Star Trek: Star Charts by Geoffrey Mandel is a Star Trek novel showcased in the Outpost 10F Library.
Order from!
Star Trek: Star Charts

Rating: Star Trek: Star Charts by Geoffrey Mandel is a Star Trek novel rated */5 by this reviewer
Series: All
Published: October, 2002
Author: Geoffrey Mandel
Review by: CL8 Sonata Form

Star Trek: Star Charts is one of those books you never hear about until you see it sitting on the shelf at your local bookstore. Within 5 seconds, you go from not even knowing of its existence, to "what the heck is this?" to "I MUST buy this!"

As you'd probably expect, Star Trek: Star Charts is the very first comprehensive Star Trek atlas. It is chock full of detailed maps of known space, and more general maps of all four galactic quadrants. At any time, you can flip open a map of the alpha or beta quadrants and find Vulcan, Qo'nos, Tellar, and many other Star Trek planets you've come to know and love. The maps include political boundaries, spatial phenomenon, historical points of interest, and color-coded system markers which indicate the stellar makeup of any given solar system.

The book also gives us Starfleet's planetary classification system, as well as the non-fictional classification system for stars. There are fabulous illustrations of not only the Terran system, but also of systems such as Vulcan and Talos. The amount of research which has gone into this book is massive. For example, many of the fictional systems have been made to correspond to real stars (Vulcan is 40 Eridani). The maps are current with our knowledge of the Star Trek universe up to the first season of "Enterprise".

Unfortunately, the book is not all sugar and spice. Despite the gorgeous illustrations, some of the design elements of the book are hideous: quite enough to make a seasoned web-designer cringe. The header which appears on top of almost every page is particularly garish. For a book where so much is based on visual appeal, this is a bit of a blunder.

Also, looking at vast, 3D space on a flat page can get a little, well, flat after a while. The author, although briefly acknowledging the multi-directional nature of space, presents the galaxy as a pancake: not thick enough in comparison to its length and width to map as a 3D object. After seeing the beautifully rendered galactic map in the November 2001 issue of National Geographic, I'm afraid I've been a bit spoiled.

All being said, I would feel downright stingy if I didn't give these beautiful maps at least four stars. For the Star Trek trivia nut, Star Trek: Star Charts is a must for your collection, and will fit very nicely beside your Star Trek: Chronology, Star Trek: Technical Manuals, and Star Trek: Encyclopedia.

Title: Star Trek: Star Charts
Author: Geoffrey Mandel
Review by: CL8 Sonata Form