Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Cards Series - Wonderful, but not for everyone

Star Trek: The Original Topps Trading Card Series - 'Paula M. Block',  'Terry J. Erdmann'

Trading cards have always had a special place in my heart since I was in Middle school. That was when my dad first discovered Babylon 5 and bought the first box of trading cards I'd ever seen. He gave me most of his extras and I was hooked. For Christmas that year, I got a whole box of Dinotopia trading cards and I have a complete set (of non-special cards) for each of the Lord of the Rings movies. I loved looking at the various pictures and reading the backs of the cards...which often contained bits of information I hadn't heard before. I even have a good chunk of cards from one of the new Star Wars movies.


What always bothered me, however, was that I was never able to find a set of trading cards for one of my favorite things: Star Trek The Original Series. I've seen cards from Next Gen, etc. but never from TOS, which is my personal favorite. So when I saw this book on the shelf, I knew I had to get it. I know my husband thinks this has to be a stupid thing to make a book about but as this is the closest I'll probably get to having a set of cards covering TOS, I'm sold.


And the book really sells itself in some ways. The book cover not only looks like the front (and back) of the card packets, but is made of a waxy material, just like the packets were when the series was produced. You feel like you're opening your own pack of cards.


The introduction, while perhaps not entirely necessary for most of the people who would pick up this book, gives one of the best explanations of how and why Star Trek did not suffer the fate of its competition Lost in Space and went on to spawn several movies and TV series. The part that is necessary is how the cards came into being and the difficulties they had in creating them (like Paramount having almost no pictures or other images of the show for them to use - turned out to not be much of a problem as the already huge and loyal fan community had more then they could ever use) as well as other issues.



The rest of the book is made up of the cards. Each one gets the same treatment that allows the closest one can get to experiencing holding the card in their hands. One the right hand side of the two page spread, the slightly blown up full color version of the card is produced. Under it is given the episode it comes from, the air date, and who the actor(s) is(are) if any are shown. Underneath that is a small paragraph concerning either making the cards or something concerning the show connected with the specific card. The person who wrote the titles for each of the cards is a huge Sci-Fi fan and so many of the titles are homages to other films, books, and episodes from various fandoms. The facing page (on the left hand side) has the back of the card so you can look at the card and read what its back said at the same time. I will admit, that took a bit of getting used to, it should be other way 'round 'logically', but it makes sense and flows better then having to flip pages back and forth.


It was obvious a lot of time and effort went into this book and while the words are interesting and informative, this is a very visual and tactile book. You couldn't do an e-book copy of this that would mean near the same as the hard copy. An added bonus is the set of four bonus cards printed just for this book. They contain some scenes of characters such as Uhura and Scotty who didn't get much of a showing as well as finally giving Sulu a card (for some reason he never got his own card! Their choice for him shows how much they know about the show and the character.)


This is not a book for just anyone to pick up. This is not really even for a casual Star Trek fan. This book is for die-hard fans of The Original Series and/or trading cards. Those it is produced for, though, will enjoy it very much indeed.


Note: An added and hidden joy - the hardback cover under the sleeve is pink. Lifting off the sleeve reveals a picture of the piece of gum included in every pack of these cards as well. So it really is like unwrapping your own pack of trading cards.