Non-Fiction Feedback

This is the Orion Press feedback section for our website's non-fiction articles. Readers are encouraged to send in their comments on any Orion Press story, article, webpage or publication to the editor via email at  randy@orionpressfanzines.com or via USPS at 3211 Saddleleaf Avenue, Albany, GA 31721. Remember that the only reward any contributor receives is the satisfaction of seeing the readers' opinions of his/her work. The following missives are excerpts from feedback received from various folks who have read some of our non-fiction articles, commentaries, reviews, et cetera.

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From Ron Daudt -- November 2013

Love your site, especially the Unseen Elements section. It's always a thrill to see new postings! Thanks for keeping Classic Trek alive; the re-boot just doesn't do it for me.

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From Marcello Rossi -- April 2012

I'm writing from Rome (Italy) and I've just spent the last couple of hours reading the wonderful analysis you made for the "Unseen Elements" section of Orion Press website.

That's something I wanted to read, or to write myself, for a long time, in fact, beside being a long time Trek fan (as it could easily be guessed), I'm also a regular contributor to the Italian Official Star Trek Magazine (one of the few official Star Trek magazines still surviving in the world).

All that material would make a very very interesting book. I have only one question: where did you find all the orginal scripts? I've seen many (and sometime bought) on e-bay, but not that many!

Dave's Reply...

Thank you so much for your very kind remarks regarding "Unseen Elements." The site is exactly what I wanted to read for years -- since no one else had built one, we did. Reviews from fans such as yourself make all the work that went into it even more rewarding.

I bought the entire first season set of scripts from Roddenberry Enterprises back in 2004. The other scripts and the story outlines I bought off of ebay, most from a dealer who has long since vanished from the web.

Again thank you for your kind words. I wish I spoke Italian as I would love to see your magazine.

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From: David Eversole -- November 2011

Thanks very much for Eric Paddons' insightful analysis of the Final Draft of "All Our Yesterdays." Goes to show how much is literally changed (and often improved) at the final minute. Also goes to show how much there is still to learn about the creative process on Star Trek, even pushing fifty years later."

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From: T J -- July 2010

I found the web site through the usual means...following one link to another. Ah, but what a find it was. Many years ago, I remember reading about Harlan Ellison's struggle with the revised/televised version of his story, and wondered what the first version might look like. I didn't chase the background down as vigorously as I should, but...at any rate, three cheers for the Internet and a most fortuitous find. It all falls into place now, and Harlan's plaint is now well supported.

With that said, I agree with your assessment that each version indeed has its strengths, and that they're both enjoyable. Thanks for your excellent review on the web site.

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From Tiffany White -- December 2008

Your website states:

Is your collection incomplete? Would you like a copy of any of these zines? Please contact Randy Landers directly. We will be glad to make a copy for you of any zines you may wish to purchase.

I am an old time buyer whose lost some of her zines due to a water leak. Is this statement above still true? Cause I dearly miss them and would love to get them again!

Absolutely! As my wife says, no zine at Orion Press is truly ever out of print. We have copies of every zine we've ever done, and if you want a copy, write us and let us know!

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From David -- December 2008

I really enjoyed the updates this month, especially the two novel reviews and the interesting and well-thought-out article on the structure of the Romulan Legion....Also, I really appreciate Diane Doyle's hard work on the crew lists. They're a fantastic resource, and she deserves lots of praise for keeping them up-to-date, and for all her other work on the website.

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From Steff -- November 2008

Thank you for also shooting down that absolutely *awful* book Engines of Destiny. You were much kinder to Mister DeWeese than I was. Part of what I had to say was, "The characterization is atrocious. I mean, I've read parody fanfics that didn't take themselves seriously, and still had better characterization than this tripe, cliched, over-hyped, under-thought out waste of paper. And that's me being NICE! While my thoughts roamed to tracking this author down and lobotomizing him with his own pen, I was kind enough to refrain from doing so. I will instead just spew vitriol here and Gene DeWeese will continue living under the blissful assumption that he wrote a good book."

And that was one of the less blue-in-the-face moments.

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From David Landon -- September 2008

I enjoyed the review of "The Joy Machine." I read James Gunn's novelization when it came out and found it to be deathly boring; apparently Sturgeon's original treatment contained this flaw as well. You know, as much as the  Kirk-talks-evil-computer-into-self- destructing plot device is ridiculed, it's really much more effective and entertaining than a more "technological" solution that usually boils down to somebody pushing buttons while reciting technobabble. Still, it's a pity "The Joy Machine" wasn't recycled into a TNG script during the second season when they were scrounging for stories due to the writers' strike; it would've worked better than "The Outrageous Okona" or "Shades of Gray".

