AMT’s U.S.S. Enterprise model at 55!

It’s not the sort of anniversary that a lot of people would notice or care about, and even within the vast Star Trek fandom it’s likely something only a segment of people would even recognize let alone take time to observe. However, for that special subset of fans for whom models in general and Star Trek models in particular are something they enjoy? Yeah, 2022 is something of a milestone, all right.

I guess I’m one of those people, at least to a degree.

While I can under no circumstances call myself a particularly skilled or accomplished model hobbyist, I’ve assembled my share of models. Most of these efforts were undertaken during my youth, of course, but I’ve also gone through phases as an adult where the challenge of building a model enticed me to spend more than a few late nights tinkering with this or that. As a kid in the mid to late 1970s, I built things like the Batmobile, the Eagle transport from Space: 1999, figure models from The Six Million Dollar Man or Planet of the Apes, Star Wars X-wings and TIE fighters, and — yes — several Star Trek models.

Star Trek models with 1970s-era packaging: the “Exploration Set,” the Bridge diorama, and Spock (with snakes!)

Particular favorites from the final frontier included the “Exploration Set,” the Enterprise bridge diorama, and the Spock (with snakes) model. Though I never successfully completed the latter, I did build the version of that kit retooled to tie into the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, with the three-headed snake removed and Spock’s uniform now made to resemble his ensemble from the film rather than the original TV series. Yeah, it didn’t really hit home the way the original version did.

And, of course, there was the Enterprise itself.

As a kid, I can remember building the bridge model twice. Same with the Exploration Set (both sets became casualties of playing outside…damn those things were fragile), but the Enterprise? Probably a half-dozen times, and then a couple more later on.

That Enterprise model was created by a Michigan-based company, Aluminum Model Toys or “AMT.” It was created and first released in June of 1967, just a couple of months after the last new episode of Star Trek‘s first season aired on NBC. It’s been around pretty much since then. As years passed, AMT’s Star Trek line expanded beyond the original series to include models from the feature films and spin-off television series. Along the way, the Enterprise model was released and re-released who-really-knows-for-sure how many times over. It was even updated (addressing some long-standing structural and accuracy issues) and released to pretty decent fanfare in 2016 as part of commemorating the original TV series’ 50th anniversary, and was re-issued yet again just last year in time to celebrate the original series’ 55th birthday.

I want this tattooed on my thigh.

And now, 2022 marks the model’s own version of that latter milestone.

Related: Tuesday Trekkin’: The original AMT Star Trek models

Author and one-time NASA chief historian Glen E. Swanson wrote a wonderful article about the original AMT Enterprise model for a 2021 issue of Michigan History magazine. I heard about the magazine and Mr. Swanson’s article through the Facebook/Star Trek grapevine and it was enough for me to purchase a physical copy from the MH website.

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of the model as well as AMT’s enduring connection to Star Trek, Mr. Swanson penned a series of new essays, drawing inspiration from his original article. In addition hosting these on a site he maintains, Liftoffworks.com, the essays are also being shared on the CultTVman, the absolutely off-the-charts awesome website devoted to all things science fiction and monster models. Seriously, if you are at all interested in this topic, you need to bookmark this site. The sheer width and breadth of essays, build walk-throughs, reviews, and other information about models old and new is – in my mind, at least – unmatched. Plus, I don’t mind saying they’ve managed to separate me from more than a bit of my money over the years. You can read all of Mr. Swanson’s Enterprise essays by following this link:

CultTVman.com: AMT’s Enterprise at 55

AMT Enterprise model. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum

Like a lot of people, building this particular model fired my imagination as a young kid. It fueled an interest in the original series that went beyond just watching those reruns every day after school. Having my very own Enterprise — along with those super groovy Mego action figures — drove me to create my own adventures for Kirk and the gang. It’s not at all a stretch for me to draw a line from those childhood imaginings to the Star Trek stories I now get to write as an adult.

I don’t know about anyone else, but reading all this stuff and seeing the pictures of different people building and enjoying their models makes me want to break out the tools, glue, and paints and see what sort of trouble I can cause.

Happy Breakaway Day!

