Print-on-demand, the final frontier?
I've included a few self-published and vanity press titles on the ol' Complete Starfleet Library website by now, mainly because in the Internet age it's a lot easier to find out about them and to find them (especially when they're available through Amazon). But not everything makes it to the bookselling websites. That's why I've only just noticed a few titles available through lulu.com, the self-publishing website. (Diane Duane is selling something through lulu, for what it's worth.)
There are eight items on lulu.com right now that might arguably be considered Star Trek books. Here's a quick rundown.
Hilary Palencar's book Confessions of a Trekaholic is already on my site. It was first published several years ago by Burgo Press. A work of TNG criticism, it's basically the story of one woman's growing disenchantment with Star Trek. Collectors who haven't been able to find the Burgo edition may want to get this edition, which has apparently not been significantly revised.
The Klingon Language Institute is pretty well known these days, but the Vulcan language Institute is new to me. But they have a big website, which apparently offers for free most or all of the information in this book. It's apparently a large book ,with material on Vulcan history and culture as well as the Vulcan language. I decided to order this one.
The Star Fleet Registry by John Bullerwell is, from the looks of it, something of a fan tech reference book. "From canon to 'fanon', a complete listing of every known 'NCC' and 'NX' number in Star Trek's Federation Star Fleet, with 70 illustrations!" I ordered this one for the hell of it, as it looks like the illustrations are well done.
Travis McHenry's The Little Unauthorized Book of Star Trek Quotes is exactly what it says it is. Judging by the preview pages, it's also the fastest read of any of the Star Trek quote books, as each quote has a page to itself. Even at 155 pages, that wouldn't take long to get through.
Chanele Lovelace's Star Trek is Life! Or atleast it should be. was an easy one to pass by, I'm afraid. Ms Lovelace has a number of blogs and websites devoted to her career as a freelance writer, all of which, unfortunately, display much more enthusiasm than grammatical knowledge. This is a 21-page booklet about being a fan. Too short to be a book, so I don't have to worry about whether it should be listed in the website...
Karen Peebles's Star Trek - A Lost Episode - Spock & Josie - A Play is also short, at 33 pages, though it's perfect-bound rather than stapled. Like a lot of fanfic by people who don't quite get the conventions of prose writing, it's got a few paragraphs of descriptive text and then the dialogue. No conventional stage directions are present in the few pages available for preview, so I assume the author doesn't know much more about writing plays than prose fiction. Apparently it's a love story featuring Spock and a woman named Josie Marks. It's also the work of someone who thinks the ship's doctor's name is McKoy.
Donald Murphy's Star Trek Legions: USS Audacious: The Beginning at least looks good. There are several pages of nicely-done art depicting the ship's exterior and interior. But as for the story, apparently based on a few friends' role-playing campaigns... well, even though you can download the pdf for free (as opposed to buying the print edition), I haven't managed to get past the first few paragraphs. The author shifts tense frequently, sometimes even in the space of a single sentence. Clearly a lot more work went into the graphics than went into the prose. Too bad, really... I'd be willing to get a print version of a well-done fanfic and put it on the site if it looked more booklike than the standard fanzine format.
Christopher Kivel's Star Trek: Crossing the Knoll is another fanfic, somewhat better written. Apparently, this one features a variant on the Mirror Universe in which the Zeons from "Patterns of Force" have become a dangerous galactic power. The description refers to the crew of the USS Destiny being the protagonists of the story, but the preview chapter online features Jean-Luc Picard and someone named Nechiev, who I think is supposed to be Nechayev. It's clearly a few steps up from the Audacious fanfic, but still some distance from professionally written.
There are also a few other items with references to Star Trek, collections of writing that include a Star Trek story among a lot of non-Trek content, and so on.
I think I'll have to keep an eye on lulu.com to see what kind of publications come along. I'm also curious about the quality of the print on demand publishing lulu.com uses. If it's decent quality, and the contents look worthwhile, I may add the two I've ordered to the site, and perhaps order others in the future... though not the others described here.