With us today, we've got Keith Young, a science fiction draftsman who's been producing some high-quality blueprints for the fan community for most of the last couple decades. Keith, thanks for being with us today.
Hello, and thanks for having me.
Just to set the stage for our readers: back in 1975 Franz Joseph published "The Starfleet Technical Manual," and also the blueprints of the original USS Enterprise. In so doing he created an entirely new sub-sub-genre in Science Fiction: the whole 'tech manual' thing where we get to see how the few sections of ships and space stations we've seen fit together in semi-plausible fashion. Joseph's stuff ended up being surprisingly popular, and there was a mad dash to crank out as much 'drafting'-related SF product as possible, a trend that remains today with the 'cutaway' Star Wars books from DK, and of course other tie in books to
other shows as well. Was that initial Franz Joseph "Treknical" stuff an influence for you, Keith?
Oh yeah. Definitely! I was 13 when I first saw them. I had never seen anything like that before and I thought it was really cool. I remember they had it at our local GEMCO and every time I went with my parents to shop I would go directly to the book section to check the manual out again and to check out that packet of blueprints.
The Enterprise blueprint package was sealed and I was dying to see what the inside of the Enterprise looked like. I finally got both for Christmas that year and was thrilled to have them. Still have both to this day.
On my geek side I colored my Enterprise blueprints so I could read them easier. Like I colored the elevator shafts to make them more distinguishable from the corridors. I even colored the markings on the exterior hull including the rarely seen underside of the nacelles and underbelly of the ship. So I imagine this is where it all started for me.
As part of that first rush to get more technical SF stuff out there, in 1978, Starlog publications came out with the "Space: 1999 Technical Notebook," most of which is now online here. http://www.space1999.net/catacombs/cybermuseum/MATN/matnindex.html Unusually for the format, this came in a 3-ring binder, rather than a normal bound book form, and there was a note explaining that they intended to update the manual periodically with new sections, new pages, additional information, and so on. As a kid I excitedly waited for the updates, but they never came. That nagged at me over the years, until, at some point in the 80s, in my dim little geek brain, I finally realized it was an abandoned project and it was just never gonna' happen. And then you took it upon yourself to pick up the torch and run with it - take us through that: how did you decided to expand a long-forgotten fan publication?
When I got the SPACE:1999 tech manual I was excited and disappointed at the same time. Several prints were incorrect such as Main Mission and the Travel Tube. The interior corridor set up bugged me because the corridors themselves were not to scale. And nothing resembled the corridor map that Prof. Bergman uses in the episode FORCE OF LIFE to track down Anton Zoref. And the number of levels below the surface did not allow for the five story Eagle hangar bays .
So, for my own satisfaction , being an artist I thought I could draw better prints than what STARLOG did.
I corrected the blueprint errors. And added them to my book. Like many others I waited and waited for the next batch of prints from STRALOG and like you figured out that there would be none. From what I understand STARLOG artists were rushed to get the artwork done. Which resulted in the errors. And sales were not what they expected and the supplement packages were canceled.
In 1981 I decided to expand on the blueprints by drawing other sections of Alpha for my own use. Then in the mid 80’s