Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review: Voyages of Imagination

I don't often use this blog for "mission drift" conversations, but I'm making an exception this time for a Star Trek book. An author named Jeff Ayers contacted me recently, since he's doing research for a book on Disney park rides he's already got a contract for, and in our conversation he mentioned a previous Star Trek book he's written. Before you say "big deal, there are a lot of Star Trek books", you should know that this realization is precisely the point. Ayers's book is a compendium of the OTHER Star Trek fiction that's been written. All of it. Voyages of Inspiration costs $45 retail (Amazon often has it on discount) or $14 by Kindle. It's a whopping 800 pages because it takes time to discuss every last Star Trek book in existence! 

If you have read Star Trek fiction before, you know what a monumental task that is. There are hundreds of books in existence. Not every fan of the series (any of the Star Trek series!) was also a reader of the fiction, but I was. For many years, I bought every one of the books on the market. That marks me as a geek. Perhaps I ascend to the uber-geek status by absolutely loving Ayers's compendium. It's not just a summary of the books both known to me and new to me. It's also a backstory of the books, one by one. Ayers took the time to contact every author, and since he almost always succeeded, he has author quotes and the "inside story" on what it took to make every book a reality, the anguish over plot points, the interactions with Paramount, and so on. For a fan of the books, this is dessert on the wonderful meal of the books.

I must point out that I was sent a review copy of the book. I no longer buy every Star Trek book, but even if I were not sent a free copy of the compendium I would be interested in it, particularly in the Kindle price. I was amazed at how many memories came flooding back when paging through the book. Memories of both the books (plots) themselves and the less-tangible memories of the pleasure I had when reading them those years ago.

Good books "take" you places; this one was no exception for me. It may have been taking me back to my own reader-experience over the years, but it was still a journey [insert "to boldly go" joke here!]

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.