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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Dr. Wesley Britton Reviews Volume 2 of Cushman's Star Trek 1970s

These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s Volume 2 (1975-77).

Author: Marc Cushman

Publisher: Jacobs/Brown Media Group 
Release date: July 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 650 pages 
ISBN-10: 1733605320
ISBN-13: 978-1733605328

Purchase at Amazon




Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton originally for

Volume Two of Marc Cushman's three volume coverage of everything that happened in the Star Trekuniverse during the 1970s is the tenth of Marc's books I've read and reviewed to date.   Starting with his single volume book on I Spy, I've read everything from Marc's first three books on Star Trek: The Original Series, his three volumes on Lost in Space, not to mention his explorations of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Moody Blues. All these books share one major attribute.  Comprehensive is too mild a descriptor. Exhaustive is much more on target. Marc is the master of never leaving any stone unturned, no memo unread, no potentially useful data is left out of any of his tomes.


In the case of Cushman's Star Trek journalism, Marc was given unprecedented access to apparently every scrap of paper associated with Gene Roddenberry and everyone involved with the original franchise.  In this volume, this resulted in a very comprehensive overview of all the scripts and stories we never saw in the never filmed Star Trek Phase 2 TV project. These chapters were my favorite passages in this history, reading about some adventures I'd like to have seen, some I'm glad were never produced. No Star Trek fan will want to miss these descriptions.


In addition, we get detailed histories of Roddenberry's lesser-known TV attempts like The Questor TapesGenesis II, Spectre,  and The Nine. On top of that, Cushman tells us about projects featuring Star Trekcast members like Leonard Nimoy's In Search Of . . .  documentary series and William Shatner's short-lived Barbary Coast. We hear about how cast members fared in their lives outside of Star Trek, like the sparring between Nimoy and Roddenberry involving Nimoy's possible participation in any Star Trekrevivals. 


A healthy portion of the book explores the growing fan support for Star Trek including the nationwide success of the show in syndication, the beginnings of Star Trek conventions, the expanding bonanza of Star Trek merchandise, and the public speaking tours of Roddenberry, Nimoy, and Shatner. Cushman also talks about the state of science-fiction television shows of the era, most notably a detailed overview of Space 1999, a program clearly influenced by Star Trek.    Toss in generous samplings of contemporary reviews of all these items and it's no wonder the book reaches 650 pages.


As Cushman told me in a recent interview, he doesn't target his books to the casual fan but instead aims for the serious aficionados of his various subjects. In the  case of Star Trek, that's a pretty hefty audience who will treasure this authoritative history of a cultural phenomenon.  Sure, even this readership will likely find chapters and sections to skim over, other sections will be devoured for all the information never made available before.   If you're a Star Trek lover, casual or serious, you won't want to miss any of Marc Cushman's extraordinarily researched studies.  No previous histories match him for detail, fresh insights, corrections to popular myths; every possible stone is turned over and examined.


As I write this, I'm about to dive into Volume Three of this set which means one last long summer read. That's before Marc dives into all the movies and later series in the '80s and beyond.  Stay tuned . . . six books later and the voyages have just begun . . .



To hear Karina Kantas and Wes Britton interview Marc Cushman about his Star Trek books, here's a link to Karina's "Behind the Pen" Podcast:  




 Dr. Wesley Britton is the author of The Beta Earth Chronicles and contributes regularly to BookPleasure.Com and #TheNewBookReview blog.  Learn more about him at 

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Dr. Wesley Britton Reviews Volume 2 of Cushman's Star Trek 1970s


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