Star Trek: New Earth

Star Trek: New Earth is a series of interlinked novels inspired by Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for Star Trek: "Wagon train to the stars."[1] Created by John J. Ordover, the novels follow the crew of the Enterprise as they escort a colonial expedition into a hostile region of unexplored space.

Star Trek: New Earth
Cover of the 2000 novel Wagon Train to the Stars.

  • Wagon Train to the Stars (2000)
  • Belle Terre (2000)
  • Rough Trails (2000)
  • The Flaming Arrow (2000)
  • Thin Air (2000)
  • Challenger (2000)

CountryUnited States
GenreScience fiction
PublisherPocket Books
Media typePrint (Paperback)
No. of books6
Preceded byMy Brother's Keeper
Followed byThe Eugenics Wars

The novels occur during the second five-year mission, sometime between the episode "Turnabout Intruder" and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The series was intended to be the springboard for a flagship new book line similar to Star Trek: New Frontier, called Star Trek: Challenger.[2]


John J. Ordover told Jeff Ayers, in Voyages of Imagination (2006), the concept for New Earth originated as "a personal reaction to Voyager."[2]:430 He believed there was no stakes for those characters, no "emotional tie" to the region that ship was passing through. Ordover asked, “What if you went outside the known galaxy or outside the common area to find a new colony and you were assigned to stay there and protect them for a while?” His answer was the concept for New Earth.

Wagon Train to the Stars (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  Wagon Train to the Stars by Diane Carey, who also told Ayers that Ordover wanted a “new captain, new ship, new crew, and new situation, bringing Star Trek back to the original concept of ‘being out there’ with limited contact, essentially in a wild west town and having to fake it, hacking our way to civilization the hard way.”[2]:430 Carey and her husband, Greg Brodeur, developed the series concept. Carey wrote the first and sixth novels in the succession.

Belle Terre (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  Belle Terre, the second novel, was to be written by Carey. However, Ordover recruited Dean Wesley Smith to complete the novel based on Carey's outline.[2]:431

Rough Trails (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  Rough Trails, co-written by Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone as L.A. Graf, was inspired by the Johnstown Flood.[2]:431

The Flaming Arrow (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  The Flaming Arrow was co-written by Jerry Oltion and with his wife Kathy. They found the experience of writing a multi-author series difficult, saying: “It felt like we were building a bridge between two shores that were both shrouded in fog, while trolls were busy knocking out the supports from under us. The last-minute changes kept rolling in, so we did the only prudent thing we could do: We finished our book first so everybody else would have to follow our lead from then on.”[2]:432

Thin Air (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  Thin Air was co-written by husband-and-wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Smith told Ayers, the novel was "a fun idea … foam covering a planet as a way to attack it." He also said he "had a blast" writing the developing and writing the novel.[2]:433

Challenger (2000)

Star Trek: New Earth  Challenger was written as a possible introduction to a new book series.[2]:434 The namesake flagship was named in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger by Ordover.[2]:434

Chainmail (2001)

Star Trek: Challenger  Chainmail, by Diane Carey, is a direct sequel to Challenger (2000), and includes characters and settings from other New Earth novels. Chainmail was published as a Star Trek: Challenger novel, which was intended to be new flagship concept series similar to New Frontier by Peter David.[2]:434 The titular flag ship is the UFPF Challenger (OV91951L), a Mongrel-class frigate assembled from the multifarious vessels used to transport colonists to Belle Terre. Only one Challenger novel has been published.[3]

The novel is often erroneously cataloged as the seventh book in the New Earth series. Challenger is the second novel of the Gateways (2001) crossover series.


Michelle Green of Little Review wrote, New Earth was "fun to read, with several compelling plots unfolding at once[,] and the original Enterprise crew having a lot of fun in between heroics."[4]

Jeff Millward commented Challenger was, "a pretty good ending to an extremely long series."[5] However, his wish was that "nobody writes a story that spans [six] novels again" after offering less enthusiastic reviews for the previous books in the series. Randall Landers of Orion Press praised Carey's abilities as a storyteller, in Challenger.[6] But, he noted, Carey's "purple prose" limited the appeal of the novel.


The novels were published as Star Trek, Books 89  94.

No. Title Author(s) Released ISBN
1 Wagon Train to the Stars Diane Carey June 2000 0-671-04296-3
2 Belle Terre Dean Wesley Smith and Diane Carey 0-671-04297-1
3 Rough Trails L.A. Graf July 2000 0-671-03600-9
4 The Flaming Arrow Kathy Oltion and Jerry Oltion 0-671-78562-1
5 Thin Air Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith August 2000 0-671-78577-X
6 Challenger Diane Carey 0-671-04298-X

Gateways miniseries

Characters and settings from the New Earth appear in two entries of the Gateways crossover miniseries:

No. Title Author(s) Released ISBN
2 Chainmail
  (Challenger, Book 1)
Diane Carey July 31, 2001 0-7434-1855-7
7 What Lay Beyond (anthology)
  — "Exodus" by Diane Carey
John J. Ordover, ed. October 30, 2001 0-7434-3112-X

See also


  1. "Gene Roddenberry's Western in space". Newsweek. January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  2. Ayers, Jeff (November 14, 2006). Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 430–433. ISBN 9781416503491.
  3. "Publication: Chainmail". ISFDB. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  4. Green, Michelle Erica. "New Earth". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  5. "New Earth - Challenger by Diane Carey". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  6. Landers, Randall. "Challenger -- a review by Randall Landers". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
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