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Star Trek Vault by Scott Tipton

01/11/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Star Trek Vault in the USA - or Buy Star Trek Vault in the UK

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pub: Aurum Press. 127 page illustrated hardback in box sleeve. Price: GBP 35.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84513-678-9).

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Of all the ‘Vaults’ to be done, I would have expected one based on ‘Star Trek’ to be the toughest to do, purely because us old-timers, not to mention its numerous fans of all ages, would be more than a little familiar with the subject in all its five series and eight films. Not nine films, as the latest film is absent. Whether that is because of the time delay between getting a book such as this made or not is hard to say but you would have thought even a minor acknowledgement would at least have covered it. After all, this book is more a coverage of the forty year history of ‘Star Trek’ than anything else.

Writer Scott Tipton describes so much of the merchandise when it would have been better had he had photos on-hand to show. He shows some of the more acknowledged rubbishy tat when I’m sure it would have been easy to have acquired a photo of the twelve inch high action figures from ‘The Motion Picture’ than write about it. I’ve got a Spock myself from that time, simply because I wanted a Vulcan in my collection. You would have thought it would make more sense to show more of the classier items out there. One has to wonder if the general lack of photographs of all merchandise is down to permission, expense and licence fee. That isn’t to say are some of the more rarer items, like the various Enterprise bridges aren’t shown. I can see the completest collectors hauling writer Scott Tipton over the phaser-heated coals over that. I think, if anything, expectations are so high because of the quality of the other ‘Vault’ books that are out there.

Then there are times when there should have been more with that is available. Take chapter one where I’d wished there’d been proper close-ups of the original communicator and tricorders rather than the actors posing and half concealing them. Also be very careful if you want to take out the tee-shirt transfer cos it needs the patience of a Vulcan to put it back in its slot again. Much of these extras are hardly significant. I mean, would you rather have at least one blueprint of any of the Enterprise interiors or that of Pickard’s command seat?! Saying that, I suspect most Trek fans have the former anyway.

Although this book is very much a whistle-stop tour of all the ‘Star Trek’ series and films, there are still some interesting observations. ‘The Wrath Of Kahn’ for instance is the least merchandised, simply because ‘The Motion Picture’ fared so badly. Saying that, you would have thought that there might be some catch-up there later. At least not having Eddie Murphy as the marine biologist in ‘The Way Home’ and probably prevented a rather unusual love interest for Kirk. Probably just me looking at the text descriptions here but the final picture’s love interest looked less of a grafting on and less of a problem of what the two cast would have done otherwise. I never realised how much all Klingon stuff after actor Christopher Lloyd in ‘The Search For Spock’ owes not only his ruthless churlishness but also his Klingon pronunciation. An interesting statistic from the ‘Star Trek’ films appears to be that the bigger the budget, the less successful the film profit. There has to be a lesson there.

Although I’m being critical of things that I wish should have been there, the book is at least readable and Tipton gives a summarised history of ‘Star Trek’ and even hits on the occasional rough spot to show it’s not all sugarised.

I suspect most ‘Star Trek’ fans will buy for completest sake but if you’re not sure, have a peak inside first before deciding.

GF Willmetts

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