There is one thing I want you to know about Andrew Fazekas’s Star Trek: The Official Guide To The Universe: True Science Behind The Starship Voyages: We had such fun reading the book that we bought a telescope. If that’s not a great recommendation, then I don’t know what is.
I knew I was going to have to wrestle the book away from my husband, a long-time space and Star Trek aficionado. He was hooked from the moment he began reading the forward by William Shatner. I was not expecting to have to read every page to my daughter, who was completely entranced by the pictures and information.
The book takes you through our solar system and into far flung parts of our galaxy and others. It presents you with incredible images, and information about what you’re seeing and what kind of technology allows for you to see it. Fazekas pulls scenes, stories, and bits of background information from various Star Trek episodes and puts them into context of scientific information on the page. It’s really a great way to present information that may be dense or unfamiliar. Blending in stories and technology that we all know and love from Star Trek helps hold the reader’s attention, and makes it all feel more familiar and less remote. I found it also helped me conceptualize some of the technology and distances that I was never quite able to wrap my brain around from my own reading.
One of my favorite parts was a segment called “Are We There Yet?” In a quick blurb, Fazekas addresses a type of technology we see in Star Trek, and what its real life equivalent would be. If there is no such thing in existence yet, there will be a quick discussion how far along in the process we are to gaining that technology. Now that we have our telescope, I’m also looking forward to trying out Fazekas’s “Stargazing” segment in book. The book has night sky charts, and tips for how to find and track various stars, planets, and constellations, so I will put these to the test soon.
If you’ve already moved beyond beginning enthusiast into something more, then you will probably know some of the information in this book already. When it came to the planets, the book was not giving me anything I didn’t already know. However, as I went on, I found much more information with which I was not familiar, and it had me jumping from Fazekas’s book into the library. I still can’t get over how my daughter was captured by the pictures and information, especially when I could tell her the related stories from Star Trek.
I’ve found myself going back to Star Trek: The Official Guide To The Universe over the past few days, either just look to some of the gorgeous images, or to go to the index in search of a new topic to get curious about. I’m not sure what higher compliment you can give a book than to say it made you curious to learn more, and inspired you to search out more books and experiences. If there is a higher compliment, I’d be happy to pay it to Andrew Fazekas.
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