Since 1967, when the first Star Trek comic was published, 2,483 Star Trek stories have been released in print, comic, and audio form. In the first decades, the majority of these were standalone stories that only referenced the show. However, over the past 20 years most Simon and Schuster novels have taken place in a shared continuity in which the events of one novel can and often do have major repercussions on the novels following it. This modern continuity will be referred to here as the STAR TREK LIT-VERSE.
Unlike the new Star Wars Expanded Universe or various other media tie-in lines, no Star Trek novel, comic, or game is considered canon. Even those written in conjunction with the new, currently in-production series. However, that doesn't take anything away from the quality of the material or its' ability to entertain. Even as Star Trek returns in increasing quantity to the small screen, the inter-connectedness of the novels will likely continue in some form for some time to come.
The complete Lit-verse consists of a continuity web of almost 1000 stories. That is around 40% of all Star Trek fiction ever published. In addition to the majority of the novels which have been released over the past two decades, many older novels have been referenced in this continuity as well. Available to the left are reading lists for each of the series, and a complete reading list for the entire Lit-verse. Don't be overwhelmed by the length of some of the lists. All anthology short stories and comic issues are listed separately, so it's not as much reading as it seems to a newcomer. Not all connections are noted, only the ones which form the branching out of the lists. Author annotations can be found to provide more extensive references.
My placement of a story in the Lit-verse is not intended to imply that there are no continuity discrepancies included in the material. There are definite contradictions in the lists I've compiled. The fact is, not even the shows themselves are free of continuity errors, some quite large. The older novels do not always agree in every detail with the Lit-verse, or even with modern canon. Indeed, even the newer novels, written with the modern continuity in mind, sometimes contain a few mistakes. The majority of all these can be ignored, or explained away by a creative mind. My goal here was to include everything possible, and leave the continuity problems up to the reader to resolve. If you don't want a book in your personal continuity, then just ignore it. Don't become so invested in continuity that you forget to enjoy the stories themselves.
Each Star Trek TV series is given it's own reading list page. The major Lit-only series, New Frontier, SCE, Gorkon, Titan, Vanguard, Mirror Universe, and Myriad Universes also have their own pages. The easiest way to include Stargazer, The Lost Era, and certain other like-period pieces was to create a Early 24th Century reading list containing them all. I then have a simple list of stories that take place after Star Trek: Nemesis. A more detailed timeline of the stories following Star Trek: Nemesis is given on the Post-Nemesis: Year By Year page.Also to the left is the Five Year Mission timeline I compiled. The Complete Pocket Books Novel List updates the novel list as given in the back of Pocket Books novels in years past, before the list became so long that it was considered impractical to include in every book.
I also have a list of all the ebook exclusive Trek
stories which have been published and never been released in print.
Then there's a vast examination of the minutiae of Klingon date keeping
systems. Don't miss pictures of my 1:5000
scale Star Trek ship model collection, and an page where I log all the
updates to the site, for those interested in see what is new and what
has changed. On the right are a few extra projects I've completed, most
importantly an exact count of every Star Trek story ever published.
Forthcoming is the Complete Lit-verse reading list, which will
every story from the above lists in order. Also to come will be more
specific reading lists (characters specific lists, species specific
lists, storyline specific lists). I also want to build a "Simple
Pre-Nemesis Reading List." Someday I will develop an explanation of my
continuity and list of what it includes.
Each anthology is broken up
into individual short stories, and each novella and comic issue is
included separately. Special cases were The Lives of Dax and No Limits. These
were both broken up into their respective stories (which spread them
out over different series), and placed in their respective series as a
whole (for those only reading that series.) For example the short story
'Q'uandary from New Frontier: No Limits is essentially a TNG story and is included in that reading list, but for those only reading NF, the entire No Limits anthology is listed there as well. In addition to being broken up across series lines, each story from Tales of the Dominion War is also included on the DS9 page, because of the centrality of the overall story to that series.
