(written from a Production point of view)
Quark's biggest deal – by the actor who brings him to life!
The 34th Rule is a Pocket DS9 novel – #23 in the numbered series – written by Armin Shimerman and David R. George III, based on a story by Shimerman & George & Eric A. Stillwell. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in January 1999.
- From the book jacket
- For once, business is going well for Quark, not that anyone on Deep Space Nine truly appreciates his genius for finding profit in the most unlikely of circumstances. Quark is even looking forward to making the deal of a lifetime – when he suddenly finds himself stuck in the middle of a major dispute between Bajor and the Ferengi Alliance. It seems that the Grand Nagus is refusing to sell one of the lost Orbs of the Prophets to the Bajoran government, which has responded by banning all Ferengi activity in Bajoran space.
- With diplomatic relations between the two cultures rapidly breaking down, Quark loses his bar first, then his freedom. But even penniless, he still has his cunning and his lobes, and those alone may be all he needs to come out on top – and prevent an interstellar war!
- Armin Shimerman, David R. George III, and Eric A. Stillwell originally pitched the concept of The 34th Rule to the producers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, along with two others. When the producers did not pick up the pitches, Shimerman suggested turning this specific concept into a novel, which George agreed to. Shimerman commented, "We were interested not only in telling a good tale, but also in telling a tale that was about something. Of course I wanted to tell a Ferengi story. I believe it was Eric [Stillwell] who first ventured the idea of an episode based on the plight of the Nisei in America who were isolated from the rest of the population and interned in camps during World War II." ("The 34th Rule: A Novel Approach With a Familiar Name", Star Trek: Communicator issue 121)
- According to Eric A. Stillwell, the story for this novel was inspired by listening to George Takei at conventions recounting his experiences as a child in internment camps. 
- On what he called the "most interesting and upsetting" of the three pitches, Shimerman noted that "it was imperative to remind our audience of the horrors of the fruits that race prejudice can and has borne; the unspeakable atrocities that include Auschwitz, Abu Ghraib, Japanese internment." (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 244-247)
- Discussing working with Pocket on the novel, Shimerman recalled, "Unlike any other Star Trek novel, our novel had to be personally vetted by Rick Berman. David and I weren’t quite sure Mr. Berman would continence our work because we drew many of the DS9 major characters as less than perfect. We got our share of notes from Pocket Books, including a directive to cut the concentration camp part of the story. David argued forcefully for it and they saw the wisdom of it." (Voyages of Imagination, pp. 244-247)
- Wheels Within Wheels was a working title for this book.
- Armin Shimerman commented, "I was surprised that they let us do it. When we submitted the idea for the book, I told David that I thought they would reject it. We wanted to show some prejudice early in the book in some of the characters. It's subtle but its there. O'Brien is subtly racist at the beginning of the book. We even have Jake go and speak to his father about his racism. Sisko is treating the Ferengi this way and goes and says to him, 'You wouldn't do this to anyone else'. And Sisko has a realization. The book is in keeping with what I have supported in the development of Quark in the show. It is the way I would have liked to have seen the character go. It dealt with prejudice which is hardly mentioned in Star Trek at all because its antithetical to the Star Trek premise. But there is a subtle prejudice by Starfleet itself: if you are Human or Vulcan you're at the top of the race ladder. As you move down, Starfleet treats Klingons as something less than Humans or Vulcans. Then you continue down the races until you get to, of course, the Ferengi. The book was my vision of what they could have down with the character on the show. We're living in a world which is dominated now by economics. Everyone is striving to make a buck. A lot of people are trying to do something in the stock market. This is all the stuff the Ferengi were doing naturally. It isn't necessarily bad. We live in a capitalistic society, and the Ferengi are the ultimate capitalists. Let's look into insides of capitalism just as we looked into the insides or racism, or of homelessness. We live in a time right now when the economy is good and people are becoming billionaires overnight. It would have been very interesting to see how people made profits off of wars, to see a black market during the war, to see how the Ferengi, who were basically neutral during the war, behaved. We did a bit of that but we didn't delve into that as much as we could have." ("The Once and Future Ferengi: Armin Shimerman Reflects on Quark", Star Trek: Communicator issue 130)
- Shimerman also commented, "If anyone is really interested in what I feel the Ferengi are about, I certainly have a free hand in this book, so they might glean those ideas from reading it." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 19)
- Mary F. Taylor wrote, "Most Ferengi stories are humorous romps, but this novel is a thoughtful look into issues that affect our own society at a basic level. As shown powerfully in The 34th Rule, the step between demonizing a race of people and interning them in camps is but a short one, and it is an ever shorter step from interning people to murder and genocide." (Adventures in Time and Space, p 388)
- An extract from this novel appeared in Star Trek Monthly issue 50.
- While released during the final season of DS9, the novel is set during the fourth season.
- Quark sells a Betazoid gift box that bears a resemblance to himself. This is an inside joke. Author and actor Armin Shimerman played a gift box in TNG: "Haven". Bractor and Letek, two other Shimerman Ferengi characters, also appear. Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax both mention that they look familiar.
- The 34th Rule of Acquisition states "War is good for business."
- Benjamin Sisko
- Jadzia Dax
- Julian Bashir
- Miles O'Brien
- Ferengi businessman.
- Quark's brother.
- The Grand Nagus.
- Ferengi DaiMon, commander of the Kreechta.
- Ferengi DaiMon, commander of the Preekon.
- Shakaar Edon
- Winn Adami
- Kai of Bajor
- Bajoran dabo girl
- Charlie Whatley
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