Thursday, August 12, 2004

Hal Schuster is driving me mad

If you were a Star Trek fan in the mid-1980s to early '90s and ever set foot in a bookstore or comic shop, at some point you must have noticed some shoddily produced magazine-sized trade paperbacks about Star Trek that clearly weren't official. Some of them essentially were magazines, but they became more booklike as the years went by.

It started back around 1985 with the first Star Trek Files Magazines and ended ten years and over a hundred publications later. Not that I was paying all that much attention at the time. Schuster's stuff was overpriced and not very well distributed, making it easy to miss for someone who wasn't quite the rabid completist that I am today. So I didn't buy much of it and even now I'm not making a serious effort to track it down. Considering how often the same material was recycled from publication to publication, it just doesn't seem necessary. Not that they didn't occasionally cover aspects of Trek that Pocket hadn't yet dealt with, like unproduced TOS episodes and Star Trek Phase II... but for the most part they were eminently skippable.

Well, I'm on my latest roughly annual attempt to update and improve the Hal Schuster page on the Complete Starfleet Library website. John Patuto, of Cygnus X1 fame, emailed me not too long ago to let me know that he had a few more issues of the Star Trek Files Magazines, the hardest Hal Schuster publications to nail down, and that helps. I've only just noticed that Files Magazines did a series of issues on the first four movies written by John Peel and then another series of Files on the first four movies written by Ed Gross. That's just the beginning of the fun. Schuster's quality control doesn't help. One of the last few books had four slightly different titles, depending on whether you checked the front cover, the back cover, the title page, or the verso. An earlier one named one author on the cover and another on the title page.

If anyone out there reading this has a reasonably complete collection of these darn things, please, please let me know. I've had help from a couple of other people besides John in the past, but there must be more than half a dozen people who bought any of these books.

(Now playing: Ultravox, "Life at Rainbow's End," Ultravox!)


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