1) What was the nature of the Federation project on Velara III?
2) What 21st-century holographic-art masterpiece did Zimmerman bequeath in his will?
3) How many delegates were scheduled to be aboard the Enterprise in "Journey to Babel"?
4) Who was assigned to operate the Defiant's cloaking device in "The Search, Parts I and II"?
5) What Earth probe did Captain Klaa destroy?
6) By what species was Data given the name Jayden?
7) Who once likened the Federation to root beer -- "bubbly and cloying and happy"?
8) The beings of what planet taught Captain Garth to shapeshift?
9) The Doctor was a "Living Witness" for what two warring factions?
10) What do Apollo and Parmen have in common?
When I was a kid, I owned a Signet paperback called The Trekkie Quiz Book, in which the most difficult question was Captain Kirk's serial number. Most of the questions were no-brainers. Then came Rafe Needleman's 1980 mass market paperback from Pocket, The Official Star Trek Trivia Book, and Mitchell Maglio's 1985 trade paperback from Wallaby, The Official Star Trek Quiz Book. These offered occasional challenges, but back in the Trivial Pursuit era, such quizzes were ubiquitous. Sadly, I must admit that I did better on tests of Trek from those volumes than I did on my college astronomy tests. It's hard to flummox me with Original Series trivia.
So imagine my horror and chagrin when I opened the second volume of Jill Sherwin's Definitive Star Trek Trivia Book, chortled my way through the sections on the first Enterprise crew, then came across the question, "Name three episodes Lieutenant DeSalle appeared in." Augh! I resorted to my usual tactic for dealing with complex intellectual conundrums -- going outside, staring at the sky and shouting, "I am Kirok! I...AM...KIROK!" Admittedly, this doesn't often work any better for me than it did for Captain Kirk. I admit it. I was stumped.
It's tough to write a Trek trivia book -- for one thing, most fans who'd buy one probably believe they could write one themselves. The trick isn't coming up with questions so much as coming up with questions that lead to fond memories of the show. Sherwin's first Definitive Star Trek Trivia Book did the latter very well, but it hardly felt definitive. In places I wasn't even certain it held true to canon -- for instance, Sherwin asserted that Vedek Winn had been romantically involved with Minister Jaro, which is something that was never firmly established on Deep Space Nine since we only saw them scheming together in a similar manner to the way Dukat and Damar used to scheme together. Fadeouts are fadeouts, right?
Anyway, after four previous trivia books, it's surprising that there could still be enough material left unanswered without becoming pedantic or stretching into even more dubious areas. So I was quite delighted with The Definitive Star Trek Trivia Book, Volume Two. The book is divided into nine sections of questions -- five predictably concerning the four television series and the films, with focus on the characters (12 questions on Harry Kim!) and their vessels. Each of these mini-quizzes begins with a set of small black-and-white photos for readers to identify the episodes; for any regular viewers, these are a cinch, but the choices are witty, particularly Miles and Keiko getting married and Kira giving birth.
The next four sections, "New Life and New Civilizations," "Starfleet," "Personnel Files," and "Abstract Knowledge," are much more challenging and in many ways more fun, particularly the sections on series romances and alien possession. Like the first volume, this book has a good mix of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions. Often several questions about a single episode are grouped together, which makes it easier to recall the details as the quiz goes on. Each reader will have to decide whether spelling should count, particularly when one is dealing with Bajoran names or Klingon verbs with no vowels.
As with the previous Sherwin book, fans will have more fun taking the test in groups, or during drinking games at Star Trek conventions. When you're on a roll, you want to find another Trek fan to whom you can brag, and when you're stumped, you want to know how many of your friends could have gotten the questions you missed. I found Volume II slightly easier than Volume I in the sections on Voyager and the films, but more difficult in the original series, Next Gen and Deep Space Nine areas. The questions are impressive -- reading them, one recalls lots of details about alien species and character quirks that gave the shows so much color and spirit. What species marries in groups of four? What species believed inside every individual was a group of individuals? I don't remember, but I'd like to see both of them again.
And although one can't help but notice how certain similar names seem to get recycled from series to series, one recognizes the extraordinary consistency in terms of character and theme from the early shows -- quite absent from Voyager, so that any casual viewer can rattle off the sum total of knowledge about its crew because there's not much to remember. I was stumped by a question about the furthest distance Voyager has traveled during one of its shortcuts -- 20,000 light years, really? Adding them all together, I don't understand why the ship isn't home already, but that's not Sherwin's fault. I howled at a question in which I was supposed to match the names of runabouts with the episodes in which they were destroyed, but was greatly disappointed that there wasn't a similar query about how Voyager lost more than four times as many shuttles as it had when it launched.
I admit to some eye-rolling during questions about Klingon honor and rituals -- I can't even keep all the Jewish holidays' Hebrew names straight, let alone Klingon feasts. And questions about the size of Nomad and the amounts of information stored on various computers don't seem fair -- if I had that kind of memory for numbers, I'd be a scientist instead of a science fiction researcher. Still, I'm glad someone else was taking notes. Rumor overwhelmingly indicates that the next Trek series will be a prequel to the original, set in the days before the Federation. There's already so much Trek history to study, and it's not even consistent from series to series. One can only hope that Brannon Braga will take the time to study the details so meticulously explained in The Star Trek Encyclopedia and other volumes, and will test himself with The Definitive Star Trek Trivia Books to make sure he keeps his facts straight.
2) "Woman in Four Dimensions"
4) Subcommander T'Rul
5) Pioneer 10
8) Antos IV
9) The Vaskans and the Kyrians
10) They both visited ancient Greece
PS) Lieutenant DeSalle appeared in "The Squire of Gothos," "This Side of Paradise," and "Catspaw."
All questions from 'The Definitive Star Trek Trivia Book, Volume II' are copyright Pocket Books.
Click here to order Volume One or Volume Two from amazon.com.
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