November saw the release of David Mack’s Star Trek: Titan — Fortune of War, but as we covered in our recent Trek publishing calendar guide, there have only been three Simon & Schuster Trek novels announced for 2018, an unusual gap after decades of regular, monthly releases from their Pocket Books line.

Star Trek: Discovery novels Drastic Measures and the just-announced Fear Itself are due in February and June — along with the rescheduled release of Kirsten Beyer’s Star Trek: Voyager — Architects of Infinity — but past that, the only print Trek storytelling known at present will be coming from IDW Publishing’s ongoing comic line, and the second two English-translation Star Trek: Prometheus novels, due in May and November from Titan Books, a separate publisher.

In addition, as far as we can tell, none of the regular authors that have been a part of the Star Trek publishing line in recent years including David Mack, Dayton Ward, Christopher L. Bennett, and Greg Cox are currently under contract for additional Trek books.

“I’ve fulfilled the requirements of my current contract,” Mack wrote in a post on the TrekBBS in back in March, “but it’s my hope to return to Star Trek (and other licensed universes) at some point in the future, simply because I enjoy doing so.”

In another thread speculating on the lack of book release announcements for 2018, Ward said in November that while he has a list of unannounced projects on his blog that include Star Trek projects, “None of the ‘unannounced tie-ins’ on that list are for Pocket.”

Ward’s February ‘Discovery’ title “Drastic Measures” wraps up his current ‘Trek’ slate.

It’s extremely unusual for Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek novel line that there are only three novels on the schedule, and has sparked concerns among fans. The company has held the license to publish Star Trek novels since 1979, and from at least 1995 — with few exceptions — has published at least one new Star Trek novel every month, with new titles announced months in advance of their release.

It appears the answer to this issue lies in renegotiation of the current license between CBS and Simon & Schuster, which expired this year. For months, Trek authors with an active presence online and in the fandom have indicated that the two companies are in the middle of renegotiating their agreements.

Simon & Schuster editor Ed Schesinger spoke briefly about the situation when we attended the publisher’s panel at the 2017 Star Trek convention in Las Vegas back in August — stating that despite this current situation, the Star Trek novel line would certainly be continuing.

As part of that renegotiation, Schlesinger revealed that Simon & Schuster had successfully expanded the license to include elements of the Kelvin Timeline film series, likely requiring additional conversations with Paramount Pictures and JJ Abrams’ production company Bad Robot which may have complicated the process.

Spock tries to outrun the Hobus supernova before being thrown into the Kelvin Timeline in ‘Star Trek’ (2009).

Why is that a big deal? As Christopher L. Bennett detailed in August:

“It will let authors] finally [be] to show the destruction of Romulus and its Prime Universe aftermath, or being able to refer to/depict the [USS] Kelvin and [Captain] Robau in the 23rd century or the Franklin and Edison in the 22nd….

A number of CBS licensees, like IDW Comics and the Star Trek Online computer game, were able to use Kelvin content, and there were several YA Kelvinverse novels from Simon Spotlight. After all, CBS owns all of Star Trek. Paramount Pictures licenses the movie rights from CBS, as a legacy of their origins as a single company…. so all Trek tie-ins and merchandise, even Kelvin tie-ins and merchandise, have to be approved by CBS.

It’s just that Kelvin material also needs Paramount’s and Bad Robot’s approval, which makes it a little more complicated to license. For whatever reason, Pocket Books didn’t manage to get that license [originally] even though other licensees did.

In addition, Dayton Ward in mentioned that there has also been a change in leadership at Gallery Books, the division of Simon & Schuster that publishes the Star Trek novel line, which may have delayed the license negotiations.

“At last report, the deal was being finalized,” Ward wrote in the post dated November 6. “There was a change in leadership at S&S/Gallery Books a short while back… that likely interrupted whatever discussions were in process, for Trek as well as any number of other things.”

“All we know,” wrote Christopher L. Bennett last week, “is that the [contract] renewal was delayed because the new person wanted to review the agreement and have input, but that seems pretty routine and doesn’t necessarily mean anything will be changed. It doesn’t rule out some sort of change, but it’s impossible to guess what it might be. Eventually, hopefully soon, we’ll actually find out.”

(We reached out to Simon & Schuster regarding this story; the publisher declined to comment.)

