Ask Simon Hugo, one of the editors who has edited several Star Trek collections books, what he’d like to be doing, and he would tell you exactly what he’s doing right now. He spends his working days deeply mired in Star Trek. His most recent contribution was the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 & The U.S.S Defiant Illustrated Handbook which released on February 9th by Hero Collector, the publishing imprint of Eaglemoss.
This lucky fan began his career in journalism when he was only eight-years-old by creating his own Doctor Who and Ghostbusters comics. He says it was so much fun he just kept doing it until he was old enough to call it a career. And that career led him to work on the official Star Trek Magazine as well as Star Wars Insider and other magazines. When one of his co-workers at Star Trek Magazine moved to Eaglemoss, the publisher behind the collections books, Simon was recruited and soon began contributing to The Official Starships Collection, which was yet another step forward in his dream world that began with his first love, Star Trek: The Next Generation.
As much as he loves that series, though, he says if he could only ever watch one show again, it would be Deep Space Nine because “it’s the first Trek series to be full of people rather than heroes.”
Fascinated by these collectors books, I asked Simon to walk me through the process of collaborating on one of them like Deep Space Nine.
"We’re very lucky on these books that we have the archive graphics from the Star Trek Fact Files, which were published in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The first stage of the process involves designers and editors going through that archive and thinking about how those unique graphics can form the backbone of a book. At the top of the team, Ben Robinson always has that vision in his mind, and knows what is possible, but actually wrangling the archive to achieve that vision can be quite a complex job.In this case, my involvement really started after the archive had been plundered. I started to think about what, if anything, was missing; what needed to be updated based on information that wasn’t available when the Fact Files were produced; what sequence of information made most sense… That sort of thing. Only when that is all agreed and largely locked down does the writing begin. Then it’s mostly just me getting on with it, pinging thoughts and possibilities for design tweaks back and forth with an editor from time to time."
He said he “probably worked on [the book] solidly for about three months, but, as I say, there was quite a lot of planning done beforehand. There’s also all the proofing and image quality-checking and all the other things that various unsung heroes have to do afterwards, too. To give you a sense of the timescale, we probably started planning this in late 2019, and now it’s finally on sale in 2021!”
As a fan of Deep Space Nine, working on this collector’s edition gave Simon the chance to dig deep into the Star Trek Fact Files as well as add new information. Can you imagine getting to spend three months reading all about Deep Space Nine or one of your other favorite shows? And getting paid to do it? Talk about dream job!
This sci-fan fan has also written about Doctor Who and Star Wars, and he would love to write Star Trek fiction one day. One of his biggest interests is writing “a Trek comic series along the lines of Peter David’s run for DC in the 1980s.” In the meantime, though, he’s staying busy with the collectors books.
Right now, Simon’s is “rewatching all of TNG and writing episode guides for Eaglemoss’ Build the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D collection. Most people are probably aware that you can now build a massive Enterprise-D with working lights, but they might not know that subscribers also get a complete TNG episode guide, with behind-the-scenes insights, rare concept art, and whatever other interesting nuggets we can get our hands on. They’re really fun to research and write, and hopefully a lot of fun to read, too!”
Oh, and if that isn’t enough to see how busy this fan is, he also spent some time on the set of No Time to Die to watch scenes involving the Aston Martin DB5 because that information went into yet another book which is written, printed, and awaiting release. Called simply ‘James Bond’s DB6’, the book “covers everything you could want to know about the gadget-packed car from Goldfinger through to NTTD.” He also adds that “it’s big and glossy and you could take on a SPECTRE henchman with it.” But the book won’t release until the movie does so there is a holding pattern right now.
But next in line are two LEGO books which is another one of Simon’s childhood obsessions that has turned into a paying job. The new and updated LEGO Ninjago Character Encyclopedia and a choose-your-own-adventure- style book called LEGO Ninjago: Choose Your Ninja Mission will both be released in the next few weeks.
And how does Simon feel about how his love of sci-fi turning into a career? Well, he calls himself “undeservedly lucky.”