Whether you’re the parent of a tween who is at the stage where they want to learn more about all things Star Trek, or if you’re a Star Trek fan who is young at heart, Star Trek The Next Generation: On Board the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D is a good book to add to your Trek-centric library.
Written by Star Trek wonder team Denise and Michael Okuda, On Board the U.S.S. Enterprise allows your child to explore and learn about the inner workings of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D through a visually appealing book and a 3D interactive CD.
The LCARS inspired hardcover book is 40 pages in length, covering the very basics of the following ship areas:
- U.S.S. Enterprise exterior ventral – this section folds out to reveal a large labeled diagram of the ship’s exterior, with LCARS
- Main bridge
- Propulsion, main engineering
- Tactical systems
- Transporter room
- Shuttlecraft and shuttlebays
- Science laboratories
- Living quarters – this section has another fold-out diagram of the ship’s exterior;
- Ten forward
- Cargo bay
- Ship’s services
I do have one criticism of the book. The LCARS on page 19 – the section that covers propulsion and main engineering – has a huge mistake. The LCARS for the Enterprise are labeled, “NCC-1801-D.” C’mon!
Even though I greatly enjoyed looking through and reading this book because it spoke directly to my inner-child, the real magic — followed by so many, “Squees!” — occurred when I popped the interactive CD into my laptop and started to explore the Enterprise. The sound of the ship’s engines running in the background. The visuals. The sheer joy I experienced.
Suddenly, I was thrown through a wormhole that transported me back to 1987, when I was already a lifelong 11-year-old Star Trek fan who was blown away when Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired. I would have given anything to be on board that ship, even if only to look around.
The CD has a 360-degree visual tour of sickbay, main engineering, the main cargo bay, the bridge, the transporter room, the turbolift, the corridor and the captain’s ready room. Most of these areas can be viewed from multiple locations from within the area.
My biggest moments of feeling the 11-year-old-me joy happened when I went to the bridge and viewed the bridge from the captain’s chair.
Picard was not around to tell me, “No children are allowed on the bridge!” Then, this feeling was multiplied when I entered the captain’s ready room. I was slightly startled when I entered the transporter room, “stepped” on the transporter pad and the loud noise of the transporter beam came bursting through my earbuds. It was a nice surprise.
To run the CD, all you need is an optical drive and web browser. The CD will work on any operating system.
Even though my favorite thing about this book and CD is the CD – because it filled something craved by my inner-child, and my inner-child is easily pleased – your tween will probably get most of the benefit from the book. Being so accustomed to high-quality computer graphics and video games, there is a chance that they will not appreciate the CD because it does not allow them to roam freely about the ship, exploring every micrometer.
I should really stress that this book and CD only cover the very basics. If you read the reviews on Amazon, you’ll see that’s one of the biggest criticisms of this book. At 40 pages, and such a low price, I’m surprised the critics expected more than they got. For me, this is part of the book and CD’s charm.
If you are one of those hardcore Star Trek fans who are looking for an in-depth technical manual for you or your children, this is definitely not the book to buy. Spend your money on a proper technical manual and not a 40-page quick tour.
If your tween is at the stage in their Star Trek fandom where they are wanting to start exploring the world outside of movies and television, then this book is a good place to start, both from a visual presentation standpoint and basic primer. Even better, if you have a child who is not yet reading, you can read it to them at bedtime. Start indoctrinating them right out of the womb, I say.
You can purchase Star Trek The Next Generation: On Board the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D here.