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Probe is a Pocket TOS novel, credited to Margaret Wander Bonanno. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in hardback in April 1992. The novel is a follow-up to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which sees the Enterprise crew tracking down the Whale Probe as it heads into Romulan space.


From the book jacket
Star Trek – a vision of humanity's future that has captivated audiences worldwide for over a quarter century. Those audiences made Spock's World and The Lost Years, the first two Star Trek hardcover novels, nationwide bestsellers – and flocked by the millions to see Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home the most popular of all the Star Trek motion pictures.
Here now is Probe – an epic-length novel that at last picks up the story of the USS Enterprise and her crew where Star Trek IV left off. A novel that reveals the secrets behind the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Earth – and whose reappearance sends Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and their shipmates into unparalleled danger… and unsurpassed discovery.

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

In the aftermath of the visit of the mysterious probe to Earth in 2286, Starfleet is wondering what this strange visitor really was about, and who sent it. At the same time, a major political upheaval on Romulus has deposed a ruling party that has ruled for decades, and the new leadership is interested in more diplomatic relations with the Federation. With the probe headed towards Romulan space, it is a chance for the two powers to work together to understand who sent the probe, and why.

Eventually, the crew of the USS Enterprise, working with Romulan counterparts, tracks down the probe, and learns more about its background and history. Spock successfully mind melds with the probe, learning that it did not seek to be destructive to other races, instead they were so different from its creators that they were ignored as "mites" in "metal bubbles", and teaches the probe to be more aware of what it is doing to humanoid life in the galaxy as it travels, leaving the probe to continue to explore the galaxy and the detente seeking Romulans with some of the first peaceful interaction they have ever had with the Federation.

Memorable quotes

Background information

  • As Voyages of Imagination notes, "an objective report of Probe's bumpy road to publication is, unfortunately, impossible. All the parties involved have different recollections of those events, as well as different ways of interpreting them, and the various accounts are contradictory." (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 125-126) The credited author, Margaret Wander Bonanno, disclaims the book, noting on her website that "I know my name is on the cover, but no, I did not write it," and provides the full-text of The Music of the Spheres, the novel she handed in. [1] Bonanno acknowledges Gene DeWeese as an uncredited rewriter of the published novel.
  • The original manuscript was reportedly rejected after Gene Roddenberry's office "took issue with certain characterizations in the book." Pocket editor Dave Stern then brought in DeWeese to rewrite the novel. (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 125-126)
  • In a contemporary interview with The New York Times, Bonanno explained that "[they] are telling their readership that this is a book by a certain author they have come to know, and the book is not mine. It was written by someone with a great scientific background who lectures the reader for 300 pages. I do great characterizations, and there are no interesting characters in this book. I just don't want my name associated with it." [2]
  • Despite all of the controversy, Voyages of Imagination notes that "everyone involved wishes that the situation had not deteriorated to the extent that it did, and that the book could have been published to everyone's satisfaction." (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 125-126)
  • Probe reached number six on the New York Times Best Seller List for 29 March 1992, its second week on the list. [3] It remained on the list for six weeks.
  • The Science Fiction Book Club released a special edition of the hardback in July 1992.
  • The audiobook version was abridged by George Truett.

Cover gallery


James T. Kirk
Kevin Riley


Romulan ship
Whale Probe
The probe was capable of terraforming planets into waterworlds better suited for whale-like species; the atmospheric disturbances created on Earth were the early stages of an attempt to flood the planet.
The probe's creators were whale-like aliens with great technical skill. These aliens were engaged in battle with "mites in metal cubes", who destroyed the creators' system star after failing to defeat them in battle.

External links

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