Synopses for March Star Trek Books: “STO: Needs of the Many” & “Unspoken Truth”

Last week we reported on the updated Pocket Books 2010 schedule for Star Trek books. We now have more details on the two books coming next month, with new synopses for "Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many" and the Saavik-centric "Star Trek: Unspoken Truth". See below to find out what you can be reading in March.


March Star Trek Book details

Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many
by Michael A. Martin (and Jake Sisko)

Prior to the terror-filled times of the Long War—the seemingly endless struggle against the Undine, a paranoid, shape-shifting race once known only as Species 8472—enemy sleeper agents quietly penetrated every echelon of Federation society, as well as other starfaring civilizations throughout the Alpha and Beta quadrants. The ensuing conflict shook humanity to its very core, often placing its highest ideals against a pure survival instinct. All too frequently, the Undine War demanded the harshest of sacrifices and exacted the steepest of personal costs from the countless millions whose lives the great interdimensional clash forever altered.

Drawn from his exhaustive research and interviews, The Needs of the Many delivers a glimpse of Betar Prize–winning author Jake Sisko’s comprehensive "living history" of this tumultuous era. With collaborator Michael A. Martin, Sisko illuminates an often-poorly-understood time, an age marked indelibly by both fear and courage—not to mention the willingness of multitudes of unsung heroes who became the living embodiment of the ancient Vulcan philosopher Surak’s famous axiom, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

[pre-order at Amazon]

Note: There is also an extract from "Needs of the Many" in Star Trek Magazine #24, which arrives on newsstands next week, or you can pick it up at  TFAW.

STM #24
(newsstand edition)

STM #24
(previews exclusive edition)



Star Trek: Unspoken Truth

by Margaret Wander Bonanno

A social experiment was conceived. Its goal was to breed the best, the brightest, the most malleable and most loyal soldiers to ever serve. To this end, the Romulan Empire used its own children, blinded by the belief that anything that would bring glory to the praetor was justified. And when the winds of politics changed, these children were abandoned, left to die on a world so horrifying that it was dubbed—by those who dared to cling to life—Hellguard.

One wild child, Saavik, was rescued by Spock. He took the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan child home to his parents, knowing that if anyone could reach and rescue Saavik, it was them.

Now a Starfleet officer, Saavik has striven to honor her mentor and her Vulcan heritage. But recent events have shaken her. Left behind on Vulcan while the rest of the Enterprise crew goes to face court-martial for stealing and destroying their ship, the young science officer is adrift when two men from her past confront her. Tolek, another Hellguard survivor, tells Saavik that the survivors are being killed one-by-one and only they can discover who and why. The other, a Romulan who claims to be her father, swears it is the Vulcans who are eliminating the Hellguard survivors because they are an embarrassment to all of Vulcan, but that she has the power to stop it, by bringing down the Vulcan ambassador, Sarek.

Not knowing where to turn, not knowing whom to trust, Saavik must find her own answers, and discover who she truly is.

[pre-order at Amazon]


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The Saavik saga looks good, though I haven’t read a Trek novel in quite some time. The STO is very meh! After the blank invasion and the war with blank following the blankity-blank conflict. Yuck! The Trek quest for the biggest, baddest, ‘seeming unstoppable’ enemy is one of the sad, unfortunate side effects of the otherwise excellent Best of Both Worlds.

While I will definitely read the STO book because Michael A Martins work is genius, I think theres a little too much war going on.

First the Dominion war, now this Undine (Species 8472) war, before the “Long War” which I figure is the one with the Klingons that the game is based on.

I mean, its Star Trek not Star W…

well, you get it.

Really don’t like the sound of The STO book… Why do all the writers of Star Trek put the Federation in these all-out, billions-of-lives-lost wars? I really thought the Destiny series was exactly what trek wasn’t about..Billions of lives eradicated, planets destroyed, violence all over the place. It made the Dominion War and the Borg invasion look like a fist fight. Where in the history of trek do these epic wars that rock the foundation of humanity happen?

