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May 14, 2013
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As many of you know by now, I'm not a fan of J.J.Abrams Star Trek work. He's a fine popcorn film action director, but I really feel that he doesn't understand what made Star Trek so special to those who've discovered admired it for decades. But I'm not writing this to dump on nuTrek (it was bound to get it's own shorthand label…) but rather to point fans like-minded to myself to a great TOS Star Trek fix.

Calm Before The Storm by unusualsuspex

For many this may be old news, but the Vanguard series en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Tre… of Trek novels (eight books and one e-book exclusive "debrief"), which just wrapped up last year, is the best Trek fiction I've read in a long, long time. It captures the spirit of the show and has developed characters that serve the bigger plot of enigma, exploration, conflict, and cloak-and-dagger diplomacy on the Federation frontier. Feels a lot like the D.C. Fontana approach to Trek stories. The books start about the same time Kirk takes command of the Enterprise and the vast story ends somewhere after TOS' third season.

It's important to note that this story begins and ends with the Enterprise and crew as players, but the bulk of the story follows characters (both Starfleet and civilian) on a state-of-the-art starbase. Think "Deep Space Nine" if you must, but for my money the concept is handled better here and is directed in a tighter, more interesting story arc. The Enterprise's adventures come into play vicariously at several points. This serves to lend a feel that what we're reading is all the action the Enterprise missed and the writers do an excellent job of anchoring it to Trek canon while still creating something fresh. So in that sense it feels like "the missing TOS".

Reyes by Damon1984 Xiong by Damon1984 Khatami by Damon1984

Over the past few decades I haven't read too many Trek novels… mostly because the one's I'd try all seemed too mired in the "Starlequin" formula that was promoted by Marshak and Culbreth back in the late 70's. That is that any SF elements are mostly just backdrops to character drama and angst. The Vanguard series flips that equation on it's head, giving us three-dimensional characters who simply try to exist in the context of the greater story of mystery and action on the final frontier.

A word of advice for those picking up the series for the first time: if you, the best place to start is the novella "Almost Tomorrow" in the Vanguard story collection, "Star Trek Vanguard: Declassified". It's a helpful prequel to the first novel… BUT DO NOT (!!!) read any other stories in this volume until you've completed the fifth book ("Precipice") or you'll hit some serious spoilers.

Star Trek - Vanguard by unusualsuspex

So to anyone who says that TOS is spent and that the only way to do interesting Trek work in this time is to follow the JJ-Formula™, this novel series definitely proves that assumption wrong. It's good Trek and pretty decent SF… and it's written for a mature audience, so no one gets beamed into the plumbing system for laughs or stranded on a ice planet by a petulant Vulcan captain. Plus there's no "supervillains"… at least not anything remotely human ;)

Good stuff. It'll cure what ails ya! And for added fun you can reference author David Mack's annotations www.davidmack.pro/harbinger_an… on the web as you go. The downside is that the print volumes can be hard to find now, but if you have an e-reader (like a Kindle) you're good to go.

Now ART! New and cool… or older and cool. But cool's the rule:

Jaws of Hoth  ( Jaws / Star Wars ) by Rabittooth The Wizard and the Hare by Balaskas Galen Class EMV by Galen82 Iron Fist Dropship III by Quesocito USS Paul Dirac approaches a space station by Jim197 The Ambush by rOEN911 Tribute to Traveller by Colourbrand A-10 Pulling by shelbs2 I Don't Believe In The No-Win Scenario by Emmaliene A Tnuctip and a Thrint by gogmangog Saber Prep in Titan Hangar by AriochIV Phallanx Tactical Battle Drone by Scifiwarships Riding The Beam by GrahamTG Galactica Razor concept by onthesquare Abdul-Muhsi by Abiogenisis Role Model by NaBHaN The Wolverine by DevonneAmos BILL CLINTON 3D by SharpWriter Monster Beers by mr-ant The Royal Passerby by Wildweasel339 Star Wars 2015 Personal Matte by rich35211
  • Listening to: Stressedafrican
  • Watching: SPRING!
  • Eating: Better
  • Drinking: Less
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:icongrahamtg:
GrahamTG Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just watched this [link] I thought it pretty good.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
AGREED! Thanks for the link. I didn't realize that they'd launched the first full episode. VERY well done! An Dr. McKennah - HUBBA-HUBBA!! :D
Reply
:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner May 21, 2013
Yeah, saw the new Trek movie today....don't go see it, it'll just anger you.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
No worries. I'm staying far away. :)
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:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
Here, I found a gif for you: [link]
:lmao:
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
And now it's my webcam!

Thanks ;)
Reply
:icontaka67:
Taka67 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
LOLOL, mine too!!
Reply
:iconralfmaximus:
RalfMaximus Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Vanguard! I'll have to check it out.

Personally I treat the JJ Trek reboot as a whole nother thing... not Star Trek, but something else to be enjoyed with different mental muscles.

Kind of like Steampunk Batman or the communist Red Son Superman.

Yeah, that's cool... but not what I signed up for. :)
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
MM. I see your point. Still I enjoyed "Gotham By Gaslight" more than I've enjoyed nuTrek ;)
Reply
:icondeepblu742:
Deepblu742 Featured By Owner May 17, 2013
Thanks for the tips on the Vanguard series, Arcas, I shall sally forth thanks to your input. This is the series that drew me into Trek books. Only other one that had an impact is Stitch in Time concerning Elim Gurak's shadowy past. His whole culture and upbringing being draped in subterfuge and misdirection was fascinating. *raised vulcan brow*.

(P.S. It must be a smaller dA than I thought, I have admired/seen many of the deviations in your feature. Or *gasp* I'm almost as big a dweeb?!) :nirvana:
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