Yesterday, I wrote about Star Trek Log One by Alan Dean Foster. Today I’d like to tell you a little if my history with these books.
Back in the late 1970s–a golden time in between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back–the original Star Trek episodes were syndicated probably everywhere. In Houston, they were broadcast on channel 39, the only non-network affiliate at the time. The animated series was nowhere to be found and, thus, as I wrote yesterday, the only way to experience those stories was via Alan Dean Foster’s novelizations.
But finding those Star Trek Log books proved difficult. Well, difficult for the ten-year-old boy I was at the time. They were not freely available at B. Dalton or Waldenbooks at any of the malls my parents frequented. That meant only one thing: used bookstores.
Thus began one of my first great treasure hunts: finding all ten books that constituted the entire series of Star Trek Logs. Most of the early editions had a white cover and spine with a still shot from one of the episodes as cover art. Even when looking only at the spine, those books were easily spotted on used bookstore shelves.
My parents are readers and instilled the joy of reading in me early on. My grandfather was also a great reader although he stuck to westerns. Needless to say, whenever we went to visit my grandparents in Tyler, Texas, it was inevitable that we’d find ourselves in a used bookstore. Eagerly, I’d beeline to the SF section and then look in two places: in the “F” section for Foster or the much smaller Star Trek/movie section. Back in those days, at most, there were something like twenty-one or twenty-two books (all the Blish, all the Foster, and a couple more). Not like it is today when Star Trek titles alone take up a shelf or more.
Slowly but surely, I added to the collection. I remember I found one up in Boise, Idaho, on a summer vacation. When I finally got Logs 7-9, I realized they were full-blown novels. Log Ten was the volume for which I had to search for the most. For awhile there, my collection was only nine volumes, the missing tenth one tantalizing out of reach. I can’t honestly remember now where I eventually found Ten–it might have been at an early SF convention–but found it I did. By 1978, publisher Ballantine rebranded all the covers to make them more modern and less tied visually with the animated show. Be that as it may, my collection was, and is, complete.
Even nowadays, when I go to Half Price Books or any other used bookstore, I can spot these books on the shelf. It was a fun adventure, tracking these books down. And the adventures within are just as good.
On a side note, my current literary treasure hunt is decidedly not SF: I want to find all the Donald Lam/Bertha Cool mysteries published by A. A. Fair, the pen name of Erle Stanley Gardner. With the internet, I could easily find all the ones I’m missing and just order them. They would be delivered to my doorstep and that would be that. But I purposefully don’t do that. The treasure hunt, the walking into used bookstores and just taking a peek at the Gardner section, is too enticing. The excitement of the find is more than half the fun.