Regardless of what happens, Star Trek fans will need to brace themselves for a break in the novel line, even if contracts were signed today, given the lead time necessary for new novels to go from contract to print. The wait may even rival or exceed the previous longest break in the Star Trek novel line in recent years, when several planned Kelvin Timeline tie-in novels were unexpectedly canceled and we were without new novels for four months in 2010.

The announced-then-cancelled Kelvin Timeline novels, once planned for a 2010 release.

But could we see at least one of those novels — which included works by Alan Dean Foster, Christopher L. Bennett, David Mack, and Greg Cox — as a result of this gap in the schedule? While story points from Cox’s The Hazard of Concealing and Bennett’s Seek a Newer World were recycled for use in post-2010 prime-universe books (like Cox’s No Time Like the Past and Bennett’s The Face of the Unknown), Mack said in a recent podcast interview that there are possibilities his book might yet see the light of day.

“I’ve heard rumors that if and when the Star Trek guys get their book line going again…  my book, which is titled More Beautiful Than Death, might actually get resurrected,” Mack revealed, but cautioned that it is still in the rumor stage right now. “That’s not confirmed. I’ve not seen it on a schedule, nobody has confirmed it to me. I’ve only heard the rumors. I’ve heard that they’re talking about it.”

As a big fan of the Star Trek novels who has been blessed with new books every month for as long as I can remember, it’s disappointing to be in a position where there are few new novels on the horizon, and we very much share fans’ concerns and dismay. If the end result, however, allows for the incorporation of the Kelvin Timeline — which not only could bring back one of the ‘lost’ novels, but also may allow the 24th Century storytelling to continue past the Hobus supernova event — it may just be worth it.

“Pocket has my number,” Dayton Ward wrote confidently last month. “They know where to find me when they’re ready.”

My reviews of Star Trek: Titan — Fortune of War and Star Trek: Prometheus — Fire With Fire will be along soon, so keep checking back to TrekCore for those and all the latest news from the world of Star Trek publishing!

  • My favorite recent Star Trek novel is Crisis of Consciousness, by Dave Galanter. I hope once Simon & Schuster and CBS have finished their negotiations, Mr. Galanter will be asked to write another TOS book. Mr. Galanter seems to be fascinated by Vulcan telepathy, and so am I, so his books are perfect for me. 🙂

    • The Bandsaw Vigilante

      Agreed — his Troublesome Minds is easily in my top five favorite Star Trek novels of all time.

  • Christian Freitag

    Why is the 24th century such a big deal? IGNORE the Hobus Nova and the destruction of Romulus. The Kelvin Timeline is another one than the prime timeline and this “Story” was absolutely laughable.

    • The supernova (and Spock’s departure) are part of the Prime timeline history.

      • Christian Freitag

        The ’09 movies are in fact a rebooted Trek. The shown “Prime timeline history” takes place in movies wherein the authors believed Star Wars elements have to be in Star Trek. The rights for Berman Trek (Prime) are in other hands than the ones of Abrams Trek. I believe those rights were reason for the difference in STD uniforms. Therefore the supernova didn’t happen in Prime. NuTrek ignores every incarnation of Trek before (Khan, timetravel etc) and is full of inconsistence (why should prime Spock act when it’s not his timeline which is in danger? Why should prime Nero act against alternate history??? He has no reason whatsoever in that timeline if you follow the “script”) and errors. Where is the problem to write novels for Prime Trek as before and NuTrek as alternate reality?

        • TG1701

          The reality is though the nova happened in the prime timeline. People would be holloring how could you ignore the fact Romulus exploded in the 24th century? Yes the JJ verse ignores a lot but inconsistency is not what kills canon or Discovery wouldn’t exist at all either.

        • The Bandsaw Vigilante

          “Star Wars elements” have absolutely nothing to do with the price of tea in China, here — what we saw onscreen in the 2009 film regarding the Hobus Supernova event is hard, locked, inviolable canon, and has to be dealt with in the tie-in works. It doesn’t matter what your personal feelings on the matter happen to be. The Kelvin Timeline is an alternate reality, but one which spun off from the original Prime reality, which continued to exist on past the destruction of Romulus.

          Also, your supposition regarding the ST:D uniforms is completely erroneous — the new uniform-designs were strictly an artistic choice by the show’s producers; had they wished to use the old-fashioned 1960s pilot uniforms, they could have, but they chose to go in a different direction instead. There were no legalities affecting what happened there.

