Next ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Novel Tells Rios’ Backstory; ‘Coda’ Trilogy Wraps Up Post-‘Nemesis’ Litverse

Earlier this month Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books laid out plans for Star Trek fiction through the rest of the first half of the year, including the next Star Trek: Discovery novel. Now they have filled out their slate for Star Trek books through the end of the year, which includes the third Star Trek: Picard tie-in, a grand finale trilogy for the post-Nemesis litverse, and a DS9 tie-in.

August: Rogue Elements, all about Rios’ time after Starfleet

The next Picard novel is written by John Jackson Miller, who has written a number of Star Trek novels including two Discovery tie-ins, the latest of which was last year’s Die Trying (see review).

Here is the official synopsis:

Starfleet was everything for Cristóbal Rios—until one horrible, inexplicable day when it all went wrong. Aimless and adrift, he grasps at a chance for a future as an independent freighter captain in an area betrayed by the Federation, the border region with the former Romulan Empire. His greatest desire: to be left alone.

But solitude isn’t in the cards for the captain of La Sirena, who falls into debt to a roving gang of hoodlums from a planet whose society is based on Prohibition-era Earth. Teamed against his will with Ledger, his conniving overseer, Rios begins an odyssey that brings him into conflict with outlaws and fortune seekers, with power brokers and relic hunters across the stars.

Exotic loves and locales await—as well as dangers galore—and Rios learns the hard way that good crewmembers are hard to find, even when you can create your own. And while his meeting with Jean-Luc Picard is years away, Rios finds himself drawing on the Starfleet legend’s experiences when he discovers a mystery that began on one of the galaxy’s most important days…

The book will be released on August 17, 2021. You can pre-order it at Amazon in hardcover for $25.00, or Kindle for $16.62.

September: November – Coda trilogy, wrapping up post-Nemesis litverse

In the last two decades, there have been numerous novels set in the Star Trek universe in the decade after the events of the film Star Trek: Nemesis, with stories featuring characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. With no other films or TV series set in the 24th century, these books had free rein to define the post-Nemesis era. However, now that CBS is making shows set after Nemesis, most notably Star Trek: Picard, this “litverse” is no longer in line with the newly defined Prime Universe canon.

The last book in this series was released in late 2019, a few months ahead of the premiere of Picard. Now Pocket Books is planning on a return to this Trek novel’s continuity, to wrap it all up with the Star Trek: Coda trilogy, written by three of their most prolific authors: Dayton Ward, James Swallow, and David Mack. After Simon & Schuster revealed the titles and release dates, all three authors posted more details about the series online. Dayton  Ward summarized the genesis and plan for the series on Facebook:

Back in July 2019 and in response to what we knew about the then-forthcoming Picard TV series, David Mack and I sat down at the Shore Leave convention for the first of what would be many conversations that quickly expanded to include James Swallow, and we got to work on a project that we’ve been calling “The Plan.”
The result of all that scheming is a new #StarTrek trilogy, CODA, which will push forward the ongoing 24th century Trek novel continuity… [W]e spent a good portion of early-mid 2020 developing the story together… We each weighed in on the other outlines as we got those whipped into shape, and presented the entire package to our editors as well as the licensing folks at CBS. While each book is credited to its author, the plan is for all three books to carry a joint story credit the same way Dave, Kevin Dilmore, and I did for certain books within the Vanguard and Seekers series.

Here is the release schedule and pre-order links from Amazon

  • September 28: Star Trek: Coda: Book 1: Moments Asunder, by Dayton Ward – Paperback $16.00.
  • October 12: Star Trek: Coda: Book 2: The Ashes of Tomorrow, by James Swallow – Paperback $16.00.
  • November 30: Star Trek: Coda: Book 3: Oblivion’s Gate, by David Mack – Paperback $16.00.

December: Revenant, a DS9 story about Jadzia and Kira

2021 will wrap up with a tie-in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine titled Revenant, which will be the debut Star Trek novel by Alex White, author of a number of sci-fi novels including the Salvagers trilogy and Alien tie-ins.  There is no synopsis for the book yet, but it is set during the Deep Space Nine series timeframe and will focus on Jadzia Dax and Kira Nerys.

