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Tag Archive: Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary


Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s truly a rare summer when a new Star Wars movie is in theaters–the last time was in 2005 with the release of Revenge of the Sith.  As with the past three post-Disney acquisition Star Wars films, several publishers have released tie-in books for the latest Star Wars chapter, Solo: A Star Wars Story.  Some books provide fans with a behind-the-scenes tour, others provide novelized backstories, and still others provide an in-universe look at the story.  For a behind the scenes view you’ll want Abrams’ coverage of the concept art in The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story (reviewed at borg.com here).  For an in-galaxy view of the characters and places, the book you’ll want to get your hands on is DK’s next chapter in their Star Wars book series, Solo: A Star Wars Story–The Official Guide, by Pablo Hidalgo.

The Official Guide is written like the magazines in the 1970s and 1980s that would follow on the heels of a blockbuster film, a “souvenir” type book that would highlight anything everything fans of the film would want to know more about.  The key feature of this full-color hardcover volume is the high-quality, detailed photographs, particularly of the characters, costumes, and props–perfect for cosplay reference.  It also includes some great detail in its several images of the re-imagined early Millennium Falcon.  Especially in a film of the Star Wars universe, where one of the trademarks is inclusion of enormous crowd scenes with varying peoples of different backgrounds, races, species–and names–moviegoers often miss most of the background characters.  When a costume can cost thousands of dollars to design and construct, it’d be a shame to simply leave the characters in the background.  So that’s where The Official Guide becomes a unique resource.

In no other book will you find all of these new characters from this latest Star Wars film.  They have names and backgrounds, and their cultural objects they carry say something about them.  But this is Star Wars, so you can expect to see the latest stormtrooper variant (like patrol trooper, fleet trooper, mudtrooper, and range trooper), as well as denizens of the most recent hives of scum and villainy (like the Grindalid Moloch, the Corellian Rebolt, shipping magnate Crev Bombaasa, and, hey, that’s Ron Howard’s brother Clint as Ralakili, running the droid fights).  A great two-page spread features the new many incarnations of mechanical fellows from Lucasfilm’s droid shop.

Here are some pages from the book, courtesy of the publisher:
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Most people would think twice before buying a book that only contained 96 pages.  No matter the subject, it’s a low page count, and unless you’re looking at books for little kids most adults would pass.  You’d be missing a gem of a compilation were you to pass up the photo-packed Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary Published by DK, the publishing house known for over-sized hardcovers full of lavish, detailed photography on a variety of subjects, Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary delivers where recent Star Trek books have come up short.

As we discussed in past reviews here at borg.com, the Star Trek Vault and Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 both suffered from poor quality photographs and images featured in their book design that were simply too small to glean much detail.  Star Trek: The Visual Dictionary delivers exactly what it promises, rare imagery and props from the studio archives, including material from all five live-action TV series and the first ten Star Trek movies.  DK’s high-quality, many over-sized, images provide fans with a unique opportunity to see Star Trek characters, aliens, and technology in a level of detail that hasn’t been achieved in a full-color Star Trek volume since the Michael Westmore and Alan Sims book Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts released 13 years ago.

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