{Honestly, I always thought that the concept may have been remade into "The Game." -- Randy}

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From Dave Tillota -- June 2008

First, I loved your new editorial and couldn't agree more with you. I think the remastering is fine as long as they only strike new prints from the negatives and clean them up. I really don't like the new CGI stuff. To me, it all looks fake (remember the word "turnerized?"). In general, people have forgotten that art must be appreciated in the context of the time period that it was created - good, bad, and ugly. And don't even get me started on the fanboys...

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From Dave Landon -- June 2008

I always enjoy the site; Unseen Elements is very cool, and I love the new Star Charts.

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From Kevin Danzey -- May 2008

You probably don't know me, but I used to post on the TrekBBS a few years back. I appreciated your posts as coming from one of the voices of sanity and reason. I met some good friends on the TrekBBS, but bumped heads, too, since I'm generally a TOS purist.

I came across your website today and look forward to really checking it out. I can remember some early Star Trek conventions of roughly 1972-1975 when I flew all over the northeast US, a giddy teenager, coming home with an armful of fanzines and stills. That's when the zines were either printed with purple ditto masters, or if they were fancy, mimeographed. The only photocopies were those slimy, smelly "RoyFax" copies, I think they were called. My favorite convention was Detroit in 1972, when I met Gene Roddenberry. I'm still a big fan of The Bird.

I never wrote fanfic myself, but made a few non-Trek fan films (almost made a TNG fanfilm in 1988), and had friends who did so.

Anyway, thanks for such a fun site!

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From Caroline Kaberline -- March 2008

I had a chance to read your editorial while my students were working on an assignment, and I agree with your comments whole-heartedly. In fact, I couldn't help but chuckle at DeCandido's remarks and his implication that no real writer would be writing fan fiction. I wonder if he would be telling people like James Gunn, Greg Bear, Greg Benford, George Zebrowski, and Pamela Sargeant--to name just a few--that they aren't real writers because they've written some Star Trek novels. I believe when I talked to Jim Gunn last week (for an article I'm writing for the Topeka Capital Journal) that he's either written or edited 40 plus books, and the others have written numerous novels, short stories, and in some cases non-fiction also. And most of these writers do realize that fans count--unlike Mr. DeCandido. I wonder how well his work sells. {I'm sure it sells as well as any other Star Trek book these days. What is noteworthy, I suppose, is that Pocketbooks has now put their e-books on hiatus. I remember when Star Trek books used to make the Best Sellers lists. Of course, back then, fans mattered. Long gone are those days. -- Randy}

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From Sam Taylor -- February 2008

I can't tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate Dave Eversole's reports and analyses of The Original Series' scripts and drafts. Thank you for this labor of love.

I have a question. The original "Conscience of the King" was entitled "A Portrait in Black and White", yes? You have the script, and you say so. That also jibes with the memo paraphrased in Whitfield's The Making of Star Trek and it's more literal inclusion in Justman's Inside Star Trek, wherein around September of 1966 Roddenberry says something like "I am also enclosing a script [Portrait in the Justman book] just received by this office [from Barry Trivers in Justman] that you may have equally strong feelings about", or something to that effect.

And yet I have read from several sources that "Portrait" was the source for "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". See this quote from Wikipedia:

"There is some evidence that this script evolved from Gene Coon's unfilmed first season script "A Portrait in Black and White." That particular script also dealt with racial issues, and would have featured Uhura and McCoy trapped on a planet where white people were slaves and black people were the masters. According to David Gerrold, Herbert F. Solow, and the recollections of Gene Coon's widow, Jackie Coon-Fernandez, the Trek production staff worked and reworked the script for nearly three years before it reached its final form."

Now, the titles make sense. And the fact that Coon (Lee Cronin) is credited for "Battlefield", and that Oliver Crawford (who was hanging around in 1966 at that time writing "Galileo 7") makes me wonder if "Cronin" and/or Crawford took a portion of the "Conscience" script, rewrote it, and then resold it.

But the concepts are so entirely different as to boggle the mind.

Can you shed any light?

Dave replies:

Thanks so much for your very kind email. The copy of the script I have is called "The Conscience of The King." My statement that it was originally called "A Portrait in Black and White" was based on the very same sources you quoted. I disagree with Wikipedia, but so far have no proof to back up my statement. Should I ever get an earlier draft, perhaps the mystery will be laid to rest.

Again, thanks for emailing us. We here at Orion Press appreciate the feedback of our readers.

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From William Batross -- February 2008

I love your site; it is very informative and interesting! It is on my favorites and to me, one of the top Star Trek sites on the web!

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From Fred Dixon -- February 2008

...really like the website, especially the Unseen Elements of Star Trek page....I enjoyed reading your reviews of the various drafts of Star Trek scripts. I always thought that "The Naked Time" and "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" dovetailed. "Assignment : Earth" was a decent enough episode; I don't know that it would have gone far as a series had it been picked up. "Fascinating" stuff.

