Book Article

Vulcan Volumes

Books on ''Star Trek'' -- How the show has inspired hundreds of titles

You've seen the TV show. You've seen the movies. You've seen the other television show. Maybe it's time to try Star Trek: The Books. You have hundreds to choose from.

On the nonfiction shelf, there are about 20 titles, including The Making of Star Trek, a guide to how the series was produced; The Star Trek Compendium, with plot descriptions of each episode; The Trek Fan's Handbook, listing fan clubs, conventions, and merchandise; and, out this month, Star Trek: The First 25 Years, a coffee-table edition full of reminiscences by cast and crew.

Trek novels are even more abundant. There's Mutiny on the Enterprise by Robert E. Vardeman, in which an alien casts a spell of pacifism over the crew; The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah, in which an alien serial killer stalks a Vulcan hospital, Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson, in which Lieutenant Uhura takes command of the Enterprise; and more than 100 others. There are also 10 novelizations of the Star Trek cartoon series (Star Trek Log 1-10) and of Star Trek: The Next Generation (including Reunion, a hardcover that is due in November).

Most Trek books sell surprisingly briskly — in fact, the novels constitute the single most popular paperback series in publishing. Thirty-five titles — including Spock's World (1988), The Lost Years (1989), and Prime Directive (1990) — have even been best-sellers.

Books by Trek cast members could fill a shelf all their own: Shatner has dabbled in both fiction (his third sci-fi novel, Tek Lab, is due in December) and nonfiction (1989's Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V. Nimoy wrote a 1975 autobiography, I Am Not Spock. So far, no Next Generation cast members have picked up pens, but you can bet your weight in dilithium crystals they'll get around to it.

Originally posted Sep 27, 1991 Published in issue #85 Sep 27, 1991 Order article reprints