Book review: The Fifty-Year Mission is an insightful look at Star Trek’s first 25 years
Originally considered a failure, Star Trek has grown into a much-loved sci-fi institution, and this oral history – the first of two volumes – lets the key players speak
The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years
by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
Thomas Dunne Books
Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman have compiled hundreds of interviews to create The Fifty-Year Mission. The saga of a failed TV show growing in popularity after it was cancelled in 1969 is the stuff of fairy tales. Conventions featuring the stars of the show were followed by movies, other TV shows, novels and fan-made films.
The authors of this oral history have interviewed people directly involved with the franchise, including the actors, producers, writers and even famous fans of the series. The result is a compelling and fascinating time line.
Fans of the show might worry that this book is nothing more than regurgitated material that has been revealed in earlier works. But Fifty-Year Mission gives everyone the freedom to express an opinion without fear of reprisal, creating an honest and eye-opening history.
The layout of the book covers the first 25 years of the original series franchise, skipping the creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which will be covered in the second volume, scheduled for publication in August and bringing the story up to the present. Revealing insight and honesty showcase the stories of the original series, the creation of the animated series and the feature films up to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Gross and Altman do a fine job letting the people speak for themselves while also serving pertinent details to provide background.