    • Simon

      Ignore Leonard Nimoy’s last contribution to TREK. Nice.

      • Snap

        Leonard Nimoy didn’t write the story, his contribution was acting it out. If it were to be retconned, it would not be an insult to his legacy or a cheapening of his contribution or importance to Star Trek as a whole. However, to be completely accurate, his final contribution to Trek was actually a meaningless cameo in the worst Star Trek movie.

        • The Bandsaw Vigilante

          …In your “completely accurate” strictly-personal opinion, of course. Don’t make assumptions for the rest of us.

          • Snap

            Don’t be an ass, I never made any “assumptions” for the rest of you. Of course what I write is my own opinion. it’s not my problem if you fail to grasp such simple concepts.

          • The Bandsaw Vigilante

            Nope, guy, you used the all-encompassing phrase, “to be completely accurate” in your assertion, there. Double-check your phrasing next time.

          • bill brown.

            how is that therapy working out?

          • The Bandsaw Vigilante

            …No idea what you mean here, bub.

          • Snap

            Once again, it is your problem if you cannot comprehend that the “completely accurate” statement was in regards to it being Leonard Nimoy’s final contribution – “However, to be completely accurate, his final contribution to Trek was…”

            If you cannot even grasp such a basic premise of language, then there is no point in further interactions with you. Goodbye.

          • The Bandsaw Vigilante

            Uh…no, guy, quit trying to move the goalposts, here — your entire statement was predicated upon proclaiming that Star Trek 2009 was “the worst” Trek film of all time, not the one aspect of Nimoy’s performance. Or at least, that’s how it’s clearly written. Maybe learn to parse your sentence structure better so the rest of humanity doesn’t get confused by what you supposedly actually mean, next time? Thanks so much, friend.

        • Simon

          Nimoy came specifically out of retirement because he liked the story and scripts of the reboot films.
          As far as “worst” film – his role wasn’t a cameo in THE FINAL FRONTIER. He was a main character who found his long lost brother.

          • Snap

            I don’t know whether it was specifically stated whether he liked the Hobus supernova aspect, as I am not going to presume to know exactly which parts of the story got his thumbs up and which may not have. However, according to his books, what is important to him is that his character serves a purpose in the story. He most certainly did in Trek 09.

            Go back to 1994, when he was approached to appear in Star Trek Generations, he didn’t feel there was a character of “Spock” in the script and the lines attributed to him could have been given to any other character. He was utterly wasted in his cameo in Into Darkness and his interaction really played no part in the story.

            But we can agree to disagree on which movie we feel is the worst. I certainly wouldn’t rate The Final Frontier anywhere near the pinnacle of Trek movies, but I can at least watch it without becoming bored and turning it off. That, unfortunately, is not something I can say about Into Darkness. But discussions would be incredibly boring if everybody always shared the same opinions, wouldn’t they?

    • Tuskin38

      Because it is canon, so the authors can’t ignore it.

      The Hobus supernova was in the prime timeline.

    • Spock is shown — throughout TOS and the movies — to be a stunningly competent person. Yet in reboot Trek, the whole alternate timeline comes about partly because of a miscalculation on his part. I’m sorry, but that’s a TERRIBLE way for his character arc to end. Spock is the consummate Starfleet officer for decade after decade, then miscalculates and lets Romulus’ star go nova, and THAT’S how his story ends?

      Whoever wrote that didn’t love Spock the way I love Spock!

      • The Bandsaw Vigilante

        We’ve seen Spock Prime miscalculate with drastic consequences numerous times before in onscreen Trek — “The Galileo Seven,” Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, TNG “Unification,” etc. It’s a theme that recurs throughout his entire life, even through the events of the Hobus Supernova. He’s not perfect.

    • TG1701

      Trust me they would ignore if they could but it is canon.

      • The Bandsaw Vigilante

        Why are you assuming that they would want to ignore it? Indeed, many authors have publicly stated that they absolutely can’t wait to tackle the interstellar political fallout from the Hobus Supernova, the destruction of Romulus, and the disappearance of Spock Prime — lots of people are perfectly fine with what the 2009 movie established as late 24th Century canon.

