Sunday, August 2, 2020

Not just any old Star Trek paperback

"Is he going to start posing all of his ephemera with cats?" "Shhhh. Shut up, Irv. He can hear you!"

There are a lot of Star Trek paperbacks. According to Ye Olde Wikipedia, "As of May 2020, more than 850 novels, short story anthologies, novelizations, and omnibus editions, have been published." Ashar likes to collect them, especially ones from the Next Generation era. Some are more notable and collectible than others, of course. The cover of Bantam's first tie-in novelization of the TV series in 1967 features an almost-greenish Spock.

There's nothing special about Planet of Judgment itself. First published in the summer of 1977, when a NASA space shuttle named Enterprise made its first test free-flight and Voyager 2 was launched1, Planet of Judgment was written by Joe Haldeman. The back cover describes Kirk, Spock and McCoy facing "a total breakdown of science and sanity" near "a world orbited by a black hole and ruled by chaos." (Hmmm.) It has a review of 3.33 stars (about of 5) on Goodreads, with one reviewer (who gave it 3 stars) noting, "It packs a wallop of ideas for such slim novel, and even though the ideas seem to get stretched a little too thin towards the end, it's all part of the fun of Star Trek."

But we're not here today for the book itself. We're here for the fold-out advertisement that's built into the middle of the book. I can't lay it flat to scan it without damaging the book, so here are some snapshots...

As you can see, the advertisement is for original hand-painted cels from Star Trek: The Animated Series, which first aired in 1973 and 1974. It notes:
"By special arrangement with Filmation Studios, producers of the STAR TREK animated TV series, Bantam Books now makes available the authentic, hand-painted 'cels' as used in the production of the award winning show.

"'Cels' are paintings on celluloid from drawings created by the studio artists.

"Each 'cel' comes to you mounted on a 14" x 18" mat folder, overlayed on a beautiful multi-colored background scene from the series."
It stresses that these are "LIMITED EDITIONS ... THAT WILL APPRECIATE IN VALUE" and that the cels will be sold on a "FIRST COME" basis.

Ten color images from the series are shown in the advertisement. They include Spock taking a photograph of the crew (?!?), the Enterprise battling a Klingon ship, young Spock atop his pet sehlet, and other shots of the Enterprise. (To learn more about the animated series, I highly recommend listening to these three episodes of the 70s Trek podcast with Bob Turner and Kelly Casto: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)

The 1977 cost for the cels was $20, plus $1.50 shipping and handling. That's about $92 in today's prices, according to the Inflation Calculator. So would it have been worth it? Did these "appreciate in value"? The answer would seem to be yes (which shouldn't be a surprise in the world of limited Star Trek collectibles). But it can be a little confusing to sort through the items available on eBay. One artist didn't like the Filmation artwork and made his own reproductions, with greater attention to accuracy and detail. Don't mess with Star Trek fandom!

Other Star Trek-related posts

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But wait, there's more!
Star Trek Tweet of the Year

Star Trek Tweet of the Year #2

1. Voyager 2 has been operating for nearly 43 years and is 11.5 billion miles from Earth and counting...

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