Author: Mark Clark

Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1557837937

ISBN-13: 978-1557837936

When I reviewed the first volume of Mark Clark's Star Trek FAQ last year, I started with the obvious question: Do we really need another hefty tome exploring the story behind the original Star Trek? One answer, proposed by Clark himself, is that it's true that serious devotees have mountains of books on their shelves, but more casual fans might appreciate a single volume devoted to the history of the first TV series. In addition, Clark claimed he set out to correct legends that have become Star Trek lore, especially those that don't square with the record. Since I wrote that review, I'd now add that new generations of Star Trek fans being brought into the fold by the new J. J. Abrams' films might like to catch up on the decades they weren't around for. That is, those young moviegoers who haven't already dismissed everything before Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto picked up the Kirk and Spock communicators.

In 2.0, Clark had a more daunting task. In one modestly-sized book, he covers everything from the 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture up to a few paragraphs on the new Star Trek Into Darkness. In the main, he discusses all the films and the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation with a minimal, thin overview of Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. In his first book, Clark presented a series of mini-essays on a wide range of topics that didn't need to be read in any specific order. This time around, he tells the story in a straight-forward chronological order broken up with short inserts that talk about everything from production staff to what foods were consumed on screen. This time, Next Generation is given a hit-and-run episode guide but there's a point. Because the series evolved and changed in so many ways over the years, Clark is able to show how characters were developed, scripts improved (or not), and how the milieu went places creator Gene Roddenberry wasn't happy about.

As a result, Star Trek 2.0 isn't structurally a reference guide typical of the FAQ series. Of course, we get the expected capsule biographies of actors, producers, directors, designers and writers. Because of the organization, we get much repeated information and markers as to where some ideas were developed either elsewhere in this book or the first volume. The value of the details depends on what you already know, or remember, about the films and STNG. I didn't know Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard, directed some episodes. I didn't know Patrick Stewart's romance with Jennifer Hetrick, who played the alluring Vash on two episodes, went both on and off screen ending his 25 year marriage. Of all people, I didn't know Michael Dorn, the very model of Klingon heartiness, was a vegetarian.

For most Star Trek buffs, the pleasure of these books is comparing and contrasting your own views with those of these authors. Clark isn't short on opinions and judgment calls, and that's fair game. I think he's too hard on Generations and not hard enough on Nemesis. Well, you can't be too hard on Nemesis. I'm presuming Applause Books doesn't think the other spin-off series (DS9, Voyager, Enterprise) are worthy of a 3.0 edition which seems grossly unfair to me. Well, other books are out there for us. For example, I know a competing three-volume series of books is coming this summer and fall from author Mark Cushman from Jacobs/Brown called These are the Voyages—The True History of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Till then, I learned a few things from the other Mark, especially in the surprising chapter on all the fan-made web series that seem to be more credible than I would have guessed. I have some browsing to do. I suspect most Trekies or Trekers or whatever would enjoy browsing Star Trek 2.0 as well. There's always another way to look at what the Great Bird of the Galaxy gave us.

Follow Here To Purchase Star Trek FAQ 2.0: Everything Left to Know About The Next Generation, the Movies, and Beyond (Unofficial and Unauthorized)

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