book) tied together only in that they are set in the ‘Badlands’ region.

John’s thoughts: A very good set of two books, the best being the Voyager narrative, not surprising as the book is written by the reliable author Susan Wright and the Badlands were so important to the episode "Caretaker." The Voyager story nicely leads to events of the television show. The characters are handled well and each story, although too independent to really be considered one narrative, teaches readers how each crew differently reacts to the Badlands phenomena. (Grade: B)


Badlands

 

Double Helix  (1999)

Novels: 6

Series: TOS, TNG, DS9, NF & VOY

Author: Gregory Betancourt, Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Diane Carey, John Vornholt, Peter David, and Michael Jan Friedman & Christie Golden

Summary: Set entirely in the 24th century with a TNG focus, each book in the series brings in characters from different series, but all are intertwined with a plot involvingan alien conspiracy and a deadly infection.

John’s thoughts: Plagues are often boring reading, yet Double Helix does avoid some of that with good characters such as Tom Riker and interesting narratives. The Dr. McCoy and Ambassador Spock story is good, but most of the pairings here are weird, especially the Cardassians and Dr. Katherine Pulaski of the book “Vectors.” Mostly though a science tale, and not very good. (Grade: C)

Rob’s thoughts: John is being generous. This one was just too far over the top for me. McCoy and Spock play out what amounts to parody of themselves, Pulaski is on Terok Nor working with Kira to save the proverbial world, and the rest is just more and more on a very disinteresting plague. Much of the story was painfully boring to me. In fact, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the entire series. (Grade: F)


Double Helix

 

Dark Passions (2001)

Novels: 2

Series: TNG, DS9, VOY

Author: Susan Wright

Summary: Set in the Mirror Universe, this duology tells a single narrative of intrigue all involving various mirror versions of the TNG era women.

John’s thoughts: Horrible in almost every way, this should have been a wonderful two book set. The intention was good, showing the Mirror universe from how the female characters experience it, and utilizing characters from so many different shows. The number of cameos and characters is astounding and doesn’t feel problematic (as it does with the Brave and the Bold). Kira versus Troi should have been marvelous. This reads, though, frankly like an online story from a fan fiction website. The characters as Mirror counterparts should be interesting, yet they are not, and most are carbon copies of each other. Strange because the author is Susan Wright who is often reliable with her Star Trek novels. (Grade: F)


Dark Passions

 

Section 31 (2001)

Novels: 4

Series: TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY

Author: S.D. Perry, Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin, David Weddle & Jeffrey Lang, and Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Summary: Series of stand-alone novels tied together only by involving Starfleet’s infamous Section 31.

John’s thoughts: Excellent narratives which weaves Section 31 to all the eras of Star Trek (series released before Enterprise premièred). This is a good template for how books can be connected narrative-wise with a set. What is most intriguing is learning how regular characters like Kirk react to Section 31 events. (Grade: A)

Rob’s thoughts: This is everything a crossover should be (well, it was until Destiny came along!) and remains an engrossing and entertaining read to this day. Seeing Kirk and Picard handle situations that Section 31 managed to get their leather-clad mitts into was a refreshing way to look at the crossover, at least for me. As much as I loved the DS9 installment, the ongoing exploits of Julian Bashir with Section 31 couldn’t even come close to the quality of the TOS and TNG tales. Admittedly, I never read the Voyager book, though my best friend at the time shocked me when he told me that he picked it up (he wasn’t much for reading Trek). He couldn’t stop gushing about it, which greatly impressed me. If you are considering picking up another crossover series to read after you finish Destiny, I’d recommend Section 31 without a doubt. (Grade: A)


Section 31

Gateways (2001)

Novels: 8 (incl 1 e-book)

Series: TOS, CHR, TNG, NF, SCE, DS9 & VOY

Authors: Robert Greenberger, Christie Golden, Diane Carey, Peter David, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Robert Greenberger, and Susan Wright

Summary: The largest and most extensive of the crossover mini-series, Gateways tells stories about a re-awakening of the Iconian gateways, from the perspective of all the TV series (to that date) as well as book-only series (Challenger, New Frontier and SCE).

