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  • Author and Illustrator: Geoffrey Mandel
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Pages: 100
  • Price: $17.95


Geoffrey Mandel Maps the Universe

By Chris Wyatt     September 27, 2002

STAR TREK: STAR CHARTS by Geoffrey Mandel is a glorious chance to grab a drink, get settled in a comfortable chair...and geek out. Mandel, who is both the author and the illustrator of the book, has actually taken on the unenviable task of buckling up and gathering every piece of information available on every planet, sun and star system ever mentioned anywhere in the TREK universe. Mandel's effort redefines the meaning of the word thorough.

Of course, Mandel didn't do it all on his own. He lists no less than eight separate contributors and technical advisors...but help or no help, its still a massive task.

The volume opens with an illuminated macro view of the Milky Way. Mandel supplies the nomenclature for the various spiral arms of our galaxy, before going on to expertly explicate the relative positions of the galactic quadrants. By page 17 he's gone as far as breaking down sector notation.

Will you ever need to know this stuff? Well, unless you're a TREK writer or novelist (or really, really hardcore gamer), probably not. But is it still just fun information to explore.

The charts depict various interesting aspects of TREK lore. For example, there are maps that chart the entire "voyage", from beginning to end of the Voyager, and graphic displays showing various troop movements during the Dominion War.

The book's information is so up to date that it not only depicts charts from ENTERPRISE episodes that have yet to air, it also shows the position of Remus, the planet central to the upcoming film NEMESIS.

The star of the book may be the thoroughness of the research, but the co-star is the art. Mandel's 100 pages of slick, full color star charts are so well done, you could almost believe they contain real life information.

For certain readers the book will have one significant drawback: lack of a cross-referenced index. As is, the book is kind of a huge information dump. So a reader who wanted to find, say, the location of Deep Space Three, would have to simply hunt through page after page of detailed maps, like some kind of hellish WHERE'S WALDO.

Still, casual readers won't crack open the volume seeking specific information. Most who use the book will sort of stroll through it, discovering interesting facts...for that this book is perfect.

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