Follow Here To Purchase Star Trek FAQ: Everything left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise (Faq Series)

Author: Mark Clark

Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books

ISBN-10: 1557837929

ISBN-13: 978-1557837929

As scriptwriter David Gerrold’s “Foreword” and author Mark Clark’s “Introduction” ask, do we really need another hefty tome exploring the story behind the original Star Trek? Gerrold and Clark say yes with various plausible reasons. One is that serious Trekkies and Trekkers already have mountains of books on their shelves, but the more casual fan might appreciate a good single volume any reader can thumb through. In addition, much of Trek lore has been repeated throughout the published histories, but some stories are more legend than fact. So Clark assumes the serious devotee will pick up his book just because, but he hopes a wider audience will find his contribution to the FAQ series a useful and entertaining resource.      

What isn’t in the book, Clark admits, are detailed episode guides and technical information readily available in other sources, both in print and online. What is included are 500 pages of mini-essays that focus on various aspects of the show that don’t need to be read in sequence. True, some discussions logically lead the way including biographies of Gene Roddenberry, the cast, writers, and “Space Seeds: Credited and Uncredited Influences on the Creation.” Other sections, like the chapters on the episodes and their sociological themes, the pre and post Star Trek roles for the cast, the parodies, novels, and shows that beat Trek in the Nielsen Ratings can be read in no particular order.

What readers may find surprising or new will depend on their familiarity with the world of Star Trek. For example, the chapter comparing the original pilot, “The Cage,” with what ended up in the aired series, shows that Roddenberry didn’t start out with a multi-racial, multi-cultural bridge crew. Legend has it he fought for a wide range of characters against the will of NBC, but in fact the network was as much if not more interested in reaching out to minority demographics. Captain Kirk never said “Beam me up, Scotty,” and the chapter on quotes and mis-quotes is both entertaining and enlightening. 

Clark offers considerable space to the full cast beyond the Big Three of Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley including the "Gang of Four," meaning Walter Koenig, James Doohan, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. “Yoeman” Janice Rand, played by Grace Whitney, also gets her due as do many of the major guest stars. But few readers will find much new in the capsule biographies. Most Trekkers or Trekkies or whatever we are already know how the supporting cast disliked Shatner and that Whitney left the show after rejecting sexual advances by a certain executive. (Clark alludes to this several times before he overtly tells the tale.) But, again, having all this in one place should make finding the kernels of information readily accessible for anyone who needs to brush up on Star Fleet essentials.

Clark also provides useful overviews of the literature—non-fiction and everything else—to point the way for those hoping to find the cream of the crop of available reading, listening, and collecting dating back to the ‘60s. True fans, of course, will complain about what isn’t given much coverage or may quibble with some of Clark’s judgment calls. That, of course, is a strong draw for books like these—the subject’s lovers can compare notes and observations with the author. Then, we can wait for the sequel—volume two is coming in 2013. When it comes to Trek lit, there’s no final frontier.


Follow Here To Purchase Star Trek FAQ: Everything left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise (Faq Series)