Since 1967, when the first Star Trek comic was published, 2,605 Star Trek stories have been released in print, comic, and original audio form.
In the first decades, the majority of these were standalone stories that only referenced the show.
However, over most of the past twenty years the majority of Simon and Schuster novels took place in a shared continuity in which the events of one novel often had major repercussions on the novels following it.
This modern continuity will be referred to here as the STAR TREK LIT-VERSE.
Unlike the 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 has returned to the small screen and the Simon and Schuster novel continuity has mostly drawn to a close, the inter-connectedness of the novels will likely continue in some form as it has for the majority of Trek history.
The complete Lit-verse consists of a continuity web of more than 1100 stories. That is approaching half 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. Don't be overwhelmed by the length of some of the lists. All anthology short stories and many comic issues are listed individually, 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 for many stories 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 this can be ignored, or explained away by a creative mind. My goal here was to include every link 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 series is given its own reading list page. The major Lit-only series, New Frontier, SCE, Gorkon, Titan, Vanguard/Seekers, 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 an Early 24th Century reading list containing them all.
I then have a simple list of Simon and Schuster stories that take place after Star Trek: Nemesis grouped into "chapters". A more detailed timeline of the stories following Star Trek: Nemesis is given on the Post-Nemesis: Month-By-Month page. Note that these stories were published in the years before Star Trek: Picard premiered, and the authors were given free rein to explore the late 24th century. Things do "eventually" lead back into the modern television continuity now shown in Star Trek: Picard and other series, but tell an alternate history of the intervening years that only makes sense in relation to the canonical storyline at its conclusion in the Coda trilogy.
Also to the left is a month-by-month breakdown of the Five Year Mission. 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. I've keep an exact count of every Star Trek story ever published, updated with each new month's releases, and a count of just how many stories have been told that take place in the Five Year Mission. And for the first two seasons of Discovery, I kept an examination of the dating of each episode. Don't miss pictures of my 1:5000 scale Star Trek ship model collection, and a page where I log all the updates to the site, for those interested in seeing what is new and what has changed.
Forthcoming is the Complete Lit-verse reading list, which will include every story from the main reading lists in order. Also to come will be more specific reading lists (character 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 own personal continuity and a 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 individual stories (which spread them out over different series) and also 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 New Frontier, 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 its short stories in chronological order without breaking up some of 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, miniseries were treated as whole unique stories, but only individual linked issues of anthology or ongoing series were included. I didn't consider the "Previously in Star Trek--" intros in Marvel comics to rise to the level of a story reference. 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.
The Strange New Worlds anthologies were forced to break this rule though. At least one story from almost all the volumes of SNW was referenced, and this would have necessitated putting almost every SNW story into the reading lists. Also specifically not included are references involving RPGs or video games.
The timeline used for these lists 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 turtletrekkerof the TrekBBS message boards. His work in compiling at least half 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. 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 is 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 of my colleagues who have kept it alive over the years. I thank them for their allowance to include small tidbits of information here and there. 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.