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The voyage continues.
The expanded edition of The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future is in stores Tuesday, and it’s the result of the tireless work of Michael and Denise Okuda, the husband and wife team who wrote the first edition in 1994.
“It’s pretty all-consuming,” Denise tells Heat Vision of the project, which includes 300 pages of new material to bridge the gap in Trek lore since the last update in 1999. “We had some 3 o’clock in the morning conversations, lying awake in bed and going, ‘Do we really want to sacrifice two years of our lives to do this book?’ Ultimately, we are very, very proud of our book and we really wanted to update it. There was so much more that needs to be told.”
For the two-volume, 1,056-page new edition, the pair look at everything that has been said in a Trek film or TV episode (minus the Animated Series, per Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s assertion that it is not canon). They’d watch everything with scripts in hand to compare what is actually said with what was on the page.
“We find ourselves frequently asking, ‘How do you know that?’ Did he imply that? Did somebody else imply that? So that’s why having the exact dialogue is useful,” says Michael.
For fans, the encyclopedia was truly revolutionary back in 1994 when it was released. This was an era before streaming services with episodes on demand or meticulously cultivated websites with every bit of knowledge at your beck and call.
But even today in a world with so much information online, there’s something to be said about holding something physical in your hands — particularly holding volumes with information meticulously vetted.
“We find that a lot of Star Trek fans tell us they enjoy watching the show and curling up with the book during or after and saying, ‘Let’s look up that guy,’ and that leads to something else and that leads to something else. That’s just plain fun,” says Michael.
And it really is. Look up “New Vulcan” from Abrams’ rebooted Kelvin timeline, and you’ll find something most unexpected…an entry for New York cheesecake with a smiling Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) enjoying a bite. You’ll not only relive the fact that the Doctor (Robert Picardo) enjoyed it on the holodeck, but you’ll learn it was also served during an episode of Enterprise (along with filet mignon, grilled onions and green peas). There’s something incredibly charming about that level of detail — which the authors manage to keep surprisingly streamlined.
“One of the things you constantly discover is how much you love these characters,” says Michael of working on the update. “Throughout this process, you are reliving the episodes because you are analyzing, ‘What was important about that? What happened to that person?’ It’s a fun way to explore the Star Trek universe and in a very significant way. ”
The Star Trek Encyclopedia, Revised and Expanded Edition is available now from Harper Design.
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