Captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the NX-01 may have cut their TV adventures short, but they continue in print. This week’s Library Computer takes a look at the Star Trek Enterprise releaunch including an exclusive sneak peek at the next fall’s "Kobayashi Maru," written by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin, as well as a tease on next year’s Romulan War books.
Warning: This story contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Enterprise novels "Last Full Measure" and "The Good That Men Do", along with the Enterprise series finale, "These Are the Voyages."
The relaunch so far
The upcoming "Kobayashi Maru" is a sequel to "The Good That Men Do", also written by the Mangels and Martin, which was released by Pocket last summer. [see TrekMovie.com review] As many Enterprise fans will no doubt already be aware, that novel offered a number of twists, and cast the series’ frustrating final episode, These Are the Voyages, in a surprising new light. Not the least these twists was the revelation that Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker didn’t actually die during the events depicted in holodeck form during the episode.
The initial hints of a different fate for the engineer actually appeared in the wrap-around story of Mangels and Martin’s first Enterprise novel, "Last Full Measure", which revealed that Tucker was still alive some seventy-seven year later, in 2238, and had even contributed “anonymous marginal notations” on the construction blueprints for the Constitution-class Starship Enterprise. The plan to save Tucker, in book form at least, was approved by Paramount, and came from one of Pocket’s managing editors for Star Trek, Margaret Clark, who disliked the final episode of Enterprise as much as many fans did. But Clark says the idea for doing it actually originated onscreen. “Look at the episode… the Doctor looks at Archer, and Archer looks at Reed. It’s like they’re all conspiring about something. So we’re just taking what the actors were doing and saying, maybe there was a subtext that not even the hologram program writer knew about.”
"The Good That Men Do" ran with that idea by positing that Tucker’s death wasn’t real, but was instead deliberately faked. As the book begins, Tucker and T’Pol are on Vulcan, struggling to come to grips with the death of their daughter, Elizabeth, while Jonathan Archer and the rest of his crew are back on Earth, helping to encourage the difficult negotiations for the Coalition of Planets Compact. Meanwhile, dozens of telepathic Aenar are suddenly kidnapped from Andoria. When Shran delivers word of this to Archer and his crew, and asks their help in finding the missing Aenar, Tucker is convinced that the Romulans are responsible. Unfortunately, Starfleet is more concerned about finalizing the fragile Compact to appreciate the bigger threat. To make matters worse, Section 31 reveals that the Romulans may be perfecting a warp-seven stardrive that, matched with the telepathic Aenar, could mean that a remotely-controlled Romulan invasion of the Alpha Quadrant is imminent. So with the help of Reed’s former associate, Harris, Tucker’s death is faked, his appearance is altered, and he’s sent deep into Romulan space to infiltrate the stardrive project and stop it if he can.
"Last Full Measure" and "The Good That Men Do"
(both available at Amazon).
Kobayashi Maru…Archer first to face no win scenario
In planning the sequel to "The Good That Men Do", which picks up just hours after that book ends, Clark saw several opportunities. “Manny Coto [the show runner of the TV series in its final season] managed to redeem Jonathan Archer, and he managed to put Enterprise on a fitting path. He was trying to take that show and fit it into the larger Star Trek universe, which we’d seen in the 1960s series.” So when Enterprise was cancelled, Clark felt that it was up to the novels not only to help keep Star Trek alive, but to continue that momentum. “Marco [Palmeri, Clark’s fellow Trek editor at Pocket] and I are always telling fans that we’re like the executive producers on the Star Trek books. We kind of have a white board in our heads that shows where we want the books to go. My idea, like Manny’s, was to make Enterprise as much a part of the Star Trek continuity as possible without making it seem forced or shoved in. So with the next book, we knew we wanted to tell a story that would lead into the Romulan War.”
