3:26pm PT by Graeme McMillan
New Life, New Civilizations: 5 'Star Trek' Spinoffs to Explore
As Star Trek celebrates its half-century mark, it's time to address the elephant in the room: For many people, five decades' worth of TV shows and movies just isn't enough. But where to turn after you've exhausted the onscreen adventures of more than one Enterprise, as well as a Deep Space Nine and a Voyager? Well … to the printed page, of course.
Star Trek novels have taken the franchise in multiple directions with series spinning off from almost every incarnation of the property to date — although, sadly, no one has tried a Gary Seven series just yet. (Thankfully, IDW did it with the comics.) For those seeking out new Trek, here are the places to start.
Star Trek: New Frontier
The first original novel series not dependent on the TV show launched in 1997, spinning out of Star Trek: The Next Generation (four of the lead characters come directly from the show: Ensign Robin Lefler, Doctor Selar, Commander Elizabeth Shelby and Captain Edward Jellico). Created by editor John Ordover and writer Peter David, the series is relatively self-contained as the Starship Excalibur is sent to patrol an unexplored area of space following a political collapse. As things advance, though, more and more references to other Trek canon — especially that of the original series — start to creep in. Ever wonder what happened to the original Number One from the very first TV pilot …? This is where you'll find out.
First book in the series: House of Cards (1997)
Most recent book in the series: The Returned (2015)
Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers
The second all-new series initially launched as a series of digital-only releases, as seems only fitting giving the series' focus on the tech-minded engineering corps of the Next Generation-era Starfleet. Again featuring Next Generation characters — as well as Dr. Elizabeth Lense, Julian Bashir's medical school rival from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — the series also occasionally flashed back to the period of the original TV series with an all-new crew. Well, all-old crew, technically.
First book in the series: Have Tech, Will Travel (2002)
Most recent book in the series: What's Past (2010)
Star Trek: Titan
Spinning out of the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis, the Titan series of books follows William Riker and Deanna Troi to their post-Enterprise career, which also includes Nurse Ogawa from The Next Generation and Commander Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager. Freed from the constraints of a weekly TV show format, the series had enjoyed shaking things up more than the crews of the Enterprise or Voyager experienced — less than 10 books in, Riker has already been promoted to Admiral and left the ship, much to his consternation.
First book in the series: Taking Wing (2005)
Most recent book in the series: Sight Unseen (2015)
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations
Time travel is a recurring theme in the Star Trek franchise, and thanks to Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode, fans know that there's literally a division of the Federation tasked with making sure that no one breaks history … too much. Considering how ridiculously fun — and full of potential — that premise is, it's no surprise that there is a series of books based on this idea. I wonder what this department made of the movie reboot timeline's creation …? I can't imagine it's too thrilled …
First book in the series: Watching the Clock (2011)
Most recent book in the series: Time Lock (2016)
Star Trek: Vanguard/Star Trek: Seekers
Set during era of the original series, Vanguard — and Seekers, which is the sequel series — is as much a critique of the gender and social politics of the original series as it is a story in and of itself, despite the presence of an ongoing mystery that unfolds throughout the entire run. For those who find the lack of diverse representation in Star Trek as bothersome as the lack of set-up for events in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, this might be exactly the series you're looking for.
First book in the series: Harbinger (2005)
Most recent book in the series: In Tempest's Wake (2012); characters continue with Star Trek: Seekers series, starting with 2014's Second Nature.