Saturday, May 10, 2008

Audio silence?

Simon & Schuster Audioworks hasn't abridged a Star Trek novel since William Shatner's "Captain's Glory" in 2006, and it was the first not to be released as an audio cassette. CD and download only! Obviously, Star Trek abridgments have become unprofitable, much as I enjoyed collecting (and listening) to them.

A company called Recorded Books has done a set of unabridged Star Trek audios for the "Vulcan's Soul" trilogy. But, even though I think of myself as a completist, I've had no desire to commit to the expense, let along find the time to listen to many, many hours of these stories, word-for-word, when I've already read them. I feel that unabridged audios are aimed at people who probably don't intend to read the actual book, or want to hear the whole thing again on a looooong journey.

To me, abridged audiobooks often have a fresh take on a story, even if shorter, and they sorta, kinda, feel like an official adaptation/episode.

Every now and then, a fan will ask if there's a place in the market for original audios, but it seems no one has secured the separate license for these since Simon & Schuster's three "Captain Sulu" audio-only experiments in 1994-95. I recall John Ordover, a then-editor of the print novels, once saying that Simon & Schuster was not able to present the audio tracks of the "Star Trek Academy" computer game as an audiobook, (as they had for 1996's "Star Trek: Klingon" and "Star Trek: Borg") when that game came out, because they'd let the part of their licence lapse.

If another original-to-audio series was mooted, it would be very hard to judge what the audience would be. "Doctor Who" and "Blake's Seven" went to original audios when there was a dearth of official new visuals being made. I hear "Star Wars" is about to relaunch as original audios.

Does anyone know if S&S Audio's ST license has actually lapsed, or is there a chance they intend to adapt the big, controversial crossover novel trilogy, "Star Trek: Destiny", later this year? (If they intended to, I'd assume Book 1 would be underway already.) It's odd that S&S would wait so long between audios if they did intend to produce more.

Does anyone know any contacts over at Recorded Books, and if they have more Star Trek plans?

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