Yep. On this date 23 years ago, the lives of the 311 men and women living and working on Moonbase Alpha…took a turn.

Moonbase Alpha, September 13th, 1999: And you thought your day sucked.

This is another one of those holidays I think are tragically overlooked by the various greeting card companies. Come on, Hallmark! You’re leaving money on the table!

Anyway, here’s hoping you can spare a thought or two for the Alphans while you’re going about your day.

Happy Judgment Day!

Roses are Red
Violets Are Blue
Humanity’s toast
Suck on my big fat CPU.

Love, Skynet.                                             

Judgment Day: August 29th, 1997. Sunblock optional.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of humanity and the rise of the machines.

Here’s hoping you can get out, enjoy it, and maybe take advantage of all the sales!

Tuesday Trekkin’: Favorite “Behind-the-Scenes” Trek books!

Yep, it’s Tuesday.

A check of my blog tells me it’s been a little over a month or so since my last entry in this stuttering, staggering, “irregularly recurring” feature that’s little more than an excuse for me to babble on a bit about some bit or bob of Star Trek fandom. This usually translates me to waxing nostalgic as I recount a fondly remembered bit of oddball merchandise or collectible, anniversaries, “milestones,” or important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my fancy on any given day.

As for the “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker, it’s a salute of sorts to Dan Davidson and Bill Smith aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” Their fan group over on Facebook, Camp Khitomer, is devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. Sometimes, they also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there, inviting members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

In an unreleated but welcome bit of synergy, today is also National Book Lovers Day, so now I’ve got a perfect excuse to roll out some fannish observations about a few of my personal favorite Star Trek books. For this exercise in full frontal nerdity, I’ve opted to take a look at a handful of my favorite “Behind the Scenes” from various corners of the Trek franchise. You can do that sort of thing when you’re an alleged adult. People dont even look at you weird when you check these out of the library or plonk them down on the counter at a bookstore. Go figure.

First up? The daddy of all such tomes devoted to the care and feeding of the Final Frontier: The Making of Star Trek. It doesn’t get any more “You Are There!” than this, written by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry and published in 1968 while the original series was still in production. It chronicles the show’s creation and development through its two pilot episodes and transition to weekly series, and recounts various production highlights through the conclusion of its second of three seasons. This very much makes it a time capsule from that period, not just as a Star Trek reference but also an insider’s look at just how a television series of the late 1960s was made.

Considered by fans as a companion piece to The Making of Star Trek, The Trouble With Tribbles is David Gerrold’s in-depth recounting of the development and production of one of the franchise’s most memorable episodes by the man who wrote it. Featuring initial concept notes, script drafts and revisions, as well as notes and insights as his story was put before the cameras, told from the unique perspective of someone who was there as it happened. This wonderful morsel of Star Trek production history is currently available in electronic format from Mr. Gerrold’s website, along with another book he wrote which is also a favorite of mine, The World of Star Trek. These books along with The Making of Star Trek, which I first encountered while still in elementary school, ignited an interest in the show’s production that fascinates me to this day.

Though written as a retrospective, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story still makes for a nice bookend with The Making of Star Trek to round out a history of the original series. This first-person tale recounts the show’s genesis, production, and enduring legacy, presented by two of the three men who were there from “Day 1,” Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman. Despite a few factual errors – likely misrembrances owing to the passage of more than 30 years from the show’s production to the book being written – the insights offered from people in the trenches makes Inside Star Trek is still one of the better entries in this category, and does its own bit of fueling my continued obsession with the production of the original series.

The most recent of the books I’m calling out here, Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Inside the Art and Visual Effects is an absolutely gorgeous, oversized coffee-table tome brought to us by authors Jeff Bond and Gene Koziki. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the film’s theatrical release, the book takes a detailed look at the unleashed imaginations and artistic brainstorming of the numerous people who guided the first (and, arguably, still the most ambitious) Star Trek feature film from concept to reality. Of course I had my copy pre-ordered the nanosecond I heard about it, which ended up being about a year ahead of the book’s publication.