As most fans are aware, the Romulan War remains one of the biggest unexplored periods of Star Trek history, and it was first hinted at in The Original Series. But the new novel is called "Kobayashi Maru," suggesting ties to the feature films instead, which are set well after this period in the Trek timeline. So what’s the connection? “The Kobayashi Maru was always in the back of my head,” Clark explains. “If you go to any of today’s military academies, in classes they have you revisit real historical battles. They have you refight the Little Big Horn, to see if you can get Custer out of there. They have you command the U.S.S. Constitution during the War of 1812. They have you look at real military scenarios, as if you were there, to see what lessons you can learn.” As we saw in the second Trek film, The Wrath of Khan, the Kobayashi Maru scenario has become just that sort of test for the cadets of Kirk’s era at Starfleet Academy. The historical opportunity was obvious to Clark. “What if the original Kobayashi Maru was like Archduke Ferdinand in the First World War, and it’s only years later when Starfleet looks back, that they realize this was the spark that set off the Earth-Romulan War?” By placing the crew of the NX-01 in the middle of these events, Clark saw a way to further cement Enterprise into the larger Trek continuity. “Jonathan Archer is the man who first faces the no-win scenario. He is the captain that’s first tested in that situation.”
Archer and crew dealt with Romulans before (shot from "Babel One")
Maru and connections to Abrams Trek and other Trek novels
Recent hints on the Internet would seem to indicate that the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek feature film may also deal with Kirk’s involvement in the Kobayashi Maru test, but Clark says that fans needn’t worry about a contradiction. “In our book, this is Archer and this is the NX-01 and this is the Kobayashi Maru. It’s not a recreation. This is not a simulation. This is the first time it ever happened – the real events.” So by the time a young James T. Kirk first encounters the scenario, Clark says, “Starfleet recognizes its value as a test of character and command ability. But its Archer and his crew’s situation they’re placed in.”
Clark adds that playing out these original events in the Enterprise novels has offered additional chances to tighten the show’s place in the overall continuity. “There’s some backwards things that we’re laying into "Kobayashi Maru" that explain why Archer’s ship looks the way it does… and also why the Enterprise of Kirk’s era looks the way it does. It’s actually laid out there in one of the movies, all without techno babble. When I pitched the idea to Michael and Andy, they gasped. So there’s a nice through line from Enterprise and our books, to The Original Series and on to the movies.” Clark even hints that this through line continues into the "Star Trek: Destiny" crossover trilogy books coming from Pocket later this year, which are being written by David Mack. "Destiny" is set in the 24th Century, featuring characters from The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Titan, but will apparently have at least some Enterprise connections as well.
Next up – The Romulan War
Meanwhile, Michael and Andy have recently turned in their latest revised draft of "Kobayashi Maru" to Clark for editing and proofing. So what’s next for the Enterprise relaunch? Yes, fans… you guessed it – the Romulan War itself. Both Michael and Andy are naturally hoping to continue their wartime odyssey with the NX-01 crew, and Clark has hinted in the past that the Romulan conflict will either be presented as a mass-market trilogy of books or a single, grand large-format paperback. But right now, green-lighting the project depends on a number of factors, including sales of "Kobayashi Maru" and also the new feature film, as Clark rightly needs to make sure that nothing J.J. Abrams does on the big screen contradicts Pocket’s plans for the books. “We’re strictly keeping to the 22nd and 24th Centuries with our novels for the next couple of years. The 23rd Century is J.J.’s domain right now.”
Still, Clark anticipates that, after more than forty years, Star Trek fans will finally get to experience the Romulan War, at least in print, sometime next year. And you can rest assured that there’s no shortage of inspiration for Clark and her writers. “What I’ve told Mike and Andy is that you should look at the Romulans as if they’re North Korea. It’s really hard as a writer to get into an alien character’s mind. So by drawing a real-world analogy, it’s easier to identify with them.” Drawing such parallels not only lends immediacy and relevance, it also follows in the grand tradition of science fiction. “Gene’s stories were always tales about today. In Gene’s day, they were China. But now, you have North Korea. It’s a totally closed society, which explains why we don’t know what Romulans look like. The Romulan Praetor… he’s like Precious Leader. Remember, the North Koreans were so paranoid; they took the U.S.S. Pueblo and held it as a prize of war. They still have it to this day. This is how you have to think about the Romulans.”
