A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek: The Next Generation
By Joshua Chapman, an 11-Year-Old Boy in 1991, Available September 12
Grab a cup of tea (Earl Grey, hot) and enjoy a good read in your command chair. In honor of Star Trek: TNG’s 30th anniversary this September, Devastator Press – the only all-humor press in America – is releasing A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The guide is an informative, exhaustive, and surprisingly personal ranking of every alien lifeform in the series and the TNG films, as written by a boy in the ’90s.
The book collects a series of popular handmade zines attributed to “Joshua Chapman,” thousands of which sold in bookstores across the country. Chapman allegedly began the zines as a class project when he was 11-years-old and the hit sci-fi series was still on the air. He continued rating aliens through his awkward teen years. The book was edited and compiled by Zachary Auburn, author of the bestselling satire How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety.
Joshua includes entries for every species from Acamarians to Zibalians. Readers learn about Joshua’s childhood obsession with Data, his angst towards his mother, and makes many observations about the series – like how many so-called “aliens” look like humans but with weird forehead wrinkles. (A race that looks too humanoid will often get a 1-star rating from Joshua.)
The zines have generated a cult following throughout the years. Fans include bestselling authors Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies), Ryan North (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl), and Kevin Brockmeier (The Illumination). The book has its own Memory Alpha wiki page, and a copy even made it into the hands of Joshua’s hero Brent Spiner, aka Data. “I haven’t read this book,” Spiner admits. “But, if I did, there’s a good chance I’d like it.”