Doctor Who

Review: Star Trek 365 Photo Book

Abrams Books (no relation to Star Trek’s JJ Abrams) has released a great new Star Trek coffee table book, "Star Trek: The Original Series 365". The book features 365 photo spreads, including many rare or never-seen-before images, along with text by Paula M. Block with Terry J. Erdmann.  TrekMovie provides this review of the photos, text, and design of this latest in Trek’s long history of coffee table tomes.

 

REVIEW: Star Trek The Original Series 365

The Photos

Star Trek 365 is both a coffee table book of photos and a history of the original Star Trek. At more than 700 pages long, the book features 365 different spreads with at least one image for each spread (taking up the right side) and text on the left (with an occasional additional photo). The "365" is an Abrams books tradition, with past books including “Star Wars 365”, “Grateful Dead 365”, etc. For “Star Trek 365”, the photo spreads span each of the 79 original episodes, with multiple photos from each adventure of the 1960s crew. In addition, there are behind the scene photos, costumes, props, storyboards, a few photos (for comparison’s sake) of the feature films, pictures from early Star Trek conventions, and merchandise. The photos are a celebration of Star Trek, both on the television and in the real world. Some of my favorites are the closeups of guest stars such as Matt Decker (page 180) and Joan Collins (page 145). Clean and crisp, even familiar pictures seem anew in this format. Other favorites are on page 132, a beautiful picture of James Kirk sitting alone on the Enterprise bridge just as the dangerous flowers of Omicron Ceti III ("This Side of Paradise") releases its pollen, and page 359, which has Spock, Kirk, and McCoy in their civilian jean outfits from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. It, like many of the photos, is hard not to remove from the book for framing.

 


Photo spread from "Space Seed" section of "Star Trek 365"

Besides photos directly from the episodes, there are many other kinds of pictures featured. Early conventions are given a nice treatment over several pages which really show the excitement of those bygone days. While props and costumes are not necessarily my main interest as a fan, I know that for many fellow fans, there is great enthusiasm for the tech of Trek. There are many photos of phasers, tricorders, communicators, Gorn costumes, guest star outfits designed by William Ware Theiss, and other tech, with an especially cool x-ray image of the inside of the real Enterprise model now located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  The real world of Trek, from a photo of Leonard Nimoy’s appearance on the Carol Burnett show in costume as Spock (page 228) to pictures of early fanzines and fan fiction writers, demonstrate the influence of Star Trek on culture.


Photo spread from fanzine section (between season 1 & Season 2) of "Star Trek 365"

The text

Paula M. Block and Terry Erdmann are no strangers to Star Trek books. Block started as a fanzine writer in the 1970s, eventually running Star Trek book publishing for Pocket Books, and writing some of her own texts. Husband Terry Erdmann wrote previous books detailing the making of Star Trek: Insurrection and the amazingly detailed "Deep Space Nine Companion." Their love of Star Trek and knowledge is visible in the text which explains the photo on the opposite page. The two have done their research, and there are many interesting facts that even the most serious fans may not know.


Photo spread from "Plato’s Stepchildren" section of "Star Trek 365"

The design

Here is where Star Trek 365 adds that little extra that helps make the book special. Firstly, the book is organized historically, beginning with the preproduction of the show, all the way to its cancellation and rebirth. Along the way, the text is part history book, part episode guide, with some trivia here and there for good measure. It is fun because the books takes appropriate diversions from the episodes when real world Star Trek events occur such as the protests by fans against NBC’s second season cancellation. These real world diversions also help celebrate the contributions of the artists who make the show and the fans who contribute much to Star Trek’s staying power.

The fact that the pictures are not marred by page numbers or any kind of text whatsoever really shows the beauty of many of the episodes and is a wise design choice. The page numbers are found on the left side, nicely placed above and below the text. The page numbers are color coded so that when the book is closed they form blocks of yellow (first season photos), blue (second season), red (third season) and black (preproduction or real world photos) which make it easy to navigate when looking for a photo (the book is also indexed).

Also nice is its size. Star Trek 365 is very thick at 700+ pages, yet Abrams Publishers wisely kept the book a reasonable 6.5 inch by 9.5 inch design. This means the book is big enough so the photos are impressive, yet small enough to be manageable.


New "Star Trek 365"

Who will like this book

While most previous Star Trek non fiction books might appeal more to specific audiences (tech manuals for prop fans, "Star Trek 101" for mostly new fans), "Star Trek 365" is a nice gift for any fan who enjoys the original show. There are photos here that are beautiful, some of which haven’t been printed in decades or if ever. For those new to Trek, it is an excellent history and episode guide. For those more experienced fans, there is something fun about revisiting old friends, yet seeing new photos and learning new details in the process.

Bottom line: "Star Trek 365" is easily the best non-fiction Star Trek book in over a decade, and it is highly recommended.


Photo spread from "City on the Edge of Forever" section of "Star Trek 365"

Available Now

Star Trek 365 was released this week and is available at book stores and Amazon.com.

Abrams book supplied TrekMovie staff with review copies of the book.

