Fans of Star Trek can always count on these various Paramount shows bringing audiences amazing acting from some of the top talent in the world. Some of these actors weren’t content to merely act out the stories of others and went on to write (or co-write) some of their very own Star Trek novels. If you’re looking for a geeky read, then it’s time to take out a few strips of latinum and check out these awesome Star Trek books written by the talent who helped bring the franchise to life.
Armin Shimerman – The 34th Rule
On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Armin Shimerman portrayed fan-favorite Ferengi character Quark. As a culture, the Ferengi are guided by the Rules of Acquisition, but Shimerman wasn’t guided by greed when he co-wrote The 34th Rule with David R. George III. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to do what Star Trek does best: to use sci-fi as an allegory (in this case, an allegory for America’s internment of Japanese soldiers during World War II).
The story follows how diplomatic relations break down between Ferenginar and Bajor when Grand Nagus Zek refuses to sell an Orb of the Prophets back to the Bajorans. This results in Quark facing everything from the loss of his bar to bleak imprisonment, but like any good Ferengi, he finds ways to turn the situation to his advantage.
Incidentally, if you like this book, you should check out Shimerman’s non-Star Trek books, including his amazing Illyria series of novels.
Andrew Robinson – A Stitch in Time
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine certainly earned its reputation as the first morally gray Star Trek show, and no character better embodied that idea than Andrew Robinson’s Cardassian character Garak. To most of the station, Garak is a plain and simple tailor. But those who know him well know that Garak is a former spy who won’t hesitate to get his hands dirty, especially if it furthers his own interests.
A Stitch in Time is more than just a Garak story written by Andrew Robinson: instead, this Star Trek novel is adapted from the actor’s own in-character diary entries he wrote in order to better understand Garak’s character.
In this way, the novel is a great biography of one of Star Trek’s best characters, and it’s written by the man who made the character so memorable. And if you’re too busy to sit down and read it, we recommend grabbing the recent audiobook version that is narrated to perfection by Robinson himself.
John de Lancie – I,Q
If you’re a fan of Star Trek novels, then you are perhaps aware of Peter David, possibly the greatest Trek novelist in history. And John de Lancie certainly needs no introduction since he is the actor behind Q, Captain Picard’s most persistent nemesis-turned-frenemy. In I, Q, David and de Lancie team up to tell a wild Q story as only Q’s actor could tell it.
The actual narrative involves a wild tale of Q recruiting Picard and Data to investigate a universe-threatening matter within the Q Continuum (which they perceive as looking like the world of Dixon Hill, Picard’s favorite fictional gumshoe).
But what really makes this story stand out is getting to read a Q story straight from the mind of John de Lancie. As anyone who has ever listened to Spock vs. Q can tell you, de Lancie may very well have a firmer handle on the Q character than the entire TNG writing team put together.
J. G. Hertzler – The Left Hand of Destiny Books 1 and 2
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took some big creative swings, including ending the show with a finale that spun many characters off in different directions. For example, Worf reluctantly decides to serve as the Klingon ambassador, where he will be working closely with Chancellor Martok on the Klingon homeworld. If you ever wondered what happened next, then Martok actor J.G. Hertzler, along with Jeffrey Lang, has the perfect stories for you.
Hertzler co-wrote The Left Hand of Destiny books 1 and 2, and these novels chronicle how a coup transforms Worf’s cozy new gig into something dark and dangerous. Another Klingon civil war breaks out, and it’s one that threatens more than simply the Empire itself.
In short, it’s an amazing Worf and Martok story written by Hertzler, and the fact that his Martok has always been the embodiment of Klingon ideals makes reading this all the sweeter (and more honorable) for longtime fans.
William Shatner- Shatnerverse Books
We’re going to be honest with you: on paper, William Shatner’s so-called “Shatnerverse” of Star Trek novels sound pretty bad. It’s a series that includes such bonkers concepts as Captain Kirk getting resurrected, fighting Picard, and getting caught up in Borg/Romulan team-up shenanigans. But if you can get past how wacky all of this sounds, most of the books are well worth reading because they are co-written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
If those names don’t ring a bell, these authors have written some of the best Star Trek novels in history, including Prime Directive and Federation. They also served as story editors and co-producers of Enterprise in its fourth (and arguably best) season. Basically, William Shatner ended up working with some of Trek’s finest actors to create fan service novels where the main fan is Shatner himself, and each book is ultimately far, far more entertaining than it has any right to be.