Sticking with the current theme, I have tip my hat to Chekov’s Enterprise: A Personal Journal of the Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Walter Koenig (who’s definitely no slouch as a writer, either) presents a very candid diary from the perspective of Lieutenant Chekov himself. Like The Making of Star Trek, there’s a definite “There on the set” vibe permeating the book’s every page, offering a lingering look at the daily grind of the film’s production. Mr. Koenig gives us welcome insight into the process of the cast “re-learning” how to do Star Trek after so many years away from their roles, along with the numerous obstacles face by Gene Roddenberry, director Robert Wise, and the entire crew to bring the film to fruition. It’s not all roses and unicorns, but you can’t beat the insider perspective Mr. Koening provides.

To close out this installment, I’m stepping away from the original series to salute not just one of the best Star Trek behind-the-scenes books but perhaps one of the best such books written about producing television, period. I refer to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, published in August 2000. Working from notes and interviews compiled as the series progressed from initial concept to its final episode, authors Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block offer us as complete a history of the series’ seven seasons as we’re ever likely to see. Worth the price of admission all on its own is the collection of anecdotes and interviews from the production staff, who give us a no-holds-barred look at the show, episode by episode and never shying away from telling us what they thought worked and — more interestingly — what they thought fell short….in some cases, very short. As a sort of companion to the Companion, Erdmann and Block along with DS9 visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel wrote The Magic of Tribbles, an e-Book exclusive which details the development and execution of “Trials and Tribble-ations,” the show’s wonderful 30th anniversary tribute episode to the original series.

Okay, I suppose that’s enough babbling for one day. There are, of course, numerous other titles I could’ve included in the mix, but then we’d be here all day. No, I didn’t forget your favorite but feel free to share it down in the comments. Happy #TrekTuesday, and Happy National Book Lovers Day!

(Note: Some of this material repurposed from an article I wrote for StarTrek.com in 2014.)

Shore Leave 42 schedule!

Con, ho!

With the past two years spent conducting our business in the virtual realm, Shore Leave – the actual, in-person, in-the-panel-rooms, in-the-bar-after-hours experience – is back! After pandemic-induced exile for the 2020 and 2021 shows, I am so very much looking forward to reconnecting with so many people I only get to see at this convention.

(Here’s hoping the gods overseeing air travel allow Kevin and me to make a successful transit there and back.)

So, yeah! Shore Leave is happening this weekend at the Delta Hotels Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn, and thanks to the wonder that is scheduled blog posting, I’m writing this on Monday, July 11th so that it can be posted the morning of Friday, July 15th, while I’m either sleeping or wandering around somewhere in the Baltimore area.

With only a couple of exceptions, I’ve been attending this con for nearly twenty years. Along with our annual jaunts to Denver for StarFest, this is my favorite con to attend. In addition to being a fan-driven show run by a dedicated group of volunteers rather than some corporate entity, I’m fairly certain it’s also the largest gathering of Star Trek writers of every sort. And as I’ve already said, it’s one of the few times even when we’re not dealing with pandemics that I get to see many of my friends and colleagues who call the East Coast (mostly New York and points nearby) home.

As is usually the case, the convention is boasting a pretty solid roster of media guests, including (as I write this…subject to change) Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Legends of Tomorrow), Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau from Firefly and Serenity, Gates McFadden (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Robert Duncan McNeill (Star Trek: Voyager), Aimee Garcia (Lucifer), Jessie Usher (The Boys), and Eddie McLintock (Warehouse 13, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

There are also more author and science guests than you can shake a lightsaber at. Check out the con’s main Guests Page for all the details.

Meanwhile, you can for sure find this particular author guest at the following locations and times during the weekend. Plan your stalking accordingly:

Friday, July 15th

Small Screen Dominance – 7pm-8pm – Salon A
Star Wars and Star Trek have both had incredible new lives on the small screen, with multiple series thriving on TV. What does long-form storytelling enable that’s limited by two-hour movies? I’ll be joining Robert Greenberger, David Mack, and Laura Ware.

Meet the Pros – 10pm-Midnight – Hunt/Valley Foyer
The con’s annual mass author autographing event! Bring your books and whatever else you might want signed by any of the convention’s author guests. You should be able to track down a particular author throughout the weekend, but this is the main event. A local bookseller will also be on site all weekend, with plenty of new release and backlist titles from all the attending authors.