I think this is the authors desperate grab at trying to make trek “relevant” for the times.. But if they saw the poor ratings for the Enterprise season with the Xindi, they would know that fans don’t want their Captain to be Jack Bauer from 24, and their storylines to come from Star Wars. We want Trek. Good stories, thought-provoking problems, and an occasional conflict that doesn’t end in the annihilation of everything and everyone.

Anyone feel the same way?


I agree for the most part. Going over-the-top with the apocalyptic story lines gets old. It seems desperate or unoriginal. Not all stories need to be about billions of lives hanging in the balance.

Plus, the ‘Undines’, c’mon? How terrifying can an alien race be when their name looks like ‘undies’ if you look at it cross-eyed. I say threaten them with a good pantsing.

2 and 3- YES. Though I enjoyed the Destiny series, I felt the same way about it and the Borg saga leading up to it. Once in a great while is okay, but its getting to be too much. And that sort of thing isn’t really what Trek is all about.

After reading the summary for the STO book I’m actually glad that the rest of the Pocket Books universe is going to be “parallel” to the Star Trek: Online universe.

Of course, the Pocket universe has its own “big war arc” coming up, with the Typhon Pact saga that’s about to start. Sigh.

I stopped reading the Star Wars books after the whole Yuzzan Vong (sp?) war arc. It was good but I just got tired of endless death and depression, and huge 10-20 book storylines. I hope Trek doesn’t end up the same.

On the bright side, the Saavik book sounds great! I really enjoyed ‘The Pandora Principle” in the 80s, where Spock rescues Saavik from Hellguard. This sounds like a good followup.

David Gerrold did a great series in Starlog, waaay back about the impulse to write formulaic stories. I really think after Best of Both Worlds, subsequent Treks relied on this ultimate, unstoppable force war story too many times. Think about it. It is damned easy writing, compared to a compelling exploration story or a puzzling mystery.

7- One bright spot is that the Destiny trilogy, and the “borg” book before it (“Greater than the Sum”), were not formulaic war books like I was afraid they would be. They actually did tell very compelling stories and had mystery and exploration, and fascinating new alien races. Everything you’d want from a Trek book.

The two borg books before them were though, one by PAD and one by JM Dillard, they had exactly the same plot and were both basically “The Best of Both Worlds … Again (sigh).” After the second one I was like “Didn’t I just read this book???”

I just hope they keep it fresh with the Typhon Pact books. Holding out hope.

In the late 90s and early 00s they had a whole mess of “Enterprise saves the universe” books, and that got old, especially because no matter what happened, everything was reset to normal by the last page.

One thing Destiny did well is show the aftermath. They didn’t just put the toys back like they found them.

#6, #7, #5, and everyone else-

I agree with all of you guys, and I totally forgot about the Typhon pact arc! I hope I hope I hope that they don’t turn that into a war arc. It actually sounds interesting dealing with the politics of peace with a new power in the quadrant; IF they keep it to diplomacy, intrigue, a LITTLE phaser fire, and yes, no depressing genocide.

Datalore, you hit it right on the head.

#7, thats very true about BBOBW.

I know alot of people on here bash Voyager, but one of the best villians ever were the Vidiians because they had a completely different M.O. as opposed to every other villian.

It was nice to see stories about a species that were more interested in harvesting your organs than taking your planet/resources.

I am hopeful that the Typhon Pact thing will be something more than just, we’re gonna conquer you all Kilngon style. While some conflict will be cool to read about, I’m confident that it wont be too one-dimensional.

While the Destiny series is awesome (David Mack rules) we don’t need repeating apocalyptic events for good Start Trek stories.

I was turned off to ST:O as a whole, just the general concept of the game, by the fact that the whole game seemed like it was just going to be about endless federation-at-war.

That may make for a good video game but it totally misses the point of the franchise. I enjoy playing a starfleet captain, but only if I get to “explore strange new worlds…”

Of course, that’s a much harder game to make. :-)

Looking forward to the Saavik book.

“…he seemingly endless struggle against the Undine, a paranoid, shape-shifting race once known only as Species 8472…”

I’m not too keen on every ‘Trek race there is, but is it just me, but does that description sound a LOT like the Founders (DS9)? They’re pretty darn paranoid and last I checked, they could shapeshift. Hm…

In any case, I can’t wait for the STO book. I love Jake Sisko to death (Rising Son is what I’m reading right now; so good!!) and Michael A. Martin is a fab writer.

