30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Designed like "Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion", "Voyager" may appear hefty but it's slimmer on the background details and comments about various episodes. It's a nice companion to look up the various plots, credits, etc. if you're not all that familiar with them based on their episode titles (and who could be with so many to choose from?)but it leaves quite a bit unsaid about the gestation of the show, etc.
While "The Next Gen Companion" never quite lived up to the depth and background provided in "DS9 Companion", it did at least have more details on the series and trivia about the making of the various episodes. It seems with each succeeding volume associated with a Trek series, that we get less information. By the time the one for "Enterprise" is ready for release, we'll probably only get a brief synposis and no pictures. It's a pity as "Voyager" deserves better.
While "Voyager" wasn't as initially groundbreaking as "Next Gen" nor as complex as "DS9", it recaptured the sense of adventure that was at the heart of the original series. The quality of the writing for "Voyager" was very high, indeed although the series itself got less respect than the others.
"Voyager Companion" provides a good overview of the series but lacks the detail and trivia that made "DS9" great as a companion book and even "Next Gen" with its background on the films. It's a pity as the series certainly more than held its own against both Trek series and other competition as well.
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2003
Pocket Books, the literary rights-holders of the "Star Trek" Universe, recently announced that they were drastically paring back the number of nonfiction "Star Trek" books that they would be publishing over the next few years. I find this very unfortunate. What I find even more unfortunate, though, is that the "Star Trek: Voyager Companion" is such a poor release that it may drive sales even lower and stop them from releasing any more nonfiction "Star Trek" for quite some time. I really hope that's not the case, though; I've been hoping for an updated version of the "Star Trek Encyclopedia" or the "Star Trek Chronology" for a while...
Anyway, the Voyager Companion is a shockingly bad release given the wonderful nature of almost every nonfiction Star Trek book that has preceded it. Almost devoid of behind-the-scenes info, it instead gives the types of pointless tallies (shuttlecraft lost, contacts made with the Alpha Quadrant, etc.) that you can find in almost any obsessive fan's website. Given the high standards set by the Next Generation and DS9 Companions, it seems the author would, Paul Ruditis, would only have to copy the format to ensure success in this book. Instead, he seems to want to drag us into the fictional Voyager world without explaining how the creative process for the series went.
Admittedly, that's not completely accurate, but it is very close. A reprint of the writer's "bible" from the first year of the series - with its page and a half of commentary is a nice addition, and each season's chapter does have an opening section that talks a little about the changes the producers brought to the series every year. There are also occaisonal text-boxes that highlight characters, races and aspects of the show, but the neat behind-the-scenes stuff has to share a lot of room with quotes taken from episodes. What little actual commentary from the creative forces of the series exists is reduced to a very small fraction of what you got in the other two Companions.
All in all, I find it very, very hard to recommend this book. I'd save my money for 2004's expected season box sets of Voyager instead. Here's hoping, though, that one unfortunate nonfiction Star Trek book doesn't bring the entire line to a screeching halt.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2003
Coming on after the excellent Deep Space Nine Companion, this book is a significant letdown. In fact, it pales even next to the Next Generation Companion.
Why? Content. Let's look at the deep Space Nine Companion. With the same cover price, it includes 725 pages versus the 528 in the Voyager book. What does it do with those extra 200 pages? It goes into several pages on each season, filled with anecdotes and explanations for why things happened as they did. Most every episode warrants 2-3 pages of synopsis and back-stage information, often with quite revealing information. Even if you watched every episode there will be plenty of new information and backstory. It was also enjoyable just to read.
The Voyager book? 2-3 pages of overview for each season, counting an almost full page cast photo. Each episode is largely covered with just a rather terse synopsis with minimal background and cast/crew recollections. That's it. Bare-bones to say the least. One would be better off saving their money and going to any one of the hundreds of Voyager fan sites on the net and printing out their synopsis collection.
All in all, a very disappointing effort, easily the worst of all of the Star Trek Companions. If you really want it for completeness sake, I'd advise waiting a year or so until there are several in the bargain aisle of your local bookstore ... ... this book should have been on par with the DS9 book, and it falls far short of that level.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2006
Things I liked about this book:
1. Episode summaries in an easy to access format. For truly fabulous episode reviews, I love the Delta Blues website (Jim Wright's Voyager reviews). But when I am choosing episodes for my children to watch, I like being able to flip through this book quickly to find episodes that aren't too old for them.
2. Pictures. They are black and white, but I still enjoyed them. There are at least two pictures per episode.
3. Trivia. There is very little trivia in this book - most of it is tagged onto the end of a synopsis in the 1-2 sentence "episode logs", but whenever it is included it is interesting.
4. Character reviews. There are several pages devoted to each crew member. They describe the character's first appearance on Voyager. They describe the growth of the character throughout the series, and various actors reactions to the character.
5. The Voyager bible (4 pages). It is interesting, to see the background the actors were given and how they breathed life (at least, most of them did) into the characters on the screen.