Saturday, July 16th

Worldbuilding and the Star Trek Universe – 12pm-1pm – Derby
Encompassing all of what’s new in Star Trek, from the shows to Star Trek Online to tie-in properties like comics, novels, this IP is expanding, with new creators and production designers bringing fresh perspectives. I’ll be on the panel with Derek Tyler Attico, Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, Kelli Fitzpatrick, and Amy Imhoff.

What’s Coming in Star Trek Fiction – 3pm-4pm – Salon E
Pretty much what it says! For this panel, I’m hanging with Christopher L. Bennett, Greg Cox, David Mack, and Scott Pearson.

Sunday, July 17th

Indy’s Back! – 11am-12pm – Derby
After changes of director and writers, Indiana Jones 5 is done shooting, in post-production, and due in theaters June 2023. What do we know about it, and are we excited about one last adventure—or dreading it? I’ll be cracking the whip with Rigel Ailur, Kevin Dilmore, T.J. Perkins, and Howard Weinstein.

In and around all of the scheduled activities going on all weekend, I’ll be checking in on other panels, checking out the vendors room, and hopefully spending some time chatting with people I don’t get to see nearly often enough. And after each day’s obligations are met? Be sure to find most if not all of us in the hotel bar. It’s not just tradition; it’s a moral imperative!

Maybe I’ll see you there!

shoreleave-logo

Tied-Up With Tie-Ins: seaQuest DSV!

So, yeah. It’s been a minute since the last one of these. Where does the time go?

For those among you who are new to following the questionable expenditure of electrons that is my blog, one of its “irregularly recurring features” is something I like to call, “Tied Up With Tie-ins.” It’s here that I take a fond look back at a favorite series of novels based on movies or television series.

Given my penchant for nostalgia and collecting old books, I figure this is a nice intersection for those two interests, which often means I’m revisiting something older, such as the many different tie-ins which were all over the place during my childhood and early adulthood. That said, I’m certainly not above babbling about something published much more recently if it trips my trigger. A few of the subjects previously tackled represent books or book series which inspired a film or television series, so that’s obviously on the table. One example I’m pondering for a future entry is the series of “Walt Longmire mysteries” penned by author Craig Johnson and the basis for the Longmire TV series. I guess we’ll see, eh?

Meanwhile, for this entry, we’re setting a course for the 1990s and heading back to the ocean, “for beneath the surface lies the future.” At least, that’s what they told us in 1993 about the far off year of 2018 and the undersea world of seaQuest DSV.

Continue reading “Tied-Up With Tie-Ins: seaQuest DSV!”

Tuesday Trekkin’: “Mesin Waktu, Mr. Spock.”

Me: “I’m not buying another Star Trek book or comic unless it’s something really, REALLY obscure. Like, you know…something published in Indonesian, and adapting for my reading pleasure an equally obscure piece of Star Trek merchandise, and ONLY THEN if I have no hope of understanding anything it says.”

Life: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Yeah. It’s like that.

TrekVM-01
TrekVM-05

Old school Star Trek fans likely know that View-Master, the wonderful company which has been offering since 1939 all sorts of photographic and (later) stereoscopic imagery goodness for education and entertainment, has not forgotten the Final Frontier.

View-Master dipped its toes into the Star Trek pond no fewer than five times, with packets of stereoscopic “3D” images showcasing the original series episode “The Omega Glory” and the animated episode “Yesteryear” (packaged as “Mr. Spock’s Time Trek”) along with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Their final entry highlighted the second-season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “A Matter of Honor.”

Of these, the “Yesteryear” adaptation is the most interesting. Rather than rely on set or publicity photography as was the case with its live-action counterparts, “Mr. Spock’s Time Trek” benefits from Filmation’s having rendered special recreations of the selected images designed for use with the View-Master format.

Way back when, the resulting packets of three “card wheels,” each featuring 14 images (2-each, working together to achieve the intended 3D effect for 7 distinct images per wheel), was accompanied by a booklet summarizing the story being told. The text was partnered with illustrations, which in this case are different from those depicted in the images. View-Master actually issued this in two versions: the “regular” edition, and one with a soundtrack narrating the text from the booklet.

