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

The Star Trek The Next Generation Writers Technical Manual is an internal document of Paramount Pictures, written by longtime Star Trek production staffers Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach, intended to familiarize prospect writers and directors into the technological nomenclature of the television show in question, in this case Star Trek: The Next Generation.


From "About this document"
The Star Trek Writers' Technical Manual was developed to provide a handy reference for the detailed technological background that our writers sometimes need, and is offered as a supplement to the Writers'/Directors' Guide. It is NOT required reading-relatively few of our scripts use more than a tiny amount of this material. Still, some story points do hinge on this stuff, and Star Trek has always prided itself on scientific accuracy and internal consistency – hence this document.

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

Contents (fourth season edition)

  • About this document
  • Section I-A technical primer
  • Section II-Technical memoranda
  • Section III-Emergency procedures
  • Section IV-A celestial bestiary
  • Section V-Index

Background information

  • Once it became apparent that The Next Generation would become a hit, it was felt by the production staff that the Star Trek: The Next Generation Writers'/Directors' Guide, otherwise known as the "Writer's Bible" (a term already used for similar documents used for the Original Series), needed a supplemental internal guide to help prospect writers out in keeping internal consistency where the ever growing technological aspects were concerned. Both Okuda and Sternbach felt obligated to compose such a document and a first edition, illuminated with actual production concept art, was drafted for the third season in 1989.
  • The first edition of the guide was leaked to the outside world by on-call studio staffer Greg R. Stone, which resulted in the unauthorized, and therefore illegal, two-volume 1989-1990 publication of The 24th Century Technical Manual.
  • The second edition, the 1990 fourth season edition, became the basis for the much enlarged Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, intended for the general public and its release partly expedited by the illegal publication the year previously.

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