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For the term, please see ghost ship.

The Enterprise encounters a million lost souls - trapped on an endless interstellar voyage!

Ghost Ship is a Pocket TNG novel – the first in the TNG numbered series – written by Diane Carey. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in July 1988.


From the book jacket
In 1995, a Soviet aircraft carrier is destroyed by a mysterious creature that just as mysteriously disappears thereafter. Over three hundred years later, Counselor Deanna Troi awakens in her quarters from a nightmare in which she senses the voices of the crew of that Russian ship, whose life-essences were somehow absorbed by the creature that destroyed them. And the nightmare heralds a danger to the USS Enterprise-D itself, for if Picard can't discover a way to communicate with the creature, it could absorb his crew just as it did the Russians.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Memorable quotes

"Life is an offensive, directed against the repetitious mechanism of the universe."

- 'Alfred North Whitehead'

Background information

  • As this novel was being written ahead of the series' launch, and in some cases ahead of actual casting, author Diane Carey could only rely on the character descriptions in the series bible. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 160)
  • According to editor Dave Stern, both Gene Roddenberry and Richard Arnold had issues with Carey's approach to this novel; Arnold himself later recalling his concern that Carey was placing too much emphasis on Starfleet being a military organization. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 160)
  • According to a timeline released by DC Comics, this novel takes place shortly after the events of "Heart of Glory".
  • The ship on the cover of this novel appears to be an upside down image of the titular vessel from Battlestar Galactica. The only other ship this could have been meant to represent is the research dinghy in which Riker chases Data's shuttlecraft.
  • Data is portrayed on three pages as being able to use contractions when speaking, this novel was written before "Datalore" established he definitely could not (even though the series occasionally featured him doing so both before and after that episode).
  • The plot revolves around a Soviet aircraft carrier disappearing in 1995 despite the Soviet Union dissolving in 1991. However, as the novel was published in 1988, it is understandable that the author did not foresee such an event.


Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Pocket TNG characters.

Regular and recurring characters

Captain Picard

Jean-Luc Picard 
Starfleet captain, CO of USS Enterprise-D.
William T. Riker 
Starfleet commander, first officer of Enterprise-D. Riker had previously been assigned as second officer of USS Yorktown.
This is one of two novels where Riker is referred to as "Bill"; the other is Encounter at Farpoint.
Android Starfleet lieutenant commander, operations officer of the Enterprise-D.
Beverly Crusher 
Starfleet commander, CMO of Enterprise-D.
Klingon Starfleet lieutenant junior grade who was assigned to the Enterprise-D in the command division.
Deanna Troi 
Half-Betazoid Starfleet lieutenant commander assigned as Enterprise-D counselor.
Geordi La Forge 
VISOR-sighted Starfleet lieutenant junior grade assigned as Enterprise-D flight control officer.


Enterprise-D engineer.
Argyle appears next in Pocket TNG: The Peacekeepers and comics of the Star Trek: The Next Generation (DC volume 2) series.
Natasha Yar 
Starfleet lieutenant assigned as Enterprise-D security chief.
Wesley Crusher 
Fifteen-year-old Enterprise-D resident, awarded the title acting ensign by Captain Picard.

Other characters


Enterprise-D chief engineer.
Arkady Reykov 
Russian captain of the Gorshkov.
Timofei Vasska 
Russian executive of Gorshkov.
Russian duty officer on Gorshkov.
Captain of Vladivostok.
Leon Ruszkowski
Captain of USS Roosevelt.
David Galanter 
Executive officer of USS Roosevelt.
Named for novelist Dave Galanter.
Annalise Drumm 
USS Roosevelt air wing commander.
USS Roosevelt crewperson.
US Navy admiral. Ruszkowski suggested that if Galanter opened a Greek restaurant, he could offer Adm. Harper a job as maître d'.
F. Palmer 
Reykov's petty officer 
Gorshkov crewmember.
Childhood crush of Picard.


Athens; Paris; Los Angeles

aircraft carrier
Black Sea 
After leaving dock, the Gorshkov was headed toward the Black Sea with its EMP weapon.
Canis IV
Epsilon Indii VI
Type of aircraft carrier created by the Soviet Union in the 20th century.
research dinghy 
Type of auxiliary vehicle carried aboard Enterprise-D. This scientific research vessel could be launched from the shuttlebay and was similar in capabilities to a standard shuttlecraft.
Edmund Fitzgerald 
Great Lakes ore freighter lost in storm with all hands in November 1975; incorrectly referred to as a tanker in historical database viewed by Deanna Troi.
The Fitzgerald was in real life a bulk freighter most frequently carrying iron ore; referring to these ships as tankers is a common mistake because of their long open decks and lack of the type of cargo crane generally associated with ocean freighters. See also SS Edmund Fitzgerald at Wikipedia.
Sergei G. Gorshkov 
Russian Lenin-class aircraft carrier, circa 1995.
In real life, there was a carrier Gorshkov, and the authors correctly inferred the vessel (which wasn't named at the time of the novel's creation) would be one built at Nikolayev. See also Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov at Wikipedia.
Shipyard location, the origin of the Gorshkov.
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) 
US aircraft carrier.
See also USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) at Wikipedia.
Soviet Union 
The novel was written in 1988, three years before the Soviet government fell in 1991. It would now seem odd that the defunct government would have an aircraft carrier in 1995.
Russian naval vessel in 1995.
USS George Washington (CVN-73) 
US aircraft carrier, Enterprise-class, named for George Washington.
The authors correctly divined 1992 as this vessel's commission date, although rather than being Enterprise-class, the ship is officially a refit Nimitz-class design. See also USS George Washington (CVN-73) at Wikipedia.
Starbase 18 (β)
Federation starbase. In 2360, William Riker received his orders to be assigned to the USS Yorktown on the station. The Yorktown came a short time later.
See: Federation starbases.
USS Yorktown 
Excelsior-class starship.
This Yorktown was not mentioned in canon, but it could correspond to the Yorktown (of unspecified class) that Tuvok's father served aboard in the 2290s. (VOY: "Flashback") An Excelsior-class Yorktown is also listed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual, with the registry NCC-2033. The novel Reunion states Riker served three years as second officer of Yorktown.

External links

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First novel in series Pocket TNG
Numbered novels
#2: The Peacekeepers