New Book about TOS: These Are The Voyages

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by neoworx, Jul 13, 2013.

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  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    This. Seeing the development of the series and the individual episodes along with background info is something I really appreciate. What's even more amazing is the realization that these episodes weren't being developed one at a time but rather simultaneously. It must have been crazy and it's incredible that so much good work could come out of such a high pressure environment.
     
  2. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I assume you're not referring to me, as I have no connection to Cushman or any other parties involved with the writing or publication of this book... I'm just a long-time Star Trek fan.
     
  3. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    As I've noted elsewhere, I had several reasons for wanting this project to be good. I think I might even describe the present book using the word "good," based on all the positives (behind the scenes memos and research etc.). However, I cannot use the term "high quality" since even the new edition has English and factual errors as noted above.

    I have no dog in this race, other than -- as a Trekkie and a self-publishing author -- wanting the thing to be of great quality. It is sort of saddening.

    Either in this thread (or a different recent one) I was regretting the anonymity here, just because so many people are interesting and cool; it just seems a little weird not to know a real name. So I stated mine. Again. it is Phil Lynch, an educator, from Michigan. All this is to preface this:

    stcanada29, who are you, and what is your connection to the book?

    Please make it plain. Wethinks you doth protest too much, and as noted above I think you damage the book's rep by your protestations. Who are you?
     
  4. stcanada29

    stcanada29 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Plynch, as I believe Captain Kirk once said in an episode "Who do I have to be?" I reject your thesis that anonymity is regretful. If I make a valid point, should that be discarded as rubbish or propaganda if my last name were Cushman? If I make an uninformed derogatory statement about the book's developers, should that be considered the gospel because I am an irate individual not connected with the book? And I did not mean to point an accusatory finger at everyone in this thread who has made critical remarks. The vast majority of folks here have a well balanced perspective -- I merely remarked that I found the relentless attacks of a small group to be comical. They have made probably tenfold more little insults than I have made opposing remarks. And I am not a 100% cheerleader for this book project ... I do find all the type-o's and lack of proof-reading in the initial publication to be extremely regrettable but not something that would invalidate the value of the overall effort.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Sadly, though, those problems persist even in the revised edition as do some of the factual errors. And I say this being a fan of the book.

    Dotting the "I's" and crossing the "T's" as well as making certain all apparently factual assertions are indeed validated wouldn't take away but actual enhance the work's worth. Star Trek has already established its success even simply evidenced by us being here and still talking about it near fifty years later. And having some long held assumptions challenged and some actually debunked only adds to the remarkable story. But in so doing it's best to make certain everything asserted in the text is properly validated.
     
  6. stcanada29

    stcanada29 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    This is entirely speculation on my part - but I suspect that the author might have felt he would gain greater control of the project by going with a smaller publishing house versus a large, mainstream publisher ... and perhaps that's why the final product has suffered. It's not had the support of a large in-house editing / proof-reading / fact-checking team? Or perhaps the financial arrangements might be more favorable in publishing books yourself; though I would think you might be very limited in how many points of sale your product could be offered from in rejecting a large publishing house. And that might reduce potential sales greatly.
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    For a work like this where years of research and compilation have gone into it it could only benefit from going with an established publisher. That said I might see a significant hurdle in wanting/needing the volume of work presented in three separate volumes. I admit a publisher might have a problem committing to an 1800 page reference book about a popular television series with a nontheless cultish like following. And they mightn't be willing to consider taking a chance on three separate volumes when the first alone might not sell in sufficiently large numbers.

    As such we are left with the work as is, which regrettably just isn't good enough for some. It's an open question as to how many potential sales are being lost because of some sloppy errors.
     
  8. stcanada29

    stcanada29 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yes, I agree and I think you might have hit the nail on the head. Being a long time TOS fan, I hadn't imagined that a book series like this might not look appealing to a huge publishing house. But Pocket Books or whoever handles the mainstream Star Trek material probably balked at the idea of an 1800 page committment. I wonder if they read the content at all, and why they weren't impressed with the evident significant research effort that made use of the TOS production archive?
     
