Tag Archive: Star Trek Vault


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Most people would think twice before buying a book that only contained 96 pages.  No matter the subject, it’s a low page count, and unless you’re looking at books for little kids most adults would pass.  You’d be missing a gem of a compilation were you to pass up the photo-packed Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary Published by DK, the publishing house known for over-sized hardcovers full of lavish, detailed photography on a variety of subjects, Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary delivers where recent Star Trek books have come up short.

As we discussed in past reviews here at borg.com, the Star Trek Vault and Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 both suffered from poor quality photographs and images featured in their book design that were simply too small to glean much detail.  Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary delivers exactly what it promises, rare imagery and props from the studio archives, including material from all five live-action TV series and the first ten Star Trek movies.  DK’s high-quality, many over-sized, images provide fans with a unique opportunity to see Star Trek characters, aliens, and technology in a level of detail that hasn’t been achieved in a full-color Star Trek volume since the Michael Westmore and Alan Sims book Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts released 13 years ago.

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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.

You may have seen the Star Wars vault, the Marvel Comics vault, or the DC Comics vault.  On October 1, 2011, we’ll finally get to see the Star Trek version of this book and fandom memorabilia series as Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from the Archives is released.   The 128 page book will be the first Star Trek retrospective book to include behind the scenes details of the last Star Trek series, Enterprise.

The book promises to cover all 40 years of the Star Trek franchise, but only the first ten feature films–Star Trek 2009 will apparently not be covered in this release.  It is available at Amazon.com before its release in October for a discounted price of $26.40.  The street release price after October 1, 2011, will be $40.00.

Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from the Archives is illustrated with 350 photos and art images.  The extra replicas memorabilia will feature 13 items, including set signage, hand-drawn story boards, blueprints for Picard’s captain’s chair, a vintage comic book, trading cards, patch, pennant, fan poster, Japanese poster for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and a vintage T-shirt transfer.  Look for a review of Star Trek Vault: 40 Years from the Archives after its release in October.

Past versions of the vault series have been popular and included both good information and fun extras.  The Star Wars Vault: Thirty Years of Treasures from the Lucasfilm Archives is probably the best of these released to date.  It includes removable reproductions of memorabilia, too, along with two CDs containing vintage radio ads, original cast interviews, George Lucas’ commentary, and Carrie Fisher singing in the Star Wars Holiday Special.  It also featured a questionnaire for the first and only test screening of the original Star Wars— and the invitation to attend it, George Lucas’ hand-written treatment for The Empire Strikes Back, Lucasfilm Christmas cards, an iron-on T-shirt transfer, the first concept sketch drawn for Star Wars and blueprints of Star Wars vehicles and sets.

The DC Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the DC Universe is another great book in the Vault series, with lots of fun features, including never-before-published memorabilia, early sketches, covers, memos, press materials, a working reproduction of a 1942 Junior Justice Society of America decoder, a series of Public Service Announcements starring Superman and Batman, and the original pencils and inks for Wonder Woman #63.

Although it was the first of the bunch and includes a little less by way of memorabilia, Marvel Comics fans and fans of comic books in general will like The Marvel Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the World of Marvel.

Hopefully the Star Trek version of the Vault will include the best of these past books in the series.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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