I have to admit that I may be a bit biased going into this review because DS9 is my favourite of the many Trek series. I’m always on the hunt for DS9 swag, but I’m also not desperate for mediocre products. My love of the series doesn’t blind me from whether or not something is terrible, so I hold DS9 to a higher standard when it comes to those rare pieces of merchandise that pop up from the show. When I heard Hero Collector was releasing a guide all about the space station and its ships, I was excited but also approached it with an ounce of trepidation. I’m glad to report that the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook lives up to the hype, and was certainly worth the wait for a tome like this.
Edited by Simon Hugo, this guide clocks in at nearly 200 pages filled with lavish production drawings, photos, and 3-D renderings of every element aboard the Deep Space Nine station. The book is broken up into three sections, the first on the station itself, followed by the Runabouts, and finished with the Defiant. Mingled into these segments are chapters on different rooms, props, uniforms, technical guides, all paired with contextual information to remind you which episodes these Trekcentric things were featured.
Every nook and cranny is explored in detail, including a few of my favourites like an up-close look at Odo’s quarters, the Dabo machines, the Springball room, and the TR-116 rifle. Even things that were rarely seen or only used a handful of times at most are given the spotlight, like Grand Nagus Zek’s call centre, Garak’s tailor tools, the self-replicating mines that held off the Dominion invasion (for as long as they could), and even that short-lived holographic communication centre aboard the Defiant. Remember that?
For the starship fanatics out there, you’ve got plenty of info about the Defiant and the Runabouts, including their operational history, a listing of all the shuttlecrafts on DS9 and their roles during the series, and some informative layouts of what each part of these ships do. If you are like me and afraid of technobabble, fear not! This book is accessible to those who want to learn the in’s and out’s of these ships, but don’t need to know how every nut and self-sealing stem bolt function. For those who are intensely interested in the minutiae of these vessels, there is still a plethora of stats and infographics to satiate that need. It’s a great middle-ground to please both sides of the fanbase, which I can definitely appreciate as a Niner who wants to learn more but maybe not THAT much more about how a phaser or food replicator functions.
While I love all the info, the real treat for me is those vivid renderings, photos, and screen-grabs that populate this handbook. As someone who is constantly pausing Netflix to snap a screenshot, this book has beautiful images of everything discussed that are often clearly labelled to pinpoint what every item is. If it’s not an explanation of how it’s a snippet on why this item or place exists in the way it does or a factoid about it. I’ve always been a fan of isometric art in particular, and this sort of content wonderfully lends itself to that. Hats off to designer Katy Everett for taking all of this technical info and turning it into a stylish work of art!
If you ever wanted to explore the corridors of a Cardassian space station or helm a federation warship, this is certainly the safest way to accomplish that. The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Illustrated Handbook is a treasure trove of info paired excellently with gorgeous images that make it a one-part technical manual, one-part coffee table book, and an all-around excellent addition to any Star Trek book collection. Beam this onto your bookshelf today!
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A review copy of this book was provided by Hero Collector. The opinions and views expressed in this review are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation, beyond that of providing a review copy, has been provided to the reviewer.