Twelve Years in the Making

Written by Dan Carlson@minutiaeman

Published March 26, 2018

Starfleet Museum print edition cover

If you’ve followed Star Trek Minutiae for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a lot of great ideas, but I’m not exactly timely at finishing any of them. The best example is (still) my History of the Earth-Romulan War, which I started an outline for shortly after the site launched in July 2000. But there’s another project—not strictly part of STM—that I’ve been slowly but steadily working on for almost as long: The Starfleet Museum: The Print Edition.

In the fall of 2006, I was learning how to use Pages, a word processing and layout design app for Mac. I wanted to focus on the formatting and editing tools (to better teach them to clients and colleagues at work), so I grabbed the text and images from an article on Masao Okazaki’s Starfleet Museum. The goal was to create a six-page spread with text, info boxes, inline images, and large images.

After finishing that project, though, I needed to learn more: how to save styles and reuse them in other parts of the document; how to reuse a page as a template; better ways of using text boxes and layout settings instead of brute-forcing new lines with the return key. And so the six-page document ended up growing pretty quickly. After about the third article, I figured, why not do the entire Museum?

I gradually added more pages to the book, and by 2009 or so it was effectively complete as far as basic text and layout was concerned. But just like I’ve done so many times with my website, I decided I could do things better! (See the image at the end of this post for comparison.) So I started over with some more advanced techniques. I never really had a goal or deadline in mind, but this naturally reset the clock. Also, although there were a ton of images available for many ships in the Museum, there were a few ships that didn’t have many renders at all. Once I’d decided to make a printed book, I wanted to get at least one color image on every page, to make the expense of printing a 200-plus-page full-color book worthwhile.

I’d gradually collect more images as other artists created them (and graciously granted permission to use them in the book). But every so often, Masao would post a new ship and article; then I’d add it to the book, and the process would start again, slowly collecting more images. It was slow going, but very worthwile!

Now, after 12 years of off-and-on progress, I’ve decided to call the book “done”! I ordered a proof copy to make sure everything came out right, and it passed with flying colors. I only ever made the book for myself, but I know that Masao’s ships are very popular in certain corners of the internet. So, I’ve made it available to buy through Lulu—at the cost of printing, with no profit markup.

Check out The Starfleet Museum: The Print Edition.