870. Star Trek Star Charts
PUBLICATION: Pocket Books, October 2002
CREATORS: Written and illustrated by Geoffrey Mandel
STARDATE: Covers all of canonical Trek up to the end of Enterprise Season 1
TOPIC: A lavishly illustrated 95-page full-color glossy softcover atlas of the Star Trek universe in all periods explored on the show and in the the films up to 2002. Not only does it contain all known details about explored space in all four quadrants, but heavily illustrated descriptions of sector divisions, planet and star classes, and Dominion War troop movements. Maps go from macro (the entire galaxy) to micro (a single star system like Earth's and Bajor's), but usually show explored sections of quadrants, often with particular trade routes or famous voyages indicated. Most of the book follows standard Starfleet (human) format, but some examples of alien maps are included (Bajoran, Vulcan, Cardassian, etc.). For those who would like to rip out some pages and stick them on their wall, gatefolds of a UFP map in sections are included.
CONTINUITY: Tons, since it uses every possible onscreen reference to place star systems and stellar phenomena on a coherent map. It makes some guesses and suppositions, and tries to answer some conundrums, like how Enterprise could reach the Klingon homeworld in only 4 days, or what happened to the Valakis and the Menk (Dear Doctor), but you'd have to be a major nerd to notice something like that.
DIVERGENCES: Most divergences are due to the last 3 seasons of Enterprise and include... Archer IV is misidentified as Larocus Prime (Strange New Worlds). Klach D'Kel Brakt is misidentified as a Klingon system, when it is actually the Klingon name for the Briar Patch (The Augments). Andoria is misidentified as a Class M planet in the wrong part of space (The Aenar). The location of both Denobula and Berengaria (This Side of Paradise) was more or less contradicted on screen (Bound). In matters unrelated to Enterprise, AR-558 and Chin'toka should be in the same system (The Siege of AR-558).
ILLUSTRATION OF THE DAY - Seems like we have a lot of stuff on our side of the border.
REVIEW: Incredibly geeky, yes, but still a gorgeous book. For someone following the show attentively, it can be fun to look up certain planets and flight paths, and though there are few pieces of actual text, they're usually fun bits, like how Rigel has an inordinate amount of habitable planets, and that Rura Penthe has become a sort of space Australia. And it just looks nice. There are a couple of problems with it, however. One has to do with the book format. The softcover makes the center of each 2-page map plunge into the binding, which obscures details. This is particularly evident in the Alpha/Beta divide, with Earth sitting squarely in the seam. The other is that there's no index, so if you have no idea where a certain place would be, you'll have to play Where's Waldo with it. And though you'll be able to see where various empires are in relation to one another (the First Federation still exists?!), you might still wonder how the Kazon and Malon get to show up at so many points in Voyager's supposedly straight journey home.