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Lost Voyages of the Reimagined Star Trek Universe: Unedited Version

The Star Trek universe as reimagined by JJ Abrams and his creative team was originally supposed to continue this summer in the form of four novels set in that timeline, but the publisher abruptly decided not to go forward with them.
“With last summer’s blockbuster Star Trek movie,” offered the official announcement of the line’s cancellation from Simon and Schuster, “JJ Abrams created a new, vibrant, layered version of the Star Trek universe. After careful consideration, we decided to hold off on telling new stories while JJ and his team continue to develop his vision.”

A conclusion one might have wanted to reach prior to the books themselves being written.

In any case, the series would have kicked off with Alan Dean Foster’s Refugees, and been followed by Christopher L. Bennett’s Seek a Newer World, David Mack’s More Beautiful Than Death and Greg Cox’s The Hazard of Concealing. And in taking this new approach to Trek, each of the authors seemed excited by the creative possibilities presented to them by the film’s altered timeline.

“It opens up a raft of possibilities in the sense that anything is fair game now, because nothing is canon,” offers Foster, who also penned the film’s novelization. “You can start all over again with the same characters and same general background and do anything you want. By the same token, just as the people who did the film realized, you don’t want to alienate the legion of fans who have grown up with Star Trek, so while you’ve got unlimited range for your storytelling, you have to keep in mind that you don’t want to do something so outrageous that it turns everybody off.”

Bennett agrees. “The new timeline is an intriguing mix of the familiar and the new,” he says. “On the one hand, it’s a chance to explore the formative years of the characters we know so well; to write about a younger Kirk, Spock, McCoy, etc. as they’re still getting to know each other and feeling out their relationships. But at the same time, there are fresh angles and twists that add spice to the experience and give me new things to discover. And while it can be limiting to be deprived of the ability to build on past Trek continuity, it’s also somewhat liberating not to be bound by such an enormous canon, to build a story purely on one movie and the fundamentals of the TOS characters and universe. “

Mack describes what he and the others have been given from the movie in one word: freedom. “It’s a brand new universe,” he enthuses. “A parallel timeline. All bets are off now. The past of the Star Trek universe has changed, and so might its future. As an author of original Star Trek tie-in novels, I was able to write a book based on the new film without having to worry about forty years of trivia and continuity. I had to respect only the details established in the new movie, and I was encouraged not to muddy the waters with references to other books. The result, I hope, is that More Beautiful Than Death will feel familiar and accessible to fans for whom the new movie was their entry point into the franchise.”

“I’ve written over a dozen previous Trek novels and short stories,” adds Cox, among them the Eugenics Wars novels, “but I really tried to shake off any mental cobwebs and approach this book as a brand new thing. The most important effect of the new timeline, of course, is that the destinies of Kirk and Spock and the rest are no longer set in stone. We don’t know what the future holds for them anymore. “

Bennett makes one other point about the potential of these novels. “It’s also a satisfying career opportunity to be able to get in on the ground floor of something new like this,” he muses. “To be one of the first authors working in this milieu – actually the first, since I was the first one hired to do an Abramverse novel before Pocket wisely decided that Alan Dean Foster’s name would sell more books than mine and would be a better choice to lead off with. I’m taking one of the first steps into the new frontier – how can a Trekkie not be excited about that?”


Book One: “Refugees”
Author: Alan Dean Foster
Official Summary: When a distress call comes in and Kirk orders the Enterprise to answer it, they encounter a large colony ship of refugees under attack. Unable to convince the Dre’kalk to cease fire, Kirk engages them and drives off their ships. The refugees - the Perenores, a race of furry bisymmetrical people - are starving, battered, and many are injured. Their ship wandered off course and their fuel and food is running out, so Kirk and the crew find a place for these displaced refugees. But just two months later, the Barran are threatening the Federation with war for protecting the Perenore menace. But Kirk and Spock are puzzled, the Perenores are peaceful people, what could have happened?

Alan Dean Foster: “I’m big with aliens, and I don’t think they are well served in most filmed science fiction. They don’t act alien. The kind of aliens I’m talking about are truly alien. Obviously they have to be comprehensible to us or you can’t respond. So with Refugees I wanted to introduce some real aliens, which is something Star Trek fans wanted. I’m sure Roddenberry would have done it on the original series if they had the technology and the money to visualize it. Kirk and the crew, of course, wouldn’t be startled by the appearance of the aliens, although the cultures are different. And the motivations are different. Remember, even if it’s a reimgination in this timeline, it’s still the Federation and they still know about other aliens. There’s a lot more to the makeup of the Federation than we get to see in the film. I can’t really say anything too specific about the plot, only that things are not what they seem. Things are never what they seem.”

