Review: Star Trek: The Book of Lists
Written by Chip Carter
Published by Harper Design, an imprint of Harper Collins
Hardcover, 224 pages
In Star Trek future history, physical books are still around, although treated as a sort of novelty, like Michael Burnam’s copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But are books already obsolete? Is there a need for a physical collection of information on Star Trek – a book of lists about captains’ romances, redshirt deaths and more – when the Internet lets us find all of that so quickly and easily?
This is the question posed by the just released Star Trek: The Book of Lists, written by Chip Carter, described as a “breathtaking collection of the most compelling Star Trek facts and trivia, including events from both on and off-screen spanning the 51-year history, available in 100 concise lists.”
Even just posing the question shows I’m a little cynical about the market for a book like this, but after reading it I can see the value. The Internet may be a vast ocean of information, but sometimes people would rather splash around in nice contained area. Enter Star Trek: The Book of Lists, which is a well-organized pool of Star Trek trivia.
The book is thoroughly researched and rich with information, both from on screen and off screen. It includes trivia from all of Star Trek on TV before Discovery, including The Animated Series as well as all the Kelvin-verse films.
Of the 100 lists contained the book, some favorite are:
- Particularly egregious technobabble
- Connections between TOS and the 1966 Batman series
- Pre-fame celebrity Star Trek appearances
- Fights at the Vasquez Rocks
- Twins, both evil and otherwise
- Times Captain Kirk got his shirt ripped
Carter also has a list of “best of” episodes from each series which are pretty hard to argue with, although it doesn’t include all 10 of Trek Movie’s best TNG episodes. I do take issue with his “worst of” episodes list which includes Voyager’s “The Thaw” – a standout which even cynical online reviewer SF Debris called “the best episode of Voyager’s first two seasons.” (But isn’t the best parts of lists, online and off, arguing about them? So, we won’t sick The Clown on him.)
And this book isn’t all trivia lists. For example, there’s a shot-by-shot detailing of the Picard Maneuver that at once makes you wonder why no one had thought of it before that one episode … and why no one ever talked about it after either.
The handy hardcover measuring 7″ by 9″ would comfortable fit on a coffee table or even in a bathroom (we all do it). Its cover is a sleek, futuristic silver with a TNG computer interface look. The full-color graphic design throughout is simple and straightforward with just the right amount of visuals.
So consider this cynic convinced, with Star Trek: The Book of Lists getting my recommendation. Even if you think you know everything there is to know everything there is to know about Trek, this book has some some surprises and is presented in a delightful format. And if someone wants a cursory introduction to the franchise, this book would make a wonderful present for Christmas, Hanukah, the non-Judeo-Christian yuletide holiday of their choice, or a even a fantasy Christmas in an extra-dimensional realm in which one’s thoughts and desires shape reality.