Peter David's Star Trek Soap Opera Sails Onwards

Can you believe the Star Trek: New Frontier book series has already been going for 20+ books? It's hard to imagine. The longer Peter David's little corner of the Trek universe has gone on, the more soap-operatic it's gotten. And the trend looks set to continue with the forthcoming Treason, which just announced a pub date, cover and synopsis. (Update: It's not the real synopsis, after all.)

David was already one of the best known Star Trek novelists when he launched the New Frontier series of spin-off books. His Imzadi was a #1 New York Times bestseller and a rare Trek novel that got taken seriously by readers. But in the New Frontier books, he's managed to create his own soap-operatic annex of the Trek universe, with its own races, politics and dynasties. Over the course of twenty-something books, comics and short stories, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun has married his long-lost love, Elizabeth Shelby (from the TNG two-parter, "Best Of Both Worlds") and various people have gotten together, broken up, had babies and overthrown empires. I have been meaning to do a giant post about the New Frontier books, which I've read in their entirety, but it's hard to explain their appeal to someone who's never read them. Suffice to say, it's Peter David taking enormous liberties with the Trek universe and having a blast in the process. You can get the first four books as one collected volume, which should be enough to let you decide whether you really want to commit to this crazy ride.

UPDATE: Apparently that's not the real synopsis, after all. We'll post the real synopsis as soon as we have it.

So here's the synopsis for Treason, the umpteenth book in the series coming next year:

Three years have passed since the events of the previous New Frontier novel, Missing in Action, and tensions within the New Thallonian Protectorate are at fever pitch following the murder of Prime Minister Si Cwan. Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the USS Excalibur face an uncertain future in the turbulent Andromeda Galaxy. The sudden power vacuum will have far-reaching consequences for them all, as lives and the very fate of Sector 221-G are catapulted into utter chaos. In Treason, the New Frontier storyline jumps ahead three years from the events depicted in Stone and Anvil, picking up again at a point of crucial change, where new and old Star Trek readers are at the same level of discovery for the series.

I have to admit I'm a little lukewarm about the idea of jumping ahead three years. Didn't David already pull this trick in between Stone And Anvil and After The Fall? It feels a bit... well... gimmicky. As though he wasn't sure how to move forward with the story otherwise. Also, I'm officially bored with the whole subplot about Si Cwan, the former emperor who returned to power in a new regime (and married Robin Lefler, from the TNG episode about the orgasmic video game) only to be murdered. I wish Mackenzie Calhoun would travel to some other part of his sector, instead of constantly dabbling in Thallonian politics. At the same time, that's sort of what these books are about, and it's part of the whole "David taking liberties" aspect of the storyline. It feels, at times, like a generic space opera with Trek elements grafted onto it. Which isn't entirely a bad thing, since it lets David play with some peripheral Trek characters (Lefler, Shelby, the cat-woman from the animated episodes) while inventing most of his pocket universe out of whole cloth.

In any case, I'm still pretty excited for another New Frontier book to add to the 20 others already on my shelf. It's fun candy for Trek fans who want to read adventures set after the end of the TNG movies.

[TrekWeb]