Welcome to Brian's Bits, where Brian gets to share at length about various topics stirring inside of him.
Starfleet Corps of Engineers
19 September 2014
Better Late Than NeverLast year, when reviewing the book “Pathfinder,” I wrote:
Seeing that I am a citizen of a Kingdom that is not of this world — hey, that sounds like sci-fi! — I'm pretty much out of the loop when it comes to the latest trends, fads, or whatever else is popular in mainstream culture. So it shouldn't be surprising that it took me about 14 years to discover a “new” series of Star Trek books.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved science fiction and fantasy stories — at least as far back as junior high school. During my teen years I devoured science fiction books by authors like Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein and others. In addition, there was the delight of visual science fiction, like Lost In Space, Star Trek and Star Wars.
Not that I ever read any of the previous Star Trek books that have been published for decades. Somehow they just didn't seem appealing. Because my experience with Star Trek has been visual — TV shows and movies — having stories in printed form seemed to be a diminishing of Star Trek. Nevertheless, earlier this year I somehow came across a series of books called Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
As you will read below, the 74 stories of this series were originally published as short novels (or novellas) in electronic format. Later, batches of novellas were grouped together and published in a series of 13 omnibus editions in both paper and electronic formats. In May of this year I bought the first omnibus volume, containing the first four novellas, in Kindle format. By the time I finished reading it, I was totally hooked!
From Wikipedia to Brian’s BitsBecause these stories are available both individually and in omnibus editions, it can be tricky to figure out what is what when shopping on Amazon. Fortunately, I found a Wikipedia page which clearly catalogued the entire series and all the editions available.
Because I wanted to make a PDF of that Wikipedia article, adding my own notes about which books I had purchased and read, I downloaded that Web page to my computer, even though I almost never do that with any other Web pages. After all, why save a Wikipedia article when you can just bookmark it and return to it at any time?
Why? Because the article might disappear, that's why! And that is exactly what happened to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers article on Wikipedia! Someone decided that it wasn't useful information, so they deleted it! Just a couple of months after I had save it, the article was GONE! I was so shocked that I just could not believe it!
Even though much of the information in that article can still be found on other Web sites — see the Additional Resources section at the end of this article — I still think it was a very useful article that presented a lot of valuable information all in one place. Therefore, because I had saved a copy, I have decided to resurrect it on this Web site.
Starting with the original Starfleet Corps of Engineers Wikipedia article as a foundation, I have put a lot of work into improving it by double-checking the content for accuracy, correcting any mistakes, adding additional information, and providing a TON of links to related Web pages. I believe that the result is an even more valuable resource than was the original.
Just a few notes before we proceed to the main event. The information presented below is accurate, as far as I can tell. Because different sources sometimes had conflicting data, I can't guarantee that everything I have presented is 100% accurate. But I tried!
I've provided Amazon.com links to the 13 omnibus editions for the first 66 novellas, and to each individual novella for the remaining eight. All of the omnibus editions are available in both paperback and Kindle formats. During mid-2014 when I purchased them, the Kindle version was usually cheaper, except in four cases where the paperback version was cheaper. The links I have provided are to the versions I purchased. If you want the book in a different format, I'm sure you can navigate around Amazon to find what you're looking for.
I made this mistake when I wanted to buy the third omnibus, Some Assembly Required. I didn't pay close enough attention, and I accidentally purchased the novella Some Assembly Required instead. Seeing that the omnibus version costs exactly the same as the single novella, even though the omnibus edition contains three additional novellas as well, you'll really want to steer clear of the individual novellas — except for the last 8 novellas, for which no omnibus editions exists. Creative Couplings. I've just finished the 44th novella, which puts me exactly two-thirds of the way through the 13 omnibus volumes. After all of that reading, I can report that these stories have a minimum of profanity, sexual immorality, and violence. The crew is on a science ship, not a battle cruiser or starbase brothel!
Even though the 74 novellas in the series were written by 41 different authors, there is a remarkable consistency in tone and style among them. If you didn't know better, you could believe that they were all written by the same person. But because of this huge variety of authors, I think there is a richness of imagination which might be harder for a single author to attain. All in all, I've been very impressed with the series and enjoying it very much.
So, without further ado, here is my modified version of the now-defunct Wikipedia article.... novellas set in the Star Trek universe, initially under the title Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers (2000-2006), and later under the new title Star Trek: Corps of Engineers (2006-2007). Like other Star Trek books, the books are officially licensed, but not considered canon.
S.C.E. was conceived and created by Keith R.A. DeCandido and John J. Ordover. Including these two founders, the 74 stories of the series were written by 41 different authors, over a period of seven years.
The S.C.E. books were unique among officially published Star Trek fiction as they were initially published exclusively in the eBook format for electronic download. Most of these novellas have subsequently been reprinted in paperback and eBook omnibuses, with anywhere from three to eight stories per volume.
It was announced in March 2008 that all new eBook publications from Pocket Books would go on “hiatus” following the end of Slings and Arrows — but that paperback reprints of the existing eBooks would continue. Jens Deffner wrote:
Did this unfortunate timing ever make editor Keith R.A. DeCandido wonder about what could have been had the series been given just a bit more time? “All the time, sadly. It frustrates me that they pulled the plug around when the Sony eReader and the Kindle started to show up — not to mention Nooks and iPads. In a lot of ways, what we were doing was about ten years ahead of its time.”Although Pocket Books started publishing new eBooks in 2011, the Corps of Engineers series was not featured among them. However, the characters have made cameo appearances in other novels set in the 24th century. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, taking place primarily in the time period immediately following the end of the latter series.
The stories mainly concern a special Starfleet division called the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, stationed aboard the U.S.S. da Vinci (NCC-81623) a Saber-class starship.
In December 2006, the eBook series was relaunched under the Corps of Engineers title, with numbering dropped. No omnibus collections of these last eight novellas have been published, nor are paper editions available.
The Star Trek: Destiny trilogy and its follow-up, A Singular Destiny, establish that Captain David Gold resigned from Starfleet in 2380 — approximately two and a half years following the last S.C.E. story — and rejoined his wife on Earth.
Sonya Gomez was thus promoted to captain of the da Vinci, with Domenica Corsi as her first officer, and Tev as the head of the Corps team. Corsi and Fabian Stevens were married, necessitating his transfer to another vessel.
In the Star Trek: Voyager novel Unworthy, the chief engineer of the da Vinci, Nancy Conlon, has transferred to the same position aboard the USS Voyager.
In addition, the 23rd-century S.C.E. characters established in Foundations continue to play a role in the ongoing Star Trek: Vanguard novel series.
This article is 17th a series of articles on this Web site related to Literature, Music and Photography which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
On January 21, 2017, Nicholas wrote:
Hi there. Thank you for putting this together. I read your intro and I have the same experience as you. I have watched all the Star Trek series and movies. I watched the Captain Kirk original series on TV when it first came out, and never read a book about it. So the Star Trek Corps of Engineers is my first Star Trek book. Just a thank you for the information you posted. Live long and prosper.