Rob’s Thoughts: The Gateways event focuses on what happens when the Iconian Gateway technology (first explored in TNG: Contagion) are used (or, perhaps more accurately, mis-used) ways that our heroes are really quite bothered about. The seven books, together with a closer tale found in the SCE eBook "Here There Be Monsters", was positively received among fans (well, except for the hardcover closer which, thankfully, was later reprinted in paperback) with "Demons of Air and Darkness" as the standout of the bunch. The series also enabled the reader to just read the portions of the story they cared about (which I elected to do), which was either a budget saver or a relief, depending on your viewpoints about certain series. (Grade: B)


Gateways (concluding hardcover)

 

The Brave and the Bold (2002)

Novels: 2

Series: ENT, TOS, TNG, DS9 & VOY

Author: Keith R. A. DeCandido

Summary: Five stories (one from each series) spilt across two books that are tied together by a decades long search for mysterious artifacts.

John’s thoughts: This set takes a risk by focusing on guest stars interacting with regular characters. The characters are badly written though. While learning about Commodore Decker and his crew could intriguing, his interactions with Kirk and the Enterprise is often lacking real drama and frankly Kirk seems ineffectual in the way his character is written. The books tend to forget that we can learn about our regular crew through their interactions with minor characters. The set tries to bring in too many characters for a two book set, although it was nice to see Jonathan Archer’s era included. The best feature is that the two books really do connect with other, something of a problem for many of these Pocket Book sets. (Grade: C)

Rob’s thoughts: Having long considered "The Doomsday Machine" one of my favorite episodes, getting the chance to see Kirk and Decker interact in a meaningful way was an exciting incentive to pick up the first book in this series. It was worth it for me. Far from finding Kirk ineffectual, I elected to view him (given the book’s timeframe) as still feeling out his command style and building his personal skills. Equally interesting was the story centering around Captain Keogh of the starship Odyssey (which was destroyed at the hands of the Dominion at the end of DS9 episode "The Jem’Hadar") as he worked with Ben Sisko when a terrorist manages to get his hands on one of the connections of the crossover: a Malkus box. Sure, it sounds a bit much like the boxes that the Slavers used in TAS, but DeCandido managed to avoid it well enough to make it an enjoyable duology. (Grade: B+)


The Brave and the Bold

 

COMING UP
These aren’t the only major events that Pocket’s Star Trek line has used over the years to generate interest. In future columns we’ll look at other crossovers, as well as stories that go beyond the realm of the crossover and answer questions about eras and individuals that fans have been interested in for years.

Also look for our upcoming review of "Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals," the second book in Pocket Books new crossover mini-series.

Comments

1. Bennie - September 25, 2008

sweet

2. Bennie - September 25, 2008

ps: I’m not fond of crossover’s. I enjoyed Voyager String Theory (3 parts), because it sticks to one crew/ship. But that’s just me.

3. Deebo Shanks - September 25, 2008

Hm. I always enjoyed the crossover quality of the Shatner novels (ie. the Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens novels) about the return of Kirk. Though I think the best crossover book I’ve read was relegated to one novel. It was called “Crossover”, appropriately enough, and was written by Michael Jan Friedman who did one helluva job writing the TNG comic back when DC was publishing it. It involved McCoy and Scotty and Spock and the NG crew.

4. Irishtrekkie - September 25, 2008

i read the invasion books, it was decent , and also day of honor but only book 1 , it was so boring put me off the rest lol.

just finished Myriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism (not a crossover) but good read , have to get the 2nd one now

5. Holger - September 25, 2008

I’d love some TOS-ENT crossover.

6. Reginald_Broccoli - September 25, 2008

I am reading the Captain’s Table series. I have read the NF installment and have started TOS. To me, the idea of the “Captain’s Table” is rather hokey but once you get to their “story” it is forgiveable. So far so good.

7. OM - September 25, 2008

…Friedman is a hack.

8. Salamander Cakes - September 25, 2008

Nothing wrong with crossovers…but has anybody ever seen that just plain WEIRD crossover book where the crew of TNG meets up with the X-Men? No, I’m not kidding.

