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Star Trek Star Charts: The Complete Atlas Of Star Trek written and illustrated by Geoffrey Mandel

01/11/2002. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

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Pub: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster. 100 page large format paperback. Price: 12.99 (UK), $17.95 (USA) and $28.50 (CAN). ISBN: 0-7434-3770-5.

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Just as its title says, this is a book marking out the known star systems in the four quadrants of the Milky Way that makes up the reality discovered so far in the 5 series that compromises the Paramount TV 'Star Trek'. For many this is going to look like home-ground as this is also broken up into the various empires from Klingon to Romulon to Dominion.

The Federation is in there as well by the way. It should be pointed out that there isn't that much known about the Changeling governed Gamma Quadrant.

Writer Mandel's specifics about planets not strictly given names is also thankfully Spartan to avoid some of the silly ways the 'Star Trek Files' encyclopaedia tried getting around the problem.

Details of important star systems to the Federation are given in some detail.

This isn't really a reading book as such although some astronomical data is given along the way. The pages are set out as per, well, a latish designed astronomical guide. I can see Star Trek gamers no doubt using this book as a means to plot out Starfleet war games.

Indeed, it's bound to be used as a guide for Star Trek writers so you'll no doubt be buying this book and berating them for not following the details laid out here.

The main criticism is where the dashed lines of particular Starfleet vessels are mapped. The colours are lost in the star charts. It might make sense in future editions to have transparent over-lays with brighter colours so you can really see where they were going.

In comparison to some of the earlier books around the 'Star Trek' series, there is something that spells that all books that follow will have to be done in similar lavishness if they are to look equally impressive on your bookshelves.

Considering how so many of the early Star Trek book first editions are going up in value, I can't see how long it'll be before this goes to second edition.

GF Willmetts

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