You’d think that would be enough glomming onto one bit of Trek lore, right?

Wrong.

About five years ago, friend Rich Handley alerted me to the existence of a book he’d never seen in all his travels as a researcher of all things obscure Star Trek. He came across it while searching for rare copies of Indonesian and other foreign language Trek comics, at which time he asked if I was interested in it.

Hell yeah. I love this quirky stuff. So, what did I end up with?

MesinWaktuSpock01

Published in 1979, “Mesin Waktu Mr. Spock” (loosely translating to “Mr. Spock’s Time Machine”) appears to be exactly what it looked like when I first saw it: an Indonesian adaptation not of the “Yesteryear” episode,” but indeed the View-Master presentation of that same episode.

It contains almost but not all of the images from the original reels, accompanied by text which – so far as I can tell – is far more detailed than the story summary provided with the original View-Master booklet. Hardcore Trekkies will grind their teeth and clench their jaws upon realizing that every single image is flipped/reversed/inverted/wrong. Personally, I think it’s hilarious:

And so it was that yet another bit of oddball Star Trek publishing weirdness found its way to my disturbingly large library.

Many thanks to Rich for turning me onto this little nugget of nostalgia. It makes me want to start digging to see what else is out there.

Happy 123rd Birthday, Indiana Jones!

Today marks the birth date of Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr., famed archaeologist and obtainer of rare antiquities, renowned professor, traveled adventurer, and all around nice guy.

If ever you need an historical artifact or object of the occult located and liberated from uptight French rivals, scheming Nazis or commie graverobbers, he’s your man.

If you’re starving in some backwater village and worried about some ancient voodoo rocks rather than finding a decent sandwich shop, this is the dude you call.

If you’ve got alien bodies that need studying before they’re whisked away to secret military warehouses, he’s good at that, too.

If you want someone to show you the folly of bringing a sword to a gunfight, he’s got it covered.

Indiana Jones: July 1, 1899 – ???

Smart, tough, resourceful, and ruggedly handsome. There are so few of us.

Were he still alive today, he’d be 123 years old.

On the other hand, he did drink from the Holy FREAKIN’ Grail. Maybe he really is still out there, crackin’ his whip and chasin’ after fortune and glory. Hmmmmmmm?

IndianaJones-1992
Indiana Jones, circa 1992

You just never know about these things. So, just in case…Happy 1234d Birthday, Dr. Jones!

Happy 50th Anniversary, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes!

“Where there is fire, there is smoke. And in that smoke, from this day forward, my people will crouch, and conspire, and plot, and plan for the inevitable day of Man’s downfall.

The day when he finally and self-destructively turns his weapons against his own kind.

The day of the writing in the sky, when your cities lie buried under radioactive rubble! When the sea is a dead sea, and the land is a wasteland out of which I will lead my people from their captivity!

And we shall build our own cities, in which there will be no place for humans except to serve our ends! And we shall found our own armies, our own religion, our own dynasty! And that day is upon you NOW!”

Sorry, humans. I guess that’s your ass.

In the “far off future” of 1991, people now live in what looks to be an oppresssive, militaristic society. Law enforcement (dressed in the finest stormtrooper fashions) is visible on every street corner, and endless directives and warnings are issued from faceless announcers as the civilian populace goes about its daily affairs.

What’s missing? Cats and dogs, all of which have died off as the result of a mysterious disease brought back from a space probe. This little bit of misfortune, of course, was foretold by chimpanzees Cornelius and Zira in the previous film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, though it’s happened far more quickly than they indicated. So too has mankind’s desire to replace their little lost subservient quadrupeds, and they’ve turned to domesticating primates. By 1991, simians are a subclass; a slave race. However, is the collective intelligence of the apes on the rise?

Could be.

So, what happens? Add one intelligent, speaking chimpanzee to the mix–himself the offspring of Cornelius and Zira–to stir up some shit. Before you know it, the apes are pissed and they’re not gonna take it anymore, and so that’s humanity’s ass. Cue revolt.

