Beam up to Action and Adventure: The Library Salutes Star Trek Day

John Tommasino, Cybernaut, Van Nuys Branch Library,
Collage of some Star Trek books and movies

"Space. The Final Frontier. These are the Voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its Five Year Mission: To Explore Strange New Worlds, To Seek Out New Life and New Civilizations, To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before."

On Sept 8, 1966, actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk first spoke this iconic introduction to the one-hour television series Star Trek. Although Star Trek initially struggled to find an audience in its three-year run on NBC, the series would eventually boom into a media juggernaut with 12 television series, 13 feature films, and countless original books, comic books, video games, and assorted merchandise.

The original Star Trek was ahead of its time, depicting a racially diverse crew exploring the universe together in an era when television was dominated by police and Western shows. Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry(also known as the Great Bird of the Galaxy) envisioned a humanist future without economic strife and prejudice. Screenwriters would use the one-hour television format to address complex social issues, including the war in Vietnam in the episode "A Private Little War," racism in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," and the stigma of mental illness "Dagger of the Mind".

Science Fiction fans organized a massive letter-writing campaign to NBC to save Star Trek in 1968 when the network threatened to cancel the series. NBC would eventually cancel Star Trek in 1969 in the midst of a disappointing third season. But the show would find a second life in television syndication in the 1970s, and the fans would gather at Star Trek Conventions to meet the show’s actors and Roddenberry himself. The grassroots support of fans called Trekkers or Trekkkies would prompt Paramount Studios to bring the crew of the Starship Enterprise back in a feature film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. The success of this film would lead to five blockbuster sequels and eventually a second Star Trek series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, in 1987, with a brand new crew and Starship Enterprise lead by Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Star Trek would continue to grow with multiple spinoff series into the 1990s and beyond. Today, Paramount Studios has several new Star Trek Series to view on its streaming network, Paramount Plus, and September 8 is hailed by Trekkers worldwide as Star Trek Day.

For the die-hard Trekkies or just casual fans, here are this blogger's picks from the library catalog of the Best of Trek to enjoy today.

Live Long and Prosper!

Book cover of Star trek, the original series.    Season one
Star Trek, the Original Series: Season One DVD

Captain James T. Kirk boldly leads the crew of the Starship Enterprise into adventure and the unknown in the initial season of this legendary media phenomenon. Episode highlights include "The Corbomite Maneuver," "Space Seed," "City on the Edge of Forever," and "Balance of Terror."

Book cover of Star trek II : the wrath of Khan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan DVD

In this second feature film, Captain Kirk must battle his most formidable adversary, the genetically-engineered superman Khan (Ricardo Montalban) who seeks out the ultimate superweapon, Project Genesis. Directed by Nicholas Meyer.

star trek dvd cover
Star Trek (2009) DVD

This film, directed by J.J. Abrams, serves as both a sequel and a reboot of the original Star Trek series as Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) must contend with the mad Romulan Commander Nero (Eric Bana) who travels in time to seek vengeance. Also starring Leonard Nimoy (as Spock from the future) and Zoe Saldana (Uhura).

Book cover of The wounded sky : Star Trek: The Original Series, Book 13
The Wounded Sky: Star Trek: The Original Series, Book 13
Duane, Diane

In this original Star Trek novel by Diana Duane, Kirk, and Spock must test a new system of interstellar travel devised by spider-like alien scientists. The devious Klingons pursue the Enterprise across the galaxy, trying to steal this new device, but the very fabric of the universe is at stake every time the device is activated.

Book cover of Yesterday's son
Yesterday's Son
Crispin, A.C.

Writer A.C. Crispin follows up on the events in the classic Star Trek episode, "All Our Yesterdays," as Spock comes face-to-face with his long-lost son. An engaging read from cover to cover.

The Star Trek Compendium
Asherman, Allan

Having trouble keeping up with the Klingons? Mixing up your Gorns and your Romulans? Author Allan Asherman’s comprehensive guide to the original Star Trek series will answer all your questions about each classic science fiction series episode.

Book cover of Vendetta
David, Peter

In this Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Peter David, Captain Picard must face off with the powerful machine-like race known as the Borg and an alien named Delcara, whose race has been destroyed by the Borg. Combining concepts from both the original Star Trek and the Next Generation, David weaves a spellbinding tale of loss and vengeance.

Picard seaon 1 poster
Star Trek, Picard: Season 1 DVD

Jean-Luc Picard must come out of retirement and gather an all-new starship crew to combat a complex conspiracy involving Romulan spies and a race of androids. Sir Patrick Stewart delivers a great performance in this engaging sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Star Trek IV dvd cover
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home DVD

In this feature film directed by Leonard Nimoy, the renegade Enterprise crew returns to Earth using a commandeered Klingon warship. The crew time travels to the year 1986 to save two humpback whales, who are Earth’s only hope of communicating with a new alien menace.