Also looking forward to the Saavik story. I always admired her as a character but felt she never got her due credit!

The STO Book is supposed to be what leads up to the Online Game though, I thought, and not really be a “war book”. I have a feeling it will incorporate parts of the Path to 2409 that they put out for the Online Game but didn’t finish probably because they realized they wanted to make this book. The material they’ve put out for the Online Game suggests that Species 8472 was infiltrating races like the Gorn and stirring the tides of war. So the Klingon conflict of the game would seem to be a prelude to an invasion by Species 8472 in an attempt to weaken both sides, much like what happened on Deep Space Nine before the Dominion War. Sounds interesting and I will definitely be buying this book.

I also agree with many of the comments here. Whoever is making these decisions at Pocket Books better start thinking more creatively than these DULL epic war stories. Doesn’t feel like Trek to me at all. Cross marketing that’s all it is and somewhere the search for ‘new lifeforms and civilizations’ has been lost. I won’t be reading the ‘Online’ books. Sick and tired of any Mirror Universe books too. For a moment there it seemed Pocket was getting back on track but no they are losing their way again. I would rather good stand alone tales from the various Trek franchises once or twice a year than a bunch of thinly disguised Star Wars stories.

While I won’t play the game, I may pick up the STO book, just to read something outside of his Enterprise work, which has left me cold.

However, Unspoken Truth is a must buy. Is it a semi-sequel to The Pandora Principle? I saw that mentioned a few posts back.

#13, “Rising Son” was a GREAT read. Some really cool Gamma quadrant stories in that book.

Agreed with everyone here, since when did Trek become all war all the time?

Also, if they want to be realistic, where is the pacifist section of the federation that decides after one of these great wars they’d rather let the other guys handle it- let the klingons kill the romulans why do we need to get involved?

16 – Here’s a quote from a recent interview with the author:

Besides her appearances in the movies, Saavik has also appeared elsewhere in Trek literature, which leads to the question of where Margaret turned to when working on her interpretation of the character. “I’m relying somewhat on Carolyn Clowes’ excellent novel The Pandora Principle,” she reveals. “In the novelisation of The Wrath of Khan, Vonda McIntyre makes passing reference to Saavik’s being half-Romulan and an orphan from a planet called Hellguard, but isn’t able to go into a lot of detail. Clowes takes that concept much further, showing us a feral child surviving on a hostile world when the Romulans abandon it. I’m paying homage to that in a number of flashbacks, tweaking it a bit to fit my story.

The post-TWOK DC Comics Star Trek series also used the same backstory for Saavik waaaaaaay back in early 1984. I’m pleased that Saavik’s half-Romulan heritage hasn’t been lost in the age of “if it wasn’t mentioned on screen it didn’t happen” era, since back in the day we all accepted Saavik’s bi-racial status because it was so widely mentioned in TWOK’s promotional materials and in the novelization.

I’ll also be very pleased to read a new Star Trek novel by Margaret Wander Bananno. Old school!

#17 :: And it was a really good representation of Trek — at its core! (Well, to me, anyways..) It was about exploring new frontiers (um, the Gamma Quadrant), encountering new civilizations (let’s face it, Pif, Srral (Sraal?), and Stessie were pretty darn weird, in a good way), and also about self-discovery (throughout the novel, Jake has to learn to really grow up and move past his father being gone). And they bring back Tosk and Opaka Sulan. Win!

I love S.D. Perry’s work sooo much. It’s so good. I fell in love with Sarek, too. Awesomeness right there.

#15 :: Really? You don’t like the Mirror Universe stuff? I think it’s great. Fearful Symmetry and The Soul Key rocked, if ya ask me. Iliana Ghemor was crazy, but she was such an awesome character. Some of the anthologies are kinda boring at times, but what Olivia Woods did with the Mirror Universe was way cool. I hope we get to see more of what happens with Ghemor and the mirror wormhole in a future DS9 novel.

How can a fictional Character write a book. LOL!
Jake Sisko is not real. He was played by an actor who is real and probably had nothing to do with this book.

