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Mr. Scott’s Guide To The Enterprise

Mr. Scott's Guide To The EnterpriseOrder this bookStory: On behalf of the 23rd century’s own Miracle Worker, the author guides us through external and internal schematics of the movie-era U.S.S. Enterprise, with a travelogue of the more interesting destinations on every deck of the ship, set photos where they exist, and illustrated guides to uniforms, weapons, landing party equipment, and secondary spacecraft such as the Enterprise’s shuttles and work pods. An appendix brings the book up to date with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Review: An interesting hybrid of text and blueprint, “Mr. Scott’s Guide To The Enterprise” is a throwback to a different day and age in Star Trek publishing. At the time, the only new adventures on the horizon were the movies, which appeared every two to three years, and a two-hour action-adventure flick every couple of years or so seemed unlikely to delve into the workings of the ship, so why not fill in the gaps a bit? Continue reading

Trek Navigator

Trek NavigatorOrder this bookStory: Former Sci-Fi Universe editor/Cinefantasique Trek reviewer Mark Altman teams up with ex-Starlog/Cinescape writer Edward Gross for this exhaustive (and yet already terribly obsolete) series of reviews of every Star Trek adventure committed to film.

Review: Hey, it seems like a good idea, but is it worth the cover price? I’m not sure. Despite the fact that the authors are some of the best SF-oriented journalists in the business, their lightweight Siskel & Ebert schtick wears a little thin at times. And since both are diehard Classic Trek worshippers, they tend toward the viewpoint that even the biggest Kirk-era stinkers have something to recommend them over most decent episodes of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Continue reading

Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series

Star Trek Phase II: The Lost SeriesOrder this bookStory: This outstanding and surprisingly thick tome tracks the progress of the attempt to revive the original Star Trek series in the 1970s which eventually mutated into something we now call Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Review: Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, the authors who brought us 1994’s wonderful “Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, have truly outdone themselves with this book, which follows the inception, development and pre-production of the second Star Trek series which never was, as well as the studio decisions which caused its metamorphosis into the first of many feature films. The book stops short of following Star Trek’s evolution to the big screen, though the authors drop a hint that they might be working on such a volume. I’ll be among the first to buy it if they should do so, based on their work here. Continue reading

Star Trek Movie Memories

Star Trek Movie MemoriesOrder this bookStory: Star Trek’s own William Shatner sits in the captain’s chair once more, this time holding court and spinning tales of the lean years after Star Trek’s cancellation, as well as its unexpectedly successful return via the big screen. These are his voyages.

Review: Despite the relative immunity that biographers and/or autobiographical writers seem to have when telling their side of their respective stories, I’m amazed that Shatner didn’t incite so much as a single lawsuit with his first book, “Star Trek Memories”. It was in that volume that Shatner alleged everything from Nichelle Nichols’ now-well-known affair with Trek creator Gene Roddenberry to Grace Lee “Yeoman Rand” Whitney’s various addictions. That a lot of Shatner’s gossip turned out to be at least partly true in the end was surprising. No doubt his co-stars would’ve had the opportunity to carefully bury these facts when the time came for their own autobiographies. Continue reading

The Music of Star Trek

The Music of Star TrekOrder this bookStory: Through interviews with composers, editors and others, cue lists, and excerpts from sheet music, the author explores the evolution of Star Trek’s sound from the original series’ sometimes almost-over-the-top – yet indelible – library of frequently-reused cues, to the varied scores of the film series, to the sometimes humdrum music produced for Next Generation and its own spinoffs.

Review: Just when it seems that every possible subject for a book on the Star Trek phenomenon has been mined by tomes both authorized and unauthorized, along comes a book on the subject of one of Trek’s most hotly-debated elements: the musical scores. Continue reading

The Making of Star Trek

The Making of Star TrekOrder this bookStory: The first book ever written about the making of Star Trek – published while the series was still in production – this is still one of the best non-fiction Trek books that has ever been published. Several things factor into this. It’s a relatively unopinionated look at the development of the story of Star Trek. Such elements as production design, budgets, difficulties with actors, and other hassles are touched upon, but at least the first half of the book concentrates on the various changes that the show’s original premise underwent. This book’s material dates back to the time when the Enterprise’s captain was going to be named Robert April.

Review: My trust in this book’s information stems from the fact that it dates back to Star Trek’s original broadcast life span, before Gene Roddenberry (whose comments appear throughout the book IN ANNOYING ALL-CAPS TO SET THEM APART FROM EVERYTHING ELSE) set about reinventing the Star Trek universe and adjusting his own public image in the 1970s. Continue reading

Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Inside Star Trek: The Real StoryOrder this bookStory: Herb Solow, a Paramount executive who helped to get Star Trek off the ground, and Robert H. Justman, the original series’ co-producer and confidant of Gene Roddenberry, dish every available particle of dirt in this well-illustrated and well-written book, brimming with copies of memos and behind-the-scenes photos.

Review: I’ll say this upfront – I liked this book a lot. I’m just saying this first to dispel any opinions to the contrary as I launch into my many misgivings about this kind of book.

It’s fascinating, and at the very least, it does have the ring of verisimilitude to it. Bob Justman has long been known as one of Star Trek’s fondest founding fathers, though he’s never been afraid to criticize the weaknesses of the series. Or, in this case, the other people who worked on it. Continue reading

I Am Spock

I Am Spock, hear me roar!Order this bookStory: Leonard Nimoy, who certainly needs no introduction, backtracks to his earliest days as an actor, the series of coincidences and connections that led to his most famous role, and the continuiation of that role – and his new role as a prominent director – on the big screen.

Review: In the 1970s, Leonard Nimoy’s first autobigraphical book, I Am Not Spock, aroused equal parts curiosity and ire among the burgeoning Star Trek fandom that was rising during the show’s post-cancellation syndicated run. Nimoy backpedals a lot in the early part of this book, trying to explain that, at the time, he was desperately trying to outrun his famous character’s shadow and prove that he was capable of many other things creatively. Continue reading