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The Trek Nation - 'Amazing Stories' & 'I'm Working On That'

'Amazing Stories' & 'I'm Working On That'

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at August 24, 2002 - 11:04 AM GMT

In her latest column, Jacqueline Bundy takes as look at the Star Trek short story anthology 'Amazing Stories,' and William Shatner's book about the scientific influence of Star Trek, 'I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact.'


Title: Star Trek: The Amazing Stories
Authors: Various
Publication Date: August 2002
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 0-7434-4915-0


Unfortunately 'Star Trek: The Amazing Stories' fails to live up to its name. It's not that the seven short stories in this thin volume are really awful, they just aren’t anything special. Containing four TNG stories and three Voyager offerings, at first glance this anthology doesn't appear to warrant the $12 price tag. Once you've read the stories, you can be sure of that.

The idea behind this anthology came from the demise of 'Amazing Stories,' the world's oldest science fiction magazine, which ceased publication in 2000. All seven of the stories included appeared previously in that magazine. Initially the intention was also to include several additional Star Trek stories in this collection, but for reasons currently unknown that did not happen, and the anthology as released includes no new stories, despite the back cover description.

The first four stories are all set within the Next Generation series. 'Last Words,' by fan favourite A.C. Crispin, is set after the events of the fifth season episode 'Unification.' This story was quite touching, providing a glimpse at the final resolution of Spock and Sarek’s at times troubled relationship. 'Bedside Matters' by Greg Cox has an entirely different tone. It's a light story with a humorous twist that utilizes both the EMH and Data's cat Spot. These first two stories were my personal favorites.

'On the Scent of Trouble' by John Gregory Betancourt and 'Life Itself Is Reason Enough' by M. Shayne Bell complete the first section of the collection. 'Trouble' is a first contact story, but it's nothing extraordinary, just a straightforward Star Trek tale of a first contact that doesn't go exactly as planned. 'Life Itself' is another typical story, this time a rescue mission.

Of the three Voyager stories, only 'When Push Comes to Shove' by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz could hold my attention. Once again it was a pretty mundane Star Trek story, but at least the alien species the T'Kari were interesting enough. 'A Night at Sandrine's' by Christie Golden and 'The Space Vortex of Doom' by D.W. 'Prof' Smith were the most unusual stories, but they were also the least enjoyable.

Perhaps the inclusion of additional stories might have rescued this collection from mediocrity, but then again perhaps not. I can see this volume appealing to some readers but if you are looking for a really satisfying collection of truly original short Star Trek fiction then you would be much better off picking up one of the volumes of the 'Strange New Worlds' anthology collections.


Title: Star Trek: I'm Working on That: A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact
Authors: William Shatner and Chip Walter
Publication Date: August 2002
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0-671-04737-X


Star Trek has been inspiring scientists, researchers and inventors for the past 35 years. In this surprisingly readable nonfiction title you get to go behind the scenes and take a look at some of the science behind recent technological advances as well as catch a glimpse of a number of breakthroughs that are right around the corner. What was once simply science fiction has in the 21st century become a scientific reality.

'I'm Working on That' goes inside the world's leading research centers to take a look at the work being done by today's leading scientific minds. There really are people working on warp drive, transporters, etc. But it is the examination that this book makes of current technologies and the next steps that those technologies are destined to take that makes for fascinating reading.

Digital technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and molecular manufacturing are all fast becoming an integral part of all of our lives. For better or for worse man's ability to create new technologies, and to discover practical applications for those technologies, is racing ahead at a pace that most of us are incapable of fully appreciating. The implications are quite staggering when you think about them.

The text is interspersed with Star Trek references, often using examples from episodes and the movies. While it is at times a bit longwinded in sections, overall the book strives to be a work that anyone with a basic knowledge of science can understand and enjoy. Not quite 'Scientific Theories for Dummies' but with simple enough explanations that if I could understand it, anyone can.

If you already have an interest in the physical sciences then you will enjoy 'I'm Working on That.' If you don't then this title is a good place to learn a bit more about the world we all live in, and the world that's coming. Bottom line: it's not light reading but it is both entertaining and educational.


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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.