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The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J. J. Abrams

The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek
Length: 34 hrs and 27 mins
5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

Non-member price: $87.14

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Publisher's Summary

This is the true story behind the making of a television legend. 

There have been many books written about Star Trek but never with the unprecedented access, insight, and candor of authors Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross. Having covered the franchise for over three decades, they've assembled the ultimate guide to a television classic. 

The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J. J. Abrams is an incisive, no-holds-barred oral history telling the story of post-Original Series Star Trek, told exclusively by the people who were there, in their own words - sharing the inside scoops they've never told before, unveiling the oftentimes shocking true story of the history of Star Trek, and chronicling the trials, tribulations, and tribbles that have remained deeply buried secrets until now. 

The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years includes the voices of hundreds television and film executives, programmers, writers, creators, and cast who span from the beloved The Next Generation and subsequent films through its spin-offs: Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise as well J. J. Abrams' reimagined film series. 

The full list of narrators includes: Aaron Landon, Alex Hyde-White, David Stifel, Eric Martin, James Cronin, Jason Olazabal, John Rocha, Julie McKay, Martin Hillier, Nate Aldrich, Steve Marvel, and Susan Hanfield. 

Narrated by:

Aaron Landon
Alex Hyde-White
David Stifel
Eric Martin
James Cronin
Jason Olazabal
John Rocha
Julie McKay
Martin Hillier

©2016 Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mostly solid, with some really annoying issues...

So this is exactly what you would expect, lots of ST content well researched, but some frustrating things:

- There are no chapter names – chapters are just listed as 1-74, so there’s no way to skip to a specific film, DS9, Voyager etc. Why not bother with the 10 minutes of effort it would have taken to include the chapter names?

- The accents – OH MY GOD THE ACCENTS. Just read the text, man. The TERRIBLE Irish accent the guy does whenever he reads Colm Meaney’s lines is really annoying. WHY??? You can’t do an Irish accent mate, just stop. Plus one of the readers starts doing this grating fake French accent when they get to Voyager.

- Pronunciation of ST phrases – as many other reviews have said - is off. A pronunciation guide would have helped.

Otherwise, this is a good product, but the Audible production feels rushed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

You don't need to be a Trekkie to listen and enjoy this book

I greatly enjoyed this audible book but would probably had stuck with it if I had read it. I treated it like a radio broadcast while doing the mundane chores of life. The more it went into the minutiae of the backdrop of the programme and the people likes, dislikes and internal politics, the more it took on the flavour of a soap and gradually hooked me. However, best of all was the pervasiveness of the dream and the template for a kinder, better and resilient society to aspire to - by showing episode by episode what we need to stop doing. High ideatls being illustrated by imperfect beings. It's a long audible book but I believe that like me, you will feel rewarded if you stick with it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave
  • 26-11-2016

There be Light Here

My review covers the entire 50 year work, both the First 25 and the next 25. Together they add up to over 50 hours of Star Trek listening goodness.

I thought I knew a lot about Star Trek before I listened to this mammoth undertaking but my knowledge was a rain drop in a mud puddle. It's like Ken Burns does Star Trek. The Star Trek Universe, its spin offs, reboots, the lean years, feuds, Legends, its impact on Society, Technology, and the future are all there, warts and all.

My only complaint was each section began with a glossary of the people involved in Star Trek and the list is so large listening to the whole thing takes an entire hour. Being an Audiobook, it's hard to retain the list's information and it's very awkward to try and reference back to it. That said, it is easily skipped

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Z Nelson
  • 15-03-2017

The narrators are not Trek fans

Priceless stories! But the narrators pronounce many key names inconsistently and incorrectly. Nitpickers will hate that. Star Trek is it's own universe. It pulls fans out of the Trek world when we hear names pronounced incorrectly. We have spent two decades of watching and re-watching. As an example, "Betazed" does not rhyme with "amazed". But beyond that, this book is well worth spending your Audible credit.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Johnson
  • 05-06-2017

Learn to pronounce!

What would have made The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J. J. Abrams better?

This was an interesting story but the mispronunciation of multiple "Star Trek" universe words was very distressing. I think if I read the book it would have been fine. Part of the time I didn't understand what the reader meant because words were so badly mispronounced. It was sad.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kzoogal
  • 17-01-2017

Very entertaining book; not-bad performance

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I listened to this book, Vol. II, after listening to Vol. I, so I knew what I was getting into. I enjoyed it overall. I like oral-history storytelling; If you don't like the multiple points of view and diffused nature of oral-history stories, then this isn't for you. My only complaint about the book itself is that there was no mention of the controversy about similarities between Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5. It would have been interesting to hear what the people involved with DS9 had to say about it.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

As so many people have pointed out, the producers of this audiobook were negligent in letting each narrator choose his or her own pronunciation of names and characters in the story; it was particularly noticeable when three readers were featured, back and forth, pronouncing Diana Muldaur's surname alternately Mull-Dore, Mull-dower, and Mull-dawr. It isn't that hard to call the subject's agent and ask, and then instruct each performer on the correct pronunciation.There was one reader's style that grated; she over-emoted and as a result it had the tone of a preschool teacher relating juicy gossip stories, which didn't work well, for me, with the tone of the speakers who were quoted.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simone
  • 22-09-2016

SOOOOOO much drama! Who knew?

