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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
(written from a Production point of view)
The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion is a trade paperback published by Pocket Books that provides an elaborate episode guide for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, accompanied by extensive production background information.
- From the book jacket
- It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when launching a new Star Trek series was considered a risky venture. Maybe it was just luck that Star Trek: The Next Generation had succeeded. Could another show capture the imagination of viewers?
- The creators of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine built a cast of characters totally different from the more comfortable, familiar ones that had been seen on previous incarnations of Star Trek. One of the writers observed, "You can see right away they're not perfectly engineered humans... They seem more real... They represent a different way to tell a story." The setting for the show was a space station, a dark, almost sinister, alien place – the diametrical opposite of a bright, reassuring starship. This new Star Trek series set every expectation on its head – and it succeeded. Deep Space Nine created some of the most visionary, emotionally charged, and critically acclaimed hours of television ever made, and at the end of seven years it could boast of ranking at the top of the syndicated ratings year after year.
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion is the official guide to all 176 spectacular episodes of this revolutionary series. Detailed synopses, behind-the-scenes information, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew are provided for each show. Hundreds of photographs and illustrations – many never before seen – fill the pages of this book. For the casual reader or the fan who wants to know more, this is the definitive book of this groundbreaking series. From its explosive beginning to the heartrending conclusion, relive it all and see why TV Guide called it "the best acted, written, produced, and altogether finest... Star Trek series.
Background information Edit
- Terry J. Erdmann and Pocket Books saw the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion as a unique reference book: "When Pocket Books asked me to do a companion book for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, they gave me an opportunity that no one else had ever been given. Although they wanted me to do a book that was similar to the ones that Larry Nemecek and Allan Asherman had done for Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, they also wanted me to get a bit more involved in the production than those fellows had been able to, and really follow the series from beginning to end. I started going into the studio around the middle of Deep Space Nine's second season. I was introduced to all the cast and crew and started to do the work, and after a while, everyone was welcoming me to the set as if I belonged there. I was like another member of the film crew. And I just had a tape recorder running for the next five years". ("Longtime Companion", Star Trek Monthly issue 70)
- Erdmann also commented on his writing of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion: "I realized that I had been given a unique opportunity and I took it as a real responsibility. I felt that I had to do it correctly, but out of respect for both the show and the readers. I was able to wander in and out of the set at any time and at my own will, and could talk to the actors, go to lunch with people and watch everyone at work. And I thought to myself, 'I shouldn't just be having a good time here. I really seriously have to chronicle everything I see, because it's my responsibility to do that. That, of course, just made the book thicker. I haven't seen a final copy yet, but Margaret Clark told me it was 736 pages at the last count! ("Longtime Companion", Star Trek Monthly issue 70)
- On the content, Erdmann commented: "The book will have things that are unique. Occasionally, someone would tell me a cute story that I found so touching or special, I actually asked them not to repeat it anywhere. And I had enough camaraderie with the cast and crew for them to respect that. So there are some little gems that are literally exclusive to the book. I also discovered some things that no one had ever seen. - like the map of Bajor... The book has a map of Bajor that's based on the map that Robert Hewitt Wolfe started on his dry marker board on his office wall some time in the middle of the series. It's new and fresh and totally unique to the book". ("Longtime Companion", Star Trek Monthly issue 70)
- Erdmann expanded more on how the map of Bajor illustration came to be included: "When the writing staff starts with an idea, they will do what is called 'breaking the story'. They gather as a group and go through the germ of a story idea and break down pieces and expand them to a one-hour episode. Each writer could have these 'breaks' in their offices, but Robert's was so small, not everyone could fit in it. There was a dry marker board on one wall, and for two years, he sat staring at this empty dry marker board. So one day, he decided to draw a map of Bajor to spruce things up. He began drawing continents, places where cities were, places where Kira went or where Cardassians were, so it became working globe for the planet. As soon as something new was mentioned in a script, he would put it on the map. The map took on a life of its own; writers would refer to it. Why does it exist? Just because. Writers can be just as fanatical about the show as fans are. The map was a living document. Robert started it and he couldn't stop. And once it was filled in, it was useful. Because he kept and framed it, we expanded on it now we can share it with everybody". Erdmann took a photograph of the map and passed it to Alan Kobayashi, who designed the map included in the book. ("The Deep Space Nine Companion: It's the Next Best Thing to Being There", Star Trek: Communicator issue 130)
- On the final editing and publishing process, Erdmann commented: "I'm hoping the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion is educational in how a television show is made from beginning to end. And I also hope it's entertaining - very entertaining. I tried to make it as complete as possible. There are over 700 photos and drawings, and we tried to find things that hadn't been published to death. And the book will definitely have things that are unique. When Pocket Books asked me to do the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion book, they assumed they would publish a version covering the first four seasons and then release a second edition which covered the whole series. But over the years, Simon and Schuster had done a number books like that and readers had complained about having to buy two versions of the same book... So they weighed the ups and downs of waiting or splitting the book up, and ultimately they decided to wait until the end. Obviously, I was very anxious to get the book done and out on the stores as soon as I could. But while I was writing the Companion, the editors at Pocket Books were so happy with what I was doing that they asked me to write two other books, Star Trek: Action! and The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection. And both those books came out while I was still working on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion!" Erdmann was thankful for the assistance of Paula M. Block: "Paula was really helpful, especially when I was working on all three books. I think the Star Trek publishing programme is lucky to have her, because she cares so much about her work and is just so knowledgeable about Star Trek." ("Longtime Companion", Star Trek Monthly issue 70)
- Written by Terry J. Erdmann and edited by Paula M. Block over the course of the last season of the series and beyond, the book was first published shortly afterwards in August 2000 and provided episode summaries for every episode of all seven seasons, from "Emissary" through "What You Leave Behind".
