Book Review: The ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook’ Can Be Your Guide Back To DS9

Star Trek Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook
Edited by Simon Hugo
Hardcover | $34.95
Published by Eaglemoss/Hero Collector | 195 Pages

A wise barkeep of my acquaintance once said, “One man’s priceless is another man’s worthless.”

While that’s maybe a little extreme, it’s still pretty applicable here. If you’re the type of fan who likes to pore through schematics and read beautiful technobabble explanations of various bits of Treknology, this book may not be quite enough for you.

You’re not going to find the level of detail given in something like Pocket Books’ Deep Space Nine Technical Manual from 1998. You’re also not going to find the episode synopses and detailed background production info that made 2000’s Deep Space Nine Companion such a gem.

Of course, both of those books are long out-of-print (and not cheap or easy to come by unless you’ve got plenty of latinum to spare). And that’s where the Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook fills a perfect midpoint.

The book originates from the late ’90s and early 2000s when the publisher GE Fabbri released The Star Trek Fact Files, a series of over 300 “partwork” magazines covering all the canonical series and movies up to that time. Eaglemoss/Hero Collector has begun repurposing this treasure trove into gorgeous new compilations, including several volumes dedicated to how Trek starships were designed as well as looks into the Enterprise and the Enterprise-D.

The latest is the Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook, a loving and lavish look at our favorite space station. Presented as an in-universe guide, the book opens with a look at Terek Nor’s construction and operational history before diving into such topics as power generation, thrusters, and shields. And if one of my earlier comments made you think there wasn’t a lot of technobabble, well, let me just tell you there’s a full two-page spread on Cardassian Isolinear Rods. But it’s a sort of friendly technobabble – think encyclopedia vs technical journal. And it’s loaded with illustrations, including a generous number of stills from the actual series.

Sample pages from Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook

After the sections dedicated to technical systems comes the heart of the station, with pages devoted to the Command Office, The Promenade, Quark’s Bar, individual quarters and even the Cargo Bay. Interspersed are detailed looks at things like Dermal Regenerators, Quark’s Holosuites, and Infirmary Biobeds as well as a section on Docking at the station. That leads into a whole second part of the book focused on the Runabouts and the USS Defiant. The book closes with looks at weaponry – both Federation and Bajoran – as well as uniforms and insignia.

Like all of Hero Collector’s recent books, the production is first class, with quality paper, sharp images, and a friendly, readable tone. The approach isn’t going to be for everyone, but I loved the balance of “history” and tech. Take the section on the USS Sao Paulo, for instance. It opens with a couple of paragraphs describing the events that led to the Sisko receiving – and rechristening – the ship before the final assault on Cardassia. Then it covers the differences between it and the original Defiant. What you don’t get is any “real world” or behind-the-scenes production info – that’s beyond the scope of this volume.

Sample pages from Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook

For me, though, this book hits exactly the right niche. I love owning and thumbing through Trek reference books, and this is another that will be easy to go back to again and again. And though it’s not necessarily intended to be read straight through, it certainly can be. The only real critique is that the actual layout is not all that intuitive. It’s not alphabetical, and it’s not exactly grouped into easy-to-delineate sections. But there’s both a table of contents and a detailed index, making it pretty easy to locate what you’re looking for.

So if you are ready to take a pleasing, illustrated stroll through the history of Terek Nor, I recommend you follow my favorite barkeep’s advice: “Acquire.”

Available now

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook was released in February in hardcover, and you can pick it up discounted on Amazon for $26.76.  It is also available direct from Eaglemoss for $34.95.

 

The new book is the fourth in Hero Collector’s line of Star Trek Handbooks. The previous three titles are also available at Amazon: Star Trek: U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656 Illustrated Handbook, Star Trek: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 Illustrated Handbook, Star Trek: The Next Generation: U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D Illustrated Handbook.


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Though being my least favourite of the five “original” shows up to 2005, DS9 was still a superb piece of TV. But my only “guide back to DS9” would be an HD version of the show on Blu-Ray. Until then, I’ll only watch my few favourite episodes every now and then on SD-DVD. But man would I love to watch them all in glorious HD / UHD…

DS9 started off as my worst show, but it’s now my favorite easily out of the bunch. But yeah it’s not everyone’s favorite cup of raktajino, but I still love it so much. And yeah, it would go such a long way to see it in HD, especially all those beautiful space battles it had. No one did space battles like DS9 back then or even the new shows. A real irony since the show took place on a space station. ;)

Take me back to DS9? But… I never left! :)

I miss the days of technical manuals. Still love Franz Joseph’s Starfleet Technical Manual, my 25th anniversary edition was a prized procession, and Mr Scotts Guide to the Enterprise rocked.

I think a new designing starships book about DS9 is coming out in August. That will cover some of the behind the scenes production/design work on the show.

While I’d love to have a transporter and a replicator, for me, the charm of Star Trek has always been in the characters; I don’t care that much about the technology.

Give me Kirk willing to ruin his career to save Spock’s life (“Amok Time”), Picard defending Data from the charge of being property while Riker is forced to prosecute and Guinan puts it all into perspective (“The Measure of a Man”), Seven of Nine valiantly trying to care for the Voyager crew while her mind breaks down under the pressure of having no collective (“One,”) or the staff of the space station rising to the challenge of defending the Bajorans from a Cardassian plot and their own xenophobia (“The Siege.”)

The characters rising to challenges and doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult or painful … that’s way more Trek to me than the treknology, shiny though it is. :-)

I generally love all Star Trek but DS9 has a special place in my heart above them all. In fact my very first Star Trek coffee table book was the Making of Deep Space Nine which came out in 1994. Loved it even though DS9 wasn’t my favorite show then but it made me appreciate it so much more and why it felt so unique compared to TOS/TNG. I still hope we get something that different again some day.

It’s just nice to see these books still being made and that DS9 is still getting love all these years later!

I have this book. It’s pretty good, but I would love more detail. I never got the tech manuals and regret it. But this is ok for now.
There are a few mistakes that bother me a little, but it’s nit-picky. I would love a deck by deck floor plan of the Defiant.

I got this a few weeks ago, the quality is amazing. I highly recommend it.