#22 :: Eh, it’s probably just stated that way on the cover for.. uh… novel purposes. Like if it seems that it’s the character truly telling the story, instead of just being first-person. It’s a writing technique that’s usually either very cool or very fail.
Parts of Q-Squared were kind of like that. With the main character also being a narrator, at least partially. But I guess we’ll just find out when “Needs of the Many” comes out!

I agree about writers not being able to get past TBoBW. In part, I blame the failings of the story itself and the desperate need for the plot reset button. In TBoBW, thousands died, yet we pretty much missed the Wolf battle and didn’t even find out about the death toll until The Drumhead.

Thing is, war stories can be interesting when there’s cost. Imagine the Borg had actually done more damage: Earth in ruins, Vulcan destroyed, the Federation left in chaos… That’s a great series-changing two-parter.

This being Star Trek (ie the intelligent one of the ‘Star’ franchises) the aftermath should have been far more interesting. For all the noise and offscreen deathtoll, watching the subsequent seasons of TNG, you wouldn’t have known the Federation had taken a pasting, most of the time (Redemption II being the exception!)

As a result subsequent seasons and Trek shows were stuck with finding a ‘Biggest threat since…’ scenario. TBoBW is a lesson that, if you tell an ‘ultimate threat’ tale, you have to have visible, longlasting consequences.

22: The same way a fictional character can pilot a starship?

@24 I can’t agree enough with what you posted. I’d have ended DS9 with the Dominion winning, because it would open up so many story possibilities: a Federation resistance led by Admiral Picard, a government in exile on Qo’nos led by President Leonard McCoy, Spock guiding Romulus’ last stand, a resistance cell on Earth with Scotty, Bashir, Data and Sisko, Chancellor Worf leading the Klingon effort to liberate the Alpha and Beta quadrants…I know that sounds like fan ****, but imagine Voyager coming home to that!

Some posters above have also said that Trek seems to be moving to a model of seeking out bigger and badder threats. This may be the Stargate model, but I don’t believe it is true of Trek. We only have the Borg, Dominion (who appeared in possibly Trek’s most powerful storyline, and are more equals to our heroes than all-powerful) and 8472 (who have featured very little). Actually, I like the way Trek develops its species/races over time:

1. Klingons – TOS: Fed opinion is that they’re bloodthirsty militaristic savages (c.f. western opinions of USSR, China, etc.). We later learn they are a deeply honourable, artistic (references to literature), and very human-like society. We are told that much influence for them comes from Russia, but I see Japanese (honour, houses) and British (warrior race, declining power – and for me, it seems obvious the Empire is declining: probably due to Praxis. Their natural destiny is eventual Fed membership) in them too.

I like the look of the modern-era Klingons (post-TMP), but I’d like to see more of the Klingon intelligentsia that obviously exists: politicians (a la Gorkon, Chang, etc.), scientists, etc. These days we only see the foot-soldiers.

2. Romulans – Based ostensibly on Rome but with a Japanese flavour: secretive, insular race to trustworthy (almost) allies in times of need. Not too different too ourselves. Worf: “…they fight with honour…”. After DS9 & Nemesis, we don’t need them to be portrayed as enemies anymore.

3. Ferengi: The Feds initially perceive them as a potential threat on the scale of the Klingons/Romulans. We learn (even though they take a comedy bent) the Ferengi are not a military threat, but a potential trading partner.

To summarise, Trek is still a lot more 3-dimensional than most other ‘franchises’ out there, and even if it looks like they’re looking for the short term ‘hit’ of action themes, layers are still added to the universe.

Sorry for the long post: wish I could’ve elaborated further, but I don’t want to be rude.

This is why Trek needs to return to a weekly series. Every plot in one off movies and novels seems to involve the angle “we must destroy this one diabolical enemy before it destroys the universe.” I miss the thought provoking Trek episodes. The one’s where action and adventure were there but you also had to think your way through it. A twist at the end. I knew that Nero would be defeated at the end of the new Trek flick (don’t freak I still liked the movie) so it was a fun ride but no surprise at the end. I understand that the novels and movies have to hit hard and fast and that’s expected. I just miss the occasional cliffhanger and wondering for the next week “How will Kirk/Picard/Sisko/Janeway/Archer get out of this one?”

