In the era of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, it’s difficult to explain to youngsters of 2015 how the children of the 1970s and early 1980s — pre-VCR — sometimes spent hours attempting to recreate the experience of watching a beloved film again through other available means such as board games, “novelizations,” building model kits, trading cards, and perhaps most memorably of all: the photonovel.
The photonovel as a printed form arrived in the mid-1970s, just as Star Trek was reaching escape velocity in syndication and Star Wars was on the horizon. A number of different publishers, including Pocket Books, Mandala (Bantam), and Fotonovel Publications began releasing this new style of book; one which features hundreds of still images from the featured film, arranged in chronological/story sequence, with dialogue sometimes featured as comic-book-styled balloons.
Some of the most beautiful Fotonovels painstakingly recreated beloved Star Trek episodes. Installments such as “City on The Edge of Forever,” “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” “A Piece of the Action,” “The Galileo Seven,” “Metamorphosis” and “Day of the Dove” were all adapted to this format. The fotonovels were billed (on the back cover of each installment) as “an authentic recreation of an astonishing voyage of the starship Enterprise” featuring “over 300 action photographs from the episode…”