Whoops.

Released on this date in 1972 after a Los Angeles premiere on June 14th and another in New York on June 29th, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes brings almost full circle the story begun in 1968’s Planet of the Apes. This third sequel to that classic film shows–at least to some degree–what’s promised in its title and tagline. As for Conquest being “the most awesome spectacle in the annals of science fiction,” I think we all can agree this was a bit of overreach from the marketing folks (and, we all know that honor goes to Barbarella, right?).

By the time production kicked into gear on this, the fourth of the Apes films, the cycle of diminishing returns was firmly in place. With each successive movie earning less at the box office, budgets for the next one were reduced accordingly. Therefore, director J. Lee Thompson faced the challenge of convincingly depicting what turns out to be the genesis of the ape uprising hinted at in the previous film, the longterm effects of which are–of course–apparent in the first movie. And, he had to do it on a budget which probably wouldn’t cover the catering bill on a Michael Bay shoot. This was prequel-izing before prequel-izing was rampant, yo!

The first half of the film isn’t the most exciting cinema you’ll ever see, but there’s a deliberate “tightening of the screws” going on as we see Caesar coming to terms with the role of apes in modern society, and deciding he ain’t playing that game. Once he learns of the death of his friend, Armando (Montalban) at the hands of government officials, watching him slowly yet firmly begin to push the apes around him toward dissent is, oddly enough, satisfying.

A larger budget might’ve allowed for more expansive scenes of turmoil once the apes lose their shit and start tearing up the joint. Still, considering what he was working with, director Thompson does a decent enough job injecting energy and tension into the scenes of ape rebellion which carry the film’s final act. Tight camera angles and deft editing manage–for the most part–to mask the production’s sparse budget, while strong performances from Ricardo Montalban, Don Murray, Severn Darden, Hari Rhodes, and Natalie Trundy (as the chimpanzee Lisa, her third different role in three consecutive Apes outings) help to elevate the material a notch or two above the previous two sequels.

But, again, it’s Roddy McDowall who carries the film on his stooping shoulders. Starting out as a supporting role in the original Planet of the Apes before moving to top billing in Escape (another actor, David Watson, portrayed Cornelius in the first sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes), he dons the ape makeup here for a third time, but for the first time as “Caesar,” the son of Cornelius. As usual, McDowall brings a warmth and–dare we say it–“humanity” to the role, which is sort of important now, as by this point in the series we’re all firmly rooting for the apes to kick humanity right in its collective taint. He would reprise the role of Caesar in the fifth and final of the original films, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, before going on to play yet another chimpanzee, Galen, in the 1974 live-action Planet of the Apes television series.

Moving past the original Planet of the Apes, which (so far as I’m concerned) stands apart from everything which came after it, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is actually my favorite of the Apes sequels. Like a lot of folks, I’ve always wanted to see what comes next. Obviously, we know what ultimately happens, but that still leaves plenty of room for a whole assload of stories set between the events of this film and the next one. Some of that territory has been explored, mostly in comics published by three different companies in sporadic fashion over the past 40-odd years.

And, lest we forget, it’s Conquest that provided much inspiration for the “reboot” Apes films: 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the ApesDawn of the Planet of the Apes from 2014, and 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes. Indeed, you can also see more than a bit of Battle DNA in the latter two films.

Not a bad bit of legacy-leaving, if you ask me.

Happy 50th, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

Tuesday Trekkin’: “Book it.”

“What’s this, Dayton? Trying to resurrect another dormant corner of your staggering, stuttering blog?”

Yeah, it’s been a minute since the last time I did one of these.

For those wondering what I’m on about, “Tuesday Trekkin’” is basically a transparent ploy which allows me to yammer on about some bit or bob of Star Trek fandom. What this means is I wax nostalgic, recounting a fondly remembered bit of oddball merchandise or collectible, anniversaries, “milestones,” or important dates in franchise history, convention memories, or whatever else tickles my fancy on any given day.

