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Star Trek – The Final Reflection by John M. Ford (Review)

To celebrate the release of Star Trek: Into Darkness this month, we’ll be running through the first season of the classic Star Trek all this month. Check back daily to get ready to boldly go. It’s only logical.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

The Final Reflection was written in 1984. Development on Star Trek: The Next Generation would only be announced in 1986. Sure, there were a bunch of successful movies being produced, but these only amounted to a couple of hours of Star Trek once every few years. And, even then, the movies were aimed at a much broader audience, without the same development and continuity that a television show could offer. Not that Star Trek ever really had that tight a sense of continuity, of course, but it must have seemed unlikely that things could ever go back to the way they had been. Certainly, in 1984, nobody could have anticipated the eighteen-straight years of Star Trek running from Encounter at Farpoint to These Are the Voyages.

As a result, fans had to look to other avenues to expand and develop the rich Star Trek universe. The novels were one such avenue, although they developed slowly. Mission to Horatius had been published while the show was on the air, but it was very clearly aimed at a younger audience. Spock Must Die! would be published in 1970. However, the spin-off fiction developed relatively slowly. Star Trek had yet to become a massive franchise with tie-in multimedia commercial opportunities.

Perhaps because the Star Trek novels had not quite turned into a massive franchising opportunity, and they weren’t under the same level of publicity or scrutiny that they would be in the years to come, writer John M. Ford was able to do something quietly revolutionary with his first Star Trek novel, The Final Reflection. He was able to venture away from our core cast of iconic characters and instead develop the Klingon Empire.

More than that, though, he was able to paint the Klingons as the good guys.


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