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Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Star Trek: Starship Spotter is an illustrated technical guide to thirty starships from the Star Trek prime universe. It is written from an in-universe perspective by Jonathan Lane and Alex Rosenzweig, with CG illustrations by Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz and Robert Bonchune.


From the back cover
"Starship Spotter was created more than two centuries ago to serve as a reference guide to assorted space-going vessels. Captains of the spaceships of the United Earth Space Probe Agency used this simple paper tool to enable a ship's crew to quickly distinguish friend from foe in the unexplored reaches of the cosmos. When the services were merged to form Starfleet, this paper book disappeared from use. Only recently rediscovered, the newest editions of this book have been the sole purview of Starfleet Academy.
"Each year, a new class of Starfleet cadets carefully reviews and revises the contents. The ships displayed in Starship Spotter have been chosen as a tribute to the crews who have served on them and the valor shown, regardless of the ship's affiliation. Although only thirty ships could be included, the cadets feel these ships reflect the noble history of space travel.
"We proudly present to you the Class of 2383 edition of Starship Spotter."

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.


Background information[]

  • The book made use of the actual CGI models from both Digital Muse and Foundation Imaging, where both Bonchune and Lebowitz worked, used in the production of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Recalled Lebowitz, "We were both CG Supervisors on Voyager at the time and used the actual computer models from the various Trek series to liven up the book with all sort of tasty imagery." [1] While the models were canon, the technical data and construction histories, compiled by Lane and Rosenzweig, were not.
  • The CGI model of the aeroshuttle was slated to make a live-action appearance in Voyager as the runabout-like spacecraft embedded in the saucer underside of Intrepid-class starships, but the intent never came to fruition. Only used for print representations, the model made its debut in this book.
  • Reception of the book was mixed at best. Fans waiting for a first dedicated Star Trek starship book were disappointed in both content and format of the book. The second criticism was shared by co-author Lebowitz who commented on his blog, "As you can see from the reviews on Amazon, the book had a lukewarm reception for largely two reasons: print quality and that damn fold down the middle! When Rob and I first saw final copies of the book, we were just as surprised as anyone by the dark, murky images on display – they sure didn't look like that on our screens! Sadly, that had to be chalked up to a learning experience we shared with Pocket Books: images on a computer monitor look very different when they end up in print. As far as the spine of the book providing a lovely fold down the middle of every ship, it was an issue that just didn't become apparent until we actually had the book in our hands, opened it up and went, "uh oh." We were bummed and wished we could have personally provided new & better renders for everyone who bought the book! As fans ourselves, we totally understood people's frustration and disappointment. It was with a heavy heart that we went on our all-expenses paid, world-wide book signing tour, dodging groupies and covergirls every step of the way."
  • Author Lane, somewhat stung by comments on the technical data and construction histories texts, felt compelled to justify his work on the review page, "Just for the record, Adam 'Mojo' Lebowitz and Robert Bonchune created the beautiful 3D renderings of the starships that grace this elegant book. All of the text was written by me, Jonathan Lane, and Alex Rosenzweig. Everyone worked very diligently to create what is an extremely satisfying book if you are a fan of the starships of "Star Trek." The research was painstaking, and what's in this book can be considered as close to the final word as anything ever published about "Star Trek." The backgrounds and specifications for each ship endeavor to draw together over a century of "Star Trek" history, and if you're a real trivia buff, you might catch one or two "winks" to some of the really minute details of the last 35 years of "Star Trek." Enjoy!" [2]
  • At least one internationally translated edition is known to exist, the by Juliane Waltke in German translated Star Trek Raumschiff-Guide: Die Flaggschiffe der Föderation und anderer Welten, published the subsequent year. Unlike its English language counterpart, this edition was executed as a hardcover book.

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