Monday, December 03, 2007

Shatner's collision course

Poor ol' Bill Shatner is having a hard time of it. JJ Abrams hasn't asked him to be in the upcoming Star Trek movie, and now the reviews for his hardcover ST novel, "Academy: Collision Course" have been harsh - and for the first time in ten hardcovers, there's been no simultaneous audio release.

Someone had better call in Denny Crane!

Collision Course
Shatner: "Where's my audio book royalty this year?"

Shatner's main complaint seems to be in answer to a fan question of "So where is the audio book?"

Simon & Schuster Audioworks - not Pocket Books itself - seems to have abandoned the abridged Star Trek audiotape novels. Shatner's own "Captain's Glory" was its last one, and that audio title was delayed because the book itself was delayed for over two years. That's also been the only one to come out as a CD-only release, magnetic cassette tapes seeming to have finally fallen out of favour.

S&S got burned on quite a few ST titles, due to poor sales, and eventually concentrated mainly on hardcovers - but even some of those were lacklustre (eg. "DS9: Warped"). I saw the writing on the wall for the simultaneous releases when even highly-anticipated, non-Shatner ST hardcovers, such as "DS9: Unity", "New Frontier: After the Fall" and "NF: Missing in Action", failed to get an abridged audio production.

Maybe Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz's "Vulcan's Soul, Book 1: Exodus" failed to do well (in audio) for Simon & Schuster Audioworks, too, because it's been left to a company called Recorded Books to do (expensive) unabridged versions of the three volumes in that series. Interestingly, Amazon offers these as audio downloads, and has recently slashed the Recorded Books' prices from around $46 each to $12-$25. But you have to download (and burn them to CD?) yourself.

So Shatner's complaint is reflecting a drop in interest/sales in abridged Star Trek audios altogether. He needs to talk to Recorded Books. "Vulcan's Soul, Book 3" has supposedly only recently come out as an unabridged title, so there's still time.

Captains Log: Supplemental. Shatner is still crying!

Judy & Garfield Reeves-Stevens incorporated the plot and ramifications of "Nemesis" into the Shatner "Totality" hardcover trilogy ("Captain's Peril/Blood/Glory"). Sherman & Shwartz did a similar thing with their "Vulcan's Soul" trilogy - and they did it after their instalment was already out. Surely it makes sense for Shatner and Pocket to wait for the Abrams movie to come out, then incorporate whatever ideas Shatner and the Reeves-Stevenses have for "Academy" Books 2 and 3 into novels that will gel with the storyline of that ST movie.

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