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TMMW (formerly TrekMadeMeWonder)
September 3, 2010 2:00 pm

Man that “City” set was and is still so-o-o awesome!

rm10019
September 3, 2010 2:14 pm

Good review John, and great book, I’ve been looking through it all week! Big thanks to Paula Block for all the work that went into it!

Phaser Guy
September 3, 2010 2:17 pm

I’s a great book, I only wish it was a regular size book because it’s hard to fit that fat thing in a bookshelf.

September 3, 2010 2:18 pm

Must own.

Capt Mike of the Terran Empire
September 3, 2010 2:21 pm

Looks like a great Christmas gift to give and of course one for my self. Looks like a fun thing to have and read.

AJ
September 3, 2010 2:21 pm

So this set is purely real photos, i.e. nothing from the digital remasters? I think I must have it. Now.

September 3, 2010 2:29 pm

There are a couple of images from Trek remastered in there as well

Lousy Canadian
September 3, 2010 2:55 pm

I think I’ll buy this before Christmas and for under $20, that’s a steal!

Kirk, James T.
September 3, 2010 2:58 pm

I got mine last month, love it but it’s not as good as the Star Wars one. It could have been more extensive and included the movies as well as the art behind the original series and movies. I hope they do one for TNG and 24th century Star Trek as well as one for the new movie series

Kev-1
September 3, 2010 3:02 pm

Looks great, especially for the price. Been waiting for this one. The Star Wars 365 was very good also, based on how-to film information alone.

Alex Prewitt
September 3, 2010 3:26 pm

I believe it’s been noted that the prop photos shots are not original props, but rather replicas. Also, it strikes me a bit odd to include so few remastered shots. If you’re gonna do it (and it would have been fine not to include them at all), have more and show impressive things like the Doomsday Machine – – not the floating city of Stratos or that not so great close up of the Fesarius!
Overall–a great book. Love that there were some photos that haven’t really been seen before!

One man’s opinion. YMMV.

Phobos
September 3, 2010 3:27 pm

I am ordering this book in a few minutes.
To the owner of this site: If you want click through credit for your Canadian visitors, you would also have a link to amazon.ca.

I went to amazon.com then simply close the window and search for the item on .ca.

Sebastian
September 3, 2010 3:51 pm

Bought it about a week ago at my local Barnes & Noble.
This is one of those rare Star Trek books that actually had much information about the show that I was NOT aware of (instead of the same, tired anecdotes that long-time fans have heard an hundred times), with excellent, previously unreleased (to my knowledge), behind-the-scenes candid photos to round out the package.

Excellent book; well-researched, beautiful photos and a fun read. Great job!

September 3, 2010 4:29 pm

Looking at mine right now sitting on my living room table. Have really enjoyed it. Lotta cool photos and behind the scenes stuff. It really is cool. Nice to see….and have.

Gary
September 3, 2010 4:52 pm

Hope they make a next gen version next!

Jeffrey S. Nelson
September 3, 2010 6:15 pm

Only downer is the text is light gray and hard to read.
Would have liked more rare photos, too.

cookie
September 3, 2010 6:59 pm

Looks too fake. Not Interested.

September 3, 2010 7:10 pm

As long as it has ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with JJ Abams, then I am game.
* Boycott Abrams-Trek

Anthony Thompson
September 3, 2010 7:17 pm

I went through it from front to back cover last Saturday and was thrilled by the quality of the text and illustrations (primarily photos). As noted by others, there are many interesting tidbits / anecdotes not previously published. I’ve never seen many of the photos before, almost all of which are of outstanding quality. Well done, Paula Block! This book is highly recommended to any TOS fan.

Imrahil
September 3, 2010 7:29 pm

damn, I might have to pick this up.

sterj
September 3, 2010 8:09 pm

trekcore.com has a decent collection of rare photos. My favorite is one of the bubble gum cards. It’s called “Teeny Bopper” and it shows Kelly and a young and VERY goofy Nimoy:

Enjoy!

Fletch Gannon
September 3, 2010 8:22 pm

A nice collection of color photos that is not overly priced. I’ve been perusing this book since I got it this week from Amazon and it was a great purchase. I haven’t sat down and watched TOS for a while (I’m currently catching up on Enterprise) so it’s nice to get a reminder of where it all started!

I am not Herbert
September 3, 2010 9:24 pm

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! =D

Red Dead Ryan
September 3, 2010 9:25 pm

Great book! Lots of photos I haven’t seen before as well as some information I haven’t read before!

I would like to see a “Next Generation” version, but that is highly unlikely since it would require three books which would entail too much time, money and energy.

Maybe they can do a movies version as well as a “best of the spinoffs” edition. Probably won’t happen either.

Balok
September 3, 2010 9:50 pm

The big E in Space Speed was the best Starship over any other since ’67

September 3, 2010 10:38 pm

From the boave article:
“Some of my favorites are the closeups of guest stars such as Matt Decker (page 180) and Joan Collins (page 145).”

