Stardate on the edge of forever

Dear Sci-fi-online,

With regard to your review of the Star Trek novel Provenance of Shadows, you note:

One thing that annoys me about this book, as an obsessive follower of stardates, is that George completely ignores the stardates of the episodes to which he refers, sticking to their production order instead (as indeed do the majority of Trek timelines). Thus, for example, the events of Errand of Mercy are said to take place before City, with Operation -- Annihilate! following immediately thereafter. In stardate order, both Errand and Operation would come after City.

I wanted to point out to you that this is not actually the case. When writing the book, I was faced with the varying orders of episodes when taken by stardate, by air date, and by production date. In an effort not to contradict any of the three, I often referenced episodes in clusters, or with deliberate vagueness. As far as The City on the Edge of Forever is concerned, though, there is no stardate in the episode, and so I stuck with both aired and produced order, which put Errand of Mercy prior to City, and Operation-Annihilate! after it.

As for the typographical errors, these haunt me as well. Though I take responsibility for them, they are primarily the result of typesetting, and not writing (which is to say that the errors occurred not during my writing but during the actual physical setup of the book by typesetters). That doesn't help, though, when it takes a reader out of the book when they encounter a typo.

Thanks for reviewing my work. Sorry it wasn't more to your liking.


David R George III

Reviewer replies:

I concede the point about The City on the Edge of Forever. Though numerous reference sources state a stardate of 3134, this is never actually mentioned on the televised episode. A better example would have been Spectre of the Gun (stardate 4385.3), which Provenance of Shadows states takes place after I, Mudd (4513.3), The Trouble with Tribbles (4523.3) and By Any Other Name (4657.5).

However, I think all of this says more about my obsession that it does about George's writing! Stardates aside, I look forward to reading the next two volumes.

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