Friday, May 06, 2005

Judging books by their covers...

One thing that scanning a lot of book covers for the ol' website has done is remind me of some of the really not good covers.

There are, for example, the "I have no money and no design sense but I have a word processor with multiple fonts" covers favoured by Hal Schuster for some of his books a few years back.

Like for instance...


Or, leaving Schuster aside for a moment, the old problem, "it's an unauthorized book and we can't use any Trek imagery on the cover."

And you can't really expect the most professional work from a vanity press book, so perhaps this shouldn't be here:

But there are two covers in particular that make me wince when I see them. First, back to Hal Schuster, and a rare work of fiction from one of his companies. To avoid being sued, he made a lot of changes to the story (which did not please the author) and added "funny" art to make it look like a parody, which is protected speech, though it was never meant as a parody by the author. But the caricature of Tom Baker, looking suspiciously like a camel, misses funny and enters some world of evil.

And finally, with no offense intended to the author, who is clearly having a laugh (given that another book of his is called The 105 Things I Learned During My 14 Years of College, I think I can assume he has a sense of humour)... but this just gives me the Fear...

(Now playing: Sigur Ros, "Untitled 7," ( ).)


At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Allyn Gibson said...

I've never seen the Schuster-ized The Doctor and the Enterprise.

I don't know when I first heard of Jean Airey's tale. It may have been an issue of Starlog, sometime in the mid-80s. I knew about it, but it wasn't until the mid-90s that, thanks to the Internet, I was able to read it.

In a way, I wished I hadn't.

I'd imagined for a long time how the meeting between the two universes would have gone, how Kirk would react to the Doctor and vice versa. "Having is not so great a thing as wanting," is how the saying goes, I think.

The Doctor and the Enterprise isn't a great story. It's just a collection of random events that happen to the Enterprise crew, and the Doctor happens to be along for the ride. Sontaran fleet? Visit to Lightunder? Daleks? It's all vaguely pointless. The characters don't feel quite right.

(Oh, and Lightunder. I always "heard" it as "Lie-tun-dur," while I recently discovered that the planet's name was meant as a Darkover homage. My misreading led me to not realize that for a decade.)

Through eBay I acquired two fanzine copies of the story a few years ago. One was, it turned out, the original Zeta Minor publication. Another was done by NBM Books, a collection of the serialization from Enterprise Incidents. This may be one of the most republished fanfic stories ever, and as often as not without the author's permission.

I've heard that Airey wrote a sequel, "The Lieutenant and the Doctor." I imagine it's about how Dorcy Stephens, the alien anthropology specialist aboard the Enterprise, stows away on the TARDIS and becomes the Doctor's new companion, probably in the gap between "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Face of Evil" (which is where I place The Doctor and the Enterprise). Not having read the story, I have no idea, though.


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