Monday, June 28, 2010


It’s a little embarrassing, approaching the half-century mark, to admit it, but admit it I must: I’m a Trekkie.
Or a Trekker, or whatever term you prefer—I’m a Star Trek fan. I’ve been one most of my life.

At least, I’ve always thought I was a Star Trek fan. I mean, I’ve seen all the episodes of the original series (1966-69) multiple times, & all of the feature films at least once. I own all three seasons of the original series, & also the complete animated series, on DVD. As I write these words, a Gorn bobblehead stands on my desk, his blank reptilian eyes glaring at me.

I once even reviewed a Klingon translation of Much Ado About Nothing for the Detroit Metro Times. No, seriously.

But a tome that recently came across my Gorn-guarded desk has led me to wonder whether I’m really such a Trek fan after all. Not until I leafed through Alva Underwood’s Star Trek Reader’s Reference to the Novels: 1990-1991, Volume 6...

...did I know, for instance, that:

Kirk’s favorite dessert was “brandied chocolate cheesecake topped with Cerian cherries, whipped cream and fudge sauce…

Dr. McCoy “kept an antique Shaker rush-back rocking chair, circa 1980 in his quarters…

Uhura held the record for the 100-yard dash in the Pan-American games of StarDate 2255.

“Turtleheads” is a derogatory term for Klingons.

Spock & I share a birthday! (March 26, by the way, in 1962 for me, and in 2225 for Spock.)

In my defense, I’ll note that, per the title, this book, which runs to nearly two hundred & fifty pages, concerns itself only with that hugely profitable division of the franchise, Star Trek novels, & only those concerning the original series characters, and indeed only those from the two year period noted. The only Trek novel I ever read was from the ‘70s.

But that’s the point. The Trek world is so big that it can produce an encyclopedic volume with a full complement of appendices—the sixth in a series, no less—devoted only to Star Trek novels from a two year period. The book is a publication of Authorhouse (self-published, in other words), & is in no way affiliated with Trek. Except for a generic picture of a nebula on the cover, it’s devoid of illustration. But Ms. Underwood’s prose is well-crafted & readable, the typos are minimal for a self-edited work, & her scholarship seems more thorough than many a graduate student’s thesis could boast. Narrow as the readership for this book is, it’s a good book.

The Gorn bobblehead on my desk agrees, by the way, to judge by his head movement.

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