Overall, my review of volume 1 applies equally to this one: It’s an ABSOLUTE MUST for Trek Fans and totally lives up to its promise in the title of being complete and uncensored; it’s one of the best Behind-the-Scenes type books I have ever read.

Specifically, I preferred volume 2 much more than the first because I’m a TGN & Voyager fan, and I can’t believe how much drama went on behind the scenes! It was fascinating to read.

Your interest in this book will correlate directly to your interest in the various TV series and movies.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Thom
  • 15-09-2016

Shocking problems with organization and narration!

What disappointed you about The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From the Next Generation to J. J. Abrams?

I felt little thought had been put into transitioning this into an audiobook. This recording literally begins with A FULL HOUR in which the narrator reads - in alphabetical order - the names and short bios of the enormous number of people who are featured in the book. This list of "dramatis personae" is obviously meant to be a useful reference to leaf back to as you read, but no-one in their right minds would listen to this entire list, especially not before they had even heard the book!!Even the narrator seemed to be getting bored, and his reading sounded more and more stilted and computer-y as the list droned on.

Why not place this information at the end, where liteners can choose whether or not they want to hear it? Or better yet, make it an attached PDF so readers can check back as they listen to read about who is who.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Star Trek has got so many fans who are also actors - couldn't they find anyone to read this who has actually seen Star Trek? This narrator clearly has no idea how to pronounce many of the people's names, nor the names of the characters they played. This seems an especially shocking oversight considering the audience for this book is likely to be overwhelmingly made up of people who do know how these names should sound, and who care very much about the franchise that is the subject of this book.

In light of that, and since this whole book is supposed to be a celebration of Star Trek, the least I would expect a professional to do is ask how these words are meant to be pronounced. One slip would have been understandable, but consistently, regularly mispronouncing name after name just seems lazy and disrespectful - to the creators of Star Trek and to its fans.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • advancedrebel
  • 14-09-2016

Captivating.

The next 25 years is an insight into the continuing evolution of Star Trek. This volume gives you an overview of the creators struggle to get the franchise back on TV in the late 80's and to keep the franchise alive decades after the creators death.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • stufff
  • 23-06-2019

Great material, terrible audiobook

The information in this book is worth it for any Trekkie, however I think you'd be much better off with the print version. This book is simply not written in a way that works in the audiobook format. 99% of it is told in the form of presenting someone's name and then a quote that is more or less relevant to the content. Unfortunately a lot of the time after the quote is over you may want to recontextualize it by checking the name again or even looking up who that person was, easy in print, pain in the ass in audio format. There is almost no narration outside the string of quotes.

The quotes are voiced by several different readers and some of them were absolutely dreadful and clearly had no familiarity with Trek, no motivation to check the pronunciation of unfamiliar words, and whoever edited the audio didn't care to correct them. Some of the mispronounced words that jumped out at me:

Qo'noS - que-no-es instead of KRO-nos
Kazon - Kah-zon instead of Kay-zon
Marquis - Mark-ee instead of Mah-key
T'Pol - Tee-Pol instead of Tuh'Pol
Locutis - low-cut-us instead of lo-ku-tus
Ensign - in-sign instead of en-sin

That last one isn't even a made up Trek word, it's just a normal English one. The funny thing is a lot of the book focuses on the bad tendancy to have people involved with Trek who didn't know our care about Trek, but it made the same mistake with the voice cast for this book.

Again, lots of great information here, the author did a fantastic job, it's just the audio version that is lacking.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mitch Hicks
  • 15-02-2017

Great Information, Bad Pronounciation

They mispronounced Kazon. Several times. I don't understand how you can have a book geared towards hardcore fans and not give your narrators a pronunciation guide. They mispronounce several key names, but usually it's just one person and one time. Talking about the Kazon was the worst offence and it drove me crazy.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dubs
  • 22-09-2016

Good book, mediocre producing

Many glaring pronunciation errors hurt otherwise solid narration, I blame the producers/directors, maybe_they_shoulda_watched some Trek....

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Harry
  • 14-01-2017

Fascinating insight, with some frustrations

Overall, I've enjoyed both parts of this book and would definitely recommend them for any die hard Star Trek fans, or people curious to know what might have been and what goes on behind the scenes.

Some of the stories I'd heard before, many of them I had not. Some of them make for uncomfortable listening when it becomes pretty clear that people you'd admired and/or defended aren't quite so great after all.

A few things that did start to bother me, however, particularly in the second half of the book:

- One of the performers sounds very bored when it's his turn to read, which I suppose is understandable after such a long book but it comes across in the reading.

- Some of them start to do 'accents' for people they're representing, which are distracting as those accents weren't done earlier in the book (particularly the guy born in Germany who apparently speaks with a strange Chinese/French accent!).

- There are some awkward pronunciations of character and place names, especially during the DS9 section. Admittedly this will probably only irritate Star Trek obsessives like me ... but surely they could have had somebody to guide them during the recording?

