Star Trek explores the friendships between characters across 55 years in new book

Review by C.J. Bunce

Which pair of characters exemplifies the best friendship in all of the Star Trek franchise?  Who do you think made the best BFFs?  How about Geordi and Data?  Or better yet, who represents friendship–its ups and downs–the best?  Like Tuvok and Neelix?  Kirk and Bones?  Or frenemies Bones and Spock?  Maybe for you its Worf and Riker, or Kes and the EMH.  Or Naomi Wildman and Seven of Nine, or Quark and Odo.  Of course there’s no right answer, but writers Robb Pearlmann and Jordan Hoffman explore the subject in a very fanboy conversation in the new gift book The Star Trek Book of Friendship The best part?  It’s filled with new artwork by the best Star Trek artist in the franchise’s 55 years, celebrated poster and comic book painter J.K. Woodward.  It’s available for pre-order now here at Amazon.

You know the best of the pack can’t be the relationship between Kirk and Spock.  That’s too obvious.  I always imagined a deleted scene of Spock rolling back the ship footage of Kirk delivering his eulogy at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, witnessing Kirk offer the ultimate Vulcan insult, and inquiring of Kirk, “Did you really say I was the most human--and at my funeral?  Are you that clueless of who I am?”  Maybe best friends don’t really know who you are, especially if they have an ego like Kirk’s.  Maybe that’s why, if you’re stuck in the Delta quadrant and you’re a Vulcan named Tuvok, you need someone like Neelix to keep you going.

As the writers explore the relationships between captains and XOs, and between the obvious, the unlikely, and even their spacefaring pets, Woodward’s imagery reminds the reader of their favorite characters and scenes.  Woodward perfectly captures subtle facial cues between Sulu and Chekov, Beverly and Deanna, Odo and Quark, Picard and Guinan, and Spock Prime and Kelvin Spock.  He even captures lots of characters from Enterprise, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Picard.

Pearlman and Hoffman’s dialogue is like overhearing a conversation between any two people standing in line at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas or the annual Star Trek cruise–in fact, it’s exactly like that.  A foreword includes Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo starting off the conversation, not as much describing their on-screen friendship as Neelix and the EMH, but their long, real-life friendship in the acting community.

The Star Trek Book of Friendship is the latest of those bookstore purchases you find at the checkout counter–another perfect gift for a co-worker’s birthday, or your own favorite, nerdy, pop culture friend.  A hardcover in full color and handy for Secret Santa bags at 6×6 inches, it’s a must for fans of Woodward’s incredibly vivid and evocative artwork.  It arrives in bookstores May 10, 2022, or pre-order it now from Smart Pop Books here at Amazon.

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