I picked up The Star Trek Book because it promised to be an excellent encyclopedia of knowledge about all of the Star Trek series and films up until now, billed as a “comprehensive guide to the series”. It is an official release from CBS Studios through DK, so I had high hopes when it arrived. Did it live up to the hype? Yes and no.
The book is designed very well. The cover is eye catching, featuring a design based on the Command uniforms from the reboot series of films. Not only is there a dust jacket with the design, but the book itself has the same cover design, just in case the dust jacket is misplaced or ruined. The Starfleet emblem is even holographics on the dust jacket, giving it even more flair.
The inside is filled with color photos and stills from the series. Custom illustrations are used regularly throughout the text. There are pull-quotes, aside boxes, and captions for almost every image, so a lot of time was put into making The Star Trek Book really, really nice. The spot colors used for divider bars and text box backgrounds are well chosen and clean, making everything easy to read.
The sections in the book are sometimes arranged chronologically, and other times arranged in fairly random order. Each topic can be one page or several, depending on how broad it is. For the people and ships, the average seemed to be about two pages. However, this book is far from a “comprehensive guide to the series”. It’s definitely a broad guide to the series, but there are many, many topics which are either never mentioned at all or mentioned only in passing.
One thing that felt off about The Star Trek Book was its constant switching between past and present tense. This even happened within one sentence a few times. With six editors and three authors (and a managing editor on top of that), the book should have been more consistent in tone. I also found some of the text to be uneven, as if one or more of the authors were trying to be more “academic” rather than just finding their own voice and using that.
There were a fair number of blatant typos, including some which any spell checking program or macro would have caught. A few malapropisms found their way into the text, too (“reap havoc” instead of “wreak havoc”, for example). Again, what were all the editors doing? With 336 pages, that’s not even 60 pages per editor, and half of each page is filled with images.
Now, I’m not saying professional books shouldn’t ever have errors; a few always crop up, no matter how hard people try. However, The Star Trek Book had quite a number more than it should have, and some that shouldn’t have ever made it in.
My favorite part of the whole book was in the back. Every episode is listed with the original air date, writer, and title. Each film is listed with the writers, directors, and release dates involved. The main casts for each series and film are listed as well. Even the The Animated Series is listed (and many Star Trek reference books overlook it, for some reason).
Overall, I really, really liked The Star Trek Book. I learned a few things, got reminded of many more things, and enjoyed the great design (props to the four designers). This book—along with Federations—does a great job of cataloging a huge amount of information. As a solid fan of Star Trek, I recommend this as a good addition to any Trekkie’s (or Trekker’s) library.
Release Date: June 7, 2016 (USA)
ISBNs: 146545098X (9781465450982)
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief mention of drinking)
Sexuality: 1 (occasional brief mentions)
Violence: 1 (“historical” discussions of violent incidents)