Insight Editions/Titan Books, out now
Everything you could need to know prior to taking a trip to Mr Spock’s homeworld…
What could initially seem like a one-joke idea instead is a very cleverly woven amalgamation of all the different bits of information that have accreted about the planet Vulcan over the last five decades, and much else besides. Star Trek novelist and Star Trek Magazine writer Dayton Ward has taken the “lonely planet” format and applied all aspects of it to Vulcan, covering its history and its customs as well as its geography and locales.
Ward hasn’t confined himself to the TV series and films – although there’s plenty to be found there. Vulcan has fascinated (sorry!) writers right from the start, and there’s data in here from original novels as far back as 1981, roleplaying games, movie novelisations and much more – with Memory Beta (the definitive online source for non-screen Trek information) given a credit, it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s stuff here from the Gold Key comics or the British strips! Key Vulcan moments from the canon are worked in – find out what not to do if a Vulcan collapses in front of you and reaches for your temple…
He’s also extrapolated various ideas for the Star Trek universe – you may be surprised what happened to the Outrageous Okona, for example – and of course there are various caveats: Vulcan may not exist in every dimension (notably ones where Captain Kirk resembles Chris Pine rather than William Shatner).
The book, as you may gather from that, isn’t exactly a dry text, and that’s helped by some excellent illustrations from Livio Ramandelli and Peter Markowski, who at times bring a photorealism to their pictures. Their likenesses of various key Vulcans are spot on too – from a Star Trek 2009 era Spock to Amanda Grayson, Saavik and McCoy, c. The Voyage Home, as well as other key Vulcans we’ve encountered.
Verdict: A different way of approaching the Star Trek universe that throws up a number of surprises. 8/10