Book Two: “Seek a Newer World”
Author: Charles L. Bennett
Official Summary: Stung by Nero’s escape, the Klingons are looking to salvage their pride by besting the ship that took him down: Enterprise. A boring expedition becomes a fight for survival as the Klingons attack, outnumber, and outflank the young captain and his Enterprise crew. But just as the Enterprise escapes, the crew comes across an entire civilization of worlds within worlds hidden in a radiation belt of a large planet. A civilization so powerful that they can create all this? Kirk wonders just what are they hiding from and will do whatever it takes to find out.

Charles L. Bennett: “We still know next to nothing about the Klingons in the new timeline, so I pretty much had a blank slate. However, it’s certainly likely that Nero’s destruction of an entire Klingon fleet would make them angry and eager to strike out at someone – and the Federation, which has just lost one of its most important worlds, has got to be looking pretty vulnerable to them right now. Initially, I was thinking of doing a story that arose more directly from the movie’s lingering threads. But I wasn’t sure that was standalone enough to fit the mandate, and the idea I was contemplating didn’t lend itself well to action and spectacle. I decided instead to tell a more self-contained story, a tale focusing on something new and original and spectacular, but something that would resonate thematically and emotionally with where the characters are in the wake of the film. So it’s still a story about the aftermath of the movie, but in an indirect way. In the wake of Vulcan’s destruction, a lot of people in the Federation would probably want to make a priority of defense and caution. But how does that reconcile with Starfleet’s ideals of openness and exploration? That tension informs the novel on multiple levels.

“I also decided to focus the story on a phenomenon that would be unique to the new continuity, something that implicitly was never discovered in the original timeline. That way, it would be a story that could only be told in the Abramverse. Character-wise, I felt there was a bit more to be said about the characters’ journeys. The film implied that by the end, the characters had all achieved their familiar roles and personalities; that they’d grown into the cast we knew from TOS. But I felt there were one or two more steps needed for some of them to credibly reach that stage. So I was able to tell a story that let the characters go through some real growth, but which ends up with them in the same places I expect them to be in the next movie.”

Book Three: “More Beautiful Than Death”
Author: David Mack
Official Summary: Captain Kirk leads the Enterprise on a mission to Akiron, a world known for its rich dilithium deposits and isolationist government. Aboard is Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek, who is hoping to set up a trade agreement for the Federation with the planet. Pleased that the Federation has entrusted him with this mission, Kirk pledges everyone on Enterprise will grant the ambassador their full cooperation. Spock is happy to see his father and his Vulcan staff putting the destruction of their world behind them. Sarek, however, has a secondary agenda while on board Enterprise.

David Mack: “In the original Star Trek timeline, Sarek and Spock had not spoken since Spock rejected the offer of admission to the Vulcan Science Academy, and their relationship was ice-cold until at least 2269 – more than a decade after the events of the new Star Trek film. All that animosity seems to have gone by the wayside the moment Spock’s mother, Amanda, died during the implosion of Vulcan. My personal feeling is that, in the aftermath of such an epic tragedy, neither Spock nor Sarek would see any logical purpose to harboring a grudge over Spock’s choice of career – especially since that choice saved Sarek’s life. However, putting aside an old grudge does not necessarily mean that father and son will suddenly be of like mind. There are still many issues on which they are bound to disagree, and one such conflict underpins a key subplot in More Beautiful Than Death.”

Book Four: “The Hazard of Concealing”
Author: Greg Cox
Official Summary: The events of the recent movie have left one important loose end: the elder Spock from the 24th century. His knowledge of both technology and future events makes him one of the most important strategic assets in the galaxy. Starfleet Command wants Ambassador Spock to rejoin Starfleet and share that information with them, but Spock is reluctant to interfere with the unfolding of the new timeline. Will he be able to escape a sinister plan wrought by the enemies of the Federation, or will their quest to exploit Spock’s wisdom succeed, with disastrous consequences?

Greg Cox: “Ambassador Spock’s advanced knowledge of future events and technology is the warp engine that drives the story. The ways in which that knowledge can be exploited (or abused) is a source of great concern to Spock, Starfleet and various hostile powers. Spock himself is somewhat conflicted as to just how much ‘cheating’ he should indulge in. The basic idea and plot came from my editor, Margaret Clark, who wanted a book that focused on both Ambassador Spock and Scotty. I took her synopsis and fleshed it out into a full-length book. In doing so, my primary goal was to capture the infectious sense of fun that the new movie had restored to the series, while still dealing with the serious issues raised by the premise. Most of all, I wanted this to be a book that felt like the new movie, and that would appeal to both long-time fans and to readers who might have never picked up a Star Trek novel before.”

And don't forget to relive every voyage of Captain Kirk's Enterprise with the Amazon Kindle edition of Trek Classic: The Unofficial Making of the Original Series, that goes behind the scenes of every episode of the 1966-69 TV show. Dozens of writers, directors, producers and actors have been interviewed to tell the tale. Just click on the link below.

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