While much of the buzz in 2009 was about the new Star Trek movie, the world of Star Trek continued in earnest on the printed page in novels and comics and non-fiction books. Today we continue our year end look back with our selections of the best in Star Trek books and comics for 2009.
BEST STAR TREK BOOKS AND COMICS OF 2009
TrekMovie editors John Tenuto, Robert Lyons and Alex Fletcher contributed to this article.
STAR TREK NOVELS IN 2009
Despite laying off the two leading Star Trek editors (Marco Palmieri in December 2008 and Margaret Clark in August) Pocket Books maintained an ambitious schedule throughout 2009. Novels spanned the Trek universe with entries from Vanguard, New Frontier, Titan, Enterprise, Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine and the original series, along with the New York Times best-selling novelization of the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. With so much to chose from, making it was hard to make the calls on the best, but the call has been made.
Best Novel: Star Trek: Troublesome Minds
written by Dave Galanter
While several very unique novels, Christopher L. Bennett’s “Over a Torrent Sea” and James Swallow’s “Synthesis” joined with “The Never Ending Sacrifice” in contending for top honors, it is ultimately a blast from the past that takes the top spot among this year’s outings – Dave Galanter’s Original Series outing “Troublesome Minds” featured an outstanding storyline and a significant moral dilemma for Spock, one that would eventually form the basis for his decision to pursue the Kholinar discipline after the Enterprise’s original five-year mission. “Troublesome Minds” was also a magnificent throwback to an earlier era of Star Trek fiction, one where the stories were told on a stand-alone basis, and where the unexpected could come to pass on most every page. This isn’t to say that arc-based storytelling is bad, but the feeling of nostalgia one gets when reading Galanter’s entry into this year’s stable of Trek Lit is profound; at least for those of us who read and enjoyed
many of the early Star Trek books from Pocket. [available at Amazon — see TrekMovie Review]
Best Novel Cover: Deep Space Nine: The Never-Ending Sacrifice
art by Nicolas Bouvier
The year was filled with the repercussions of the late-2008 “Destiny” trilogy in the TNG timeline, and featured a well-received relaunch of the Voyager novels at the hands of author Kirsten Beyer. DS9 fans were treated to two significant stories this year, the second of which, Una McCormack’s “The Never Ending Sacrifice” features arguably the year’s best cover. While Doug Drexler and MoJo continue to amaze with their CGI starship and space scenes, it is Nicolas Bouvier’s stark view of Cardassia that comes across as both the most original and unique of the year. The book itself features one of the most original and unique Star Trek stories in years, and was a pleasure to read; but the title of best book of the year goes to a book from earlier in the year. [available at Amazon — see
STAR TREK NON-FICTION IN 2009
Almost from its beginning and the publication of "The Making of Star Trek" in 1967 by Stephen Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek has enjoyed extensive non fiction treatment. From guides to the USS Enterprise to episode compendiums, there are always interesting behind the scene or technical information to explore. 2009 was no different. Which were the best?
Best Non-fiction Book: Star Trek – The Art of the Film (Titan)
written by Mark Cotta Vaz
Although we had to wait until the release of the DVD in November, "Star Trek: The Art of the Film" was worth the wait. The coffee table book gave you a real insight into how JJ Abrams, Production Designer Scott Chambliss and all the movie artists re-imagined the universe of Star Trek. Although primarily a book of imagery, the text provided by Cotta Vas (and the foreword by JJ Abrams) provides lots of details about the decisions made along the way to each area of the film, including ship designs, sets, costumes, makeup and more. [available at Amazon — see TrekMovie review]
Best Reference Book: Star Trek: A Comic Book History (Hermes)
written by Alan J. Porter
Covering all Star Trek comics beginning with Gold Key’s 1960s books and published by Hermes Press, this is an exhaustive guide. It is organized nicely, with a history of each licensee, and then a summary of each issue. Illustrated throughout, the only hope is that the next edition will include more about the IDW comics line which is too new to really be covered historically, yet has produced some excellent titles. The best feature of the book is its detailing of the newspaper strips which many fans may not have enjoyed before. Combine Porter’s text this with last year’s impressive Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection CDROM by GIT Corp and comic fans will be very happy with these historical achieves. [available at Amazon]
Best Biography/Memoir: The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood (Viking)
written by Nicholas Meyer
In a year where the general public embraced Star Trek again, it is, to borrow a cliché, "fascinating" to revisit past Trek films from the brow of writer and director Nicholas Meyer. Meyer provides insight without providing answers to readers – he doesn’t explain everything, he provides a historical account as he remembers the details and provides fans with new information and behind the scenes tales, This is an honest account, yet refreshingly it doesn’t include the vapid tabloid fodder of some other celebrity biographies. There are also interesting chapter’s on Meyer’s non Star Trek films and his own life experiences, some of which are heart aching, all of which provide a fascinating tapestry of one of Star Trek’s most important creators. [available at Amazon — see TrekMovie review]
STAR TREK COMICS IN 2009
IDW released 37 comic books over 11 mini-series this year, some fantastic, some pedestrian, and some downright terrible. There was heavy concentration on stories around the new film, and these three series ("Countdown", "Nero", and "Spock: Reflections") stood up to scrutiny well when viewed alongside JJ Abrams’ film.
Best Single Issue: Alien Spotlight: Klingons
written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, art by J,K. Woodard
The best overall issue came from the second volume of the "Alien Spotlight" series, and was Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Klingons issue. IDW got the perfect author to put this trio of short tales together, telling stories about Kang at three different points of his life as he tells the tale that gave rise to the Klingon saying "Four thousand throats may be cut in a single night by a running man." Of course, a story can only go so far, and without good art to tell the tale, the benefit is lost. DeCandido got one of IDW’s most creative artists in J.K Woodward, and he uses a different art style for each story ranging from water colors to colored pencils to classic comic pencil and inks.
Best Series: Star Trek Countdown
story by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, written by Tim Jones & Mike Johnson, art by David Messina
The best series of the year was the first one that began in 2009, "Countdown". This story was jam-packed action and exposition in four short issues, but gave us a farewell to the Next Generation crew a few years after the events of Nemesis, tying them into the story of Nero and Spock before the beginning of the new Star Trek film. The comic came out over the course of three months leading up to the debut of the new film, whetting our appetites, and giving a peek into what might come to pass. This series was so well received that it led to series telling more details of Spock and Nero’s decisions and tales in and around the movie. It also holds the honor of being the first Star Trek comic from IDW o be published in a hardcover format. In short, attention was paid to every detail on this series, including the cover art from David Messina which, when put together, forms a comic style version of the Star Trek logo with Nero, Data, Spock, and Picard’s visages in each of the four
quadrants. [Available in trade paperback and hardcover at Amazon — TrekMovie review]
Best Cover: Mission’s End #1 (‘B’ cover)
by Kevin Maguire
Kevin Maguire has not worked on Star Trek comics since drawing several characters for DC’s "Who’s Who" back in 1987. He made his return this year with a single cover for the first issue of Ty Templeton’s "Mission’s End" series. This cover, the "B" cover, captured the gist of the series’ synopsis in one clean image – Kirk, McCoy, and Spock walking in three separate directions as the Starfleet emblem shatters behind them. No other cover had the same amount of depth and meaning with such simplicity. [Mission’s End Series available in paperback at Amazon — see TrekMovie review]
TrekMovie is looking back at the year that was. In the series so far:
And there is a lot more to look at. Each day until the end of the year TrekMovie will have another year in review looking at more aspects of Star Trek from the movie, to celebrity news and more.
Review copies for some of the above products provided by IDW, Pocket Books and Viking Books.