Meet the Professionals: Co-Authors and Star Trek Experts Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block
Try thinking of a place with more lore, more fanatics, and more knowledge about fiction than Comic Con. The worldwide convention has become a time to argue, geek out, and love on anyone’s favorite comic books, TV shows, and movies.
Two experts who will be at Medford Comic Con have an understanding about one of the most famous science fiction series of all time: Star Trek. Writing team and longtime Star Trek aficionados Terry Erdmann and Paula M. Block will not only be there to celebrate Comic Con’s ever-growing fan culture, but to provide insight into a series beloved by millions across the globe.
“Paula and I met at a science fiction convention in 1985,” says Erdmann. “I was a publicist working for Twentieth Century Fox Pictures. At the time I was promoting several movies, including a quirky comic book film, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, and a more adult SF movie, Cocoon, which was directed by Ron Howard. Paula and I met and we just hit it off.”
Block explains how she assisted Erdmann with her deep Star Trek knowledge in their early years. “After Terry completed his assignment as the unit publicist on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Paramount’s marketing department contacted him and asked if he knew anyone who had a publishing background and in-depth knowledge of Star Trek,” she says. Once working at a publishing house in New York, she moved to Los Angeles with Erdmann and was freelance writing. She adds, “I had both qualities that Paramount was looking for—so Terry suggested me! I got the job, and worked for the studio for almost 20 years.”
Block’s immersion into Star Trek began in high school. “Something about the show really resonated with me—the characters, the technology, the optimism about the future. Around the time that Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared on the scene, I was working for Paramount Pictures, and part of my job was to keep track of all the new aspects of the Star Trek universe.”
Erdmann’s experience with the series began in 1987 at Paramount Pictures. “When [the executive] realized they had a Star Trek movie on their agenda, she called me and offered me the ‘unit publicist’ job,” he says. “The fact is, I didn’t know much about Star Trek when they brought me in, but by this time Paula and I were a couple, and she, then and now, ranks as one of the leading Star Trek experts.”
Block and Erdmann have co-written several books together, such as Star Trek 101, Star Trek: Action!, and Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.
“We were actually tapped by the publishers to write all of those books,” says Block. “They knew our work and our professional reputation for turning out well-researched, comprehensive books.” When Erdmann was approached to write a book about the production for Star Trek Deep Space Nine in 1994, he enlisted Block’s help “with the hard parts.”
At Medford Comic Con, Erdman says, “We’re very much participatory people. We’ll introduce ourselves and talk about the books we’ve written about movie and television productions, and then we’ll open the panel to audience questions and answers.”
Blocks says, “Our books—Star Trek and others—are out there, with more to come, and we’ll be talking about them and answering any questions that fans have about them.” Having participated in several Comic Con conventions, many of them being one of the largest one in San Diego, Block is looking forward to a smaller, more personable convention. “I’m looking forward to a more reasonably sized convention,” she expresses, “be it populated by hundreds or thousands of attendees. More of a chance to meet everyone!”
Whether or not you’re a Star Trek buff––or even a science fiction buff––Erdmann and Block are looking forward to lending their insight in the entertainment industry, as well as learning about so many others that will be at Medford Comic Con.