Huh? Guest star Matt Decker? Don’t you mean William Wndom, who made the Matt Decker character in “The Doomsday Machine” rather unforgettable?

Other than that, thanks for the info about what the book stands to offer. I had already intended on buying it anyway, but now I have a bit of a better idea as to what to expect.

Iowagirl
September 4, 2010 12:12 am

#3
You should build a shelf just for this book! :)

James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK
September 4, 2010 1:45 am

It’s a heavy bugger as well….

Good read/viewing though, especially for £15.

September 4, 2010 3:04 am

$20? Wow, that’s a steal. Wana see what the Star Wars equivalent costs?
http://bit.ly/9XVHxQ

Tiberiuscan
September 4, 2010 4:33 am

Matt Decker was a character name (father of William Decker of Star Trek TMP). The actor who played him was William Windom, one of my all time favorite actors. (Can be seen in reruns of Murder She Wrote playing Doc)

Holger
September 4, 2010 4:37 am

Re 29: The Star Wars equivalent is called “Creating the Worlds of Star Wars: 365 days” and is currently listed at $25.60 at amazon.com.

Scott B. here.
September 4, 2010 8:07 am

After a killer summer of non-stop work, I bought this for myself as a little reward a few days ago. It’s winging its way to me as I type this. I’m glad to read such a glowing review of it here! And include me as one who’s glad that it’s confined to TOS in all its glory.

Now for some time to enjoy it properly!

Scott B. out.

September 4, 2010 11:05 am

That settles it! My check is in the mail!

tony
September 4, 2010 12:51 pm

will get one it looks great thnx for review

skyjedi
September 4, 2010 3:13 pm

Are the effects featured bad cgi or physical models, just want to know before i buy the book.

Mr. Atoz
September 4, 2010 5:17 pm

A disappointment ….at best resemble a quickly rushed Taschen book for those completely clueless to Trek. The inclusion of remastered images was a mistake, and contrary to an earlier post, many of the anecdotes were and have been published previously. Frame blowups from Lincoln Enterprises used throughout, most to detriment.
There IS a wealth of material out there that has yet to see the light of day… just not in this book as promised.

September 4, 2010 5:29 pm

Let’s face it vol. 2 will be needed to cover all that everyone wants! And heaven knows how thick TNG. Book will have to be carrying it whew!

Booger
September 5, 2010 12:49 am

To 11:

Too bad the prop pix were replicas and not originals—I knew they didn’t look right. Thanks for the confirmation.

skyjedi
September 5, 2010 2:42 am

Why would they be originals, in a move of stupidity they sold them and replaced them with 100% Cgi.

Chuck T.
September 5, 2010 6:29 am

To 36:

Quickly rushed my as*! I’ve been reading this book now for a while and it is high quality. The images are sharp! Don’t know what you mean by the “Lincoln Enterprises” comment, but it’s great to see all of the clapperboard shots and the behind-the-scenes stuff.

I think the authors were correct in including some of the remastered stuff. I mean, it’s now a part of TOS, like it or not.

Pat Gleeson
September 5, 2010 7:10 am

Got it – Love it. A Great read :-)

Mr. Atoz
September 5, 2010 9:09 am

to 40:
The reference is to the fact that many of the photos were generated frame blowups from film clips that Majel And Gene sold through Star Trek Enterprises later Lincoln Enterprises. Believe me there’s a lot out there that has yet to see the light of day.

Chuck T.
September 5, 2010 11:19 am

To 42:

Well, I think the book is exactly what the authors promised. To quote from their introduction: “Star Trek 365 is a celebration of the original series.”

I think a book on Lincoln film clips and what they show is another book entirely.

September 5, 2010 11:25 am

Got it yesterday afternoon and was still up at 2 in the morning pouring through it!! Got to get it – it’s awesome.

Now if they can make one for the movies, and each of the other series . . .!

Pat Gleeson
September 5, 2010 12:26 pm

There are some very interesting photos: on page 24 there is a publicity shot of Uhura with Spock – on Talos IV – in the background :-)

September 5, 2010 4:06 pm

Seems this has been pulled from Amazon UK for the moment, evidently on account of that design device of cuttong the numbers off at the top and bottom – some people thought it was a printing error. I can see what they’re trying to do, but it does look a bit jarring to me.

Red Dead Ryan
September 5, 2010 4:57 pm

46

Agreed. I wish they had just numbered the pages the good old fashioned “logical” way.

Booger
September 5, 2010 7:30 pm

I agree, too. The page numbering “look” was dumb.

Matt
September 6, 2010 1:47 am

I’ve had mine for about a week now. It’s a treat to look at and some of the text bits are really rather interesting. The fan, of course, can skip about, um, 79 pages that include plot synopses, but it works as an episode guide and as a history book. I’m also thinking about giving a copy to my professor who’s supervising my dissertation, which, incidentally, also deals with Star Trek. She doesn’t know the first thing about it, so this book might help her appreciate the cultural relevance of my subject matter some more.

Mr. Atoz
September 6, 2010 8:08 am

To 45
That originally was a postcard that could be ordered through Lincoln Enterprises ….

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