Monday, 22 July 2013

Dusting off the Past


Usually at weekends my Star Trek intake would be along the lines of flicking through one of my books, watching a couple of episodes or a movie or dropping a few lines to one of my Trek associates via the wonders of the world wide web.

However this weekend Mel and I went along to a local antiques and crafts centre. While this might not immediately peak everyone's interests I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I have discovered the wonders of Star Trek past that can be found deep in the recesses...and at quite reasonable prices as well - even more if you can haggle a bit.

Just walking into the first room and hidden on the bottom shelf of a cabinet was the Star Trek: The Next Generation Chess Set. While I remember the 25th Anniversary gold and silver set which was quite expensive and purchased piece by piece but this was something I think my mind buried at the back of my mind. The cast shot suggests it was made later than 1992 as it's from the sixth season but I couldn't get a better look as it was behind glass doors.

Moving only a little further along and having a look under a few other items on a piled shelf there appeared the seventh season of The Next Generation. Sadly it wasn't complete but I've included a link to the cards set as it was in the folder. You should be able to read the backs of all the cards. I was impressed but as it was incomplete I wasn't too happy with the advertised price. Apologies but the photography was a little rushed here! I've included a few in the featured image above for reference. No doubt many of you have the complete set!

For the first of the rooms that was about it however I then chanced on a second hand bookshop which came up trumps. There were a few dog-eared Voyager novels including Marooned which I swung past quickly but in the entertainment section a whole shelf was dedicated to the Star Trek universe. A couple of copies of the Star Trek Encyclopaedia and The Next Generation Companion (original blue cover) bookended a few more interesting volumes.


So who out there has seen or heard of the Star Trek in Italy book? No? Me neither. This place had a copy though. While the cover might suggest a story of the franchise in the European nation I was more surprised to find that it was a Star Trek book in ITALIAN. Covering all the series I would have loved to see what the translations came out as but sadly I don't speak or read the language (see illustrations above). There were some good images on a flick through but that was about as far as my understanding went. I think a lot of the content might have been taken from other publications in the USA and UK.

Also there were copies of the Boxtree The Next Generation sixth season (here, right) and Deep Space Nine first season episode guides. I actually had both of these at one time however I gave them up. The quality of the writing was poor and the pictures were all from other productions. The only actual Star Trek images were used on the cover. One for the keen of eye here as Geordi isn't wearing his VISOR on the cover. A nice behind the scenes shot but not something worthy of a front cover! From memory there were also a mammoth volume of The Original Series, The Next Generation seasons one to five and the movies (to The Undiscovered Country). A seventh and second season books were later released for The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine respectively but that was it. In comparison to the official publications from Pocket Books they were massively sub-par.


Perhaps even worse and more offensive to the Star Trek universe and sitting alongside two books narrating the making of First Contact and Insurrection (bit thin on the page numbers) was the 1978 Star Trek Annual (above with inside shot) produced, funnily enough, in conjunction with the BBC. If the occasional image of the Enterprise had been omitted you would have no idea that this was a Star Trek annual. I think the cover is more Star Trek than the rest of it put together. Sci-fi yes but not from the mind of Roddenberry. A certain cash-in and something that I definitely left on the shelf!

And what else was there? The novelisation of All Good Things... might take your fancy perhaps? Complete with colour insert pictures from The Next Generation finale I was tempted but there was another volume I SHOULD have bought and will probably pop back to pick up in the next few days; The Next Generation Movie Sketchbook. Significantly reduced it was one of the few Star Trek books I failed to buy back in the mid-1990's and focused solely on (shows its age) Generations and First Contact. I actually remember it being released and pouring over the pages in the local bookshops when I had a chance. For a teenager at the time it was a little out of my price range. Now with a bit of a reduction it's worth going a bit Trek-retro. Great drawing of the Amargosa observatory on the front don't you think?

So the next time your partner suggests going to an antiques and crafts centre, don't knock it. You might just find the Star Trek item you were looking for on eBay or Amazon a lot cheaper than  you thought and even have a bit of room for negotiation downwards on the pricing scale. I went to ask the shop owner the price of the Sketchbook and before I even opened my mouth he was offering me a discount. I'm planning to go back and see if I can hunt out some more Star Trek bargains in the near future...and on the look out for some other secondhand stalls/shops and centres to check out for more items of Star Trek past...

All images by SKoST