Watch for Pocket’s highly anticipated (we expect) Romulan War novels to debut sometime in late 2009.
EXCLUSIVE KOBAYASHI MARU COVER + TEASER TEXT
Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels’ "Star Trek: Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru" will arrive on store shelves in September. To help ease the long wait until then, here’s an exclusive look at the book’s final cover artwork, and a bit of teaser text you just might find familiar…
"Star Trek: Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru" is available for pre-order now
“—imperative! This is the Kobayashi Maru, nineteen periods out of Altair Six. We have struck a gravitic mine and have lost all power! Our hull is penetrated and we have sustained many casualties—”
Despite the layers of distortion imposed by both distance and disaster, Archer immediately recognized the English-accented voice on the other end of the channel as that of Kojiro Vance, the flamboyant master of the S.S. Kobayashi Maru.
“Kobayashi Maru, this is Enterprise,” Hoshi said, her fingers entering commands at a brisk pace as she tried to isolate and enhance the tenuous subspace lifeline she had just reestablished. “Please confirm your position.”
“Enterprise, our position is Gamma Hydra, section ten. Hull penetrated. Life-support systems failing. Can you assist us, Enterprise? Can you assist us?”
First? I just wanted to say, am I the only one who thought this might have a preview of the Kobayashi Maru scene from the new movie? Disappointing, but the book looks good!
I haven’t read many ST novels in a long time, but I’ll buy that one! I did read TGTMD. It was okay. KM sounds good. Also looking forward to the Romulan War in print. I always thought that would make a nice ST-spinoff mini-series event. Maybe it still can, if the book (or books) does well enough.
I dont know abut this one, i might give the Romulan war books a read. I wish Enterprise had dealt with the war during its run on tv in fact that should have been one of the main story threads for the series, maybe as a part of the temporal cold war concept perhaps?
“There’s some backwards things that we’re laying into “Kobayashi Maru” that explain why Archer’s ship looks the way it does… and also why the Enterprise of Kirk’s era looks the way it does. It’s actually laid out there in one of the movies, all without techno babble. When I pitched the idea to Michael and Andy, they gasped. So there’s a nice through line from Enterprise and our books, to The Original Series and on to the movies.”
Interesting. Can’t wait to see what this is.
If only they had skipped the who temporal cold war and focused on stories like this…
Finally news about the continuation of this specific book series.
lI Love “the good that men do” and I can’t wait for this upcoming book.
glad it’s successfull and the have a “bigger plan/picture” in mind while writing it.
I’m sure the Romulan War books will sell like fresh bread…
Archer “Let’s Go”
SO the war will play out in only three books? Seems like they could make it last over a dozen or so; I got the impression it went on for some time.
Still, these sound really good. I may order some on Amazon soon…
novels…NOT CANNON..just fan circle jerks
I think it’s a flash of brilliance to work ENT in better this way. Reading those now Trek-famous lines and to know that they were actually directed at the first Enterprise is really wonderful. I’m glad that Pocket is working along with their writers to further Manny’s vision of fitting ENT more inclusively into the ST timeline.
Perhaps, one can hope, they’ve let JJ and crew in on their ideas and O&K have worked a little mention of it into the KM scenes in the new film. It would be a nice tie-in.
True books are not considered cannon but they do add some interesting things to the Trek Universe….also, I think that some of the books could be used as cannon, because they don’t openly contrdict what was on the shows.
warning for trolling and the ‘not canon’ thing is done
reminds me of star wars books and fan fiction. best to continue the voyages of the NX-01 in book form so I dont have to bother with it. and the books can continue to break and remake canon all they want..just like enterprise!
#8 Not everything in that has to do with Trek has to be Cannon. plus Trek Cannon is not set in stone…..or for that mader even Agree with itself.
Sorry anthony, I wrote before i saw the warning.
Ah what evterprise could have been had paramount had given Coto one more season!
