Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Bantam STAR TREK Paperbacks By James Blish
Each book contained a half-dozen or so such adaptations, and each volume went through multiple reprintings. Upon his death, his wife, Judith Ann Lawrence, finished adapting the remaining episodes, which were published in Star Trek 12 and Mudd's Angels (containing adaptations of "Mudd's Women" and "I. Mudd," along with an original Harry Mudd tale) in 1977.
Blish also penned the very first original Star Trek novel, Spock Must Die!, in 1970, and regardless of what modern fans may think of it now, it kicked off an unprecedented publishing phenomenon that continues unabated to this day. While original novels based on television shows existed prior to Spock Must Die!, they were limited to tying into shows that were still on the air. An original based on a cancelled TV show would have been unthinkable before Trek.
The author lived in England at the time, and when he was writing early volumes, Star Trek had not yet started airing in the U.K. He worked from scripts provided by Paramount, and this led to occasional inconsistencies between his versions and the aired episodes. But, overall, he did a fine job capturing the voices of the characters, and the short story form was pretty much a perfect way for fans to re-enjoy the series in those pre-home video/unpredictible rerun days.
Indeed, for many Star Kids, Blish and Bantam's Star Trek paperbacks were the first genre merchandise we collected. I may have had a Planet Of The Apes coloring book or Mego action figure before I discovered Blish's books - but they were probably the first books I ever bought with my own money... and I still possess every single one of them.