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A couple of years after I had settled into my role as Star Trek science consultant, I thought it might be fun to write a book that explored whether or not things like "warp drive" and "transporters" might be possible in the distant future. My plan was to interview physicists working on the science of space warp, exotic propulsion technologies, cutting-edge quantum mechanics, and so on, to find out whether it will ever be possible to build anything remotely like the Starship Enterprise.

Through Rick Sternbach and Mike Okuda, who wrote the enormously successful Star Trek Technical Manual, I got in touch with Margaret Clark, an editor at Pocket Books who liked the idea of doing a book about the physics of Star Trek. But as I was developing an outline, a book by the very same name was released by another publisher. Written by theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, it's an excellent book. Almost certainly a better book than I would've written if I had stuck to my original plan. Since Lawrence had already staked out the Trek physics turf, I decided to write a more general book featuring areas of science touched on in episodes of various series.

I came up with the idea of introducing each topic with a fictional "Science Officer's Log" relating to the specific scientific idea or phenomenon seen in a given episode, followed by a few pages of where the real science in the story ends and the science fiction begins. It ended up being a lot of fun, and in my humble opinion, one of the best examples of Star Trek bathroom reading to date.

Since I enjoyed writing Science Logs, I decided to pitch another idea to Pocket Books, a guide to the more popular M-Class planets of the Trek universe. I originally conceived it as an atlas, focusing on the physical characteristics of the planets we've come to know and love — Vulcan, Rigel, etc.

When I shared the idea with Margaret Clark, she immediately came up with a more interesting approach: Why not write it as a kind of National Geographic travel guide?

At first I thought that was a little strange. Write it as if I were a journalist reporting from Vulcan and Feringinar? But the more I considered it, the more it made a certain sense. Why not stretch my imagination? The worlds are fictional, after all, why shouldn't the book be? I wrote the initial entry on Vulcan but then wiser heads decided that a bona-fide Star Trek novelist would be a better choice to write the rest of the book. At the time, it stung to have the book taken away from me. But I can't really say I disagreed with their decision to go with someone who had a lot of experience doing print fiction. My Vulcan article remains the opening chapter of the book, and Michael Jan Friedman did a great job on the remaining material.