If it helps, think of these novels as sojourns into alternate trek universes, I find that to be helpful. Adventures in different trek time lines it make things easier.
I’m glad Trip lives. His death, not the TNGing of “These Are The Voyages…” is what has bothered me since it aired. Death in Trek is cliched to the point of leaving the viewer with a ‘so what?’ feeling. There are certainly other dramatic stakes out there. Hopefully, future Trek writers will steer towards those bright stars.
11. Anthony, thank you sir (and a big “Amen” is heard across the internet in agreement).
I like what Mangels & Martin have done in their other Enterprise novels; some really great ideas. The notion that the Romulan War was fought remotely using robot drone ships like those seen in season four is an elegant solution and Clark’s comparing them to North Korea is perfect. If I have any gripes it’s that M & M’s writing sometimes feels rushed, most especially in the action scenes. An unfinished, rough draft quality. But really, this is a minor caveat. It is good to be able to revisit these characters and the ol’ NX-01.
Aw, come on, Anthony, he’s right – the novels *aren’t* a large piece of ordinance designed to fire large scale projectiles…
Oh. He meant “canon.” Heh heh. Never mind…
After the terrible production capabilities of Rick Berman destroyed a promising Star Trek series, I applaud the efforts of people writing stories the way Enterprise should have continued. I hope that Berma Shave never sits behind a production desk again.
I have to admit…I am one of the many fans who was very upset at the demise of “Tripp” in the poorly produced and way-too-soon finale of “Enterprise”. Commander Tucker was by far far my favorite, most likable character of the series. I’m glad to see that he has at least been revived in print form. I am still upset that I wasn’t granted the typical 7-year run of the latter-day Trek series…good or bad. But…Long live Tripp…and prosper.
Hey Anthony… the formatting of the piece looks great. It was fun writing it.
I’m personally very intrigued by the notion of the Enterprise-era Romulans as compared to today’s North Koreans. I agree with Izbot – the analogy is perfect. When you consider that they have a lifespan of some 200 years like the Vulcans, and they’re a closed society, it makes a lot of sense not only that they’d see the Coalition of Archer’s time as a threat, but also that they would remain paranoid well into Kirk’s era and beyond even to Picard’s time. Old habits die hard, and we’re effectively talking about just a single generation or two for them.
These actually sound like a decent way to close out Enterprise’s story. Gotta be honest; I never really warmed up to Enterprise, except in season 4 (the only season of the show I own on DVD). I read ‘The Good That Men Do’ and thought it gave some closure to that pitiful, slap-in-the-face of a finale, “These Are The Voyages”. ‘Kobayashi Maru’ sounds good; might have to pick that one up! Personally, I don’t care whether the novels are “canon” or not; I read them, and if they’re good, I accept them in my mind as logical continuations of the story. If they’re crap, I ‘delete’ them in my mind and make room for something better! Another stand-out novel (to me, anyway) was the Chris Pike pre-Original Series-era novel, “Burning Dreams.” A very introspective and personal story. Only bad point; a few chapters concerning Pike in his early days as a First Officer of another vessel are direct rip-offs of the feature film, “Crimson Tide” (in some spots, literally line-for-line). But the rest is genius; especially the ending! Worth it for fans like me who do NOT read every Trek book to come down out, but occasionally (and carefully) pick and choose.
I liked “Enterprise” – it was less of a sterile bore than the previous two Trek series, but unfortunately didn’t break away from the old “Trek style” enough to really intrigue anyone.
I hope that IDW Comics taps some of these Enterprise and Titan stories in future comics. It would be cool to see The Romulan War illustrated in comics pages as well as Riker’s ship and crew.
“If only they had skipped the who temporal cold war and focused on stories like this…”
I’ll drink to that.
And kudos to the “Romulans-as-North Korea” notion. That’s excellent. Gives you something to sink your teeth into.
But I can’t believe anyone thought DS9 was “a sterile bore”. “Voyager”, sure, and the first couple seasons of “Enterprise”, but DS9 had some wonderfully written characters – especially for the Berman-era series, when people did tend to be on the bland side.
