(written from a Production point of view)
The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual is an in-depth description of the technology and equipment used aboard the USS Enterprise-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Manual has seen international releases among others in Germany entitled Star Trek: Die Technik der U.S.S. Enterprise, Das offizielle Handbuch, and in Italy as Star Trek: The Next Generation Il Manuale Tecnico. The book is written from an in-universe perspective, with real world annotations by Okuda.
- From the book jacket
- Written by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, the technical advisors to STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION TECHNICAL MANUAL takes you on a guided tour through the new U.S.S. ENTERPRISE. From the Bridge to the shuttlebays, from the transporter room to crews' quarters, this book provides a never-before-seen glimpse at the inner workings of the most incredible Starship ever conceived by two of the designers who helped create it.
- Full of diagrams, technical schematics, and ship's plans, the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION TECHNICAL MANUAL also takes a detailed look at the principles behind STAR TREK's awesome technology – from phasers to warp drive to the incredible holodeck!
- A must for all fans, this is the one book that examines the full spectrum of technology behind the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION universe – and gives fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making of the hit television show!
- Introduction by Gene Roddenberry
- Authors' introduction
- Chapter 1: USS Enterprise Introduction
- Chapter 2: Spacecraft Structure
- Chapter 3: Command Systems
- Chapter 4: Computer Systems
- Chapter 5: Warp Propulsion Systems
- Chapter 6: Impulse Propulsion Systems
- Chapter 7: Utilities and Auxiliary Systems
- Chapter 8: Communications
- Chapter 9: Transporter Systems
- Chapter 10: Science and Remote Sensing Systems
- Chapter 11: Tactical Systems
- Chapter 12: Environmental Systems
- Chapter 13: Crew Support Systems
- Chapter 14: Auxiliary Spacecraft Systems
- Chapter 15: USS Enterprise Flight Operations
- Chapter 16: Emergency Operations
- Chapter 17: Conclusion
- Afterword by Rick Berman
- The published Technical Manual was partly based on an internal document, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers' Technical Manual. The information was authored by the technical staff of the television series, and as such most of it is directly derived from filmed references. However, some data is contradicted by events in later episodes and series, due to the nature of a continuing series - new plot points may contradict previously assumed or unfilmed data. The Manual in itself became the basis for some of the much (color) enhanced cards in 1992's Impel trading cards set Star Trek: The Next Generation - Inaugural Edition (cards 092-111).
- Numerous pieces of art and behind the scenes graphics information used in the series are presented clearly here.
- This is the only Star Trek Technical Manual from Pocket Books to be graced in the US with a reprint (in 2006), though that edition was inferior in printing quality to the first printing.
In-jokes and other items of note
- The aft elevation view of the Enterprise on p. 7 is reversed; Shuttlebay 2 should have the smaller bay door on the port side.
- In the starboard cutout view on p. 11, various Easter eggs are placed in the diagram, including silhouettes of a propeller plane, a cat, a duck, a Porsche, Nomad, a mouse, and a sign that says, "Slippery When Wet". These appear on the actual master systems display set piece.
- On pp. 44-45, it is stated that guidance and navigation research is conducted by a cetacean crew of twelve Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus gilli), overseen by two Takaya's Whales (Orcinus orca takayai).
The "Takaya's Whale" is not a real whale, but a homage to a fictional character, Noriko Takaya, by Rick Sternbach. Sternbach is a professed fan of the Japanese animated series Aim For the Top! Gunbuster. In this series, "espers and electronic-brained [bottlenose] dolphins" navigate the Exelion, the main spaceship of the heroine Noriko Takaya. (Sternbach also references the Exelion in the manual in the compound "exelion-infused carbonitrium".)
In a StarTrekUK.com interview, Sternbach explains the cetacean connection:
- "The TNG Tech Manual definitely talks about a combined Orcinus orca takaya and Tursiops truncatus population on the ship to work out navigation problems (and more likely alien language challenges!).
- "The dolphins and whales were my idea from the start; I'm convinced that, even if they're not intelligent enough to pilot a starship, they can still teach us a few things about other life forms."
- On p. 123, it is mentioned that Starfleet's Tokyo R&D facility named the superconducting crystals used in phasers "fushigi no umi". This is probably an homage to the 1990 Japanese animation series Fushigi no Umi no Nadia, known in North America as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
- Many of the diagrams of okudagrams and other control panels on the ship are directly taken from the show, and as such also contain the various in-jokes that normally cannot be seen on television. For example, the sickbay main diagnostic display seen on p. 150 mentions "MEDICAL INS COVERAGE AVAIL".
- One of the concept designs proposed for the Template:ShipClass in 17.2 "Future Directions: The Road to the 1701-E" is similar to the design of the Nova-class USS Equinox seen in VOY: "Equinox".
- In describing the holodeck, it is noted that it uses the rare material, keiyurium, which might explain some of the problems it had.