Star Trek: New Frontier
Star Trek: New Frontier is a Star Trek novel series created by John J. Ordover and Peter David and published by Pocket Books. The idea behind it was to create a Star Trek book series with its own continuity and not one that is purely reactionary to the television shows. Nearly every story of the series is written by series co-creator Peter David.
First published in 1997 as a serial consisting of four short novels, New Frontier is set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe, but in the wholly unexplored Sector 221-G, home of the recently fallen Thallonian Empire. The books generally follow the adventures of Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and his crew aboard the U.S.S. Excalibur.
Starting the series with a combination of new characters and former Next Generation guest stars, this gave David the opportunity to create his own corner of the Star Trek Universe. Over the years the series has become very popular and critically well-respected to the point that other authors have begun to reference characters and events from the New Frontier continuity, and New Frontier has even been involved in several major crossover events with the novels based on existing television series. The series even inspired its own action figure (one of Mackenzie Calhoun), something no Star Trek novel has done before.
Since the series is written almost exclusively by Peter David, the series shares a sense of humor and irony that is common to many of his writings. The books often take a slightly different tone than many of the other Star Trek novels, often being more violent and sexual than most of the other books. The series is also very willing to affectionately poke fun at its parent series. Another unusual quality is (among Star Trek books) the series’ unique ability and willingness to allow the characters to grow, change, and even die (or otherwise leave the series).
New Frontier may be considered a turning point in the publishing of Star Trek novels. Encouraged by the freedom that this allowed and the popularity of New Frontier, the Star Trek editors started several new series over the years (with varying degrees of success), including Diane Carey’s short lived Star Trek: Challenger, Michael Jan Friedman’s Star Trek: Stargazer, Keith R. A. DeCandido’s Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon, Star Trek: Vanguard, the e-book series Star Trek: S.C.E. (Starfleet Corps of Engineers), Star Trek: Excelsior a non-related series of books about the USS Excelsior, and a handful of other individual novels not directly based on any series. Similarly, authors have taken advantage of this new freedom for the post-series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine relaunch and Star Trek: Voyager relaunch along with the post-film novels based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, including the spinoff Star Trek: Titan.
Although Peter David has authored nearly all stories in the New Frontier continuity, since he does not own the rights to the series, Pocket Books could theoretically give the series to another author, or even to a rotating series of authors. However, they have shown no indication of doing so, and at last announcement David is scheduled to be the author of any upcoming New Frontier novels.