53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2005
I am the author of the Star Trek Deep Space Nine Companion. I want to thank all of you for the wonderful reviews you've given to this book. But please do not be confused by Amazon's error: This book is NOT out of print. Both the publisher and I have informed Amazon of their error many times, but the company apparenty does have a system to correct their error. The book is "in print" and available. Period. Again, thanks for your good words. Terry J. Erdmann
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2000
I'm an avid fan of the "Star Trek The Next Generation Companion," and this all-new volume examining what is arguably the best (certainly the most controversial) Trek series is must reading for anyone intrigued by the creation, scriptwriting and production of the series.
Each and every episode is covered in depth with a plot summary and detailed history "behind the scenes" of the episode's creation, writing, and filming. One of the reasons I enjoyed DS9 so much is the involved storyline of the series--the Dominion War--and having each of the episodes laid out in chronological order, with extensive detail on the structure of the storyline and subplots, helped me appreciate even more what Berman and Piller and company set out to do. It's filled with entertaining stories and nuggets of background information--how did they do they, where did they get the idea for that, what worked (and didn't)...it's ideal for the Star Trek fan as well as anyone interested in television writing and production.
I don't entirely agree with some of the previous review comments: understand that a book like this takes time to write and create, not to mention publish, have sales reps advance into bookstores, and print and ship. I work in publishing, and with very few exceptions, publishing books takes a *long* lead time. There's no way this could have been ready (or as complete) if it were issued last year. I'd also say, again as someone working inside publishing, that adding color photographs and a hardback binding, while nice, would dramatically increase the price of the book, probably to forty dollars or above.
The very best compliment I can give a book like is that it makes me want to go back to the original source again. If you're a Trek fan, I dare you to pick this up and not get totally involved in it, and *then* want to dig out your tapes and rewatch all your favorite episodes...and even a few that this book will give you a brand new appreciation for.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2000
This amazing book is an absolute must-have for the hardcore fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine... if you are like me and savored every episode over all seven seasons, you will appreciate the author's in-depth coverage, behind-the-scenes info on every episode, and his obvious affection for the show. This book is over 700 pages and filled with new photos & illustrations I have never seen anywhere else, including really nifty things like production drawings, some hilarious props, and even a map of Bajor. The many interviews with the cast & creators alone are worth the price. If hearing "The Way You Look Tonight" makes you misty, buy this book!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2002
Deep Space Nine -- ah, the redheaded stepchild of the Trek franchise. Not as clean and sachrrine as the others. It is the most refreshingly human.
This book covers every episode of DS9 and along with synopses of episodes are detailed comments from the cast and crew. It's very interesting to see how some episodes started in very different places. And O'Brien story turned into a Kira story. A Jake Sisko "Watergating Shakaar" story became a devil's deal between Ben Sisko and Garak. And it's fun to see writers apologizing for the less than successful episodes.
Even though this is an "official" book, it is more complex, honest and insightful than other such books. Perfectly in keeping with the series that inspired it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is an amazing book. Many books about television shows resort to covering a show with a few pages of synopses and a few pages of "behind-the-scenes" items per each season of the show, simply because they don't have the access to details about each show as an individual unit. I was content with those types of renderings because it seemed like too much to ask that an author would follow a show throughout its run and keep notes on the process the whole way through. Surely, by the time a show was established enough to justify writing a Companion, the early years would be long forgotten.
Thankfully, though, DS9 is Star Trek, and Star Trek is very fond of merchandising, and Erdmann apparently was asked to follow this show from before day one with the aim of someday publishing this book -- an audacious move for people who couldn't be certain that the product would even be worth writing about, to be sure, but as it was, it's an investment that paid off magnificently. Erdmann's amazing level of access to writers, actors, producers and directors led to this book having *at least* a page of notes, insights, and behind-the-scenes trivia for *every single episode* of the show, from the epic to the embarrassing. He has behind-the-scenes anecdotes I've never heard before and trivia points I've never noticed (both great feats in the eyes of a Trekker), and at the same time, he somehow avoids repeating everything that's been said about DS9 before. No Trek book out there comes close to this level of detail.
