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Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs One and Two
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, 384 pages

Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs One and Two
Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA in 1968-69 and then spent two years as a copywriter for an advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, CA.

His first sale as a writer was a long Lovecraftian letter, purchased by August Derleth for the bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Many, many novels followed. Alan Dean Foster's correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Foster and his wife live in Prescott, Arizona.

Alan Dean Foster Website
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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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The Star Trek Logs, adaptations of the popular Star Trek Animated series, are historically important to Star Trek fandom. Those who haven't been fans since the original series will no doubt require an explanation.

Star Trek Log One was first published in 1974. At the time, there were three seasons of the original episodes often played in reruns (this was the days before VCRs, so you could only see them on television), James Blish's adaptations of the original series (one of the few instances I can think of where the show is better than the book), and a handful of novels, and nonfiction books, such as Spock Must Die and The Making of Star Trek. This was three years before Star Wars would turn the science fiction movie business on its ear by proving that a big budget SF flick was not only financially viable, but could actually make a killing. It was five years before Star Trek the Motion Picture would come out. For those of us who were fans of the original series, there was very little out there -- until the arrival of the Star Trek Logs.

I read them back then, and I reread them now. I bring this up, because it is my belief that anyone reading this book for the first time -- a new fan who wasn't there -- might not understand just how important these books were. Now, they're a fun read, a joyful return to the old crew (at the time, the only crew). It was, in fact, the only new Star Trek we had. I remember waiting for the next one to come out, for these books are quite a bit better than the animated series they adapt. And still, there are anomalies you need to get used to, because they don't necessarily fit in with the Star Trek Universe as it is seen today.

The biggest issue is the existence of personal force fields worn on a belt. They surround the crew, keep the air in, keep environmental conditions stable and even shield against things like crushing attacks. Since this concept wasn't carried through to any of the new series, it stands out in the books as something you have to accept. It's not part of the Star Trek Universe, but it was part of the animated series.

Another issue is Alan Dean Foster's use of words like elevator instead of turbo lift, which throws me every time I see it. Elevators go up and down, where as the turbo lift goes both horizontally and vertically. Finally there are dated technological references that might give pause, such as the claim that on the Enterprise, the entire set of human knowledge was stored on microfilm and therefore available to Kirk. Even back then, I think Foster could have deduced that microfilm would not be the way of the future. It's not all complaints however. Alan Dean Foster took a few delightful liberties that added much to the books and made them far more interesting than a straight adaptation of the animated series would have been.

There is far more insight into how the characters think than you got in either the original series or the animated series and, of course, Foster's humor shines throughout the book. Also, Foster connected the stories by referring to past stories within later ones. He refers to previous missions, giving the books a feeling of a continuous mission instead of individual episodes. It adds a great deal of substance to a book that might have otherwise been lacking.

I found that once I adjusted to the differences and got into the stories, the Star Trek Logs were almost as good as the original series -- a combination of a trip down memory lane, with new stories and concepts that made it even more enjoyable. In fact, some characters from the original series appear in the animated series, and some interesting planets are revisited, adding again to the value of the Star Trek Logs to any fan of the original series.

There are six stories in this book, comprising the first two original logs (each of the original Star Trek Logs contained three adaptations.) Each book also includes a personal introduction by Alan Dean Foster, which gives a bit of back story, a welcome tidbit for a dieľhard fan like me. Which is why this review is so long, when all you really wanted to know about was the stories. We'll come to that now.

"Beyond the Farthest Star" revisits the edge of the galaxy and is probably a good choice to reintroduce us to the enterprise crew.

"Yesteryear" takes us back to the planet of the Guardian of Forever, during which Spock must take a trip back to his own Vulcan childhood to restore the future.

"One of Our Planets is Missing" reminds me very much of several of the episodes from the original series (most notably "The Immunity Syndrome"), where a large gaseous anomaly is busy destroying planets.

"The Survivor" deals with Carter Winston, a missing philanthropist who managed to survive alone in a dead space craft for years.

"The Lorelei Signal" takes the Enterprise crew to a planet of attractive Amazon women who would be great fun on a date, assuming you could beam back to your ship when it was over.

"The Infinite Vulcan," probably my least favorite of the offerings, is about a world of sentient vegetables and the secret they harbor.

For fans of the original series, and of course animated series, this book is a must have. For anyone who enjoyed the action/adventure/mystery format of the original series, this book will feel like an old friend who'd just stopped by for a glass of Saurian Brandy. Logically, this is one book not to be without.

Copyright © 2007 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at http://www.dream-sequence.net.


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