Book Review: Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Could the Empire Kick the Federation’s Ass? (and Other Galaxy-Shaking Enigmas)

Written by Mary K. Williams

One might think that the average sci-fi fan would have equal love for the beloved classics of Star Wars and Star Trek. But as it turns out, there has been…tension. The internets have a good share of comparison essays and speculation columns and even a documentary DVD was made in 2001. Now – all the comparisons are laid out in a 241-page book by science fiction author and game designer Matt Forbeck.

The book begins with plenty of food for thought – two forewords – one by Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett of Star Wars) and the other by Tim Russ (Tuvok from Star Trek). Both actors mention different parallels and associations that I certainly have never thought of so it’s an intriguing start.

Forbeck accomplishes his task with contrasting examinations of such topics as “Government: Who Has the Best Political System to Live Under?” or “Technology – Futuristic Gadgets from Our Past: What’s the Difference Between Hyperspace and Warp, Droids and Data?” His chapters fall under some basic categories, for example Chapter Two: “Women – More Than Just Pretty Faces” comes under the category of People. This category also contains subjects like Minions, Aliens, Villains, Powers, etc.

A typical chapter layout would be say, comparing Darth Vader to Khan. Forbeck will start with a brief occupational description for each villain, and then a Data Point, something like “Khan first appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode ‘Space Seed’ in 1967 and was rediscovered fifteen years later for the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” He’ll have a ‘Snapshot’ of each character, place, or gadget, giving some crucial background information, and then he creates a scenario in which the two competing aliens or what have you will have to duel it out.

Sure, Forbeck could construct each scenario to have a biased result – ultimately favoring either Wars or Trek. But these suppositions seem to be pretty well thought out. He sets a scene and then walks us through what seems to make the most sense, or dare I say, have the most “logical” outcome. He even compares the fans and box office receipts, and at the end of each chapter, Forbeck charts who won the ‘saga’ in that chapter, and a running (cumulative) tally of wins, losses, and ties throughout the whole book.

For any lover of science fiction, fantasy, or just plain debate, this book is full of real life facts and lots of fun “what-ifs”. It will satisfy some age-old questions, and inspire new theories.

Cinema Sentries

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