Revenant will be released on December 21, 2021. You can sign up to be notified when it will be available for pre-order at Amazon.

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NOTE. Earlier today there was a problem with the comment system. However that has been resolved and people can now make comments again.

I enjoyed John Jackson Miller’s Pike’s Enterprise tie-in novel, so I’ll definitely be curious what he does with Rios, “planet of the hats” background story notwithstanding.

Having a wind up to the Relaunch litverse is fantastic news. Ward, Swallow and Mack are exactly the right team to land this.

All 3 Coda novels are available for pre-order in Canada now and I’ve ordered them all.

I think the TNG era is best explored through non Starfleet… this seems to be where challenges/drama/new ideas/diversity can still occur outside the free energy no conflict UFP.

“…from a planet whose society is based on Prohibition-era Earth”

Hmmm, could that be Sigma Iota II from A Piece of the Action?

I’d be shocked if it isn’t.

So this Coda trilogy wraps up the book timeline, which is different than the new TV timeline? So someone could watch the movies, and read the book series and not watch picard and essentially have their own alternate continuation and conclusion? Where could I find a list of the books that take place after nemesis for the main story\TNG cast? Thanks for helping out a noob!

Goodreads has a list of the “Relaunch” post-Nemesis novels.

There are subsequences for TNG that follow Enterprise and Titan separately, a set for DS9, and two Voyager sequences.

It works as a single continuity because Simon & Schuster organized a writers room with a managing editor who acted like a showrunner. While you will likely find some writers more to your personal taste than others, the continuity is well done.

As well sequences following on the 90s series, there are events sequences that bring together the various ships and crews.

The “Time to…” 8 novel series that leads up to Nemesis is a good place to start. The divergence from the new television continuity arguably begins in the latter books of that series.

The Destiny Trilogy, the Typhon Pact sequence, and The Fall will take you across the series.

Interesting that it is only this article itself which refers to the CODA trilogy as being the end of the post-Nemesis ‘lit-verse’.

The actual quote from Dayton Ward says that it will “… push forward the ongoing 24th century Trek novel continuity” which hardly implies an end.

Is there more to the announcement which actually confirms the article’s conclusion?

The fact that they refer to it as a ‘coda’ trilogy is a pretty big clue.

True enough, I suppose :)

It just seemed strange that the quote from Ward didn’t actually refer to the series finishing was all, as it seems like the kind of thing they’d specifically emphasise.

Plus, I seem to recall talk of keeping the novels going, not all that long ago, DESPITE them now diverging from what’s become the newly established TV narrative…

If this is to be the end, I’ll be really sorry to see them go, as I have thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the stories and it’s been nice to be able to ‘check in’ again with these characters over the years.

Still, “All Good Things…”

I would imagine that they’ll endeavour to wrap up any ongoing storylines and tie up any loose ends but Star Trek’s a cash cow. If there’s enough demand for stories set in the old Litverse then I’m sure Viacom CBS would be happy to commission them.

 Technically the novels could be treated as another branch of the timeline that’s just as valid as the Kelvin universe. For me though the one thing that  breaks that illusion is the amount of world building they’ve done with the property. That probably sounds crazy because it’s a given that any successful fictional universe  needs world building. It’s just that after Trek finished on Television they gave the publishing side a very wide latitude.

Don’t get me wrong it was great, exactly what the novels needed and it gave fans something to chew on in the post-Enterprise TV famine. Now the choices they made with the characters and events, they’re fine for me if viewing these stories as a different branching timeline then you would expect things to change significantly the further you get from the divergence. You wouldn’t however, expect entire races to change dramatically and whilst I’ll admit it’s a while since I’ve read any of the post Nemesis novels I seem to recall there being some pretty bold choices made in regards to some of Trek’s most significant races. I’m talking about things like the Borg origins and the stuff with the Andorians having 4 genders. Now I don’t think that either of these two things have been contradicted onscreen yet but it’s the expectation that one day they almost certainly will be that puts me off investing my time in the literature.

