Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
×

More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
May 14, 2013
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
6,645 (1 today)
Favourites
2 (who?)
Comments
108
×
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
Add a Comment:
 
:icongrahamtg:
GrahamTG Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Just watched this [link] I thought it pretty good.
Reply
: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. :)
Reply
: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:
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
*offers Uberdweeb secret handshake*
Reply
:icondeepblu742:
Deepblu742 Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
*returned with an extra slap & dap*
Reply
:icondempsey23:
dempsey23 Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
I also don't like new trek, but it has done wonders for the series as a whole, bringing in new blood and all. But yuck, I don't like it.
Reply
:icontaranis69:
Taranis69 Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I saw Star Trek 2009 and thought it was ill conceived and juvenile, the crew for the most part where very well cast, no problem there, but the story was so bad, how did this guy get the job........ it for me has very little to do with Star Trek .... there is more life in Roddenberrys STAR TREK..... and as some have said it no dead unless we let it die.....

So I am a fan of this new direction.....

for those who do like it..... enjoy it and have fun..... IDIC
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
>>I saw Star Trek 2009 and thought it was ill conceived and juvenile...

I think that's an accurate assessment. It didn't seem a film aimed at an adult audience.
Reply
:icontaranis69:
Taranis69 Featured By Owner May 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I fully understand that many like it.... and that is OK.... wonderful........ but like most films made now..... forgettable after a time.
JJAbrams has completely missed the point of star trek, it was never about dazzling special effects, outlandish story lines, or Kirk
jumping into any women bed,

It was, at least for me, about humanities future, how we deal with each other, etc..... I am not going to write a song and dance to
prove a point, either you know or you don´t.

but friends of mine who never liked the original series, now like the new one..... so that tells me something..... they only want to
be dazzled and forget..... which is more or less the view I am seeing from may older fans of the series..... they hate what he has done.

I won´t go and see it, I hate to part with cash for this kind of story telling.....
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
We are of a like mind... pretty much 100%. It's not just "bad Trek"... it's not even really Trek aside from the names.
Reply
:icontaranis69:
Taranis69 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Agreed..... Bring Star Trek back to TV.... imo
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah, it sure would allow for more diversity of plots.... besides thwarting vengeance and saving Earth.
Reply
:icontaranis69:
Taranis69 Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A far cry from "To boldly go where no man/woman has gone before.. etc etc etc........
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yup... sadly.
Reply
:iconunusualsuspex:
unusualsuspex Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for popping my Vanguard image in there mate. I'm pretty proud of that one :)

As for the books, I hit book three then RL threw me a curve ball and I was too tied up in that to do ANYTHING Trek for a while. The fact is, I quite agree. It was nice to have a series that had tidbits of canon in there linking what we'd seen on screen but only in a peripheral, undistracting way that didn't steal the limelight.

So NOW I need to get back into them again from Book One!

BTW, every time I read a section with Ezekiel Fisher in it, I REALLY pictured Morgan Freeman in the part
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
I found those casting choices on the author's annotations page to be quite helpful. It made it a bit more like watching an episode in my head. I hope you'll get back to the series :)
Reply
:iconscarecrovv:
Scarecrovv Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You mentioned that a lot of the books failed to capture the feel of the original TV show. I'm inlcined to agree, especially with TNG, but I'm currently reading Troublesome Minds and that, in fact feels very much like on old episode. Dave Galanter writes the characters very well, and it's about the situation the Enterprise is in, rather than a soap opera with a Star Trek backdrop. I can't guarantee you'll like it, but it's definitely worth a try, I think.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into that one. The description certainly sounds like Trek episode.
Reply
:iconblack-knyght:
Black-Knyght Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
J.J. Abrams is easily the WORSE thing to happen to the Star Trek franchise in a long, long, looonng time.
Reply
:icondeepblu742:
Deepblu742 Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
Agreed, dare I say even worse than Berman & Braga after TNG...
Reply
:iconblaquepsmith:
Blaquepsmith Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've got two books to go in the series and Declassified which I'm saving for the end. Vanguard made me ridiculously happy when I read the first book. I even added a nod to it in my fan-fic TOS series.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Cool! I think you'll enjoy the rest of the series. For me it just got better and better.
Reply
:iconmasazaki:
Masazaki Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm ashamed to admit that I have't read past the third volume. S&S stopped giving me comps after the first couple of books, and I felt too cheap to buy copies myself. I might buy them on Kindle, as I did enjoy the ones I read.

Arcass, you need to get a model of Vanguard! I sure you could do some cool scenes.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh, ya should keep readin'! I'm sure you know your Pyotr Velikiy makes an appearance in "Declassified". That's one of the elements I enjoyed a lot but didn't mention above: the amount of design influence you had in the series and the points of acknowledgement to the SFM. To my mind that gave it "quality fan cred" in terms of really thinking about their tech.

