Lord Simian wrote:
I liked the Shatner books, but two things to keep in mind.
1) They're very much not canon, even the other ST book series ignore them.
2) It's very easy to tell which chapters were written by Shatner. Roughly 3 chapters of story by ghosts, and then a chapter about Kirkr reminiscing about how badass he is. Rinse, and repeat.
The only Trek novel that was ever officially considered canon was a Janeway backstory novel by Voyager's showrunner Jeri Taylor. And she only made that book canon because she wrote the damn thing.
The DS9 novels continuing the events from the series might be considered canon in some fashion, I suppose. But the Trek novels have always made an issue of not being part of any sort of extended canon. In other words, it was always the intent that the only canon they agreed with was what was established in the shows and movies, not in other books.
To a degree, this has started to change. Books reference the events in other books, and not unlike Marvel and DC comics, they produce these vast crossover events, which set the stage for future books. One of PAD's novels (in which he killed off Janeway) was the launching point for a crossover series in which the Borg were killed off for good (Janeway came back in a totally different book, though).
And now, there are original characters and storylines woven throughout the books like Elias Vaughn and the Federation President and PAD's Captain Calhoun.
Of course, that doesn't mean that any of these books are canonical; only that there's an effort now being made to keep them internally consistent with other Trek novels. It's the difference between continuity and canon, basically. The novels are in continuity with the shows and movies as well as each other, but are not considered canonical in and of themselves. Probably trying to take a page from Star Wars' Expanded Universe.
I'd offer some suggestions, RU, but I haven't picked up a new Trek book in years. Star Trek: Destiny was the last series I read, and it really turned me off of Trek novels in general. The crossover idea seemed okay at first, but increasingly, novels began to reference other novels I didn't give a shit to read. Like this whole Typhon Pact storyline they were doing a while back. It was referenced in the Destiny storyline, and I had no idea what in the fuck it was without looking it up online.
For a while, I was picking up the extended DS9 novels until I got tired of reading about Andorian sexual relationships.
I kinda liked the Star Trek: Vanguard series for a bit, though. It was set during the original series era, but focuses on completely original characters. One of whom is a hot lesbian vulcan with issues. Predictably, though, it got weird.
Star Trek Destiny covered pretty much every Trek era with the exception of AbramsTrek, telling a story that spanned millions of years, uniting all the crews (sorta). Archer wasn't in it, but one of his contemporaries from the show is a main character. Picard teams up with Dax and Seven-of-Nine and Riker's crew from the USS Titan to fight the Borg (again). It reveals the origin of the Borg, and the events from this series form the basis of the Star Trek Online Game (and are then promptly ignored almost immediately).
It's very comic booky now, which you may enjoy. Characters who were killed have returned to life. Even Data's back. There's a lot of stuff to enjoy, but you just have to realize there's a lot of stuff
. And things have changed.