  9. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    stCanada29, you're right that you do not have to divulge who you are. And many people would argue with me on anonymity, though many would agree. Whatevs. Be aware you come across as someone with an "interest" in the book, not just as someone interested in it.

    As to why Mr. C would go self-publishing or with a less-than-stellar publisher: been there, and I empathize. It is very hard for a book to be profitable. Publishers are on the ropes. It is tough to convince one to gamble editorial pay, paper, ink, and royalties on you. Hence my self-publishing route; the greater control and royalties are why some established authors are going this route.

    It is fairly easy to find competent freelance editors and proofers however; even book designers, since this book has illustrations needing careful location and insertion. They are a cost, but deductible business expense.

    Still wishing you and the project well.
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's a big difference between bashing and fair criticism of failings, and this book is far from perfect.

    As above, some of us object to a purported "real story" book which doesn't get basic facts right (e.g. the fatally flawed "TV 101" item), makes unsupported claims (that Star Trek changed network TV), and engages in myth making (the poorly made case for the show being a hit). Add to that the obvious typos (hello, ask some friends to read it and mark it up) and other writing faults.

    All of that outside the photo issue.

    None of that is gunning for the author or book. That is fairly leveled criticism of a type which the author—if he's serious about being accurate and producing the best books possible—should actually welcome.
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Cushman placed the blame on his agent in an interview for sending Pocket Books the "wrong" chapters.

    (He claims his agent sent chapters 1-3).

    To be fair, these early chapters are by far some of the weakest material in the book, since they offer little in the way of new research and are especially flabby editorially.

    Then again, a more thoughtful author might have taken a second look at these pages after Pocket's rejection and significantly revised them. Cushman didn't do that in the first edition (or, as far as the sample pages go, in the revised and expanded edition).
     
  12. stcanada29

    stcanada29 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A very interesting insight. And I think those early chapters do not reference the TOS archive even once! I wonder if anyone at Pocket might now have seen a complete published copy and whether or not they might consider taking over / buying out the book series -- to produce more robust editions, if that is even possible at this late stage since Jacobs Brown seems to have the printing rights? I think the project team was certainly aware of the many flaws in the first edition - which explains the almost unheard of, expedited release of a second edition of Book 1; even before Books 2 and 3 have been released! And I would have to believe that they would be monitoring / receptive to constructive criticism offered with a kind spirit . On the photo issue (yet again), I can't help but wonder if certain website(s) - as I've seen them declare multiple times in other threads on this subject around the net - didn't try to assert total ownership and full copyright rights to the publisher on those behind-the-scenes photos that they supposedly restored; and if those website(s), claiming total ownership, possibly even forbid the publisher from using any images or even mentioning the websites name. Then perhaps the publisher, advised by its own legal team (= consoles :-) ), felt that the imagery was absolutely public domain and went ahead with printing it feeling completely legally justified to do so. That is, assuming some images did originate from the sites in question in the first place. Which truly has not been established with any conclusive evidence, IMO. Also, if Pocket did reject the book, and still would reject acquiring any rights to it; then I think the question comes up whether or not printing it through a small publishing outfit (with all its imperfections) would be better than trashing the whole project in light of Pocket's rejection. Perhaps Cushman was faced with that scenario. I'd prefer to see these works published - hopefully with fewer errors in the subsequent editions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  13. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Publishing through a small publisher or even no publisher is no excuse for numerous factual errors and poorly sourced assertions. It seems to me these are the real problems with the book, and they have little to nothing to do with who the publisher is (other than the fact that a publisher could refuse to publish the book until the problems had been taken care of).
     
  14. The Warlord

    The Warlord Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Sorry if this has already been answered, but can anyone tell me what the difference is between the originsl and revised editions? I have the first version and wandered if it was worth getting the second edition? How much more material is there?
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Besides apparent corrections in spelling and whatever else I'm not yet aware of there are about an additional sixty pages of materiel. I've only just started reading the Kindle version of the revised edition so I don't yet see what's really different.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    That's interesting. Hopefully the new material is at least integrated into the text. If it were to simply take the form of an appendix at the end...