Despite its careful detailing of every episode of the show, this is no work of soggy platitudes. The behind-the-scenes comments are refreshingly frank. Writers take full responsibility for the occasional misstep. Actors talk candidly about what worked and what didn't, what they pushed for and how they viewed their characters. From reading the actors' insights into their *own* characters, you get the sense that this show was much more than a steady job for them, just as this show was more than a TV show for so many of us Trek freaks.
I've enjoyed reading this densely packed book and revisiting my favorite moments in my memory, which has made me realize how much I really do miss DS9. The book has refreshed my memory and added bulk to my perception of the show's path. Great read.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2000
I just got this book today, and am just flying through it. It is filled with a complete rundown of all 176 episodes of Deep Space Nine, plus behind the scenes information about each episode, which is my favorite part of the book. The author interviewed the cast and crew about every episode. It really gives some great insight into the interworkings of the best Star Trek series out there. I just kind of wish that the pictures in it were in color. Other than that, it is well worth the money.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2004
I have always considered DS9 the best Star Trek series overall. I loved the characters, not only because they kept me entertained when I watched the show, it was because they had flaws. The strength of the characters kept me glued to my TV. Now, thanks to the DS9 companion I am able to read up on each episode and see what the director had planned for that episode and whether or not I think he succeeded. I also enjoyed the write up on each character. My only complain would be that the book is printed on fairly thin paper. Other then that, this book is pure GOLD!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
Deep Space Nine, the second spin-off from the original Star Trek series, ran for seven seasons from 1993 to 1999. At the time it was originally on the air it was considered the 'awkward child' of the Star Trek franchise, being overshadowed at the start of its run by the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation and then for the rest of its run by the start of Star Trek: Voyager. Time has been kind to the series, however, and it is now widely regarded as the best - or at least the most consistently excellent - of the Star Trek television series.
It's therefore appropriate that the best Star Trek series got the best companion book out of all of the series, and in fact probably the best non-fiction book ever written about Star Trek. To write it, Terry J. Erdmann took the unusual step of developing it alongside the series. He literally started writing it in 1993 when the show launched and completed it in 1999 after it concluded, publishing it in 2000. This - slightly mental - way of writing the book allowed him to interview the writers, actors and production staff at regular intervals when their memories of each episode were fresh, and in some cases be on-set for the filming of scenes. This wasn't a cash-in hack job to ride on the show's popularity, but an eight-year project that is impressive in showing its creators' commitment to doing as good a job as possible.
The format of the book is fairly standard. The book is divided into seven sections, one for each season of the show. There's an overview of the season as a whole and then a summary of each episode, as well as cast lists, transmission dates and all the usual gubbins you get in books like this. However, the meat of the book is the elaborate 'behind the scenes' section for each and every one of the 173 episodes that was made. These sections usually feature interviews with the episode writers about how the idea for the episode came about, comments from the actors who were heavily featured (regular, recurring and guest stars alike) in the episode in question, and discussions with the director and production crew who had to turn each script into a reality.
These behind-the-scenes sections are impressive. Every episode, no matter how minor or unsuccessful, has one, and they're usually between 2 and 4 A4 pages of reasonably small print in length. This is why the book is over 700 pages long, which is bordering on the 'insane' side of things for an episode guide. The reason for the length is that almost everyone involved in the making of the series offers insightful thoughts on the production process. The writers (including future Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore) are honest and forthright in debating their writing choices, including what went wrong as well as what went right. Showrunner Ira Steven Behr's brutally honest appraisals of how dire episodes like Let He Who Is Without Sin and Proft and Lace made it to the screen are interesting and also extremely funny.
