Book Review: STAR TREK The Classic Episodes

This book is a beast. Seven hundred pages of tiny, tiny type, it’s like a SONG OF FIRE AND ICE novel on steroids.

WARNINGDo not approach this book unless you are a fan of Star Trek: The Original Series.

If you are a fan, though, or are an aspiring TV writer, I think this book is a wonderful read because it shows multiple examples of how TV scripts become short stories, and how the story part is what matters, not the format.

I bought this gorgeous, faux-leather hardcover at a Barnes & Noble when I was doing a signing (for my own books, not this one, although I’ll be happy to sign any book you like even if I didn’t write it). I mean, adding a tome of scifi history to my many leather-bound books for just $20? I couldn’t pass it up. Little did I know I was diving down a black hole of time-suck that would spaghettify my reading time for the next five months (note: my attention span makes it really difficult to read print books, something I’m working on correcting, so I’m sure you could read this bad mo-fo in like four months instead of five).

As a writer, this book is an exceptional example of two key things:

  1. It shows you how to dive into the meat of the story veryquickly, within two to three paragraphs — no muss, no fuss, no long-winded build up, just get in there and introduce your Big Concept then have at it.
  2. How streamlined your storytelling can be when you have well-established characters and a well-defined setting. You can do #1, above, because you don’t have to spend 100s of pages introducing main characters. In this way, this book is the opposite of a GAME OF THRONES novel.

Now of course, if you wrote a short story this thin and streamlined, this free of character development, I doubt it would even get published. This book can “cheat,” in a way, because fans of the series know who Kirk is, know Spock’s raised eyebrow, McCoy’s growl, Uhura’s questioning glance, etc. These stories are coated with the strong work of the actors who made the roles famous — you can’t separate the two. That said, though, it is an exceptional example of minimalism and getting straight to the Big Concept.

It took me five million years to read this book. In the time it took me to read it, entire empires rose and fell. If had forsworn bathing while reading this book, I would look like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown, leaving a trail of filthy pollution in my wake everywhere I went.

Now, however, it will look dope on my shelf. I will look like one learned mutha with this leathery beast dominating the books around it like a Klingon bastard that murdered my son.

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