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From Caroline Kaberline -- December 2007

Many thanks for the hours of enjoyment your website has provided. I appreciate your allowing me to add to it by writing reviews! {And we appreciate your contributions to the site! -- Randy}

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From Fabian Boudville -- December 2007

Do you give any reasons for your TOS ratings?

{They're my ratings, and as with anything else I write, your mileage may vary. I knock off 3 or 4 or more points for each problem I encounter with an episode, and so if an episode receives a 78, then you can figure I had about 6 problems with it. -- Randy}

For instance, you assigned 91% to "The Empath"--a rather controversial episode which Star Trek fans either love or hate--and 78% to "Spectre of the Gun" but no reasons are given.

{Well, it's just a chart of my rankings. I wasn't inclined to explain every single episode's ranking, but to answer your inquiry, "The Empath" is one of the best episodes in my opinion, but there are a few problems I had with it, the foremost being the taming down of the scene that was cut where Gem breathes life into McCoy. I also wish Lal and Thann had been more aggrieved by Link and Osaba's deaths, and I thought that it odd that Lal and Thann were wearing such impractical outfits and yet had enough fashion sense to give Gem a cute outfit--unless their race of mutes somehow manage textile engineering and fashion design without the ability to speak?

"Spectre of the Gun" is interesting, but I thought that Kirk and Company were too slow on the uptake, Chekov's death a gimmick, his sudden return to life at the end a major cop out, and the scene where Kirk goes to get help from the Sheriff just falls apart. And that's just a few of the problems I had with it. :)  -- Randy}

As an aside, I am suprised you gave 60% to The Way to Eden. I personally thought it was simply the worst TOS show ever made and should be rated as a failure (i.e. anywhere below 50%) The plot holes and lack of logic in that episode was simply massive.

{I tend to think that "And the Children Shall Lead" is probably the worst TOS episode ever. I mean, it's dreadful. Plot holes and lack of logic abound in it. "Spock's Brain" was only marginally better. Only "The Infinite Vulcan" equals it in crappiness, and "Generations" is so bad I don't even bother counting it (but my last recorded rating for it was 32). -- Randy}

PS: Thank you for your TAS ratings. Its a pity many Trek sites don't rate these 22 episodes...when several important ideas such as the holodeck or James T(iberius) Kirk first appear here. Thank You.

{No worries. I love TAS, and think some wonderful episodes came from it. I'm glad my rating provoked a thoughtful response, and I hope you continue to enjoy our website.    -- Randy}

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From Diane Doyle -- December 2007

I enjoyed reading the reviews of the Star Trek novels, Ishmael and Uhura's Song since those were two novels I had enjoyed when I had originally read them. I noticed the following omissions in the reviews:

For Ishmael, Aaron Stemple, the antagonist to the Bolt Brothers in Here Comes the Brides, was the main protagonist in this story, besides the Enterprise crew. He rescued an injured Spock, nursed him back to health, and passed him off to the people of Seattle as his nephew. The review made no mention of Stemple, nor that he was played by Mark Lenard, who played Sarek.

For Uhura's Song, in order become an adult on Sivaoa, a person must form a team of several people and make a difficult journey with them to another camp. The landing party made a journey with a pair of Sivaoans who had not previously been successful at such a journey. One of them, Jinx, had taken part in two failed journeys and other Sivaoans were reluctant to accompany her, as a result. Our landing party's journey was complicated by the fact that Chekov had contracted the most virulent form of ADF, with his condition rapidly growing worse.

These omissions, though, were hardly noteworthy and did not reflect badly on otherwise excellent reviews.

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From Albion Minzey -- December 2007

After reading on your website about how the director of "The Enemy Within" changed the sequence of events for "dramatic" reasons, I thought it might be interesting to see how the episode would have played out as scripted so I reedited it. Thought you might be interested in seeing the results. Here's a link to the video on YouTube. I mention your website in the video description; hopefully it has helped to make more people aware of the great work you're doing.

Just want to let you know that I looked for years to find the info you've been putting on your website. This is the only place on the internet--or anywhere--that has posted this wonderful info on the development of the original episodes. Keep up the great work!

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From Timothy Aymar -- October 2007

Thanks for the reviews of first draft scripts and unproduced story outlines.

I find it fascinating to read about episodes that were never made, and it provides insights into the creative processes of the writers involved with the original series. Can't wait till all the outlines have been reviewed! Take care.

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From Mallory -- October 2007

Cool stuff yet again. I really appreciate these reviews and the background information you provide.

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From Dave Tilotta -- October 2006

Thanks for the new stuff. It's always fun to read your updates. I also find your site an invaluable resource for matching film clips to cut scenes. Keep up the good work! I thoroughly enjoy your site.


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