Books, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – ‘The Beginning / Forgotten Light’

In an attempt to try and tackle the onerous job of looking into the Star Trek book universe, thanks to the help of Memory Beta’s chronology section, I am intending to look at the saga in book form from stories which take place earliest in the franchise’s timeline onwards. This hopefully should provide an illuminating and unusual way of examining the extended Star Trek universe.

These stories take place, in part, 200,000 years ago.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Strange New Worlds, non-canonical anthology books which were released amidst Star Trek novels over roughly a ten year period, is how they could explore all kinds of territory the TV shows or movies would never have gotten near – perhaps even to a greater degree than the tie-in novels, which always usually had to revolve around characters we know from the screen. The Beginning and Forgotten Light are two such key examples.

Now I’ve decided to talk about these short stories together because both of them, unusually, cover the exact same topic, just in different ways and contexts: the creation of the Borg. If ever a race in Star Trek were likely to have an origin story, it would be the terrifying cybernetic beings first encountered by the USS Enterprise-D in The Next Generation’s second season episode Q-Who?; a collective of telepathically linked drones who travelled the galaxy in cubes assimilating every species they come into contact with, believing they were technologically superior and that knowledge of all cultures inside their collective would allow them to reach perfection. A fascinating alien creation, the Borg cast arguably the biggest shadow over Star Trek in the 90’s as the Klingons or Vulcans did in the 1960’s.

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Strange New Worlds II – ‘Reciprocity’

In an attempt to try and tackle the onerous job of looking into the Star Trek book universe, thanks to the help of Memory Beta’s chronology section, I am intending to look at the saga in book form from stories which take place earliest in the franchise’s timeline onwards. This hopefully should provide an illuminating and unusual way of examining the extended Star Trek universe.

Part of this story takes place 4 billion years ago.

One of the gems of the extended Star Trek book universe, Strange New Worlds was a ten-volume strong series of anthology stories set across Star Trek continuity, across many of its shows and ongoing book spin-off series, based on a competition in which lucky, amateur Star Trek writers could get one of their short stories published. It finished in 2007 but was revived once more in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations, and one would hope the anthology might reappear once again in some format.

‘Reciprocity’, written by Brad Curry, is a good example of why Strange New Worlds is the closest Star Trek will ever come to publishing fan fiction. This comparison is not meant remotely as a slight; while fan fiction is something of a dirty word, there is some tremendous work being done by fan writers online, in places as varied as Ad Astra and the old faithful FanFiction.Net, which keeps the Trek flame burning in the growing absence of tie-in content, and with the advent of Discovery this trend is likely to not disappear in a hurry. Strange New Worlds often took short-story, fan concept which linked into established Trek continuity with an understanding and grace that only die-hard Trek fans could provide. Not all of the stories worked, some naturally showing up the lack of experience of the writers, but all of them felt personal and underpinned with Star Trek lore.

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