THIS IS IT: the very first printing of the very first Trek book ever published. Only about 16 episodes had aired when this book hit retail shelves in January of 1967, 7 of which were in this book (sort of - see below). Star Trek was indeed, as the bottom cover proclaimed, "The Exciting New NBC-TV Series" when this book was born!
NOT in this book was the 3rd aired episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." This had been the second pilot episode made for the series, and the introduction of Captain Kirk to the show. I mention this because this pilot/episode seems to have provided most all the visuals for the art department of Bantam when formulating the cover:
- Delta Vega's fully automated lithium cracking station is the landscape to the left of Kirk's face.
- No crew member tunics have black collars.
- Spock's collar is gold (as was his tunic in this episode).
- The crewman above Spock's head:
- is leaning on a white "203R set" panel that would be fitted on the Enterprise bridge station,
- is holding the large communicator of the pilot episodes, and
- is striking the pose of Lt. Kelso just before he was killed (though the crewman in the picture is in a blue tunic while Kelso wore beige).
- The crewman above Kirk's head is holding a burned "point" that was reinspected and found faulty.
- The crewman in the gold tunic at the console is holding a wired listening device to his ear.
- The screen above the crewwoman's head reads "CONDITION ALERT" (though the colors are reversed from the show).
Not ALL of the artwork came from "Where No Man...," however. Though Delta Vega was, at first view, very red with slight brownish accents, then later was various shades of brown and grey with atmospheric cloud-cover, the artist rendered the planet as a greenish moon. Apparently having some green ink left over, he tinted Spock's face up in case the pointed ears and severely-arched eyebrows were insufficient clues to his alien-ness. And at no time in any episode did our beloved Enterprise spew exhaust flame and smoke (we'd have to wait for the movies to watch our ship in smoke (ST-ID - 2013) and flames (STIII-TSFS - 1984)).
Turning the book over, the back cover talks of Kirk being assigned to the Enterprise by "Space Service," and that Spock's father is "a native of the planet Vulcanis." Fascinating. Yeoman Rand (who figured heavily in the first few episodes of the series before leaving) gets her own paragraph write-up. Undoubtedly a perk of being a "truly "out-of-this-world" blonde."
Well, enough about the cover art and descriptions of this first book. Most all Trek fans already know about the variance between the episodes they know so well and the 'nearly-the-same' stories contained in this series of books. Here's a great description of the contents of these Blish publications:
"The stories in this volume were based on early draft scripts, and there are some significant differences between the printed version and what actually appeared on screen. Due to the lead times required for publication of print books such as these, James Blish was forced to use the only scripts available from Desilu promotions, which were draft scripts that had been discarded. As many of these draft versions have been lost in the years since the series ended, Blish's adaptations are now seen as valuable resources for those researching how the early episodes evolved from script to film."
When you hold this particular Star Trek book, you're holding an artifact created during the formation of the now-expansive Trek universe. Buy a later printing to read and keep this one in its plastic wrap, for it's a true treasure piece on any Trek collector's display shelf!