9. silverplated - September 25, 2008

where’s the star trek / x-men crossover comic? ^^

10. Irishtrekkie - September 25, 2008

a bit of topic . but has anybody seen this yet , its great !!

http://www.spike.com/video/top-10-star-trek/3037527

11. Imrahil - September 25, 2008

“Cartesians”? Do you mean Cardassians? :)

12. steve - September 25, 2008

An alien invasion fleet known as the Furies (not to be confused with Furbies) challenges each of the crews.

Hunh??

13. El Rushborg - September 25, 2008

#7: “…Friedman is a hack.”

Oh? I think he’s a GREAT writer!
Anthony? Flame-thrower?

14. random_person - September 25, 2008

Where’s ‘Federation’?

15. OM - September 25, 2008

“#7: “…Friedman is a hack.”

Oh? I think he’s a GREAT writer!
Anthony? Flame-thrower?”

…He’s a hack. His characterizations are so off, that they’re nauseating to read. The sole reason he get so many Trek writing gigs is that he can turn in a script faster than most writers, and hasn’t missed a deadline. Mox nix that what’s turned in is a sloppy hack job. I refuse to read his books simply because they’re nothing *but* a hack’s “work”.

You want a real writer? PAD, Diane Duane, the Reeves-Stevenses, and the ladies who make up “LA Graf” are far superior.

16. Smitty - September 25, 2008

I read the Invasion! series, though the last book’s ending left a bad taste in my mouth.

Which is unfortunate because I dig Daffyd ab Hugh the same man who has the Big Lizards blog.

-cs™

17. Orb of the Emissary - September 25, 2008

I love crossoveres (sp?)!! Sometimes, it nice when one book leads into another, but sometimes I like how each novel is set entirely within one series. My favorites have been (so far) Double Helix and Gateways. Invasion was cool too. Can’t wait for Destiny!!

18. Orb of the Emissary - September 25, 2008

Oh and Captain’s Table books too! :-)

19. Enterprisingguy - September 25, 2008

I just finished both of the myriad Universes books and would highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good “what if” story!

I especially enjoyed “The Chimes at Midnight” where we see a post “Wrath of Khan” without Spock there to save the ship as well as what would happen to a populated world if the Genesis Device were used!

20. ST Nemesis was awesome - September 25, 2008

Section 31 was quite possibly the best crossover i have ever read alone with “The Return” which involved the return of Kirk, Romulans & Borg :)

21. AdamTrek - September 25, 2008

If Section 31 was in the new movie, I’d welcome that because it add’s some political intrigue which would move the story along and bridge the gap to what is happening in the world today vs. the fictional future we all love

22. The Last Maquis - September 25, 2008

Hey that’s the Video game Nerd.

23. vorta23492392932939230 - September 25, 2008

What about Jeffrey Lang’s IMMORTAL COIL? Its a kind of cross-over in one novel, with many aspects of TOS and TNG wrapped together. I love that one.

24. James Heaney - Wowbagger - September 25, 2008

#8: Yes, I have seen the X-Men crossover novel, yes, I have read part of it, and, no, you are never to speak of it again.

NEVAAAAR!

;)

25. Capt Mike From the Terran Empire - September 25, 2008

The Invasion series is the best and the badlands was great as well. I wish there was a way to make a 4 or 5 part miniseries of trek on the Invasion series. Very Enjoyable.

26. Capt Mike From the Terran Empire - September 25, 2008

I also read the Xmen Crossover. It was ok. Kinda fun and enjoyable. Hey. J.J Abrams. Make a new movie with the Xmen and Star Trek Together. Now that might be pretty kool to Watch. I gurentee a $500 Million Box Office.

27. Anthony Pascale - September 25, 2008

OM

Final warning for flaming. You have been warned multiple times for getting personal and for your ‘angry posting’. Next transgression = permaban

comments to http://trekmovie.com/about/feedback

28. Anthony Pascale - September 25, 2008

RE: Why Federation isn’t here
This is a retrospective on crossover mini-series. Many many single novels have cross-over characters. We may review some of those as well. This retrospective is due to Pocket Books bringing back the ‘crossover mini series’ (Destiny), which is something they did often as you can see above, but haven’t been doing in the last few years

RE: Furbies
John was making a funny

29. Bob Tompkins - September 25, 2008

# 28

It would be informative to have the single volume crossovers reviewed.

