Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Tribute to Walter Koenig? A Reference? If you say so...

Ruby Moon-Houldson's third vanity press Star Trek book is out, and I finally have a copy. And, once again, it's not something I'd recommend to anyone but completists.

Moon-Houldson seems to be a nice and well-meaning person who wants to provide books that will be useful to new Star Trek fans. That's a good and valid goal. But a mishmash of plagiarized content and stuff pulled off the Internet (which, given the lack of attribution, may also be plagiarized) doesn't constitute anything this librarian would recognize as a reference book.

First, the tribute to Koenig. The first chapter is a choppy biographical section. It's choppy because at least some of it is simply copied and pasted from other sources, including the cover blurb of Koenig's book Warped Factors. Some of the same material appears twice, on pages 9 and 13. A lot of the same material appears on a number of Internet sites, including the Internet Movie Database.

Then there's Chapter 3: Chekov Bio, which begins with some copying and pasting (with no citation or attribution) from the official Star Trek website's Chekov biography. Then there are some quotes, copied and pasted from, among others, a site on Tripod, again unattributed, followed by a couple of collections of other characters' quotes.

At least some items are sourced this time, however incompletely. One of the two Koenig interviews is credited to BBC Cult. The online version links to BBC's terms of use, which include the following sentences:
You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any content except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of content requires the prior written permission of the BBC.
I may be mistaken, but I think that if the BBC had granted her permission, they'd want a little more credit than a reference to BBC Cult. On the copyright page, perhaps. Given that she credits "JMS" for an interview transcript from the Sci Fi Channel website, I suspect she didn't make much of an effort to get permissions.

Then there's a section on the animated Trek, with a few episode summaries from, apparently, the Star Trek Animated website. And there's a few pages of movie bloopers copied and pasted from the Movie Mistakes website.

Nearly half the book -- pages 133-239 -- is a series of trivia questions from the Section 47 website. There's no mention of Section 47 in the book.

Emphatically not recommended.


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