Overall - it can be quite a dry book that casual listeners might struggle to get through. But for a Star Trek fan who loves behind the scenes gossip and information, especially hearing about what might have been ... it's an essential purchase.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian Condron
  • 31-10-2016

Good story, poor narration.

An informative book, good for any Star Trek fan, but let down by awful narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tore
  • 25-08-2017

SHOCKING!

O-M-G ! If the first 25 years was problematic, watch out! Here comes The Next Generation! The book really comes to the head during these years. GR goes from being bad ass to just being bad. If there's one thing you'll leave in the head after reading this book, it's the notion that Star Trek was a success because of Gene Roddenberry.

And if you are too far gone into the Star Trek Fandom scheme, watch out! This book will stuff your head in the head and give it a good cold washing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Fiona
  • 14-04-2019

Worth the 34+ hours, though it has... moments

The content is not at issue; it's an oral history and the vast majority of people listening will be Trekkers and will almost certainly enjoy the material. The thing that will have people pausing because they can't quite believe what they heard will be the pronounciations and accents.

Be-tazed is apparently Deanna Troi's home planet (the one that also fell to the Dominion during In The Pale Moonlight). There are other howlers that could fairly easily have been avoided, had anyone involved with the production of this audiobook (well, maybe not the narrators, I guess they just sit in their booths and read the way they're told to) thought to get even minimal guidance - every Star Trek script had a pronounciation guide at the beginning, and Trek fans aren't exactly a rare breed.

Borderline offensive, though, is the attempts at accents. Winrich Kolbe is indeed German. I've no idea what he sounds like, but there's no need for the narrator to put on such an awful accent. Similarly, Karl Urban is a Kiwi. The accent used for his quotes seemed to wander around the antipodes by way of East London. There was no narrative benefit to that, and I'm still at a loss to come up with a reason as to why anyone thought it was a good idea.

Overall, I don't regret using a credit to buy this audiobook, though if I want to refer back to it, I'll invest in the paperback and try to forget the worst of this!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Neil Argue
  • 28-02-2019

If you love Star Trek...avoid.

There is no doubt this is good value for money at over 34 hours but that's about all I can recommend about it.

It's narrated by multiple people, a few are ok but some are awful. As some others have pointed out, one (old sounding bloke) sounds bored and like a few others, makes no effort to pronounce the names of real or fictitious people and places correctly. Surely someone could have helped? Maybe they could have done a minimum of research beforehand? In addition to this frustrating annoyance, he insists on pronouncing Star Trek as "Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar Trekkk" every single time as if he's announcing the Saturday Morning version of Flash Gordon. Just when you think he's shut up and someone reasonable takes up the story, he returns..Oh and "Gene Roadenberry?" If you can't even pronounce his name correctly, what's the point?

As for content, it's mostly 35 hours of people saying what they really think about everyone else related to the series and I don't think anyone comes out of it well. Everyone seems to have been a self-serving idiot or a total b**tard. Nobody involved seems to have been happy at any point. I'm not making this up. I persisted to the end, by which time, I was so downhearted about the whole franchise, I am forced to wonder if I'll ever be able to watch the series in the same way again. Star Trek Fans - Avoid!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cheryl
  • 30-08-2018

interesting listen.

I found it to be an interesting listen, recounting the thoughts and ideas behind the franchise. this may not be for everyone but for me a fan of all things 'trek' I loved listening to the creative essence of the episodes, in particularly the thoughts of the creators, actors and crew. we hear from the writers and producers from time to time but this was much more in depth.
I enjoyed the listen to both this and the first book. They are very long, but cover each film or t.v. programme in depth. Die-hard fans will enjoy!

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  • Akeel Ahmad
  • 24-10-2017

Pretty Good, actually

This is good, I've listened to it a number of times now and it goes in deep behind the scenes. However, one thing that did jump out at me is that the narrator does not appear to know how to pronounce Betazed - Deanna Troi's home planet.
It's pronounced 'Beta-Zed'... it does not rhyme with 'Dazed'

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  • Graham
  • 10-09-2017

Gloriously detailed and essential for every ST fan

I have read IT ALL but this book has so much i didnt know. Facinating & Fabulous

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gus Honeybun
  • 05-09-2017

Interesting, with terrible narration

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narration in this volume is often awful. Several of the narrators are people who it would be difficult to listen to in normal conversation, and yet apparently they are prolific narrators of audio books. One woman in particular drives me up the wall. She attempts to speak with personality and passion, but she reads everything with a horrible smirk (and invariably trailing syllables at the end of each sentence) that makes everyone she reads for sound obnoxious or foolish.Pronunciations are also laughably bad (Voyager's first officer is apparently someone called 'Shah...COTAY' and their principal enemies in season one were the Kah Zon). Pronunciation is very bad throughout. It's bad enough that I considered just giving up.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vikki Marie Gaynor
  • 17-05-2017

Trek explained

I found those book fascinating as I am a trekki. lots of useful inside information and a brilliant listen.
a little hard to follow sometimes as it moves though the cast very quickly however you get used to it and I have looked forward to every chapter