        • TG1701

          Well the day someone makes a TV show around these events I will believe it. So far no one seems to be taking the bait though but maybe that will change in the future.

  • The Science Fiction Oracle

    Finally we may get to see those 4 Kelvin novels that I have been waiting 8 years for.

    Great news!!!

    • As we note above, two of them have already been repurposed for other books, so only two at most would likely return to print (if at all).

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  • Archer

    I adore the new Trek novels; the Voyager line is fantastic, and anything by David Mavk is an instant buy for me.

  • DataMat

    Loads of Trek Books from years past. I find it highly unlikely most fans have read everything over the years! Even if you have, books can be revisited! Seriously a year of quiet on the book front is no great concern. More ‘Trek books will more than likely be coming sooner rather than later.

  • Michael Spadaro

    ““It will let authors] finally [be] to show the destruction of Romulus and its Prime Universe aftermath…”

    I had been under the impression that they (the authors) who were contracted to do Trek novels had access to those events by default, since they were part of the Prime Timeline (and David Mack’s Control even alludes to the fact that it IS coming); I had assumed the novel license worked like the STO license. I was clearly incorrect in this assumption.

    I hope things get worked out soon, as I’m quite eager to see how the destruction of Romulus affects things in the Prime Universe, as well as seeing the continuing voyages of the Enterprise-E.

    • The Bandsaw Vigilante

      Yeah, Bad Robot still holds the rights to all Bad Robot-produced content, even the Prime Universe flashforwards (Nero, Spock Prime, the Hobus Supernova) seen in the 2009 film, if it originates in a Bad Robot production first.

      • Michael Spadaro

        Ah, okay.

  • Matineer

    Strange that CBS, which owns both Simon and Schuster and Star Trek, has to negotiate with Bad Robot to print books. Why? What’s in the Kelvinverse that’s not almost totally derivative of Star Trek? I like to read and wanted to buy the original books that were cancelled in 2009, but it’s weird that they licensed out Trek to somebody and then have to pay because said company made some superficial (and controversial) changes to the original work (Star Trek). They blew up Vulcan, yeah, but they didn’t create Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise…

    • The Bandsaw Vigilante

      Basically, as a result of their contract with CBS, Bad Robot was given full approval-rights over all subsidiary tie-in works, including novels, comic books, video games, etc., independent of any rights to Prime Universe content (which CBS itself holds possession of). In order for any tie-in works to be able to contain references or outright depictions of Kelvin Universe-derived content (as well the 24th Century Prime Universe flashforwards seen in the 2009 film, which was a Bad Robot production), they have to go through Bad Robot’s licensing arm first.

      For whatever reasons (probably having to do in part with the two companies being on opposite coasts, plus the longer lead-time required by novels compared to comic books), it’s taken nearly a decade for Pocket Books to finally obtain this approval, but it looks like we’ll finally be seeing Kelvin Universe elements in Prime Universe novels, plus possibly actual, full Kelvin Timeline TOS novels as well.

  • Vger64

    I started reading Trek novels in the ’70’s. We would have to wait months and months for the next Bantam books release. So this is no big deal.

    • Dorothy

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  • The Bandsaw Vigilante

    As a big fan of the Star Trek novels who has been blessed with new books every month for as long as I can remember, it’s disappointing to be in a position where there are few new novels on the horizon, and we very much share fans’ concerns and dismay. If the end result, however, allows for the incorporation of the Kelvin Timeline — which not only could bring back one of the ‘lost’ novels, but also may allow the 24th Century storytelling to continue past the Hobus supernova event — it may just be worth it.

    Agreed. We might be waiting for a long time, but I’d rather they do right than do it quickly.

  • Diane Stricker

    I really want to read the Kelvin timeline books, I hope they get published.

  • AngelHorseMomMD223

    This is terrible news for 2018. This trek lit junkie owns every single one of the DS9, VOY, Enterprise, Titan & TNG books including various spinoffs in every available format paperback kindle even including audio. I knew something was up with no pre orders available & no 2018 booklist. My OCD won’t handle this well and what a shame as the audible audio offerings were just getting good with the unabridged new releases being read by the talented Robert Petkoff who did an entertaining interpretation Garak last year. His Dr Polaski voice was also quite enjoyable.

    • grandadmiralbinks

      You are a god! Any reccomendations? 🙂