Over the years, I’ve read more than my fair share of tie-in novels. And while I can’t recommend a steady diet of them, I think that good tie-in novel can be a great way to clear the reading pallet if you’ve just finished something heavy, dark, emotional or intense. Or they can be great bubble gum for the mind, whether reading or hearing them on audiobook (I re-read a lot of classic Doctor Who adaptations while running or working out. Great distraction without being too distracting).
- Quantum Leap: Prelude by Ashley McConnell: I loved Quantum Leap. And while the tie-in novel series related to it could be hit or miss, this one was a memorable hit. Detailing the events leading up to Dr. Sam Beckett stepping into the quantum leap accelerator and vanishing, this one stood out from the pack.
- Star Trek: Double, Double by Michael Jan Friedman. The duplicate of Captain Kirk from “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” makes a memorable return to the Trek universe.
- Star Trek: Legacy by Michael Jan Friedman. I came down with chicken pox the summer after my senior year of high school and was pretty much in bed for ten days. I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books. One of them was this story that looked back at a mission led by Captain Pike that mirrored the current one facing the Enterprise crew. I’m not sure if the book was really that great or that I had a high fever. But I still remember loving it while I read it.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Strike Zone by Peter David. My first introduction to the genius that is Peter David. The first TNG novel to come out after season two began airing and included a memorable scene where Riker is sure Picard is jealous that he’s got more hair in his beard than Picard does on his whole head. David perfectly captured the characters and showed that you could have some fun poking at them a bit.
- Star Trek: The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane. Early Trek novels were extremely memorable for a variety of reasons. There seemed to be less editorial control by Paramount and the writers would swing for the fences at times. Sometimes it was a miss and then sometimes it was a hit. The Wounded Sky was a huge hit. Duane’s first Trek novel involves the Enterprise trying out a new propulsion drive and all kinds of unintended side-effects. This was a Trek novel that you’d never see on TV because there simply wasn’t the budget to pull it off. But on the printed page, it was awesome.
- Doctor Who New Adventures: Conundrum by Steve Lyons. The mid-point of a five-book arc in the New Adventures and one I simply couldn’t put down. Someone is messing with the fabric of the Doctor’s lives and creating alternate realities. I had to hunt far and wide to find this one (in the days before Amazon). When I finally had it, it was worth it.
- Doctor Who New Adventures: The Dying Days by Lance Parkin. The final NA was one of the most memorable. Lance Parkin took many of the elements of the TV movie and showed you could do a GREAT Doctor Who story with them. A collector’s item today (I’ve still got my original copy), it’s got a memorable final scene with the Doctor announcing his return. I got chills reading it.
- Doctor Who: The Scales of Injustice by Gary Russell. A part of the Missing Adventures series that filled in the gaps with stories about previous Doctors, The Scales of Injustice is set between series seven and eight and gives Liz Shaw a better “final” story that we got on TV. Russell fills in some huge gaps from the third Doctor era with a great story that I loved. It’s been re-issued and is even available now as an audiobook. I may have to revisit this one soon.
- Doctor Who: The Face of the Enemy by David A. McIntee. After BBC Book took over the Doctor Who fiction range, my interest waned a bit. This one is an interesting twist on the UNIT era of the third Doctor. Instead of the Doctor serving as scientific advisor, the Master is thrust into the role. There’s also a cameo by Ian and Barbara from the first Doctor’s era.