New Frontier presented a specific challenge in that much back story had to be presented to get the series established, because of its' Lit-only nature. Thus to experience many of it's short stories in chronological order, without breaking up the New Frontier flashbacks into separately listed sections would have been somewhat unintelligible to a new reader. This is not the case for the TV series based book lines, nor is it a circumstance shared by the other Lit-only series. So with New Frontier some of the flashbacks are presented as separate portions of the list. This is explained further on the New Frontier page.
With comic series I have taken a different method in certain situations than in others:
Of the Gold Key comics, I have only included those specific issues which are referenced by the Lit-verse.
Likewise with DC Comics only each issue that was referenced was included.
Marvel's series Early Voyages, Starfleet Academy, and Untold Voyages were treated as wholes, while with their monthly series Unlimited, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager I included only specifically referenced issues. I didn't consider the "Previously in Star Trek--" intros to rise to the level of a story reference.
With Wildstorm Comics each miniseries or one-shot was treated as a separate entity.
IDW's miniseries were all treated as wholes except their anthology miniseries: Alien Spotlight and Captain's Log. Only specific issues of these anthologies are included.
Where possible, I have condensed miniseries or story arcs into single entries to trim the length of the reading lists.
Above all the proceeding considerations, however, my overriding rule
was that if multiple stories were published in the same work, such as a
short story anthology or multistory comic book, all stories between
those two covers would be included if anything from that volume was
connected to the Lit-verse.
Strange New Worlds was forced to break this rule though. At least one
story from almost all the volumes of Strange New Worlds was referenced,
and this would have necessitated putting almost every SNW story into the
Also included here is the Myriad Universes series. While these novels by definition do not take place in the traditional Lit-verse, they contain certain elements from it, and were written with modern continuity as their backdrop.
Specifically not included
here are the works that have been intentionally designed to not follow
the Lit-verse continuity. This includes the TOS Crucible trilogy, the Shatner-verse 24th century series, the two X-Men crossovers, Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many, TOS: The Children of Kings, and TOS: Shadow of the Machine. All of these stories do have references to elements from the
Lit-verse, but were specifically intended to strike their own paths, paths
which do not meld well with the Lit-verse. Also specifically not included are references involving RPGs or video games.
The timeline used for these lists is was derived from the Timeliners chronology in Voyages of the Imagination by
Jeff Ayers and lots of research done on my own, with the Memory-Beta timeline being a very important resource. Much of my process of figuring out the timeline of the various series was recorded on the TrekBBS. Starting here, with more to come in the future.
Very special thanks goes to turtletrekker of the TrekBBS message boards. His work in compiling at least two-thirds of these continuity connections was both the inspiration of and basis for this website. This entire idea began from the dozens of message boards questions about what books had to be read before reading Keith R.A. DeCandido's Articles of the Federation. The specific thread that can be considered the grandfather of this website can be found here.
Turtletrekker ran with this and compiled the vast Charting the Novel-verse project, the second version of which can be found here. My interest in the project began and was first manifested in a discussion here and continued here.
More thanks to all the TrekBBS members who contributed to these discussions, first among whom I would like to thank Christopher (author Christopher L. Bennett). Thanks also to Steve Roby, whose amazing Complete Starfleet Library is a great resource. And on the other side of the literary coin is Mark Martinez's Star Trek Comics Checklist, which was invaluable to me, and Curt Danhouser's Guide to the Star Trek Story Records.
None of this would be possible without the original Timeliners who created the Voyages of the Imagination timeline, and all those who have kept it alive on Memory-Beta. Apologies for the format of the notes in the lists. I know hover text doesn't work on touchscreens. Someday soon I'll try to make a less clean and attractive version of the pages with the notes simply displayed without having to hover. Keep in mind this is simply my interpretation of Star Trek continuity. Your mileage may vary. Enjoy, everyone!
Questions? Comments? email@example.com
Or vist the Trek BBS Thread
The Star Trek Litverse Reading Guide is not affiliated with CBS Studios Inc.. Star Trek ® is a trademark of CBS Studios Inc.