If you’ve followed Star Trek at all, you’ve heard of the USS Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, and the USS Voyager. But what about the USS Excalibur?
Don’t worry if it’s not ringing a bell. The ship was only on screen in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and mentioned in a Voyager episode. On the page, though, the Excalibur has been very busy.
In 1997, Pocket Books published four short novels in a new series called Star Trek: New Frontier by Peter David. David is very prolific (His bibliography includes over 50 novels, many comics, teleplays and film scripts.), and he had already written a number of novels for the established Star Trek lines at this point, including the popular Imzadi and Vendetta novels for the TNG line.
In New Frontier, David was given free reign to create his own ship and crew without having to worry about squeezing events in between episodes and making sure that every character was left unchanged so as to not conflict with the television series. He did, however, bring in characters that had made brief appearances on TNG, including Ensign Robin Lefler (Played by Ashley Judd) and Commander Elizabeth Shelby (Who had only been seen in the “The Best of Both Worlds” two-parter) from TNG.
New Frontier starts with the USS Excalibur and its captain, Mackenzie Calhoun, going into Thallonian space (The Thallonians are also a Peter David creation) to lend aid in the midst of the political upheaval there. David quickly establishes his new characters while moving the story along at a breakneck pace. Captain Calhoun is unlike any of his televised predecessors, but he’s the man you want when you’re heading into a fight. David writes fantastic action and also understands that humor and Trek work well together, which has made him my favorite of all the Trek novel writers.
Since New Frontier began in 1997, there have been over 20 books, comics, and short stories, the most recent being a three-part ebook published last year. That may sound a little daunting, but my guess is that once you finish the first book, you will just want to keep going until you’ve read it all.
- Alan Decker
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