Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Buried Treasures: The Star Trek Concordance

Cover to the first edition in pristine condition
My Concordance, after hours and hours of consultation

Karen: This particular buried treasure is falling apart at the seams. I was afraid to handle it too much, as it's already in such bad shape. But that just shows you how much I truly treasured it. The Star Trek Concordance was a fantastic reference book when it came out (1976), a one-of-a-kind item that was packed with everything a Trekkie (or Trekker) would want to know about their favorite TV show. It not only has synopses of every single original series episode, it also includes all of the animated episodes too. There is also fan art, which is something I find very heart-warming now, after so much slickly produced material has been available for 30+ years. Trek's enduring nature is due to the determination of the fans, and it's good to be reminded of that.

Front and back covers

Following the episode guides is the amazing Lexicon, which catalogs every planet, person, device, ship -anything you can think of that appeared in a Trek episode prior to 1976, you will find it here. What an incredible effort went into this. It is still a thrill to thumb through it (carefully, of course!) and come across things like General Order 24 or Commander Loskene and have old memories stirred up. 

There are no photos in the book, only drawings, but I don't find that detrimental at all. After watching the episodes over and over, my mind can certainly provide all the Star Trek images I need. 

Trek super-fan Bjo Trimble assembled this monster -she states in the introduction she had been putting together amateur versions during the show's run and distributing them to fans, so this was a collection of all those efforts. It was certainly much appreciated by me as a young Star Trek fan and I am sure by many thousands of other who had to know all the details about Dr. McCoy's medical instruments, or life on Vulcan.And of course, in the days before the Internet, books like this were all we had!


Doug said...

Allow me to interrupt the crickets' chirping...

Please find a few minutes to patronize one of our Super Blog Team-Up partners today -- Mark Ginocchio of Chasing Amazing has ended his chase, and it's a really neat, heartfelt post he has up today.


Edo Bosnar said...

Sorry for contributing to the cricket chirps - I've had, and am still having, a bit of a hectic day.
Anyway, I just have to say that although I've never had or even had the opportunity to flip through this book, it looks like the kind of thing I would absolutely love. It seems kind of like the Marvel Universe Handbook. And Karen, I love how tattered and frayed your copy is. I can really appreciate that, as I've had many books (and comics) in the same condition, for similar reasons.
The Trek Concordance in particular is really cool because, as you noted, it has this DIY vibe about it - a labor of love put together by a fan rather than some packaged product meant to make extra bucks for a production studio, publisher or some other corporation.

david_b said...

Nope, sorry for not posting yet..

I vividly recall this book yet it fell into the category of 'If my parents gave me just a LITTLE more allowance money'..

I remember enjoying it immensely, not sure why I didn't pluck the money down, other than the reason I mentioned above.

It did come a year or so after the Technical Manual, and probably when I couldn't get enough of Space:1999 stuff..

Anonymous said...

I don't want to get into a long and involved post (too late) but I was never a big Star Trekkie-er. I was more the casual devotee. But Star Trek did provide me one of my most cherished High School memories.

The year: 1979! The place: my hometown! The situation: another debate tournament weekend!!! The town was still flush with the excitement of our new twin screen movie theatre opening. And one of the biggest events was the showing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. One of the guys in debate, I don't know, we'll call him "Steve" (not his real name, honest), was already making his name as a super debater, I guess you could even call him a Master Debater, as we often did. Anyway, the weekend was already mapped out. Win the big debate tournament get home Saturday evening and catch the 10:15 pm showing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. As it occasionally happens during December it was what we call cold, so we entered the theatre with jackets and sweaters. Snacks and drinks and on to the previews. The movie hadn't even started when "Steve's" head tilted back and BOOM, he was fast asleep. Poor little guy was gone!!!! Out like a light. "Steve" slept through the whole movie. We woke him up during the credits. You have never seen a Star Trekkie-er more mad in your life!!! It bordered on the surreal. I don't know how long he had waited for this movie or how much it may have meant to him but he had missed it. The entire movie. And for some strange reason, no one would tell him anything about the movie. He may have gone back on Sunday or never, I just remember that it was Wednesday before he spoke to us.

Good times!!! Good times.....

The Prowler (They say it's your birthday It's my birthday too, yeah They say it's your birthday We're gonna have a good time I'm glad it's your birthday Happy birthday to you).

david_b said...

Prowler.., almost same experience..:

My older brother, his new wife and I went to see TMP for New Year's Eve 1979 at 10pm, to end at the stroke of midnight.

My new sister-in-law promptly fell asleep, my brother may have nodded off a few times as well. The version which showed in the theaters initially was slow and plodding, but the recent Director's Cut far exceeds expectations. There was a BAB column on that a few years back.

It's now the definitive version of TMP and I find it my favorite of all Trek films.

Karen said...

Edo, neither the front nor back cover is still attached on my Concordance, and a few pages from both back and front have detached too. So I handled this very carefully!

There's something so special about looking at these fan efforts now. I appreciate them much more today than I did back then. I suppose it's the recognition of the effort and sheer love that went into them. The motivation was more pure, rather than the much more commercial efforts that came (and continue to be churned out) later.

The need for books like these now is dubious, since everyone seems to rely on the internet. But I still enjoy being able to sit down anywhere, without a need for a computer or tablet and some sort of connection.

Dr. Oyola said...

I have nothing specific to say about this item, but will say I feel a deep nostalgia for this kind of thing that is particularly unrealistic not because they don't exist anymore, but because the internet is so much more a quick and convenient source of info.

As a kid I had all kinds of reference books that I would read through and jump around in and draw inspiration from - but as much as I miss that, I can't imagine having time or inclination to sit around with such a book these days.

I mean, I used to buy RPG books just to read them!

This last birthday my sister gave me a Star Wars encyclopedia and I found it such a let down. First of all, it focused mostly on the prequels, and secondly it was just impossible to give any entry the space it deserved. A friend and I had an argument over the nature of Cloud City and there wasn't even a full entry for it! We had to go to the internet. :/

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff Karen! That drawing of Spock is just too cool for words! Yeah, who needs photos when you got drawings like that to perk you up!

I have to admit, you gotta love stuff like this which harks back to the golden era before the Internet, before social media, before the 24/7 news era, just fans who lovingly created things like these for other fans to enjoy.

- Mike 'still trying to make a working Phaser' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Edo Bosnar said...

Mike, drop me a line when you get that phaser working ;).

Osvaldo and Karen both make good points about the internet obviating the need for reference works like this, and indeed, encyclopedias, atlases and even dictionaries in general, but I still find myself often consulting hard copies of the latter in my everyday life...

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