Guest post by my Brother in Law, Eric!
So when I was asked if I was interested in reviewing a Star Trek book, I thought, "Why not?" I mean, I've seen all the movies but Insurrection and Nemesis and liked most of them. Plus, I've seen plenty of Next Generation. While certainly not a Trekker (official terminology), I thought not being fully immersed in Star Trek culture might actually be more of a benefit than a hindrance. And then I read On Board the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D by Denise and Michael Okuda, published by Barron's.
Turns out the thing's part Federation history, a dash of space exploration, and a whole lot of technical journal and I didn't know a Warp Drive Nacelle from an Antimatter Reaction Assembly. I had no idea how to tackle this thing. I thought of Adaptationing myself into it, but as you've figured out by now, I'm not a skilled enough writer for that. The guilt of not following through on a promise finally got me to put pen to paper.
Denise and Michael Okuda worked as scenic artist and lead graphic designer, respectively, on TNG. It's obvious they love the show and the Enterprise-D. It really comes through in this book. It begins with a brief history of the different Enterprises across the centuries from the 18th C. American naval vessel to the various aircraft carriers and shuttles that have shared the name. It then moves on to memorable voyages the various Enterprise crews have undertaken. But that's just the appetizer to the meat of the book. What follows are dorsal, ventral, anterior, posterior, and lateral views of the Enterprise-D with every possible section of the ship labeled in painstaking detail. Ever wonder where the umbilical connect points are throughout the ship? Of course not because you already knew that, nerd. But I didn't! And now you won't get lost on the way to any of the three shuttle bays. Seriously, everything that could possibly be labeled is.
But that's not all. The book then goes into detail on the details! You get to go inside the main bridge, engineering, the transporter room, sickbay, the holodeck, and more while learning about all the treasures located in said areas. Dilithium crystals and replicators? Yes please. Even the most discriminating Trekker would agree this thing is jam-packed with details. As if that weren't enough for just 40 pages, the authors manage to include character bios (Guinan!) and hundreds of pictures from the series. Not including a picture of Picard as Borg would've been futile. See what I did there?
The book's graphics mimic the look of the show seen on the various screens and consoles throughout the ship. Great thought was put into this book. It includes some beautiful fold-out pages and added to the embarrassment of riches is an interactive CD-ROM that takes you on a virtual tour of the ship. At $18.99, it's more than reasonably priced and if you're anything of a TNG fan, get this book!
Where to buy: Amazon.com or your local bookstore!