I need to preface this post by saying yes this book actually exists and no I have no idea who thought it would be a good idea
Planet X / Michael Jan Friedman
Seeing the author’s name you may or may not have an idea what this book is, if you aren’t familiar with the title.
But here’s what it is:
A Star Trek TNG novel featuring THE X-MEN.
This was a real book, published by Simon & Schuster, and sold to real people, who presumably bought it.
I found it on the shelf at the library where I worked at the time and had to read it, if only to provide circulation statistics and keep this weird masterpiece on the shelves. It appears to have been donated to the library booksale and some weird selector (not me) decided to keep it in the collection.
And now I’m going to share it’s glory with you.
Brief plot summary
So, there’s like, the X-Men, right? And they’re all like WHOO WE HAVE SUPER MUTANT POWERS!
And then there’s like, the cast of the Enterprise and they’re all like LET US GO EXPLORE MAKE IT SO ENGAGE.
There’s also this totally awesome planet whose name is Xhaldia (I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be pronounced “Liefeld“) and, like, some of the people there keep changing in mysterious and bizarre ways… one could almost call them MUTANTS?
In a shocking twist, the mutated natives of Xhaldia are treated with fear and distrust by their “normal” brethren. Obviously this is a job too big for the Enterprise crew to handle, but luckily a random assortment of X-Men have somehow been teleported into the Star Trek universe to use their special brand of 1990s comic book diplomacy to solve this problem.
Did I mention that this is not the first time that the crew of the Enterprise has encountered the X-Men?
Yeah. The Enterprise crew was transported into the world of the X-Men in a miniseries called SECOND CONTACT that I have never read but it was written by Dan Abnett, better known as the author of approximately 50,000 Warhammer 40K novels and also that unsuccessful movie from this past summer, Guardians of the galaxy.
There are also several jokes about how Professor X looks so much like Captain Picard. Here’s the twist: this book was published in 1998, two years before Patrick Stewart (who played Captain Picard on Star Trek TNG as if you didn’t actually know that) would play Professor X in the 2000 live action X-Men movie.*
So not only does this book have THE MOST AMAZING SETUP EVER it also accurately predicts the future.
*Wikipedia tells me he was approached by Singer in 1997 so maybe Friedman had inside knowledge but that’s less fun.
So how is it?
Did you not read my plot description above? This work is obviously the greatest piece of fiction ever to grace a library shelf.
Seriously, this thing is about a pouch and a half away from being the most 90s geek culture thing that ever geek cultured in the 90s.
This is a book whose plotline obviously took some time to formulate. That time being the thirty seconds between being asked to give a pitch in a meeting where you have nothing prepared and opening your mouth to speak.
I find it honestly impressive that the publishing industry in 1998 seriously thought this was worth publishing.
In terms of weird Star Trek crossovers, I’d put it somewhere behind the classic Grades of Shay but it is actually readable which means it greatly surpasses the vast majority of fan fiction out there.
Because, in all seriousness, that’s all this is: somebody’s weird, arbitrary fanfic that somehow got mistaken for an official publication.
Believe it or not,
I’m walking on air I’ve actually recommended this book before. It’s so absurd that it’s really only worth recommending it to somebody with a decent sense of humor who’s willing to see the (possibly unintentional?) comedy of the thing. Definitely not for anyone looking for something deep or meaningful.
If you read only one inexplicable Star Trek TNG crossover story, read Grades of Shay. It’s shorter, funnier, and more readily available. If you read two, then Planet X is a good choice for the second one, provided you can get your hands on it. I see that somebody, either at Simon & Schuster or at Amazon, thought this book needed a Kindle edition so if you really had to read it then you could get it that way.