27 – That’s not entirely true of the novels anymore. About 10 years ago it was more true. Except for the high profile multi-book borg arc recently, of course. The one-off novels actually tend to be more classic trek. (Such as the Unspoken Truth mentioned in this article.)

I agree about the movies though. It is much easier on TV or in the books to have more thoughtful plotlines; movies always seem to want to be “evil villain that must be stopped” stories to appeal to the mass market. To me, that’s not really Trek, though it can be entertaining. Seriously, was Nero really that much different than the romulan villains in Nemesis (whose names I’ve already forgotten)?

The sort of Trek you’re looking for exists – seek out the Vanguard or Titan serieses. Or, anything by Christopher Bennett, he’s been writing some great “exploration” novels lately.

I would love to see another TV series though. As long as it didn’t suck.

What’s that line from Buffy about having to learn the plural form of “Apocalypse”? Oh well, Istill have my hopes up for “Typhon Pact”…

That being said, Unspoken Truth sounds great. Margaret Wander Bonnano is a terrific writer — you should check out her TMP-era novel “Probe”, if you haven’t already.

Can you imagine a new trek series with Saavik as a character? I can!

The Typhon Pact books are not a “war epic.” At all.

Dayton, thats great to know, esp coming from one of the authors.

Very much looking forward to reading about the Typhon Pact!

I never got the vibe that the Typhon Pact novels were going to be a “war” epic, so that’s good to know. Maybe “cold war”, but that’s different – political intrigue, diplomacy and shifting loyalties are very much a part of all incarnations of Trek.

So far, the post-Destiny books have been a riff on Commander Ben Sisko’s observation from “The Maquis” episode of DS9 – “It’s easy to be a saint in paradise”. I like it – how long will Federation principles stand in the face of overwhelming danger and loss? Kind of sounds like an allegory of what our democratic society has and will face in the future…

I am patiently waiting for the Typhon Pact stories to begin in earnest!

I never really cared for the all out War stories. Even against the Borg, it always seemed to be a series of battles, not a war (and, yes, I know a series of battles CAN be a war, but I never got that impression from the Borg conflicts). I was also very happy with DS9 before the Dominion War began and really had to warm up to the war as a storyline. In the end, I feel that they handled it well and made it work for DS9. Unfortunately, the Temporal Cold War was really crap from the get-go and never, never got any better, ever. Don’t get me wrong, as a whole, I really liked Enterprise, just not that aspect of the show. What I’m trying to say is this: I think that some of the best episodes of any of the series are not born of war. From “City on the Edge of Forever” (Gods, Harlan, yes–your check’s in the mail) and “Devil in the Dark” to “Darmok” and “Inner Light,” to “Dear Doctor” and “Carbon Creek”, these are Star Trek at its best: barely a shot fired and a new understanding acheived. We don’t need new enemies, we need new ideas.

31- Good. :-)

Hmm…I was really looking forward to there being a novel set in or around the STO timeline but the description above does not really excite me. I was hoping for something different I suppose.

Many of the plots and stories in the MMO are very cool and following a crew and ship in that setting would be quite interesting. So too would be a book similar to the Articles of the Federation novel, this new one following Jake Sisko as his interviews with key characters illustrate how we got from ST: Nemesis to STO.

A book about a war with Species 90210 does not interest me at all as the text above sounds nearly identical to what things were like when the shapeshifting Founders were everywhere in the Dominion War. Just replaces Undine with Founders in every sentence and its exactly the same story.

The Undine/Species 911 are visually interesting, however they (like many elements of the ST:Voyager series) have been glossed over and given no real detail or depth IMO. They were scary and tough for the same reason Paris Hilton is popular. We are told they are by their publicists.

“Star Trek: Unspoken Truth”

I read it yesterday, actually read it in one go. Usually i skip certain pages cause it is same old same old. yet if i would do that now, i would miss vital parts. good storyline, characters very in canon and overal a delight to read. Also the fast saavik had finally a huge part in the book was also a relief.

For the TOS collectors and Saavik fans a definite must buy.