Star Trek Primer: A Child's Garden of Space

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Title: Star Trek Primer: A Child's Garden of Space
Publisher: "Harcourt, Mudd & World," a subsidiary of boojums Press
Editor(s): Paula Smith and Phil Foglio
Date(s): March 1975
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: Star Trek LCARS Book Database
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Star Trek Primer: A Child's Garden of Space is a satirical zine of poems and art. It was published in 1975, contains 15 pages, was illustrated by Phil Foglio, and is 7" x 8".

This fanwork takes its cue from A Child's Garden of Verses, a 1885 book by Robert Lewis Stevenson, as well as other children's primers.

Its editors described it: "A parody of ST in primer form. Four episodes and the show itself are run through the grinder in this one booklet. Thousands sold to suckers just like you (like Walter Koenig)." [1]

Sample Gallery

Comments by Gene Roddenberry, Alan Dean Foster, and Isaac Asimov

[from Roddenberry]:

Dear Sharon— Your STAR TREK PRIMER is an affront to everyone who takes STAR TREK too seriously! The Great Bird of the Galaxy is going to get you. And when he does, he's going to give you a handshake, or a kiss or a friendly pat wherever you'd like it for as enjoyable a quarter hour as I've had for some time.

The booklet is better than anything of it's type we've ever seen and all of us on STAR TREK hope you'll be able to make it available to others through fanzines, conventions and so on. You, Paula and Philip are a talented threesome and we all look forward to anything else you publish. There are so many absurdities in this world (National politics certainly needs your touch) that we hope that this won't be the last we hear from boojums Press. Warmest regards, Gene Roddenberry [2]
[from Foster]: Thanks for the ST Primer...well-executed (as Kirk would say, a homicidial [sic] turn of phrase). And most amusing. And I sound like a pompous ass...It was funny. Good luck to you on all your future projects. You might be Interested In the Star Trek record I just wrote for Peter Pan records of New Jersey(3 original ST stories) ...I've no idea how or with whom they're going to record the scripts. [3]
[from Asimov]: Thank you for the Primer and I suspect Harlan would like one. [4]

Reactions and Reviews

As the title suggests, this is written in the old "primer" style recently popularized in Mad magazine. However, it's all a beautiful spoof on 5 of the episodes of Star Trek. Each and every stanza is illustrated by Star Trek fandom's formost humorous illustrator, Phil Foglio. And the entire primer is written by Paula Smith, one of ST fandom's finest and most versatile writers. Everyone who's seen my copy wishes they had one for themselves. I have trouble holding on to mine long enough to review it. A must for anyone who appreciates an occasional poke at sacred cows. [5]
Boojums Press has done a Primer.
They call it the Star Trek Primer.
This is because it is all about Star Trek. It is also satirical.
That means it makes you laugh.
Ha. Ha.
A Primer is the first book you get in school.
It tells you all about something.
It is written in very simple language. This is because you can't read very well when you start school.
Does this mean Trekkies can't read?
The Star Trek Primer tells about the Enterprise,
It tells about the Captain and his Crew. It tells about the Enemies they have.
It even tells about the time Spock almost got laid,
I told you this was a very funny book.
Primers are not usually funny. (Neither is this review.)
Because they are found in schools. This one is not found in schools, unless some reader is a fish.
The only primers I have seen that are funny are in MAD magazine.
Could these writers be refugees from MAD? If not, they are just plain crazy.

The above dearly exemplifies the fact that not everyone can write Primer-Style. In fact, it takes a certain peculiarly warped mind to create this type of masterwork. This one had three: the wit of Paula Smith, the artistic skill of Philip Foglio, and the editorial abilities of Sharon Ferraro.

Not a fanzine, per se, it still merits special status in any fanzine collection and is worth at least twice the price. [6]
First, what Alan Dean Foster (ST Logs) said: Well executed... and most amusing -- and I sound like a pompous ass. Hell, it was funny!" Next, what Isaac Asimov said: "Thank you for the Primer and I suspect Harlan would like one too."

Last, what Gene Roddenberry said: "The Star Trek Primer is an
 affront to everyone who takes ST too seriously. The Great Bird of
 the Galaxy is going to get you; And when he does, he's gonna give
 you a handshake, or a kiss, or a friendly pat where ever you'd like
 it... ((hey, this ain't a porno mag...on with the review).)., .Thank
 you very much and I hope this isn't the last we hear from boojums
 Press." In case you were wondering, The ST Primer is a collection of "verse" by Paula Smith (that's what they call it...tho it reads more exactly like one of Mad magazine's primers) and incredibly hilarious illos by Phil Foglio...can not be described at all adequately on paper... you just have to see the thing. It's advertised as being guaranteed to crack a Vulcan up, so if it doesn't do the same to you (and it had me rolling on the floors at first exposure and still laughing each time I read it a week later) you must be either a) a Kelvan, b) the Enterprise computer system, c) a castrated Klingon, or d) Barbara Bain. To be more specific, it contains parodies of 4 different Trek episodes, and a general view. The 4 eps are, "Journey to Babble", "To Make Time","Quibbles with Tribbles", and "Spock's Lobotomy." Those are the titles in the Primer, anyway. It may be interesting to note that this little (14 pp.) booklet and its authors have been nominated for a Hugo.

In short. get this one: It's worth the effort, and worth twice the money just from the laughs. [7]


  1. ad in Menagerie#10 (1976).
  2. from Menagerie #6
  3. from Menagerie #6
  4. from Menagerie #6
  5. from Stardate #8
  6. from Monkey of the Inkpot #3
  7. from The Neutral Zone #5 (July 1976)