Of the entertainment industry’s hallmark franchises, Star Trek still enjoys the support of sci-fi fans around the world. This is not only because of the smart and moving nature of its universe translating into one great plot after another, but also of the way it manages to step into many different sectors, maintaining the soul and atmosphere it's known for.

The release of Dayton Ward’s new book for the brand’s literary saga is the latest product to hit the market. At this point, however, with the range of unique Star Trek experiences available in 2020, it is perhaps barely the most exciting.

Star Trek: Agents of Influence

Dozens of Star Trek books exist thanks to this celebrated author, and now Dayton Ward has done it again. Agents of Influence is part of the Original Series and follows the Enterprise under James T. Kirk as the crew tries to salvage a rescue operation of intelligence agents who had infiltrated the Klingon Empire. The threat of war looms while dangerous secrets come to light.

When asked about his brand new book, Ward declared his love for the Original Series from where so many other productions were born. The challenge he and every creator of Star Trek entertainment faces is the demand for something new and exciting. And, more often than not, they have succeeded, despite the consistent Starfleet settings.

Published on June 9, Star Trek: Agents of Influence is available in paperback as well as ebook and audiobook format.

The Star Trek Product Range

Beyond this new novel, the franchise’s great popularity has two effects. Firstly, it can take on different forms without changing people’s positive response to it. Secondly, the brand helps boost the visibility and fun factor of such merchandise, and there are manifold examples of this indeed.

For instance, video games within established genres like strategy and action-adventure sometimes struggle to leave a memorable impression among the competition, but Star Trek: Online, The Next Generation, or even its pinball variation by Williams Electronics have done well, perhaps thanks to being part of the popular franchise. Looking at further niche entertainment, among the video slot games one can play online is a title based on the 2009 Star Trek reboot, which is currently planning its fourth installment. The addition of the familiar characters, settings and audiovisuals creates a unique and fulfilling synergy between a classic sci-fi universe and a popular genre of online gaming.

Another route the franchise has gone down is virtual reality. Promising to be more thrilling than any other video game mode on the market today, VR was a wise addition to around a hundred titles across multiple platforms. Even though the technology is still in its early ages, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a great example of must-try Oculus Rift experiences. You can play in either single or multiplayer mode, with the latter being more exciting as each user is in charge of an important part of the U.S.S. Aegis and your crew explores the galaxy and takes on missions together. Once again, the Star Trek brand innovates in a way that embraces popular trends and encourages this sense of community that makes its tightknit fanbase so special.

Better yet, the merchandise you can collect does not end at books and video games. After all, Star Trek is more of a phenomenon than a simple TV and movie franchise. Its ideals and depths resonate with people in a really wonderful way, which also makes living and breathing its universe so much fun. And, thanks to engineers understanding that passion, technology has more concrete Star Trek gadgets to offer like The Wand Company’s exact replica of a Starfleet communicator that connects to a smartphone or music player via Bluetooth. There is also a badge with the same communication technology, courtesy of FameTek.

What all this shows is how much fans and other industries appreciate Star Trek as a brand, symbol and family. Its officials do not actually need to do much to keep the franchise relevant and yet they go out of their way to participate in almost every aspect of pop culture. Their enthusiasm alone has inspired generations of now steadfast geeks.