The “Tuesday Trekkin’” moniker is something of a salute to a pair of friends, Dan Davidson and Bill Smith aka “The Hosts of the TrekGeeks Podcast.” They have a fan group over on Facebook, Camp Khitomer, devoted to all things Trek where all are welcome to join in their positive vibes and community. Sometimes, they also like to push a #TrekTuesday hashtag over there, inviting members to share updates, links, and/or pictures celebrating their fandom, so this feature is definitely offered in that same spirit.

What’s on the agenda today? Well, to begin, this wasn’t something I’d planned on doing until earlier today, after I posted a picture on Facebook:

“The Elysian Kingdom,” the eighth episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ inaugural season, sees Captain Pike and the crew of the Starship Enterprise acting out for reasons not immediately known to them the storyline from a fictional novel, The Kingdom of Elysian. What viewers might not have caught when a copy of the book is shown on screen is the author’s name: Benny Russell.

Of course hardcore fans will know that Benny Russell, a creation of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is the persona Captain Benjamin Sisko inhabits thanks to visions induced by the Bajoran Prophets in the sixth-season episode “Far Beyond the Stars.” Russell, a writer of science fiction stories in 1950s New York, confronts systemic racism in both his work and personal life. Despite vowing to continue fighting for what he believes is right, he suffers a mental breakdown and is committed to a psychiatric hospital. Thanks to the visions, Sisko finds the strength within himself to continue his vital role in leading Starfleet forces to defeat the Dominion. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing it, “Far Beyond the Stars” is widely recognized as one of DS9’s best episodes and one of the all-time great Star Trek stories.

The episode never actually confirmed that Benny Russell was an actual human writer in the mid-20th century rather than simply being a creation of the Prophets, but there was nothing to refute the idea, either. The book cover in “The Elysian Kingdom” retroactively confirms that Russell was a real person…at least within the Star Trek universe.

Meanwhile, I started thinking about other books we might’ve seen in various Star Trek episodes which were their own flavor of Easter egg. To be fair, there aren’t that many, but the ones we do see? They’re definitely fun.

First up? We go to “Horizon,” a second-season episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. In it, Enterprise helm officer Travis Mayweather visits the Earth Cargo Ship Horizon, a civilian vessel crewed by his family and where he was born and spent his early life. Among the books on the shelf in the quarters he uses while visiting is a large white tome, Chicago Gangs. Though the title isn’t the same, this is obviously meant as a wink and a nod to a similar book, Chicago Mobs of the Twenties, left to the people of Sigma Iotia II by the crew of an Earth ship called the…wait for it…Horizon, as detailed in the original Star Trek series episode “A Piece of the Action.”

Hee hee. Also? Hee.

You can click on this, you know.

Things get a little more mischievous when we return to “Far Beyond the Stars.” For this episode, the production crew had a field day creating props and set dressing that included covers to science fiction books and magazines one might find in the 1950s.

Among these were several covers for Incredible Tales of Scientific Wonder, a fictional counterpart to such magazines as Amazing Stories, If, Astounding Stories, and Galaxy Science Fiction to name just a few. Indeed, Galaxy‘s covers of that period were the visual springboard for Incredible Tales.

For the “March 1953” issue, several of the faux covers featured “stories” riffing on familiar science fiction novels, movies, and TV episodes, but one cover went all in with the Trek references. Every story in one “issue” bears the name of an original series episode. Come on…how can you not love this sort of thing?

It’d take almost twenty years before something like that popped up again. In the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery, we’re introduced to Philippa Georgiou, captain of the U.S.S. Shenzhou and mentor to series lead Michael Burnham, who’s serving as the ship’s first officer when the show begins. In the captain’s ready room is a shelf bearing several books, and while they’re not easily readable in the episode itself, a behind-the-scenes photo reveals the truth: Each of the books is named for an original series episode.

This one, too.

Although we don’t know the “authors” of these books, the episode writers seem like prime candidates. As an alternative, I nominate James Blish.

Is that all of the self-referential Star Trek Easter eggs in this vein? I’m honestly not certain. I feel like I’m overlooking something obvious, but nothing else came to me as I was pulling this post together. If anyone thinks of another example, feel free to drop it in the comments.

And so another “Tuesday Trekkin'” installment is in the books. Hopefully I won’t wait two or three months before the next one.