Review by C.J. Bunce
We previewed the Star Trek Vault here a few weeks ago. The Star Wars Vault and Marvel Vault in particular were stunning looks at their respective franchises. The audience for prior versions of the successful Vault series was virtually any reader of any age. I am uncertain as to the audience for the Star Trek Vault.
In a mirror universe, this new addition to the Vault line could be a great first level overview of the Star Trek universe. For any reader in this universe who has never seen any book before about Star Trek, this book may be an introductory, but cursory, look at what Star Trek has to offer. But at $39.99 retail, what general reader would purchase this kind of book other than the full-fledged fan? I would surmise that only the most die-hard fan of Star Trek would buy this type of compilation. And because the book is shrink-wrapped you cannot even get a hint of what is inside. The typical Trek fan has probably already seen most everything in this book before.
The biggest negative is obvious at first look. The Star Trek Vault, explicitly stating on the cover it documents 40 years of Star Trek, is stunningly thin. At under 130 pages there is just physically not enough space to give a respectable overview of each series and benchmark in the history of Trek-dom. Moreover, author Scott Tipton is clearly not an expert on Star Trek as can be gleaned from the writing, and from the forward and the fact that about the first half of the book is devoted to pre-Next Generation history, this is a book for a passing fan of the original series with only a fleeting care of all that followed. In comparison, the Marvel Vault was writen by comic book legend Roy Thomas and the Star Wars Vault was written by the well respected Star Wars collector and insider, Steve Sansweet. Failure to select a Trek insider, collector, or uber-fan, like the obvious choice of Larry Nemecek or maybe Doug Drexler would have been, is the main misfire with this effort.
The inserts are not of a high quality, especially considering the purchase price. A vault should also contain hidden jems. There really is little here that has not been published before. Enterprise, which has never received an adequate compilation, gets only a few pages of coverage. The seven-years of Voyager gets a similar quick review.
At Comic-Con this year, Trek insider and writer Larry Nemecek revealed dozens of before unseen images to a crowded room of Trek fans and said there were thousands of images in the archives. This book contains nothing as interesting as was disclosed in that panel.
A better investment and look-back at the first 40 years of Trek can be found in any of the books we reported on earlier here and here. Even the periodic Star Trek magazine includes more information than can be found in the Vault. And hundreds of better, candid, and behind the scenes photos can be found free at TrekCore.com.
My final disappointment is that a book about the first 40 years would be published well into Star Trek’s 45th year. And why no mention of the latest Star Trek movie? Unfortunately some strange editorial decisions resulted in a book that could have offered so much more for fans of this great franchise.