Musings of a fandom geek

Sometimes, you’ve just got to say “The laws of time and space? Who gives a smeg?”

Review – Exploring the Archives

Posted by Michael Warren on February 1, 2009

Star Trek Magazines - The Archives screenshotLast week, I told you all about the new Star Trek Magazine – The Archives, and said my order had already been placed. Well, it arrived on Tuesday, and, after a few moments of confusion about what the package was (since I hadn’t actually received an email confirmation that everything was OK with my transaction), I got on with the task of exploring the product.

Each issue has been carefully scanned and reproduced, with the exception of the comic strips that were originally featured in these early issues – licensing and copyright issues have prevented that. The interface is fairly basic, essentially a navigation frame built over a PDF document, but this release isn’t really about the programming, but the content. This first volume covers what many consider to be the “peak” of Star Trek in terms of popularity and impact – the mid 1990’s, between the launch of Voyager and the release of Star Trek: First Contact.

Admittedly, there are some gripes, like the fact that the text doesn’t quite display properly – the fonts seem slightly reduced, making them harder to read as a result. Also, the “copyright restrictions” message on the comic strips is reasonable, but does it have to be displayed in place of every single page? Why not just have one page with the message on, and then skip to after the end of the strip? Otherwise, it is extremely hard to navigate past it, as you don’t really know how many pages you’ve skipped, and how many more there are before the magazine appears again. Obviously, this isn’t an issue that has to be corrected for Volume 2, since this volume contains the only issues to include comic strips, and the restriction isn’t likely to be needed again (unless there’s an issue with the novel extracts…). The navigation menu – being set up by type of feature, rather than just the order in the magazine – is not all that helpful to navigate, as it happens, particularly if you want to jump past the comic strip (since you can’t tell what the first feature after it is).

Still, regardless of all that, it is a brilliant product, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and certainly will be of interest to those who crave background information on the various series. Volume 2 cannot come soon enough for me.

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