The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The Next 25 Years is the second of two books chronicling the story of Star Trek, from its very beginning to the most recent Kelvin Timeline movies.
Written by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, The Fifty Year Mission:The Next 25 Years is comprised of interviews from writers, producers, writers, actors, assistants, authors, designers, studio executives, artists, technical personnel, fans and others associated with Star Trek. This includes fans and authors as well as those directly involved in the shows and movies.
The story in this second volume continues with Star Trek: The Next Generation, from the conception of a new television series through the Next Generation movies. Subsequent chapters in the volume deal with Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and the Abramsverse movies.
The begins with a helpful guide (Dramatis Personae) which explains the abbreviations used in the book and then lists those interviewed in the book, providing short bios on each person.
Almost half of the book is about The Next Generation; both the show and the movies. Eleven chapters are devoted to The Next Generation. One chapter each is devoted to Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. Two chapters tell the story of the Abrams movies. Two chapters discuss Star Trek in other forums (in other shows, fan films, etc), as well as what Star Trek means to those involved with it over the years.
The book concludes with author acknowledgements and a short bio about the authors.
Like the first volume, this book is not a quick read. Almost three hundred pages longer than the first volume, this book had a lot of ground to cover; from The Next Generation through present-day Trek.
Having read the “Making of” books back in the day, I was familiar with many of the stories in the first volume, but much of the information in this book was new to me. While it wasn’t a surprise to know that the TNG cast got along well, it was surprising to learn that that wasn’t always the case for the DS9 and Voyager casts.
One of the advantages of this volume is that most who worked on the shows and movies are still alive. So you will hear multiple people talking about the same event and this gives readers more information from to draw their own conclusions regarding events. On one show, for example, an actress departed and part of the reason given was alleged sexual harassment. One can read her account of the event, and then get the other side of the story from the other party involved.
The book contains anecdotes, and descriptions of conflict – with fellow actors, with writers and with others associated with the productions. Years later, people reflect upon their involvement, detailing what went right with their shows/movies and what went wrong.
I’d have liked a little more on the later series (DS9-ENT) and less on TNG. I suppose it’s only logical that the second-most popular series got more space in the book, but as a Niner, I’d have loved more on that series and I’m sure Voyager and Enterprise fans will feel the same.
But if you want to know what happened behind the scenes, and how people feel about their work today, this book is a must-read.
Authors: Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman
Pages: 848 pgs
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
To purchase the book, go here: The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years.