As huge a fan of Star Trek as I am, I harbor no delusions about its inconsistency. Quality fluctuates wildly from episode to episode and book to book; so it has been since the very beginning of Star Trek, and so shall it always be. Also in keeping with a realistic outlook, not everyone can, will, or even should spend all their time and money reading every Star Trek novel ever published to determine which ones are actually worthwhile. A quick reference guide pointing directly to the very best seems prudent.

In the diamond industry, the first water is the highest echelon of diamond quality. Diamonds are rated by their translucency; the more a diamond resembles water, the more valuable it is. So, I’ve adapted the concept for my site. In this section you will find links to reviews of those books that received the strongest possible recommendation (i.e., a rating of Excellent) from me. These are the top of the pops. If you wish only to experience Star Trek at its finest, I recommend choosing from among the titles on this list.

The Entropy Effect (TOS #2), by Vonda McIntyre

Yesterday’s Son (TOS #11), by Ann Crispin

The Wounded Sky (TOS #13), by Diane Duane

The Final Reflection (TOS #16), by John M. Ford

My Enemy, My Ally (TOS #18), by Diane Duane

The Tears of the Singers (TOS #19), by Melinda Snodgrass

Uhura’s Song (TOS #21), by Janet Kagan

Dwellers in the Crucible (TOS #25), by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Mindshadow (TOS #27), by J.M. Dillard

Enterprise: The First Adventure (TOS event novel), by Vonda McIntyre

Strangers from the Sky (TOS event novel), by Margaret Wander Bonanno

The Romulan Way (TOS #35), by Diane Duane

Time for Yesterday (TOS #39), by Ann Crispin

The Three-Minute Universe (TOS #41), by Barbara Paul

Spock’s World (TOS event novel), by Diane Duane

Power Hungry (TNG #6), by Howard Weinstein

The Cry of the Onlies (TOS #46), by Judy Klass

The Kobayashi Maru (TOS #47), by Julia Ecklar

A Rock and a Hard Place (TNG #10), by Peter David

Doctor’s Orders (TOS #50), by Diane Duane

Prime Directive (TOS event novel), by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Spartacus (TNG #20), by T.L. Mancour

The Disinherited (TOS #59), by Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger

Imzadi (TNG event novel), by Peter David

Sanctuary (TOS #61), by John Vornholt

Relics (TNG episode novelization), by Michael Jan Friedman

The Starship Trap (TOS #64), by Mel Gilden

Shadows on the Sun (TOS event novel), by Michael Jan Friedman

Dark Mirror (TNG event novel), by Diane Duane

Sarek (TOS event novel), by Ann Crispin

The Star Ghost (DS9 YA #1), by Brad Strickland

Debtors’ Planet (TNG #30), by W.R. Thompson

All Good Things… (TNG episode novelization), by Michael Jan Friedman

Capture the Flag (TNG YA #4), by John Vornholt

Q-Squared (TNG event novel), by Peter David

Crossroad (TOS #71), by Barbara Hambly

Federation (TOS/TNG event), by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Prisoners of Peace (DS9 YA #3), by John Peel

Balance of Power (TNG #33), by Dafydd ab Hugh

The Escape (VOY #2), by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Starfall (TNG YA #8), by Brad and Barbara Strickland

The Murdered Sun (VOY #6), by Christie Golden

Rogue Saucer (TNG #39), by John Vornholt

Objective: Bajor (DS9 #15), by John Peel