Surprisingly for a Star Trek series, we haven’t seen much by way of tie-ins for this year’s newest small-screen incarnation, Star Trek Picard. We at borg enjoyed the series, the Star Trek version of the Old Man trope that actor Patrick Stewart contributed to so well with Hugh Jackman in the Old Man Logan movie, Logan. We especially liked the new Romulan characters the series introduced, and Jonathan Frakes’ Will Riker back in the captain’s chair was hard to beat. Patrick Stewart has taken his beloved Jean-Luc Picard there and back again many times, so maybe we haven’t seen a lot more because it’s already been done before. But out now for holiday gift-giving is a new look back at the good captain and his memorable commentary across seven seasons of The Next Generation, four feature films, and the first season of his new series. It’s The Wisdom of Picard, a book full of his most memorable utterances.
Readers will find Picard pondering the role of the Federation, lecturing his crew, and counseling those he encounters with the best advice he could muster in the moment. And they’ll find memorable bits and pieces that will instantly harken fans back to a specific place or conjure a familiar scene. Like “I… see… four… lights!” or “Let’s make sure history never forgets the name Enterprise.”
In mostly snippets from episodes of TNG thirty years ago, readers will probably be surprised how less than wise and poetic his words seem now–the problem is they are all offered out of their original context. The commentary that is provided by editor Chip Carter (Obsessed with Star Trek, Star Trek: The Book of Lists) is an attempt to divide this miniature Federation Bartlett’s into neat categories. So readers can look to philosophy and humanity, history and science, literature and the arts, exploration and adventure, and politics, leadership, and diplomacy, and test your recollection of these episodes and movies in a rather Trivial Pursuit kind of manner.
Perhaps the key missing element is the gravitas of the actor behind the words? Maybe this would make more sense as a quote-a-day calendar? Or maybe Carter could have come up with a game, where players must name the episode from the quote–if you have two diehard Star Trek fans then that might be the best application of this book.
But something like “It may turn out that the moral thing to do was not the right thing to do” requires context to be meaningful. Some of the quotes are Picard quoting or paraphrasing others, as he was wont to do. It must have been difficult to pull together nearly 150 quotes from the mouth of Picard, considering real-life famous people only get remembered for a handful of their comments if they are lucky. Ultimately it would have been nice to have credited the writers of these quotes in an appendix, both from the TV series and movies, as well as those they were quoting via Picard’s tongue.
Welcome are more than fifty full-color screencaps illustrating the selected quotes, featuring Picard over his 33 years on the big and small screen, and some of his cohorts.
All in, it’s a nicely presented hardcover gift book, a little larger than six inches square, something that your favorite Star Trek fan may like to find in his/her Christmas stocking. The Wisdom of Picard is available now here at Amazon, published by Simon & Schuster imprint Adams Media.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg