Year 50 Day 244

Me sitting at the top of a staircase, wearing a retro bowling shirt style shirt that's Star Trek gold and has the delta shield on the breast pocket. I'm giving the Vulcan salute. Arrayed across the stairs to either side and below me are a lot of Star Trek books.

Day 244: The books under the tree this Christmas got me to an exciting (for me, at least) milestone: I now have a complete* collection of Star Trek: The Original Series novels, as tracked by this spreadsheet based off of Wikipedia’s List of Star Trek novels page. From 1968’s Mission to Horatius to 2022’s Harm’s Way, and with 2024’s Lost to Eternity pre-ordered. (“Save the whales! Collect the whole set!”) I haven’t read them all yet, though it likely won’t be terribly long before I hit that milestone as well.

I didn’t originally have this as an actual goal. I’m just a Star Trek fan who reads a lot and tends to keep his books, and at first, the amount of books out there was so overwhelming that on the few occasions I considered trying to get them all, it didn’t seem realistic. But then the years went by, and I realized it was getting harder and harder to find books on the shelves that I didn’t already have, and turned to ordering more online…. Until this year, when I realized as we were doing our annual pre-Christmas book buying binge that I was surprisingly close to having them all. And so, here we are.

(I also have complete collections of Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, and Prodigy novels. However, those are new enough and there are few enough that that’s less notable of an accomplishment. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and the various spin-off series are in various states of completion, but all slowly working their way forward.)

* A few caveats for the hard-core collectors: I’m counting “complete” by the content, not by the various editions.

  • Mission to Horatius I have as an original 1968 edition, not the 1999 re-issue.
  • I have James Blish’s episode adaptations only in the 1991 “Classic Episode” three-volume collection, not in their original 12-volume versions.
  • I have Alan Dean Foster’s animated episode adaptations in the original Log One through Ten versions, not the 1993 three volume or the 1996 five volume editions.
  • I have the 2006 Mere Anarchy series as the single-volume omnibus, not the original six standalone volumes.

While I have no great drive to go out and get the “missing” editions listed above, I have to admit, if someone out there were to send them my way, I wouldn’t be terribly put out. But I’m not going to go chasing them down.

(Thanks to my wife for taking the photo, for the shirt, and for putting up with my hobbies and my monopolizing the staircase today.)

Here’s a closer look at the collection:

  • The earliest releases (1968-1978): Mission to Horatius is the first original novel, and was deemed “dull and poorly written, in addition to containing offensive descriptions of both Sulu and Uhura”. James Blish adapted the TOS episodes, here collected into three volumes, but did so (especially for the earlier episodes) without actually seeing the episodes and working from shooting scripts that often had not been finalized, resulting in some interesting deviations from the final broadcast versions.
    The three-volume Classic Episodes set of James Blish's episode adapations, and Mission to Horatius.
  • The Star Trek Adventures (1970-1981): Bantam’s sixteen original novels. These were long before the Star Trek Powers That Be were exercising much control over the content, and vary wildly in quality and characterization over what we’re used to today.
    The sixteen Bantam Star Trek novels.
  • The Star Trek Logs (1974-1978): Alan Dean Foster’s adaptations of the animated series episodes.
    The ten Star Trek Log books.
  • The Gibraltar Library Binding books and movie adaptations (1977-1992): Only two Gibraltar middle-grade books were published, exclusively for libraries. The movie adaptations shown here include the novelizations, the tie-ins for children, and a couple others that I’ve found (photo novelizations of TMP and TWOK and a Marvel Comics adaptation of TMP).
    Movie novelizations of the six TOS movies, related children's books, and the two Gibraltar library books for children.
  • The numbered novels (1979-2002) and original novels (1986-present): The main body of Trek literature. The first photo includes a “Which Way Books” (a “Choose Your Own Adventure” series competitor) Star Trek adventure.
    Fourteen TOS novels, plus one 'Which Way Books' Star Trek adventure.
    Eleven more Star Trek novels.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 40 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    Panoramic shot of about 30 Star Trek novels across a staircase step.
    The last seven books in my TOS collection.