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Computers Of Star Trek [Kindle Edition]

Lois H. Gresh , Robert Weinberg
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

The depiction of computers on the various "Star Trek" series has ranged from lame to breathtakingly imaginative. This book covers the gamut, and makes lucid and entertaining comparison of these fictional computers with those that now exist or are likely to inhabit our future. Throughout its history, "Star Trek" has been an accurate reflection of contemporary ideas about computers and their role in our lives. Affectionately but without illusions, The Computers of Star Trek shows how those ideas compare with what we now know we can and will do with computers.

Product Description


This work looks at the scientific reality behind the computers in "Star Trek", from the holodeck and virtual reality to Data and artificial intelligence. It looks at the 1960s series, when Kirk embodied the suspicion many people felt, and the 1990s embracing of computer technology.

About the Author

As a computer specialist, Lois H. Gresh designs tests for security loopholes, as well as designing and coding corporate websites and systems. As a fiction writer, Gresh is the author of dozens of suspense and science fiction stories. She lives in Rochester, New York. Robert Weinberg's fiction writing has been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, and Balrog awards, and he is a two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award. He lives in Chicago.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 946 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New Ed edition (4 Jan. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9XD8E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #969,521 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
It may be filled with pages of information but most of which nobody wants to know. For people who have got all the star trek books and are just looking for something new.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting at times, but mostly repetitive and conjectural 23 Aug. 2003
By Jeff Barnes - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Writing books about "The [Something] of Star Trek" seems to have become something of a fad ever since Lawrence Krauss's wonderful "The Physics of Star Trek," whether that "Something" be biology, philosophy, religion, or, in this case, computers. This book becomes tiresome, or at least off-topic, largely because there is a dearth of primary-source material on the computers of Star Trek, meaning that there is unfortunately little for the authors (who are computer scientists) to analyze scientifically. Specifically, the authors' primary sources consist of a scant smattering of material from the television shows and movies and the "Star Trek: The Next Generation--Technical Manual." To quote the book, "The technical manual devotes only five pages to the Enterprise computer. Based on its vague and sketchy description, we've inferred [a] general design." In other words, the book is based largely on assumptions and inferences, some of which are rather nonsensical. For example, in reference to the Star Trek memory storage unit known as a "kiloquad," the book says, "it's easy enough to deduce...that a kiloquad equals 1,000 quadrillion bytes." The only "evidence" given to support this conclusion is that "kilo-" means 1,000 and that "Checking a dictionary reveals that the only numerical term involving quad is quadrillion." This kind of speculation would be mildly interesting if only a paragraph were devoted to it, but instead, the authors assume throughout the remainder of the book that this is the definition of a kiloquad, and analyze the plausibility of data storage space on this extremely tenuous basis. This is after quoting the following wise excerpt from the "Star Trek Encyclopedia:" "The reason the term was invented was specifically to avoid describing the data capacity of Star Trek's computers in 20th century terms." This is one of countless examples. Much of the book seems to consist of the authors making unconvincing inferences, repeating themselves when they run out of source material, and making occasional (and unsuccessful) forays into philosophy and physics. The book is interesting when it makes a real point, but has too much filler material. There simply isn't enough source material for a 200-page book of this sort to be successful.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on
I picked up this book because I'm a computer major in college and have been a Star Trek fan for years. I wasn't disappointed as the authors have put together a very funny and very entertaining book about how computers are portrayed on all the different shows. They compare the computers on the different versions of the Enterprise (and Deep Space Nine and Voyager) to the computers we use today. They examine Data and the holodeck and the Borg also. Reading the book makes it clear that we are much further towards developing computers like those shown in Star Trek than anyone involved with the show could imagine. Computers they use three hundred years from now will be available in twenty-thirty years. The book is filled with interesting examples taken from the different shows and the authors know how to keep the reader entertained. I found this book not only fascinating but very funny as well. This is the best non-fiction book on Star Trek I've ever read, and I've read them all.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Book has little to say, ends up being overcritical 1 Feb. 2002
By Kevin W. Parker - Published on
This series of books (The <fill-in-the-blank> of Star Trek) may be winding down. Unfortunately, the main thing you can say about the computers of Star Trek is that the show's creators showed an extraordinarily lack of vision in that regard: even the Enterprise-D computer is clearly a deluxe, sixties-style mainframe and not the network of computers we would expect today.
Clearly, many of the issues are for dramatic reasons: you can't have the computer fighting the battles nor people communicating with the computers through thought alone. The latter would be tedious to watch and the former would take all the interest out of it.
Regardless, the book, while interesting to read, comes off as critical and even shrill as a result - not nearly as affirming or interesting a read as, say, The Physics of Star Trek.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe good for computer scientists, but not for trekkers 21 Jan. 2006
By Tiago Duarte - Published on
The authors have a great deal of knowledge about the actual science of computers, but they should not meddle with the Star Trek universe, since (acoording to the "acknowledgments" section, they had to watch all episodes of all series prior to writing the book. They call subspace "a gas that acts as telephone wires", they wonder why holodeck fails if the computer cores are "100% redundant" (have you ever heard of programming error?). If you are interested in "The computers of" part of the title, give it a try. If you got the book because it has "Star Trek" after it, dont even bother (I literally could not read past the first couple of chapters).
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for Trekkers 19 Jan. 2000
By Hilton Bigrath - Published on
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The preponderance of Star Trek fans that will read this book might lead one to believe that without a somewhat extensive knowledge of the show's inner workings, it would not be a worthwhile read. On the other hand, while knowledge of the show may preclude understanding some of the book's humor and would certainly add to the enjoyment of the book, non-"Trekkers" like me are still able to admire this book as a fascinating exploration of a not-too-distant future of our own highly-computerized society. It is obvious that Ms. Gresh has an extremely personal and comprehensive knowledge of computers and electronic workings in general, and it shines between the Data jokes and the recounted Holodeck mishaps. Good work!
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