The actors also have their say, talking about how they developed their characters from episode to episode and why they made the acting choices that they did. Production crew are also interviewed, from the director of each episode down to the stuntmen, visual effects personnel and occasionally even the extras. The book makes it clear that vast amounts of work went into making each episode of the show. That the series turned out as well as it did under the chaos of a production schedule almost unthinkable today is clearly a tribute to the professionalism of everyone involved.
What is most interesting is the way the guide tackles the sometimes challenging relationship between DS9 and the rest of the Star Trek franchise. The writers are unapologetic about the problems they had on The Next Generation, where interpersonal conflict between the human characters was not allowed, and applaud the freedom that Deep Space Nine gave them to write more interesting psychological stories. They also reveal that Deep Space Nine had cast-iron rules about limiting the amount of technobabble in the series and a total ban on 'holodeck malfunction' episodes. However whilst the contributors are surprisingly honest, this is still an official tie-in book, so the severity of the disagreements between the DS9 staff and overall Star Trek franchise-runner Rick Berman are downplayed (more recent interviews indicate some of these disagreements were a lot more serious than this book indicates, with Berman eventually giving up and preferring to work on Voyager). The absence of any mention of the rivalry between the DS9 and Babylon 5 fanbases is also interesting given some of the things happening at the time, probably another casualty of the book trying to take a positive view of everything.
Still, whilst there's a few areas the book doesn't touch on, pretty much everything else about the series is explored in ridiculous detail. From the transition of motion-controlled model work to full CGI (the revelation that a considerably more elaborate version of the Battle of Wolf 359 from the pilot episode was shot but has never been shown is tantalising; maybe something for a future Blu-Ray release?) to the ongoing evolution of the prosthetics work, there's few side-areas of the production that are not touched upon.
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (*****) is hands-down the best tie-in book of its nature I've ever read, and in this age of instant and free-to-access wikis and production videos and webcasts, maybe the best there ever will be. It's an impressive guide to how this series was conceived and filmed, packed with fascinating revelations and trivia. Even if you have no interest in DS9, it's still a fascinating read for anyone interested in the process of producing a weekly science fiction TV show. The book is - sadly - long out of print, but copies (for somewhat excessive prices) can still be found on Amazon UK and Amazon USA.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2007
I'll just add to the heaps of praise for this massive work covering the complete Deep Space Nine series. The plot of every episode is described in detail, as one would expect, but this volume goes much further, devoting a great deal of text on each episode and season, primarily offering points of view from the writers, story editors, producers, directors, and other production staff, and occasionally from the actors. What's especially great, aside from all the detail that fans salivate over, is that everyone involved with the production is generally pretty candid about what does and doesn't work, so the less-inpsired episodes aren't subjected to faux praise for the sake of selling DVDs.
It's not flawless, however. Too much detail is sometimes given about how a story evolved into what finally aired, whereas there are often other questions about plot and character development, or lack thereof, that would've been more compelling to read. Also, there are spoilers in some of the behind-the-scenes info that could've been better disguised; it makes it difficult to share the book with someone who is watching the series for the first time. Those are small nits to pick, though. No other Trek episode guide comes anywhere near the level of depth and quality of this one, and I can't recommend it highly enough to fans of the series, even those who don't consider DS9 their favorite part of the ST franchise.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2001
As an avid DS9 fan, I find this book interesting and informative. It is a book I refer to over and over again and is a "must have" for any fan of DS9 - or Star Trek, for that matter!
The book is broken down into seasons (one for each of the 7 years the show was on the air) with a cast snapshot and written season overview at the beginning of each section. Next, all the episodes of that season are addressed individually - first through a detailed analysis of the storyline(s), then a section discussing how the episode was produced. So you get a synopsis of the storyline of each episode PLUS behind-the-scenes commentary from the producers, directors, art department, and actors!!! Additionally, there are many pictures from the episodes, and those are nice.
I would have liked to have seen more cast "out of makeup" pictures....but overall, this is an excellent book and a "must have" for any Trek fan!