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The Final Reflection is a 1984 Star Trek tie-in novel by John M. Ford which emphasizes developments of Klingon language and culture. The novel provided the foundation for the FASA Star Trek role-playing game sourcebooks dealing with the Klingon elements of the game. Although not considered canon because of later developments in the Star Trek movies and TV series, the presentation of Klingon culture in this novel and Ford's 1987 follow-on, How Much for Just the Planet? is highly popular in fanon alternate depictions of Klingon society and culture. In particular, the fictional Klingon language klingonaase is introduced here, in advance of the creation of the canon version of the Klingon language, tlhIngan Hol.
Particular aspects of Klingon society depicted include:
- A strong Klingon emphasis on battle-related games. The title refers to a move in klin zha, a Klingon game with similarities to chess; in this particular variation, the "reflective" game, both players take turns playing one set of pieces.
- Games played with living players.
- Military strategy is the particular province of a military class known as "thought admirals," who hone their skills in "the game with living pieces." They also seek to learn how other societies think militarily by studying the games of those people.
- The distinction between empire-building races—such as the Klingons, the Humans and Vulcans with their Federation, and the Romulans—and less driven races, whom the Klingons use as servants (kuve).
The novel concerns an intergenerational conflict within the Klingon government, between a faction wanting war with the Federation and a faction desiring accommodation for fear of Klingon defeat. The Klingon ambassador and his associates play a surprising role in this conflict, one which remains secret until the publication of a "tell-all" book forty years later, one which is read by Captain James T. Kirk in the "framing" story.
In "Requiescat in Pace, John M. Ford", Eric Burns suggests that the popularity of Ford's inside look at Klingon culture, and his positive portrayal of Klingons as an honorable people by their own lights (not simply stock villains), also influenced the canonical depiction in later incarnations of Star Trek, paving the way for honor-driven Klingons like Worf, and episodes that would likewise explore Klingon culture in more depth than the original series had done.
In the Next Generation novel A Singular Destiny, Keith R. A. DeCandido includes The Final Reflection in a list of Klingon literature.