Non-Fiction Reviews

Star Trek Science Spin-offs

Beyond Star Trek (1998) Lawrence M. Krauss, Boxtree, 12.99, hdbk, 190pp, ISBN 0-7522-2464-6

The Biology of Star Trek (1998) Robert and Susan Jenkins, Boxtree, 12.99, hdbk, 189pp, ISBN 0-7522-2469-7

Is Data Human? The Metaphysics of Star Trek (1998) Richard Hanley, Boxtree, 12.99, hdbk, 253pp, ISBN 0-7522-2453-0


Having opened the door with The Physics of Star Trek, as it were, Krauss has a lot to answer for. Apparently college kids in America are too dumb to appreciate the subjects they've chosen to study, so the professors keep them interested by relating those subjects to Star Trek, then pile their ill-considered thoughts into books in order to make an extra-curricular buck.

Of the three titles here, Is Data Human? is probably the best because, hey, it's metaphysics which, like sociology, means you can get away with spouting any old shit -- and, believe me, I've heard better stuff than this in smoke-filled rooms. The biology book is particularly bad, spending most of its time thinking about aliens fucking, but including nothing about what alien biological systems might be like. Beyond Star Trek looks at the physics of Independence Day, X-Files, et al, and comes to the same conclusions as Krauss's previous offerings, ie. no one in Hollywood knows any physics, or gives a damn anyway for that matter. In chapter after chapter Krauss nit-picks his way across the big screen, then has the gall to tell us, "but it's only a movie."

Still, if even one under-educated Trek fan gets a wider perspective on the world from these books, then they're probably not a complete waste of time. For anyone with an IQ, however, this stuff doesn't even hold up as light reading, as you'll discover nothing that you don't already know. Nice try.

Tony Chester

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