I do have as Vanguard model and have used it a few times (cruise my gallery and you'll see), but I'd really love to get my hands on this one: [link] It seems to have more key details than the one I've got, but unfortunately I can't work w/ MAX models.

You should jump back into the series. For me it took #3 for me to really get hooked. I BLAZED through the remaining four books :D
Reply
:iconplymayer:
plymayer Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
You have me interested in the Vanguard series.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
If you're a big fan of TOS, you can't help but be tickled by 'em. I hesitate to say they're "by fans, for fans" because that implies a certain lack of professionalism. But the writers know and care about their Trek and handle these stories in fairly clever ways.
Reply
:iconrichmerk:
richmerk Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm... I read David Mack's books about the Borg invasion, and was not impressed by either the story or his skill as a writer. How do the Vanguard books compare to the Borg ones?
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
I didn't read the Borg ones so I can't really say? One thing's for sure, this was one VERY ambitious project in both it's scope (4 years of story) and the way it delicately and cleverly weaves in with the events we know of from TOS. It's definitely a labor of love on Mack's part. As far as writing styles I may prefer Dayton Ward's, but they traded off writing chores pretty seamlessly.
Reply
:iconlord-nalthren:
Lord-Nalthren Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
Whats your thoughts on "The lost Era" novels?
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Haven't read 'em. Got links?
Reply
:iconlord-nalthren:
Lord-Nalthren Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
Not to the novels themselves but [link]
Reply
:iconandbond:
andbond Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
As an original trekker from TOS I have not heard of this before (I know there are all kinds of books, etc but never got into them per se). I am very appreciative (as countless other fans of yours (and ST-TOS) are!

I hope I'm wrong - but I have a bad feeling about the newest ST in to the black thing a ma bob...
Reply
:iconroycalbeck:
RoyCalbeck Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmmm... excellent concept and execution, sounds like. I've long been a fan of fleshing-out existing canon for various IPs, rather than blindly careening "into the future" for no better reason than advancing the timeline. "New everything" not only gets old after a while, but sets a writer up to trip over themselves repeatedly.

That, I've seen, tends to be the real death of any IP... when it can no longer sustain its own continuity sufficiently to keep a large enough audience interested.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well I think part of Trek's problem has been "too many cooks". Everyone's looking to put their personal stamp on the property... and a lot of it just misses the mark. Most of those TNG movies were dull as matte-coated snot, Voyager was a poorly executed version of a potentially interesting "future Odyssey", and Enterprise was just ponderous. And then there's nuTrek. It IS exciting.... but that's only a subset of what made Trek so special.
Reply
:iconroycalbeck:
RoyCalbeck Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Pretty much agreed on all counts. I actually defend Enterprise, TO A POINT... that point being the Vulcan/Andorian arc. The whole point of the show was to explore the Early Federation, its member races, their histories...

...Nope! We need Klingons on Day One, we need to move the Klingon homeworld close enough for a short voyage at Warp 5, we need to invent a whole new sector of space to blow an entire season on, and another season for a badly-conceived time-travel concept. Barely a tenth of what hit the airwaves approached what the show was supposed to be doing. -:/
Reply
:iconscarecrovv:
Scarecrovv Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Agreed. For me, personally, the Andorians and Vulcans were what saved Enterprise from being a total waste of time. I love Andorians and I'll happily watch any of the episodes that Shran is in :D
Reply
:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
Why exactly does everyone hate on Abrams? He's just a director; the lensflare crap is his fault; the lukewarm storytelling is the fault of whoever they hired to write.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
JJ plotted the first film. And ultimately the director has the responsibility to make a good film. He can try to pass the buck, but most directors will tell you that the script is just a rough idea of what's to come. Once you're on set and rolling, you need to tweak as you go. He's a fine director if what you're looking for is Hollywood action fare... but his stuff just lack soul. There's no depth to it. It's very much "visual junk food".

I think the best way I can put it is that if my first exposure to Trek was JJ's creations, I wouldn't be a Trekkie. Seriously. There's nothing there for me.
Reply
:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner May 14, 2013
Yeah, I do have to say, the new Star trek movies are decent as action movies, but fairly poor as Star Trek movies.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
I think that sums it well. I might actually enjoy them if they weren't trying to pretend to be Star Trek ;)
Reply
:iconroycalbeck:
RoyCalbeck Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have about a 50/50 on Abrams films. They are almost always well-directed, but he seems to take on schlock about as often as he hits on something brilliant.
Reply
:iconleakygraphics:
LeAKyGrAPHics Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I`ve seen the first one he did, and have no desire to see the second one.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Word.
Reply
Add a Comment: