Monday, November 10, 2008

What is Orion Press?

When Star Trek was cancelled in 1969, there were no personal computers. The Internet as we know it did not exist. And yet, fans were able to meet, to organize, and ultimately keep interest in the show alive long enough for Paramount Pictures to take notice and investigate ways to resurrect it, an endeavor which resulted in a big budget Star Trek film being released to theaters in 1979, ten years after Star Trek the television series had been left for dead.

To be sure, a big reason for Star Trek's success in the 1970s was its airing in syndication on weeknights at 6pm, thus reaching the young audience that could most appreciate it. However, the role of the fan community shouldn't be underestimated. One of the many outlets into which fans directed their love of all things Star Trek was the production of fanzines-fan-produced magazines that contained original Star Trek fiction and non-fiction articles. (Click here for a gallery of fanzine covers through the years) Fanzines went into decline when use of the Internet became commonplace, but there are still a few old-school zines kicking around out there, keeping the spirit alive. The best of these, in my opinion, are the ones produced by Orion Press. They've been around since 1979, and are home to some truly gifted and prolific authors, including Jim Ausfahl, Rick Endres, D.G. Littleford, and Randy Landers. (Randy is also the publisher)

The Orion Press website is contains the largest archive of Original Series Star Trek fiction that I've ever seen, neatly separated by timeframe. Additionally, there's a rich trove of nonfiction material, most notably the Unseen Elements page, which examines early drafts of original epsiode scripts, as well as episodes that never made it past the concept page.

The site contains a wide variety of stories. You'll find everything except slash here, including stuff that's meant for more "mature" audiences, but don't worry, the "mature audiences" stuff is clearly labeled.

Of course, Orion Press still prints old-school honest-to-goodness paper fanzines, and you can order them if you so desire. (I highly recommend it).

So, in case you were looking at the link menu on the right side of the page and wondering what the heck an "Orion Press" was, now you know.

3 comments:

  1. Randy Landers // ORION PRESSDecember 1, 2008 at 1:20 PM

    Thanks for the kind words about our fanzines and website!

    ReplyDelete
  2. As one of Randy's regular writer/consultants for almost *Gaahhh!* thirty years, I'd like to comment on how much time, effort and, yes, love he puts into his work with Orion Press. None of us - including him - gets paid for this. We do it because we love "Star Trek," we love to write, and we love to write about "Star Trek."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Randy and Rick. Guys like you are the unsung heroes of Star Trek fandom. Thanks for your hard work over the years.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment!