Star Trek
I'm Working on That

Author: William Shatner with Chip Walter
Pocket Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 0 671 04738 8
Available 03 May 2004

During the 1960s, in an age when the height of technology was a crackly AM transistor,
Star Trek envisioned a time when communication devices worked without wires. William Shatner takes us on an adventure to discover the people who are working on the future and explores the realms of what was once considered to be science fiction and could soon become science fact...

I'm Working on That seems such an obvious idea for a book that I can't help but wonder why it hasn't been thought of before. Call me a cynic, but I can't help but wonder whether this was original the brainchild of Chip Walter and that Shatner came along for the ride - from a marketing point of view it makes sense to have Shatner's name blown up nice and big on the cover.

However, regardless of who is behind this book it is still an interesting read. The title, for those of you who were wondering, comes from a throw away comment that professor Stephen Hawking once made while visiting the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation. While walking around the Enterprise's engineering set Hawking noted the warp engines and commented: "I'm working on that."

The book looks at faster than light travel, even commenting that warp engines nearly didn't make it on to Star Trek. Apparently another form of propulsion that was being looked into was the Bussard Interstellar Ramjet.

The transporter technology is also discussed in detail and the possibility of being able to be beamed around is being looked into seriously - it is theoretically possible and research is ongoing into this area. There are also chapters devoted to AI, cloning and robotics.

The book is crammed full of interesting research and you don't have to have a PhD to understand it. Also, should you wish the authors have provided a good list of Internet links if you feel you want to dig out more info (or the latest information as it happens).

This is a great read, although it is a shame that there was no index to allow the reader to dip in and out at their leisure.

Nick Smithson

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