Monday, August 23, 2010

Star Trek 365

When I shill, I do it honestly. If I didn't genuinely love the new book Star Trek 365 by Paula M. Block with Terry J. Erdmann, I wouldn't mention it--notwithstanding the fact that it's being released by my publisher Abrams and my name is listed in the Acknowledgments.


That's right! All my teenage hours wasted on the adventures of Captain Kirk and crew finally paid off! There's a lesson for you kiddies out there, though I'll be darned if I know what it is.

The book is the latest in Abrams's "365" series. There are "365" books on golf, punk, astronomy, wisdom, Africa, Chihuly, baseball, gardens, the Grateful Dead. I think the concept is you leave it open on your desk and turn one page per day, getting a great photo and some interesting nugget of information on your favorite topic every day of the year. I wonder if anyone actually does that. I'd read it straight through.

Star Trek 365 focuses only on The Original Series (TOS, also known as "The ONLY Series" to some--all right, me). Each day is a two-page spread about a character, actor, episode, alien, planet, prop, or behind-the-scenes tidbit. It's a thick, hardcover brick of a book, nicely conceived and assembled. What I particularly appreciated was that Block and Erdmann came up with some stories and pictures I'd never seen--which is saying a lot after 40 years as an attentive Trekkie. Even many of the familiar photos are freshened up, and the reproduction quality is as good as I've seen.

The book's editor is Eric Klopfer and its project manager is Charlie Kochman, my editor, who has long known of my Trek proclivities and likes me anyway. I don't remember if Charlie asked me to review a proof or if I begged him to let me. One way or another, I wound up with an early draft and spent several happy hours combing through my DVDs, references, and memories to return five pages of single-spaced notes on locations of planets, names of starships, and a very serious discussion of whether Mr. Spock's groovy Vulcan harp is a "lute" or "lyre" (sources vary; I argued for lyre). I also had some editorial suggestions apart from content, such as layout and subject-verb agreement. My contributions were minor--I found just one factual error that I considered serious--but the task was a heck of a lot of fun.

If you're an old-school Trek fan, I think you'll find much to appreciate in Star Trek 365. Put it on your birthday or Christmas list. My copy is going on the bookshelf with my other Star Trek references, and I can't tell you how much it blows my mind to have my name (in teeny tiny print) in one of them. Thanks to Eric and Charlie for letting me play in the sandbox.


ronnie said...

Got my first item for Husband's Christmas list! Thanks!

Jim O'Kane said...

I'm hoping the pages for Sherry Jackson and Angelique Pettijohn consist of two-page foldouts and the simple caption "Yes. Quite."

Anything else would be superfluous.

Kid Sis said...

The ONLY series?!

No likey John Luck Pickerd?

Brian Fies said...

Ronnie: then my work here is done.

Jim: Pettijohn? Please. Leslie Parrish.

Sis: Pickerd's all right, for an effete bald French guy with a British accent (never understood that accent thing). But TOS is the prototype, the archetype, the original--and I'll bet the only iteration of "Star Trek" people will still know 50 years from now.