Star Trek FAQ Volume 2 by Mark Clark

I received a free copy of Star Trek FAQ Volume 2 by Mark Clark for review.. I’ve not read volume 1 which is about the original series of Star Trek and the animated series. This volume is about the films and also The Next Generation.

(FAQ). This book is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures, or the “Star Trek” franchise. In the 1980s and ’90s, Star Trek rose from the ash heap of network cancellation and soared to the peak of its popularity with a series of blockbuster feature films and the smash sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation . Star Trek FAQ 2.0 picks up where the original Star Trek FAQ left off, chronicling the historic comeback of the “failed” series and its emergence as a pop culture touchstone. The book provides accounts of the production of every Star Trek movie (including creator Gene Roddenberry’s struggle to retain control of the franchise) and every episode of The Next Generation (and the conflicts that roiled its writing staff). It also offers profiles of the actors, directors, writers, producers, and technicians whose excellence fueled the franchise’s success, and explores often overlooked aspects of the Star Trek phenomenon, including unofficial, fan-made productions. Star Trek FAQ 2.0 represents the final frontier of Trek scholarship.

I found this an interesting read. I didn’t read it continuously but dipped in and out over several weeks – I see it as that sort of coffee table book. Only I 1) don’t have a coffee table and 2) have an ecopy. But if not for those two things that’s where I could see leaving this. I’d like to read the bit about each film before watching them again for example.

It’s not a true FAQ, that title is some what misleading. It contains a chapter for each movie and one for each series of TNG. In addition there are others on guest stars, awards, the actors and other key areas. It also starts with an introduction from Peter David which I found particularly exciting because he is my favourite Star Trek author. The behind the scenes wrangling and almost at times fighting surprised me but I’m not sure why. The other thing that really came across was that Gene Roddenberry may well have been a bit of a nasty piece of work. I’d always had this idea of him as a really brilliant, nice person but not anymore.

I’m glad I read this. I felt like I learnt a lot about a fandom that’s been a huge part of my life. But I think there are probably better books about Star Trek out there. The formatting isn’t great in several places (although I’d hope that would be corrected in the finished version) and I’ve heard there are some factual errors. I spotted at least one which took me 30 seconds on google to find a Wikipedia article which confirmed the error. That’s poor in my opinion and coloured my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow.  It’s a new ebook only Star Trek novella of roughly 100 pages and it’s coming out on March 25th.

The Enterprise-E arrives in unclaimed space for a rendezvous with the Starfleet science vessel Newton. Jean-Luc Picard and his crew have been ordered to assist the Newton with the final phase of its current mission—a mission that brings Picard face to face with something he never thought he would see again: the phenomenon known as the Nexus. Less than twelve years after it left the Alpha Quadrant, the Nexus ribbon has now returned. Tasked to track and study the phenomenon as it re-entered the galaxy, the specialist science team on the Newton discovered that the orbital path of the Nexus has been radically altered by the actions of the rogue El-Aurian Tolian Soren—taking it deep into the territory of The Holy Order of the Kinshaya, one of the key members of the Typhon Pact. Starfleet Command is unwilling to allow the Kinshaya—and by extension, the Typhon Pact—free access to what is essentially a gateway to anywhere and anywhen, as a single operative could use the Nexus to change the course of galactic history….

I freaking love Star Trek.  Love, love, love Star Trek. Especially The Next Generation (in fact I just created a Star Trek category for my blog and was like “how did I not have one already?!”).  And I love reviewing books.  So as my facebook status said on Friday night getting this was a bit like I’d died and gone to Book Blogger Heaven.

Book Blogger Heaven I imagine to be this amazingly wheelchair friendly place filled with unlimited copies all the books there ever have been and ever will be that are worth reading and where I never ever have to hear someone mention Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey and describe them as “amazing” “the best book ever” or “well worth the read” ever again. Oh and it will have chocolate, obviously. Lots of it.

I really enjoyed reading this.  Being so short I found it quite a quick read and that was my only complaint about it.  I’d have liked it to be longer!  It didn’t need to be longer because it told the story perfectly well without feeling like bits were being rushed or skipped.  But it’s Star Trek and I love Star Trek books and it needed to be longer so it wasn’t over so soon.

As I said the plot didn’t need more but I would have enjoyed a few extra moments outside the plot – the “family touches” if you will Beverly, Picard and Rene could have had more screen time.  I love Picard as a father but I find it most bizarre that he named his son Rene. I realise it was after his dead nephew but surely using that as a middle name would be more appropriate.  It feels weird.  Or we could have found out how Worf is getting on since Choudary was killed because you know it seems like with the exception of his weird thing with Troi every single love interest Worf has ever had has died. Let that be a warning to you Star Trek characters, don’t fall in love with Worf. You’ll die if you do!  But mostly I would have enjoyed these moments so it was longer and didn’t end so soon.  I was enjoying it a lot.

This book follows on from The Cold Equations trilogy that came out at the end of last year.  I don’t necessarily think you need to have read those books to understand it.  There is one mention of something from those books that will be lost on those who haven’t read it but it’s just in passing and I don’t think it would ruin this for you.  I do think that you need to have read the Typhon Pact books before reading this because they feature here. Although there are probably enough reviews and spoilers around on the net you could get the gist of what you missed if you haven’t read them (but seriously, if you like Star Trek books why haven’t you read them?)

You most definitely need to have seen Star Trek Generations.  I really enjoyed seeing how a revisit to the Nexus tied up a few loose ends for Picard.  And how the changes in his life since his original visit changed his “dream” whilst in the Nexus and how he dealt with it both there and after.  It’s made me really want to rewatch Star Trek: Generations and I may well do that later on this strangely snowy St Patrick’s Day.