One of my hobbies is tracking down books, music, or films from my distant past that for whatever reason got lodged in my memory. For example, in third grade a guy came and spoke to our class about the joys and benefits of reading. One kid asked, “So what are YOU reading?” and he produced a hefty volume called Russka. I supposed it stuck with me because my little mind knew there was a country called Russia and the author must have spelled it wrong. Earlier this year I went looking for Russka (by Edward Rutherfurd), which to my frustration was not widely available in most bookstores. I eventually found it at a Barnes & Noble in Miami.
My latest cerebral archaeology began a few weeks ago while watching Star Trek.
I’ve loved Star Trek since 1994, and I owe that affinity to my friend Jake. I sat across from Jake in sixth grade English. If we finished an assignment early, we could sit there quietly. (Remember when you were constantly commanded to be quiet? Still seems tyrannical.) So we had time to read in those days. For a week or so, Jake read this Star Trek book with the Tholian Web on the cover. Even as sixth grader Jake was a tall guy, and books looked small in his hands as he clutched them. Every day I’d sit opposite Jake and read my Star Trek book and look over at the cover of his Star Trek book and have no idea that we were dorks. Then one day he came in talking about how the night before he got so in depth with the reading that he finished it. And I never saw the cover again.
A few weeks ago while watching Kirk and the Enterprise crew attempt to outwit Trelane, I brought up Google and went looking for Jake’s Star Trek book.
Search: “Star Trek books”
Results: A lot of Star Trek books.
Search: “Star Trek Tholian Web”
Results: Stuff about The Original Series episode, “The Tholian Web”
Search: “Star Trek book with Tholian Web on cover”
Results: A TNG comic where the Enterprise encounters the Tholian Web.
Search: “Star Trek books 1994”
Images of familiar covers appeared (I read my share of these in middle school) and I had to scroll down a bit, but there it was.
This is the book my buddy Jake was reading in the sixth grade: Recovery by J.M. Dillard, the final book in the Lost Years series. There was no mistaking the Tholian Web and bearded McCoy. I bought it on eBay.
The poetry in looking for a “Lost Years” something from 22 years ago and finding something called “Recovery” does not escape me.