Trek novels seem to suffer from “back to normal” syndrome: By the end, no-one dies or has any experiences which allow them to grow or change. Ancillary characters are created for this purpose, to maintain main character status quo.
For something like ENT, which will never go back to TV or big screen, it would be great to give one person run of the franchise in book form, and actually allow things to happen to the crew. A Romulan War scenario would work that way, and allow the writers to create some real Trek history for this short-changed part of the franchise.
I always thought that Enterprise never got a fair shake. By 2001, the entire franchise was beginning to collapse under its own weight, and UPN clearly lost any commitment to the series. Enterprise was certainly a lot more enjoyable as entertainment than either DS9 or Voyager – at least you had a crew and captain that were experiencing exploration with a sense of wonder and curiosity. The greatest tragedy is that Enterprise was never allowed the 2-3 seasons that were required for the TNG-era series to find their footing. I really felt the show matured significantly during its run and showed a great deal of promise in the 3rd and 4th seasons. The relaunch books are a small consolation.
This is going to sound like trolling, but I mean it sincerely:
How much gay content is contained in a book by Martin and Mangels?
It’s fine if there are gay characters, but I don’t want it to be a crux of the story, nor do I want an agenda pushed on me.
I’m looking forward to this new book. I have “The Good That Men Do” but I haven’t had the time to read it yet (which I’m planning to do after I read “Star Trek Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers”) but it sounds interesting. I also wish that ENT had dealt with the Romulan Wars and I believe they would have had they continued. By the way, did you know that ENT would be finishing it’s 7th season this year? Manny Coto did many great things with ENT and tying it into the rest of Star Trek. I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it a while ago and I’m definatly looking forward to the Romulan War series of books (or Trade Paperback). The Romulan War has never been explored and I’m hoping that we’ll finally learn something about that conflict. Hopefully ENT will achieve its potential in print.
Good stuff! Love the DIGITAL BITS!!!!!
GUYS! Its “Canon”, not “Cannon”! Get a dictionary!
The thing that bothered me about ‘These are the voyages’ was not the death of Trip, it was the fact that it took place 6 years later than the end of season 4 – yet nothing had changed. They were not at the founding of the federation – they were at the founding of the coalition that would lead to the federation (which had already happened one episode earlier). I found this a big let-down. I thought if they’re gonna jump forward a few years then surely they could tell the story of the founding of the federation – which was the intial goal of enterprise.
The re-setting of the story to a few days later rather than 6 years later made *MUCH* more sense.
As for the TNG-ing of Enterprise, I kinda liked that touch. It was nice to see Riker/Troi again, the voice cameo of Data was unexpected fun, and it legitimised the fact that Enterprise really was in TNG’s past and that the characters knew of the NX01 crew.
The best thing JJ Abrams could do for the fans is to put Conner Trinneer in old-man make-up at the Enterprise launch, and make sure the Tucker name shows up in the credits with him.
Eat it, Braga!
Loved ENT on tv and am looking forward to the books.
I’d like to see the Trek Universe open up a Huge Book series (16 or more) with a chronological timeline and different contributing authors. I really dig the Star Wars New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force series that do that. You get the different viewpoints but still have one large overiding arc.
I’d think something like the Romulan War would be great to explore that way.
I like Plato’s Stepchildren, but I wish they would cut out the first interracial kiss. I hate to have an agenda pushed on me.
I’ve been looking forward to this title ever since the first tentative hints about it were revealed…
I agree that this period allows for much more exploration than just one book or even a trilogy of books, and I would hate to see Enterprise come to a close (again) in novel form so soon.
I don’t normally read the Trek books, but I’ve read all of the Enterprise books out so far. I really liked the series and was sad to see it end. So I took a break from technical manuals to read the Enterprise books. Most recently, I read TGTMD and enjoyed it.
