Fawcett publishes the novel Phoenix Without Ashes by Edward Bryant, based upon the original premise of the short-lived early ’70s Canadian television series The Starlost, created by Harlan Ellison; Ellison himself expounds on the trials and tribulations of making that show in an extended foreword.
Ballantine Books releases the Star Trek book “Star Trek: Star Fleet Technical Manual”, written and illustrated by Franz Joseph Schnaubelt. The book ushers in an obsession with science fiction blueprints and design manuals, both Star Trek and otherwise, and will be reprinted and referred to (including on the Enterprise’s own displays in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture) for decades to come.
Marvel Comics begins shipping the first issue of its six-issue adaptation of George Lucas’ upcoming film Star Wars, with Lucas reaping the rewards of the licensing arrangement directly since 20th Century Fox has allowed him to keep all merchandising rights to the yet-to-premiere movie. Adapted from the screenplay and edited by Roy Thomas, with artwork by Howard Chaykin, lettering by Jim Novak and colors by Marie Severin, the first six issues offer an interesting visual take on a universe whose visuals were not finished enough for the artist to view ahead of time. After the six issue movie tie-in, Thomas and Chaykin would begin concocting the budding franchise’s first-ever non-film storylines.
“Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye“, the first print fiction follow-up to George Lucas’ Star Wars, is published by Ballantine Books. Written by Alan Dean Foster – who had ghost-written the novelization of Star Wars published under Lucas’ name – “Splinter” originates as a concept for a low-budget movie follow-up in the event that the movie bombs. By the time of its publication, it’s readily apparent to all that the movie has succeeded, and that a sequel will be coming, leaving “Splinter”‘s status in the storyline uncertain. The cover artwork is by Ralph McQuarrie, whose pre-production illustrations were of vital importance during the making of the original movie.
Ballantine Books publishes the first of a trilogy of original novels based on the Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca, Han Solo At Stars’ End by Brian Daley. All three books chronicle the misadventures of everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler and his Wookiee sidekick – and avoids clashing with the upcoming sequel The Empire Strikes Back by setting these events before Star Wars itself.
Random House publishes the Star Wars Question And Answer Book About Space, written by Dr. Dinah Moche. Cashing in on young Star Wars fans’ sudden fascination with space, the book explores many astronomical phenomena, and past, current and future spaceflight (as of 1979) and space science topics, framed within the context of the Star Wars universe.
Ballantine Books publishes the second book in a trilogy of original novels based on the Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca, Han Solo’s Revenge by Brian Daley. All three books chronicle the misadventures of everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler and his Wookiee sidekick – and avoids clashing with the upcoming sequel The Empire Strikes Back by setting these events before Star Wars itself.
Ballantine Books publishes the third in a trilogy of original novels based on the Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley. All three books chronicle the misadventures of everyone’s favorite Corellian smuggler and his Wookiee sidekick – and avoid clashing with the recently-released sequel The Empire Strikes Back by setting these events before Star Wars itself.
The first edition of British author Kenneth Gatland’s detailed non-fiction book “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology“ is published by Harmony Books, proving to be a fantastic distraction through the remainder of your webmaster’s time in the public school system.
Berkley Books publishes The Dune Encyclopedia, written and compiled by Dr. Willis E. McNelly and approved by Dune creator Frank Herbert (who would still contradict this book with some of his later Dune novels). The book, written from an academic point of view within the Dune universe, later goes out of print and is now considered a collectors’ item.
The first edition of the collection of prose, poetry and blank verse titled “The Policeman’s Beard Is Half Constructed“ – supposedly “written” by an artificial intelligence called RACTER – is published by Warner Books. When a commercial version of RACTER is made available, some users cry foul – it doesn’t output anything remotely like the book attributed to it.
The first edition of the non-fiction-with-science-fiction-short-stories anthology “The Planets“ is published by Bantam Books, edited by Byron Preiss. Contributors include Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Harry Harrison, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, JPL scientist Dale Cruikshank, Frank Herbert, illustrator Ralph McQuarrie, and many more. Each body in the solar system is described in a factual essay, and then features in a short story.
Titan Books UK publishes Neil Gaiman’s non-fiction account of the making of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy franchise, Don’t Panic! – The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion. The book features numerous interviews with Douglas Adams and others involved in the making of the radio and television series, records and books.
The first novel based on the British science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, is published. Written by series creators and writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor (under the collective pseudonym Grant Naylor), the book features familiar events and scenes, but is generally played out on a more expansive canvas than a BBC television studio would allow.
Bantam Books publishes the short story collection Tales From The New Twilight Zone by J. Michael Straczynski (story editor and frequent writer of the ’80s iteration of the series). Adapting several of his own scripts from the series into short stories, as well as the posthumously-produced Rod Serling-penned script Our Selena Is Dying, Straczynski also offers insights into the making of the series and the stories behind each storyline presented. Much of this material is later reprinted in another compilation, Straczynski Unplugged.
