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. One the other hand, I admit that I’m angry with the book’s obsolescence – I would’ve loved to see Altman rip apart some of the bigger train wrecks of Voyager’s fourth and fifth seasons; as it is, the book doesn’t even get into Voyager’s third year. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: don’t bother publishing it on paper if it’s obsolete the moment the ink dries, kids. Do it on the web.

Another instance which pissed me off a bit was one particular episode review – if I’m not mistaken, for DS9’s Facets – in which Altman basically said, “I haven’t seen this episode, so no comment.” This makes me feel as though the authors weren’t terribly serious about this volume, but were churning it out quickly from memory. If one is going to do a purportedly complete Star Trek episode guide, would one’s research not include actually viewing every episode?

I’ve liked Altman and Gross as SF journalists for years, and Altman’s acerbic reviews of TNG and DS9 in Cinefantastique years ago used to make me howl with laughter and look more closely at the shows. Almost a decade after those pieces first appeared, I’m a little disappointed that the same writer would be involved in a publication which is barely an evolutionary step above a Hal Schuster quickie.

Year: 1998
Authors: Mark A. Altman, Edward Gross