Sunday, February 22, 2015

So, about those Star Trek books...

Hey, look: an old draft I never posted. This is from a few months back.

It's not a great time to be a Star Trek fan, what with no Star Trek on TV, but it's not a bad time at all to be a Star Trek books fan. For example.

Star Trek: Seekers has hit the stores, though Amazon STILL hasn't sent me my copy, so I bought the damn ebook from (Ask me about my Kobos sometime.) Nine years ago, then-Trek books editor Marco Palmieri asked me if I'd like a sneak peak at a new thing they were trying out. I said yes, obviously, and got a preview of the first Vanguard novel. The Vanguard series didn't run for very many books, but it wasn't intended to, and it never overstayed its welcome. It was TOS by HBO, or maybe TOS if it had been able to do DS9-style storytelling... at any rate, it was fresh, new, and just what the book line needed.

So here we are in 2014 and we get the first book in the Seekers series. If you're reading this you almost certainly know the backstory about the artist who loved the 1970s Bantam Star Trek covers  so he created an imaginary series that inspired David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore to move forward from the Vanguard saga with the intertwined adventures of the crews of two very different ships. Is it good? Don't be a floon, just go read it if you haven't already. This has the potential to revive my flagging interest in things Trek.

That's not to say there haven't been interesting developments. I have yet to be completely blown away by any of the current series of ebook exclusives, but the writers are starting to take advantage of the novella form to tell different kinds of stories, like Scott Pearson's TMP-era tale of Christine Chapel, Spock, and Dax. It's a pretty succinct story that would suffer from either being stretched out to novel length or being used as a secondary plotline; it's as long as it needs to be, and it tells a story that's worth telling but probably wouldn't rate a novel slot without more of the regulars being involved.

Meanwhile, outside the world of licenced Trek books, a long-dreamt of day has come for anyone who ever perused the Lost Books page. Yes, Return to Tomorrow by Preston Neal Jones is finally happening. It's a long-rumoured in-depth look at the making of Star Trek - The Motion Picture, and I'll be very happy indeed when my copy shows up. Yes, I've ordered it. Don't go looking on Amazon and don't take too much time deciding, because it's a limited edition available only through the publisher site linked to above.

We also have two of three volumes of the remarkably in-depth, extensively researched series on the making of the original series, Star Trek: These Are the Voyages by Marc Cushman, available through the books' website or other retailers. Each season gets a very large hardcover book. I was a bit surprised that the first volume has already had a significantly expanded second edition, but the ebook version is a lot cheaper than print, so I've got the original in print and the expanded in ebook. I'm happy.

But wait, there's more. One of the reasons I started doing the Complete Starfleet Library was to showcase the books that look at the uncovered angles of the Star Trek phenomenon. Bill Kraft was kind of enough to bring his book to my attention (and he sent a free copy; thanks again). A few years back the US Postal Service issued a Star Trek stamp following a hardfought campaign. Kraft's book, Maybe We Need a Letter From God: The Star Trek Stamp, tells the story of the campaign through reproductions of letters from a number of prominent supporters. And by prominent I mean people like Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Frank Drake, a number of political and scientific figures, and more. The book is nicely laid out and produced, a labour of love about a labour of love, the long campaign to get the stamp. You can read a bit more about it here and order it from sources like Amazon. Who says philately will get you nowhere?

And I haven't even mentioned Paul Olsen's Creating the Enterprise or the new book on Star Trek comics...


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