After much pre-publicity billing it as – at long last – the Lucasfilm-authorized continuation of the storyline, Timothy Zahn’s novel “Star Wars: Heir To The Empire” is released by Bantam Books. Introducing Grand Admiral Thrawn, Talon Karrde and Mara Jade, among other characters later regarded by fans as mission-critical to the overall Star Wars storyline, the book also introduces the former Imperial capitol world Coruscant (a rare bit of naming that originates in non-movie media and is later carried over to “official” media). The first of a trilogy of novels, “Heir” forces its way to the top of the bestseller lists.
With no new series in sight on TV, Virgin Publishing begins its long-awaited line of original print fiction with the first Doctor Who New Adventures novel, “Timewyrm: Genesys” by John Peel. The first book in a four-book cycle of linked stories, the novel picks up where the television series left off, featuring the seventh Doctor and Ace. Three further books are already in the works in the Timewyrm series, with other authors lining up for a chance to write later books in 1992 and beyond.
Virgin Publishing releases the second novel in the Doctor Who New Adventures series, “Timewyrm: Exodus” by early ’70s Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks. This book continues the four-part Timewyrm cycle and revisits the War Lord last seen in the 1969 TV story The War Games, and long before the TV episode Let’s Kill Hitler, places the Doctor in the company of Hitler. This is Dicks’ first Doctor Who prose which is not a direct adaptation of a television story.
Virgin Publishing releases the fourth book in the Doctor Who New Adventures series, “Timewyrm: Revelation” by Paul Cornell. This is Cornell’s first professionally-published fiction, and is published over the objections of former Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner (acting as an advisor to the editors), who cites concerns over the book’s abstract attempts to establish an epic mythology involving Gallifreyan gods. The book also concludes the four-book Timewyrm cycle, which has proven to be enough of a sales success that Virgin opts to continue publishing original Doctor Who fiction.
Timothy Zahn’s novel “Star Wars: Dark Force Rising”, the second in a trilogy of officially licensed follow-ups to the original trilogy, is released by Bantam Books. As with the first installment of the new trilogy (which will become known years later alternately as the Zahn Trilogy or the Thrawn Trilogy), “Dark Force Rising” requires no Jedi mind tricks to wind up at the top of the bestseller lists.
The ninth Doctor Who New Adventures novel, “Love And War” by Paul Cornell, is published. A pivotal point in the young book series, “Love And War” sees the exit of TV companion Ace and the introduction of an older companion, archaeologist Professor Bernice Sumemrfield, for the seventh Doctor. Using a non-sequitur mention of the “Hoothi and their great gas dirigibles” from the television story The Brain Of Morbius as a starting point for this book’s enemy, author Cornell crafts a novel that forces the series to grow into more mature territory, with a truly unsettling adversary for the Doctor to fight. An audio version will be produced by Big Finish Productions 20 years later.
Timothy Zahn’s novel “Star Wars: The Last Command”, the concluding part of the hugely popular trilogy of officially licensed follow-ups to the original trilogy, is released by Bantam Books. As with the first two installments of the new trilogy (which will become known years later alternately as the Zahn Trilogy or the Thrawn Trilogy), “The Last Command” climbs to the top of the bestseller lists, and the future of a sprawling print-fiction Star Wars empire is assured in the process. With no new movies for the books to clash with, many fans regard their story developments as “official.”
Baen Books publishes the first novel in the Honor Harrington series, “On Basilisk Station” by David Weber. A military science fiction story with a female protagonist set in the vein of the Horatio Hornblower novels, the book quickly gains a loyal audience; luckily, Weber and Baen have a second novel already prepared.
Baen Books publishes the second novel in the Honor Harrington series, “The Honor Of The Queen” by David Weber. Written simultaneously with the first book (which was published two months prior), this novel introduces further complications and introduces Honor’s new home-away-from-home, the planet Grayson.
Virgin Publishing releases the 23rd book in the Doctor Who New Adventures series, “No Future” by Paul Cornell. This book concludes a five-book cycle involving someone trying to ensnare the Doctor by making paradoxical major changes to the Time Lord’s established history. “No Future” also explains the somewhat cryptic “breakdown” suffered by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart during the 1970s, leading to his retirement from UNIT.
Little & Brown publishes J.C. Herz’s non-fictional analysis of the video game industry, “Joystick Nation“. The books is a series of essays on the origins, appeal, marketing and interpretation of video games, often from an academic and sociological perspective. A TV documentary project based on the book is announced at a later date, but never enters production.
Dell Books releases the Babylon 5 novel “To Dream In The City Of Sorrows“, written by Kathryn M. Drennan (also writer of the first season B5 episode By Any Means Necessary). The book chronicles the life of Commander Sinclair following his departure from Babylon 5, his arrival on Minbar, and his eventual rise to the position of Entil’Zha – leader of the Rangers. The novel fills in many gaps left in Sinclair’s story on television, and is considered an official part of the show’s storyline.
Ballantine Books releases a slightly revised American edition of David Bassom’s non-fiction behind-the-scenes book “Creating Babylon 5“, originally published in 1996 in the UK. The book features an introduction by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, extensive interviews with the show’s cast and crew, brief episode synopses, and numerous photos. A sticker is affixed to the cover after printing (but before nationwide distribution) to remind purchasers that the series is moving to cable network TNT in 1998.