- Erdmann commented on the synopses of the episodes: "In other books, there is a lot of focus on the 'A' stories rather than the 'B' plots. And in DS9, sometimes there was a 'C' story and a 'D' story. But those stories are important. I took it upon myself to include every plot line in every show. A 'B' story is Sisko looking all over the station for Jake, then finding him teaching Nog to read. That is minor in an episode and might have been left out of a book. But that story is important in fleshing out the character development between Jake and Nog, and it shouldn't be left out. And, years down the road, we found out just how important that little plot line was to Jake and Nog". ("The Deep Space Nine Companion: It's the Next Best Thing to Being There", Star Trek: Communicator issue 130)
- Designed by Richard Oriolo, the book was fashioned after the earlier The Star Trek Compendium and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion providing extensive episode summaries, but with an enhanced formula by adding more extensive, in-depth looks at what occurred behind the scenes of each episode through larger interviews with various producers, writers, main cast members, recurring actors, guest actors, directors, special effects artists and other production staffers. Unlike for the Companion's two predecessors, these greatly embellished "making-of" commentaries were richly illustrated with actually used production concept art, much of which by the hand of production illustrators Jim Martin and his successor from season three onward, John Eaves, also including the map of Bajor that Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Bradley Thompson made for use throughout the run of the series.
- The enhanced formula proved to be a strong selling point as was evidenced by, for example, the review in SFX magazine, praising the Deep Space Nine Companion as "the reference work fans have been waiting for, and the best non-fiction Trek book to date."  The sentiment, not in the least due to its enhanced formula, was shared by its readership as was evidenced at the customer review section of Amazon.com, where it has prompted a reply of gratitude from one of its authors, Erdmann. Deep Space Nine production staffers too, held the book in high regard. Ira Steven Behr, for example, often used the Companion to jog his memory about Deep Space Nine. He also once stated "Everything we wanted to say about Deep Space Nine is pretty much in that book." ("Deep Space Memoirs", TV Zone magazine, issue 50)
- The authors were actually not new to chronicling the production of Deep Space Nine. Considered a highlight and favorite by fans and production staff alike, the authors were present at the production of the acclaimed fifth season crossover homage episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", in order to chronicle its creation, which resulted in the reference book The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations, though it was initially not released in 1997 as slated. When the Companion was ready for release, the as-of-yet unpublished copy of Magic was considered to be included as part of the Companion, but was at 117 pages deemed too elaborate for inclusion. Instead, in order not to disrupt the flow of the work, an abridged summary was included, whereas Magic ultimately saw an unabridged release one year later, albeit as an eBook version only. 
- While the Companion was in the process of being compiled, it gained the rare distinction of becoming a source of production material as well, as the episode summaries, written up until then, were used in "Shadows and Symbols" to represent Benny Russell's Deep Space Nine stories that he was writing on the wall of his room.
- The expanded formula was completely abandoned with the follow-up trade paperback for Voyager (Star Trek: Voyager Companion). No companion has been released for Star Trek: Enterprise.
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion has not yet been released as an eBook like the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion was in 2012.
Cover gallery Edit
See also Edit
Further reading Edit
- "Longtime Companion", David Bassom, Star Trek Monthly issue 70, October 2000, pp. 44-47
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion at Wikipedia
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
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