Star Trek: The Next Generation – Encounter at Farpoint (1987) – David Gerrold

It says David Gerrold, but the wily, and brilliant sci-fi author actually allowed D.C. Fontana’s original work to take the center stage here, putting his name on it to allow it to get out. Fontana had originally been tapped to write the novelization, she wrote it, and then Gerrold was tapped to write it. He talked to Fontana and put his name on it, and let her get paid for it.

The novel itself is a short, and fairly faithful representation of what ended up on screen in the series premiere. There are some interesting things that we’re later contradicted as the series progressed, Riker, the Enterprise’s newly assigned first officer tells someone to call him Bill, no one does. In this version of the story, Data was created by an alien race and put in humanoid form as an easier way for humans to relate to him.

Captain Picard seems a little gruffer, when Geordi La Forge comes aboard he is accompanied by a friend from the USS Hood who has also been assigned to the new Galaxy-class Enterprise, and Wesley Crusher, the son of Dr. Beverly Crusher, makes a pair of friends within moments of arriving on the ship. Both Geordi’s friend, and Wesley’s friends never made it to the screen, but one wonders if there would have been ongoing storylines with them had they been introduced.

The starship’s initial voyage has the stalwart crew encountering the mischievous and troubling entity known as Q, who wishes to put humanity on trial and keep them in their own end of space without venturing further.

Picard argues to prove themselves and Q relents revealing that their mission at Farpoint Station will serve as a perfect trial.

The story is wonderfully fast-paced, introduces everyone to readers and also expands a little on some of the dialogue and scenes from the two-part episode. It also served to launch the Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster Star Trek: The Next Generation book series which would join Star Trek novels based on The Original Series on the bookshelves of fans everywhere.

I remember buying the book the moment I saw it. I was hungry for new Trek, I loved The Original Series, but I was eager to see what else that universe could give me as I journeyed with an all-new crew aboard a new USS Enterprise. For me, it was an exciting time, and I didn’t understand fans who said the only Trek was the original… it was new Trek! More explorations, more human adventure, more boldly going…


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