|The Star Charts manual attempts the impossible; mapping the Star Trek universe.
What Mandel has delivered is a huge number of maps covering the galaxy as a whole, then zooming in on the regions of space around the Federation and giving us various close ups. We also get maps of the Bajoran and Cardassian systems, lists of some of the major planets, a description of al lthe different planet classes, plus sections detailing how the galaxy is mapped.
It's impressive stuff to be sure, but to be honest it misses the mark somewhat with me. To its credit it does make an effort to resolve some problems - there is mention of "subspace shortcuts" to allow the NX-01 to reach the Klingon homeworld in just a few days as described in the pilot episode for instance. But there are (perhaps inevitably) some problems. For instance, the size of the Federation has been scaled down considerably so that it's nothing even remotely as large as has been stated on screen. The book also repeats a very common mistake - Voyager's course through the Delta Quadrant is shown and is absolutely nothing like the course we saw projected in astrometrics in "Year of Hell" (and the episode was broadcast five years before the book was published). Cardassian space is nowhere near Romulan space, so how were Dominion forces taking shortcuts through Romulan territory as claimed in one episode?
Despite these flaws the Star Charts is an interesting read - the finally having a good list of all the planet classes alone made it worth having for me!