(written from a Production point of view)
The Official Star Trek Fact Files was a Paramount Pictures-licensed partwork magazine series, distributed in the UK, Europe and Australia by GE Fabbri. It ran from 1997 to 2002, with 304 issues of 28 pages each, producing a work of 8512 pages. The series was designed to provide information about the Star Trek universe from an in-universe point of view.
The series covered all seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as the first nine Star Trek films. It did not incorporate any information from Star Trek: The Animated Series, as the series was not considered canon at that time. Although based on canon productions, and featuring graphics and information directly taken from the studio, Fact Files often introduced non-canon material in its reference material.
Each magazine consisted of a number of articles, to be taken apart and filed under their respective sections, they in turn to be collected in several binders (one binder being supplied every 16 issues).
As a partwork, each (double-sided) sheet was endowed with a designation, a "file"-number with a corresponding sub-ordinated "card"-number.
Section 1: A Guide to the Star Trek Galaxy
- This section featured a timeline of events, and file sheets on various planets, spatial phenomena and historical artifacts encountered by the crew of each show. It also featured specialized sections on the Federation, the Vulcans, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Ferengi, the Dominion, the Borg and the Q Continuum. The final "file" in this section dealt with less influential and one-time-only aliens such as the Vidiians and the Mintakans.
Section 2: Federation Starfleet
- Covered various aspects of Starfleet, with specialized files on each USS Enterprise, Deep Space 9, the USS Voyager, the USS Defiant, Enterprise NX-01, various runabouts and shuttle seen in each series, and one-time-only ships and space stations such as the USS Melbourne, the USS Relativity and Deep Space Station K-7.
Section 3: Non-Federation Starships
- Featured files on: non-Starfleet vessels from Federation races, such as the Phoenix and the Xhosa; Klingon starships, Romulan starships, Cardassian starships, Ferengi starships, Borg starships, Dominion starships, Maquis starships, and a file on various starships and bases belonging to various other races, from Kazon ships to the Fesarius to the Caretaker's array.
Section 4: Personnel Files
- Featured files various characters seen on Star Trek, from James T. Kirk to Weyoun to Jetrel. It had a special file for Starfleet personnel, with special attention played to the main characters of each series, non-Starfleet Human characters, and a file each for Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Borg, Changelings, Androids, omnipotent beings (primarily various Q), Vulcans and a file for "guest" characters.
Section 5: Equipment and Technology
- Dealt with transporters, weapons, communication, Starfleet uniforms and other various pieces of technology seen on the series.
Section 6: Starship Log
- Contained a file for each Star Trek series (up to ENT Season 1) and every film up to Star Trek: Insurrection. Within each file was a sheet for each episode with a synopsis, stills, quotes (usually the Captain's Log from that episode), and trivia.
Section 7: Database
- Served as an index for the entire magazine series.
|Part #||Cover||Part #||Cover|
|Part 1||Part 2|
|Part 3||Part 4|
|Part 5||Part 6|
|Part 7||Part 8|
|Part 9||Part 10|
|Part 11||Part 12|
|Part 13||Part 14|
|Part 19||Part 20||150px|
|Part 21||150px||Part 22||150px|
|Part 303||150px||Part 304|
Background information Edit
- Paramount Pictures assigned three Star Trek staff members to assist Fabbri's editorial office in researching and collecting reference material for use in the publication: Penny L. Juday (credited as Penny Smartt-Juday) as research coordinator, Larry Nemecek as photo editor and author, and, from issue 71 onward, Guy Vardaman as art director. Other Star Trek franchise-affiliated contributors were Tim Gaskill as consultant editor, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens as authors.
- Some of the information used in Fact Files was reproduced in edited form as part of the US publication, Star Trek: The Magazine, produced by Fabbri Publishing (US) (the US arm of GE Fabbri); the Fact Files themselves were not distributed in the United States and Canada.
- In a first for licensed Star Trek print publications, the Fact Files used actual CGI models created for the franchise in the magazine. It was Fact Files editor Ben Robinson who struck upon the notion, "When we were first doing the Fact Files they were just introducing CG on the show and I realized it was an incredible resource for any publication. If you've got a CG model you can look at something in real detail. We approached Foundation and Eden FX [note: at the time still Digital Muse; both companies being the regular digital visual effects companies for the television franchise at the time] about getting people to render CG models out for us. Rob [Bonchune] was one of the guys who really took that on and we became good friends, so when I started on [the USS Enterprise Owners' Workshop Manual] he was one of the first people I thought of. There’s no substitute for a good render of a starship. It's as close as to the real thing as you could ever get."  Robinson followed up with the inclusion of (adapted) beauty and orthographic views of a live-action production CGI model, that of the Voth research vessel, in issue 69 (1998) of the Fact Files. Such CG imagery was included from that point onward and likewise featured on the covers of future issues; this approach was also adopted for the US derivative, Star Trek: The Magazine. Prior to the Voth vessel, non-production CGI models of the Oberth-class, D7-class, Romulan Bird-of-Prey and Daedalus-class had already been especially constructed the previous year by Bonchune for use in the Fact Files. Bonchune continued to contribute (albeit uncredited) most of the CGI renderings of the orthographic and beauty views of the starships featured afterwards. As the television franchise was still in production at the time of the magazine's publication, the Fact Files offered its readership the first (and often, only) detailed look of the models actually used in the episodes.
- The Fact Files received some criticism in fan circles for inaccuracies, notably in the starship sections. However, as Larry Nemecek explained: "[...] in their defense, the Brits *were* promised all this tech and source detail they were used to with [their] other techie partworks, and then left hanging when it didn't exist--no excuse, but that's what happened. I did some tech writing, but mainly I tracked source refs, imagery and art materials in both the uncharted Licensing archives (some buried, that the dept. didn't even know existed) or from chased-down personal sources." (source) For this reason, Fabbri employed an art department to supplement art and graphics where official source material was lacking. Fabbri also employed staff writers at their editorial bureau to beef out articles with additional content, simply because very limited established information was available on many subjects; as a result, canonically established information was interlaced with apocryphal information.
International editions Edit
- Between 1999 and 2004, a German language edition was released under the title Die Offiziellen Star Trek Fakten und Infos; it ran for the full 304 issues.
- A French edition, Star Trek Les Dossiers Officiels was published by Data Base Factory. This edition came with one-episode VHS tapes of Star Trek: The Next Generation; it ceased publication after 117 issues, making room for the French-language edition of Star Trek: The Collector's Edition, Star Trek: Les Nouveaux Dossiers Officiels.
- Likewise an Italian language edition, Star Trek Official Files, published by De Agostini, ceased publication after 120 issues. 
- On 4 March 2003, a translated version of the Fact Files started its run in Japan under De Agostini (Japan). This version, while much the same as the English-language original, rearranged some parts and added some information, mostly to do with Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek Nemesis, resulting in a ten-issue longer run of the Japanese version. 
Editorial staff Edit
- Chris Dows – Staff Writer
- Rob Garrard – Art Director, Artist
- Peter Griffiths – Staff Writer
- Marcus Riley – Staff Writer 
- Martin Ritchie – Designer 
- Fact Files to Encyclopedia Cross Index - cross-reference between the Fact Files and the Star Trek Encyclopedia.
- Wixiban's Star Trek Collectables Portal - Star Trek Partworks - The Official Star Trek Fact Files page
- Looking Back at the Star Trek Fact Files with Larry Nemecek at YouTube