I entered 2018—which marks the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s 25th anniversary—lacking the time to re-watch the series but nevertheless harboring a desire to spend time in its extended universe. To satisfy that impulse I read some of the Malibu DS9 comics, I listened to the various DS9 soundtracks, and I watched the supplemental features on the DVD sets. In mid-October I was fortunate enough to attend the L.A. premiere of the marvelous commemorative documentary What We Left Behind, where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the show’s cast and crew, a truly memorable experience. And all through 2018 there was another way in which I kept the DS9 flames burning: by reading some of the show’s tie-in books.
Including novelizations, anthologies, cross-overs, and the official re-launch stories, there are almost one hundred adult DS9 fiction books. These certainly merit a full discussion, or several—and indeed have been covered, piecemeal at least, elsewhere. I’d read some of these novels decades ago and enjoyed them, but as with the show itself, I realized I didn’t have the time to work my way through them now in any systematic way. That’s when I remembered that between 1994 and 1998 twelve young-adult DS9 novels were published concurrently with the adult books. I hadn’t seen much written on them. They looked breezy and fun; they promised a playful recreation of the show’s key characters, particularly Jake and Nog; and they were short enough that I could read the entire series. Also, DS9 itself can be somewhat gloomy, and the idea of a less grim, more high-spirited approach provided additional allure.
And so here we are.