(written from a Production point of view)
The 24th Century Technical Manual is a two-volume unauthorized production, published in 1989 and 1990. But unlike other fan productions of the era it neither contains fan fiction nor fan art, but rather a collection of graphical behind-the-scenes production material produced by Andrew Probert, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda without further commentary. Material, covering the first three seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was provided by fans and collectors who themselves obtained it, most likely surreptitiously, from studio staffers.
- From the "Special Acknowledgments", Volume 1, p. 2
- This publication is a special edition of the fanzine Galaxy Class, which is published as a "not-for-profit" means of communication between fans of the television series "Star Trek The Next Generation", it is not intended as a merchandising endeavor.
Both volumes organized the material in four sections:
- Section One: "Ships"
- Section Two: "Props and Equipment"
- Section Three: "Displays and Instruments"
- Section Four: "Miscellaneous and Behind the Scenes"
- Much of the reproduced production art stemmed from the first, 1989, edition of Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers' Technical Manual, an internal studio document, which on-call studio staffer Greg R. Stone had previously leaked to the outside world.
- Volume one contains in section four black and white photographs, surreptitiously taken by Stone (for which he was dutifully credited) of the build-up of the original Borg cube model as well as photos of the completed maquette of the engine room of the IKS Pagh, slated to appear in "A Matter Of Honor" in a scene showing the subatomic bacteria eating through the hull, before that scene was cut at the last moment.
- Despite the disclaimer, this is one of the relatively few unlicensed and/or unauthorized Star Trek publications that is actually also illegal. Only containing actual production materials, it formally constitutes a case of "trade secrets theft", punishable under Federal law. A decade earlier, in February 1979, a man was arrested by the FBI who had stolen a set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture construction blueprints, trying to sell it to a local fanclub. The culprit was shortly thereafter convicted, given two years' probation, and fined US$750 for selling stolen trade secrets. (New West magazine, 26 March 1979, p. 60) However, no such actions are known in this particular instance.
- Being a special edition of a fanzine, the quality of the publication was reflected as such, photo copied in black and white and side-stapled (though a "Deluxe", plastic spiral comb-bound, edition was available). Still, it ranks amongst the earliest collections of production materials accessible to the general public before officially licensed material became available, starting with Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual a year later.