Well anyway, I see I'm in the minority to have enjoyed this book, but the only series I watched with any regularity was Voyager, so I am not comparing this book to other apparently far more superior books in the Trek series. As a companion to the DVDs, I think it is very useful for choosing what episode you might want to watch.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2004
A lot of the other reviews that I've read for this book have been very negative and dismissive of the publication. And while I agree, the book does have some faults, it isn't that bad. I suspect that the extremely negative reviews stem from the Voyager biast that many fans seem to have, but I won't discuss that. Here's what I thought of the book:
The Voyager Companion by Paul Ruditis follows all 7 years of the 4th incarnation of Star Trek, Voyager. The book is set out much like it's predecessor companions, giving details of each episode in production order, with accompanying stardates and production personnel and actors. The book does a fine job of giving all the details of the show, outlining the stories for each episode, and giving summaries at the end of the technical information and character development.
The book also features multi-page sections devoted to each of the cast members, occuring approximately one in each season, although some seasons feature two. The character sections are particularly good, and feature quotes from both producers and actors alike.
The Companion also includes a nice summary of Voyager's crew manifest, showing every named crewmember over the 7 years, with their accompany rank, affiliation (Starfleet or Maquis) and status (alive, dead, or departed the ship).
Where the book fails is with the behind the scenes information that made the other companions so good. Aside from the small introduction to each season and the character pages, there is virtually no behind the scenes information. And the comments of the production personnel are all positive, and do little to point out any mistakes in the show. Having such a sanitized book as this only goes on to prove that there were production problems with Voyager, problems that the producers want to hide. If the producers had the honesty to admit the problems with Voyager (there were some, not that many though) it would strengthen the show's repuation, at least in my mind. We're all human, we all make mistakes. Wisdom comes from accepting responsibility for mistakes and making provision for them not to occur again.
It would have been much more interesting to read a balanced view of the show, featuring detailed behind the scenes information in conjunction with the detailed episode data.
But overall, this is a fairly good book, and a fine tribute to the strength of the Voyager series. If you like Voyager, then you should read this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2003
Unlike the previous Star Trek 'bible' (STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE COMPANION) this book offers very little beyond episode synopses. There's very little behind the scenes, concept or production information.
After the obligatory episode synopses, there are brief paragraphs with inane headings such as SENSOR READINGS, DAMAGE REPORT and PERSONAL LOGS that contain little more than that episode's techno-babble and trivial facts like "Sensors detect a class-M planet at a heading of 178-Mark-4" and "Torres likes extra paprika on her potato salad."
My reason for reading these Star Trek Companion books is to learn something new about the shows I love so much.
This book fails to deliver.
If you have seen the show, you have no reason to purchase this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2004
A TV-show 'companion', whether it be Star Trek or Friends or The Andy Griffth Show, usually serves one of three (if not all three) purposes: 1> A detailed episode guide with great synsopsis of each episdode; 2> A trivia guide for fans; 3> A guide to behind-the-scenes, whether technical or social, of the series itself.
As far as an episode guide, you can't go very wrong with the Voyager companion. Each episode is summed up in such detail, it's like the Cliff Notes of Voyager. My only problem is that the author decided to organize the episodes by production date, and not air date. He explains this to you in the text, but sometimes you might get confused when you're trying to look up an episode from the Season Two DVD set, only to find it listed under the First Season chapter.
As a trivia guide for fans...well. It depends on what you call trivia. Things like how many shuttles were destroyed in a season is neat...but do I really care how many lumps of sugar Capt Janeway puts in her tea? The writer seems to want to prove to everyone that he has mined each episode in such detail...but some of the details he puts down on paper is downright ludicrous. Even the hardest of hardcore Trekkies or Trekkers might find some of this info useless.
For behind-the-scenes, the 'story behind the story' insight into Voayger, this is where this book fails me. If you've ever checked out the Next Gen or DS9 companions, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Those books dig deep, not into just the episode's storyline, but deeper into things that went on during production. It was that kind of detail that made those books more than just episode guides, but truly a 'companion' to the series. The author here barely includes any material on such things. You'll find very little about production/special effects, inside jokes, the actors' relationships or studio politics. At the most, there are quotes here and there from the actors, writers and producers in regards to stories and characters, but even that is not very insightful.
I know it's weird to say I was disappointed by what is basically an episode guide for a television series, but I was. Perhaps I was just spoiled by the excellent texts created for the other series. I still bought this book for the purpose of having an episode guide...but if you really want to save money, you could end up going on the net and downloading something similar from a fan site for free.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2003
After reading the Deep Space Nine Companion, which was full of interesting production notes, I eagerly anticipated the Voyager Companion.
But this book is nothing but episode synopis after episode synopsis. Assuming it would contain copious production notes as the DS9 book did, I requested it for a birthday present without looking it over. If I had looked it over, I would have asked for something else.
I'll read between the lines and surmise that Rick Berman and company opted to omit the production notes because there was a surfeit of controversy and discontent behind the scenes.
I'd amire them a lot more if they weren't afraid to air their dirty laundry.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2003
If you are buying this book to read the interesting behind the scenes notes. DON'T BOTHER! Unlike the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine Companions this book offer very little in the way of commentary. It has many statistics that the author kept track of like who died duringthe episode and facts learned about the characters but other than that all of the information can be found on many of the fan sites and episode guides. My advice save your money and wait for the DVDs next year.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2004
I'm a hardcore voyager fan, and waited in anticipation for this book to arrive. However, it did fall short of my expectations. As there are so many similar reviews already, I will keep this short and to the point.
Basically, it is just a detailed episode guide. There are a lot of picutres, but all are in Black and White, no colour shots are included.
Overall, I would say save your money, and go to [...] for episode descriptions.