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

The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Journal is a licensed reference work published by Starlog Press in 1992. Written from an in-universe perspective and illustrated by Shane Johnson, it contains by Johnson created extensive schematics, covering locations aboard the USS Enterprise-D, uniforms, technology and alien species.


Background information

  • The starship blueprint schematics are presented on fold-out pages.
  • Published at a time when Star Trek: The Next Generation started to truly surge in popularity, the work was published by Starlog Press as a spin-off publication of their The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine. As such, the work retains the characteristics of a magazine, though more constraint had been observed with the advertising contained within.
  • Because of its very Star Trek friendly nature (the two founders were "Trekkies", see: Starlog), Starlog Press was selected by the franchise to serve as a primary publicity outlet partner for anything related to live-action Star Trek, hence the "official" – as in formally endorsed and licensed – in the titles of their Star Trek publications in that era. As a consequence Starlog reporters and editors were given near unrestricted access to sound stages, performers and production staffers, resulting in imagery, such as set photographs, exclusive to their publications, several of them also included in this one. Author Johnson therefore had access to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers' Technical Manual internal studio document, from which he could draw upon for his schematics.
  • However, in the wake of the franchise's 2002 re-evalution of the older reference works written from an in-universe perspective, only the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual (based on the same internal document, and released six months earlier), Star Trek Chronology and the Star Trek Encyclopedia were retained by the franchise as "official" – as in compliance with established (onscreen) canon. All other reference works released prior to the 1993 Chronology lost their "official" status in this sense, and were demoted to the apocrypha status of comics, novels, non-production art (such as Star Trek: Ships of the Line calendars) and (computer)games. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 11, p. 71) Superseded by The Next Generation Technical Manual and despite its pedigree, this included Shane's work as well – as did all his other Star Trek writings for that matter.
  • The publication has served as the template for the successful "Star Wars: Technical Journal", which was released three years later in 1995 by Del Rey.