It’s nice to have Trip back from the dead, but I wasn’t happy with the “Saving Private Ryan” opening and closing scenes in LFM where he was re-introduced. “What? Trip is ALIVE and he worked on Kirk’s Enterprise? And he met LITTLE KIRK?” It was so much fan wanking. All of LFM was crap, and I posted a rather long, scathing review of it on my blog at the time (it’s still there if you’re in the mood for self-righteous venom).
Both of the books after LFM were pretty good, and kept me from walking away from Enterprise altogether. I can’t wait to read “Kobayashi Maru” now. It’s too bad that Trip won’t be in it.
Will somebody with brains please pull the plug on this ENT crap already? Its so obvious that ENT was a huge mistake yet they still try to support it and keep trying to explain contradictions to canon? Wow, how silly…
I never really bought into the “twists” in ‘The Good That Men Do.’ Billions upon billions of people mistaking an event which took place in 2155 as an event which took place in 2161, and believing it for over two centuries, is highly unlikely.
That’s just one of my complaints regarding the book. I wouldn’t call it a poor or unimaginative attempt to “fix” TATV, but it just didn’t work with me. The book did have some cool things about it, though, and I wish the authors/editors luck with future novels.
ENT had its problems, but it was by far a huge mistake. Also, there are no such things as contradictions in canon… there are only *apparent* contradictions. They’re only apparent because they can all be very easily explained… at least, for those with active imaginations and intelligence. Basically the only people who say there are contradictions and hate the show because of that are those who are not willing to think a little. ‘Tis one of my pet peeves, actually.
Basically, the authors/editors are rightfully refusing to simply accept that apparent contradictions cannot be explained away logically and believably. Now, whether they succeed (or have succeeded) is another discussion entirely. :P
Correction to #41 — It was by far FROM BEING a huge mistake. Actually, better wording might have been “It was nowhere close to being huge mistake.” :P
#29 – Surprisingly little, actually. Excelsior “Forged In Fire”, for example, had practically no references, which is somewhat ironic, considering who one of the book’s main characters was played by.
That being said, I’m not too sure whether I’ll like my Earth-Romulan War to be played out in book form… seeing as how it’ll be a time with none of the characters that we’re all familiar with. I guess I’m just not open to a TOTALLY new cast of characters.
The Fed-Rom war will be a tough one because the writers will have to ignore almost everything from Balance of Terror: Primitive ships with no visual communication, nuclear bombs, no Human-Romulan contact. All gotta go.
I absolutely loved “The Good That Men Do”. The powers that be can say whatever they want, but that book will always be canon to me. The same will go with this new book, which I’m really looking forward to, and the upcoming Romulan War books.
I can’t wait!
Kobayashi Maru would have made a badass ENT episode.
If they could have gotten the same guy who did the voice for TWOK that would been aweeeeeesome.
“Can you assist us, Enterprise?”
Live long and prosper dear crew of the NX-01! I loved ENT, and will be at Borders tomorrow looking for these first two books! Any one of you moron, “ENT is NOT canon” naysayers, really need to can the fanatic-facism… It’s on screen, it’s canon, simple as that. If you just don’t have imagination enough to fit it all together, oh well then, but then you know what they say about opinions… That goes even for mine. ENT lives on, Trek on whole lives on, and all your archaic bickerings will forever be pointless.
Enterprise could have been done a *lot* better, but they did a lot of things right, and I like the interior design, uniforms, and (obviously) visual effects of Enterprise the most out of all the series. Mainly, the writers of Enterprise should have been more creative and ambitious, but you know what? Many dyed-in-the-wool Trekkers would have cried “canon violation!” even more if they had. It’s also just plain true that all of the series, TOS included, suffered from occasional bad writing. Anyway, it pleases me that they’re still writing books for Enterprise. What would really please me is if they honor Enterprise canon in the new movie… and from what I’ve seen of the new design of the NCC-1701 from the new movie, they’re doing it to some degree (metallic skin, nacelle cap coloration, etc.).
Re: 48… Yea, I’d love to see a nod to ENT in the new flick, the ship design, mention of characters, anything!
They could say “the second starship to bear the name…”