My personal favorite is, naturally- Crossover”

30. Capt Mike from the Terran Empire - September 25, 2008

Hey Anthony. Which is your faveroite cross over Books.

31. colorado_gamer - September 25, 2008

I have only read stand-a-lone books… I have been wanting to jump into one of these crossovers and now I know Section 31 is going to be my first. Thanks for the information it was helpful!

32. Anthony Pascale - September 25, 2008

my fave is probably Federation. The only one of the mini series from above i have read was Invasion! which I enjoyed. I think I will pick up the Section 31 and I am going to read the new Destiny as well. I only wish there were still audio books as I get a lot of my ‘reading’ done with audio books and I really miss those Trek audio books

33. thebiggfrogg - September 25, 2008

Re: Invasion
If JJ reinvigorates Trek and there be sequels I hope he ditches the “big, overpowering alien menace invading the Federation” theme done ad infinitum. TNG had great success with the Borg in “The Best of Both Worlds”, but then they just kept using it, so we get the Dominion, Species 8472, the Xindi (not to mention the plots and invasions of the Klingons, Romulans and Remans, and Cardassians running amok now and again). In my opinion it is lazy storytelling. I hope we see more “exploring brave new worlds and seeking out new life and new civilizations”.

34. Capt Mike from the Terran Empire - September 26, 2008

# 32. My Favorite Audoio book was relics with James Doohan. He did a great job with that one. He was a man of many Talents.

35. Shaun - September 26, 2008

No love for DS9? Take “Invasion!” for instance… I seem to recall at the time when those books were new that the DS9 entry was generally considered the best of the bunch. Not just the best of that crossover series, but considered to be a strong stand-alone book as well. Yet, it went without mention here? I actually read that DS9 book “Time’s Enemy” by itself at first. I liked it enough to go back and read the other three after that. The DS9 book was still the best of those four, by far.

Anyhow, I never read any of the books/crossovers reviewed here. It’s been awhile since I’ve read any Trek novels. Like so many things Trek of recent years, it seems like it just isn’t what it used to be. I agree with the person calling Michael Jan Friedman a hack. He was fine writing Trek comics for DC, but novels? No… Give me Diane Duane, A.C. Crispin, Peter David, or the Reeves-Stevenses any day. They just don’t write books like The Wounded Sky, Sarek, Imzadi, or Federation anymore.

The DS9 “Relaunch” series had a strong start, but after Unity I got my closure and never kept up with the books that followed. Still, anyone who enjoyed DS9 and wants more should check those books out. All of S.D. Perry’s books in that series (Avatar: pts 1 & 2, Fallen Son, and Unity) are recommended.

36. Shaun - September 26, 2008

Those god-awful Trek/X-Men crossovers… They happened because Marvel had (briefly) acquired the rights produce Trek comics again, and they did it both comic and novel form. I can remember giving John Ordover (the former Trek editor at Pocket Books) hell over on Usenet about that, and I can only assume his attempts to defend those lousy cash grabs were made with a straight face.

BTW, I’m not a regular here so I don’t know anything about OM… But he/she faces a ban just for calling a writer a “hack”? Like that’s the worst thing ever said in a Talkback? Wow… Just check out AICN sometime.

A lot of people didn’t like Friedman’s books back in the day (I liked his comics, just not his novels). What’s the point of a Talkback if everyone has to agree and no one’s allowed to criticize? Again, I’m not aware of any past transgressions this person may have made, I’m just not seeing what the big deal is in this instance.

37. Shaun - September 26, 2008

Sorry, in #35 I meant to say “I never read any of the OTHER books/crossovers reviewed here.” Mea culpa!

38. Third Remata'Klan - September 28, 2008

#35

‘Time’s Enemy’ was head and shoulders above the other ‘Invasion!’ novels, and not just because it was longer. They were all good (‘First Strike’ came close), but ‘Time’s Enemy’ was awesome.

‘Section 31′ is great.

Can’t wait for ‘Destiny’! But I am so far behind on my Trek fiction…..

It’s sad.

TrekMovie.com is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.