Being a fan of the Star Trek series and a semi-avid reader, having graphic novels based off of the series is a given. I have quite a few actually and most of them I enjoy. In a move taken from the comics Simon and Schuster (who publishes the books through their “Pocket Books” divisions and also via “ebooks”) decided to make a crossover of the four active properties at the time; the original series (TOS is the official shortcut, but I’ll just call it the original or classic for this article), Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine (DS9), and Voyager (official shortcut “VOY”, but for my purposes, “Voyager” will do).

The mini-series, created by John J. Ordover and Diane Carey (who would write the opening chapter in the four-parter), was called “Invasion” and told a story that would encompass all four starships. Four of the top writers were brought in to tell the story which did what Star Trek likes to do with religion, mythology, and folklore–blame it all on space aliens. So how well did it do?

Actually it did rather well. The story begins in the classic era, with the aliens returning in the next century to challenge the modern ships.

Star Trek: First Strike (“Invasion” part 1)

Writer: Diane Carey
book series #: 79

You can click on the small covers to bring them up fullsize. The first novel is “First Strike” and begins with the original crew being called for help by a surprising source…the Klingons. Remember this was when the Klingons were the enemies of the Federation (and only had different facial hair grooming styles and skin shades to tell them apart from humans, unlike the first movie on where they added bumpy foreheads and long hair) and Kirk had ticked off more than his fair share of Klingons.

This was the galaxy’s introduction to the Furies, aliens who we would learn are the source of superstition and the occult on pretty much every planet, including the Klingons. (Because that’s how things work in the Star Trek universe. Even the animated series and comic books played on that theme at times.) Eons ago their ancestors and another group fought for control of what is now called the “Alpha Quadrant” and they lost. Now they’ve returned hoping to reclaim what they feel is theirs. They weren’t getting it with Captain Kirk on the job.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – “The Soldiers of Fear” (Invasion Part 2)

Writers: Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch
book series # 41

Each series was numbered individually so I’m including the series number as well as the mini-series number. So it took a century (give or take a month) for the Furies to return. This time it was the NEW Enterprise crew they had to deal with, with Jean-Luc Picard in the lead.

The Furies broke out a new tactic. Where the last bunch figured the locals would just give the Quadrant to them, this one came prepared, using (according to the blurb) fear as a weapon. And here’s where I have to admit I haven’t read these novels in years for reasons I’ll explain at the end.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Time’s Enemy (Invasion part 3)

Writer: L.A. Graf
book series #: 16

So if the Furies lost the war, what happened to the other side? The next two novels would answer this question by introducing “The Unclean”, a group spoken of in the first two novels (or at least the second one, according to memory). As I recall they pretty much absorbed people and incorporated them into a group mind…mass…thing…or something.

This time the crew of the space station Deep Space Nine, after acquiring their own starship, the Defiant would be the first to challenge the Unclean, who were planning to return themselves via the wormhole near planet Bajor that served as the series plot device.

Star Trek Voyager: The Final Fury (Invasion part 4)

Writer: David Ab Hugh
book series #9

So how to fit the Voyager crew into the mix? After all, they’re not exactly in the area. In the series, the ship has been catapulted to the Delta Quadrant, a portion of space so far away that even at maximum warp drive it would take decades before they finally got back to Earth. It was a series that had a lot of potential but a significant portion of fans…and even some of the actors…found it didn’t live up to it.

They actually found a decent way to get this crew into the story by having the Delta Quadrant be the home of the “Unclean”, and it would become up to the Voyager crew to finish them off once and for all, thus ending the mini-series.

How well did they do? As I remember for what they wanted to do, they did rather well. All of the authors told their part of the story well and Ordover and Carey (or whomever was in charge of the project) kept them on track. The event itself was a hit with the readers and more would follow. You can find the series individually or as an omnibus collecting the stories. The omnibus even has all four covers which, as seen in the opening image of this article, combine to form a single picture.

So why haven’t I read this in years? It really comes down to a matter of personal taste. The Furies are the source (and thus the embodiment) of everything we fear–monsters, voodoo, the occult, and all those other paranormal “dark things”. When I say the Unclean absorb their victims, I mean they eat them and spin their DNA like thread into the “hive” and the next generation. The depictions are more out of a horror production, and occasionally rather explicit (within reason, enough to keep your kids away from it at least–it’s hardly the most disgusting book out there), too much so for someone like me who has a weak stomach, likes to read when he’s eating, and has an overactive imagination.

Decision: goes–soon

Soon? Well that where the critic in me comes into play. While researching the series (partly so I wouldn’t have to read through it again for this article–a plan now rendered redundant) I found very little on it. In fact, the most comprehensive review I found was on a site devoted to fantasy without spending forever searching. So I decided to keep these long enough to read through them again and review them on my other site. I haven’t decided if I’ll just straight read through them for the “Scanning My Collection” series or put them through the ringer in “Chapter by Chapter” (where I review a book one chapter at a time, the short list already including another Star Trek novel) but despite my personal misgivings with it, I can’t say they were badly done for what they wanted to do. I just don’t care for what they wanted to do. 🙂

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