As with so many franchises that have managed to last decades, there's a wealth of Star Trek material out there for old fans and new fans to devote their time to. Two amazing, possible insane fans have looked at the massive number of Star Trek books and charted out how they all interact with each other and when they take place in canon.
Image: Star Trek: The Next Generation still via Trek Core
The fans, who go by the moniker 8of5 and Thrawn, have devoted a significant amount of time to this flowchart:
In an email to us, Thrawn also shared his tips for anyone not looking to read hundreds of books:
- Kirsten Beyer writes the Voyager novels starting with Full Circle, and they're so good it's frankly hard to believe. It's no coincidence that after a few years writing these she got a staff writer job on Discovery. Full Circle is unfortunately a bit of an awkward start, since it begins before and ends after a couple of major crossover events Voyager participated in, so if you start there you should be aware that some really important things will happen offscreen. But it's worth the journey, and after that comes one standout novel after another. (Recommended even if you don't like Voyager; just check the amazon reviews for the number of people saying "I didn't really care for Voyager but these are amazing".)
- The Destiny Trilogy is a huge crossover, about 4 years after Nemesis, centered around a massive thousands-of-cubes-strong Borg invasion of the Federation. It's basically Star Trek's equivalent of the Star Wars EU's Thrawn Trilogy - designed for new readers, epic, surprising, and with lasting consequences.
- For Original Series fans, Star Trek: Vanguard is sort of The Original Series as reimagined by HBO; it runs concurrently to TOS, and provides background to and explores consequences of TOS's major events (like Klingon aggression and the Organians enforcing a peace, the Tholian Web, the Romulans bringing cloaking technology, etc). Eight books long, and as gripping as anything you'd actually see on HBO.
- Finally, if you're a Niner, Avatar begins roughly two whole seasons worth of new stories just as serialized and just as good as the show they succeed. Deep Space Nine was the first TV show to spawn an ongoing novel series after its finale, and these books showed the rest of the TrekLit writers to come what was possible.
For even more information, you can see the chart's home at the Trek Collective.