Let’s take a quick look at the first six years of Trek lit, shall we? Eleven books were published between 1967 and 1972, comprising two original novels, one nonfiction ‘making of’ book, and eight volumes of adaptations of episodes from the television show. Namely:
- Star Trek by James Blish (Amazon)
- Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds (Amazon)
- Star Trek 2 by James Blish (Amazon)
- The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield (Amazon)
- Star Trek 3 by James Blish (Amazon)
- Spock Must Die! by James Blish (Amazon)
- Star Trek 4 by James Blish (Amazon)
- Star Trek 5 by James Blish (Amazon)
- Star Trek 6 by James Blish (Amazon)
- Star Trek 7 by James Blish (Amazon)
- Star Trek 8 by James Blish (Amazon)
The two original novels, Mission to Horatius and Spock Must Die!, are both pretty good stories. You can see my reviews, linked above, for details, but in short I’d say they’re worth a read for anyone interested in early Trek lit. They’re on about the level of the average episode of The Original Series, which is, I suppose, what they were aiming for.
The Making of Star Trek is of great historical interest. It features plenty of interesting details about the creation of Trek, including many primary sources. The details about how, generically speaking, TV shows are made is of less interest, but the bulk of the book is specifically about Star Trek. If you want to know something about how the show and its characters developed, take a look at this one.
The bulk of the books during this period were James Blish’s adaptations, beginning with Star Trek in January 1967 and continuing through November 1972 with Star Trek 8, with more to come.
Blish’s adaptations are all of about equal quality, as far as writing is concerned (decent, but uninspired), though the quality of the stories varies quite a bit. Some suggestions:
- “Balance of Terror” from Star Trek
- “Mirror, Mirror” and “Amok Time” from Star Trek 3
- “The Enterprise Incident” from Star Trek 4
- “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” from Star Trek 8
In general, if you liked the episode, the adaptation should be acceptably entertaining, as well. This doesn’t hold if you liked the episode because of the acting, of course.
If you’re looking to read only a little from this period, then prioritize Spock Must Die!, then Mission to Horatius. Follow up with as many (or as few) of Blish’s books as seem interesting to you, if you’re still hungry for old Trek lit, after those two.