I must admit that I supported the choice of the new shows to abandon the narratives that had been set up in the novels continuity when they announced Picard. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to an arrangement in which key elements introduced in the literature were incorporated into canon in the live action universe. I don’t mean every little detail but certainly the big things, the rules that underpin the Star Trek universe, I think it would be nice if they remained consistent across all branches of the Star Trek timelines. to clarify I’m not saying that if TPTB wanted to let’s say explore the Borg origins that they would need to do a beat for beat retelling of the Destiny Trilogy. They could tell their own story just have it spring from the same previously established origin. You could argue that this would stifle creativity but is it anymore restrictive than the countless variations on super hero origin stories that still ultimately stick to the same core mythology.

Sorry, I went a little bit off tangent there but your lamenting the upcoming end of a Trek lit era just set me off thinking on how they might continue it as well as what they could do that might keep me personally more invested in the tie-in media and I guess it resulted in a rather meandering incoherent post lol.

No, not at all. Good post. Made a lot of sense.

I can completely understand any reluctance to invest time in these novels now, if you haven’t been keeping up with them that is, especially knowing that they are not official canon…

If reading is your thing, there’s so much competition for your time these days too (not just Star Trek!), and these latest books will likely rely quite a lot on foreknowledge of what has gone before, so not exactly a great jumping-on point.

Although I always understood that the new shows could not be beholden to the narratives established in the novels, I guess I was always hoping that they would not directly contradict the (major) events that were established, having invested quite a lot of time in them over the years. That was never realistic thinking on my part though.

I think you’re absolutely right in the sense that the very things which made the novels so worthwhile (the detailed world-building etc.) are now seemingly the same things that have ultimately led to their ‘downfall’.

The TV and novel paths would likely only diverge ever more, the longer both were kept going. And while I would be perfectly happy with that myself (an alternate branch of the timeline as you say) it would probably just make things too confusing for anyone who might pick up a novel expecting an expansion of what they’ve seen on-screen. That would not be great for consumerism.

It would be nice to think that at least some of the novel’s details will survive (perhaps a character or two) as a lot of hard work went into creating and establishing them over the years. But, as you say, the greater priority has to be creative freedom now.

The one thing I am confident about is that, as has been mentioned in earlier posts, with the writers involved here, the post-Nemesis ‘lit-verse’ should at least go out with a bang!

Thanks Half-Moon. I’m sure you’re right about it going out with a bang and the fact that it is at least getting a proper conclusion might tempt me to jump back into it again at some point. I agree it would be nice if some of the novels details do survive. Certainly it’s a given that the authors will reintroduce some of their original characters and put them into the new books that are more closely tied to the newer productions. I believe this has already happened with the second Picard tie in novel that focuses on Riker and Troi onboard the Titan. I think it would be cool though if the producers took a leaf out of Lucasfilm’s book and proactively cherry picked characters and plots from Star Treks rich history of none canon works.

Haven’t actually read any of the Picard novels yet, though I know the one you mean (The Dark Veil).

It’s interesting you mention it, because the early Titan books (“Taking Wing” onwards) were what really got me interested in the ‘lit-verse’ to begin with.

I really liked the unique characters that they introduced, and the fact that there were so many alien races making up the crew…something we never really saw on TV, to the same extent anyway. Reading these early books felt like getting to know a whole new crew again, just like the start of a new series.

The fact that there was also a strong emphasis on getting out there and exploring the unknown again was also a big plus for me. In contrast, the TNG novels of the time were very Borg-focused, though that ultimately paid off with the Destiny trilogy.

Without the Titan books, I probably wouldn’t have explored (and enjoyed) the post-Nemesis timeline to anything like the same extent. Having only ever read the occasional Star Trek book before them.

So I’m definitely keen to find out exactly who/what has been retained.

Agreed. While it was probably never revered in the same way as Star Wars’ EU, the last last two decades worth of Star Trek novels have produced some quality material that (IMO) is definitely worth retaining in some form.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Rios is a rather dull character, and seems like an author insert.

His Name is Rios is not going to be happy with this comment. LOL