Imperial Death Star: DS-1 Orbital Battle Station Owner’s Workshop Manual by Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas (book review)

December 29, 2016 | By | Reply More

Now here’s a book you would want to keep out of the Rebels’ hands, ‘Imperial Death Star: DS-1 Orbital Battle Station Owner’s Workshop Manual’ by Ryder Windham, Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas. Here you get to see the development of the prototypes before the small moon-version endorsed by the Emperor Palpatine and built by the Grand Moff Tarkin as the means to strike fear into the Empire’s enemies before ruthlessly destroying their planet. A weapon so big that no force could be seen to attack it. Even if they tried, the Death Star carried its own space force to wipe them out. The ultimate deadly battle station as befits the Imperial Empire.

Some questions did enter my mind as I read and the answers did come from the text. I mean, why didn’t they just modify an existing moon to carry the various weaponry than build from scratch. The answer came from a failure with another project and the desire not to hide what the Death Star was led to it being totally artificial.

Bevel Lemelisk was responsible for the flaw in the Death Star’s design that led to its destruction and whose present whereabouts is unknown. Granted there was a need to vent heat from the nuclear core and they were given adequate protection, I did have a ponder on the weakness itself. The Dark Star would be dangerous in anyone’s hands but there is no defining trapdoor to destroy it should that happen. Although this was unlikely to happen, I think I might have presented this solution should it happen than face the Emperor’s wraith. Shame those Rebels learnt about it.

There are some things that aren’t answered. You would think that more of its surface weaponry would have been automated or droid ran than used synchronised troops which would have cost more to feed. When comparing their positions to the trenches and population sites, also on the surface, they are clearly seen as expendable. Then again, there are a lot of conscribed people working on the Death Star and you have to wonder why the Rebels didn’t infiltrate them. Speaking of the population sites, information on how they were fed is given but you have to wonder at how often supplies were sent in to stock up. The specs that they carried three years worth of supplies but that must surely take up a lot of space.

If you were a stormtrooper or any of the personal on-board, your leisure time was spent doing a variety of activities. I had to look up what a ‘puttie course’ was and it appears to be a form of golf. One has to wonder if they played it in armour or not.

Something I hadn’t given much thought to before was how people stand within the base. After all, it’s unlikely the power core would offer much in the way of gravity and the network of corridors complicates things. However, there are gravity boosters throughout the Death Star and orientation is changed depending where you are on-board. When you consider second Death Star was a third bigger again, this must have really complicated things.

Finally, there is a ‘Size Comparison Chart’ which will surely make you think about the scale of both the Death Stars compared to other major sizes like the Bespin Cloud City mining colony and the Super Star Destroyer Executor.

Haynes have produced several ‘Star Wars’ technical manuals now and, if you own the others, then you will undoubtedly want this one as well. I should point out that this book is heavily illustrated and also includes many photographs as well. If there’s one thing to be critical of and that’s the numbering system on the diagrams. Red with black numbers is hard enough to read, especially as they are so tiny. I’m surprised that they didn’t do them at least three times larger.

If you want to appease the Emperor, please don’t let this book fall into the hands of the Rebels. He won’t be happy and neither will his deputy.

GF Willmetts

December 2016

(pub: Haynes. 95 page illustrated large hardback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-85733-372-8)

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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