Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek - Return To The Light!

With this weekend being absorbed by the new Star Trek movie by J.J.Abrams and friends, it's got me in a Trek state of mind. Let me say right now, that I like nearly all that has been produced (that I've seen) associated with the Trek series over the decades. But for me, the original series both on screen and in print overshadows all other versions in spite of their many virtues.

Star Trek was once upon a time, a distant beacon in a science fiction universe very sparsely populated. It flickered briefly on television, then went out. But fans persisted and it revived in cartoon form and in print until finally thanks to the success of Star Wars it was given a new lease and capitalized mightily. The movies followed, then a gaggle of new variations, each with virtues and flaws, but somehow none was able to capture that nutty magic the first version had tapped into. They'd get close, but they'd always fall short.

James Blish is one of the great science fiction writers but these days he's mostly known I suspect for his work on Star Trek as he diligently adapted the television series episodes to short story form. In those ancient pre-VHS, pre-DVD days such items were treasures, hard copy renditions of images all too ephemeral. Blish locked it down.

Blish even created if not the first Star Trek original novel, then arguably the most famous with Spock Must Die!.

The first Star Trek novel is the Whitman juvenile Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds and is one gem here I don't have, but really want. I read there's a facsimile version, and I need to get a copy.

And then there was Gold Key which adapted the series into comic book form with varying degrees of success. But certainly they found that the comic book fans did abide and the series ran through most of the 70's, pretty much until Gold Key itself succumbed. Star Trek would go on to be published in comic book form by Marvel, DC, and many others, but those Gold Key stories have a naive charm modern renditions cannot possess.  I read a bunch of these vintage gems relatively recently in Checker's reprint series.

And then there's this. I found eleven of the twelve Star Trek  Fotonovels at my new favorite store Half-Price Books some few months ago. They are in remarkably fine shape and I think with all this "Star Trekkery" in the air, it might be a good weekend to break them out and give them a thorough reading. Of course I'll go see the new movie of course, eventually, but right now the true Trek calls.

Sadly I'm missing the final volume adapting "Amok Time", one of the great episodes.

I might even break out the old Star Fleet Technical Manuel I have around here somewhere to properly hone my mind for a session of classic Trek.

Go boldly friends!

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