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Feelin' Nostalgic: Star Trek tech nerdity.

Over the weekend, TrekMovie.com posted new details about the very cool-looking U.S.S. Enterprise Manual to be published by Haynes in September. For those who might not know, Haynes publishes detailed and super-duper illustrated "do-it-yourself" repair manuals for pretty much any make and model of car or truck you'd care to name.

They're giving this treatment to the Enterprise in all its various incarnations (minus, it seems, the version from the 2009 movie), all included within a single volume chock full of illustrations and photographs. As a fan of blueprints and tech manuals for fictional spaceships and other vehicles and such from the annals of pop culture (I have blueprints for the Jupiter 2 and the Robot from Lost In Space, and even the Eagle from Space: 1999, by golly), I'm looking forward to getting my grubby little paws on this bad boy.

Haynes Enterprise Manual cover
(Click to enlarge the hell out of this!)

(The book is available for pre-order at Amazon.com.)

Keeping up with news of this book has, of course, made me think about various other Star Trek "technical publications" that have come along over the years. The progenitors of this particular aspect of the phenomenon known as "Star Trek fandom" are, of course, Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's Booklet of General Plans (known colloquially as the Star Trek Blueprints), and the accompanying Star Fleet Technical Manual, both published in 1975.

Years before computer-aided drawing was commonplace, Schnaubelt (writing and illustrating as "Franz Joseph") hand-drafted a fully-realized set of blueprints for the original U.S.S. Enterprise as depicted in the classic television series. Working with the limited information provided about the ship's interior and gleaning everything he could from those 79 episodes (and perhaps some additional bits of info from the show's animated cousin...I'm honestly not sure on this point), he succeeded in conceptualizing almost every square inch of space inside the imaginary vessel's hull. Considering the dearth of information he had to work with, Joseph's accomplishment to this day remains one of the crowning achievements of Star Trek fandom.

And if that wasn't enough, there's also the Star Fleet Technical Manual. Along with the Blueprints, this book remains one of my absolute favorite Star Trek "reference" works, and despite any notions of them being rendered "obsolete" thanks to information provided by any of the subsequent films and spin-off series, I still consult it when I'm writing original series-era fiction, in the hopes that I might be able to slip in a reference or salute to the book.

In addition to containing technical drawings for various Federation starships, the manual also includes info and illustrations on uniforms, equipment, important areas of the ship (like the bridge, etc.), and other information extrapolated from the original series. I still have original printings of both publications, and have acquired additional copies over the years to be researched/thumbed through/ogled as appropriate. I don't consider myself a "tech head" by any stretch of the imagination, but I can appreciate the effort and passion required to complete a project like either of Franz Joseph's timeless works.

Yeah. I'm a geek.


( 4 comments — Lay it on me )
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
Is that Haynes techbook based on a complete tear down and rebuild of the ships in question?
Apr. 27th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
I don't think it's going to be to that level of detail, but it looks like it's going to at least mimic the approach to a pretty decent degree.
Apr. 27th, 2010 08:48 am (UTC)
Ah, this pleases my inner tech-nerd. I remember the Enterprise blueprints as the first thing I ever bought at the first ever Trek con I ever went to. The attention to detail was amazing.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Haynes book; Ben Robinson, one of the co-writers, used to work with me when I was writing for Star Trek Magazine and the Star Trek Fact Files, so he knows his stuff.
Apr. 28th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
I have a set of those blueprints and the Tecnical manual as well. I'm not as nerdy as I once was. At least I don't think I am. LOL
( 4 comments — Lay it on me )


Dayton Ward

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