    Well, finish the revised version first and let us know.
     
  17. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Since Mr. Cushman's wife is legal "console" I am assuming this worthy endeavor is sort of self-publishing "with the help of my friends." I myself formed a company and logo/letterhead so as not to appear self-published. But since J/B doesn't seem to have inroads to bookstores (correct me if wrong please) this seems like a circle-of-friends, quasi-self publishing venture.

    Rarely does a traditional publisher take over for a self-publisher. Only if sales are proven, and likely to go much higher. Every fiction writer thinks he or she can do the next Fifty Shades, which was self-published originally. Random House then sold 70 mil more in the trilogy. That's one in 10,000. Or more. Super rare. If a nonfiction author has a great platform (speaking gigs, hot website) and can show promise of greater sales, a publisher might be swayed and take over. Unlikely. These Trek books do have a built-in core audience, and libraries might like it if they know about it. My local library has Justman/Solow.

    However, publishers, I have read, are loathe even to publish a different book of yours once you have gone the self-publishing route once. As for taking over a project from another quasi-publisher? Might fall into the realm of unheard of. Publishers like input along the way. Each has its own look and voice. Even if you say you're willing to adapt to its needs, your book, if written, has already taken a shape and form. That's why nonfiction writers don't write the book in advance, but submit a detailed proposal with a couple chapters.

    You're advertising again. :)

    That's a false dichotomy. Many (most) small publishing outfits will do a quality job for you.

    stcanada29, since I think you might know someone close to this project, there are some super-knowledgable people here on this bbs who would fact-check vol. 2 and 3 for Mr. Cushman for a nominal fee, I bet. (Even 1 could be quietly fixed since the files are electronic). And not just Trek stuff, butTV/entertainment/general knowledge. And there are a plethora of editors available on the net. I could connect Mr. Cushman to mine, with whom I was well-pleased. There is expense involved, but this multi-volume work deserves as much care at the finish line as it received over years of research.

    Wishing you and all connected with it well, and a happy new year. :bolian:
     
  18. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    There are some corrections... for example, in the original version, the "Court Martial" chapter mislabeled the Starbase 11 commander as "Commander Stone." The revision has that corrected to read "Commodore Stone."

    However, there are errors that persist, much to my disappointment.
     
  19. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I should emphasise after my criticial posts earlier that I want these posts to be read by the author/editor/publisher/anyone with a pecuniary interest in the project and be spurred on to do better work next time. It isn't too late - a third edition could be made, and the next two volumes could be the definitive story of Star Trek that we have all craved for so long. It seems to be what the author was going for, and it staggers me that he would willingly let his mountains of research be let down by the presentational problems people have noticed in this thread.

    We are critical because we care. I consider a lot of folks here in the TOS forum as good friends after all these years posting here, and I would never encourage any one of them to buy something without revealing all the warts as I see them. I understand the economics of this project, but the price is high, and a decent outlay for us on average incomes, and in my case having to pay significant postage costs and an exchange rate premium. I held off the first edition, but caved when the new version came out. When the first paragraph I read on the back of the book just cut off mid-sentence, I got that horrible sinking feeling.

    In my opinion such premium pricing demands professional presentation, especially in a revised edition. Having cooled off a little, it's not the typo's that bother me the most, it's the nagging doubt I get every time I read an assertion unsupported by another source. If you can't get one of the key actor's ages right, how can we be sure a new "fact" is correct? I suppose it's just more for us to debate on here, but with the reams of BS spouted by Roddenberry and others about this show over decades, you need to verify things before drawing solid conclusions about what happened on this show.

    Not one poster on here wants this project to fail, and everyone will be grateful for the hours of additional discussions we'll have on here on the new matters Cushman has brought up. Equally, I don't think there is a single poster on here who isn't looking for a significant improvement in future editions.

    The ball is in your court. We will keep our minds open, and celebrate with you when your next work knocks it out of the park with its flawless attention to detail, presentation and referencing.
     
  20. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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