Hardcore STAR TREK fans watching the final episode of the original series on June 3, 1969 felt they were witnessing the end of a dream. Despite the efforts of devoted fans, STAR TREK was no more, crashing and burning after only three years on the air. Yet, 43 years and 11 feature films, five TV series, dozens of ST novels and tons of merchandise later, STAR TREK is stronger than ever. Robert Greenberger, who has penned several ST novels, and Voyageur Press combine talents to present this comprehensive, nicely-illustrated guide to one of the most successful media franchises in history.
Greenberger's book is subtitled THE COMPLETE UNAUTHORIZED HISTORY which translates as follows: it's a warts-and-all chronicle to all things STAR TREK. So, readers will discover - if they don't know already - that Gene Roddenberry wasn't all that great of a guy, ditto Bill Shatner, STAR TREK - THE MOTION PICTURE sucked as did VOYAGER, etc. If you're new to the ST world, Greenberger's book will have much material of interest; long-time fans, less so.
Where the "Unauthorized" status most impacts is the illustrations found in the book. The verso of the title page includes the statement that "This publication has not been prepared, approved or licensed by CBS Television Studios, Paramount Pictures or the Roddenberry Estate." So, while the book features tons of pix of ST merchandise, ST convention shots, etc., there are almost NO production shots of any of the TV shows or films. To my mind, that omission hurts big time.
Greenberger runs through the franchise's history chronologically. His first chapter is entitled: 'Gene Roddenberry's Dream;' the last, 'STAR TREK'S Future.' In between are chapters on the original show's three-season run, the animated series, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, the Spock trilogy, Creating THE NEXT GENERATION/DEEP SPACE NINE/VOYAGER/ENTERPRISE, J. J. Abrams' reboot, etc. Greenberger's narrative is entertaining and informative. Included are several sidebars from ST fans and others connected with the franchise such as Michael and Denise Okuda.
So, whether you're a new fan or a crusty-musty baby-boomer who grokked on the original series, STAR TREK, THE COMPLETE UNAUTHORIZED HISTORY will be of interest. It's a wide-ranging, affectionate yet critical survey of an entertainment phenomenon. Recommended.