Story: Covering not just the DS9 space station, the Technical Manual also spreads out to delve into the Defiant, runabouts, phasers and tricorders, Cardassian and other alien ships, and more. The text is written from the Starfleet perspective as of DS9’s seventh season, locked into a bloody war with the Dominion, making it an interesting departure from the cheery “enjoy all the great features of your new Oldsmobile” owner’s manual approach of the TNG Technical Manual.
Review: This book is long overdue; even the introduction by producer Ira Steven Behr asks the question “Why the hell did this take six years?” of the book’s own publishers, and even notes that the long-promised “Deep Space Nine Companion” (which, at the time, had been a tentative ghost on the Pocket Books schedule since 1995 or so) is even more overdue. (With respect to Mr. Behr, considering DS9’s probable lack of a big-screen future, it made a bit of sense to wait for the end of the series to come, since it would be silly to publish a DS9 companion volume in 1998 and then wait a couple of years to release an updated version with only one additional season’s worth of information.)
But is the “Deep Space Nine Techical Manual” worth the wait? Well, yes and no. On the good side, the illustrations are in gorgeous full color, a la the computer rendered illustrations in the revised “Star Trek Encyclopedia”.
Conversely, there are numerous problems. The illustrations are in gorgeous full color, which immediately makes the “DS9 Technical Manual” – a book which is several pages shorter than the “TNG Technical Manual” – well over twice the price of its predecessor. And I sorely missed the real-life trivia and production notes that could be found throughout the “TNG Technical Manual”. I mean, this is a seriously-written book about fictional technical specifications of nonexistent vehicles and equipment. The “TNG Technical Manual” kept things light by including often funny notes about the real reasons behind the creation of shuttlepods and other such anecdotes. Considering the “DS9 Technical Manual”‘s far grimmer tone, some humor would not have come amiss.
It’s a nice book, and extends into some areas that were unfortunately omitted by the “TNG Technical Manual”, but I can only recommend the “DS9 Technical Manual” for the most dedicated of Star Trek fans.
Authors/illustrators: Herman Zimmerman, Rick Sternbach, Doug Drexler
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 178 pages + four gatefolds