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Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Could the Empire Kick the Federation's Ass? and Other Galaxy-Shaking Enigmas

Publisher: Adams Media

I am both a huge Star Wars fan and a Trekker, so to see Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Could the Empire Kick the Federation's Ass? and Other Galaxy-Shaking Enigmas come across the list of books to review piqued my interest. I was interested to see how author Mattt Forbeck would compare the two universes. Would he simply pit them together in a war and see what plays out? Would he go a more analytical approach and reference particular details revealed in both series' sources to back his decisions. In the end, neither approach would really work and feel wholly satisfying, which is why I was happy to learn that Forbeck finds a nice middle ground that both reveals some of the inner workings of each franchise and pits them together in anecdotal scenarios to play out what feels natural.

The book opens with two forwards, each written by an actor from the two camps. Jeremy Bulloch (the original Boba Fett) takes up the Star Wars side while Star Trek: Voyager's Tim Russ (Tuvok) fights for the older science fiction franchise.

From there, the book breaks the two universes down into a series of categories so that they can be compared on a more apples-to-apples manner. The book is broken into five parts: People, Gadgets, Time and Space, Society and Culture and finally, Prepare for Impact where the book examines the two series' influences in our world and what would happen if the two fictional universes were to suddenly recognize each other and meet up.

Each part is then broken down into chapters. For instance, the first chapter in People pits the men of the shows against each other. Star Wars vs. Star Trek kicks off by putting Ben Kenobi (the version played by Sir Alec Guinness as seen in A New Hope) against Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). Labeled "The Wise Old Men" of their respective series, the book describes each contender briefly noting not only who they are, but also showing where in their various lives they are when the two characters meet. In this particular case, Kenobi appears in Ten Forward and while Picard is able to detain the unannounced visitor with some force fields, Ben's lightsaber allows him to cut through the floor and escape. While the book kicks off with a tie, it is only one of a few in the entire book. Most encounters lead to some decisive winners, on both sides.

One of my favorite pairings involved the two series' greatest sword masters, Mace Windu and Sulu. This one is amusing mainly because while Sulu is a master swordsman, he really isn't much compared to an even slightly competent Jedi, so pitting him against Mace is pretty much a no-brainer. It's just a good thing the Jedi Master decided to use training lightsabers in the duel.

Another good match up is young Anakin (from The Phantom Menace played by Jake Lloyd) against Scotty (James Doohon) as both are engineering geniuses. In this particular encounter though, the older engineer tops the young and naturally talented Ani.

Star Wars vs. Star Trek definitely keeps things light as it even delves into some of the less popular characters. Some of the more amusing parts of the book involve the Ewoks going up against the Tribbles and Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best) encountering Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton).

While the book draws its own conclusions and comes up with a clear winner, there is, of course, always room for argument and discussion. Maybe some of the pairings aren't quite as apples-to-apples as some readers would like. Quite frankly, pairing Q against any Star Wars character is pretty much an instant win in the Trek column, or maybe there are other cases to consider. Either way, people who are passionate enough about either, or both, series will want to read through this book and see how Forbeck pits the two universes against each other. Plus, the book's final entry where the two universes actually meet up is a nice narrative that seems very fitting from both licenses' perspectives.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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