Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Star Wars Vs. Star Trek by Matt Forbeck

Published: May 2011
ISBN: 978-1440512629
Reviewed by Earl Davis

Could a Jedi knight use his light saber to deflect a beam from a phaser?

Which aliens are cooler: the Cardassians or the Chazrach?
Have any Federation ships ever made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs?
And most important . . . in a fight between the Empire and the Federation, who would win?

Ever since Princess Leia's starship hove into sight on the silver screen, fans of Star Wars and Star Trek have been debating these questions. Now, side by side, they can line up aliens, technology, story points, weaponry, and heroes from the two great science fiction/fantasy stories of our age.

For fans everywhere, this volume offers detailed information about both universes, as well as trivia, quizzes, quotes, and information drawn from these two iconic settings. So phasers on stun and light sabers at the ready! It's time for the duel to begin.

Picture this. The year is 1999. It’s May. Just over one hundred people form a line that is beginning to wrap around the side of our local movie theater. Those of us at the beginning of the line have been waiting just over sixteen hours for the box office to open. That’s one hour for every year since the last time a new Star Wars movie was released into theaters; a golden ratio illuminating the peaceful darkness of our nerd-vana. Out of nowhere a voice shatters the perfection.

“Can we just go? I’m tired and you said you like Star Trek better anyway.” The bleary eyes of a dozen nerds snap around at attention. There is a traitor in our midst. His whiny girlfriend has revealed him to the pack and he must be dealt with.

Thus, the great Space Nerd War has raged on for more than two decades. Not since the Hatfields and McCoys , went to battle over a West Virginian pig, has a family battle been waged so publicly. Up to this point, the great debate has been the subject of mockery and ridicule among the so-called normal folk. It took one of our own, Matt Forbeck to shine an honest light on the subject and force us to laugh at ourselves.

At just over two hundred pages, the book is an easy afternoon read. It’s divided into three main sections, which in turn are divided into small chapters, which are in turn divided into smaller subsections. Each chapter is punctuated with a “Cosmo”-esque quiz that acts like mirror forcing the reader to confront the reality of their nerd quotient.

Forbeck pulls no punches laying out lightsaber swipes and Vulcan Nerve Pinches with equal aplomb. His rhetorical battles range from the well-known “Vader vs Khan” to the culturally obscure “Kit Fisto vs T’Pol”. My greatest fear (and the most common issue with this type of book) would be a cop-out by the author declaring it a tie in an effort to appease both communities. Thankfully, Forbeck avoids this trap and makes a stand by declaring a definitive winner.

No, I won’t tell you who wins. Buy the book!


This book is perfect for anyone with an inkling of inner-nerd, especially those Dads out there whose only quiet time can be found in the bathroom. Well done, Matt.

4 out of 5 stars

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