Pages from a Burning Notebook
Star Trek Novels
(Writing a short piece on books as my usual fiction writing is not doing so well this week. And I want to get SOMETHING done. Anyway.)
One of the things I most like about Star Trek is that the novels have increasingly been allowed to go their own way. Because all the TV series the books were connected to have ended, they are free to create new characters and situations... indeed to Boldly Go Where No One Has Before.
Sorry, couldn't help myself.
Trek has also done several seperate book only series, to mixed success. There were a Klingon Empire series set during the TNG era, the Vanguard series set in the original series, SEEKERS also set in original era, the Starfleet Corps of Engineers books and Department of Temporal Investigations.
However, there are some nooks and crannies of the Star Trek verse I'd like to see looked into:
Star Fleet Intelligence
This is probably the second most unexplored area of Star Trek. Other than being occassionally name dropped, we have almost NO idea of what SFI does, other than occassionally getting reports from them. There is ONE episode of TNG on SFI. That's pretty much it.
(And the Section 31 books, but they're about a renegade, rule-less group. I don't really think they represent what SFI would be like, on a day to day basis.)
And there is a LOT of interesting things to look into. Where does SFI have undercover agents? What do they do for intelligence gathering? Political analysis? And so on... A writer could also delve into Trek history. It's canon that Cardassia joining the Dominion surprised everyone. So how did SFI fail so badly?
Judge Advocate General
And this is probably the first most unexplored area of Trek. There is ONE episode in Next Gen that deals with the JAG, involving Data and if he was a sentient being. That's it. And you can not tell me that there wouldn't be issues on Starships where a JAG officer wouldn't come in handy.
A digression: there was a episode of TNG where Picard spends most of a episode wrestling with a treaty issue. Wouldn't the Enterprise have a JAG officer? Did the writers just FORGET? Or what?
But yeah. I could easily see a JAG novel set on a starbase, with several legal subplots being explored. Plus an immigration/refugee subplot, maybe, since that might fall under JAG issues too.
Starfleet Corps of Engineers
Yes, there has been SCE books previously. It hasn't done that well. Which is odd as you'd think a series on a ship of engineers using SCIENCE! to save the day would do well with Trek fans. One thing they didn't do which surprised me was try for a slightly more comedic tone.
Imagine if you will a straigh laced, SERIOUS Starfleet captain. Think Picard, but younger. And he's assigned to a SCE ship because SOMEONE has to ride herd on the engineers. He has no IDEA what he's in for:
- the starfleet version of a roomba, upgraded to near sentience
-the crew randomly inserting a hologram into the crew roster, leaving the captain guessing who it is
-bootleg Quantinum Slipstream drive that 'hops' them across space.
-upgraded food despenser incident. The captain is STILL haunted by pudding all over the walls.
Think MASH in space, sort of.